Money in the Bank 2018 is a matter of weeks away, marking the 3rd major WWE show following Wrestlemania 34 and is a show that will set the tone for the company product as we head into the summer wrestling season. Unlike shows like the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam & Survivor Series, Money in the Bank doesn’t have the most expansive history and certainly hasn’t been as integral to the company’s success as the formerly mentioned shows.
However, the Money in the Bank concept is one of the most revolutionary in recent memory and has provided fans with countless chaotic & classic memories for us to cherish for years to come. In honour of this, it’s time we take a look back at when WWE decided to capitalize on the popularity of this concept and give the match its own show; on July 18th, 2010.
Match #1: SmackDown Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Heavyweight Championship Opportunity – Kane vs Dolph Ziggler vs Drew McIntyre vs Big Show vs Kofi Kingston vs Matt Hardy vs Christian vs Cody Rhodes
I’ll stand by this for as long as I live, this is the most underrated Money in the Bank ladder match the WWE has ever put on, at least from my own perspective.
SmackDown had a fascinating product in 2010 which was the result of departures from the likes of Edge, John Morrison & Chris Jericho to the opposing RAW brand as well as a major shake-up the brand faced with the sudden removal of The Undertaker due to injuries caused a few weeks prior to this particular event. While these circumstances can be seen as a negative for sure, it did open the door for a plethora of new talent to take the reigns and earn an opportunity in matches such as this.
What made this Money in the Bank so special wasn’t just the action, which was insanity for the most part, but the clash of numerous personalities. From the 7-foot giant Big Show all the way to Cody Rhodes sporting his ‘Dashing’ gimmick, the match was filled with multiple personalities bouncing off each other’s strengths and more importantly completely hiding their weaknesses.
The matches highlights included Kofi Kingston driving Drew McIntyre through a table with a Boom-Drop, Big Show getting drowned in a sea of ladders by his fellow competitors and the innovative use of the gargantuan golden ladder that was specifically designed to hold the weight of the Big Show himself. On top of this the standout performances from ladder match veterans Christian & Matt Hardy added a great deal, not just further deepening the strategy behind the competitors but also providing the younger talents such as Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre bodies to throw around to assist in their excellent performances.
Having the matches winner be Kane was also a move that was completely out of left field. Most fans at the time, myself included, felt Drew McIntyre was a shoe-in to claim the briefcase and secure the purpose behind his gimmick of being Vince McMahons ‘Chosen One’, but this was shockingly swerved and instead used to give Kane his first moment in the limelight in what seemed like a decade.
As an opening contest, this did everything any fan would expect and opening match to do; present excitement for what the evening will have on offer, send bodies crashing onto or through countless ladders, showcase the younger talents while maintaining the credibility of the veterans and more importantly get the crowd going on the highest note possible.
Winner: Kane via Briefcase Retrieval at 26:17
Match #2: WWE Divas Championship Match – Alicia Fox (c) vs Eve Torres
Reviewing and critiquing women’s matches from this era of WWE television is a hard thing to do, primarily because what was on offer was for the most part fairly one dimensional and bland to the point that audiences struggled to care. That was the case with this match.
Granted, it seems like the WWE actually tried to give us a match worth remembering, at least glimpses of that effort were shown.
Alicia Fox is actually a criminally underrated women’s performer who today has fallen into the background with the ‘Women’s Revolution’ coming along so heavily with a number of newer female talents soaking up time on the weekly TV product. Fox demonstrated some genuine talent in this match, and the same can be said for Eve Torres who is equally talented as she is beautiful.
The two women played into a fairly standard match layout but thankfully sections of this felt solid, with some fine use of in-ring psychology and selling giving fans a little something to cling onto instead of treating this as a complete bathroom break. Torres also played her part well, as she always fit into the role of babyface just as well as she did the role of the cocky heel in her later days as Divas Champion.
Alicia Fox managed to eventually retain her Championship following a devastating Ax Kick after taking advantage of a slight moment of hesitation on the part of Eve Torres. I hope this recap doesn’t come across as lazy, because it certainly isn’t, there just isn’t much to note here.
Winner and STILL Champion: Alicia Fox via Ax Kick at 5:53
Match #3: WWE Unified Tag Team Championship Match – The Hart Dynasty(c) w/Natalya vs The Usos w/Tamina
I think we hammer down so frequently on the WWE’s treatment of women up until around the point in 2013 where audiences actually started taking them seriously, that we forget similar injustices were done to the Tag Team Division until 2012.
The Usos today are seen as one of the WWE’s best & brightest, putting on show-stealing performance after show-stealing performance and elevating every single opponent they are put up against. The Hart Dynasty is a duo I wish we had today, insanely talented with the bloodline to back it up but never properly utilised due to the company’s clear disinterest in tag team wrestling at the time.
It’s that particular lack of interest that makes this match quite depressing to watch, especially if you put it up against some of the tag team matches we’ve gotten in the last 18-24 months from the likes of The Usos, The Hardy Boys, The New Day, Cesaro & Sheamus, etc. The layout for this match, much like the previous Divas Championship encounter, is quite by-the-numbers which sometimes can work if a certain level of creativity is involved, which in this case we had very little of.
Noticeably, both teams worked hard to do the best with what they were handed at the time, which was an abysmal time limit which really never showcased what either team is capable of in any manner. The Hart Dynasty played the babyfaces here while The Usos resorted to their original heel shtick, and saying it was bland was an understatement when you see what they bring to the product under their ‘Day One-ish’ gimmick.
Natalya and Tamina also had some minimal involvement, due to their lack of presence in the women’s division at the time, and instead worked the outside interference portion of the match but none of this really caught on in the manner it could have. The crowd had one or two bursts of excitement for a few of the big spots, but sadly this came across as extremely forgettable to a crowd that clearly just wanted more ladders, of something of importance.
The Hart Dynasty managed to come out on top after using their teamwork to their advantage and isolated the Uso brothers and their sister, eventually resulting in one of the brothers (who I couldn’t name, apologies) tapping out in the centre of the ring to the Hart family’s signature Sharpshooter. Despite some solid call-backs to the days of the Hart Foundation in the 80’s to 90’s and a few moments of excitement, this was sadly extremely forgettable, which I hope I never have to admit for a match featuring the Usos.
Winners and STILL Champions: The Hart Dynasty at 5:58 via Sharpshooter
Match #4: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Rey Mysterio (c) vs Jack Swagger
This was the match that definitely woke the crowd back up and got them invested in the show again, after 2 matches that ultimately deflated the live crowd, then again following the opening contest is no easy task in itself. No wrestler on the planet thrives in big man matches like Rey Mysterio does, and considering his size you could consider almost any match he has with any opponent a ‘big man match’ as he’s rarely faced an opponent smaller than himself.
Jack Swagger, riding a wave of eventful circumstances in 2010, walked into Money in the Bank with what was ultimately Kurt Angle 2.0 as he utilised the Ankle Lock to dismantle and handicap countless opponents on SmackDown on the weeks leading up to this show. In the process Swagger managed to injure Mysterio himself, giving the challenger a distinct advantage heading into this match. Storytelling like this is simple, yet effective and this match used it to its advantage magnificently.
Continuously playing off Mysterio’s injured ankle and the pre-empting storyline, the champion & Swagger put on a clinic in storytelling which they combined with fantastic all around in-ring action. Swagger constantly grasped the upper hand here and not just because of the injury but also due to the clear size advantage he possessed over the ‘Master of the 619’. While the match itself certainly wasn’t the longest, it did everything it needed to and I would argue that this match would not have been of similar quality should it have received more time to develop, as the restrictions of a 10-minute span gave this match a ridiculous amount of energy that I adored.
Mysterio managed to battle his way through the pain and retain his World Heavyweight Championship using tactics from his best friend Eddie Guerrero at Wrestlemania XX, loosening the boots and rolling up a distorted Swagger to earn a great win, a clear call back to the superb Guerrero vs Angle match that evening. However, it didn’t stop there, after coming to his rescue when Swagger continued his assault on Mysterio following the match, Kane’s music hit to the shock and awe of every single person in attendance.
The Big Red Machine had chosen his moment and decided to cash in his newly won Money in the Bank Contract in exchange for Mysterio’s World Championship just over an hour after his victory, setting the record that is yet to be broken. In dominant fashion, Kane dismantled Mysterio in under a minute and delivered a Tombstone Piledriver to claim his first (and to this date, only) World Heavyweight Championship in a move that none of us saw coming.
Not only does this remain one of my favourite Money in the Bank cash-in’s but one of the best moments in the career of Kane. Beautiful booking from top to bottom and a reminder of just how good WWE can be at booking Kane when they put their minds to it.
Winner and NEW Champion: Kane at 12:07 (Total) via Tombstone Piledriver
Match #5: RAW Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship Opportunity – Randy Orton vs Edge vs The Miz vs Chris Jericho vs Evan Bourne vs Mark Henry vs Ted Dibiase w/Maryse vs John Morrison
Following the magnificent opening contest for any contest, as mentioned earlier, was no easy task. SmackDown had set the bar ludicrously high for any remaining competitors, with their chaotic and adrenaline fuelled match.
Was RAW able to create a match of similar, maybe even equal quality?
Without question, yes.
The RAW side of the Money in the Bank matches had a very different pace than what SmackDown had, sure it had the mixture of chaos in there but for the most part this match had a more methodical and calculated style to it for the most part and that’s what makes it so good. Much like the opener, you had a wide range of personalities in the ring who all worked magically together.
Highlight moments of the match include Mark Henry using his brute strength to knock over two ladders in unison, John Morrison using his parkour in ridiculous ways, Edge almost decapitating John Morrison, Maryse attempting to claim the Money in the Bank briefcase on Dibiase’s behalf and Evan Bourne eating an incredible landing from the ring to the floor.
Every participant had a pivotal spot here, whether it be high-flying, ground based or getting nearly murdered courtesy of a ladder, the one exception however is Randy Orton who seemed to have little involvement until the matches conclusion which I guess is the matches biggest negative. Orton came in during the closing moments and dished out a plethora of RKO’s and just as it seemed he had it won, the moment a star was born happened, as The Miz took out Orton and claimed the briefcase for himself. This moment wasn’t just wonderful but considering how vastly improved The Miz had become throughout 2010 it was more than well deserved.
I’m not entirely sure which match fans like more of these two, for myself personally I prefer the opener but it’s easy to see why people would gravitate more towards this one. If you’re ladder match style is more about the sheer chaos of everything, I see SmackDown being your choice but if you’re style is a more methodical and timed approach, this is the one for you.
Either way, this was another homerun of a ladder match and essential viewing for almost anyone.
Winner: The Miz at 20:27 via Briefcase Retrieval
Match #6: WWE Women’s Championship Match – Layla (c) w/Michelle McCool vs Kelly Kelly
I’m so sorry ladies, I don’t mean to be harsh. I really don’t.
The first women’s match of this particular show was largely forgettable, but I can admit to its positives, such as having an okay amount of time to encompass some in-ring action and solid overall psychology & storytelling. Almost none of that appears in whatever the WWE was trying to accomplish with this match.
The whole ‘LayCool’ gimmick never caught on with me when I was younger, and it still doesn’t to this day, their mannerisms while admittedly more than capable of garnering them heat, come across as far too over-the-top and completely distract from the match itself. Where this really hurts it, is the lack of time this match got, a whopping 3 minutes of in-ring action. Add to the fact that Kelly Kelly has never been the strongest in-ring performer the women’s division has had, and this ended up being what it was, a car crash.
Nothing in this match had anything worth gripping onto, almost every aspect felt rushed and unimportant and to add insult to injury, the crowd decided to cheer for the then fired Daniel Bryan over the Championship match in the ring at the time. For me, this was the earliest sign of the popularity the man had that transcended the WWE Universe and sadly it was far more interesting than anything Layla & Kelly Kelly managed to put on.
Layla ended up retaining her gold with a cheap roll-up, and this match left absolutely no impact on the audience or the rest of the card. Another look back and reflection of how happy we should be to have the women’s wrestling we have today.
Winner and STILL Champion: Layla at 3:56 via Roll-Up Cradle
Main Event: Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship – Sheamus (c) vs John Cena
Sheamus & John Cena had quite the history leading up to this main event. In the months prior many fans were stunned at the sudden rise of Sheamus in the main event scene in WWE and despite losing out on walking into Wrestlemania XXVI as WWE Champion he managed to gain his gold back a few short months later.
The more intriguing factor in this match though, was the potential inclusion of Nexus, a new stable formed of NXT Season 1 talent who were out to make a name for themselves (in hindsight, this project failed on all levels). To make sure this didn’t happen, the two main event talents were locked inside a steel cage for good measure and the potential for a brutal exchange. With 2010 being the peak of WWE’s PG policies surrounding their programming it was difficult to imagine how far the brutality could reach considering the restrictions but there was some potential.
In a nutshell, the match itself was a fine main event to close a show. All the parts that had been put in motion weeks prior came into play, the cage itself was used as a weapon to inflict pain to both men and as anticipated, Nexus brought their chaos to the main event. The issue with this match was its pacing, which sadly was quite boring as both Cena & Sheamus built towards their big spots and signature moves, which ultimately made this match seem fairly one-dimensional and bland at countless points.
Whenever signature moves, or big spots occurred, the match became quite entertaining, but the sad reality was that the crowd knew what was coming and resulted in them deflating any tension, unpredictability or shock value from the contest. A steel cage should be a structure of brutality & unpredictability, not one where the main prize at stake ultimately falls into the back drop in favour of cheap outside interference.
Once Nexus did show up, the match seemingly had more levity and stakes to it, as WWE Universe members had been waiting to see Cena get his hands on the rebel group for the destruction they had caused in the weeks prior to this match. This slight distraction left a window open for Sheamus to escape the cage and retain his WWE Championship in the most simplistic ending imaginable and was only setup to tie-in to the post-match antics.
Following the match Cena finally got his hands on some of the Nexus members, ploughing them over with clotheslines and the use of steel steps in the hopes of rearranging their facial features. This was slightly satisfying but failed to reach the emotion we had anticipated initially and as a result closed the show off in fine yet unspectacular fashion.
Cena & Sheamus did their job here, it just seemed like the entire thing was a setup for a post-match beatdown and you never want to detract from the importance of your company’s biggest championship, ever.
Winner and STILL Champion: Sheamus at 23:02 via Cage Escape
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Chairshot Classics: WCW Beach Blast ’93 – A Day At The Beach, A Night For Revenge
Open: Eric Bischoff & Missy Hyatt open the show. They discuss title matches including the Iron Man match for the United States Championship, and Ric Flair pursuing the NWA title once again. Jesse Ventura is running late to be at ringside as he’s hanging out at a tiki bar with some ladies.
Match #1 for the WCW World Television Championship: WCW World Television Champion ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff vs. ‘All-American’ Ron Simmons
Simmons gets the crowd riled up as some chant “Paula”. Orndorff is irate. Simmons knocks him off the apron and goes on the attack on the floor. He rolls Orndorff back in the ring, kicks in the gut and knocks him down with a right. He sends Orndorff for a back elbow and follows it with a drop kick. A lateral press for two and Orndorff rolls out. The crowd gets on his case some more. He slowly steps back in. They feel each other out, drop toe hold from Mr. Wonderful but Simmons moves from the elbow.
Simmons grabs a wristlock and works over the arm.Simmons converts into a hammerlock, broken up with an elbow. Orndorff keeps striking with elbows and rights. Irish whip and Simmons moves out of the way. The All American goes back on offense and grabs an arm bar. They hit the ropes, Orndorff ducks a clothesline and jumps on Simmons’ back with a sleeper. He shoves the former world champion into the corner and scores with a belly to back suplex. Orndorff heads up top and Simmons dodges the knee. Ron works over the knee that he just landed on, stomping it down on the mat from behind. More kicks to the inside of the knee and Simmons uses the bottom rope for more leverage. Simmons locks in a figure four but Orndorff was too close to the ropes.
Orndorff rolls outside and baits Simmons. He pulls the challenger out to the floor and ambushes him. Simmons rolls back in and Orndorff is still on the attack, grabbing a reverse chinlock. Simmons works to his feet, breaks the hold and lands a shoulder tackle. Orndorff comes right back with a high knee lift, and he drops that knee across Simmons’ jaw. Front face lock by the champ, Simmons scores some body shots, breaking the hold. Irish whip but Orndorff gets his foot up. Lateral press and Simmons kicks out. Orndorff goes back to the reverse chin lock, the crowd cheers Simmons on. Simmons tries fighting from his knees, Orndorff measures him with rights.
Reverse whip to the ropes and Simmons scores with a powerslam and gets a two count. Orndorff with a shot to the throat, he sends Simmons to the ropes, a backbody drop is reversed with a sunset flip and the champ kicks out. Orndorff sends him again but Simmons stops short of a dropkick. Simmons sends Orndorff for a big clothesline, sends him again for a back elbow and Orndorff again kicks out. Front facelock and a snap suplex by Simmons but Orndorff is too close to the ropes. Orndorff changes momentum with a thumb to the eye, he sets Simmons up for a piledriver and it’s reversed with a backdrop over the top rope, prompting a DQ.
Winner and STILL WCW World Television Champ: ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Simmons doesn’t realize he’s been disqualified and sets up Orndorff for a top rope shoulder tackle. The ref explains what happens and Orndorff tries to blindside Simmons with the belt. The challenger ducks and turns the fate on the champ. He poses with the belt as Orndorff retreats.
- EA’s Take: It’s been a while since I’ve seen Ron on a PPV. He was hot leading into his 1992 championship win, but his reign was somewhat underwhelming and then he got hurt. Great to see the fans give him a good response, but part of it was the fact that Orndorff was getting great heat as the injury really derailed all the momentum Simmons had prior.
Match #2: Marcus Alexander Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce
Pierce and Bagwell start us out and lock up quickly, Pierce with position in the corner. He breaks it off and the crowd boos at his taunting. Collar and elbow, side headlock by Bagwell, they hit the ropes and collide twice with shoulder blocks. They go for a third time, Bagwell with a baseball slide under Pierce’s legs, he ducks a clothesline and lands a cross body. Slazenger charges in, Scorpio helps his partner and they double team the big man face first on the mat. Scorpio tries to elevate over the top rope and it prompts an all out brawl on the entrance ramp. The Texan team bails to the floor and the babyfaces hold the ring.
Slazenger is tagged in to face Bagwell, he taunts Scorpio and they oblige with a tag. Scorpio dances and Slazenger doesn’t like it. Collar and elbow tie up, Slazenger with the side headlock into the ropes. Slazenger wins with a shoulder tackle. Scorpio hits the ropes and he is hit with a huge back drop. Slazenger sits him on the top rope. Scorpio blocks strikes and scores with a big cross body. He follows with a drop kick and an arm drag, and holds on with an arm bar. Bagwell is tagged back in for a double team hip toss. He latches on with a wrist lock and Tex fights out with forearms. Pierce is tagged back in, he’s caught with a drop toe hold.
They hit the ropes, Pierce with a shoulder tackle. Bagwell leapfrogs him twice and scores with an arm drag, hanging onto the wrist. Pierce with a forearm and a scoop slam. Tag is made to Slazenger and he’s met with an arm drag. Bagwell with a suplex and a two count. They hit the ropes and Pierce cheapshots Bagwell from behind. Slazenger takes advantage, elbows the skull and brings Bagwell down, going into the hammerlock. Pierce is tagged in and picks up where his partner left off. Quick tag back to Slazenger who stomps away. The fans rally for Bagwell who is head butted. They hit the ropes and Bagwell leaps with a sunset flip.
Slazenger kicks out and hits a vicious clothesline. Scorpio saves his partner from the pin. Pierce is back in and stays in control. He throws Bagwell into his corner and runs a distraction to get a double team. Snapmare into the reverse chinlock by Pierce on Bagwell. He’s held on the mat and Slazenger helps his partner get extra leverage. Bagwell works to his feet, breaks the hold with elbows he he’s caught with kick to the gut and a side saulto suplex. Lateral press and Scorpio makes the save again. Tag is made to Slazenger and he holds the hammerlock. They work back to their feet and Slazenger still has the arm bar.
Shots to the midsection by Bagwell but he’s brought down with a drop toe hold and a tag is made back to Pierce who drops a big elbow. Scoop slam by Pierce but Bagwell dodges the elbow drop. Tag is made to Tex and he cuts off Bagwell from his tag attempt. He lifts Bagwell on his shoulder, lands a shoulder breaker and Pierce is tagged in who drops the elbow. Cocky cover and Bagwell kicks out. Forearm to the back and Bagwell meets the turnbuckle. Irish whip and Bagwell moves out of the way. Marcus crawls under Pierce’s legs and he makes the hot tag to Scorpio. 2 Cold with quick strikes and a back elbow. Side kick to a charging Slazenger.
He whips Pierce into the corner and scores with a superkick. He heads for the top rope and lands a big splash. Slazenger saves the cover, Bagwell comes in to deal with Tex. They whip the heels into one another, Slazenger is drop kicked out of the ring. Double Irish whip to Pierce, Bagwell ducks a clothesline and hits a belly to back suplex. Scorpio heads for the top and lands a 450 splash for the win.
Winners: Marcus Alexander Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio (Scorpio/450 Splash)
- EA’s Take: Fans would better know Pierce and Slazenger as the Godwinn’s of the WWF in a few more years, but this might be some of the better in-ring work we will see out of the big bruisers. This team of Scorpio and Bagwell is a lot of fun, but this match could have used a little more 2 Cold in my opinion as he’s by far the most entertaining of the four at this time.
In the Arena: Missy Hyatt is joined by Paul Orndorff and someone they simply call The Equalizer. She knows a lot of people who want to take his TV title, but Mr. Wonderful explains why he’s the John Wayne of professional wrestling. He plays by the rules, and when things get tough he can handle it. Ron Simmons should be punished for tossing him over the top rope. Simmons can keep coming, but he’s going to keep on choking just like Florida State. A guy like Ricky Steamboat is too old to come after his title, they call him the old man by the sea.
Match #3: Erik Watts vs. Lord Steven Regal w/Sir William Dundee
Watts comes in for a tie up and Regal struts away. They bluff once again and they finally attempt a lock up, Regal maneuvers out of the way. Finally a collar and elbow, Regal grabs a modified arm bar, moves it into the wrist lock. Watts reverses it on him and Regal dances around. Regal somersaults out and hits a monkey flip but Watts keeps hold of the wrist. Regal gets position for a snapmare and moves into an arm bar. Regal ducks a kick to the head, Watts flips over and kicks Regal off of him.
Watts with a backdrop and he stays right on the arm. He drives the knee in. Regal jumps to his feet, reverses out of the hold with a wristlock takedown. Lateral press and Watts kicks out. Regal holds his wrists to the mat, Watts tries to bridge out, Regal jumps on top of him but Watts somersaults backwords and holds the wrists strong. Regal counters out of it with a top wristlock, driving Watts down to the mat. Test of strength on the mat, Watts makes it to his feet. Regal flips him over for a pin, quickly countered. Collar and elbow tie up, hammerlock by Watts. Regal moves him in corner, breaks the hold with an elbow and takes him down with a drop toe hold.
Watts spins out of a front face lock and scores with a hip toss. He holds Regal on the mat with the arm bar. He works into a standing hammerlock, Regal reverses with a backdrop but Watts hangs on for a sunset flip. Regal goes into an ankle submission. He lifts Watts for European uppercuts and forearm shots. Snapmare takedown, he moves the knee pad off but Watts dodges it. Whip to the ropes and Watts takes the legs out from under him. He sets up for the STF, locks it in but Sir William Dundee hits him in the face from the floor. Regal blindsides him with a schoolboy and we have our winner.
Winner: Lord Steven Regal (Schoolboy)
- EA’s Take: A welcome to WCW PPV’s to one of the most underrated talents in professional wrestling history. I say that acknowledging he won his share of belts and that he continues on as the General Manager of NXT, but Regal was brilliant in the ring. The little things make all the difference in professional wrestling and Regal’s crisp technical skills, believable selling, facial expressions and mannerisms were always great from him. One of the competitors you couldn’t really appreciate until you’re older and have a better understanding of everything. Also, how is Erik Watts still employed?
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Chairshot Classics: WWF King Of The Ring 1994
Despite all the controversy, WWE Crown Jewel is moving forward as planned on November 2nd and not only will the event feature the in-ring return of Shawn Michaels when D-Generation X meets The Brothers Of Destruction, but also the World Cup tournament. So today, we’re looking back at another past WWE tournament with the 1994 King Of The Ring! Following Bret Hart’s King Of The Ring win last year, his brother Owen looks to claim the throne for himself and step out on his own. However, the likes of Razor Ramon, Bam Bam Bigelow, Jeff Jarrett and The 1-2-3 Kid all have their sights set on the crown. Let’s jump into the action!
Open: Earlier in the day as the camera crews were setting up around the tournament bracket board, Jeff Jarrett showed up to do some premature advancing of his name. Owen Hart would walk in to correct him, followed by Bam Bam Bigelow and Irwin R. Schyster. Todd Pettengill then voices over highlights showcasing tonight’s card, including the first round tournament matches, our WWF Title match and Roddy Piper vs. Jerry Lawler.
In The Arena: Bill Dunn asks the crowd to please rise, as Ricky Medlocke of the band Blackfoot sings our National Anthem.
Match #1 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Bam Bam Bigelow w/Luna Vachon vs. Razor Ramon
Luna has some words for The Bad Guy and he tosses his toothpick in her face, Bam Bam ambushes him from behind as the bell rings, clobbering him down to the mat. He sends Ramon to the ropes for a shoulder block, whips him back in for another, plants him with a body slam, drops a headbutt and follows with a big leg drop. Bigelow to the top turnbuckle for the Diving Headbutt, Razor rolls out of harm’s way, scores with big right hands, irish whip to the corner is reversed and The Bad Guy hits the turnbuckles hard.
The Beast from the East looks to send him back across, Ramon reverses, follows in and slides under the legs to the outside, trips Bam Bam up and yanks him in an unforgiving position into the ring post. The Bad Guy climbs back in, comes off the 2nd rope with a bulldog for a near fall, starts to target the left leg with elbow drops and grabs a heel hold. Bigelow kicks him away, goes for a kick that gets caught, tries to bring his other foot around for an enzuigiri, Ramon ducks it and then staggers him with a clothesline. He goes to the ropes for another and can’t bring Bam Bam down, tries once more, The Beast from the East side-steps it and uses the momentum to dump Razor over the top to the floor.
Bam Bam goes out and hits a couple of rights before rolling Ramon back in, clubs him in the back, loud “Razor” chants and Bigelow puts the boots to him for a count of 2. He clocks Razor with an enzuigiri for another 2 count, drives headbutts into the lower back, then powers him into a torture rack. The referee checks the arm, Ramon doesn’t let it drop on the third attempt, Bigelow can’t hold him up anymore, flips him over to his feet for a side headlock and The Bad Guy counters with a back suplex. Both guys stagger to their feet, Ramon blocks right hands and returns fire, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Bam Bam charges in and The Bad Guy side-steps out of the way.
He delivers a body slam, lifts him up to prop him on the top turnbuckle, Bigelow with a big back elbow to avoid it, then plants Razor with a body slam of his own. He scales the corner to go for the Bam Bamsault, Ramon pops to his feet, plants him into the canvas, stacks The Beast from the East up and gets a 3 count.
Winner: Razor Ramon (Bam Bamsault Counter)
- EA’s Take: This has nothing to do with the match, but I need to address it right off the bat…why on Earth is Art Donovan on commentary tonight? Just awful. Anyways, good to open the night and tournament with this one as Razor is over and Bam Bam was one of the best heels in the company. Honestly, either of these guys would have been excellent choices to win the whole thing. In case you’re wondering, after retaining his Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania against Shawn Michaels, Ramon would lose it just a few short weeks later to The Heartbreak Kid’s bodyguard, Diesel.
Backstage: Todd Pettengill is standing at the King Of The Ring board with Irwin R. Schyster & Mabel with Oscar, opponents in our next tournament match. IRS informs Mabel he’s not worried about him and then next up will be Razor Ramon, then says he hopes 1-2-3 Kid makes it to the finals before walking off. Mabel thinks Schyster needs to stop thinking about Razor and be concerned with him, then states if he meets Ramon then he will learn who the real Bad Guy is.
Match #2 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Irwin R. Schyster vs. Mabel w/Oscar
IRS tries to attack from behind after the bell, Mabel drives him head-first into the top turnbuckle over and over, levels him with a clothesline, then plants The Tax Man with a body slam. He hooks Schyster for a delayed vertical suplex, grabs a wristlock for clubbing blows to the back, brings him back to the canvas with a modified fireman’s carry takeover, then drops a massive elbow to the chest. Mabel shoots Irwin to the corner and follows him in for a splash, IRS side-steps it, delivers a knee to the back to send the big man to the outside and takes himself a breather in the ring.
Mabel rolls back into the squared circle, Schyster meets him with right hands, sends him off to the ropes and drops him with the Write-Off followed by multiple elbow drops for a count of 2. He attempts to pick Mabel up for a body slam, can’t lift the weight, Mabel counters to a small package for a quick 2 count and IRS swiftly starts putting the boots to him before slapping on a rear chinlock. The big man powers up to a standing position, backs Irwin into the turnbuckles to break the hold, hammers him with big punches, shoots him to the ropes and elevates him with a big back body drop.
Mabel runs him over with a clothesline, shoots Schyster back to the ropes for a high back elbow, then back in again for a sidewalk slam, nearly putting the match away. He drives IRS into the mat with another body slam, climbs to the 2nd rope, Irwin quickly shakes the ropes forcing Mabel to lose his balance, he crashes down to the canvas, Schyster with a cover using the ropes for leverage and he gets the win.
Winner: Irwin R. Schyster (Pinfall)
- EA’s Take: Ho-hum, pretty basic stuff here to get IRS to advance and meet Razor Ramon is the semi-finals. The company was trying out Mabel as a singles competitor for the first time as they still were enamored by Superstars of enormous size, but it wouldn’t last past the summer and he’d slide back into tag team action with Mo.
Video: Earlier in the day, Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette were prepping Yokozuna & Crush for their match-up for the WWF Tag Team Titles tonight. Cornette says Fuji has his boys well prepared to take the championships tonight, Fuji stating he wants The Headshrinkers to be squashed and for his guys to walk out as the new champs.
Match #3 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Tatanka vs. ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart
Owen steps into the ring after his entrance and Tatanka immediately meets him with right hands, the bell sounds and The Native American whips him back and forth into the turnbuckles, elevates him with a back body drop and gains a quick 2 count. He executes a vertical suplex for another count of 2, The Rocket goes to the eyes to stop the onslaught, slows things down with a standing side headlock, The Native American pushes him off to the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder block.
Hart goes back to the ropes, Tatanka drops down, leapfrogs over and catches him with a hip toss, shoots him back to the ropes for a Japanese arm drag, then grabs a side headlock of his own. Owen shoves him off to the ropes, Tatanka with a big shoulder knockdown, goes back to the ropes, The Rocket drops down and uses the momentum to toss him over the top to the floor. The Native American back to his feet, sweeps Owen’s legs from the outside and drags him under the bottom rope, connects with a series of overhand chops, Hart returns fire and whips him shoulder-first into the ring post before rolling back inside.
We go backstage where IRS & Razor Ramon are involved in a shoving match, WWF officials having to step in between them as Tatanka pulls himself back into the ring in the arena. Owen drops him on the 2nd rope and chokes away, hits the ropes and drops all his weight onto the back with a seated senton, then rakes Tatanka’s face on the top rope. He plants The Native American with a gutwrench suplex, heads upstairs for a dropkick, hooks the leg and gains a near fall before grabbing a rear chinlock. Tatanka fights up to his feet, hits the ropes and ducks under a clothesline, The Rocket slaps on a sleeper hold and The Native American starts to fade down to the canvas.
The referee checks the arm, Tatanka shows some life on the third attempt, battles his way up, Owen clocks him with fists, drives him head-first into the top turnbuckle over and over, but it has little affect and The Native American goes into his war dance. He pummels The Rocket with knife-edge chops and punches, makes a cover for a count of 2, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Owen follows him in and runs into a boot to the jaw. The Native American spikes him with a DDT for a near fall, plants him with a body slam, heads to the top rope for an overhand chop, but still can’t get a 3 count.
Tatanka sends Hart to the corner and charges in behind, The Rocket looks to hop up and over, gets caught on The Native American’s shoulders, but Tatanka gets frustrated after another 2 count. He argues with the official about the count, catches Owen trying to sneak up from behind, irish whip to the ropes is reversed by The Rocket for a back body drop, Tatanka goes for a sunset flip, Hart drops down on top, hooks the legs and advances.
Winner: ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart (Sunset Flip Counter)
- EA’s Take: Another bit of a “ho-hum” contest, but much better than the previous IRS/Mabel match. Owen is really on fire as a heel following his win over Bret at WrestleMania, a quarterfinals loss here would have made no sense whatsoever, no matter how over Tatanka was at the time.
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Chairshot Classics: WCW Monday Nitro Episode 19 (1/8/96)
From the North Charleston Coliseum, in Charleston, South Carolina, comes WCW Monday Nitro! Set up from the last episode, we have Hulk Hogan teaming with Randy Savage to take on Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. The other advertised matches are very intriguing as Lord Steven Regal battles Eddie Guerrero and Sting faces Diamond Dallas Page. A solid sounding lineup, especially those under card matches. Let’s see how it plays out!
Chris Benoit vs Alex Wright
Wright comes out to a sizable reaction, he definitely was a fan favorite. Benoit jumps him quickly and hits a solid snap suplex and back elbow. Wright tries to come back but takes a beautiful bridging northern lights suplex for a near fall. Benoit throws Wright outside and distracts the referee while Pillman at ringside chokes Alex for a bit. Wright sends Benoit over the top rope and Heenan asks if that’s a DQ? Was that still illegal at this point? Alex hits Chris with a big cross body from the top rope to the outside. Wright sinks in a deep boston crab before transitioning into an STF before Benoit gets out. Pillman trips Wright, but Wright launches himself over the top to drop him. Coming back into the ring, Benoit gets the upper hand with knees to the midsection. Benoit hooks and drops a dragon suplex with a bridge to pick up the pinfall. Fun little match here, lots of fun back and forth action.
Winner: Chris Benoit via pinfall
Lord Steven Regal vs Eddie Guerrero
Great chain wrestling to start this matchup, they go back and forth, trading holds and counters. Eddie counters a double arm suplex with an arm drag before a nearfall exchange is ended when Regal pokes Guerrero’s eyes. Regal takes control with a big European uppercut and several more strikes before hitting a nice reverse suplex, a move that is very underutilized in my opinion. Eddie reverses a pinning attempt for a nearfall before eating a big back elbow from Regal. Regal is in control with strikes and out of nowhere, Eddie drops Regal with a backslide and picks up the shocking win. This was a very fun match, but I would have liked something twice as long.
Winner: Eddie Guerrero
Mean Gene is on the ramp with Sting and Lex Luger. Sting asks Lex about Starrcade why he pulled Sting down before he could get back into the ring, costing Sting a chance at the title. Lex claimed he got hurt and was reaching for help and asked Sting to give him a chance at redemption as a tag team against the Blue Bloods at Clash of the Champions. Sting agrees and it is set.
Sting vs Diamond Dallas Page
DDP gets Sting with the cigar in the eye to start the match and gains the upper hand. Sting counters with a double axe handle, a dropkick that sends DDP out of the ring followed by a cross body over the top rope. Strange spot where Sting goes for a leapfrog and initially it looked like Sting came up too early, but he sold like a low blow. No DQ, but DDP is in control with a belly to back suplex and swinging neckbreaker. DDP grounds Sting with a rear chin lock and plants his feet on the ropes but denies it to referee, Nick Patrick. Sting tries to counter out with a top wrist lock but DDP gets a handful of hair to drag him back down to the mat. Sting fights out with a facebuster and some big strikes before hitting a reverse atomic drop and big dropkick to send DDP into the corner. Sting hits the Stinger Splash but can’t get the Scorpion Death Lock in. DDP hits another neckbreaker and a thumb to the eyes out of a pinfall attempt. Sting counters a kick and locks on the Scorpion Death Lock and DDP taps out. This was another fun match with two great guys in the ring.
Winner: Sting via submission
Ric Flair and Arn Anderson vs Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan
Flair and Hogan start us off, and Hogan gets his hits in, a big boot, some clotheslines and bodyslams to both Flair and Anderson. Arn is tagged in and in comes Savage as well. Anderson tries to suplex Savage out of the ring, but Savage counters it, sending him to the outside with a big boot from Hogan. Savage hits a double axe handle from the top rope to the outside of the ring and one to the inside. Arn tags in Flair who tries to go to the top rope, but Hogan sends him off the top. Hogan and Savage lock on figure 4 leg locks but the Horsemen get out. Anderson sends Savage outside and into the guardrail before feeding him back in to Flair. Flair hits a big belly to back suplex and tags in Anderson. Flair is back in and hits a shin breaker and attempts the figure 4, but Savage rolls him up a couple of times for near falls. Flair comes back with a couple of vicious sounding chops. Savage gets the hot tag to Hogan and he’s in on fire. Back body drops, and clotheslines with a double clothesline to send them both outside. Anderson back and and hits a big spinebuster, but Hogan no sells it, Hulks up, big boot, leg drop, pinfall. Pillman and Benoit come down and fights with the Dungeon of Doom. The Giant comes in and gives chokelsams to both Hogan and Savage. Hogan barely got up in the air for it, looked kinda sad. The show goes off the air after that exchange.
Winner: Hogan and Savage via pinfall
So, we had a pretty fun show here with some good matches. Stories are still being made clear as we work towards Clash of the Champions. It’ll be interesting to see how the next few months play out as we are going to get into some intriguing angles.