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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWE SummerSlam 2003



We see a quick clip from SmackDown where Brock Lesnar savagely destroys a one-legged man in front of his mother. The kid, Zach Gowen gets some serious color in the clip and Michael Cole says that Brock broke the young mans only leg in two places. When they try to take the young man out on a stretcher Brock continues to destroy him and he even smears the dudes blood on his chest. He I guess when your trying to really drive the Heel turn home what better way then to have the individual destroy a man with one leg. This clip leads us into our match for the WWE Championship.


Before the match starts we see a package of Kurt Angle’s road to recovery from his neck injury and how he and Brock ended up here. It shows clips of Brock and Kurt’s friendship and how Brock was there to comfort him in his recovery. Vince then would set-up a Steel Cage match between himself and Brock Lesnar with Kurt as the special guest referee. It was all a work and Brock would betray Kurt in the cage with F5s.


The challenger, Brock Lesnar enters the arena first and the fans are booing him, much like they would today. This is good heat here though, and not the kind he receives today. The WWE Champion and two time US Gold medalist, Kurt Angle enters and he gets some cool pyro to go along with his “You Suck” chants. Kurt kisses the medals before he hands the Title over to the ref and he goes over the rules. Each men return to their corners and the bell sounds. As soon as they tie-up in the collar and elbow Brock drives Kurt to the corner and the ref is forced to separate them. They square up again and Kurt is quick to take Brock down with a hammerlock. Brock reverses it and it is Kurt who is now in the hold. The men continue the back and forth a bit longer and it is in the style of a high school wrestling match. After they roll around a bit they return to their corners and do it again. They try to collar and elbow a few times but Lesnar just over powers Kurt and shoves him to the ground. I understand that they both have similar pedigrees but after awhile this start grows stale. Kurt hits three arm drags in a row and this forces Brock from the ring to regain his composure. While on the outside he instead loses his composure and freaks out. He smashes some monitors and the kicks at the ring stairs like a small child. Brock then threatens to throw the stairs into the ring but the ref stops him. He continues his tantrum by grabbing the Strap and trying to leave with it, while saying “It’s mine”. This is great Heel work by Brock here and it helps to show that he has a weakness and that’s what every good Heel needs. Angle chases him down and delivers a clothesline to Lesnar’s back. Brock no-sells it and the two trade punches on the apron. This is a battle that Lesnar obviously wins and he soon whips Kurt into the ring apron. But after a kick to the midsection Kurt regains the advantage and returns Brock to the ring.  Brock is first to his feet and violently whip Kurt into the turnbuckle. But Kurt comes out of the corner quick to hit a belly-to-belly and go for the cover. But Brock isn’t finished yet and kicks out.


Brock comes from nowhere and picks Kurt up for a gorilla press slam. He holds him in the air for a moment before he just tosses him out of the ring. Brock Lesnar is just a freak of nature and his strength really shows here. Brock joins him on the outside and whips him into the ring steps. He then returns Kurt to the ring and stomps away at Angle’s back. He goes for the cover but it’s Angle who isn’t done yet and he kicks out. The tilt-a-whirl backbreaker that Lesnar delivers next is super brutal, but Angle still kicks out of the cover attempt. After the kick-out, Brock applies a rear naked choke that he slowly transitions into the body scissors. The “Angle” chants start now an Kurt finally rises to his feet and escapes the hold with elbows to the midsection of Lesnar. Kurt bounces off the ropes but Brock takes him out with a knee to the gut. After some stomps in the corner, and chokes from Brock’s boot, Angle explodes from the corner and rolls Brock up for the pin. The crowd counts along, but are forced to stop at two when Lesnar kicks out. Lesnar is pissed and just flattens Angle with a clothesline. He then picks Kurt up for a high cradle and slams him to the mat. But once again Angle kicks out. At this point in the match we here Michael Cole mention that one year ago, at SummerSlam, Lesnar became the youngest World Champion ever.(You can read more on that here.)


The back and fourth continues but Brock seems to always come out ahead. Brock whips Kurt to the corner and rams him with his shoulder. When he takes a few steps back and charges, it makes a solid connection. He whips Kurt to the other corner, but this time when he charges, Kurt moves and Brock tackles the ring post. Angle explodes into Lesnar with some shoulder block but after two Lesnar is still standing. So Kurt delivers a dropkick to the back of his knee and this takes the big man off his feet. Both men are slow to their feet and Kurt sits him back down with a flying forearm. He follows it up with a triple German suplex and hold the third one for a pin. But Lesnar still isn’t done and he kicks out. When they return to their feet Lesnar grips Angle and tosses him with a belly-to-belly. He attempts a second one but Angle escapes and goes for the Angle Slam. It isn’t time yet and Brock escapes and shoves Angle into the ropes. When he bounces back Brock slams him to the mat with a spinebuster.  He again goes for the cover but Angle still has some gas left and kicks out. Lesnar is taunting Angle as he waits for him to rise to his feet. Lesnar goes for the F5 next but Kurt is able to reverse it into a tornado DDT. This is a cool spot here folks. It is Kurt’s turn to go for a cover now but Brock isn’t out of gas either and he is the one now kicking out. At this point in the match the fans are really popping with ever move. This is always a good sign and really shows the fans are hanging onto every move and unsure of when the finish will come.


When Kurt returns to his feet and pulls the straps of his singlet down the crowd goes from a rumble to an earthquake. Kurt is taunting Brock to rise to his feet and when Lesnar does he is rewarded with an Angle Slam. The cover is made but the ref stops at two, even though Lesnar made no attempt to kick-out. At this point Kurt pulls the straps of his singlet back up then quickly pulls them back down. I think this was some kind of signal to the guys in the back. Angle then applies the ankle lock and Lesnar is squirming to escape. Lesnar eventually escapes the hold by pulling Angle towards him and this then makes Angle collide with the official. Both men are slow to return to their feet but the ref still lay there “unconscious”. Kurt then applies some kind of weird inverted armbar that leaves him hanging from the back of Lesnar. Lesnar finally falls to the ground and Angle applies the ankle lock again. Brock gets to the ropes but with the ref still knocked out, Angle just drags Lesnar back to the center of the ring. Brock soon starts to tap-out but the ref is still down and this is when we hear the crowd explode and rise to their feet. Soon Vincent K. McMahon enters the ring and lays Kurt out with a chairshot to the back. After the chairshot Vince quickly exits the ring and hides the chair. He then stands outside the ring and spectates, as he looks on innocently. The reactions from Vince here are priceless. The crowd hit McMahon with some “Asshole” chants as Brock slowly rises to his feet. Lesnar is hopping around on one foot as he picks Angle up and delivers the F5. Angle lands squarely on his head here and probably wasn’t good for that neck of his. Lesnar is slow to make the cover and at this time the ref is starting to move again. The ref makes the slow count and the fans join in because they think this thing is surely over. Even know Angle is running on E, he manages to kick-out. The look of shock on Lesnar’s face and anger on McMahon’s here is just great stuff. Brock goes for another F5 but this one is reversed and Angle soon has him in another ankle lock. Lesnar crawls and touches each rope but Angle is quick to pull him back to the center each time. For some reason the ref doesn’t break the hold each time. Eventually Lesnar can no longer hold on and, for what I think is the first time in his career, taps the mat. Kurt Angle retains the Title and the crowd cheer him on with “You Suck” chants. This was a phenomenal match and told a great story. Kurt Angle has said that Lesnar was supposed to go over here but that Lesnar insisted that he loose this one. He thought it would be better for his character to tap-out and show some signs of weakness. I wish he was still so humble and went out and performed like the Brock Lesnar of old. If you are a doubter of the in-ring work of Brock Lesnar I suggest you go back and watch some of his matches with Kurt Angle. But the craziest part of this whole match is that Kurt wrestled the whole thing with a torn hamstring. It may not of been the wisest of decisions but I tip my hat to you Mr. Angle. Match Time:20:49


After the match and celebration Vince re-enters the ring to try and hit Kurt with a chair. He manages to duck it though and starts to beat the hell out of the boss. At this point I noticed a sign that reads “La Parka=Ratings” and this made me chuckle. Shout-out to whoever that sign dude was. Angle then sets the chair up and crushes it by Angle Slamming Mr. McMahon onto it. And for this Michael Cole wishes Vince a Happy Birthday and this is in fact his actually birthday. He turned 58 on this day and after the show the entire crew would join him in the ring to celebrate it. This is some cool stuff and it is out there on the inter-webs someplace. I suggest that if you are a fan of this era of wrestling you go watch it, after you finish reading this of course.


Howard Finkle tells us that the next match will be No-Holds Barred and introduces Kane and The Big Red Machine Enters first in the darkness. As soon as he hits the ring Rob Van Dam enters and the crowd is popping. RVD lands some quick kicks but Kane no-sells them and lays Rob out with a clothesline. Kane soon takes Van Dam to the outside and begins to beat him off the security rails. This is when we hear the first “RVD” chants from the crowd. They chants power Rob to unload a few kicks before he moonsaults off the security wall and land on Kane. The Big Red Machine eventually stops the attack by whipping RVD into the ring post. Then he goes under the ring to grab the ladder. He then takes it into the ring but Rob uses the ropes as a fulcrum and drives the ladder into Kane’s face. RVD hits the top ropes next and comes of with a roundhouse to Kane’s chest. RVD next hits a crossbody against the ropes that send both men to the floor.


Kane is first to his feet and whips RVD into the ring steps. After a few more blows against the security wall, Kane return’s Rob to the ring to continue the beating. RVD slows can down with a flipping heel kick and its his turn to take over the match. After a few shoulder blocks, Rob springboards of the second buckle and hits another roundhouse. When Rob goes up top again it is thwarted when Kane shoves him off the tope rope and into the security wall. The “Holy Shit” chants are given for this action. The ladder is back in Kane’s hands now and he drives it into the face of RVD. Next Kane returns RVD to the ring and tries to cover. But RVD isn’t done yet and kicks out. This enrages the big man and he takes to choking RVD, until the ref forces the break. Kane goes after the official after this and when Rob Van Dam returns to his feet Kane flattens him with a clothesline. Kane stomps on him, like ten times, before he chokes Van Dam with his boot. Van Dam dodges the next clothesline though and this sets up an enziguri to the side of Kane’s face. Kane is quick to stop the attack by throwing Rob off the apron and into the security wall. This is when we see Kane start to ascend to the top turnbuckle. He flies of the top, for a lariat, but RVD moves and Kane hits the wall. The crowd reward him with “You fucked up” chants. He then drives the ladder into the midsection of Kane. But Kane is quick to recover and lands a DDT on the outside. Kane charges RVD with the stairs next but he is quick with a drop toe hold, that send Kane’s face into the steps. Both men are slow to return to their feet and RVD dropkicks Kane over the security wall. RVD then teeters Kane on the security wall so that he can leap from the apron and hit a spinning leg drop. Rob grabs a chair next and when he lifts it above his head the crowd erupts. A spinning heal kick puts Kane on his back and this leads to Rob putting the chair across his chest. RVD then sacrifices him self to hit a rolling thunder, onto the chair. But Kane sits up in a similar fashion as The Undertaker. Rvd is quick to dropkick him in the face and return him to the mat. RVD then goes to the top rope and goes coast-to-coast with the chair and tries for the VanDaminator. Kane rolls from harms way and the landing here is just brutal. Kane is back outside and RVD leaps the ropes to try a crossbody. Kane catches him though and Tombstones him onto the ring steps. Kane returns him to the ring and makes the cover. 1,2,3 and Kane is the victor here. The match as a whole was entertaining and had some great highspots. It is definitely worth the watch. Match Time:12:49


We see Linda McMahon enter the locker room that Bischoff is nursing his injuries in. Eric starts to cop a plea with here but she just slaps him in the ice-bag, that he holds on his face. And finally the Main Event is upon us!


We see the Elimination Chamber lowered onto the ring before Lawler and JR tell us about the first Chamber match from the previous year’s Survivor Series. Triple H lost his Title in that match, that took place at Madison Square Garden. Chris Jericho would be the one to take the Strap on that day.

Before we start the match I just want to say that this was a tough to cover , due to the chaos, so I will be just highlighting the entrances, highspots and eliminations here.


Howard Finkle runs through the rules before he starts to introduce the participants in this match. An Evolution member, Randy Orton makes his way down and enters his cage. Kevin Nash is next and when Big Daddy Cool enters the crowd explode. The WWE Universal Champion and head of Evolution, Triple H enters next and is joined by Ric Flair. We see Goldberg walk through the back before he enters the arena accompanied by “Goldberg” chants. He enters a cage and they are now full. JR tells us here that the doors of the cages will open at random, every three minutes. Chris Jericho is next and is receiving a nice pop. And last but certainly not least, The Heart Break Kid , Shawn Michaels enters and the crowd is now on their toes. I find it funny that at last years SummerSlam, Michaels made his return for one match. We see how that went.


Jericho and Michaels start and trade some holds. Michaels hits a nice springboard crossbody, off the second rope, but this doesn’t slow Jericho and they continue to trade roll-ups and backslides. Jericho eventually attempts the Walls of Jericho but Michaels is quick to reverse it. The counter appears on screen and Randy Orton is next out. He is quick to hit HBK with a crossbody off the top rope and try for a pin. Michaels kicks out and the three men continue to battle. There is a hard slam for Orton onto the chain floor, from Y2J, and he soon puts Shawn in The Walls. But Kevin Nash’s cage opens and he levels Jericho with a clothesline. Nash continues to dominant the match until Michaels hits him with a superkick and Jericho makes the cover. Just like that Nash is eliminated. This would be the last time we see hom in the WWE until 2011. The Game, Triple H enters next but before he can exit the cage, Michaels levels him with the superkick. The Jackknife that Nash delivers to Orton is brutal but he is eliminated and cause some havoc before doing so.  At this point HBK and Jericho both are showing some color. Goldberg finally comes in and clears the ring as the crowd is exploding. But Jericho and Michaels tries to double team him and this leads to Goldberg laying them both out with a clothesline. He hits Orton with a spear and soon eliminates him with a pin.


Goldberg then picks Jericho up and throws him into the cage, from the ring. Goldberg then explodes Jericho through the plexiglass with a spear. Michaels soon receives a spear and a Jackhammer is next. At this point Michaels is eliminated by a pin. Jericho takes another brutal spear that he follows with the Jackhammer and the pin. Jericho is gone. Triple H gets his ass kicked and is about to take a spear when he levels Goldberg with the sledgehammer and gets the cover. Evolution then joins Triple H in the ring and beat his ass. A decent match but Goldberg should of went over here and that was the original plan. That changed because they wanted him to go over in a better match but Triple H was dealing with a groin injury. Who says dating the bosses daughter doesn’t have its perks. Match Time:19:12


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Chairshot Classics

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. (**)



  • 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.

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Chairshot Classics

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)


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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