In anticipation of the next watch-along episode of the 2MB Wrestling Podcast, I thought it might be fun to give them a plug and look back at my Royal Rumble ’92 review! Clearly, this will always be remembered for Ric Flair’s historic WWF Championship win, but how did the rest of the card stack up? Let’s get to the action!
Match #1: The Orient Express (Kato & Tanaka) w/Mr. Fuji vs. The New Foundation (Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart & ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart)
Owen & Kato will kick things off, The Rocket with a wristlock out of the lock-up, Kato counters to one of his own and Owen flips out to recapture the hold. Kato switches to a hammerlock, Owen flips himself up and over, pushes into the ropes for a roll-up, Kato hangs on and The Rocket rolls through. Kato charges and Owen leapfrogs over, scores with an armdrag and begins to work over the limb with an armbar. He switches back to a wristlock, they lock knuckles and Kato takes The Rocket down to the canvas for 2 counts, Owen bridges to his feet, springs off the ropes and hits another arm drag.
The Rocket with a hurricanrana for a count of 2, catches Kato in an another armdrag and tags out, The Anvil maintaining control with an armbar of his own. Kato tries to punch his way out of it, gets backed into the corner and then tossed across the ring, Neidhart shooting him across for a hiptoss off the rebound, Kato blocks and attempts his own, but gets shoved to the mat. Tanaka tags in and tries to slam The Anvil, can’t get him up and gets shoved away, Tanaka to the ropes for a shoulder block, but doesn’t budge Neidhart and he hits the mat.
Tanaka goes back to the well again and it still isn’t working, The Rocket re-enters and drops a 2nd rope elbow following a Neidhart spinebuster for a 2 count. Owen gets another 2 off a backbreaker, Tanaka goes to the eyes to get an opening, whips The Rocket to the corner and charges in, Owen hopping up and flipping over to avoid it and elevates Tanaka with a back body drop. He looks to follow with a boot, Tanaka catches the foot and The Rocket brings the other around with an enzuigiri before bringing Neidhart back in. Owen sends Tanaka to the corner, whips The Anvil at him with a spear, Kato hits the ring and The Orient Express look to double team sending Neidhart to the corner, but getting leveled by a double clothesline.
Owen gets a tag and climbs up top, The Anvil with a double noggin knocker and The Rocket follows with a double crossbody for a near fall. Kato stays in and gets sent to the ropes for a spinning heel kick that gets 2, Owen follows with a snap suplex for another near fall, then tries to unmask his opponent. Kato rolls to the outside to escape, slides back in and they tie-up, The Rocket with a side headlock, gets pushed off into the ropes and Tanaka delivers a cheap shot. Kato baits Neidhart into the ring to distract the official, Tanaka drapes Owen over the 2nd rope and Fuji delivers a cane shot to the throat.
Tanaka keeps the ring and grabs a rear chinlock, delivers open-hand shots to the neck, Kato with a superkick off the tag and he gains a count of 2. He shoots The Rocket in for a back elbow for another 2, Fuji getting the ref’s attention which allows his guys to double team in the corner, Tanaka stepping back in and whipping Owen sternum-first into the turnbuckles for a near fall. He looks to send him back across, The Rocket reverses, rushes in and meets a superkick that gets a 2 count, Kato tagging in and grounding the high flyer with a rear chinlock. Owen battles to his feet to break the hold, hits the ropes and ducks a couple of shots, scores with a crucifix and nearly gets a pinfall, Kato stopping the momentum quickly and bringing Tanaka in.
He drops a headbutt to the lower abdomen and slaps on a rear chinlock, The Rocket fights his way up again, hits the ropes and scores with a shoulder knockdown, goes back to the ropes and Tanaka levels him with a flying forearm that gets 2. He sends Owen into the corner and charges in, The Rocket gets a boot up, crawls to make a tag, but Kato comes in and holds the referee as it happens. Neidhart isn’t allowed in, Fuji stands his cane up in the corner, The Orient Express shoot The Rocket into it behind the official’s back and Kato covers, but still can’t finish him off.
Kato starts to work over the arm, plants Owen with a hammerlock slam, tag to Tanaka and he drops a headbutt to the shoulder before grabbing a hammerlock. Owen gains his footing and pushes Tanaka off to the ropes, Tanaka with a shoulder knockdown, back to the ropes and The Rocket catches him with an overhead belly to belly suplex, Kato breaking up the count at 2. Tanaka tags out, Kato draws The Anvil in to hold the referee, Tanaka steps in and The Orient Express send Owen to the ropes for a double clothesline.
Kato covers and only gets 1 by the time the ref gets there, grabs an armbar and makes a tag, Tanaka with a superkick and he baits Neidhart back in. The Orient Express with an elevated seated senton for a near fall, Kato tags back in and they shoot The Rocket to the ropes, he ducks a double clothesline and takes them both out with a dropkick. The Anvil finally gets a tag, Owen slingshots him into the ring with a double shoulder tackle, Neidhart slamming Tanaka & Kato, then elevating Tanaka with a back body drop.
The Rocket comes in and whips Neidhart into Kato with a shoulder, Kato spills to the outside, The Anvil returns the favor and shoots Owen into a suicide dive on Kato. Neidhart slams Tanaka back in the ring, Owen scales the turnbuckle and The New Foundation hits the Rocket Launcher for the victory.
Winners: The New Foundation (Owen/Rocket Launcher)
- EA’s Take: An exciting opening contest between four veterans that really showcased the strong points of both teams. After The Anvil had fallen victim to Ric Flair’s Figure Four during a match 2 months prior, he exited as The Beverly Brothers made their way to the ring. The Beverlys would take advantage of a weakened Neidhart and ambush him, causing him to miss a month with ‘injury’. Upon his return, he sought revenge on The Beverlys, returning with backup in the form of the returning Owen Hart. The Rocket previously worked as The Blue Blazer under a mask, briefly working for WCW before coming back to the WWF as himself. The youngest Hart brother shows in this match that he’s every bit as talented as Bret in the ring, arguably more talented with his high flying offense to go with the technical wrestling. The New Foundation showed a little promise, but are mostly remembered for their horrible bright ‘Hammer pants’ ring gear, breaking up just a few weeks later when The Anvil would be fired for unprofessional conduct.
Backstage: Lord Alfred Hayes shows us video, explaining what happened two days ago at an event in Springfield, Massachusetts. Bret Hart would defend his IC Title against doctors orders, losing the championship to The Mountie. The new champion would attack The Hitman following the win, drawing out Roddy Piper to make the save. The Mountie would appear to leave, but as Piper checked on Bret he would get clobbered with the title, setting up our title match tonight. Sean Mooney is in the locker room with The Mountie & Jimmy Hart, The Mouth Of The South claiming Bret Hart isn’t actually sick from the flu, but from losing his title. The Mountie isn’t happy to be defending his title on two days notice, but he’s a man and will proudly defeat Roddy Piper. “Because The Mountie always gets his man.” ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is with the challenger ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper in the interview area. Hot Rod talks about the champion wanting to take his integrity, but unfortunately he doesn’t have any. He’s come here to win two titles tonight and he can’t do that until he wins the first one.
Match #2 for the WWF Intercontinental Championship: WWF Intercontinental Champion The Mountie w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper
Hot Rod throws his kilt over the champion’s eyes and goes on the attack, the bell rings and we’re underway with Piper unloading on Mountie with rights and lefts. The Mountie gets sent into the ropes, he hangs on and slides out under the bottom rope, Roddy heads out on the other side and blindsides the champion on the floor, then stalks him around ringside. Mountie puts Jimmy in front of him, uses the distraction to score with right hands, rolls Piper back in and chokes him against the ropes. He whips the challenger to the ropes, leapfrogs over him and looks for a monkey toss, Hot Rod has it scouted and stomps him between the eyes.
He drives The Mountie head-first into the top turnbuckle, plants him with a running bulldog, the champion getting his foot on the ropes at a count of 2. Hot Rod pulls Mountie to his feet and pokes him in the eye, grabs a side headlock, the champion pushes him to the ropes and Jimmy Hart grabs Piper’s leg. The distraction doesn’t help and the two guys exchange right hands, Roddy sending Mountie to the ropes for a dropkick, but the champion avoids it and hooks the leg for a 2 count. The Mountie rams Piper head-first into the turnbuckle multiple times, bites him on the forehead and whips him to the ropes for a jumping back elbow, gaining another count of 2.
He dumps the challenger on the outside, Piper pulls himself to the apron, buries a shoulder to the midsection and sunset flips in for a near fall, then unleashes a flurry of fists on the champion. Mountie attempts to pull Hot Rod outside by the tights, Roddy hangs onto the apron and keeps the pressure on with more right hands, then sends The Mountie to the ropes for a back body drop. He whips the champion in again and buries a punch to the midsection, Mountie swings wildly with a right hand, Hot Rod ducks it and splits him with an atomic drop, then tosses The Mountie over the top.
The champion hangs onto the ropes and pulls himself back in as Jimmy gets to the apron to distract the challenger, Mountie looks to ambush Roddy from behind, but Hot Rod side-steps it. Jimmy Hart gets drilled and drops to the floor, Piper slaps the Sleeper Hold on The Mountie, the official checks the arm and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper (Sleeper Hold)
- After The Bell: The Mouth Of The South has the Shock Stick and looks to attack Piper from behind, Hot Rod avoids it and grabs the prod, Jimmy squirming away and leaving Mountie in the ring. Roddy gives the now-former champion a taste of his own medicine and zaps The Mountie.
- EA’s Take: Piper’s matches are always just…semi-controlled chaos would be the best way to describe it. A really quick set-up to this contest as Bret dropped the title due to being in contract negotiations with the company. The Mountie would receive a rematch on an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event, but was unsuccessful leading to a big WrestleMania match for the championship between Bret & Piper. This would serve as Roddy’s only title win of his illustrious career in the WWF for many years, as he was one of the very few guys that didn’t need a championship. Being Roddy Piper was kind of it’s own title.
Backstage: Lord Alfred Hayes enters into Hulk Hogan’s locker room for a quick word, The Immortal One speaking about how he will have no friends in tonight’s Royal Rumble to get the WWF title back around his waist. ‘Mean’ Gene is in the interview area standing by with The Bushwhackers & Jamison. Luke says this is the final plane for ‘The Beverly Sisters’ and they have a surprise for The Genius. Butch says when they’re finished with all 3 of them they will feed the rest to Jamison.
Match #3: The Beverly Brothers (Beau & Blake) w/The Genius vs. The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch) w/Jamison
The Bushwhackers do a lot of posturing to the crowd before chasing The Beverlys out of the ring and starting a “Sissy” chant for The Genius. Beau and Luke finally get things started, Beau with a stiff right that draws Butch in, The Beverlys immediately taking advantage with a double team. Beau hammers Luke across the middle rope, Blake chokes him behind the ref’s back and Beau shoots Luke to the ropes. He misses a right hand, Luke with a kick to the midsection and he bites Beau on the backside. Blake steps in to stop it and is met by Butch, The Bushwhackers clear the ring with double forearms and march around the delight of the fans.
The Beverlys regroup, Butch takes the ring and Beau slides in to tag out. Blake offers a handshake and Butch looks to the crowd to make a decision, allowing Blake the opportunity to attack him from behind. Blake stomps away, Butch pulls himself to his feet, reverses an irish whip to the ropes and buries a knee to the breadbasket. He plants Blake with a bulldog, all 4 guys are in now and The Bushwhackers shoot The Beverlys into one another from opposite corners, then score with double clotheslines to clean out the ring again. Blake Beverly ducks underneath the ring, Beau to the apron on the other side to provide a distraction, Blake slides in from behind and gets caught.
Beau tries the same thing to no avail, Luke catches Blake and sinks his teeth into hey keyster, reverses a whip to the ropes and Beau unsuccessfully attempts a cheap shot. Blake gets caught coming from behind with a shot to the ribs, gets sent to the ropes, hangs on and ducks to the outside. Butch drops off the apron and pokes him in the eyes, it draws the official’s attention and Beau clocks Luke from behind in the ring. Blake slides in and hangs Luke across the top rope, Beau delivers a double axe to the lower back and stays in, dropping an elbow for a 1 count. Blake re-enters and The Beverlys drive Luke spine-first into the turnbuckles, Blake cracking him with a backbreaker and dropping a headbutt to the spine for a count of 2.
He baits Butch into the ring, makes a tag and hangs Luke across the top again, Beau landing on the lower back with a seated senton. Beau sends Luke in for a back body drop and gets caught with a kick, hooks Luke’s leg and drags him to his corner to make a tag, Blake coming in and hanging Luke with a hotshot. Blake hits the ropes and scores with a clothesline, Beau tags in and makes a nonchalant cover for 2, Luke countering with a schoolboy and he almost steals a victory, but gets tossed outside for his troubles. The Genius comes around ringside and slaps Jamison across the face, Beau shooting Luke hard into the turnbuckles back inside.
He heads to the 2nd rope and connects with a double axe handle, Butch saves the match, The Beverlys switch without a tag and Blake hits Luke with a neckbreaker, following up with a leg drop. He tags out and Beau shoots Luke into the corner, charges in, but Luke rebounds out with a clothesline, crawling to his corner to make a tag as Blake comes in. Butch with a flurry of shots, turns Blake inside out with a clothesline, Beau steps in and gets dropped. He hooks Blake in a side headlock and rams him into his partner, sending Beau to the outside.
Butch hits the ropes for a flying forearm on Blake, covers and Beau slides in to stop the count at 2, but gets dumped back out for his troubles. Luke attempts to get involved and is stopped by the referee, Butch with an irish whip, Blake reverses and Beau trips Butch from the outside. Blake covers for 2 with Luke making the save, the official works him back to his corner allowing The Beverlys to double team, Blake holding Butch as Beau comes off the top with a double axe, Blake with the cover for the 3 count.
Winners: The Beverly Brothers (Blake/Interference)
- After The Bell: The Bushwhackers aren’t finished and they send The Beverlys to the ropes for double back elbows, then hit them each with the Battering Ram to clear the ring. The Genius yells at them from the apron, gets dragged into the ring and Luke holds The Genius for Jamison to deliver shot, but he merely kicks him in the shin and then the backside.
- EA’s Take: A lot of pre-match antics got this one started slowly, eventually boiling down to what I recall almost every Bushwhackers match being. The Beverly Brothers are higher on the pecking order and continue to ascend so they get the duke here, but Jamison gets the last laugh in the end. I don’t know a whole lot about Jamison, I remember him as a character from The Bobby Heenan Show. He was a total buffoon and fit right in with The Bushwhackers, but is really a forgettable personality that never really amounted to anything. These two teams would continue to collide until the Summer, when The Beverlys would set target tag team gold.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is joined by WWF Tag Team Champions The Legion Of Doom in the interview area. Animal spouts off about how they will face all challengers and that includes The Natural Disasters tonight. Hawk asks if Gene knows what makes them sick, answering that Earthquake & Typhoon throwing their weight around disgusts him.
Match #4 for the WWF Tag Team Championships: The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon) w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. WWF Tag Team Champions The Legion Of Doom (Hawk & Animal)
Hawk & Typhoon lock-up and we’re underway, each guy holds their own, they tie-up again and there’s no advantage. Hawk grabs a side headlock, gets pushed off to the ropes, tries a shoulder block and Typhoon doesn’t budge. Hawk goes back to the well getting the same result, hits the ropes again and staggers him with a forearm. He goes upstairs and finally takes the big man off his feet with another forearm shot, covers and Earthquake breaks the count at 2. Quake tags in and goes nose to nose with Hawk, Hawk with a standing dropkick and it barely budges Earthquake.
The big guy looks to comeback with his own dropkick, Hawk side-steps it and follows with a fist drop before tagging out. Animal gets in Quake’s face now, they exchange shots with neither getting the advantage, Earthquake using a kick to the ribs to get the edge. He shoots Animal to the ropes, Animal ducks a couple shots, both guys thinking clothesline and connect, doubling down. Animal up first, lifts Quake for a slam, but can’t hold the weight and Earthquake falls on top for a near fall.
Typhoon tags in, The Natural Disasters send Animal to the corner, Quake whipping Typhoon in for a splash. He calls for another, this time Animal sticks his boot up, then explodes out of the corner with a clothesline. He tags out, Hawk in from the top with a shot to the shoulder, pummels Typhoon with right hands, the big man turns the tide and sends him to the ropes, both attempting a clothesline and they both hold their ground. Hawk finds no success off a 2nd attempt and the third is no better, getting caught in the air and split with a backbreaker. Typhoon whips Hawk hard into the corner, Quake re-enters and drops a big elbow to the lower back, gaining a 2 count.
Earthquake makes the tag, Typhoon using his body weight to punish the lower back, then grabs a bearhug, Hawk fights out and goes to the 2nd rope, but gets caught back in the hold. He tags out and Quake keeps on the spine area, then goes back to the bearhug and drives him spine-first into the turnbuckles. Earthquake shoots him across, rushes in for a splash, Hawk side-steps it, comes off the 2nd rope with an elbow and the big man topples over. Animal gets the hot tag, Earthquake reverses a whip to the ropes, misses a right hand and Animal scores with a shoulder tackle.
Typhoon steps in to stop the momentum, The Natural Disasters try a double back suplex, Animal flips out, lands on his feet and knocks them both to the outside with a double clothesline. The brawl is on with all 4 guys going at it on the outside, the referee counts, Typhoon sliding into the ring just before the 10 count.
Winners: The Natural Disasters (Count-Out)
- After The Bell: The Natural Disasters grabs the titles and hold them up as if they’ve won them, Hawk grabs a chair on the outside and comes in from behind, clocking them in the back. Typhoon spills to the outside, Hawk tosses Animal the chair, whips Earthquake at him and Animal whacks him over the head to clear the ring.
- EA’s Take: Another subpar tag team match here, after the showing we got from The New Foundation & Orient Express in the opener, it was going to be hard to top. It was definitely watchable, but these 4 don’t exactly fit the bill of what you’d call a “good worker”. The count-out victory seems a little unusual, but moving forward it would be the start of a change in the division. The LOD would lose the titles just a few short weeks later to Ted DiBiase & IRS, now known as Money Inc. Jimmy Hart had taken the team on and used The Natural Disasters’ rematch to get Money Inc. the title shot, angering The Disasters and leading to a face turn. The LOD would take a very brief hiatus from the company following the title loss, returning at WrestleMania with a face from their past by their side.
Backstage: In the locker room is Sean Mooney who welcomes in The Natural Disasters & Jimmy Hart. Jimmy claims that they should be the champions and he’s going to get his lawyer to deal with this. The Disasters are incensed that eventhough they won, they didn’t gain the titles and promise to next time the teams collide.
Backstage: Gene Okerlund is in the interview area with the new WWF Intercontinental Champion ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper. Hot Rod says only in America can a guy win the IC Title and still have a shot at the world title in the same night. He’s dedicating this one to Colt. We go back to Sean Mooney in the locker room and he speaks about the opportunity coming up in the Royal Rumble. He comes across Shawn Michaels and talks about the opportunity that was taken away from Marty Jannetty, directing us to the video of Shawn turning on Marty on Brutus Beefcake’s Barber Shop. Michaels says he doesn’t know what the big deal is, he saved him from getting 29 other beatings in the Rumble. It’s time that everyone finds out what he’s known all along and that’s that he is the hottest thing the WWF has ever had.
Backstage: Lord Alfred Hayes joins Ric Flair outside his dressing room, Flair telling us that he’s drawn #3 in the Rumble match. He knows it’s not a great number and he’ll have to last close to an hour to become WWF Champion, but that makes no difference to him. We go back to ‘Mean’ Gene who introduces us to pre-recorded comments from some of the participants in the Royal Rumble including ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, Sid Justice, The British Bulldog, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan and more.
Match #5 – Royal Rumble for the WWF Championship
- Entry #1 is The British Bulldog. Entry #2 is ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase. The MDM slides right in and goes after Davey, Bulldog catches him with right hands, shoots him into the corner and charges in, running into a back elbow. DiBiase takes the opening and hammers The Bulldog, sends him to the ropes for a clothesline, then plants him with a vertical suplex. He follows it up with a gutbuster, another vertical suplex and tries to toss him over, Davey Boy hanging onto the apron, MDM doesn’t realize it, turns around and gets clotheslined over the top. ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase has been eliminated…
- Entry #3 is Ric Flair. He steps in and lets out a “Woo!”, locks up with Bulldog and gets powered to the canvas. Flair looks to shoot Davey to the ropes, it’s reversed and Bulldog lifts Flair with a military press. Flair sneaks in a boot, sends Bulldog to the corner, Davey Boy rebounds out with a clothesline and flattens him. Ric goes to the eyes to create an opening, irish whip to the ropes and The Bulldog drops him with another clothesline as the clock counts down….
- Entry #4 is Nasty Boy Jerry Sags. Sags comes in and gives Flair a hand with Bulldog. They send Davey Boy into the corner for a double clothesline, he explodes back out with one of his own, throws Sags over the top. Sags hangs onto the apron, turns to the crowd and has some words with the front row, The Bulldog dropkicks him from behind and he falls to the floor. Nasty Boy Jerry Sags has been eliminated….
- Entry #5 is Haku. The British Bulldog has to deal with another 2 on 1 situation, Haku holding him up for Flair chops, but then Haku goes after Ric, chasing him out of the ring under the bottom rope. Haku turns his attention back to Davey Boy as Flair slides back in, Bulldog gets spiked with a piledriver, Flair going to Haku’s eyes right after and drops a knee. Haku turns the tables, works over Flair in the corner, goes back to The Bulldog and gets elevated to the outside as the clock ticks away. Haku has been eliminated.
- Entry #6 is Shawn Michaels. Shawn slides in and Flair cuts him off at the pass, Michaels fires back, shoots him into the corner and flips him with a back body drop. He lays Flair out with a superkick, Davey Boy clobbers him, whips him to the ropes and slams him with a military press, then flattens Shawn with multiple clotheslines, nearly eliminating him. No allies here as everyone’s after everyone, 10…9…8…7….
- Entry #7 is ‘El Matador’ Tito Santana. Bulldog finally has some sort of ally, Tito hitting the ring and delivering a series of rights and lefts to Flair. The 4 pair off, Flair planting El Matador with a back suplex, then drills The Bulldog with a low blow. He turns back to Tito, sends him to the ropes, Santana ducks a shot and connects with the Flying Forearm as the timer hits zero….
- Entry #8 is The Barbarian. The heels have a 3-2 advantage now, Barbarian & Flair trying to dump Bulldog out, but he’s able to remain on the apron, clutching to the ropes for dear life….
- Entry #9 is ‘The Texas Tornado’ Kerry Von Erich. Now the sides are even and Von Erich is right on Flair, dropping him with a Tornado Punch. Michaels gets clocked with one for his troubles, then gets catapulted into the top turnbuckle by Davey Boy. The faces and heels split-off into pairs as the next entrant makes his way out….
- Entry #10 is Repo Man. Repo sneaks his way around ringside and picks his moment to slide into the squared circle, ambushing The Tornado from behind as Santana hits Barbarian with a crossbody. Punches and chops get thrown from every which direction as the 10 count ticks down….
- Entry #11 is Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine. The Hammer goes right after the other master of the Figure Four, exchanging chops with Flair….
- Entry #12 is Nikolai Volkoff. The ring’s really starting to full up now with 9 guys in the ring., Flair tries to drop a knee on Valentine, The Hammer blocks it and slaps on the Figure Four as Repo Man back body drops Nikolai over the top rope. Nikolai Volkoff has been eliminated….
- Entry #13 is Big Boss Man. The Boss Man a house of fire with right hangs for everyone in the ring as Repo Man tosses out The Hammer. Greg ‘The Hammer Valentine has been eliminated. Boss Man nearly uppercuts Michaels over the top, Repo tries to attack from behind and Boss Man subsequently ends his evening. Repo Man has been eliminated. The Bulldog pummels Flair in the corner, Flair ducks a clothesline and elevates Davey Boy over the top. The British Bulldog has been eliminated. The Tornado goes immediately after Flair, tries a heavy right hand and suffers the same fate as Bulldog. ‘The Texas Tornado’ Kerry Von Erich has been eliminated. Michaels & El Matador duke it out on the other side as the timer starts, they jockey for position with neither getting the edge, forcing each other to fall out to the floor. Shawn Michaels & ‘El Matador’ Tito Santana have been eliminated….
- Entry #14 is Hercules. The ring has quickly trimmed down from 9 to 4, Flair & Barbarian high-five, Flair turning on him with a chop that has little affect. Barbarian sends him to the ropes and plants him after a military press, looks to eliminate him, but Hercules comes up from behind and dumps him over, Flair hanging onto the ropes. The Barbarian has been eliminated. Boss Man clobbers Hercules from behind immediately, both guys spill over the top, Flair thinks he’s left alone, but Big Boss Man hangs on and slides in under the bottom rope. Hercules has been eliminated.Flair turns to see Boss Man, pokes him in the eye and sends him to the ropes, Boss Man ducking a clothesline and delivering one of his own. He scores with right hands, staggers Flair near the ropes, charges in for a splash and misses, spilling over the top to the apron, then down to the floor. Big Boss Man has been eliminated….
- Entry #15 is WWF Intercontinental Champion ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper. Flair is not thrilled that Piper’s out, trying to beg off to no avail. Hot Rod unleashes a barrage of shots in the corner, whips him across and tosses him with a back body drop. He sends Flair out through the ropes following a dropkick, Piper is out after him, drives his head off the barricade and throws Flair back in the squared circle. Roddy’s onslaught continues with punches from the 2nd rope, Flair tries to power out with an inverted atomic drop, Piper blocks and levels him with a clothesline. He puts Flair in an airplane spin, slaps on the Sleeper Hold and Flair fades away as the next man hits the ring….
- Entry #16 is Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. The Snake rolls in and sits in the corner, watches Hot Rod put Flair out and then attacks him from behind. Roberts puts a beating in Roddy in the corner, chokes him on the bottom rope and helps Flair up, only to deliver a short-arm clothesline. He calls for the DDT, Piper explodes out of the corner with a clothesline to prevent it, Flair locking Jake in the Figure Four. Hot Rod attacks them both and it costs him, The Snake and Flair now teaming up on him as #17 comes to the ring….
- Entry #17 is ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan. Hacksaw evens the odds for Piper, decapitates Flair with a clothesline out of the corner, turns his attention to Jake and then brawls with Piper. Flair gets involved drawing Roddy’s attention, plants Piper with a back suplex as Roberts splits Duggan with an inverted atomic drop….
- Entry #18 is Irwin R. Schyster. IRS takes his time getting to the squared circle, Hacksaw grabs his tie and hammers away with heavy rights, Schyster going to the eyes to stop the momentum….
- Entry #19 is ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka. The Superfly steps in and cracks Flair with a headbutt, sends him to the ropes and fires away with knife-edge chop….
- Entry #20 is The Undertaker. The Deadman creeps his way to the ring, slides in and tosses Snuka out with one big shot. ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka has been eliminated. Taker chokes Flair in the corner, Hacksaw tries to intervene and gets caught with a low blow….
- Entry #21 is ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Macho sprints to the ring looking for Roberts, but The Snake escapes under the bottom rope, Undertaker grabbing Savage by the throat. The Snake attempts a short-arm clothesline to Macho, Savage avoids it and drives an elbow between the eyes, unleashing a flurry of stiff punches to the forehead. He climbs up top and drills Jake with a double axe handle, delivers a knee to the back that sends him flying to the outside, then hops over the top to the floor after him. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts has been eliminated. Savage chokes the life out of The Snake, Undertaker comes outside through the ropes, grabs Macho and throws him back inside, the officials allowing it as Savage wasn’t thrown over the top, but went out on his own accord….
- Entry #22 is The Berzerker. Berzerker takes shots at everyone as he enters the ring, Hacksaw ducks one, splits him with an atomic drop and scores with a clothesline, Flair hooking Macho on the apron to suplex him out, Savage blocks and brings Flair in the hard way….
- Entry #23 is Virgil. Virgil can’t wait to get his hands on IRS, walks right into a double team and gets caught by the throat by Undertaker. Flair gets involved and draws The Deadman’s attention, Berzerker shoots Virgil to the ropes and floors him with a big boot as the countdown begins….
- Entry #24 is Colonel Mustafa. The Colonel enters and chokes Hot Rod on the top rope, Berzerker spikes Virgil on his head with a piledriver as the battle rages on….
- Entry #25 is ‘The Model’ Rick Martel. The ring’s filling up again, Macho & Mustafa exchanging shots near the ropes, Savage ducks down and lifts him up and over. Colonel Mustafa has been eliminated….
- Entry #26 is Hulk Hogan. The arena erupts as Hulkster enters the ring, cracks Taker & Berzkerer with a double noggin knocker, then another for Undertaker & IRS. All 3 team up and trap Hogan in the corner, Hulk fights his way out, clotheslines The Undertaker and he flips over the top, landing on his feet outside. The Undertaker has been eliminated. The Berzerker looks to ambush Hulk and pays for it, getting back body dropped and joining Undertaker on the floor. The Berzerker has been eliminated. Hogan shreds his shirt, wraps it around The Model’s neck and tosses him across the ring, Virgil scores with a crossbody on Duggan near the ropes and they both tumble over the top rope. Virgil & ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan have been eliminated….
- Entry #27 is Skinner. The Alligator Man rips at Piper’s eyes on the way in as Hogan attempts to toss Flair, Schyster making the save. Hulk drops Flair & Skinner with clotheslines as the buzzer sounds….
- Entry #28 is Sgt. Slaughter. Skinner has Hot Rod in trouble near the ropes as Slaughter walks to the ring, Martel picks him up from behind and sends Skinner packing. Skinner has been eliminated. Piper & Hogan duel reminding us of years past, The Model gets involved and suffers for it as the clock starts the countdown….
- Entry #29 is Sid Justice. Sid comes in and hammers IRS with boots, The Hulkster stalks Flair and ends up caught in a double team, giving Flair the advantage….
- Entry #30 is The Warlord. The final entry is in now, Flair ducks outside under the bottom rope, drags Hulk out with him and attempts a vertical suplex on the floor. Hogan blocks and delivers one of his own, back in the ring Sarge is hammering Sid in the corner, whips him across, Justice reverses and Slaughter’s momentum takes him up and over. Sgt. Slaughter has been eliminated. Hulk throws Flair back in, whips him to the ropes and plants the big boot to the chin, Schyster tosses Piper on the other side, Roddy hangs onto the apron, grabs IRS’ tie and pulls him over the top. Irwin R. Schyster has been eliminated. Hogan & Sid team up and dump The Warlord over. The Warlord has been eliminated. Piper & The Model jockey for position against the ropes, neither man can gain control, Justice comes from behind and shoves them both, sending them spilling to the outside. ‘The Model’ Rick Martel & ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper have been eliminated. We’re down to the final four, Hogan/Flair & Sid/Macho pairing off, Justice picks Savage up, Flair escapes Hulk by going to the eyes, drives a knee in Sid’s back and Macho falls out to the floor. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage has been eliminated. Justice & Hogan go 2 on 1 against Flair, sending him into the corner, Flair’s turned inside-out and nearly gets eliminated. The Hulkster tries to kick him off the apron, Sid grabs Hogan from behind and sends him to the outside. Hulk Hogan has been eliminated. Hogan can’t believe Justice turned on him, arguing with Sid from the floor. He grabs Justice by the wrist and pulls him towards the ropes, Flair comes to and flips Justice over to become the new champion.
Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Ric Flair
- After The Bell: Hulk chases the new champion out of the ring as Heenan is going crazy on commentary and leaves to go celebrate, Sid is back in the ring behind Hogan and shoves him. The Hulkster pushes back and they go face to face, WWF referees and officials swarm the ring to step in between them and prevent them from going at it. We go the interview area with Gene Okerlund, WWF President Jack Tunney presenting Ric Flair the title with Mr. Perfect & Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan standing behind him. Flair speaks about this being the greatest moment of his career, stating that the WWF Title is the most prestigious in wrestling and holding it means you rule the world. People can talk about Hogan, Savage, Sid or anyone else, but now it’s Flair and we can all pay homage to the man. “Wooooo!”
- EA’s Take: Now this is how the Royal Rumble should be booked every year, a great Rumble match that was entertaining from beginning to end. The title was on the line for the first time in history making the contest the more important and star-studded than it had ever been. This goes down as arguably one the best Rumble matches in history with the list of Hall Of Famers involved, the excellent booking and weaving of storylines. Ric Flair gains his first WWF Title and cuts one of the most memorable promos of his career and for once the last few guys standing in the match actually made sense with Savage, Hogan, Sid & Flair. This is also the first time I remember Hogan actually getting some boos, a good portion of the crowd was on Sid’s side in all the aftermath. You’d think that after all this time the WWF would go with Flair/Hogan heading to WrestleMania, it was the dream match years in the making and everyone wanted to see it, it only made sense. That wouldn’t be the case however as Sid would make a full-fledged heel turn and clash with Hogan, while Flair would prod Macho Man with accusations about Elizabeth. To this day no real reason has ever been given as to why Flair/Hogan never happened, looking back it was a big blunder for the company not to capitalize on the opportunity and the match would never take place in the WWF.
EA’s Finisher: This card goes down in history as one of the most remembered in WWF history, obviously all due to the Royal Rumble and Ric Flair’s 1st WWF Championship. The undercard did what it needed to do, but was loaded with tag matches. Our opener was excellent and featured a lot of innovation from Owen Hart, making it hard for the following tag contests to impress in the same way. Roddy Piper gains his first title in the WWF as well, just adding to the historical impact of the event. This would really become the benchmark for other Royal Rumble matches going forward and although the title wouldn’t be up for grabs in it for another 24 years, another stipulation would be added going forward, cementing the Rumble as must-see for all fans in the future.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Royal Rumble Match
2 – The New Foundation vs. The Orient Express
3 – The Mountie vs. Roddy Piper
Doctor’s Orders: Ranking The Greatest Matches and Rivalries in NXT Takeover History
Objectively subjectifying all-time greatness on NXT’s premiere stage, Takeover. See what matches are on the list!
The Doctor is in as Chad Matthews updates his list of greatest WWE NXT Takeover matches and rivalries with a look at two of the very best, from different NXT eras.
Attempting to contextualize greatness in pro wrestling is a fascinating exercise, a much more multi-faceted conversation than it is often given credit for. To some in the business, for instance, Rock vs. Cena is the greatest match of all-time because it set the pay-per-view buy mark, while others would say the greatest match is Austin vs. Bret because of the exemplary storytelling. Why should greatness be limited to a plethora “one or the other” positions (best vs. most popular or anything of the sort)? Such has been my stance during this entire decade (see The Greatest Matches and Rivalries of the WrestleMania Era), tackling the process of adding measures of objectivity to a topic deemed completely and utterly subjective and attempting to broaden the way that we have these discussions. I can also apply that to NXT.
Greatness has become regularly associated with NXT. I am personally enamored with what the yellow brand has accomplished over the past few years, with the Takeover franchise especially. The reputation that Takeover has built should astound any diehard WWE fan who, at times during the WrestleMania Era, may have felt like Vince and Co. unnecessarily (and oddly) put a critical ceiling on its in-ring product. Bold statement: Takeover has, based purely on what happens from bell-to-bell, produced nearly as many bonafide classic wrestling matches as WrestleMania in just five years of existence. Think about that for a moment, because it was with that idea in mind that I started asking, “What’s the greatest in NXT history?”
My second book (referenced above) was published last summer and in it I crafted a detailed formula to thoroughly assess the various aspects that shape how fans and pundits use the term “greatest.” Turning my attention to NXT, I took that formula and tweaked it to fit Takeover. On a 1-5 star scale, appropriately, I graded the best match in each of the top rivalries in NXT history, picked from a pool of consensus classics, on the psychology, storytelling, selling, execution, and climax of their in-ring performances, their historic ramifications on NXT lore, the setting (as defined by a pre-made scale for crowd size), the strength of their pre-match build-up, and the rating given by Dave Meltzer to account for popular opinion, as well as a few additional points (not on a scale of 1-5, mind you) for any intangible qualities (i.e. a special entrance, an innovative move or sequence never before seen, a rivalry-befitting gimmick, etc.). The sum total of the scoring yields the rivalry’s standing, which will be continuously updated as this long-term process advances.
Today’s entries grow the list from fourteen to sixteen matches, which have been selected at random throughout this project’s history dating back to last fall. Here are the rankings ahead of today’s additions (the links will take you to the objectively subjective breakdown of each match):
#1- Revival vs. #DIY (46.5)
#2- Bate vs. Dunne (43.5)
#3- Ricochet vs. Cole (43.0)
#4- Undisputed Era vs. Mustache Mountain (42.25)
#5- Dream vs. Ricochet (42.0)
#6- War Games 2018 (41.5)
#7- Nakamura vs. Zayn (41.0)
#8- Asuka vs. Moon (40.75)
#9- #DIY vs. AOP (39.75)
#10- Dream vs. Black (39.5)
#11- Balor vs. Joe (39.0)
#12- Owens vs. Balor (38.75)
#13- Almas vs. McIntyre (36.0)
#14- Four Horsewomen-Way (33.75)
Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT Championship at Takeover: Philadelphia
Psychology: 5 / Historic: 4.5 / Setting: 5 / Storytelling: 5 / Selling: 5 / Climax: 5 / Execution: 5 / Popular Opinion: 5 / Build: 4.5 / Intangibles: +4
Total Score: 48.0
There have been very few matches in WWE history that have found me clapping while watching them in replay, and Cien vs. Johnny Wrestling from Philly is one of them. Hand to heart, I am unsure that there has ever been a better performance in WWE, which is partly what makes the added dynamic of including NXT lore when historically ranking matches throughout the WrestleMania Era so challenging and simultaneously so fascinating. The depth of storytelling and the instances when believably this match could have been over but somehow was not is virtually unmatched in mainstream North American wrestling over the past thirty plus years. Gargano and Almas judged everything picture-perfectly, selling their butts off, adding layers of psychology as they reached an utterly captivating climax, and drawing every ounce of intrigue out of the in-ring chemistry that they first prominently put on display against each other at Takever: Brooklyn III.
Gargano vs. Andrade is truly one of the greats as “epic” matches go, and the Philadelphia match certainly fits the profile of the genre (an “epic match”) that I have been quietly working on popularizing in the IWC, offered up to properly label a lengthy main-event style performance that builds to crescendo after crescendo and features finisher kick-outs as one of its primary hope spot wells to tap. I have been critical of the over-use of it, as many of its staples have trickled down to ten minute mid-card matches, and I do believe that epics, like Cena vs. Styles for example, are suffering from a distinct lack of rewatchability because of how ardently they cling to bout-ending signature offense, but Cien vs. Johnny is not to be lumped in with such over-done peers because it is smarter, more intricate, better executed, and expertly paced, its gaps in action replaced with the outstanding managerial act of Zelina Vega (and the eventual cameo by Candice Wrestling).
I believe it was a truly remarkable achievement. Maybe Banks vs. Bayley, Gargano vs. Ciampa, or Gargano vs. Adam Cole beats it in the scoring system, but even if one of them or another Takeover match in the pipeline down the road unseats it, I think it is going to be a long time before something removes it from the pedestal of what yours truly would call the finest match in Takeover history. Aesthetically, athletically, psychologically, I just struggle to see how anyone could really argue that another match was better. I was fortunate enough to see them wrestle one of their prequels in Brooklyn, and that was one of the four or five best mid-card type bouts in Takeover lore too, so when you combine that match with what happened in Philly – of the nine scoring categories here, their NXT Title match scored a 5 in seven of them – you have an all-time great.
You know, it is funny that Dave Meltzer awarded the Takeover: Philadelphia match the first “5-star” rating for a WWE match since Punk vs. Cena in Chicago, and if you watch any of New Japan Pro Wrestling and know of Meltzer’s fascination with it, you can appreciate why. Almas vs. Gargano was an NJPW match in an NXT ring with WWE production value. If in the coming years, a main-event of that style and caliber is featured on Summerslam or eventually works it way to the WrestleMania headlining position, I think we may have Gargano vs. Almas to thank for it.
Neville vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship at Takeover: R-Evolution
Psychology: 4.5 / Historic: 4.5 / Setting: 3 / Storytelling: 5 / Selling: 5 / Climax: 5 / Execution: 4.5 / Popular Opinion: 4.75 / Build: 5 / Intangibles: +3
Total Score: 44.25
While in the beginning of this process, it seemed probable that Cien Almas vs. Johnny Wrestling had a shot at topping this match to advance ever closer to the #1 spot, what seemed assured from the out-set was that Zayn vs. Neville would rate among the premiere title matches in NXT lore because, in terms of storytelling, there may still have never been a championship bout that possesses the same sense of urgency or the same sense of occasion.
Here you had Neville, a bit shy of a year-long reigning as NXT Champion (who held the title during the promotion’s rise to WWE Network prominence) and possessing one of the most amazing offensive arsenals in pro wrestling’s entire history, coming up against Zayn, arguably the quintessential example of how legends are capable of being made in NXT. No matter what happens elsewhere within the Titan ranks, Zayn will be someone revered by any who watched what he did in NXT from 2014 to 2016.
One of the greatest things that NXT brings to the table is how wrestlers, as personalities, are characters first, their labels (or face-heel dichotomies) rather arbitrary by comparison. Neville strayed a bit more toward a black and white personic construct during the match, but he was clearly pushed toward the line that Zayn managed to straddle a bit better and showed glimpses of the viciousness and single-mindedness (toward winning) that made his run on 205 Live so engaging to purple brand followers in 2017; it was Zayn who was truly marvelous, though, displaying a depth of character so rarely seen from protagonists in WWE proper, and far more relatable for it, as evidenced by the incredibly raucous crowd support that he garnered in what was still ostensibly a babyface match. Zayn’s ability to connect on that deeper emotional level lifted this effort to pantheon status.
The end result – the total package from the storyline build-up to the hype video package to the atmosphere it generated to the bell-to-bell fight (and it felt like the fight that pro wrestling should be in the modern era main-event scene with the athletic potential of the combatants) – closed the first chapter in the history of NXT in the Network Era with a timeless classic destined for massive hindsight accolades in the near and distant future.
#1- Andrade vs. Gargano (48.0)
#2- Revival vs. #DIY (46.5)
#3- Neville vs. Zayn (44.25)
#4- Bate vs. Dunne (43.5)
#5- Ricochet vs. Cole (43.0)
#6- Undisputed Era vs. Mustache Mountain (42.25)
#7- Dream vs. Ricochet (42.0)
#8- War Games 2018 (41.5)
#9- Nakamura vs. Zayn (41.0)
#10- Asuka vs. Moon (40.75)
#11- #DIY vs. AOP (39.75)
#12- Dream vs. Black (39.5)
#13- Balor vs. Joe (39.0)
#14- Owens vs. Balor (38.75)
#15- Almas vs. McIntyre (36.0)
#16- Four Horsewomen-Way (33.75)
If you want to discuss NXT or other wrestling matters with Doc, follow and tweet @TheDocLOP !
Check out the latest episode of The Doc Says podcast, featuring a review of NXT Takeover 25!
Chairshot Classics: All In 2018
With Double of Nothing on the horizon, Harry decides to keep the fires stoked by revisiting All In! Relive the precursor to the AEW experience!
With Double of Nothing on the horizon, Harry decides to keep the fires stoked by revisiting All In! Relive the precursor to the AEW experience!
Hey everyone and welcome back to ‘What I Watched’. This will be I believe the tenth of these to make air on Chairshot, so little mini milestone there for me. For the links to all of my previous reviews, you can access my archive here on the site by clicking my name at the top of the article. As far as where ‘What I Watched’ goes from here…the obvious answer to that is back to PROGRESS, the reason I came to the Chairshot again in the first place. The first four Chapters are in the archives and the fifth one is in the queue. Work will start on the sixth Chapter shortly, called “We <3 Violence”. In addition, I creep closer and closer to CHIKARA 2005 which is where commentary begins for the company. As such, I’m thinking I may pick that up as a further expansion into the Indies.
Now to why we are here today: On May 25th, All Elite Wrestling officially launches with its first show called ‘Double or Nothing’. Technically though, this isn’t the first show put on by the group who are running things for ‘DoN’ though. Cody (can’t call him Rhodes legally), the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega tried their luck at the promoter thing before (yes, technically the Bucks did with PWG, but still) as they ran a joint show with Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling called ‘All In’. In order to get everyone ready for ‘Double or Nothing’, I decided to take a long back at where it all began. All this said, it’s into the way back machine as we head to the Sears Centre in suburban Chicago. We head to September 1st, 2018 as ‘What I Watched’ presents ‘All In’.
WRITER’S NOTE #1: My reviews are meant to be more of a stream of consciousness review. The idea being that while I will do some play by play when the time calls for it, I’ll also talk about the wrestlers, the matches, the storylines and whatever else happens to pop into my head while I watch.
WRITER’S NOTE #2: As much as I’d like to let everyone make their own decisions on the matches, giving away match results in the review will be a necessary evil. The reason being is that I will discuss what I think everything means going forward and maybe even doing a little fantasy booking of where I would go from where they presently are. I will still post the results as one big listing at the end of the articles as well as my ratings for the contests. The final show review will be after that as well as the ‘Final Reaction’ for the show.
MY RATING SCALE: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Above Average, Average, Below Average, Bad, Very Bad, Terrible and SKIP. Some matches will occasionally get a ‘N/A’ rating as well. That will be reserved for matches that I feel don’t warrant a rating.
WRITER’S DEDICATION: Though he has nothing specifically to do with this show, this review is dedicated to the memory of Silver King. As a teenager getting back into wrestling in the early 2000s, one of the first things I got was a copy of WCW Fall Brawl 1998 on VHS. The show by and large sucks, there’s no denying that. But one of the highlights for me was the Cruiserweight title match between Juventud Guerrera and Silver King. Vaya con Dios, amigo.
ROH/NJPW/Friends: ‘All In’
From: Sears Centre in Chicago, IL (technically Hoffman Estates, IL)
Date: September 1st, 2018
Total Run Time: 4:45:24
Announcers: Ian Riccaboni, Excalibur and Don Callis
*GENERAL NOTES: I must give credit where credit is due. It looks impressive. A lot of people were worried that the Bucks and Cody’s vision wouldn’t translate into an arena setting and it clearly does.
*I found the Zero Hour pre-show on YouTube, so much the same way as I did for the ‘United We Stand’ PPV; we cover the pre-show first.
ROH/NJPW/Friends: ‘Zero Hour’ (47:27)
*Young Bucks and Cody kick off the pre-show. Makes sense to get them out there early…it’s a pretty basic segment. Couple of inside jokes get tossed around, a light amount of pyro goes off and the Bucks introduce their wrestling legend of choice for this show: Road Warrior Animal in full get-up, who rides a motorcycle into the area. Being in Chicago, the use of the Road Warriors makes sense…The Bucks and Cody then shoot some t-shirts into the crowd with help from the Pro Wrestling Tee’s and Hot Topic representatives.
*Pro Wrestling Tee’s commercial. It’s so campy that it works. I’m not sponsored by them though, so no links from me…
*Match #1: Kazarian/Scorpio Sky (representing SCU (So Cal Uncensored) vs. Jay/Mark Briscoe
The Who: Frankie Kazarian is a former multiple time TNA/Impact X Division champion and actually briefly had a run with the WWE back in the early 2000s (2003, I think?) Scorpio Sky has appeared for TNA as well as Mason Andrews. He’s probably the least nationally exposed of the four men in this contest though. Jay and Mark Briscoe are long considered one of the best tag teams in independent wrestling. They were even briefly on the WWE’s radar before some comments from Jay’s past came out that caused interest to lean away. They are multiple time ROH tag team champions and I think have held the NJPW tag belts before as well (but I’m not sure on that)
The Why: Sadly, I am not fully caught up on Being the Elite to this point, so I don’t really have a proper answer for this.
The Match: It’s nice to see Justin Roberts again. Always thought he was really good at what he did…believe your referee is Paul Turner. This show is an Indies whose who, even down to the referees…quickie promo from SCU to do what SCU does…little surprised to see the Briscoes on the pre-show, but this would be a best foot forward situation. Throw out names people may have heard of and use them to attract potential viewers for the pending PPV. Let’s not forget that ‘Zero Hour’ aired live on WGN America right before the ‘All In’. It is, in essence, an episode of Sunday Night Heat before the PPV in WWF/E terms…I miss the days of the guys using music on the Indies. ‘Give Me Back My Bullets’ fit the Briscoes so well…opening bell here…the YouTube version of this does not have the amount of time of commercials listed, so the total time at the end of this match and the battle royal will be what aired…Kazarian and Jay start…one would have to think this would be the biggest crowd any of these four have performed in front of…okay, maybe Kazarian in his WWE run. Maybe…I feel that Riccaboni’s presence isn’t necessary here. It’s not that I don’t like him, but I feel like Excalibur doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves a PBP guy and Callis is more then capable of handling color…it was quite impressive that they got all these companies to work together. It didn’t last long, but fun while it lasted…they were trending worldwide. Because of course that’s a thing…Briscoe’s are so smooth in the ring. The characters are rough around the edges, but Dem Boyz can go…I dig Scorpio’s Rocky attire. Given that SCU have been established as the faces here, it works on multiple levels…hot tag!…two Briscoes for the price of one there. Nice combination offense by Kazarian…I’m trying not to do as much in the way of PBP during this show. It’s going to be ten matches, so that would be an incredibly long review…Scorpio with an overhead belly2belly to Mark, throwing him from the ring into an involuntary plancha on Jay. Well then…well played Kaz. Well played…Scorpio gets the tope con hilo and Excalibur calls the tope con hello. Again, why is Ian necessary?…we’ve officially lost all track of who is and isn’t legal…Jay is such a bastard…and now the Briscoes have singled out the neck of Kazarian…in previous reviews, I’ve talked about how much I like LAX’s double teams. The Briscoes have one of my favorites as well with ‘Redneck Boogie’ (powerbomb with a leaping neckbreaker assist)…take a Briscoe home night at ‘All In’…Scorpio’s agility is quite impressive…uranage lungblower combo. I’ve seen that before but can’t remember who. Feels like a PROGRESS thing…oh, I bit real hard on Froggy Bow as the finish there…Briscoe’s calling for the Doomsday. Mark leaps right into a powerslam from Kaz off Jay’s shoulders! Scorpio comes charging with a bicycle knee to Jay and it’s a three count for Kaz on Mark at 12:35…that was VERY GOOD. 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.
*Backstage interview with Kenny Omega and I think that’s Alicia Atout. I’m not sure though…they poke fun at the WWE interviewer stance and the tippy toes promos. Kenny then addresses the match with Pentagon Jr. later on in the show. Pretty basic Kenny interview other then the bit at the top.
*Hype video airs for Aldis vs. Cody using ‘All In’ by Downstrait (the band that does Miz’s theme). It’s really nicely done. Production is key for these kind of events and so far, they’ve been on point here.
*Match #2: Over the Budget Battle Royal
The Who: Yeah, not a chance you are getting an individual breakdown here. Sorry, not sorry.
The Why: Winner of this battle royal would go on to the main PPV itself to face Jay Lethal for the ROH World Heavyweight championship.
The Match: A lot of dudes (and Jordynne Grace) surrounding the ring before we get started and we go back over to commentary to see that Dalton Castle has decided to grace us…fans decide to serenade Bully with a ‘Bully’s an asshole’ chant…opening bell here…I hope you guys aren’t expecting a lot from me here. It’s a battle royal, which I don’t rate based on sheer principle…hey, Hurricane!…I think Chico is out as Bully powerbombs him through the timekeepers table…Ethan Page just kicked Jordynne square in the goddamn face! That was just wrong, man…maybe a battle royal but the dives are coming in bunches…Moose is over as a face here which is weird given that he’s such an asshat in Impact…and Marko Stunt may die…Ethan Page is such an asshole…Brian Cage just Cesaro superplexed Tommy Dreamer. I don’t have the words to describe how strong Brian Cage is…the problem I have with reviewing battle royals is there is a lot and nothing going on at the same time. There’s a lot of people in the match, but most of them are just collected by the ropes except for pockets of action here and there…Trent and Chuckie T work well together. I hope they get a good run in AEW proper. Trent’s one of those guys that every company could use, similar to a Curt Hawkins. He’s never going to be a high end star but he’s a dependable hand who does what’s asked of him with no questions asked. And Chuck Taylor is just awesome…and they are then booted by Punishment Martinez, who is now in NXT…and Cage has had enough of Romero’s shit, pitching him from the ring during the forever clotheslines…Cheeseburger is picking a fight with Brian Cage and then ends poorly for him…step-up frankensteiner by Cage. Tilt-a-whirl head scissors by Martinez. It’s BIG BOY LUCHA~!…Hurri-Chokeslam, bitch!…Ethan Page puts an end to that fun…and Colt Cabana puts an end to Ethan Page’s night with a flying asshole. Wait, it’s basic cable. Flying apple…Dreamer turning the clock back and then Bubba pitches him…Jimmy Jacobs ring gear is unique…think we are down to ten? Maybe? I’ve lost count…Martinez is a big dude…Jesus, Austin Gunn. The apron is your friend, man…get some, Marko…not from Bully, Marko…Brian Cage does not give a…and this is where Jordynne makes her name, eliminating Brian Cage…once again, Bully is there to ruin the fun…okay, that was fun from Jordynne and Colt…but now it’s down to Bully and Colt as Bully chucks Jordynne…Bully never hits that senton…and Bully pitches him…wait, Chico isn’t dead, thwacking Bully with a superkick. Chico unmasks as Flip Gordon, who had been begging for a spot on the show on Being the Elite all the way to All In and then throws out Bully for the win at 17:11…it was fun for what it was. Maybe a little overcrowded, but there are several people who have gotten to make a name for themselves off this match. Marko Stunt is all over Game Changer Wrestling and Jordynne Grace 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. (N/R)
*Ian shills the ways to watch the PPV and runs down the card one more time. It is quite the fun looking card. That’ll do it for the pre-show. Let’s move to the main card…
ROH/NJPW/Friends: ‘All In’ (3:57:57)
*Justin Roberts is the first face we see and he introduces the Shalandra Royal, who does the national anthem. She does a fine job with it, but I don’t see the need for this here. USA is great and all, but it’s a multinational show card, guys…the pyro during the anthem was a nice touch though. Over the budget indeed…over to the announce table, where it’s still the same announcers, who again plug the main matches on the card. Let’s do this, shall we?
*Match #3: Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Matt Cross
The Who: Maxwell Jacob Friedman is one of the hottest acts on the indies. While he’s not great in the ring, he plays smug douche about as well as humanly possible. Matt Cross may indeed be the best kept secret in pro wrestling. He only briefly had national exposure during his run on WWE Tough Enough (technically, he was on Lucha Underground but under a mask as Son of Havoc) but he’s been doing this almost twenty years and has developed into one of the most consistent performers anywhere.
The Why: Can’t say I have an answer for this, but the match should be good.
The Match: Going to completely disagree with my Chairshot colleague Andrew Balaz here. I actually really like what MJF has done for himself. He is not ‘Dollar Store EC3’…that is a really long ramp by any standard, let alone indie standards…referee is Todd Sinclair and the opening bell is here at…Ian taking a page from the WWE school of announcers by talking about Twitter trends…Cross hits the Ricochet pose on a backflip counter…and MJF is a jerk. Shocker…apparently MJF working the sheets by not flipping to get over. Cross does flip to get over as Riccaboni and Excalibur call the Sasuke Special in stereo. Try saying that five times fast…the thing with MJF is he doesn’t do anything flashy. He’s more of a throwback to the old school heel type. Something that you don’t get a lot today in modern wrestling…I can see why the Bucks and Cody wanted MJF. He’s the opposite of everything the Bucks are known for. For a wrestling promotion, diversity is key. The old cliché is that pro wrestling is like the circus. Some come for the lions; some come for the elephants; some for the clowns. In wrestling, you have those who watch for high flyers; those who watch for the catch as catch can and there are those who watch just to see a dislikeable person get punched in the face…gutwrench powerbomb with an arm trap. I can’t say I’ve ever seen that…I believe that Cross has been wrestling almost as long as MJF has been alive…top-rope frankensteiner by Cross. Nice…I do appreciate that Cross is still selling the arm when he’s on offense here. It’s the little things that a veteran like that does that makes a match mean more…package piledriver position into a shoulder breaker by MJF. A modern twist on an old school move…and MJF does flip. But follows it with an eye poke…Stomp 182 by Cross leaves both men down, however…slow cover by Cross gets two but MJF turns the kickout into a upside down version of the cross-arm-breaker…rope hang piledriver only gets two. I hate that. Especially in an opening match…Don Callis is sounding more and more like Scott Hudson…rope catch cutter by Cross sets up the Shooting Star Press. Outside of Paul London’s, Cross may have the best one in wrestling. That’s a three count at 10:07…GOOD little opener here for the main show. My misgivings on the rope hanging piledriver aside, they worked together well without throwing too much against the wall and burning out the crowd for later. I hope Cross gets a chance with AEW and we know MJF will be so looking forward to them running this back at some point down the road. Strong start to the show.
*Backstage to an interview with Nick Aldis, hosted by Sean Mooney. Sean Mooney in 2018. Good for him, man…Ian Riccaboni screwed up here as he said Mooney was with Christopher Daniels. First technical gaff of the show, but I’ll put that down to a learning mistake…Aldis does look like a proper champion, I’ll give him that. Plus, he gets to go home to Mickie James. Clearly, when it comes to life, Nick Aldis is winning…Riccaboni tries to cover as we come back to the announcers. The match now up is Daniels and Amell, so wires got crossed somewhere…
*Match #4: Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell (special guest referee: The ‘New Reffin Show’ Jerry Lynn)
The Who: Christopher Daniels and I will be incredibly biased saying this, is one of my favorite wrestlers ever. He’s done everything except have a marquee run with the WWF (and he was a tag team champion there. Kinda. It’s a long story). Stephen Amell is Arrow on the TV show on The CW. You’ll probably know him from his run towards SummerSlam against Cody a couple years back. Jerry Lynn is a former ECW Heavyweight champion, multiple time TNA X Division champion and another one of those perpetually under-rated guys who will hopefully get some more screen time with AEW, even if it’s in a non wrestling capacity (such as referee here)
The Why: I really wish I’d been able to follow the Being the Elite episodes going into this show, but sadly time got away from me working on the Impact reviews. The story as to why is contained in there though should you all be so inclined.
The Match: This is where video packages like the one for Aldis-Cody would have served this show well. I know they interacted on Being the Elite but I haven’t seen the episode since it first aired and didn’t have time to go back and re-watch it. An informed crowd is a more invested crowd after all…Amell is accompanied to the ring by Josh Segarra, one of his co-stars on Arrow…Excalibur lays it out that while Amell is undefeated so far in wrestling, he’s only had tag matches. Never a singles match…Scorpio and Kazarian accompany Daniels to the ring as Ian Riccaboni points out that Daniels is in his twenty fifth year as a professional wrestler. That’s just insane to me. I was eight when he started…opening bell goes here…give Amell this much, he physically matches up well with Daniels. Slightly taller and probably around the same build and weight. Experience is clearly with the ‘Fallen Angel’ here though…bodily fluids should not be weapons…and Daniels does the Curry Man dance…Amell returns the takedown and bows. Daniels proceeds to beat his ass in the corner…that dropkick was Erik Watts level, Stephen. Not a compliment…Amell grabs a table, because apparently toys for everybody today…back suplex with a release throws Amell for a flip. Apparently, Amell is the heel here because the fans are definitely pro Daniels. Color me surprised…vertical suplex lift into a gut buster by Daniels. Been a while since I’ve seen that one…not a lot of fire on those back elbows there by Amell…Arabian Press by Daniels but no cover follows. Feel like Daniels is out to prove a point to Amell…Amell goes for Cross Rhodes but Daniels has it scouted having wrestled Cody for the ROH title. A basement superkick by Amell sets up a (admittedly rough looking) Falcon Arrow for two. A for moveset, C- for effort…Excalibur pops me by saying that he didn’t quite ‘do the deal’ since he didn’t get all of the Falcon. Well said, Excalibur…Amell looks terribly gassed…alright, that was impressive. Props were it due, Stephen. Daniels leans in like a professional to make sure it landed…Daniels isn’t immune to the sloppiness of this match as the B.M.E. doesn’t land fully clean and thus gets two…not sure why I just thought of this but another reason Daniels had the counter for Cross Rhodes is because he uses the move himself. He just calls it ‘Last Rites’…Daniels looks for a superplex to the floor through the table. That’s clearly not happening though…Amell knocks Daniels down to the apron and he rolls over to be on the table. Convenient placing…Amell goes for the flying elbow drop, but Daniels moves and Amell eats table…double count by the New Reffin Show as the fans chant ‘Broken Arrow’…Lynn puts both men back in the ring and Daniels does not appreciate being man handled by the zebra…a tiff breaks out resulting in a roll-up by Amell but Daniels kicks out, thankfully. That would have pissed me off to no end if it was the finish…Lynn keeps pulling Daniels back until Amell gives Daniels the double national bird. Excalibur again pops me on commentary: ‘Stephen Amell is an adult. He can make his own bad decisions’…gut shot by Daniels sets up Angel’s Wings which Amell counters nicely with a northern lights for two. Reminded me of LowKi at Lockdown in 2005 (I think?). Daniels up first though and a uranage backbreaker of sorts puts Amell down where this time, a proper Best Moonsault Ever gets the three count at 11:45…when this show first happened, I heard a myriad of opinions on it. 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 solid 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.
*Post-match: Amell and Daniels make good by shaking hands. Indie respect for everyone. Isn’t it wonderful…over to commentary as Don Callis bails to go talk to Kenny Omega. In his place sits Tenille Dashwood (the former Emma of WWE) and Mandy Leon (who I just typed Rose for out of habit). Both ladies are there representing the Women of Honor for ROH. Tenille has since left ROH and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her land in AEW. Mandy is still dating Delirious and therefore still with ROH (it ain’t for her wrestling ability). It looks like the women’s four way is next.
*Match #5: Britt Baker (bay bay) vs. Madison Rayne vs. Chelsea Green vs. Tessa Blanchard
The Who: Britt Baker is now officially signed to AEW. In addition to being a pro wrestler, she also may have the distinction of world’s hottest dentist as she has an actual Doctorate in Dental Studies. Britt also comes out to Adam Cole’s old ROH theme song. I’m sure you can guess why that is. Madison Rayne we’ve covered many times before in ‘What I Watched’. She’s now back with Impact, so clearly she won’t be in AEW going forward. Chelsea Green is the former Laurel Von Ness from Impact. She just recently made her NXT debut but unfortunately broke her hand in that match. Tessa Blanchard, I mean, do I really have to? In the ten of these I’ve done, this is her fifth appearance. You know who she is by now. For those who don’t, Tessa may be the best woman’s wrestler in the world right now.
The Why: A way to get a woman’s match on the show. No real implications outside of that as far as I’m aware of.
The Match: At the time, this may have been three of the most well known female talents on the Indies in there with Britt. Now, all four of them have full time contracts. Not really a surprise given the talent level and let’s be honest, the visual appeal of all four ladies…Tessa comes into this match as the Knockouts champion. She would lose that title on the last show we covered here, Homecoming 2019. It’s in my archives…Tully showed up for Tessa at Rebellion 2019 as well, which Andrew has covered here on Chairshot. I will get to that show closer to Slammiversary…opening bell…Madison shakes hands with Britt and Chelsea. She tries to shake hands with Tessa and Tessa belts her with forearm. Good. Get that respect stuff out of here…so, I’m curious as to tornado rules or actual tag format. You never know with these Four Way Survivals…Chelsea seems to like herself. The fans seem to like her too…save you want a revolution, well, you know…Tessa cuts Chelsea off with a spear, so tornado rules it would seem…that was not the Magnum. The Magnum is the top rope one. That was just a corner chestblower…Ian plugs ROH Death Before Dishonor. Don’t think there will be a ROH plug anymore on AEW TV…Tessa shows off the strength, but Britt and Chelsea turn the tables. I will give Riccaboni credit here. He does bring up that Chelsea and Britt have teamed together before. ‘Fire and Nice’ if memory serves for the team name…again, Tessa knocks someone stiff with a forearm. Chelsea this time…that dive looked rough, Tessa. I think she clipped the rope…Madison up to the top and a cross body to the floor. Looked good too. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Rayne. She’s competent but nothing special, in my opinion…you get a Slingblade. You get a Slingblade. It’s Oprah Rules here at All In…I think Tessa may be the strongest of the four here. It’s probably close though…Chelsea with a Broski Boot to Tessa, complete with Woo Woo Woo’s. I think at one point all four of these ladies were either married to or dating wrestlers. It’s really not a surprise. Wrestling is one of those business where you get close to people because you spend so much time traveling with them. Especially if you are working for the same company or taking similar dates at various indies…Excalibur with a nice cover for it, calling it a Shinjiro Ohtani style face wash…Chelsea just smokes Tessa with a missile dropkick…Madison looking for something off the ropes with Baker, but it gets badly blown…Baker with a superkick to Chelsea. Tessa hits Magnum (the top-rope one) on Chelsea. Britt superkicks Tessa. A cover on Chelsea only gets two though. I bit there. Nice near fall…its kind of falling apart towards the end here. Up to this point, everything had flowed quite nicely, but you can tell these four are gassed at this point…alright, that crucifix bomb looked really good. Props to Madison and Tessa for that…fisherwoman’s neckbreaker. Ian again goes the Twitter route. He’s like baby Michael Cole…breaks down to Chelsea and Tessa, where a Canadian Destroyer by the ‘Hot Mess Express’ only gets two…both ladies back up and Chelsea looks to capitalize but Tessa is out and counters Chelsea into the Buzzsaw DDT. The cover afterwards gets the three count just before Britt Baker can make the save at 12:43…I don’t know if that pin was supposed to be broken up, but given where everyone was in their respective companies, Tessa getting the win here makes sense. As for the match, they worked hard and it by and large came together well. It definitely lost it’s way a bit towards the end, so I have to dock it a bit for that. All in all, I’d say an ABOVE AVERAGE effort from the ladies and I’d even put it just slightly above the Daniels and Amell match it just followed.
*Post-match: They don’t show the finish on the replay, but all the ladies hug it out as the fans approve. They served themselves well….back over to commentary we go. Either Mandy’s microphone didn’t work very well or she didn’t say a whole lot during that previous match. I definitely heard Tenille and that Australian accent of hers. Either way, the ladies excuse themselves and Brent Tarring joins us. Had to look him up because I had no clue who he was. Apparently, he was Timmy Baltimore when he worked for OVW as an interviewer and commentator. Found an article with his full story online. Tragic, but inspiring.
*Match #6: NWA World Heavyweight Title- Nick Aldis © vs. Cody (Don’t Call Him Rhodes)
The Who: Nick Aldis is the former Magnus in TNA, where he was a former Heavyweight champion there. If I am not mistaken, Aldis beat Colt Cabana for the NWA title. I’ll have to look that up to be sure, though. Cody Rhodes doesn’t really need an introduction but for those who don’t know, he’s one of the driving forces behind this show along with the Young Bucks. He’s also the son of Dusty Rhodes and the half (I think) brother of Goldust, who Cody will face at Double or Nothing.
The Why: Cody wants to follow in his father’s footsteps with the infamous ‘ten pounds of gold’. What better place to do so then in an NWA stronghold city like Chicago on a show that Cody is promoting?
The Match: Before the match, we replay the video package that aired during the ‘Zero Hour’ pre-show. Still say they should have done more of these videos…sweet jesus, what is Brandi wearing? Or more specifically, not wearing. Good lord…it’s an MMA entrance for Cody. DDP, Glacier and Tommy Dreamer in his camp. There’s a dog in Cody’s entrance as well. Ian calls him Pharaoh. I’ll assume he’s on Being the Elite or Brandi’s video blog…very loud ‘Cody’ chant. Obviously he’s the face here. But I do like that the champ enters second…I can’t imagine what it going through Cody’s mind. All the time and energy spent getting to tonight and for it to finally become a reality. Will that pressure affect his performance or will he raise to the moment? I’ve never been the biggest fan of Cody as a singles wrestler. Let’s see if he can buck that trend…Aldis has Shawn Daivari, Tim Storm and Jeff Jarrett with him. I sense clusterfuck afoot…I do miss the days of actual theme music, as I mentioned earlier. The instrumental Aldis comes out to is cool, but it doesn’t feel championship like…little surprised Bobby Cruise has the ring introductions instead of Justin Roberts…ring intros do make this match feel like a big deal…Earl Hebner is apparently a robot. He’s not aged in two decades…opening bell here…fans are definitely into this one. Loud ovation right after the opening bell…Cody with a cartwheel. Aldis with the Shawn Michaels ‘laying across the buckles’ in response…pretty basic start to the match about three minutes in. Taking their time to build to something, which I like…Cody with a suicide dive. Not something we usually see from him. He hit it flush too…focus goes to the back of Cody after Aldis sends him into the ring post…we’re working a very methodical pace here. As I said, the fans are into it which helps…that superkick missed by a good foot. Nice attempt to sell it by Aldis, but no…thus far, I do like that they have each other well scouted. It plays into the importance of the contest for both…double springboard dive to the floor and Cody caught that elbow flush. Would not be surprised if he comes up bleeding…Hebner throws up the X which may be legit or may be Cody and friends working the fans. We all know how Being the Elite leans ‘smark’ heavy…DDP comes out to catch on Cody as we’ve grinded to a halt…Cody is NOT busted open and Daivari comes down to shove DDP aside, calling for the towel to be thrown in…BANG~!!…not bad for a sixty year old. Hell, Page may even be seventy at this point…I think Hebner just ejected Page…and now Cody is bleeding. Alright, I’m calling shenanigans on this one. I get the story they want to tell with it, but that was blatant. The old wrestling adage is that ‘red equals green’. I need to be able to suspend my disbelief for that to equate and it doesn’t here…powerslam almost drops Aldis on his head…Cody is getting what I’ve come to know as ‘Corino Hair’…moonsault press was nice but no water in the pool…second rope fall away slam. Everything Aldis has done in this match has been on point…little quick for Cody to get back on the attack, but it’s a historically significant move. Both his father and his father’s greatest rivals used it…Aldis gets swept on the apron at the attempt on the PK, but catches Cody in a running PS on the floor…Cody’s back gives out on an Alabama Slam attempt. He gets it at the second time with an adrenaline burst. I actually do like that. Sell what’s happened, give the fans a chance to rally you, pay it off…Cody goes for the Disaster Kick (I think he calls it the Beautiful Disaster now), but Aldis ducks. A quick powerbomb gets two for Nick and Aldis puts on the Kingsland Cloverleaf…Ian raises a good point here. Very loose grip by Aldis. Sells the fatigue of the match thus far as we come up on seventeen minutes in…Cody keeping a bridge to ease the pressure but the back gives out once. It gives out a second time as Brandi encourages Cody. Third time, Cody gets to the ropes…Jesus, that looked rough. High angle piledriver…Aldis going up and looking for the flying elbow drop. Brandi tries to talk Aldis out of it, but Nick to the top and he drops the elbow on Brandi as she covers Cody! That’s a hell of a bump for someone who is a part time wrestler at best…Aldis does a hell of a job selling that he was aiming for Cody and that Brandi got in the way…paint brush slap by Aldis but Cody circles him at the ropes and hits the Beautiful Disaster. Cross Rhodes only gets two though…trading shots in the center for the Yay-Boo chant. Cody gets the edge and goes for the Vertebreaker, but Aldis escapes. Aldis goes for the Cross Rhodes and Cody snapmares his way out. Cody does duck his head too soon and Aldis goes up and over on a sunset flip, but Cody sits down on it, hooks the legs and that’s a three count at 22:03…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.
*Post-match: Crowd erupts as Cody is given the ‘ten pounds of gold’. Aldis would go onto regain it at the NWA’s 70th Anniversary Show, which is another show I’ve considered covering. It’s a good moment though…side note, I need to give Cody’s song a full listen. Sounds like something I’d rock on my Winamp…this post-match is taking a very long time. Knowing what we know about how the main event goes, this may have had something to do with it…Brent Tarring leaves the commentary booth and Don Callis takes back over as the color commentator.
*Match #7: ‘Chicago Street Fight’- Adam Page vs. Joey Janela
The Who: Adam Page aka ‘Hangman’ is going to be one of the primary players in AEW going forward. He’s someone who has grown significantly on me from the first time I saw him as I was not impressed but now, I’ve comes to respect his abilities. Joey Janela is another one of those guys who can lay the claim to being one of the hottest acts on the Indies. His ‘Spring Break’ shows with GCW have been some of the craziest we’ve seen in recent years in addition to being some of the best. While he’s nothing great in the ring, he carries himself like a star and for a company such as this, that’s super important.
The Why: We actually get a video for this one too! See, this is what I asked for…Adam Page destroyed Joey Ryan because he was jealous of the rest of the Elite being hung up on Ryan’s gimmick. Wait, that came out wrong. Anyway, Joey Janela stands up for Joey Ryan here since Joey is unable to rise for himself.
The Match: Janela doesn’t get as strong of a reaction as I suspected he would. He didn’t have a ton of exposure on BtE going into All In, so I’m not surprised. I do think he’ll be a good addition for AEW though. Plus, Penelope Ford is gorgeous. This will be nothing but help raise her stock as well…Britt, Penelope and Brandi. The era of the diva is once again upon us in AEW. That’s not to say they can’t wrestle, because I can’t make that judgment. I’ve not seen enough of any of them. I meant diva more so in the way they carry themselves…Ian and Callis mention here what I did about Janela. The fact that he’s built his brand as well as he has speaks without any major access to do speaks to the gritty entrepreneurial attitude that Janela possesses…Page definitely looks his gimmick…Ian points out that Adam has a thing against Joey’s. Excalibur then adds “if I was the inventor of the tree of whoa, Joey Lawrence, I’d be worried”. Pretty sure he stole that joke from Dave Prazak. It popped me anyway…apparently, murder is legal in AEW. As long as it was justified…opening bell here…Janela loses the head band early and Page catches Janela with a suicide dive. Janela fires back with a (cleaner) one of his own…don’t expect a whole lot of actual grounded wrestling moves here. That sequence was inside the first minute…Page redeems the suicide dive with a beautiful moonsault to the floor…pumphandle throw into an open chair by Page. That looked cool…it’s a cracker barrel. Of course, it is…I mean a Cracker Barrel barrel…alright, the tope con hilo off the barrel was pretty cool. Chair to step up and then flips off the barrel…Page just Super Mario’s over the barrel and then EZ Money’d over the barricade into a huge lariat…Page grabs a table as Don busts Ian’s balls for putting over he and Excalibur’s careers as wrestlers…Page looking for a superplex to the floor but Janela has none of it, pulling out Page with a Blu-Ray (DVD into the buckles)…ladder next and bridged from the ring on the barrel…burning hammer on the ladder. That just seems excessive, man…Ian: ‘Don’t give him any ideas, Don’. Don: ‘It’s a Chicago Street Fight. He (Page) can murder whoever he wants’…Penelope into the ring to help Janela, slapping Adam in the face. Penelope backflips out of a couple clothesline attempts and a stunner sends Page to the floor. Penelope beats him around ringside over towards the table where a Janela flying elbow of the buckle above puts Page through it…this is one of those spot, rest, spot, rest kinda brawls that I don’t care for. I get the reasoning why. They pop the live crowd. But to a fan such as I watching at home, it’s not nearly as captivating…towards the entrance ramp and stage they go…long way to go just for a lariat there…table number two and three out and set in the entrance way…okay, that was brutal. And I don’t Page got all of it, because Janela only made it to one of the tables. Ouch…Page brings Janela back to the ring. Another EZ Money flipping lariat (Page calls it the Buckshot) sets up the Rite of Passage (Beach Break or down the back Tombstone) for two when Penelope makes the save…and the bag Penelope made the save with have the boots that have been talking to Page. Penelope goes to grab a boot and Page superkicks her. Janela superkicks Page but only gets two…Janela out to the floor to get a ladder and a table. Setup in the ring and Page set up on the table. Janela climbs the ladder before Page greets him. Page pulls the phone that he murdered Joey with out of the other bag and clocks Janela in the head with it, stopping him on the top of the ladder. Page then hooks Janela for and delivers Rite of Passage off the ladder through the table. The three count is academic there at 20:09…it 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 of a downtime in this one. Honestly, to me anyway, Penelope Ford came out of this match looking like the biggest star of the three. All in all, I’d say ABOVE AVERAGE but nothing I’d probably go back and re-watch. The finish was dope though. Janela is a crazy person for taking it.
*Post-match: I’m sure if you are reading this, you’ve probably seen the show or have at least heard what happens here. I won’t go into too many details here because I don’t want to give it away if you don’t know what to expect. There’s some serious ‘sports entertainment’ going on here though, just as a heads up. My thoughts on it all: indifference to be frank. It’s part of Joey’s shtick, which we discussed on the United We Stand review. I don’t love it myself but here, it’s a satisfying payoff to the story they told on the way to ‘All In’.
*Match #8: ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © vs. Flip Gordon
The Who: Jay Lethal is the (at this point now) former ROH champion, but was the champion here, obviously. Most people will know him from his run as ‘Black Machismo’ in TNA/Impact, but he’s a very reliable hand. Flip Gordon won the ‘Over the Budget’ battle royal to get to this spot. He had been petitioning for a spot on ‘All In’ to Cody and the Bucks for weeks to no avail on Being the Elite.
The Why: As mentioned, Flip Gordon won the battle royal on the pre-show to get this opportunity here on the main card. Pretty self-explanatory.
The Match: Crowd is definitely behind Gordon. They gave him a loud reaction for his win in the ‘Over the Budget’ and they are chanting his name to his music here as well…Brandi accompanies Flip to the ring as Don rants about Flip trying to scoop Brandi. I feel like that plays out in AEW down the road, unless Flip signed with ROH…and speaking of ‘Black Machismo’…not only is Lethal coming out as ‘Black Machismo’, he’s got Lanny Poffo (brother of Randy Savage) accompanying him. That’s a pretty cool moment for Lethal. I’m fairly certain Savage before he passed said that he approved of Lethal’s impression as well. This is yet another seal of approval to that. I don’t think ‘Machismo’ is something that would work on a full time basis anymore, but as a one off, it’s very cool none the less…to my knowledge, it has been quite a while since he’s pulled out ‘Black Machismo’…it does make sense that Bobby Cruise has this match…crowd reactions seem to be pretty split here…cool to see Cary Silkin get a moment. Guy doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves for what ROH was at it’s peak…Lethal’s mannerisms are so spot on with it…dig it, opening bell here, uh huh…alright, the bit where Lethal confuses Brandi for Liz makes me chuckle, probably more then it should given what we know now…lots of arm drags. It’s like Savage vs. Steamboat for the next generation…Lethal gives chase to Brandi. Brandi informs him that she is not Liz, Lethal lifts her up on the shoulders in the Liz pose anyway…I don’t like all the insider terms just getting tossed around on commentary. Reminds me way too much of WCW circa 2000. Nobody wants that back in their lives…Gordon chains moves together really well. The soccer kick into the standing moonsault, for example…is it possible that Flip Gordon was Alex Koslov in a previous life? I’ve seen those kip ups before…trio of dives by Gordon have him in firm control of the match…corkscrew frog splash. That was new…there’s a lot happening. Too much to call. But the fans are more into the antics here then any kind of back and forth wrestling…having this match follow a brawl in Page and Janela may not have done these guys any favors…Gordon with an impressive springboard kick and goes for the 450, landing on his feet when Lethal rolls in. Lethal then gets the Lethal Combination (backbreaker into Flatliner) for two…Lethal calls for the Lethal Injection but Flip with an O’Connor Roll, followed by a Falcon Arrow, prompting the trademark call from Excalibur. Unlike Excalibur’s claim, Lethal does kick out…both men back up and Gordon goes for the springboard but gets caught in a torture rack. Lethal then gets a inverted Finlay roll and looks for the Lethal Injection, but Poffo up on the apron to thwack Jay in the shoulder, triggering Machismo once again…center ring slam and Lethal goes up for ‘Hail to the King’. A second and third follow, but Gordon is out at two. Strongly disagree with that…oh lord, he’s turning into Flip Hogan…this is absolutely absurd…okay, that Pele brings us back. Thank god…man, he really is a Flip, isn’t he? Two back to back moves I’ve never seen before to set up the Cancun Tornado, which was perfectly executed…Flip goes for a top-rope frankensteiner, but Lethal stops it. Gordon kicks out of a super bomb attempt and goes for Kinder, but Lethal stops it an avalanche ace crusher. The Lethal Injection follows and that’s a three count at 14:25…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 nothing that you’ll want to re-watch again, despite the impressive agility of Gordon and the sheer nostalgia of Lethal busting out ‘Black Machismo’ again.
*Post-match: Lethal and Gordon shake hands after the match before Bully Ray comes down to attack both of them. Bully using a chain to take out Flip Gordon to continue their beef from Ring of Honor…Lanny Poffo attempts to make the save, Bully Ray kicks him in the balls. Because I’m a terrible person, I laugh…how do you not know what Bully is looking for, announcers?…and Cabana makes the save to a loud home Chicago reaction…and the trio of Colt, Flip and Jay put Bully through his own table with a triple powerbomb…back over to the announcers, where they get us ready for Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr.
*Match #9: Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr.
The Who: Kenny Omega is the 2019 ‘PWI 500’ number one. He has had critically acclaimed matches throughout Japan and is very well known by most independent wrestling fans despite not having a major stay in the US. Pentagon Jr., this is like the sixth time I’ve covered him and with good reason. Everyone on the US Indies wants a piece of both Pentagon and his brother Fenix. They tore the house down with LAX at Homecoming and Pentagon Jr. has the best match in the return of ‘What I Watched’ with the war with Sami Callihan at Slammiversary.
The Why: Two of the best wrestlers in the world squaring off. Sometimes, you don’t need any more of a story then that.
The Match: I don’t feel the need to add much here. This should be fantastic…reaction for Pentagon was loud but I think Kenny’s was louder…Kenny gets pyro too. That makes sense though. He’s Elite. He’s He’s Elite…Kenny had just won the IWGP Heavyweight title at Dominion two months prior. Obviously non-title here, but it’s a matter of pride…opening bell goes here as Excalibur mentions that Pentagon Jr. is coming off the main event of Triple Mania for AAA just a week prior. These might be the two biggest names not associated with the WWE in wrestling. If not the two biggest, certainly two of the top five…and Omega with a pie face…Omega tries to back roll and Penta kicks him square in the stomach…this is going to be one of those matches where I don’t say much because I’ll be caught up in the match itself…Kenny sets up for the Terminator dive, but Penta cuts him off with Slingblade. Omega out the floor and Penta soars with a no hands tope con hilo. Super smooth all of it…95 kilos looks to be what? About 240 lbs? To Google, where I find out that it’s only 209. He looks bigger then 209 pounds…the mats on the floor help a little but that powerslam probably sucked for Omega…Paul Turner never counted anyone. In fairness, I wouldn’t want a riot on my hands either…this match has leaned significantly more towards Pentagon then I thought it would be…Kenny doesn’t even have to call for the dive, as the Terminator clap starts. Instead, it’s a springboard frog splash to a standing Pentagon. That looked really cool despite almost losing his footing…everything Omega does is precise. Pinpoint precision on the missile dropkick…superkick counter to the V Trigger sets up a counter sequence. Kenny gets the better and gets the snap dragon. One Winged Angel attempt is countered into a lungblower for two, though…Pentagon to the top floor and a double stomp meets canvas as Omega rolls in. Another counter exchange leads to a DVD from Kenny. I don’t think these two have had a singles before but they are flowing really well…Omega looks for the avalanche brainbuster but Pentagon out into a tree of whoa double stomp. I still hate that move, but at least the setup here didn’t look nearly as contrived as it usually does…the announcers keep talking about Pentagon’s weight advantage on Kenny. Kenny actually outweighs Pentagon by twelve pounds…Pentagon gets caught in a series of V Triggers after a series of Cero Miedo’s…another try at the OWA is countered into another try at the Package PD. When that is escaped, Pentagon converts to the Pentagon Driver which gets a really close two count. Totally would have bought that as the finish…out to the apron they go and Pentagon gets the Package PD onto the apron!!! Fuck that noise!…Penta up top where the double stomp lands but a lax cover only finds two…Kenny just sticks Pentagon with a tornado package piledriver for two. I’ve said my piece on that move being kicked out of before. I won’t do it again…another try at OWA, but Pentagon traps the arm and hits the snapback arm-breaker. Fear Factor follows but again it’s only two. Well, that’s that finish dead in this match…audience is absolutely losing their minds here. I dig the ambiance, even if how we got there irks me a bit…now we’re just trading big moves. Eventually, a fifth V Trigger sets up a fourth attempt at the One Winged Angel. This attempt lands and that’s a three count at 17:48…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 excellent for me. The ridiculously spotting 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 then I thought they might. But there was no where 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.
*Post-match: this is going to be another one of those if you don’t know, watch for yourself moments as I don’t want to give away the big surprise. If you are watching Double or Nothing soon after this review gets posted, you know what happens. But if you don’t, know that they pulled off one of the bigger coo’s in modern wrestling to make happen what they did here.
*Match #10: Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurll
The Who: Kazuchika Okada is the longest reigning IWGP Heavyweight champion of all time. He is also as of this writing once again the champion, having beaten Jay White for the belt. If I recall, he also had a brief run with Impact here in the US where he was kidnapped by Samoa Joe. I might be wrong on that. Marty Scurll is the Villain from the Bullet Club/Elite and while we’ve covered Marty before here on ‘What I Watched’, we’ve never covered him in the Villain persona. Scurll has really stepped into his own with this gimmick and would probably be up there for the list of most sought after wrestlers in the world, regardless of which company they call home (ROH and NJPW for Scurll at press time).
The Why: While the obvious answer is the man with the umbrella vs. the Rainmaker, there is a deeper meaning here. Marty doesn’t appreciate being pigeon holed as Jr. Heavyweight in New Japan. What better way to prove he can hang at the Heavyweight level then to take down the longest reigning IWGP Heavyweight champion of all time?
The Match: Tiger Hittori is your referee for this contest. Rare to see him here in the US, so it’s a nice moment for Tiger. Fans give him a pretty good reaction…I don’t get the skit with Scurll before the match, but his entrance is a sight and sound to behold. I’m a little sad Marty decided to stay with ROH because he could have done big things with AEW…unlike most Indie fans, I’m not a huge Okada guy. In fairness, I’m not much of a NJPW guy in general…entrance for Okada is impressive as well, but I do think Scurll’s was better…Okada causes a ‘205’ chant to start towards Marty. Okay, that shit is funny. It’s a fun little inside joke that hurts no-one and rallies your fans together…opening bell here…seven hundred and twenty seven days. Almost two full calendar years. It’s hard to argue his drawing power over in Japan…the height difference is quite noticeable…Scurll causes Okada to flinch as well…again, the announcers go super insider with the references. I guess some watching will appreciate that. But focus on the match, not each other…there’s a bit of smugness to the way Okada is handling himself. I don’t mind it because it gives us a story…Scurll gets a run of offense leading to an Austin Aries styles tope through the bottom and second rope…another brawl around ringside…makes sense for Marty to keep Okada grounded. We’re all the same size on the canvas…Okada quickly turns the tide however and gets back in control. We once again go the floor. It’s a recurring theme tonight…DDT on the floor as Ian shouts out Jake Roberts. I miss the days of the DDT as a finish. Especially when properly done…Okada pulls a page from the Eddie Guerrero playbook with the rolling hilo outside in, before taunting Scurll…Scurll with an overhead chop and Okada puts him on his wallet with a forearm…Japanese Stranglehold. Apt move for him to use…Scurll up and counters out into a cross-arm lungblower…Okada boots Scurll in the face but Scurll responds with the ‘Just Kidding’ superkick at the knees…Callis rips Hittori for being a slow counter. Ian calls out Hebner for being a fast counter. He also likes to call for bells too…makes me sad that the DDT is just a transition or a near fall move anymore…these two are definitely laying it in. You can hear the strikes land. Marty catches a brainbuster which leaves both men down…Marty is taking too long though and Okada blocks causing Marty to hurt his back. Kryptonite Krunch over the knee for Okada gets two. Ian calls it an Air Raid Crash. Either move name is effect. I’m just a Nova mark…I don’t feel like a superplex is in your best interest, Marty…then again…fish out of water or ‘let’s blow up the referee’…Scurll with a powerbomb. Jr. Heavyweight this, sucka!…I appreciate that Excalibur calls it John Woo…high and tight Japanese style missile dropkick by Okada. It looks so much more effective then its American counterpart…Tombstone is countered once with a DDT by Scurll. Scurll tries for one of his own and Okada turns that into a proper Okada Tombstone before calling for the Rainmaker (with camera zoom out)…apparently when you take time to taunt with ‘205’ before the Rainmaker, you get your fingers broken. Now we know…I wonder who did the finger break spot first. Scurll or Dunne?…okay, that was a really cool counter out of the Rainmaker into the Crossface Chicken Wing…Scurll doesn’t quite have the grip and Okada is able to rise up…the grip gets broken by Okada but Marty puts it back in before Okada counters into a cradle for two…Hittori gets drilled, which I think may be our first referee bump of the night. And we had a match with Earl Hebner as the zebra…Marty grabs his umbrella. Okada goes for the Rainmaker which Marty ducks and open the umbrella to distract Okada before thwacking him upside the facial region with it. Scurll then hits the Rainmaker and that gets two! I bit there…this time, the CFCW is countered into the Rainmaker. Fans are going crazy for both as Hittori counts both down…Okada drags Scurll back up and Scurll begs for Okada to keep bringing the fight, as each forearm puts Marty back on his ass…Scurll spits at Okada and slap him in the face. Okada retorts with a discus Rainmaker before the standard version puts Scurll down for three at 26:06…probably a little long. But they told a VERY GOOD story throughout. I have made it no secret in the past that I am 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.
*Match #11: Young Bucks/Kota Ibushi vs. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio
The Who: Young Bucks are to some the best tag team in wrestling. Personally, I’d put them third behind the Revival and LAX. Kota Ibushi made his name here in the States participating in the Cruiserweight Classic. Despite the WWE wanting to sign Ibushi, he went back to his native Japan where he’s doing quite well for himself as the IWGP Intercontinental champion. Bandido is now exclusively to ROH but he’s another one of the recent group of luchadores to come to the US from Mexico and achieve some commercial success. Fenix as we discussed earlier is the brother of Pentagon Jr. Together, they are the Lucha Brothers and both are two of the most sought after acts on the US Indies. Rey Mysterio Jr., are you kidding me? You think I need to describe who Rey Jr. is? What I will say if that I appreciate Mysterio Jr. keeping this booking despite having returned to the WWE by this point.
The Why: Six high flyers out to have a balls to the wall spotfest to wrap up the show.
The Match: We’re going to rush the scene here since we’re down to around sixteen minutes of PPV time left. They knew going into this match that they were running short. Such is the peril of planning your own show for the first time. It shouldn’t have happened but what’s done is done…Rey took his sweet time for the entrance, but the Wolverine gear is pretty cool…Golden Elite do all come out together, which makes sense on both a time and a actually formed trio level…referee is Rick Knox, which is really nice for him…unfortunately, he’s out to a firing squad here. Just let them do their thing, Rick…opening bell at 3:45:30…tornillo cross body by Bandido. Nice…they’ve been doing this almost fifteen years and the Bucks are still smooth as silk as a team. It’s quite impressive the staying power they’ve had. And the ability they’ve had to avoid any kind of major injuries…that was like a quadruple springboard arm drag…fans go ape shit at the thought of Ibushi vs. Mysterio Jr.…Mysterio moving like a much younger man here…and he gets kicked in the face…it has to be cool for guys like Matt and Nick to be in the ring with Rey. I’m sure Rey is a guy who strongly influenced their style…feel like both Ibushi and Bandido could lay claim to fastest wrestler in the world. Bandido is someone I’ve not seen a lot of though…Bucks are definitely getting their shit in here…and Kota gets the Golden Triangle moonsault…Rey turns the clock back to the mid 90s with a huge quebrada…the dives come in bunches and there is no easy way to describe them…tope con hilo off the ramp. Well, if their were ropes, it would have been a tope con hilo. I guess technically it was a cannonball dive…I’m surprised there are still tags in this match…Bandido takes down all three Golden Elite’s with a head scissors…I’m sorry guys, I just can’t keep up with everything here…that series of moves that culminated in the frog splash by Rey very easily could have been the finish. I know why it wasn’t, but it could have been…Fenix and Rey look to double team Matt. Matt gets outs but Bandido looks to take advantage, doing so with the moonsault fall away slam for two. Nick in to break, but the Bucks take control with a superkick party…More Bang for Your Buck with added Kota moonsault may have been the finish, but Fenix makes the save. Seconds later, Bandido gets caught in the Meltzer Driver and that is a three count at 11:44…clearly much shorter then it was probably going to be, they packed a ton in these almost twelve minutes. I’d have been curious to see what was possible with a full run time but with Rey already gone, 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 it isn’t anything that’ll be looked back upon fondly down the road.
*Post-match, there’s not much to discuss as we very quickly head off the air. Ian Riccaboni doesn’t even get through his sign off before the sound drops and the production screen rolls. That brings us to an end for All In.
Match #1: Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky def. Jay/Mark Briscoe, Kazarian pins Mark with a powerslam counter to the Doomsday Device @ 12:35 (VERY GOOD) (Pre-show)
Match #2: Flip Gordon wins the ‘Over the Budget Battle Royal’ @ 17:11, last eliminating Bully Ray (N/R) (Pre-show)
Match #3: Matt Cross pins Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Shooting Star Press @ 10:07 (GOOD)
Match #4: Christopher Daniels pins Stephen Amell, Best Moonsault Ever @ 11:45 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
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 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #6: NWA World Heavyweight Title- Cody Rhodes pins Nick Aldis ©, sitdown on sunset flip attempt @ 22:03 (VERY GOOD)
Match #7: Adam Page pins Joey Janela, Rite of Passage off a ladder through a table @ 20:09 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #8: ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © pins Flip Gordon, Lethal Injection @ 14:25 (GOOD)
Match #9: Kenny Omega pins Pentagon Jr., One Winged Angel @ 17:48 (VERY GOOD)
Match #10: Kazuchika Okada pins Marty Scurll, Rainmaker #2 @ 26:06 (VERY GOOD)
Match #11: Kota Ibushi/Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson def. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio Jr., Matt pins Bandido after the Meltzer Driver @ 11:44 (GOOD)
FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
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 luchadore/cruiserweight style. There’s a tremendous call-back to the old NWA days with how Nick Aldis and Cody plays out. There is a interesting take on the old ‘hardcore’ styles that both ECW and the WWF used to enjoy presenting. 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.
THE FINAL REACTION
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: Has to be the production, does it not? Hard to fault them for it as they are inexperienced show runners but when your main event gets less time then every single other match on your show save one, it’s not a good sign. Especially when said main event has three of the biggest names in the promotion of the show.
MVP: I’ll go with Cody here as well. It was a good night for young Mr. Runnels.
FINAL SCORE: 8.5/10
My next review that comes to you guys will be PROGRESS Chapter 5, “For Those About to Fight”. Hopefully, I’ll get some more shows into the archive for you guys as well. I would also hope that you guys will check out the Raw Reaction every Monday night at 11:30 PM (EST) to hear Tony Acero, Andrew Balaz and myself break down the important news and cover Monday Night Raw over on the Chairshot Radio Network.
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