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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWF SummerSlam 1996

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I’ll be jumping in for Eric Ames from here to finish the way to this years installment of SummerSlam. Make sure you check out the other SummerSlams, in our Chairshot Classics section, leading to this point. (They can be found here.)

The day is August 16, 1996 and we are in the Gund Arena in “The Rock and Roll Capital of the World”, Cleveland, Ohio. There are 17,000 people in attendance and another 157,000 tuning in on Pay-Per-View as “Opposites Attack.” This was an all time low, on PPV buys, for the WWF at the time with a 1.3 percent buyrate. A number that would hold that claim until the 2010 Bragging Rights (137,000) dethroned them. Stridex would be the sponsor as “The Heart Break Kid”, Shawn Michaels defends his World Title against Vader, in the main event.

There was a preshow match that was available on Free-For-All, a show that was used to hype the PPV for free before the event in hope of more buys. It would feature a main on the rise and one on the decline. Stone Cold Steve Austin versus Yokozuna. I find it strange that Austin is in this match as he was hot off his  “Austin 3:16” speech at King of the Ring, which took place on June 23, 1996. Yoko on the other hand was dealing with a weight issue and that led to more issues with the company for him. Austin would go over after a bearded Yokozuna would have the top rope break while attempting a BONZAI! drop. Austin would roll up Yoko and get the three. I’ve heard Bruce Pritchard say on his podcast, Something to Wrestle, that this was based on something that really happened at a house show. This is also when the “Bikini Beach Party” took place. I couldn’t find this on the Network and only recall a lot broken kayfabe as Heels and Babyface hung out by the pool together.

 

The show opens with a black and white vignette, that starts with “some monsters wear masks”, as it shows clips of Mankind and Vader. It continues, as we see Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, “Monster slayers are varied and unique”. It would show the build up to the feuds between HBK/Vader and Mankind/Undertaker. The narrator finishes with ” For the monsters to be abolished, David must slay Goliath. The Reaper must claim another damned soul”. This is really well produced and I was a fan of it.

Next we see a quick clip promoting Cleveland and its tourist destinations. We see The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jacobs Field, home of the Indians, and it ends with the newly built Gund arena, home of the Cavaliers. Vince McMahon welcomes us into the arena next and he introduces us to his partners for the night, Mr. Perfect and Jim Ross, sans cowboy hat.

    Savio Vega makes his way to the ring first and receives some high fives from the fans. Owen Hart enters next, cast on one hand and his prized Slammy in the other. Vince notes that its “the slowest healing injury” as Owen has been wearing the cast forever. I find this a homage to “cowboy” Bob Orton, as he did the cast gimmick for years. Owen goes for an early advantage and goes for a blast to the back of Savio’s head but is stopped by the official. The ref gives a warning of DQ if he attempts it again. The commentators mention here that Cornette is missing from Hart’s corner due to the fact he is prepping Vader for his match. Vega gets the early advantage and goes to work on the casted arm. This is the theme of the match as Savio wouldn’t do much more than 5 moves that don’t target the cast.

Next a segment of Jim Cornette encouraging Vader as he is pumping dumbbells. Back in the ring we hear “OWEN” chants from the crowd as Savio applies an armbar on, you guessed it, the casted arm. Owen gets his first momentum shift after he counters a roll-up pin, sending Vega into the ring post. The crowd gives a nice response to Hart raising his casted arm. Clarence Mason, the “legal advisor” to Cornette, enters ringside to encourage Hart. Owen hits an enziguri soon after and earning a “what a maneuver” from McMahon, the second of the fight. Vega gets the momentum once again after nailing a spinning heal kick and a few clothesline. He gives Hart a back drop off the top rope and sticks the landing, hitting his head on Owen’s cast. Owen slips the cast off and delivers another blow, then re-apply the cast. He finishes Vega by putting his limp body into the Sharpshooter. The ref raises his lifeless arm, giving Owen Hart the victory. Match Time: 13:23

    Todd Pettengill is in the boiler room for an interview with Mankind. After telling us how ” dark and ominous” it is down there he discovers Mankind, by some very dirty pipes, and muttering “There’s no place like home”. He would continue “But as much as I love every square inch, destiny awaits on the other side.” Mankind then licks one of the dirty pipes after which the dirt is visibly gone. Nice touch Mick.

The Tag Team Titles are on the line for the next bout on the card. The New Rockers, the team of Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy, is the first team to enter. One of the highlights of the match is Leif, the future Al Snow’s, charisma and it starts with his dancing down the aisle. Next JR tells us the special stipulations of the match. You can tag anyone (meaning it doesn’t have to be your partner), contact must be initiated before a tag can be made, when someone is pinned, he and his partner must return to the locker rooms, and the titles can change hands by a DQ finish. All the stipulations. “SSOOIIIEEE!”, Vince’s words not mine, and the pig farming Godwinns are on their way down next and are accompanied by Hillbilly Jim. The Godwinns are the team of Henry and Phineas. Phineas would later become Mideon in the Undertaker’s faction, The Ministry of Darkness. Henry would suffer a career ending injury at the hands of Legion of Doom’s Doomsday Device. Skip and Zip or The Bodydonnas are out next. Zip is the late Chris Candido who would have his WWE career cut short allegedly at the hands of HBK over Candido’s wife at the time, Sunny. Zip is sporting a neck brace, from a fractured vertebrae, and will see no action. Skip, on the other hand, is Tom Pritchard, the brother of the one and only Brother Love, Bruce Pritchard. Last to make their way out are the Smoking Gunns and the are joined by Candido’s wife, Sunny. The Gunns are made up of Billy and Bart Gunn, hence Smoking Gunns.

The teams play “musical tags” for a moment letting the guys get a few minutes on screen each, except Zip. What should have been the first highlight of the match is when both Gunns are tagged in by Zip and Phineas. They blow the spot, as it could have made for some excitement, and do nothing with it having them both tag back out. Skip and Billy go back and forth, with Skip getting the upper hand until Jannetty pulls his feet from the outside. This would allow Gunn to get the three and eliminating The Bodydonnas.  I wish we could have seen more of Leif Cassidy in this match because his energy is high and you can tell he is excited to be on the big stage. But when he is in the ring he doesn’t last long with Henry Godwinn, as he receives a Slop Drop and is eliminated with a pin fall sending the New Rockers to the locker room. Finally two teams remain and Henry lands an explosive clothesline out of the gate on Bart to get thing going. The Gunns quickly recover and are taking turns on Henry. An act the referee warns them about and we hear Vince remind us that the title can change hands, per the rules, in this match.  Henry finally lands a counter body splash and the crowd is popping in anticipation of the hot tag. Henry makes it happen and in comes the rested Phineas who quickly lands a Slop Drop. But the official, who is distracted by Hillbilly Jim trying to empty the contents of his slop bucket on Sunny, misses the initial cover. This allows Bart to break up the cover with a double ax handle of the top turnbuckle. The ref doesn’t miss this cover and the Smoking Gunns retain the Tag Titles. This match is not must watch stuff and as I said, the highlight to me is Leif Cassidy’s charisma and enthusiasm. Mediocre at best. Match time: 12:18

Sunny enters the ring, with the Gunns, for a quick in-ring promo. She goes to work insulting the crowd, as she normally does, saying “I want you to take a look at The Smoking Gunns and what real men are supposed to look like.” She finishes with ” And boys take a good look at the woman next to you and how out of shape they are”. She always tells the crowd that she is “what a real woman looks like” and it is no different here.

There is another Cleveland promo up next, this time promoting Cleveland’s transit system. It all boils down to a race between The Smoking Gunns with Sunny, on a horse and buggy, and The Godwinns using the Cleveland transit and winning the race. They even had time to stop for lunch. Wow. This is dumb and if anything it should have been shown BEFORE their matches against each other. The Gunns could have rode into the arena on the carriage and that would of sold it even better.  Jerry Lawler is with the Cleveland Indians next and is trying to learn the art of the “Spitter” from the Indians pitching staff. This was classic King and I enjoyed this part of the segment. Broken kayfabe is up next as we see various Superstars, Heels and Faces, cleaning up the streets by painting over graffiti. It ends by showing the Stridex sponsored autograph sessions that included The Worlds Strongest Man, Mark Henry.

The next match was, allegedly, supposed to feature The Ultimate Warrior facing Sycho Sid. It’s rumored that the reason The Warrior walked out and “no-showed” was an argument over merchandise money. Another story on the inter-webs is that Warrior was mad at Vince for not wanting to let Warrior attend his Father’s funeral saying it was because he wasn’t close to his dad and didn’t get along. Who knows the real story for sure.

Sycho Sid makes his way to the ring first and receives a decent pop from the crowd. The British Bulldog, on the other hand, not so much pop. They test each other with some early shoulder blocks in to each other but Sid would win when he delivers a clothesline. Bulldog rolls out of the ring to regain his composure and, when he returns, the “Lets Go Sid” chants start from the crowd. This where, at 53:11, we see a well placed man in a “BISCHOFF SUCKS” airbrushed shirt. I have to think he is a plant because of the war with WCW at the time and the fact he stands right out. I could be wrong though. Clarence Mason joins The Bulldog at ringside at this point and, again, the commentators mention Cornette being busy with Vader. Bulldog elevates the 313 pound Sid for what seems like an eternity, for a powerplex. Davey Boy applies a side headlock that he hold for some time, wearing down Sid and the crowd is rallying for the comeback. The rally is quickly stopped with an explosive clothesline that sends Sid over the top rope, crashing to the outside.

This is where we see another clip of Jim Cornette training with Vader but this time he is shadow boxing. Bulldog would hit another powerplex, this time dropping him on his midsection, on the top rope. After that we see the first false finish when Bulldog gets a near three count. Sid would start to rally behind the crowd again but is stopped once again when he takes a scoop slam from Davey Boy Smith. Jim Cornette enters the arena next and begins to argue with Mason. The British Bulldog goes to separate the two managers, that are both in his corner, and for his efforts Sid rewards him with a chokeslam. “313 Pounds of PowerBomb” are next for The Bulldog and this enables the three count for Sycho Sid. I was impressed with this match, as I didn’t think two powerhouses would be able to keep the pace, but it flowed well. The two big men deliver a match worth taking a look at and it showed why they are legends, dare I say, of the mid-card.  Match time: 6:24

The “Androgynous” Goldust enters the arena, joined by his real life wife at the time, Marlena, to a pretty negative response from the crowd. Next Todd Pettengill is joined in the back by Marc Mero and his wife at the time, Sable. Todd shows a clip from Superstars, the previous week, where Mankind interrupts Mero’s match and pursues Sable, calling her “Mommy” in the process.  They cut back to Mero and Todd, never acknowledging the video they just showed, and Marc says something about Mankind becoming a “fallen star”. Marc and Sable enter the arena and receive not much of a response from the crowd. The little pop they get is probably for Sable, in all honesty. This is where Jim Ross tells us Mero, if given the chance, will unveil his new finish, The Wild Thing.

Goldust “bitch slaps” Mero before the bell sounds and cowers in fear, behind the ref, as Marc goes after him. The Wild Man gets an early advantage with some hip tosses. Goldust regains some steam when he sends Marc over the top rope with a back drop. This is where JR comments “Goldust wants to leave with Sable.” This is due to them changing the angle because it was originally Marlena who was infatuated with Sable. They changed this approach, allegedly, because USA Network wasn’t a fan of the “Lesbian Angle”. Enter any Attitude Era Degeneration-X clip here. Goldust knocks Mero of the apron with a clothesline then drops him off the railing “throat first”, per Vince.

Mankind comes down the aisle and goes straight for Sable. She is crying out for help as Mankind approaches her, again calling her “Mommy”. He quickly runs back down the aisle and back to the boiler room, I presume. Goldust has the momentum rolling when Mero reverses an Irish whip to the corner, with a springboard elbow off the second rope. Marc is pounding away the “ten-count” in the corner when Goldust picks him up and dumps him over the top rope. This is an interesting spot as Mero’s foot hooks in the armpit of Goldust and he flips over with him. I don’t know if this is a blown spot or meant to happen.  Mero goes right back in the ring and jumps out on Goldust with a nice sunset flip. When they are back in the ring Mero debuts his “Wild Thing”. This is another interesting spot to listen to as JR calls it by both, Wild Thing and the original name, The Shooting Star Press. I’m sure Mr. McMahon wasn’t thrilled by this because he didn’t like to use other promotions names for moves because that would give them some legitimacy. Marlena then distracts the referee from the apron, allowing Goldust time to kick out. The distraction allows Goldust to sneak in the “Curtain Call” and get the pin. After the match is when things get weird. Goldust lustfully preys, and basically sexually assaults Sable here as she cries to her husband for help. I understand this was a work but it was very distasteful. He gripped her up and tried to kiss her before Marc makes the save. He atomic drops him on the top rope and sends him to the outside with a dropkick. Overall the match had okay flow in it with some decent high spots from Mero. Again, nothing special here and if the kids are in the room you may want to skip the awful finish. Match time: 11:01

We see an explanation of Ahmed Johnson‘s absence in a shoot style interview, like the ones we’ve grown accustomed to today, but were not something of common place at the time. It shows Ahmed’s injury suffered at the hands of Faarooq Asad on the July 22 edition of Raw. He would wrestle after the ruptured kidney, against doctors orders, in a Battle Royale two weeks later than he would win. But he would re-injure the kidney on the process. Gorilla Monsoon, the acting GM at the time, would vacate Johnson’s spot on Raw the following week. In the interview Ahmed would say he understands Gorilla’s position and we hear a doctor say that if the bleeding of the kidney doesn’t stop they would have to be removed and Johnson could never wrestle again. Ahmed finishes by saying ” He don’t care what the doctors say” and “I got a commitment to the people, the fans. I’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done.” They announce next there will be a sudden death Battle Royale for Ahmed Johnson’s vacated spot on the following nights raw. The participants are Sycho Sid, Savio Vega, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Goldust.  They were the final four in the Royale that Ahmed one. Injury would be a common theme in Ahmed’s career and it would happen, always it seemed, when he was on the receiving end of an upward push. I always was a fan of Ahmed Johnson, and his Pearl River Plunge finish, as a kid and its a shame he had a career plagued by injuries.

    Faarooq Asad and Sunny join Todd Pentingill in the ring for an interview when we return to action. Faarooq says that Monsoon should be out here giving him what is his, The Intercontinental Championship. Todd tells him “Gorilla doesn’t want the criminal awarded for the crime.” Asad takes offense to this and goes on a rant about taking out Ahmed and finishes with “if this is the best that you’ve got I see a lot of Sunny days ahead.” A nice touch and I wonder how The Hitman felt about it. Sunny would finish by telling everyone how much better she is than everyone else and revealing this:

For a lead up to the next bout we see Jake “The Snake” Roberts taking about struggling with his “personal demons”, AKA addiction. This was not a work as Jake had real life problems at time. Roberts interview segments would cut to clips of Jerry “The King” Lawler making jokes about that situation, even holding down Jake’s protege at the time, Aldo Montoya and forcing liquor down his throat on a episode of Raw.  Even though it is said to have been Jake’s idea I still think it is done in poor taste.

The newest member of the WWF universe is introduced next as The Worlds Strongest Man and a participant in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, Mark Henry. Mark suffered an injury during the Clean and Jerk at the games and was not able to compete. Henry does hold all kinds of records though, for a drug tested athlete, including WDFPF records in squat, deadlift and total weight. Mark also is the 1995 WDFPF World Champion and is credited with having the heaviest raw squat and raw powerlift of all-time. The WWF invested some time into Henry and in the long run it was a good pay off. Mark Henry was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame with the Class of 2018.

    Jerry “The King” Lawler enters the arena caring a canvass sack, akin to the one Roberts carried his snakes in, and would mostly receive “BOOS”. When he is in the ring he removes his jacket, which had a bottle of Jim Beam in each pocket, revealing a Vinny Testaverde, Baltimore Ravens jersey. This really turns the heat up with the crowd because their beloved Cleveland Browns had recently left town and became the Ravens. The King goes on a comedy routine next with stuff like “I gave two tickets to Art and David Modell.” They were the owners of the team at the time. He then shoots on Jake’s family, saying of his wife, “she’s nothing a light switch and a six pack can’t, am I right Jake?” We hear some “Burger King” chants here. Mr. Perfect says “Jake has B-arthritis. That’s were you are stiff in a different in a different joint each night.” Just then Jake “The Snake” Roberts music comes on and the crowd erupts as Jake enters carrying a canvas sack of his own.

As soon as Jake enters the ring Lawler is right back on the microphone. And he says “You have something in your bag I don’t like. But I have something in my bag that you’ll like even more than what’s in your bag.” Jerry goes onto to pull a rather large bottle of champagne from the bag. The referee is trying to wrestle the bag away from Lawler and this allows Jake to get the contents of his bag out. A huge albino python. He attempts to wrap the snake around Lawler and he exits the ring in a hurry and head up the ramp. Then finally the bell rings. As Jake is returning the snake to the sack Lawler, once again is going for the microphone. Thankfully, for us, it wont turn on this time and soon Roberts is going to work with some haymakers. He delivers a scoop slam and some shots to the ring post on Jerry before Lawler throws a fans soda into The Snakes face. This allows The King to bring one of the bottles of whiskey into the ring. Jake goes for the DDT but it is reversed with a back body drop. The crowd is really into it after Jake reverses with his patented clothesline and they are calling for the follow-up move, The DDT. King manages to escape another one by grasping the officials waist. The official, Harvey Whippleman, happens to be a guy who got his start managing two guys on the card in Memphis Wrestling, Jerry Lawler and Sycho Sid. This opens a window for Jerry Lawler to strike Roberts in the throat with the whiskey bottle. Lawler hooks the front of the tights to get the three count victory. This was a gimmick match from the beginning and it continues after. Unfortunately, Jerry gets a working mic and, while Jake is grasping his throat, ask if his throat is dry and says “He needs a drink.” Lawler then proceeds to pour the contents of the bottle down Robert’s throat and all over his head. Jake has claimed he was extremely pissed off by this because he says it was real booze. This is a claim that The King denies on his Podcast, Dinner with the King, that it was sweet tea. Bruce Pritchard has also said the same on Something to Wrestle. Either way I don’t think it was done tastefully. Lawler would go to empty the second bottle of whatever on Roberts but this time Mark Henry chases him away and help Roberts to the back. There was very little wrestling from the minute the wrestlers enter the arena. I am a fan of most gimmick matches, as they provide a sometimes needed break in the action, but this one was just plain awful.

We see a two time WWF Champion and 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, Bob Backlund in the crowd. Vince tells us of Bob’s campaign to become President of the United States. Who in their right mind thinks that someone, who appeared on wresting, could be president….

Todd Pettengill would narrate another well done vignette of the feud between The Undertaker and Mankind. There would be some cool clips like when Taker got pulled through the ring, by Mankind, just to emerge on the other side behind him while Pettengill says thing like “Though both dwell in a world of darkness only one embrace the light.” Again, really cool stuff. I’m sure while this clip is being showed the production team used the time to wheel classroom TV sets in for the people down front to watch the “Boiler Room” segment of the match. This was had to be done because there wasn’t a TitanTron at the time and the only way to see this segment, because it was pre-recorded, was on the screen on the scoreboard.

The Bells of The Undertaker‘s theme begin to chime, as the place goes black, and we hear Howard Finkel say “About to come down the aisle, with the urn, Paul Bearer.” The urn is significant here as it is the win condition of the match. The winner must exit the Boiler Room and return to ringside and gain possession of the urn. After Bearer is in the ring we see an official letting The Undertaker through a door that leads to a hallway. The way Taker just walks down the corridor and turns is classic stuff and I am a big fan of this version of the Deadman. He tightens his purple glove, again classic, before, hesitantly, opening a door that reads: BOILER ROOM DANGER!. Taker peeks the dark corner and start to assess the situation and head down some stairs, going deeper into the bowels of the building.

Eventually, Mankind appears behind Taker and ambushes him with a rain gutter to back of the head. He would kick a pallet apart next and use a piece of it on The Phenom. Undertaker would be back on the offensive after he give Mankind a few headshot with a trashcan lid. They are off to a brutal start, and I wouldn’t of expected anything less from these Legends,as Taker is going to work on Mankind. The pair is fighting over a sawhorse, next, when Mankind hits a stunner over the sawhorse and goes to work with some boots and punches to the head of Taker. Just then the screen goes scrambled, due to what Vince accredits to “transmission problems”. It returns shortly and, the “Physically and Mentally Deformed”, Mankind is going to work with the whole trashcan now. Taker lands a few defensive blows before Mankind opens a valve on a pipe and unleashing “steam” into the face of The Undertaker. The steam just looked like compressed baby powder but I still found it to be a cool spot.

The Undertaker has received the brunt of the beatings thus far but the tables would soon turn after Taker big boots a trashcan back into the face of Foley, Mankind. He follows the boot up with a nice clothesline into the can, which Mankind was still holding onto. It is Taker’s turn to retaliate and does so with the trash can and pallet remnants. His effort doesn’t last long because Mankind would raise a pipe, between the legs of Taker, delivering a low blow and the first crowd reaction we have heard in the match. This is understandable, as I mentioned prior, the fans are watching it on TVs that are place at ringside. Mankind would Irish whip the Deadman into a garage door and deliver a “Knee2Face” that bounces the head of Take off the door. Mankind would keep the momentum for a bit with the highlight being a elbow drop of a ladder and onto the bare concrete floor. Mankind, after he takes a second to get on his feet, delivers a DDT onto the floor, that was a bit sloppy. A 2×4 to the back is next for Taker and up until this point the Undertaker has taken the hardest bumps. Not to take away from Mick Foley here, but I found this a little surprising as Mankind is traditionally viewed as the Hardcore guy around the industry.

Soon after The Undertaker yanks the feet out from under Mankind and this sets up for a cool camera shot. The camera zooms in of Mankind’s face, with both men on the ground, Taker starts to drag Mankind closer to him. And then the camera goes fuzzy again. Well done. It cuts in and out as we see Taker crawl up the body of Mankind and deliver some blows before it cuts out again. Vince, again, mentions the “transmission difficulties” and apologizes for them. Due to the well timed nature of these “interruptions” I’m led to believe they are a work. It continues to cut in and out and we see Mankind deliver a scoop slam in the process. When the camera is clear again we see Mankind setting up a ladder and begins to ascend it, for what Vince thinks is another elbow drop. This is where The Undertaker sits up, in his tradition fashion, and sends Mankind crashing onto a stack of cardboard boxes.  Mick Foley suffered a real life injury here, causing sciatic nerve damage, from the bump. Just on a side note, I am currently recovering from a pinched sciatic nerve and I can barely walk let alone be tasked to finish a “Boiler Room Brawl” match with The Undertaker. Props to you Mr. Foley. Mankind takes some hard bumps, including a solid flat-back bump into the wall. Undertaker begins to make his way towards the exit but Mankind grabs the feet an hits Taker in the midsection with a chain. This allows Mankind to get the edge heading towards the exit but the Deadman stops it with his famous uppercut to the throat.  Mankind would bounce the head of Taker of the door when he tries to exit but Undertaker empties the content of a fire extinguisher into the face of Mankind, allowing him time to open the door. This attempt would also be foiled as Mankind delivers blows to the backside and escaping first. As he attempts to shut Undertaker in the room, by slamming the door with Taker in door jam, this leads to a cool shot of Taker grasping Mankind, through the door, by the throat. Mankind eventually escapes and crawl down the hallway and out the second door where the official is standing.

Mankind builds a barricade against the door, out of random items, but it wouldn’t be long before Taker comes crashing through it. This sends the makeshift wall on top of Mankind. The pair begin to battle their way back to the arena and we see various Superstars standing around cheering them on. This is weird as there are guys next to each other that squared of earlier in the night, like The Godwinns and Skip of The Bodydonnas. Mankind gets a lead on The Undertaker and this allows him to ambush Taker with a giant container of “hot” coffee. Bruce Pritchard has said later on that the coffee was actually hot. This allows Mankind to be the first in the arena and he is again waiting to ambush. It backfires this time as Taker comes out with an explosive clothesline and the crowd explodes as well. He hits Mankind in the back with a 2×4 and they begin to battle down the ramp. This is where we can see all the monitors surrounding the ringside area. Mankind gets an advantage after throwing Taker into the stair as Paul Bearer watches on, with the urn in hand. Mankind would remove a ring mat next leaving the concrete floor exposed. He then deliver a piledriver onto the exposed floor. He then begins to make his way in the ring when The Undertaker makes the save by grabbing the ankle of Mankind. Undertaker finds his way onto the apron, with Mankind, and begin to deliver blows. This eventually leads to Taker sling-shoting Mankind off from the apron and onto the exposed concrete. Taker is finally in the ring and stumbling his way towards Paul Bearer and ending in his signature kneel. But Paul doesn’t hand the urn over and instead turns his back as the stunned Undertaker looks on. This then allows Mankind to sneak up from behind Taker and apply the Mandible Claw, as Bearer looks on laughing. Paul begins to polish up the urn in anticipation of turning it over to Mankind.  But we all know what happens when Paul raises that urn, The Undertaker begins to rise as well. Mankind reapplies the Claw and begins to put Taker out. He then holds  The Undertaker’s arms so Paul could slap and kick Taker to make sure the fans understood the switch of sides is real. The fans start to turn up the heat as this all goes down. Paul find his way to the corner of the ring and The Undertaker is crawling towards him and ends kneeling at the feet of his former manager. Bearer uses this opportunity to plant the urn upside the head of Taker and handing over to Mankind.

The new pairing of Mankind and Paul Bearer make their way to the back. As soon as they exit the arena the lights go black and the Undertaker’s bells begin to toll. It’s not long thereafter that a group of, what look to me as, Druids appear and make their way to the ring area, as monk-like chanting can be heard. They pick Taker up and carry him out of the arena. We hear Vince end with “Who would of thought such treachery could possibly occur”. Match time: 26:40

This match was amazing. It was brutal from the moment they met up in the Boiler Room and it didn’t miss a beat throughout. Usually these gimmicky, hardcore style matches have a hard time keeping pace and telling a good story. But not this one. It even ended very well with a heel turn by Bearer. matches of these caliber just show why these are two of the greatest superstars of my generation and, quite frankly all-time.

   Doc Hendricks is in the back with Vader and Jim Cornette for a quick pre-match promo for the Main Event. Cornette would do all the mic work, per usual, and say some off the wall stuff, that I enjoyed, like “Shawn, when he grabs you around the neck,and you try to talk, and your voice is gonna sound like Peter Frampton’s electronic kazoo.” He rants on some more and Doc wrap it up with “Guess we are fixin to find out if it’s Vader Time. “The Man They Call Vader” enters the arena, with Cornette, and the fans are on their toes as the Main Event, for the World Title, is about to begin.

The crowd is electric when “The Heartbreak Kid“, Shawn Michaels theme, one of my all-time favorites, come on. This theme, like many others throughout time, was written by Jimmy Hart. The crowd is loosing their minds as, the current World Heavyweight Champion, Shawn Michaels makes his way to the ring joined by his trainer, Jose Lathario. Lothario was Shawn’s trainer and confidant. He was also a wrestler, primarily in the NWA, and once had a streak on 500 consecutive losses. Take that Kurt Hawkins. But he has held various NWA gold throughout his career, including being a three time Florida NWA Brass Knuckles Champion. HBK does his normal poses in the ring as the pyro went off.

After the pre-match antics of Shawn, the bell sounds and the rematch, from International Incident, is underway. Vader starts off with some intimidation tactics by “flexing” on “The Boy Toy”. He backs them up by unloading haymakers to the midsection of Michaels before putting him on the mat with a brutal clothesline. Many other wrestlers throughout the years have said Vader’s punches are legit and just from these few early punches you can see that is factual. Vader attempts to land a big boot but Shawn catches it and sweeps the leg of the big man. He follows that up with a beautifully planted dropkick, on the sitting Vader. And The Heartbreak Kid is off to a hot start after he drops to Vader’s level and lands a few jabs. Vader tries to get in the fight again, by attempting to throw Shawn to the outside, but the swift-footed Michaels goes prone. This, as a result, sends Vader through the rope and allows for a baseball slide from HBK. There is a great high spot next when Shawn does a running leap over the top rope and into a cross body block. The crowd explodes and are hanging onto Michaels every move, as he is back taunting in the ring. Vader is still failing to gain momentum, even receiving a “beautiful maneuver”, a frankensteiner from Shawn. We get another “What a maneuver!” from Vince after Shawn leaps onto the back of the big man and positioning himself to receive an electric chair drop. But what Michaels does instead is a reverse hurricanrana of sorts that send Vader back outside. Shawn, meanwhile, holds the ropes and flips back in the ring. This is some impressive in-ring work, as always, from HBK. Vader finally goes on the offensive when he catches Shawn, who is leaping over the top rope to attempt a second frankensteiner, and delivers a jarring powerbomb to the floor mats.

Vader uses this gaining momentum to throw Michaels around like a ragdoll for a bit, even carrying his limp body up the ring stairs at one point. Vader is once again delivering those monster hands all over Shawn and the crowd erupts when Michaels hits the deck and Vader flexes the guns. It’s always a positive when the crowd is cheering for both guys. They just forget sides and favorites for a moment and truly enjoy the performance in the ring.   He hits HBK with a few big chops next before he Irish whips him from buckle to buckle. When Vader whips him for the second time he hits the turnbuckle and flips to the outside and onto the ring mats. Shawn soon returns to the ring and Vader sends him “sky high” for a back body drop. The crowd begins to rally behind Shawn Michaels when he stops a belly-to-back suplex with some blows to the head of Vader. The big man holds onto Shawn and attempts the same suplex but this time Michaels  back flips through the move and slugs Vader a few times. But the attempt doesn’t phase Vader and he soon levels Shawn with a clothesline. Michaels next flips through another suplex attempt and slug away on Vader but, again, the punches go unnoticed by Vader. He attempts to toss Shawn from the ring but Michaels holds the top rope to flip back in. The big man just grabs the legs off Michaels and just tosses him across the ring. The strength this dude exhibits here is nuts and as JR would say “It’s a physical dissection of the WWF Champion.” This leads to the first pin attempt of the match.

After Michaels manages the kick out, Vader begins to wear on Shawn with a side shoulder lock. Michaels starts to rally and the crowd is right there with him. He hits Vader with a knee followed up by a clothesline. Vader just absorbs the clothesline like a sponge and Shawn is back bouncing off the ropes. This time he attempts to slide under Vader but falls short. This opens the window for a splash from Vader but he takes Michaels knee to the groin instead. He then delivers a clothesline that lays the big man down this time. And Shawn is teasing the elbow drop, as he climbs the turnbuckles. This next spot is partially responsible for Vader’s push ending so abruptly. Shawn was apparently yelling for Vader to get up and he obviously just lays there and blows the spot. Michaels kicks Vader in the head twice and they don’t look like works. He continues to yell at Vader as he lays on the mat. The match continue to the outside when Shawn cross body blocks Vader into, and over, the ropes and crashing outside. But Vader soon gets the edge on the outside when he picks Shawn above his head and drops him onto the guard rail. This leads to our first true false finish when Vader makes it in the ring in time and Michaels is counted out. Vader is soon rewarded the victory by count-out and Cornette is quick to get on the mic and dispute the victory. He says over and over, “we came here to win the title” and challenges Shawn to restart the match, telling him, “get back in there if you have any guts.” Earl Hebner, the official, is on the ramp asking Michaels if he wants to go back. This is when we can see Shawn mouth “I’ll do it.”  As he is limping back down the aisle Finkel announces “This match will continue”, as Vader attacks Shawn on the ramp. Jose Lathario tries to interrupt the ambush but the ref stops him and this allows Cornette to hit Shawn with his tennis racket.

Vader throws Shawn back into the ring a hit a splash in the corner before belly-to-belly suplexing him. He goes for the cover but Shawn manages the kick out. Vader attempts the powerbomb next but Shawn delivers blows to the head, bringing the big man down. Michaels then ducks under two clothesline attempts and hit a flying forearm of his own. When he does his signature kip-up the top comes off the arena. This sets up the elbow from the top rope and The Heartbreak Kid is soon tuning up the band. Cornette is on the apron to stop the chin music, which he does, and his tennis racket ends up in the ring. Michaels goes to work on Vader with the racket and the ref soon rings the bell. He continue to unload with the racket and is soon hitting Cornette too, as the bell keeps on ringing. This allows Vader to get a chair from the outside but the officials keep the two separated. At this time Finkel announce that Vader is the winner, this time by DQ. Vader’s music begins to play as Cornette gets back on the horn saying that Michaels got DQed on purpose. He goes on to call Shawn a “gutless, no-good, coward” and finishes by telling Michaels to “get back in there if he has any guts. Get that thing started again.” Before you know it Shawn Michaels in attacking Vader, as the bell sounds. He would land a forearm of the ropes, to the face of Vader, that definitely connect to the face of Vader. The Heartbreak Kid hits the elbow drop of the top rope again and the crowd is pumped, as Shawn encourages them by “Tuning up the Band”. And he delivers the Sweet Chin Music to Vader. What comes next is the second blown spot by Vader. Michaels goes for the pin and the official stops on the two count, even though Vader doesn’t kick out.  This is said to be the reason for the sudden end to Vader’s push and its a shame.  Both men are on their feet again and regaining their composure when the big man whips Shawn into the ref, that in turn sends the ref through the ropes and to the outside. Vader slams Michaels with the Vader bomb next that transitions nicely into a pin. With no official present and it taking a moment for a new one to enter the ring, Michaels manages to kick out at two. And the crowd is as hyped for the false finish as Cornette is pissed.

After the near fall, Vader begins to drag the limp body of Michaels to the corner. Vader starts to climb the turnbuckles and hesitates as he reaches the second one.  After the pause he goes to the third rope, kinda rare for Vader, and does a moonsault of the top that Shawn narrowly avoids. Michaels is climbing the ropes now and does a moonsault of his own on the standing Vader. This allows The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels to hook the leg and get the three count victory. This was a hell of a match and I wish the feud could have continued and maybe even put the strap on Vader, at some point. This wouldn’t happen of course as Shawn was the face of the company at the time and expressed displeasure with working with him again. Michaels got his way and their story arc was cut short. The match told a story and had great momentum switches, that the crowd seemed to enjoy either way, and even a few true false finishes. Hell, we even get a solid ref bump. I loved this match and would say it is an overlooked match when most people in the Internet Wrestling Community talk of Shawn’s greatest matches.  Match time: 28:59

This was a decent SummerSlam and was typical of the WWF at the time, all top heavy cards and not much worth noting at the bottom. If you don’t want to watch the whole show I would definitely recommend the last two matches of the night. They are classic bouts between some of the all-time legends of the business. After I watch these I always like to see what Dave Meltzer, of  Wrestling Observer Newsletter fame, rates the matches. If you are not familiar with Meltzer he has used, what was at the time, a five star rating system. He thought highly of the main event, giving it four stars. The Tag title match would receive the “DUD” moniker and I would have to agree here.  Owen/Savio and Goldust/Mero would get a 2.5 and a 2.25. I didn’t see a rating for the “Boiler Room Brawl” on profightdb.com but I can’t imagine it was rated bad but you never know with Dave.

This concludes my first article for The Chairshot Classic series on SummerSlam. Be sure to always #UseYourHead and follow us on Twitter and stay up to date with all the breaking news surrounding all aspects of the business we all love and learn something about some of your favorite classics!

 


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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WCW Monday Nitro Episode 12 – Sting vs. Hogan

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WCW Monday Nitro

Here is the go-home Nitro for World War 3!

WCW Nitro: Episode 12
November 20, 1995
Macon Coliseum, Macon, GA

Bischoff, Heenan and McMichael are on commentary as usual getting us hyped for Hulk Hogan vs Sting in the main event. Bischoff is calling it the Super Bowl of professional wrestling, interesting they gave it away on free television.

Scott “Flash” Norton vs The Shark

The Shark attacks Norton on the entrance ramp and they brawl outside the ring. Bobby Heenan says that Shark is well over 500 pounds, who believes that??? The Shark gets control with a belly to belly suplex, but Norton starts no selling his strikes. Norton hits a scoop powerslam and gets the victory. This was a very lackluster match and seemed to be filler for a few minutes. John Tenta was so talented, it’s sad that he never caught on like he really could have.

Winner: Scott Norton via pinfall

Mean Gene interviews Taskmaster and Jimmy Hart at the entrance ramp. Hart is trying to rally Sting for his match against Hogan later, focusing on Hogan not being behind Sting as a talent. Taskmaster hypes up World War 3 and how the Dungeon of Doom has strength in numbers.

Disco Inferno is out to dance until Eddie Guerrero’s music hits and he runs off.

Eddie Guerrero vs Brian Pillman

This was supposed to be Ric Flair but he came out in street clothes with Brian Pillman in his ring gear. Flair cuts a promo about being so focused on Sting, that he’s having Pillman take his place. Replace one amazing competitor with another, I’m not mad. Guerrero in control early with a neck tie head scissors, big dropkick and belly to back suplex. He goes off the top rope but Pillman catches him with a dropkick to halt the momentum. Pillman hits his own belly to back suplex for a near fall. The two trade chops before Brian sticks a finger in Eddie’s eye and hits a snap powerslam for another near fall. Pillman suplexes Eddie out of the ring and misses a cross body on the railing. Eddie counters with his own MASSIVE cross body and brings Brian back in the ring. Eddie hits the brainbuster and goes to the top rope but Pillman crotches him up there. Eddie pushes Brian off the top rope and hits the frog splash to get the victory. A very fun match, I’m sure these two could seriously tear the roof off the place.

Winner: Eddie Guerrero via pinfall

We take a look back at Nitro from the previous week where the Dungeon of Doom and Lex Luger attacked Randy Savage and worked over his arm. Commentary is saying it is a serious arm injury that will need surgery. Eric Bischoff wonders if Macho Man is faking the injury to plot against Hulk Hogan.

Big Bubba vs Road Warrior Hawk

A rare singles match for Hawk and a younger Ray Traylor, I’m good with this. Hawk attacks Bubba to start and is in control after a back body drop. Hawk hits a scoop slam but misses a splash off the top rope. Bubba is in control now with strikes and a clothesline. Hawk makes a comeback but Bubba cuts him off with a big spinebuster before eating a right fist outside the ring. The men knock heads and Hawk goes to the top rope but Bubba counters it into a facebuster. Bubba pulls something from his pocket(maybe a roll of quarters?) and tapes up his hand. He goes to come off the ropes but Jim Duggan comes out of nowhere to trip Bubba who falls face first on the foreign object. Hawk makes the cover for the victory. Big hoss match, fun stuff.

Winner: Hawk via pinfall

Sting vs Hulk Hogan

This match has been hyped up all show as the be all and end all of professional wrestling. Sting comes out in red and yellow, fitting considering Hogan’s recent move to the “dark side.” We went to commercial before Sting’s entrance and apparently right after. Interesting television choices there.

Hogan’s music hit and there’s some boos in the crowd. Macho Man Randy Savage comes out and is motioning to the entrance for Hogan to come out for an uncomfortably long time. Hogan comes in through the crowd and postures to the crowd to mostly boos. Hogan is still clean shaven and dressed in black.

After the bell, Sting is on the offensive early with lots of strikes. Hulk takes control with strikes of his own and is getting a good amount of boos. Hulk misses a clothesline and tumbles over the top rope after 2 dropkicks. Hulk pulls Stinger out of the ring, puts his head into the guardrail and suplexes him at ringside.

Sting comes back in the ring with a running cross body and we are back on even ground. Hulk goes for a spinning toe drop and it looks awful and slow, same with his attempt at an armbar takedown. It’s obvious that he is wrestling out of his comfort zone. Sting takes control with crisp looking holds and transitions. Hulk rides a side headlock for a lengthy time before inexplicably just letting Sting go. Sting goes for a Stinger Splash and Hogan counters it into a bearhug for a few seconds before again letting him go.

Belly to back suplex garners a near fall for Hulkster and he hits a suplex for another near fall. Sting comes back and starts working over the leg before locking on the Scorpion Death Lock-that is good storytelling and psychology. Hogan powers out of it and starts his traditional hulk up comeback. Three punches, big boot to Sting’s face, but Sting avoids the leg drop. Hogan’s leg is hurting, Sting locks on the Scorpion Death Lock again.

The Dungeon of Doom comes down and attacks everyone but Sting and Hogan seem to overcome the 6 on 2 odds. The Giant comes down and goes to chokeslam Hogan and Sting. Macho Man hits Giant with a chair but eats a chokelsam for his effort. Hogan and Sting use a chair to clothesline The Giant over the top rope as we go to break.

Winner: No Contest via interference on both men

After the break, Taskmaster and Jimmy Hart are at the commentary table and are sent away by Bischoff. This is being billed as an appetizer to World War 3. Bischoff pushes the narrative that WCW is unpredictable and anyone could walk out of World War 3 as WCW Heavyweight Champion as Nitro goes off the air.

The build to World War 3 has been fun, it’ll be interesting to see how it progresses and changes the show going forward!


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Chairshot Classics: Raw #11 (April 5 1993)

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Monday Night Raw Logo

Welcome to the Granddaddy of them all in it’s infancy years as we put the Monday into Monday Night Raw as we cover Monday Night Raw episode by episode. Last night (in 1993) was WrestleMania 9. Here are the results:

. Tatanka beat Intercontinental Champion, Shawn Michaels by Count Out
. Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner beat Samu & Fatu when Scott Steiner pinned Samu after a Frankensteiner
. Doink beat Crush when a second Doink hit Crush with a fake arm
. Razor Ramon beat Bob Backlund after a Small Package
. Ted DiBiase & IRS beat Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake to defend the Tag Team Titles by DQ
. Lex Luger beat Mr Perfect after a Backslide
. The Undertaker beat Giant Gonzales by DQ for using chloroform
. Yokozuna beat Bret Hart to win the WWE Title after Mr Fuji threw salt in Bret Hart’s eyes
. Hulk Hogan beat Yokozuna to win the WWE Title after a Legdrop Of Doom

Also, one of my colleagues was nice enough to review it so I don’t have to. Here it is.

WrestleMania IX: Genius Gamble or Busted Flush?

All caught up? Good. This may be the night after WrestleMania but it’s not going to be the big deal that it is today. Is it any good though? One way to find out.

Raw #11 (April 5 1993)

Vince and Savage welcome us to Raw (no Bartlet!!!!!! *streamers*) and they run through some of the matches on tonight’s show.

. Bam Bam Bigelow vs Virgil

While this wasn’t an enhancement match, there really was only ever going to be one winner of this. To his credit Virgil got some offence in. Probably enough so he’s not considered Enhancement. To make things worse, Vince and Savage spend half the match discussing the events of WrestleMania and basically ignoring this match. I know it’s a post PPV Raw but they should find a way to give an equal cover to the match AND last night’s show. Bigelow won this following a top rope Headbutt.

Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow

Jerry Lawler is supposed to wrestle but he decides not to as the crowd refuse to stop chanting “Burger King

We see a backstage interview that was clearly taped at WrestleMania with Mr Fuji, Yokozuna and Mean Gene. Gene points out that Fuji is unhappy at the result of last night with Fuji feeling that Yokozuna’s WWE Title match with Hulk Hogan was unsanctioned and as a result Yokozuna should still be champion. Talk about leading the witness, neither Fuji nor Yokozuna spoke a word here.

. Bob Backlund vs Kim Chee

I don’t know if this is Enhancement or not. Granted that is due to my not knowing that Kim Chee wrestled. As matches go this was fairly even but I feel that, like the last match, only one was ever going to win. Backlund won with a Bridging Roll Up. Or at least that’s as good as I can describe it. If you have a better name, Tweet me.

Winner: Bob Backlund

. Damian Demento vs Jim Brunzell

I thought Brunzell left years ago! Worse still, Rob Bartlett calls in. Apparently he’s ran out of money and is still in Vegas. What’s even odder is that I’ve seen WrestleMania a few times over the years and I have no recollection of ever seeing him to the point that I thought last week was HIS last week (still hopin’). This match was alright. It screams filler but that doesn’t make it bad. Demento looked quite good on offence and got the win here after a Neckbreaker followed by a Knee Drop

Winner: Damian Demento

Bret Hart IcoPro ad.

Randy Savage Slim Jim ad.

We get an ad for the Encore Presentation of WrestleMania.

. Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner vs Blake Beverley & Beau Beverley

This is a better match. This match SHOULD have been the main event. This was a proper match between two name teams. Scott’s power and suplexes looked good as they usually do. Beverly’s slowed it down and worked on face in peril until the hot tag. Basic tag team formula but if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Scott got the pin after a Frankensteiner on Blake.

Winners: Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner

The “hyperactivity” ad for Mania airs.

. Jerry Lawler vs Jim Powers

Another one sided match with only ever one winner. Not a lot I can say. It was decent, it was basic. I still say the Steiner’s match should have been the main event. To prove how much of a basic Jerry Lawler match this is, Lawler won wth a Piledriver.

Winner: Jerry Lawler

We get the action figure ad.

Jerry Lawler says it’s easy to be tough when you’re in a seat. It looks like Savage and Lawler may have an altercation. Vince plugs Money Inc vs Bushwackers next week and we fade out.

Post Show: For a post WrestleMania show this was bizarre. The debuts, the chanting crowds, the party atmosphere that we take for granted in 2018 are non-existent here. Tat said, this was a better show than the previous ten. I don’t know if it’s because WWE have found the right balance for the show, if it’s due to a lack of Bartlett or a lack of enhancement matches. Either way it was better and long may it continue.

Match Of The Night: Steiners vs Beverleys. Have you not been paying attention?

MVP: Bam Bam Bigelow. Vince and Savage may have ignored him but I like him

Rating: 8/10

With that I am done. I can be found on Twitter @Callaweasy2220 where I live tweet Raw, Smackdown, NXT and (when there is one on) Pay Per View. Also feel free to tweet me your opinions on the new format I’ve been doing for the last two weeks. Do you like it? Hate it? If you just want to talk wrestling you can Tweet me about that too.

While you are here feel free to peruse all the news, views and reviews that we at Chairshot have to offer. Maybe after reading this, you want to contribute yourself. You can find how to do just that here at Chairshot too.

I’ll be back next week with the next thrilling installment of Raw so until then #UseYourHead and ALWAYS have an Angle!


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Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA #6 – July 24, 2002

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TNA Wrestling Logo

This week, TNA will be dealing with the aftermath of last week’s shenanigans, including Jeff Jarrett’s somewhat understandable anger at his treatment by NWA leadership. Sabu will have his one-on-one match with Ken Shamrock for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn will have to try and put their differences aside in order to hold on to their Tag Team Championship. Plus, James Mitchell and his minions are running loose. This is also the first TNA to come from the Asylum of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. So, let’s see what’s going on!

Opening

This week’s show opening is a definitely scaledown from previous shows: No opening montage, no pyro, the Asylum reminds me of old episodes of the territory shows, which is actually very refreshing.

We start at ringside where Jeff Jarrett is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. He’s attacking the security guards sent to make him leave with a steel chair. Jarrett basically says that he’s done talking, his silence will be deafening and will consist of raw violence, because that’s worked so well up to now. He demands that Shamrock comes out with his (Jarrett’s) title or there’s going be bodies laying out around the ring. He then says that he’s been making his case for five weeks that he should be NWA Champion, but people aren’t listening. He basically threatens to hold the show hostage until he gets the title shot he was robbed of last week by NWA leadership.

We go backstage where Security is surrounding Shamrock, presumably to keep him from going out to confront Jarrett. Shamrock’s cooperation lasts about two seconds and then he’s taking out the security guards, except for one big, blond guy who seems to be the only security guard who knows what he’s doing, but he also gets his butt kicked.

Bob Armstrong and someone who looks like one of the Harris Brothers (DOA in WWE) are trying to calm Shamrock down, but step aside once its clear that he means business. Shamrock then locks Armstrong and Harris in the room and heads to the ring. Some unknown musclehead demands to know what’s going on and Shamrock tells to be sure that no one leaves the room or gets inside.

Back in the ring, NWA Vice President, Bill Behrens, who has been constantly trying to put out the Jarrett wildfire with a garden hose, decides to try gasoline instead. He suspends Jarrett for sixty days due to Jarrett’s actions over the last few weeks, ignoring the fact that Jarrett’s actions were a reaction to the NWA’s treatment of him, justified or not. He also tells Jarrett that he can leave under his own steam like a gentleman or be dragged out by security, apparently not realizing that his crack security team has been taken out by Ken Shamrock.

Jarrett’s reaction to this latest BS, is to whack Behrens upside the head with the steel chair, to the joy of the crowd. Shamrock comes out and a fight breaks out. Since Security is a little preoccupied, a couple of guys from the locker room come out to try and restore order. Jarrett uses the distraction to nail Shamrock with the steel chair. Before the babyface enforcers can do anything, Lawler and K-Krush come to Jarrett’s rescue. Jarrett says something to Tenay, but it’s hard to understand what he said.

While order is being restored, we get a rundown of tonight’s card. Again, Tenay talks about Jarrett’s disdain for authority, while ignoring the fact that Jarrett has a very good reason to be upset considering that the NWA officials have seemed to go out of their way to screw him over for expressing his opinion and not sucking up to them. Last week’s arbitrary revoking of his #1 Contender match is a good example.

Amazing Red vs Lo Ki

Amazing Red comes out to a minimal pop. Lo Ki gets a better pop, but he looks like he’s in a bad mood.

This match was very fast paced, but not a lot of wrestling, in my opinion. This was Amazing Red’s TNA debut and it’s easy to see why he became a staple of the X Division for several years and actually seems to have Lo Ki’s number, but Lo Ki gets his game together.

Have to say that Red loses some badass cred when Lo Ki kicks off his bandana and he’s revealed to slightly resemble Carrot Top.

Ferrara makes a comment that this match resembles a Jackie Chan movie and I have to agree to a point.

Lo Ki hits the Ki Krush and gets the three count.

Winner: Lo Ki by pinfall

Comment: I think I would’ve liked this match more if it hadn’t seemed like such a spot fest. There was very little actual wrestling and just a lot of kicking and flips.

We still have the dancing girls, but they’re a little more dressed than last week.

Goldilocks is trying to keep up with Jarrett who is trying to get Shamrock’s friend to let him into where Shamrock is, but Muscles isn’t having it, but Jarrett doesn’t care, but backs off for now.

Hot Shots vs James Storm and Chris Harris

 Hot Shots are out first to an okay pop, they’re still pretty generic looking and the crowd doesn’t seem terribly impressed. One of the Hot Shots gets on the mic and says that, and I quote, “We’re pricks, we’re proud, and we’re protruding”.

Storm and Harris, who really should be in the Tag Title hunt, get a huge pop.

In an earlier interview, it’s revealed that the Hot Shots are the ones that jumped Storm and Harris in Episode 3, not the Rainbow Express or the Dupps. This doesn’t make any sense to me sense the Hot Shots weren’t part of the show that night. Anyway, Storm and Harris vow to teach the Hot Shots a lesson. Storm is acting goofier than a pet coon, to quote JR, and it seems to be getting on Harris’ nerves.

Back to the ring, the match has already started, and the Hot Shots are already trying to bail out, but Storm and Harris aren’t having it.

Apparently, Tenay doesn’t buy the story of the Hot Shots taking out Storm and Harris either, but Ferrara points out that the absence of Storm and Harris opened the door for the Hot Shots to get a match on PPV.

Harris is taking care of business and tags in Storm but Hot Shots keep him from getting into the ring and a fight breaks out outside. The Hot Shots are dominating Storm, but Storm refuses to stay down.

The Hot Shots are playing arrogant heels very well, problem is that they’re so unknown that no one really cares. Hot Shot #2 misses the moonsault but hits Storm anyway, but Storm is still able to tag in Harris.

Okay, whatever Storm was smoking, drinking, or rubbing into his belly seems to have worn off because he’s all business. Harris hits a Northern Lights Suplex for the three.

Winner: James Storm and Chris Harris by pinfall

Hot Shot #1 attacks them both from behind and take them both out.

Comment: That was a pretty good match. I hate how Storm was being portrayed in the earlier interview, but the match was good.

Backstage, the long-suffering Goldilocks is with the trainers, working on Ken Shamrock, to make sure he’ll be able to meet Sabu later in the evening. Shamrock seems to be groggy, but that only lasts a few seconds. He grabs the trainer and demands to know where Jarrett is, when the trainer can’t answer that question, Shamrock loses it.

Apolo vs Brian Lawler

 Apolo is out first to a good pop. Lawler is out next to a pretty good pop. He’s not dancing around like he was last week and seems to have embraced toning things down, though he still hates hearing ‘Jerry’s Kid’ from the crowd.

This match is a real contrast in styles and personas, but it’s pretty good, at least so far. Apolo is dominating the match, but Lawler keeps coming back. Apolo is a beast, and I mean that nicely. He’s got a good look and can go in the ring. For all his whining about his father, Lawler seems to be taking moves out of his dad’s heel playbook.

After some ‘eh’ back and forth, Apolo goes for the kill, but Lawler counters. Lawler got his lip busted but doesn’t seem to mind it too badly. He still wastes too much time dancing, which you shouldn’t do with someone like Apolo. Lawler’s time-wasting costs him, Apolo does a quick roll up for the victory. Lawler can’t believe it and goes to the commentators, who try to explain what happened, but Lawler is livid and goes after Don West. Since there is still no security, the only people to help West are Tenay, Ferrara, and some other guy at ringside.

Winner: Apolo by pinfall

Comment: I was ‘eh’ on this match. It was good, but it seemed like a waste of both guys, who really didn’t benefit from any part of the match.

K-Krush is out to a mixed reaction. We get a recap of what K-Krush did to Norman Smiley, which is disturbing in any circumstances, but especially in the South. We also are shown him doing the same to Scott Hall.

K-Krush seems to have no remorse over what happened. He says his name is ‘The Truth’. Okay, that’s easier to type. He says that ‘They’ gave him the name ‘K-Krush’ and he won’t be ‘Their’ puppet any more. The crowd seems torn on how to react. A lot of people are supporting Truth, but just as many want him to shut up.

Truth says he doesn’t abide by ‘Their’ rules and it’s all about the truth. He still won’t come out and say that the NWA won’t put the title on him because he’s black, but he invokes Al Iverson, OJ Simpson, and Mike Tyson, saying that they are all great men kept down by ‘Them’, rather than by their own actions, and all of them are African-American athletes who had trouble with the law.

This crowd is getting nasty and the situation is saved by Monty Brown, who is completely over this. Truth looks really scary and isn’t backing down, so Brown MIGHT want to watch his step.

Brown talks about his accomplishments, which were a distant memory in 2002 and says that ‘They’ helped him accomplish his goals. He then tells Truth that maybe the problem isn’t ‘Them’, maybe the problem is that Truth isn’t as great as he thinks he is. Them’s fightin’ words, as my grandfather would say.

Truth is looking increasingly crazy and pissed off, which could be bad for Brown. He tells Brown that he doesn’t have a problem with him (why don’t I believe that), and that Brown isn’t the one Truth has a problem with. Brown’s got his own bills to pay and so does Truth. He then tells Brown to take his selling out, Uncle Tom (DUDE!), ass out of Truth’s ring.

The crowd goes ballistic, and so does Truth, who takes quick advantage of Brown’s shock to attack him. Brown quickly regains his bearings and the fight’s on. Brown hits the Alpha Bomb, but this issue is just getting started.

We get a recap of the Jerry Lynn/AJ Styles issue right before their tag team match.

We get a pre-match interview involving Mike Tenay. Both guys own up to their issues with each other, but they seemed to have declared a truce and are trying to work things out, but there does seem to be some remaining tension, and considering that they’ve spent the last two weeks beating each other up as often as their opponents, this truce seems shaky at best.

NWA Tag Team Championship Match: AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn vs Flying Elvises

 Flying Elvises are out in full. Jorge Estrada and Jimmy Yang are going to be the ones competing this week, Sonny Siake is there to run his mouth. The champs are out to a great pop.

Unlike the Amazing Red/Lo Ki match, this is NOT a spot fest. There are a lot of spots, but there is actual wrestling in this. Lynn’s veteran experience is really on show here and the champs make a good show of working together in the early stages of the match.

This match is very fast moving, so it’s a little hard to keep up with but it’s still a really good match. These four guys are really good, it almost looks like they’re dancing with each other.

Finally, the Elivses get tired of being good dance partners and start playing dirty, which is easy for them since they have the numbers’ advantage. Styles is taking a classic buttkicking, but he’s giving as good as he gets, but he’s also making the Elivises look good.

Lynn finally gets tagged in and starts cleaning house. It LOOKS like a three count got broken up too late by Yang. Lynn calls on Styles to hit a move to take the Elvises out, but the Elvises get out of the way and Styles hits Lynn, which busts Lynn open, probably due to Lynn overblading a little.

Elvises are going after Styles, but I don’t think Styles is the legal man. Finally, Lynn gets the pin due to the ref actually remembering who the legal guys were.

Winner: Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles by pinfall

Styles apparently thought he was the legal man and is pissed that Lynn ‘stole’ the pinfall from him and leaves. Guess they’re still working on things.

Comment: That was a much better X Division match than Lo Ki and Amazing Red. Glad the storyline of Styles vs Lynn was advanced and that the Flying Elvises got some ring time.

Coming back from commercial, there’s a guy sitting in a mismatched 1970s looking living room suit that looks like it came from a garage sale (which, given that it’s summer in Tennessee, is probably very likely).

A close up reveals that our friend is revealed to be the notorious (and notoriously bad) Disco Inferno (Jeez, they were desperate for cheap talent). Disco’s got a new haircut and isn’t dancing, thankfully. He brags about his win/loss record and how great he is. No man is an island, but any man can be a delusional idiot, apparently.

Disco seems to be confusing his accomplishments with ones that anyone gives a damn about, before trashing Nashville, which really sets the crowd off. Disco keeps on talking and pissing people off. Apparently, his new goal in TNA is to help people. He wants to help Ken Shamrock get a personality and he wants to help Jerry Lynn get some cosmetic surgery. He compares himself to 90s talk show hosts: Sally Jesse Raphael, Jerry Springer, and Montel Williams. He’s going to his own segment called ‘Jive Talkin’ (Oh boy).

Backstage, Ken Shamrock meets up with his musclehead friend, who warns him that Jarrett is looking for him. Shamrock replies that Jarrett better pray that he DOESN’T find him.

Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger vs Monty Brown and Elix Skipper

Diamond and Swinger are out first to a minimal pop, though they’re apparently ECW alumni. Monty Brown and Elix Skipper get a slightly better pop. Tenay poo poos Skipper’s CFL career while bragging about Brown’s two Super Bowl trips.

Anyway, this match was okay. Skipper and Brown were actually a pretty good team with a contrasting look and styles that worked for them, but Diamond and Swinger weren’t slouches either.

Skipper is really good, but some of his stuff looks like he hurts himself just as much as the opponent. Brown gets tagged in and starts kicking some ass. An attempt by Skipper to help Brown out ends with Skipper nailing Brown, and Skipper getting nailed with Diamond and Swinger’s finishing move, but since Skipper wasn’t legal, they can’t get the pin. Brown hits the Alpha Bomb on one of his opponents and gets the pin.

Winner: Monty Brown and Elix Skipper

Things change when Truth does and run in and chokes Brown with his belt. Apparently, Skipper was in on this ruse, because he leaves Brown to his fate.

Comment: That wasn’t an awful match. If not for what happened with Truth, I would’ve said that with a few more matches to iron out the kinks, Brown and Skipper could’ve been a real force in the tag division.

Backstage, Goldilocks is stuck trying to get an interview with the Dupps, minus Fluff, but she warns them that if they start anything, she’s leaving. For some reason, Blond Dupp’s mouth is bleeding. He starts by saying that pink is his favorite color. Goldilocks figures she knows where this is going and starts to leave but they don’t let her. Finally, Hat Dupp says that the real problem is that they don’t have a match tonight and Hat left Fluff with Pop Dupp, which is apparently not a good thing for Pop, Fluff, or the sheep (EW!!!!!!!!). Blond Dupp has an idea, apparently, all you have to do to get a match is to bump into someone. They then start ‘bumping’ into an increasingly pissed off Goldilocks, who is stuck between them.

Goldilocks has finally reached her limit with this crap and warns Hat Dupp that if doesn’t get his hands off her breasts, he’s going to be singing soprano (Tell em Goldilocks!). Realizing that they aren’t going to get a match with Goldilocks, Hat Dupp gets the brilliant idea of bumping into a guy instead. So, Blond Dupp sends him after Shamrock’s musclehead friend, who is still guarding the room where NWA security is being held. Not surprisingly, Muscles is not impressed, or happy, with this plan and it looks like Hat’s going to get his match.

Hat Dupp vs Ian Harrison

Okay, this is apparently NOT the scheduled match, but the Dupps have wood and Borash is smart enough to not argue with them. Apparently, the Dupps don’t know who they just picked a fight with, they want him introduced as ‘Musclehead guy from the back’ and Borash just goes with it.

Okay, Muscles’ REAL name is Ian Harrison, he’s a professional body builder who has won or placed in several bodybuilding competitions and he’s known as the ‘Iron Brick’ in his native England. Basically, the WORST guy to pick a fight with. Considering that there’s been no mention of Harrison being anything BUT a body builder, this is either going to be fantastic or an absolute trainwreck.

Hat gets the jump on Harrison and this thing is on. Harrison seems to have some basic wrestling moves knowledge, but he’s going to need some work, and by some, I mean a lot more than whatever he’s gotten so far.

Okay, whatever they’re planning for Harrison just got declared DOA. Hat took him down with two elbow shots.

This match isn’t great. Harrison should’ve already crushed Hat to pulp and, instead, Hat is managing to get in a lot of offense. Granted, Harrison is clearly out of his element and Hat’s doing his best, but this is just ‘bleh’.

Finally, Blond Dupp does a run in and Harrison gets a DQ victory. The Dupps try to attack him with their might boards, but the boards meet a tragic end when Harrison snaps Hat’s board over his knee. At this tragic calamity, the Dupps run for higher ground.

Winner: Ian Harrison by DQ

Comment: On a scale of one to ten, that was awful. I hope they weren’t planning on making Harrison into a monster wrestler, because that isn’t how you do it.

Backstage, Jarrett is hellbent on getting HIS title. Since the Dupps got Harrison out of the doorway, he can now let the security guards, Bob Armstrong, and one of the Harris brothers out. Apparently, Shamrock’s already in there and a fight breaks out. Thankfully, there’s a room full of pissed off security guards to break things up. Finally, the Harris brother that was locked in all night tells Shamrock to go take care of his title and security’s going to handle Jarrett, never mind that Shamrock’s the one who locked them in all night.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match/Submission Match
Ken Shamrock vs Sabu

Sabu is out first to a great pop. For some reason, Sabu’s headgear is an American flag. We get a recap of last week’s ladder match. Shamrock gets a good pop, but this mix of gimmick matches is not giving me a lot of confidence in the quality of this match because it makes absolutely no sense.

This match isn’t great. It’s better than some of the matches we’ve seen tonight, but it isn’t the best. Sabu is a very odd pick for an NWA Title match because he’s not really that good of a wrestler, though he was matching submission holds with Shamrock. The ladder is only featured in a couple of spots, this is another excuse to have Sabu be Sabu and the opponent and stakes are a distant second.

Finally, Shamrock goes to retrieve his belt, realizing that Sabu is not going to submit and gets it in the easiest retrieval in history. While he’s trying to get the belt unhooked, the lights go out. When the lights come up, Malice slides into the ring and attacks Shamrock, chokeslamming him off of the ladder. Malice then climbs the ladder himself and takes the title. Never mind that he was not a competitor in this match, and therefore, has no right to the title.

Tenay suddenly remembers that Jarrett vowed to leave with the NWA title and hints that Jarrett might be behind this, which would be a pretty stupid thing for Jarrett to do, considering how treacherous James Mitchell and his New Church are.

Winner: Even though Shamrock had the title and had it pretty much unhooked, the match is declared a no contest due to the run in and confiscation of the title by Malice.

Comment: What did I just sit through?

Overall Comments

So, how was the first TNA from the Asylum? It was okay. The matches were lackluster at best, except for a few bright spots, but the bigger story is the reset of TNA. This show was very scaled down, no pyro, or fancy stuff, much more reminiscent of how wrestling was in the 80s.

As far as storytelling, someone seems to have realized that a show based around stuff that was too trashy for the Attitude Era was probably not the best storytelling model. The storylines were taken back to basics and the other…stuff, the women who couldn’t wrestle, and the little people, were taken out. Even the dancers were more covered and not gyrating as much.

My issue with how Goldilocks, as the only woman in TNA, was treated and is still there, but in the one questionable situation that really arose, she was allowed to stand up for herself, which I did like.

The one situation I was extremely uncomfortable with was the K-Krush/Truth thing. I found the not quite calling the NWA racist while whining about racism a little hard to swallow and the hanging black men by the neck in the ring was disturbing on way too many levels to go into here, but especially to do this in the South, as was Truth calling Monty Brown an ‘Uncle Tom’. Someone needs to put the brakes on this or they’re going to start having big problems.

The NWA title situation needs to change desperately. I don’t want to say that Ken Shamrock is a bad champion, but his booking and the way the NWA title is being used is ridiculous, and tonight’s title match was a prime example. It was like they didn’t want to do another ladder match but didn’t want to make the match appear stacked in Shamrock’s favor, so they tried to do both and just created a big mess. The run in by Malice just added stupidity to the equation, though the hint that Jeff Jarrett masterminded the whole thing is at least an interesting theory.

Speaking of Jeff Jarrett, the confusing way he’s being booked is looking like they’re trying to recreate Austin vs McMahon, only it’s going to be Jeff Jarrett vs the NWA and it’s not working, mainly because Jarrett’s persona is too different from Steve Austin’s to make it work the way Austin vs McMahon did, plus the NWA people he’s up against are way too boring to be good Vince McMahon stand ins. Jarrett has proven to have the stuff to be the guy to build a brand around, but he needs better people to butt heads with to make this work.

Stinkers: Ian Harrison vs Hat Dupp. I don’t know what they were planning to do with Harrison, but whatever it was failed spectacularly. Shamrock/Sabu is a close second.

Snoozers: Apolo vs Brian Lawler. It was an okay match, but it really didn’t do either man any favors.

Match of the Night: Lynn/Styles vs Flying Elvises. This was about the only match that was actually worth watching again.

Final Thoughts: This was a rough reset of TNA, but I do think it shows some promise overall with a little more work on match quality and storytelling.


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