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Chairshot Classics: WWF SummerSlam 1998

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Stone Cold versus The Undertaker, The Rock and Triple H in a ladder match for the IC Title and a total of four championship matches in this Chairshot Classic.

For this edition of Chairshot Classics we keep the ball rolling with SummerSlam 98. The WWE Time Machine takes us into Madison Square Garden and the day is August 30. The WWF is finally ahead in the Monday Night Wars, out-performing Nitro on a weekly basis. The ratings for the previous month are as follows: 6/8 Monday Night Raw-4.3, Nitro-4, 6/15 RAW-4.3, Nitro-4, 6/22 RAW-4.3, Nitro-4.1, 6/29 RAW-5.4, Nitro-4.1. The Garden was jammed packed with 21,588 fans and another 700,000 watching on PPV. The 700K tuned in at home, who pay 30 bucks each, is a record that is still 2nd all time today and the most for a SummerSlam.

The opening vignette comes on the screen and shows the build up to The Undertaker/Austin feud, that also includes Kane. The video shows Austin being tormented by The Brothers of Darkness and his to Kane in a first blood match at the previous PPV, King of the Ring. Stone Cold would win the title back though on the following nights RAW. The opening ends with Vince McMahon saying “With Kane at your side, you will be the WWF Champion once again.” This wasn’t the best opener I’ve seen, but it did the job I guess. The camera enters the sold-out arena as Jim Ross welcomes us to the tenth annual SummerSlam and introduces his partner for the night, Jerry “The King” Lawler. JR tells us that four Titles will be defended tonight starting with the first match.

The challenger, Val Venis enters the arena first and is wearing his signature towel. He gets on the mic and greets the crowd with his “Hello Ladies” and proceeds to talk about the women of NYC, and getting some positive reactions. For those that don’t know Venis was a porn star themed gimmick that was pretty well received. This was definitely a Vince Russo idea. The Big Valbowski finishes with “I came, I saw and I came again.” Kicking the show off in proper Attitude Era fashion with some semen jokes, nice. The European Champion and Nation of Domination member, D-Lo Brown enters next with his neck on a swivel and talkin’ smack the whole time. I always was a fan of D-Lo and think he will be entering the Hall of Fame in the coming years. JR mentions the chest protector that D-Lo is wearing to protect an injured Pectoral Muscle. This would be the theme of the match. After some collar and elbow locks, that seem to go on forever, Brown gains the advantage when Val attempts to chop the chest of D-Lo, but encounters the chest protector. This hurts the wrist of Venis and allows Brown the edge. He works Val with various splashes protecting the chest. Venis avoids a splash in the corner and regains some steam with a Russian leg sweep. D-Lo soon leaves the ring to stop the gaining momentum of Venis.

When Brown re-enters the pair go back and fourth, mostly trading Irish whips. Val receives the first big pop when, off the ropes, he lifts D-Lo for a nice spinebuster slam. This leads to the first near fall, a two count. At this point we are shown a member of The Brood, Edge, in the crowd. They continue to trade momentum and D-Lo gets his first nice pop after an elbow drop from the second rope. This leads to another two count. The crowd really pops when Brown puts Venis in a Texas cloverleaf. It seemed to me that the hold wasn’t applied quite right and it led to it being released soon after it was locked on. Brown Val avoids a senton from the second rope. This would allow the crowd to start to rally behind Venis for a comeback and he does. Val is set to deliver the Money Shot on D-Lo, sounds bad I know, but Brown catches Venis mid-air and lands the powerbomb. This was nicely executed and the crowd popped as well. But this, too, would only garner a two count from the ref. A driving DDT follows but again only the near fall. Brown goes to the top rope but Val catches him this time and drives him to the mat with a powerslam. But yet again, another false finish that leaves the crowd bummed. Val continues to mount the offensive and after a few suplexs, D-Lo is in the middle of the ring and Venis is climbing the ropes. Val Venis attempts the Money Shot, a hybrid frogsplash, but Brown manages to raise the knees and the crowd is in disbelief. D-Lo attempts to powerbomb Val but the spot is blown and he drops Venis sloppily to the mat. He attempts it again and is successful this time with a sitting powerbomb variant. This sets up for one of my favorite versions of the frogsplash, The Lo-Down. D-Lo leaps from the top and pumps for the splash but Venis manages to roll out of harms way. This allows for Val to regain the edge and remove the chest protector from D-Lo, which he then puts on himself. The ref tries to stop him from climbing the turnbuckles and in doing so causes Val to fall on the “Big Valbowski” and this turns the heat up with the crowd. This leads to Val shoving the ref and Brown regaining the momentum and his chest protector. Before the match can continue the bell rings and Val Venis is DQed for shoving the official. D-Lo retains and Val Venis goes on to Money Shot the referee.

I don’t know if it’s because I always liked D-Lo Brown, but I really enjoyed this match and think it was a strong opening to the show. There was a good story, with the chest protector, and it even had a good finish.. The chemistry was decent and this match is definitely worth taking a look at. My only gripe would be not seeing D-Lo’s frogsplash and having to type “Money Shot.”  Match Time: 15:31

A quick clip of Michael Cole in the back is up next. He is joined by the disgruntled Mankind and talking about the hearse that was destroyed by Stone Cold on Sunday Night Heat. Mankind, sledgehammer in hand, is upset because he says he planned to put Kane in that hearse tonight, but is optimistic that he can still find some use for the sledgehammer.

 

We return to the arena and we see Kai-En-Tai enter. They are made up of Dick Togo, Mens Teioh, Sho Funaki, Taka Michinuko and their manager Yamaguchi-San. We see their opponents in the ring already and its because the WWE Network has edited out their entrance, as it was performed by the Insane Clown Posse. I don’t know what the reasoning is but it can’t be seen on the Network. Kai-En-Tai’s opponents are The Oddities and are made up of Giant Silva, Golga and Kurrgan. They are joined at ringside by Luna Vachon and the Insane Clown Posse or Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J. This is real life. I would usually take the time to break down some career highlights of some of these lesser known talents but this is so bad I’m not going to waste the time on such a pile of garbage.

 

The match is a gimmick, if you cant tell, and is not really worth the server space it will take up. Still, I will give the highlights. Kai-En-Tai all deliver frogsplashes to the downed Golga but this wouldn’t do much as he hits them all with a quadruple clothesline. The crowd eagerly awaits the hot tag that leads to everyone being in the ring. The biggest pop comes when Luna stops Yamaguchi-San from interfering by delivering a scoopslam. This finish would come after a quad-chokeslam leads to Golga covering all the members of Kai-En-Tai. This was indeed trash and the highlight would have been the ICP entrance theme but we don’t even get that pleasure on the Network. The only reason I could find for this is that the Insane Clown Posse left on bad terms after the WWE didn’t fulfill their end of the bargain due to failing to show commercials for a new ICP album during RAW. Move past this as quickly as possible. Match Time: 10:08

Jeff Jarrett would enter next and is joined by Southern Justice. Southern Justice is the re-packaged pig farming brothers, The Godwinns. You can read more on the Godwinns in my other Chairshot Classics found here. There is a special stipulation to this match, JR tells us, as it is a Hair versus Hair match. Double J is carrying his “Don’t Piss Me Off” guitar to ringside. The crowd is giving him some low heat as we see a clip, again from Heat, of Southern Justice and Jarrett shaving the head of Finkel. Jarrett advises the crowd to “Don’t Piss Him Off” and we see Sergeant Slaughter, the acting commissioner, tell Southern Justice to vacate ringside. We hear the X-Pac version of the D-X music come on and the crowd is popping as he enters with Howard Finkel at his side. The Fink is wearing a Degeneration-X shirt and a freshly shaved head. We even get some tandem “crotch chops” from the pair as pyro goes off in the ring behind them. X-Pac takes to the mic before the match calling Jeff a “Biotch” before Finkel tells him to “Suck it”. Great stuff here.

Jeff Jarrett would try to land a sneak attack but this would lead to some quick paced back and fourth. Pac would come out ahead after a spinning heal kick followed by a clothesline that sends Double J to the outside. And the crowd is popping for the highly energized X-Pac. They really start to pop after Pac jumps to the outside with a crossbody block from the second turnbuckle. Jarrett would finally mount an offensive with a pair of missle dropkicks. The second of which sends Pac over the top rope and to the outside. The fight continues to the outside and Jarrett atomic drops X-Pac into the ring post. Jarrett maintains with some whiplashing Irish whips to the turnbuckles. Pac finally slows the mounting attack with a tornado DDT of the second buckle. The “Let’s Go X-Pac” chants begin as both men are prone on the mat. The pair slow down and trade some rest-hold sleepers on each other. Jeff comes out on top by reversing the sleeper with an atomic drop onto the top rope. Pac tries to slow Jarrett with a spinning heel kick but he ducks under it and this allows him to try and apply the figure four. Pac is trying to escape but Jeff manages a few near falls in the process. He eventually gets the ropes forcing Jarrett to release the hold. He does so but is quickly pulling Pac to the middle to try and re-apply it. X-Pac manages to escape by kicking the ass of Jarrett and sending him tackling the ring post. He follows up with a back body drop that leaves both men on the mat. Pac counters a few punches that set up a Bronco Buster. He follows it up with an Irish whip to the corner but Jeff meets him there with an elbow. Jarrett attempts a crossbody from the top but Pac rolls through and gets the two count. Jarrett is on the receiving end of a sitdown powerbomb, after his hurricanrana is countered, when we hear the crowd pop again but this only manages another two count for X-Pac. Finkel is soon on the apron arguing with the ref after Jarrett countered the Bronco Buster with a low blow. This leads to a him being laid out by Jarrett and this turns the heat back on with the crowd.

Finkel’s distraction allows for X-Pac to sneak in a X-Factor but somehow Jarrett still manages to kick out. Southern Justice would re-enter ringside next and Mark Canterbury, formerly Henry Godwinn, tries to pull Double J from the ring. This distracts the ref and allows Dennis Knight, AKA Phineas, to try and land the guitar shot on X-Pac. Pac manages to duck under the shot and stunner Knight off the apron. He takes the guitar and explodes it over the head of Jarrett. He throws the remaining fragments from the ring and goes for the cover. The crowd counts along as the ref pounds the mat for a three count, and Double J is set to lose those luscious locks. Southern Justice tries to save Jarrett but The New Age Outlaws are soon out at ringside and stopping them with chairs. They would guard the ring as Droz, who lost his hair at the hands of Jarrett, and The Headbangerz enter to hold Jeff. Pac would start with some clippers but would have to resort to scissors because the clippers quit working. This was a decent match and the in-ring work of X-Pac is phenomenal. Some of the spots in this match reminded me of the style of NJPW today. I would recommend watching this one and if for no other reason than to watch J-E-double F J-A-double R-E-double-T get those blonde locks chopped. After the match we see Method Man, as JR say of the Wu-Tang Clan, in the audience. Match Time 11:10


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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Chairshot Classics

Taking Over: Greg DeMarco’s Look at WWE NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way (9/11/14)

“Taking Over” continues as we see how Takeover Fatal 4-Way (9/11/14) holds up today!

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WWE NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way Neville Tyson Kidd Tyler Breeze Sami Zayn

Greg DeMarco takes a look back at the second NXT Takeover in the first edition of “Taking Over” as we march towards WWE NXT Takeover XXV!

WWE NXT Takeover is turning 25 on June 1! Well, sort of… On June 1, WWE NXT will present the 25th Takeover event, a stand-alone show from Connecticut–which I wouldn’t call the heart of WWE, but the brain. I am taking a look back at the first 24 to see just how far we’ve come. Join me for “Taking Over,” my look back at the first 24 Takeover events.

Prior editions:

NXT Takeover Fatal 4 Way
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentary Team: Tom Phillips, Renee Young, and Byron Saxton

  • NXT Tag Team Championship: Lucha Dragons beat The Ascension to win the championships – A good match, but not great. It’s a far cry from what the Takeover opening tag team match would become. Big pop for the finish, though.
  • Baron Corbin beat CJ Parker – This was back when I hated Baron Corbin. Wait, that was yesterday. Anyway, this is a squash to elevate Baron Corbin, even though we didn’t get a true entrance for Corbin. Corbin’s hair didn’t look terribl ehere, in fact it looked better than CJ’s. According to commentary, this was Corbin’s NXT debut. Huge pop for the End Of Days. In fact, Crbin was crazy over here.
  • Hair vs. Hair Match – Sylvester Lefort vs. Enzo Amore – NXT was definitely more “developmental” at this time, and this match showed it. Both these guys had the personalities to excel, but never pans out. They worked hard and did get the crowd invested, which is job #1.
  • Hideo Itami NXT debut promo – Thi sis where he shifts from KENTA to Hideo Itami, , and he cut most of the promo in Japanese. The Ascension would come out and eventually attack, but Itami got the upperhand in the end. This was an insanely promising start to his WWE career. The visual of him sitting in a chair begging them both to get back in the ring was amazing.
  • Bull Dempsey vs. Mojo Rawley – Quick win for Bull Dempsey, who should have been a bigger deal. He’d be a great fit at NXT UK. His theme song is still the most underrated they’ve ever made.
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair successfully defended against Bayley – Bayley, just like everyone, was crazy over at Full Sail. Her “childhood dream” gimmick can only go so far, though. Charlotte Flair was the decided heel here, and showed signs of the greatness she’d achieve while also showing how green she was. Charlotte was absolutely ripped here. Charlotte nailed a terrible looking moonsault that the announce team didn’t know how to sell. Charlotte won with Natural Selection, which may have been an audible after the moonsault debacle as you can hear Bayley call for the spot. It’s amazing what Charlotte has become. Sasha Banks attacked Bayley after,and Charlotte
  • NXT Championship: Adrian Neville successfully defended against Tyson Kidd, Sami Zayn, and Tyler Breeze – One hell of a match, and I remember how great the build was. Breeze won a #1 contender match but had his title match interrupted by Kidd, Kidd and Zayn were eventually here to make it a Fatal 4-Way. I really thought Breeze would win here, but that was really wishful thinking on my part. This match was one-fall rules. Tyson Kidd’s Sharpshooter is criminally underrated. Neville shows heel tendencies here, pulling the referee out of the ring before he can count the three in Zayn’s favor (legal in a 4-way match), Neville would then superkick Zayn on the floor and pin Kidd after a Red Arrow. The story after the match was Zayn’s reaction and dejection, setting up the obvious main event for the next Takeover. I loved the character shift for Neville, winning “by means necessary” and showing signs of the amazing heel we’d see later.

Where are they now:

  • The Ascension – Konnor & Viktor are on Raw, and are basically an afterthought after being repackaged as a ripoff of late 80s/early 90s tag teams like The Road Warriors.
  • Kalisto – Doing very little as a member of the Lucha House Party on Raw, but he’s also a former NXT Tag Team Champion and 2-time United States Champion, along with a former Cruiserweight Champion.
  • Sin Cara – Still wearing that cursed mask, so he’s injured.
  • Baron Corbin – Sucking on the main roster! He’s been a Money In The Bank briefcase holder (he lost his cash in), Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, and United States Champion. He was also Constable Corbin and the General Manager of Raw. He retired Kurt Angle. And he sucks.
  • CJ Parker – He is likely best known for being Kevin Owens’ first NXT opponent, and busting his nose in the process. He left WWE, and is now back to working as Juice Robinson in ROH and New Japan, where he is the IWGP United States Champion (although you wouldn’t know it by watching their product).
  • Sylvester Lefort – He ended up getting released in early 2016, went to TNA to be part of The Tribunal under his name Tom LaRuffa. He worked there through the end of 2016, before returning to Europe where he remains active to this day.
  • Enzo Amore – Ugh…he went to the main roster with Big Cass (on Raw) and Carmella (on Smackdown), working as a team until they broke up in what was actually a good angle. He eventually showed up on 205 Live, where he drew some good heat, but ended up leaving the company for outside the ring issues. He’s released some rap songs/videos, and made an ill-fated appearance at ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard.
  • Hideo Itami – Such a promising start, he had a good run in NXT that included a NXT Championship shot at Bobby Roode. He went to 205 Live, but failed to become Cruiserweight Champion. He eventually requested his release and returned home to Japan.
  • Bull Dempsey – He had a small NXT run before being released, and works as Bull James on the independents, mostly in the Northeast United States.
  • Bayley – She’d have a better run later with Sasha Banks, before moving to the main roster and holding the Raw Women’s Championship. She won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship with Sasha Banks, and is not on Smackdown.
  • Charlotte Flair – Just main evented WrestleMania, is an 8-time Women’s Champion, and is one of the very best performers of either gender on the main roster.
  • Sami Zayn – A mid-card player on the main roster, just recently returned from injury and is doing some great character work on Raw. Also (briefly) held the NXT Championship but was just the transitional champion from Neville to Kevin Owens.
  • Tyler Breeze – Moved to the main roster too soon, found some critical success with Fandago as the Fashion Police, has floundered during Fandango’s injury recovery, is back in NXT and working a program with Velveteen Dream.
  • Tyson Kidd – Career cut short by injury after holding tag team gold, and now works as a producer behind the scenes.
  • Neville – Had a respectable main roster run before taking over (pun intended) WWE 205 Live. That alignment led to his eventual downfall when he didn’t want to put Enzo Amore over strong after being pushed to the kickoff in his match with Austin Aries. He’s currently preparing to face Adam Page at All Elite Wrestling’s Double Or Nothing event.

Overall Impression

Renee young was better than I remember on commentary here. Overall this was a good show that, outside of the main event, wouldn’t hold up against the Takeover events of the past few years. But the foundation was being laid, and this should be evaluated as such. The main event was spectacular, and this was a rare Takeover with six matches. Those, plus two other in-ring segments, still went just under two hours. All four members of the main event wrestled on the Raw before this, and that decision, along with this match, can really be credited with the early rise in populary of NXT.

One additional thing that’s quite evident in watching these events, is now much easier it is for the talent to stay in perfect shape in NXT as they’re spending less time on the road. You can see the differences in Charlotte, Bayley, Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, and others.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Taking Over: Greg DeMarco’s Look at WWE NXT Takeover I (5/24/14)

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WWE NXT Takeover Neville Tyson Kidd

Greg DeMarco takes a look back at the first NXT Takeover in the first edition of “Taking Over” as we march towards WWE NXT Takeover XXV!

WWE NXT Takeover is turning 25 on June 1! Well, sort of… On June 1, WWE NXT will present the 25th Takeover event, a stand-alone show from Connecticut–which I wouldn’t call the heart of WWE, but the brain. I am taking a look back at the first 24 to see just how far we’ve come. Join me for “Taking Over,” my look back at the first 24 Takeover events.

NXT Takeover
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentary Team: Tom Phillips, William Regal, and Byron Saxton

  • Adam Rose beat Camacho – A solid opener, which was more about furthering the character of Adam Rose and the Rosebuds. Notable Rosebuds on this night included Ryan Katz (currently Creative Producer for WWE/NXT), Becky Lynch (just main evented WrestleMania), Carmella (she’s F A B U L O U S, and is a former Smackdown Women’s Champion), and Braun Strowman (he’s in the Andre The Giant role).
  • NXT Tag Team Championship: The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) successfully defend against Kalisto & El Local – This was  a step above a glorified squash. The world likely won’t remember them this way, but The Ascension were total bad asses in NXT.
  • NXT Championship #1 Contender: Tyler Breeze beat Sami Zayn – Both guys were on their game here. Zayn of course went on to be NXT Champion and Breeze was called up to NXT too soon. Zayn would lose this match to Breeze, but both men would compete for the NXT Championship at the next Takeover. The crowd was insanely into this match, and it build beautifully to the finish. the finish, by the way, was amazing as Breeze blocked the Helluva Kick but inadvertently low-blows Sami in the process. One Beauty Shot later and Tyler Breeze is the #1 contender to the NXT Championship.
  • Rusev promo, with Lana, that’s interrupted by Mojo Rawley – I am pretty sure this is where Rusev’s theme introduction comes from. Mojo wasn’t ready yet, but he still owned his character…which at this point was a bargain basement “hype” John Cena. Rusev was already looking like the man.
  • Vacant NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair beat Natalya – Ric Flair accompanied Charlotte to the ring, who wasn’t taking the “Flair” name yet. Natalya was accompanied by Bret Hart because, well, symmetry. Charlotte was obviously green here, and didn’t have nearly the work done she has now. Natalya is actually in better physical condition now, five years later. The match served as a vehicle to get the NXT Women’s Championship onto Charlotte, and it served that purpose. Charlotte Flair would obviously grow into her role and is not one of the best performers on the main roster.
  • NXT Championship: Adrian Neville successfully defended against Tyson Kidd – Given their leadership roles on the main roster today, it’s no surprise that Natalya and Tyson Kidd were a part of the early success of NXT. The crowd was hot for this match, and both men delivered. Of note: before Neville hits the Red Arrow on Tyson, Tom Phillips notes that Kidd is in the drop zone. Take that, Michael Cole!

Where are they now:

  • Adam Rose – About to wrestle his last match, ever, against Bull James.
  • Camacho – One half of the Guerrillas Of Destiny as Tanga Loa, along with his adoptive brother Tama Tonga, running wild in Bullet Club and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • The Ascension – Konnor & Viktor are on Raw, and are basically an afterthought after being repackaged as a ripoff of late 80s/early 90s tag teams like The Road Warriors.
  • Kalisto – Doing very little as a member of the Lucha House Party on Raw, but he’s also a former NXT Tag Team Champion and 2-time United States Champion, along with a former Cruiserweight Champion.
  • El Local – The former Ricardo Rodriguez is no longer with the company, and is working the California independents.
  • Sami Zayn – A mid-card player on the main roster, just recently returned from injury and is doing some great character work on Raw. Also (briefly) held the NXT Championship but was just the transitional champion from Neville to Kevin Owens.
  • Tyler Breeze – Moved to the main roster too soon, found some critical success with Fandago as the Fashion Police, has floundered during Fandango’s injury recovery, is back in NXT and working a program with Velveteen Dream.
  • Rusev & Lana – Multiple time United States Champion, feuds with John Cena and AJ Styles just to name a few, and sadly not a lead heel on either brand like they should be. They’re also not supporting Russia, like, at all.
  • Mojo Rawley – Moved up in the first draft of the modern era, teamed with Zack Ryder before breaking up, cut a series of intriguing mirror promos, but hasn’t really done much. He did win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33, though.
  • Charlotte Flair – Just main evented WrestleMania, is an 8-time Women’s Champion, and is one of the very best performers of either gender on the main roster.
  • Natalya – Back on the main roster and serves as the veteran presence, and delivers in a big way nearly every time out.
  • Tyson Kidd – Career cut short by injury after holding tag team gold, and now works as a producer behind the scenes.
  • Neville – Had a respectable main roster run before taking over (pun intended) WWE 205 Live. That alignment led to his eventual downfall when he didn’t want to put Enzo Amore over strong after being pushed to the kickoff in his match with Austin Aries. He’s currently preparing to face Adam Page at All Elite Wrestling’s Double Or Nothing event.

Overall Impression of WWE NXT Takeover I

For starters, I love hearing William Regal on commentary–he adds so much. Nigel McGuinness should be playing this exact role. The commentary team also had longer spells where they let the action speak for itself, and it really worked (especially in the main event). Byron Saxton is also quite underrated as he was money tonight. Overall, this was a really good that followed the NXT Takeover 5-match format. The first two matches weren’t really in doubt, but things really kicked up for the last three. Great show.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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