Guess who’s back, back again? I am! Yes people, it’s that time of the week again as we travel through Monday Night Raw eisode by episode. Last week, Randy Savage got his hat back and Mr Perfect made Ric Flair leave the WWE “Forever” I wonder what delights we have this week, there’s only one way to find out…..
Raw #4 [February 1 1993]
After the usual opening video we head straight into the opening contest.
Tatanka vs Damian Demento
Demento starts with a kick to the gut, an Eye Rake and a Headbutt before Irish Whipping Tatanka. Coming back off the ropes, Tatanka ducks a Clothesline before Rolling Up Demento in a Small Package for a two count. Demento regains control with a Boot and some Mongolian Chops. Demento shoots Tatanka off the ropes but he reverses it and catches Demento with a Hip Toss which he follows with a Bodyslam. As Demento gets back to his feet, Tatanka Clotheslines him over the top rope to the outside. Demento is outside talking to the voices in his head and is not paying attention to Tatanka who Chops him before rolling Demento back into the ring. Once back in the ring, Tatanka hits Demento with a series of Chops. Demento gets back in control due to a Mongolian Chop and hits Tatanka with Right Hands and Chops. Tatanka reverses an Irish Whip but is caught by a Demento Clothesline anyway. Demento stomps Tatanka while he’s down before whipping Tatanka off the ropes and catching him with a Back Elbow. Demento hits a Legdrop for a two count. Demento then Legdrops Tatanka in the “Inner thigh, lower abdominal region” before stomping Tatanka getting another two count. Demento locks in a Chinlock. Tatanka fights out of it with Elbows to the gut before shooting off the ropes and right into a kick by Demento. Tatanka is rammed head first into the turnbuckles but it has no effect on him as ‘Hulks Up‘ and prances around the ring as Demento tries to beat him down with Axe Handles. Tatanka sends Demento off the ropes and catches him with a Chop before finishing Demento off with a Samoan Drop.
We see footage from a Live Event where Bret Hart (on behalf of the WWE) presented The American Red Cross with a cheque for $100,000.
Vince is in the ring with Brutus Beefcake. Vince says it’s good to have him back after the parasailing accident that has kept him on the shelf for almost three years. Beefcake says it’s good to be back. He says he is here to announce that he plans to return to active competition in the WWE. Vince says it’s a risky manouver. Beefcake talks about the hardships he has faced recently. His 85 year old mother dying of cancer, his dad died of a heart attack, his wife leaving him and taking his money, the parasailing accident, recieving no painkillers while doctors debated to save him. Just when things looked bleake, Hulk Hogan was there. His friend was there when he came out of surgery with a face full of bolts, staples and steel plates telling him to not give up. Vince again points out that it’s a risk for Beefcake to get back in the ring. Beefcake says he is a desparate man with nothing left. He says he asked Hulk Hogan’s advice and he said ‘Go for it‘. Beefcake says he has an open contract and is willing to take on all comers.
The Wrestlemania ad from last week airs. OK it’s slightly different as Demento isn’t in it anymore.
Owen Hart & Koko B Ware vs Mike Sharpe & Von Krush
Yep, it’s Enhancement time again. Some of you may recognise Von Krush as Vito from the dying days of WCW or from when he wore a dress in WWE. Sharpe is just a jobber.
Owen and Sharpe lock up in a Collar and Elbow. Sharpe is bigger and stronger and he pushes Owen over with ease. Another Collar And Elbow becomes a Headlock by Sharpe. Owen pushes Sharpe off the ropes but Owen is knocked over with a Shoulder Block. Sharpe shoots himself off the ropes but is caught by an Dropkick by Owen and a Drop Toe Hold that Owen transitions into an Armbar. Owen drags Sharpe to the corner where he tags Koko and they split Sharpe’s legs (it’s not as rude as it sounds). Koko Snapmares Sharpe but as he lifts him for a second, Sharpe is able to tag Von Krush. Koko drags Von Krush to his own corner and tags Owen back in. They send Von Krush off the ropes and they Double Backdrop him. Owen lifts Von Krush for what loks like the Hart Attack move his brother, Bret, would do in the Hart Foundation. However, instead of a Clothesline, Koko heads to the top turnbuckle and hits a Missile Dropkick. Owen rolls into a cover and this is over.
Winners: Owen Hart & Koko B Ware
We get a replay of Doink whacking Crush with a fake arm from a couple of weeks ago. Vince tells us that Crush is at home recovering and should be back in a few weeks. Would it be a ‘Risky manouver‘ if Crush comes back, Vince?
Doink vs Typhoon
Doink grabs Typhoon’s leg as if he’s trying to lift him (good luck with that) but instead uses his leg to trip Typhoon. He grabs at Typhoon’s arm and head in an effort to hold the big lad down byut Typhoon just gets to his feet and throws Doink off him. Doink grabs a leg again and knocks Typhoon down by grabbing his other leg (he sure falls down easy) Doink hits an Elbow Drop and locks in a Front Facelock. Typhoon uses his strength to power his way out of the headlock by getting to his feet and pushing Doink off. A Collar and elbow ends in an Arm Wringer on Typhoon. Doink then slides through Typhoon’s legs and… he’s down again (he really does fall down a lot!) Doink looks like he’s going for a Camel Clutch but it’s just an elaborate thumb to the eye. Doink wrenches on Typhoon’s right arm before putting his left arm into a Hammerlock. Doink drops an Elbow onto Typhoon. Doink applies a Chinlock. Again Typhoon’s strength (and weight probably) allows him to get to his feet and Typhoon breaks the hold by backing Doink into the corner. Typhoon hits a knee in the corner and then Irish Whips Doink who runs into a Bearhug but an Eye Rake breaks the hold. A front Facelock wears Typhoon down before Doink presses Typhoon’s face into the canvas. Doink hits Typhoon with lefts, rights and slaps but Typhoon isn’t feeling it as he’s getting his second wind (I’d pay good money if he prances like Tatanka did). Doink decids that a Cross Body is a good idea. It isn’t, Typhoon catches Doink and Powerslams him. Typhoon should o for the cover, he doesn’t and Doink gets back to his feet. Typhoon rams Doink’s head into the corner and Irish Whips Doink. Like most wrestlers I’ve seen, Doink moves out of the way of a charging Typhoon and he goes chest first into the buckles. Doink climbs to the second turnbuckle and jumps at Typhoon with a Shoulder Block and pins him.
The ad for Mania airs again.
Vince is with Todd Pettingill to hype Mania. Todd says Giant Gonzales will be on Mania (you’re supposed to HYPE Mania Todd not give them reason to miss it)
Howard Finkle leads a ten bell salute for Andre The Giiant who passed away last week.
Another woman in a bikini wanders around the ring with a Raw banner.
We get another airing of the Bret Hart IcoPro ad, one for WWE Hasbro action figures with Randy Savage and the Slim Jim ad with Randy Savage (him again).
Yokozuna vs Bobby DeVito
It’s Enhancement time again! Downside is this one is just a generic punchbag.
Bobby decides that charging right at Yokozua is a really good idea. Yokozuna decids that Superkicking any wrestler that runs at him is a good idea. Anyone what to guess who came out better? I you think that Bobby did, leave now. Not sure you’re getting this.
If you believe Yokozuna came out better, well done. Bobby got Superkicked right in the face and goes down. Yokozuna picks him and drops him back to the canvas with a Uranage before Legdropping the poor lad. Yokozuna hits Bobby with a Chop before throwing him into the corner where he lands some Palm Strikes. Irish Whip, Avalanche, Banzai Drop. Done.
Vince is with the Tag Team Champions, Ted DiBiase & IRS. Ted says the only thing that bothers him is an empty bank account but he’ll never have that. Ted says that he was “sitting back in the back” listening to Brutus Beefcake’s interview and to offer an oppen challenge after three years on the injured list “you must have knocked a screw loose, pardon the pun” Ted says they are taking up Brutus on his open challenge. To decide which one, they flip a coin. Ted wins. Jimmy Hart comes out and says it is a ridiculous waste of time. Hart then says if DiBiase gets injured in the match, things are over as tag team. Ted tells him to calm down, if anything the match “is a work out“. Ted says if anyone is going to get hurt, it’s Beefcake. IRS points out that Beefcake hasn’t paid the tax on his medical bills making him no better than the rest of the tax cheats in the arena.
We see Steve Jordan from the Minnesota Vikings. He wants to introduce you to the ‘Perfect Passer‘ (which sounds really rude) Mr Perfect. I admit I no nothing about American Football so bare with me. We see various shots of Perfect passing to Steve proving how he really is the Perfect Passer. Perfect says “you haven’t seen anything yet“. Perfect throws the ball from one end of the pitch to the other. Perfect runs after the ball and catches it perfectly proving again that he really is The Perfect Passer.
Lex Luger vs Jason Knight
Our cup runneth over with Enhancement this week. Jason here will later become part of the Impact Player entourage in ECW along with Lance Storm, Justin Credible and Jazz. This match gives us the interesting side match of The Narcissus vs The Sexiest Man Alive. Good lord.
Luger uses a Collar and Elbow to push Jason into the corner and turns another Collar and Elbow into an Arm Drag. Luger puts Jason in a Headlock which he quickly turns into a Hammerlock. Jason gets to a corner and forces a break. Luger hits a Knee to the gut but Jason reverses an Irish Whip sending Luger into the corner but Jason runs right into a Boot before Luger waffles him with a Clothesline. Luger lifts Jason and drops him over the rope in a kind of Snake Eyes thing. Luger shoots Jason off the ropes and catches him with a Powerslam. Luger runs off the ropes and hits Jason with a Running Forearm before picking Jason up of the canvas and smashes him with another Forearm to the face. Luger makes the cover with just a finger to the chest and gets the victory.
Winner: Lex Luger
Vince tells us that Raw won’t be on next week as a dog show is on instead. Raw will be back in two weeks with Brutus Beefcake vs Ted DiBiase and a 16 man Battle Royal. Until then we’re done.
Post Show: Not a good show. Too many enhancement matches and what wasn’t might as well have been. Either Savage/Repo or Perfect/Flair from last week should have been on this show and woke it up a bit
Match Of The Night: Doink vs Typhoon. It wasn’t great and ended far to quickly and randomly but it was slightly better than the rest.
MVP: Lex Luger. The whole match was to make him look like a star and he did.
With that I am done for another week but I can be found @Callaweasy2220 on Twitter where I live tweet Raw, Smackdown, NXT and (when there’s one on) Pay Per View. I also post random screen shots of what I’m watching so keep an eye out for them.
Raw is not on next week but I will be here next week with Episode 5 and a Battle Royal. Until then Always #UseYourHead and ALWAYS have an Angle!
Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #16 – ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
Breaking up the 2018 time travel with a much deeper dive! Harry goes back to some prime ECW with Guilty As Charged 1999!
Greetings, salutations and welcome back. Harry here once again with another edition of ‘What I Watched’. As the calendar year turns to 1999 on my watch-through of all things ‘big three’ wrestling, I covered Starrcade 1998 in an earlier edition of WIW. I figured since this is probably the last year where all three major companies are relevant (at least at the start), it could be fun to compare and contrast how I feel about the respective PPVs when compared to some of the independent wrestling I’ve been covering recently. Or even going back to the PROGRESS or Impact Wrestling shows that I’ve covered before. I am fully aware there are going to be some bad shows in 1999. But there is also a lot to talk about in a drastically changing industry. Let’s do this, shall we?
ECW is in flux as talent losses haven’t yet gotten to what they would become but names like Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Bam Bam Bigelow and others are no longer with the company. To make matters worse, the ECW-FMW relationship is falling apart now as well as a Chris Candido and Sunny (sorry, Tammy Lynn Sytch) no-show of a scheduled FMW appearance. Paul Heyman himself is the first person we see telling us the card is going to change…how much does it change? The WayBack Machine takes us to January 10th, 1999 in Kissimmee, FL as it’s time for ECW to be Guilty as Charged!
What I Watched #16
ECW Guilty as Charged 1999
Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL
Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)
Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)
- Match 1: Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney win 3 team tag elimination match, eliminating Little Guido/Tracy Smothers @ 10:44 (Danny Doring/Roadkill eliminated @ 8:15)
- Match 2: Yoshihiro Tajiri pins Super Crazy, dragon suplex @ 11:37
- Match 3: Psycho Sid Vicious pins John Kronus, powerbomb @ 1:31
- Match 4: Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley def. New Jack/Spike Dudley, both Dudleyz pin Spike @ 10:05
- Match 5: ECW TV Title- Rob Van Dam pins Lance Storm, bridged German suplex @ 17:46
- Match 6: Justin Credible pins Tommy Dreamer, That’s Incredible on ladder @ 18:44
- Match 7: ECW Heavyweight Title- Taz defeats Shane Douglas © by KO, Tazmission @ 22:15
Three Team Tag Elimination Match
Started as a straight up 2 vs. 2, but within the first two minutes, Ballz and Axl (Axl making his return to the company after the passing of his grandmother) join the frey and it becomes your traditional ECW three team brawl. Nothing really stands out here but the overall work is good enough for what the match is supposed to be. The elimination of Doring and Roadkill is well done, as a FBI double-team fishermanbuster looks really cool and gets a decisive win for what was to be the original match. They do give the win to Axl and Ballz here, which I get given the fact they are a popular act, but I personally think that Guido and Tracy were a better team during the time frame. (**½)
Super Crazy vs. Tajiri
Yes, it’s the feud that never ends. But this is where it begins. Both men were relative newcomers to the American wrestling scene with both having had limited exposure on WWF TV (both were in the Light Heavyweight title tournament). This is a good match but not a great match and honestly, I think timing is the issue here. Eleven minutes may seem like a lot but knowing what these two would be capable of down the road once there is more of a fan and time investment into their matches, it ends up being a good starting point but probably not the blow away match that ECW was expecting to deliver here. (***)
John Kronus vs. Mystery Opponent
So, ECW fans are notorious for their belief that the “big oaf” style of the WWF and WCW wouldn’t work in ECW. Obviously, they are wrong. Guys like Big Dick Dudley and 911 became massive fan favorites due to their look, not anything they could do in a wrestling ring. You can add another name to that list, as Psycho Sid makes his ECW debut here (following an introduction by the ‘Judge’ Jeff Jones) and absolutely kicks Kronus’ ass in less than two minutes. Sid was never anything special in the ring but he is one of the more charismatic big men in wrestling history so the cult-like following is easy to understand. Too short to rate, but fun for what it was. (X)
Dudleyz vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley
Sixteen year old Harry getting into ECW was a huge Joel Gertner fan. Thirty seven year old Harry going back and watching these shows is an even bigger fan of Joel Gertner. Granted, his shtick is incredibly juvenile but sometimes, you just want to laugh…
The match is your standard ECW garbage brawl. Most New Jack matches definitely have a similarity to them that does not hold up well for re-watching. I will openly admit to being a Spike Dudley mark and he does well taking an ass whooping from Bubba Ray. The Dudleyz definitely have their moments in ECW (the best is still to come in my opinion) but this isn’t one of their best performances. I will give props to New Jack for taking 3D on the ramp, even if it doesn’t come across the cleanest. About what you’d expect, but nothing more. (**)
TV Title- Rob Van Dam © vs. Lance Storm
Rob Van Dam vs. Masato Tanaka was the originally scheduled match and I think it could have been fun. However, Tanaka apparently has visa issues which prevent him from being able to get into the US for the show and thus ECW has to pivot quickly. I do have to give credit to Lance Storm for his pre-match promo here. For someone who is not known as one of the better talkers in wrestling history, he does a really good job explaining the situation with the 3 way that was supposed to happen (Storm vs. Spike vs. Jerry Lynn (cracked pelvis)) and then calling out Rob Van Dam since his opponent wasn’t there either. Storm has a really good closing line for the promo too: “I’m not the ‘Whole F’n Show’, but I am the best damn part of it’. That is one of the lines that sticks with you and you remember it.
The match itself is very good but not great. It is better than anything else on the show, so perhaps I’m rating it on a slight curve for that. Van Dam’s selling is sporadic but to be fair, Van Dam’s selling is always sporadic. The biggest thing for me is that despite that, they still keep an impressive pace and the match is by and large clean. There is a super weak chair shot by Storm (which the crowd gives him a good ration of shit over), but they do manage to turn that crowd around for the finishing sequence. A little surprised by the choice of finish, but I imagine that has something to do with telling the idea that Storm got caught and wasn’t soundly defeated like most of Van Dam’s prior opponents had been. (***½)
Stairway to Hell- Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer
The problem for Credible in ECW is that Paul wanted you to believe that Justin was this huge deal but truthfully, the booking never actually treated him as such. Yeah, he won…A LOT…but more often than not, it was almost treated as an afterthought. He very rarely won the big matches on his own and while I get that as a heel, you want to give him that sense of dickishness, as a wrestling fan eventually you have to make it look like the dude could stand up on his own. Dreamer has long been a favorite of mine, even if he has overstayed his welcome in the ring on occasion. You know going in that win or lose, Tommy will bust his ass to give you as good a match as he is capable of.
As for this match, it never reaches that next level that you expect a gimmicked semi main event of a PPV to reach. It’s not actively bad or anything (in fact, probably up there for Credible’s best match in ECW to date) but with the stipulation and the gaga around it, it feels like there was so much more it could have been. The finish comes off really flat as well as it renders the whole point of the stipulation useless and only serves to put more heat on Credible by way of Funk. (**½)
Heavyweight Title- Shane Douglas © vs. Taz
So, I’ll be a little nicer to this match then some other reviewers I’ve seen for a couple reasons. It completely accomplishes the goal that Heyman set out for it. Taz comes out of the match looking like a world beater. Douglas comes out of the match as the face of the company who “went out on his shield” as the old phrase goes. Sabu looks like a lunatic and a viable threat to take the title at any time he damn well pleases. Candido comes off as a huge dick and sticks the final knife in Douglas’ back for the end scene. So the story telling is magnificent.
The match itself? At least a good five to seven minutes too long for that story. I get wanting that epic storytelling to fold out but when you guys are down and low on ideas, it might not be the worst idea to take it home. The other issue is that by trying to serve so many masters, Heyman causes the main event to end up being epically overbooked. Granted, that is an ECW trademark but for what was to be the crowning moment for Taz, I don’t think the 73rd Airborne needed to be a part of it. Sabu could have just as easily returned post match to set up a run with Taz. Or Candido could have turned on Douglas post match to give him a direction going forward since Taz would be occupied with Sabu. I’m not saying it completely takes away the moment but it does make it mean less than it could or should have in the overall scheme of things. (**)
THE FINAL REACTION
- Best Match/Moment: Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm, although I do think their match at the first ECW PPV ‘Barely Legal’ (which I imagine I’ll eventually do) is better
- Worst Match/Moment: The main event. What could have been an awesome moment for the ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and the biggest ass kicker in the company is ruined with a boring crowd brawl (to the home viewer) and a couple of run-ins that either end up actively taking away from it.
- Overall Show Score: 5.5/10
- MVP: Joey Styles is the best thing about this show with his one man performance. There is a reason he was such a major influence on what I did as an announcer.
It’s not a bad show. It’s just not a particulary good one either. And while ECW would put out worse, it only barely outdoes Starrcade 98 to avoid the worst show of the return thus far.
So, where do we go from here? January of 1999 had no chill. The very next Sunday would see the first WCW outing of 1999, called Souled Out. The Sunday after that would be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. I’m going to hit both of those but as a fair warning, I’ll probably try to mix an Independent show from 2018 in the middle of them. Hope to see you guys at Souled Out. And feel free to check out my archives by clicking on my name at the top of this review. Thanks for reading, everyone.
What I Watched #10b: All IN 2018
Harry decided to abridge his All In write up and bring us the blast from the past while he’s on vacation! With only a few weeks until All Out, reminiscing could be fun!
Greetings, salutations and what nots. At the time you are reading this, I will be away from home on vacation with my amazing girlfriend. In the interest of not want to lose everyone’s attention in the downtime, I decided to go back to one of my earlier reviews and reformat it to match the current style while giving people who may have not been interested due to the length of the previous review a chance to see what they may have missed as well as share my thoughts on a show that had quite the buzz when it happened.
I mention in my review of AAW’s Destination Chicago 2018 (full review available in my archive by clicking my name at the top of this review) that everyone was in Chicago for this particular show. Obviously, though it was presented as part of a deal with ROH (and to some extent New Japan), this ends up being what many consider the launching point for AEW. So join me once again as the WayBack Machine takes us to suburban Chicago on September 1st 2018 and we revisit ‘All In’ here on ‘What I Watched’.
What I Watched #10-B
ROH/NJPW/Friends ‘All In’ 2018
Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, IL
Runtime: 4:45:24 (45:27 on YouTube for the preshow, 3:57:57 on Fite.TV/HonorClub/NJPW World/traditional PPV for the main show)
Commentary By: Excalibur (PBP), Don Callis (Color), Ian Riccaboni (PBP/Color)
- Match #1: Zero Hour- Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky def. Jay/Mark Briscoe, Kazarian pins Mark with a powerslam counter to the Doomsday Device @ 12:35
- Match #2: Zero Hour- Flip Gordon wins the ‘Over the Budget Battle Royal’ @ 17:11, last eliminating Bully Ray
- Match #3: Matt Cross pins Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Shooting Star Press @ 10:07
- Match #4: Christopher Daniels pins Stephen Amell, Best Moonsault Ever @ 11:45
- Match #5: Tessa Blanchard wins four way, pinning Chelsea Green with the Buzzsaw DDT @ 12:43 of a match that also involved Britt Baker and Madison Rayne
- Match #6: NWA World Heavyweight Title- Cody Rhodes pins Nick Aldis ©, sitdown on sunset flip attempt @ 22:03
- Match #7: Adam Page pins Joey Janela, Rite of Passage off a ladder through a table @ 20:09
- Match #8: ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © pins Flip Gordon, Lethal Injection @ 14:25
- Match #9: Kenny Omega pins Pentagon Jr., One Winged Angel @ 17:48
- Match #10: Kazuchika Okada pins Marty Scurll, Rainmaker #2 @ 26:06
- Match #11: Kota Ibushi/Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson def. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio Jr., Matt pins Bandido after the Meltzer Driver @ 11:44
Zero Hour- SCU (Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky) vs. The Briscoes (Jay/Mark)
*Hell of a way to kick things off and the exact kind of match that you want to put out to people in order to get those on the fence to order the show. I don’t know about the $50 price tag that the PPV had, but this would have been enough for me to sign up for Honor Club for $10 to watch the show at least. I’m curious if ROH ever followed up on SCU pinning the ROH tag champions here. I’d imagine so even though the end is near for Kazarian, Scorpio and Daniels in ROH with AEW looming on the horizon. (***½)
Over the Budget Battle Royal
*It was fun for what it was. Maybe a little overcrowded, but there are several people who have got to make a name for themselves off this match. Marko Stunt is all over Game Changer Wrestling (and got a run in AEW as part of Jurassic Express) and Jordynne Grace, who got herself a deal with Impact, being two to spring immediately. I don’t rate battle royals but it was entertaining, which is all you can ask for sometimes. (X)
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Matt Cross
*Good little opener here for the main show. My misgivings on the rope hanging piledriver aside (MJF calls it the Heatseeker), they worked together well without throwing too much against the wall and burning out the crowd for later. I had hoped Cross would get a chance with AEW but we know that doesn’t happen, unfortunately. MJF does become one of the biggest creations AEW has up until this point, but no-one is really sure where his status lies with the company at present. Strong start to open the show and really happy for a genuinely good dude in Matt Cross to have gotten this opportunity. (***)
Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell (special guest referee: Jerry Lynn)
*When this show first happened, I heard a myriad of opinions on this match. Some thought it was really good, others thought it stunk. I fall somewhere in the middle here. Amell, for an actor, put in a pretty good performance here. I’m not saying he should do this full time or anything, but it’s not like he embarrassed himself either. Daniels had his own hiccups here as well though. So the blame doesn’t fall solely on Stephen. Overall, I’d call it above average given who Daniels’ opponent was. But I know first hand that Daniels is capable of much, much more. (**½)
Britt Baker (bay bay) vs. Madison Rayne vs. Chelsea Green vs. Tessa Blanchard
*Not sure if it was just me but the finish looks a little suspect. Tessa getting the win did make sense though at the time (I’d imagine this result changes with benefit of hindsight). As for the match, they worked hard and it by and large came together well. It definitely lost its way a bit towards the end, so I have to dock it a bit for that. All in all, I’d say good effort from the ladies involved and I’d even put it just slightly above the Daniels and Amell match it just followed. (***)
NWA World Heavyweight Title- Nick Aldis © vs. Cody (Don’t Call Him Rhodes)
*A very good match but a couple of little things keep it from the next level for me. First, the blatantly missed superkick. I’m not really as upset about that one as some people may be because I get it, shit happens in the moment. The blade job however, I can’t forgive. It was terribly obvious. I get the intent behind it to help Cody fight from underneath. I have no issues with blood in general (hell, I watch death matches). But if you can’t do the blade job more realistically there, it shouldn’t have been done. It doesn’t really factor into the match in the grand scheme of things. Also while I personally don’t mind the methodical pace, I do know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I dug the match as a whole though. And props to Brandi for eating it on that flying elbow drop. (****)
‘Chicago Street Fight’- Adam Page vs. Joey Janela
*This match won’t be for everyone. Some people like the old school ECW brawl and some people don’t. I do when it’s well executed but there seemed to be quite a bit of downtime in this one. Honestly, to me…Penelope Ford came out of this match looking like the biggest star of the three. All in all, I’d say good for what it was but nothing I’d probably want to go back and re-watch either. The finish was dope though. Janela is a crazy person for taking it. (***)
ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © vs. Flip Gordon
*Let’s not kid ourselves. There was no way that they were going to change the ROH title on a non-ROH show. As much as they enjoyed having the belt defended, this defense was a lock for Lethal regardless of the opponent. Flip getting the match itself is the story here and his performance justifies it. I’d call it good but again, it’s nothing that you’ll want to re-watch again, despite the impressive agility of Gordon and the sheer nostalgia of Lethal busting out the ‘Black Machismo’ shtick again. (***½)
Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr.
*Your mileage may vary for sure on this one. Everyone heaped a ton of praise on it and while it is very good, it does not raise to the level of excellence for me. The ridiculously spotty selling and the absolute disrespect to some of the most protected moves in wrestling cause me to take an issue. I do think they worked really well together and the styles meshed a lot better than I thought they might. But there was nowhere near the emotion here that came through clear as day on the Cody and Aldis match earlier. From a pure work rate aspect, it’s the best on the show so far. But personally, I prefer Cody and Aldis to Omega and Pentagon Jr. (****)
Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurll
*A little long. But they told a pretty strong story throughout.At the time of this writing, I had made it no secret that I was not sold on Kazuchika Okada as a draw in the US. Clearly, I was wrong. He had the entire crowd in the palm of his and Scurll’s hands for basically the entirety of this contest and it was one that I think both raised Scurll’s standing in the world of wrestling and confirmed what many people already feel about Okada. That being said, it’s a better match if you chop off five to eight minutes from it. (***½)
Young Bucks/Kota Ibushi vs. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio
*Clearly much shorter than it was probably supposed to be, they packed a ton of action into these almost twelve minutes. I’d have been curious to see what was possible with a full run time but with Rey already gone (he had just resigned with the WWE), there would be no chance to run this back. I think it was a good way to send everyone home happy and get all the marquee moments in, but overall it just ends up being a spotfest fluff match rather than anything that’ll be strongly remembered as standing out down the road. (***½)
THE FINAL REACTION
There is a lot to get through here. As you guys saw above, the totality of both Zero Hour and All In run almost five hours. While not all of that is well spent, there is more than enough to sink your teeth into here, even if you wouldn’t classify yourself as a traditional ‘Independent Wrestling’ fan. There are a couple of real good spotfests if you liked the ECW/WCW luchador/cruiserweight style. There’s a tremendous call-back to the old NWA days with how Nick Aldis vs. Cody plays out. There is a interesting take on the old ‘hardcore’ styles that both ECW and the WWF used to enjoy presenting in Janela vs the ‘Hangman’. You even get the chance to see the celebrities that get trotted out for the big shows in places like the WWE and Impact Wrestling. Does it all work? No. But a good majority of it does. As I said, it’s almost five hours. But by and large, it’s five hours well spent. Call it an 8.5 and while there is room for improvement (as with everything), a very strong start for Cody and the Bucks as promoters.
Best Match/Moment: I’ll go moment here and go with the obvious of Cody getting to hold the same NWA title his father did in what was an NWA stronghold town. It’s cool to see the torch passed like this.
Worst Match/Moment: The fact that the main event with arguably six of the best wrestlers in the world at the time ends up getting the second shortest amount of time.
Overall Show Score: 8.5/10
MVP: I’m going to give this one to Cody, both for the role he played as a producer/agent for the show as well as the performance in the match with Aldis as well. A good night for young Mr. Runnels.
And that wraps up the first of the ‘retro’ look backs at previous ‘What I Watched’ reviews. When I return, I will be coming back with ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999, the first pay-per-view of the last year of the 1900s. Following that, I know the WWF’s Royal Rumble 1999 is on the list. I’d imagine I’ll get to WCW’s Souled Out 1999 and when I do return to the Indies, promotions like IWA-MS, CHIKARA, Freelance, BEYOND, WWR and so many others are within my potentially planned scope. Hope to see you down the road and may you all enjoy quality time with those you care. See you next time and thanks for reading, everyone.
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