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Chairshot Classics: WWF SummerSlam 2001

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It’s the year of the Alliance as Booker T squares off against The Rock for the WCW Gold and Stone Cold takes on Kurt Angle for the WWF Strap. All this and more in this edition of The Chairshot Classic.

 

The date is August 19, 2001 and we are fresh off the heals of Vince McMahon’s acquisition of WCW (March 23, 2001) and ECW filing for bankruptcy (April 1, 2001). These event lead to the Invasion angle that was a big part of this SummerSlam. (You can find more on the InVasion PPV here.) The arena that will be our host for the evening in the Compaq Center in San Jose, California and we are joined by 15,293 eager fans. There is another 565,000 tuning in at home on PPV. This was almost a less significant number due to an ongoing feud with DirecTV at the time over revenue splits. The RAW Neilsen ratings for the month of August were excellent and are as follows: Aug.6-5.4, Aug.13-5.2, Aug.20-5.2, Aug.27-4.8. As always these were gathered from www.2xzone.com

 

The show opens with the music video for the theme song, “Bodies” by Drowning Pool, cut with clips of the current WWF roster. This was pretty well put together but as I’ve been re-watching a lot of these lately this one isn’t as good as some of the others. Then again, I’m sure the fifteen year old me enjoyed it.

 

The purple and green stage pyro is blasting off as we enter the Compaq Center. The fans are on their feet and have the usual sea of signs. Jim Ross tells us, “The battle for sports supremacy continues and rages on here tonight”. He continues to tell us the show is sold-out before he introduces us to his colleague for this evening, Paul Heyman. They waste no time introducing the first match and the IC Title bout is set to begin.

 

The Intercontinental Champion, Lance Storm enters first and he is defending the Alliance. Lance takes to the mic when he hit the ring and the fans give him some “BOOS” for this. He starts to speak about how he doesn’t want any shenanigans tonight but he is cut off by Edge’s theme music. When the fans hear this they come to life with excitement. Both these men spent some time training with the Hart Family, Edge with Bret and Lance more with Stu in The Dungeon. We star with the usual collar and elbow lock that slowly transitions into them exchanging some hammer locks. Storm takes a huge flapjack drop, that he no-sells. But when he bounces back to his feet, Edge is there in waiting to clothesline him from the ring. This receives a nice pop. After Edge returns him to the ring and continues to have the momentum. He gets airborne for a huge crossbody that leads to the first false finish, a two count. Storm finally goes on the offensive when he drops Edge on his midsection, over the top rope. Storm sends him off the apron next and into the security wall. He returns Edge to the ring and slaps him a few times while talking trash. He hits a lifting knee and tries to cover but Edge is quick to kick out at the count of one.

 

The pair exchange some punches but Lance is soon trying to cover again, this time after a face-first suplex. But again only a two. The crowd starts to rally for Edge as Storm delivers some kicks to the head. The rally begins with some punches to Storm’s midsection that allow Edge regain his footing. After an Irish whip Edge attempts a dropkick but Storm grabs the ropes and this leaves Edge landing flat on his back. Edge is quick with an inside cradle, but again only a two. The camera cuts to the back where members of “Team WWF” are cheering on Edge. Back in the ring Storm maintains momentum with some really boring offense. Edge attempts to counter into a tornado DDT but Storm catches him and hits a Somoa drop. Edge, again, manages to get the shoulder up. Storm goes to leap off the top rope and Edge uses Storm’s own momentum to flow into a scoopslam. This leaves both men laying on the mat as the ref begins his count. They return to their feet at the count of eight and Edge is now on the attack. After some right hands, he levels Storm with a pair of clotheslines. After an enziguri that draws a big pop, Edge goes for a cover but again only a two. Edge reverses an attempted hurricanrana next into a sit-down powerbomb and this draws an even bigger pop from the crowd. When Edge come off the rope Storm hits the drop-toe hold and transitions it into his finisher, the single-leg Boston crab. The crowd is on their feet as Edge struggles to find the ropes. He eventually makes it to them and this leads to Edge applying a single-leg crab of his own. Storms pulls the official into Edge to break the hold and incapacitate the official. This is when we see Edge’s kayfabe brother, Christian, make a run-in. Edge has said in his book that he went over the booker’s head to Vince to have the Run-in put in the match. He attempts to spear Lance Storm but he avoids the maneuver and instead Edge gets it. Storm then lays Christian out with a nice superkick and the crowd is unsure what they just witnessed. Storm goes for the pin but Edge is still kicking out. Storm goes to superkick Edge next but he catches storms foot and hits a lifting DDT. Edge follows it with a cover and this time it works. Edge get the three count and is the new Intercontinental Champion. This gives the WWF the first win of the night.  Christian joins him in the ring after to give him the title and to help celebrate. Edge is hesitant at first but he soon joins in. The match overall didn’t pace well and I thought the only highlight came from Edge. This match has the potential to be skipped over. Match Time: 11:16

 

Three of the competitors for the six man tag match are walking through the back when they are stopped by Michael Cole. He asks Test and The Dudley Boyz “why have you turned your backs on the WWF?” Test tells Cole that it was the WWF that turned its back on them. Test then compliments his boss, Shane ‘O’ Mac, and says “He knows who the cream of the crop really is”. This is a nice homage to The Macho Man here, I’d like to think.

 

Chris Jericho is in the back next and he is being questioned about his feud with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and his upcoming match with Rhyno. Someone that, Lillian Garcia says, Jericho has never beat. He says “There is a first time for everything and everyone remembers their first time.” He uses this as an opportunity to mention Stephanie’s “first time” with “The football captain, the swim captain, the captain of the basketball team and even Olaf, the foreign exchange student.” He then mentions how she has the home field advantage here because “We are in Silicon Valley.” This is just classic Jericho here and we can see why he is still a master of the profession all these years later.

 

Spike Dudley is entering when we are back in the arena and he is joined by Molly Holly. The crowd is on their feet when Faarooq and Bradshaw, or The APA, enter next and they are Spike’s partners for this six-man tag. These three will be fighting under the WWF moniker. The first member of team Alliance, Test, enters next and he receives zero reception from the crowd. Test stops and waits for his partners, D-Von and Bubba Ray Dudley, before he heads to the ring. Once the bell sounds we get Faarooq and Bubba in the ring first. Bubba unloads some punches and he is quick to tag D-Von in who continues the beating of Faarooq. Faarooq bounces back up from a pair of clotheslines but a spinning back elbow keeps him down for a moment. Test comes in next and delivers some right hands until Faarooq lands an elbow that allows him to tag Bradshaw. They hit Test with a double shoulder block before Faarooq exits the ring. Test takes a beating until he is able to counter into a back drop that enables him to put Bradshaw in the corner and make a tag. D-Von comes in and the boys hold Bradshaw so he can unload some punches. When D-Von tries to back drop Bradshaw next he gets a clubbing chop to the back instead. Next Bradshaw drives his head to the mat with a DDT that he follows with a cover. But D-Von manages to kick-out.

 

Spike gets to make his appearance next and is quick to try a pair of inside cradles that D-Von is just as quick to kick out of. Bubba takes it upon himself to slow Spike’s momentum and flapjack him onto the top rope. Bubba stays in the ring, even though no tag was made, and atomic drops Spike onto the top turnbuckle. He then yanks him to the mat by his hair so fast its hard to fathom how he didn’t get whiplash. Bubba then tags Test in who tries to drop an elbow that Spike avoids. This allows the little guy to start unloading some punches and re-enter the fight. Spike then tries to hit a tornado DDT but Test goes nowhere and slams him right to the mat. The crowd explodes before we get the shot of The Dudleyz setting some tables up outside the ring. JR says “This isn’t a tables match” to which Heyman replies “It doesn’t need to be, its a Dudley match”. Test attempts to press slam Spike out of the ring next but a well timed eye-rake saves him the painful ring exit. Both Dudleyz come in now and send Spike sky-high with a pancake drop. Bubba goes for the cover but Spike is still kicking out. D-Von tags in next and tries to come off the second rope onto Spike. He manages to move and the crowd is popping for the hot tag as they chant “APA”. Bradshaw and Test both come in off tags and Bradshaw sends him “post-to-post”, meeting him with clotheslines both times. D-Von comes in but Bradshaw lays him out with a big boot. Bubba is in next, but so is Faarooq, and The APA deliver a double spinebuster on Bubba that looks just brutal. Bradshaw delivers a huge powerbomb onto D-Von next but the cover is broken up when Bubba pulls Bradshaw from the ring by his foot. Spike comes running in to attempt his finisher, The Acid Drop, on Test but he just catches Spike and tosses him over the top rope. Of course he flies through the table on the outside, that The Dudleyz had set up earlier. Bradshaw lays Test out with a Clothesline From Hell but there is no ref to count the cover. As the ref is on the outside attending to Spike. Shane ‘O’ Mac comes from left field here to lay Bradshaw out with a chairshot and the crowd is going bonkers. Test rolls over to make the cover and the ref counts the three. The match as a whole wasn’t bad and was better than the first one on the card. My main takeaway here is how much punishment little Spike Dudley can and would take. If time is a factor though, don’t be afraid to fast-forward this match. Match Time:7:19

 

There is a quick clip of Edge being celebrated by Team WWF when Christian‘s phone rings and it is their grandmother. She quickly ask Christian to speak with Edge so she can congratulate him on his win. When Edge hands the phone back so Christian can talk to her but the line is dead. Another quick clip follows this one before we return to action. It’s Debra and she is joined by Meat, who is trying to learn how to win Steve Austin’s favor. Meat was named for the bulge we see in his pants and was used to show that the WWF isn’t afraid to objectify men either. He was used by the ladies in the locker room, hence making him a piece of Meat. She tells him to leave and that Steve Austin to busy preparing to defend The Alliance is his match versus Kurt Angle. Meat A.K.A. Shawn Stasiak is the son of former WWWF Champion Stan Stasiak. He has since retired from wrestling and is now employed as a chiropractor.


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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