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Chairshot Classics: WWF SummerSlam 97

Bret vs Undertaker with HBK as ref, Austin vs Owen, Bulldog vs Shamrock, HHH vs Mankind and more!

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SummerSlam 97
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The day is August 3, 1997 and The WWF and WCW are in the middle of the heated, Monday Night Wars. We are in the midst of the WCW’s 83 week run but the WWF is starting to make some noise with the “Attitude Era”. The ratings leading up to SummerSlam are as follows: 7/07- RAW- 2.15 WCW-3.4, 7/14- RAW- 2.6 WCW-3.5, on 7/21 there wasn’t a Nitro, 7/28- RAW-2.9 WCW-3.4.  20,213 fans are in the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey and another 235,000 estimated to be tuning in on PPV. This is a positive for the WWF at the time, as last years SummerSlam only had 157K PPV buys. Stridex is again the major sponsor and the theme songs for the evening are “Real City” and “Queen’s Finest” by Jim Johnston. This is also the first televised event in New Jersey in 8 years for the WWF. More on that later.

The show opens with the crowd standing, hands on hearts, as The National Anthem is being played. Except for Vince, who’s hand is on his belly. The crowd gives a standing ovation when the song comes to an end. The narrator comes on next and tells us all about the WWF being broadcast to “more than half a billion people worldwide” each week.

The opening vignette comes on and it is one of the best that I can recall. The narrator begins with “In a perfect world there would be no villains, no conspicuous manifestations of hate. Heroes remain heroes forever.” It shows this to be true, calling Bret Hart a “Fallen Idol” and “America’s Public Enemy Number One.” Bret is the hot heel and the heat is still there from the amazing PPV the month prior, Canadian Stampede. (More on that here) It shows the events leading to the Main Event and some of the things the narrator uses to describe The Undertaker are phenomenal. Things like “Survivor of Deception” and “Conquer of All Earthly Hell.” It finishes by showing why Shawn Michaels had to vacate the Title and is the special referee in the Main Event. The narrator describes it as “Surrendering your boyhood dream to search for the Lost Smile of Youth.” Even if you have no intention of watching this show, I would recommend you go out of your way to watch this vignette.

We enter the arena and the crowd is hyped up for SummerSlam “Hart and Soul”. The pyro is blasting and we can see the steel cage around the ring for the first match. Vince McMahon introduces his team for the night, “Good Ole JR” or Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. JR tells us that “three titles will be on the line tonight”, as Vince introduces the first match of the night.

The “1997 King of the Ring”, Hunter Hearst Helmsley makes his way to arena first and is joined by Chyna. She goes to work checking the perimeter of the old-school, blue cage as Hunter climbs the corner of it and curtsies. The crowd pops when “the demented” Mankind makes his way down the aisle and he waste no time entering the structure. As he is entering Vince tells us that New Jersey Governor, Christie Todd Whitman would join the broadcast, live, later. Helmsley doesn’t waste anytime either because as soon as the bell sounds he tries to run to the door and escape. Mankind grabs the waist of Hunter and manages to make the save. He drags Hunter back in the ring by his feet and goes to work with some blows to the head. As soon as Helmsley reaches his feet he tries to escape, this time by climbing the cage, but Mankind grabs a handful of tights and slams him to the mat. The momentum is still in Foley’s favor for a bit and the crowd pops after a running knee to the face of the prone Helmsley. The “BANG BANG” finger guns he follows it up with send the crowd into a frenzy. After he hits a pulling piledriver, Mankind is headed for the door to make an exit. Chyna is waiting there and keeps the door shut. The bumps in this match do not disappoint.

As the ref is having words with Chyna, Mankind raises he arm in anticipation of the Mandible Claw. When he puts the claw on Hunter the crowd is, again, going bonkers.  Helmsley manages to back Mankind into the cage and this allows Chyna to climb up and choke Mankind with a leather strap. It does break the hold and both men are on the mat. Mankind gets the advantage, after a little back and fourth, and is soon climbing the corner of the cage. When he begins to crest the top, Chyna is there waiting and delivers an ass punch. This allows Hunter to climb up and suplex Mankind off the top of the cage. The bump doesn’t look friendly for either man. Helmsley goes for the exit but when the official opens it he changes his mind and instead tells him to close it. Hunter stays on the offensive by using the cage as a weapon. After a few Irish whips to the cage, he curtsies on the downed Mankind and the crowd puts the heat on Helmsley. He beats Mankind off the cage before trying to climb and escape. After one leg is over Mankind makes the diving save by grabbing the ankle of Hunter. This causes a wishbone of sorts but Helmsley manages to kick him down and send him falling to the mat. Mankind pulls him back in the ring and they exchange some moves. There is a really cool spot in this sequence when Mankind attempts to suplex Hunter but hooks his feet atop the cage instead. When he splashes into the inverted Helmsley next the crowd goes nuts. Helmsley gets his foot caught in the ropes after he and Mankind have a tightrope fight. Mankind attempts to escape through the door but Chyna is there, once again, to make the save. The shot to the head of Foley, from Chyna, really concussed him. She attacks the ref next, who is giving her the business. Chyna climbs the cage next so she can throw a chair to Hunter. Helmsley sets up the Pedigree but Mankind pulls his legs out from under him, causing his head to hit the chair. The next spot is pretty sweet. Mankind slingshots Hunter into the cage, hitting Chyna and knocking her of the cage and into the railing. The crowd is wild and they can’t contain themselves when Mankind hits his patented, Double Arm DDT. Mankind makes his way up the cage and start to descend when the magic happens. I’m sure this next spot is a memorable spot in Mick Foley’s legendary career. Mankind, at about two feet from the bottom, stops and removes the mask, as he is eyeing the top of the cage. He begins to climb back up and the crowd is chanting “Super Fly”. The significance of this being that the very thing that made Foley want to join the business was watching “Super Fly” Jimmy Snuka leap from the top of the cage at Madison Square Garden onto  “Magnificent” Muraco. And here he is about to replicate it.

Mankind tears his shirt open and you can see a faint heart painted on his chest, an homage to his teenage wrestling gimmick, Dude Love. When Foley comes soaring of the top of the cage, to deliver the elbow, the crowd erupts. This is pure wrestling magic and what the business is all about. Mankind returns to his feet and begins to climb out but Chyna is in the ring and trying to pull Hunter out. Mankind falls from the cage and the crowd erupts as Mankind is the winner. As Mankind lays on the mat, presumably unconscious, we hear Dude Love’s theme song come on. Slowly, Mankind’s foot starts to tap and before long he is on his feet dancing. And Dude Love is alive. I usually try not to play-by-matches but its hard not to when there are so many great spots in a match. Every time I watch an old match between these two legends it reaffirms that moniker. This is a must watch match for an wresting fan. Match Time: 16:13

We see the Stridex Blimp in the arena before Todd Pentingill introduces NJ Governor, Christie Todd Whitman. She is joined by The Headbangerz and Gorilla Monsoon. We see a picture of The Undertaker, with Whitman, from a newspaper that reads “Whitman buries tax on wresting events”. This why the WWF returned to New Jersey. This is what led to Vince calling it “Sports Entertainment”, as to avoid paying a tax to the Athletic Commission. Todd thanks her for removing the tax. WWF President, Gorilla Monsoon makes her a honorary WWF Champion. The whole “Sports Entertainment” thing caused some controversy with some of the older guys, as it broke kayfabe, but it was for the best and allowed the business to grow.

 

Vince and JR tell us the stipulations to next match, between Brian Pillman and Goldust. If Pillman loses he has to wear a dress on the following nights RAW. Weird stuff, but what can you expect from “The Loose Cannon”, Pillman. Vince introduces us to two members of the crowd, Tiger Jeet Singh and his son, Tiger Ali Singh. Jeet was a former wrestler, in mostly Japan, and once held the Asia Heavyweight Championship in NJPW. Vince says “We expect to see Tiger Ali Singh here in the WWF very soon.” Ali never really panned out in the WWF even though he was with the company from 97-02. He tried to sue the company for 7 million dollars over an injury, but famed WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Next we see the tailgate party, that took place in the parking lot of the arena. Vince calls it a “beach party” as apparently sand was dumped into the parking area. They have various Superstars on hand for the reported “15,000-20,000” fans. I’ve heard that the crowd response died out toward the end of the show due to people being exhausted from the heat and booze.

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Chairshot Classics: WCW Beach Blast ’93 – A Day At The Beach, A Night For Revenge

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Open: Eric Bischoff & Missy Hyatt open the show. They discuss title matches including the Iron Man match for the United States Championship, and Ric Flair pursuing the NWA title once again. Jesse Ventura is running late to be at ringside as he’s hanging out at a tiki bar with some ladies.

Match #1 for the WCW World Television Championship: WCW World Television Champion ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff vs. ‘All-American’ Ron Simmons
Simmons gets the crowd riled up as some chant “Paula”. Orndorff is irate. Simmons knocks him off the apron and goes on the attack on the floor. He rolls Orndorff back in the ring, kicks in the gut and knocks him down with a right. He sends Orndorff for a back elbow and follows it with a drop kick. A lateral press for two and Orndorff rolls out. The crowd gets on his case some more. He slowly steps back in. They feel each other out, drop toe hold from Mr. Wonderful but Simmons moves from the elbow.

Simmons grabs a wristlock and works over the arm.Simmons converts into a hammerlock, broken up with an elbow. Orndorff keeps striking with elbows and rights. Irish whip and Simmons moves out of the way. The All American goes back on offense and grabs an arm bar. They hit the ropes, Orndorff ducks a clothesline and jumps on Simmons’ back with a sleeper. He shoves the former world champion into the corner and scores with a belly to back suplex. Orndorff heads up top and Simmons dodges the knee. Ron works over the knee that he just landed on, stomping it down on the mat from behind. More kicks to the inside of the knee and Simmons uses the bottom rope for more leverage. Simmons locks in a figure four but Orndorff was too close to the ropes.

Orndorff rolls outside and baits Simmons. He pulls the challenger out to the floor and ambushes him. Simmons rolls back in and Orndorff is still on the attack, grabbing a reverse chinlock. Simmons works to his feet, breaks the hold and lands a shoulder tackle. Orndorff comes right back with a high knee lift, and he drops that knee across Simmons’ jaw. Front face lock by the champ, Simmons scores some body shots, breaking the hold. Irish whip but Orndorff gets his foot up. Lateral press and Simmons kicks out. Orndorff goes back to the reverse chin lock, the crowd cheers Simmons on. Simmons tries fighting from his knees, Orndorff measures him with rights.

Reverse whip to the ropes and Simmons scores with a powerslam and gets a two count. Orndorff with a shot to the throat, he sends Simmons to the ropes, a backbody drop is reversed with a sunset flip and the champ kicks out. Orndorff sends him again but Simmons stops short of a dropkick. Simmons sends Orndorff for a big clothesline, sends him again for a back elbow and Orndorff again kicks out. Front facelock and a snap suplex by Simmons but Orndorff is too close to the ropes. Orndorff changes momentum with a thumb to the eye, he sets Simmons up for a piledriver and it’s reversed with a backdrop over the top rope, prompting a DQ.
Winner and STILL WCW World Television Champ: ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: Simmons doesn’t realize he’s been disqualified and sets up Orndorff for a top rope shoulder tackle. The ref explains what happens and Orndorff tries to blindside Simmons with the belt. The challenger ducks and turns the fate on the champ. He poses with the belt as Orndorff retreats.
  • EA’s TakeIt’s been a while since I’ve seen Ron on a PPV. He was hot leading into his 1992 championship win, but his reign was somewhat underwhelming and then he got hurt. Great to see the fans give him a good response, but part of it was the fact that Orndorff was getting great heat as the injury really derailed all the momentum Simmons had prior.

Match #2: Marcus Alexander Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce
Pierce and Bagwell start us out and lock up quickly, Pierce with position in the corner. He breaks it off and the crowd boos at his taunting. Collar and elbow, side headlock by Bagwell, they hit the ropes and collide twice with shoulder blocks. They go for a third time, Bagwell with a baseball slide under Pierce’s legs, he ducks a clothesline and lands a cross body. Slazenger charges in, Scorpio helps his partner and they double team the big man face first on the mat. Scorpio tries to elevate over the top rope and it prompts an all out brawl on the entrance ramp. The Texan team bails to the floor and the babyfaces hold the ring.

Slazenger is tagged in to face Bagwell, he taunts Scorpio and they oblige with a tag. Scorpio dances and Slazenger doesn’t like it. Collar and elbow tie up, Slazenger with the side headlock into the ropes. Slazenger wins with a shoulder tackle. Scorpio hits the ropes and he is hit with a huge back drop. Slazenger sits him on the top rope. Scorpio blocks strikes and scores with a big cross body. He follows with a drop kick and an arm drag, and holds on with an arm bar. Bagwell is tagged back in for a double team hip toss. He latches on with a wrist lock and Tex fights out with forearms. Pierce is tagged back in, he’s caught with a drop toe hold.

They hit the ropes, Pierce with a shoulder tackle. Bagwell leapfrogs him twice and scores with an arm drag, hanging onto the wrist. Pierce with a forearm and a scoop slam. Tag is made to Slazenger and he’s met with an arm drag. Bagwell with a suplex and a two count. They hit the ropes and Pierce cheapshots Bagwell from behind. Slazenger takes advantage, elbows the skull and brings Bagwell down, going into the hammerlock. Pierce is tagged in and picks up where his partner left off. Quick tag back to Slazenger who stomps away. The fans rally for Bagwell who is head butted. They hit the ropes and Bagwell leaps with a sunset flip.

Slazenger kicks out and hits a vicious clothesline. Scorpio saves his partner from the pin. Pierce is back in and stays in control. He throws Bagwell into his corner and runs a distraction to get a double team. Snapmare into the reverse chinlock by Pierce on Bagwell. He’s held on the mat and Slazenger helps his partner get extra leverage. Bagwell works to his feet, breaks the hold with elbows he he’s caught with kick to the gut and a side saulto suplex. Lateral press and Scorpio makes the save again. Tag is made to Slazenger and he holds the hammerlock. They work back to their feet and Slazenger still has the arm bar.

Shots to the midsection by Bagwell but he’s brought down with a drop toe hold and a tag is made back to Pierce who drops a big elbow. Scoop slam by Pierce but Bagwell dodges the elbow drop. Tag is made to Tex and he cuts off Bagwell from his tag attempt. He lifts Bagwell on his shoulder, lands a shoulder breaker and Pierce is tagged in who drops the elbow. Cocky cover and Bagwell kicks out. Forearm to the back and Bagwell meets the turnbuckle. Irish whip and Bagwell moves out of the way. Marcus crawls under Pierce’s legs and he makes the hot tag to Scorpio. 2 Cold with quick strikes and a back elbow. Side kick to a charging Slazenger.

He whips Pierce into the corner and scores with a superkick. He heads for the top rope and lands a big splash. Slazenger saves the cover, Bagwell comes in to deal with Tex. They whip the heels into one another, Slazenger is drop kicked out of the ring. Double Irish whip to Pierce, Bagwell ducks a clothesline and hits a belly to back suplex. Scorpio heads for the top and lands a 450 splash for the win.
Winners: Marcus Alexander Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio (Scorpio/450 Splash)

  • EA’s TakeFans would better know Pierce and Slazenger as the Godwinn’s of the WWF in a few more years, but this might be some of the better in-ring work we will see out of the big bruisers. This team of Scorpio and Bagwell is a lot of fun, but this match could have used a little more 2 Cold in my opinion as he’s by far the most entertaining of the four at this time.

In the Arena: Missy Hyatt is joined by Paul Orndorff and someone they simply call The Equalizer. She knows a lot of people who want to take his TV title, but Mr. Wonderful explains why he’s the John Wayne of professional wrestling. He plays by the rules, and when things get tough he can handle it. Ron Simmons should be punished for tossing him over the top rope. Simmons can keep coming, but he’s going to keep on choking just like Florida State. A guy like Ricky Steamboat is too old to come after his title, they call him the old man by the sea.

Match #3: Erik Watts vs. Lord Steven Regal w/Sir William Dundee
Watts comes in for a tie up and Regal struts away. They bluff once again and they finally attempt a lock up, Regal maneuvers out of the way. Finally a collar and elbow, Regal grabs a modified arm bar, moves it into the wrist lock. Watts reverses it on him and Regal dances around. Regal somersaults out and hits a monkey flip but Watts keeps hold of the wrist. Regal gets position for a snapmare and moves into an arm bar.  Regal ducks a kick to the head, Watts flips over and kicks Regal off of him.

Watts with a backdrop and he stays right on the arm. He drives the knee in. Regal jumps to his feet, reverses out of the hold with a wristlock takedown. Lateral press and Watts kicks out. Regal holds his wrists to the mat, Watts tries to bridge out, Regal jumps on top of him but Watts somersaults backwords and holds the wrists strong. Regal counters out of it with a top wristlock, driving Watts down to the mat. Test of strength on the mat, Watts makes it to his feet. Regal flips him over for a pin, quickly countered. Collar and elbow tie up, hammerlock by Watts. Regal moves him in corner, breaks the hold with an elbow and takes him down with a drop toe hold.

Watts spins out of a front face lock and scores with a hip toss. He holds Regal on the mat with the arm bar. He works into a standing hammerlock, Regal reverses with a backdrop but Watts hangs on for a sunset flip. Regal goes into an ankle submission. He lifts Watts for European uppercuts and forearm shots. Snapmare takedown, he moves the knee pad off but Watts dodges it. Whip to the ropes and Watts takes the legs out from under him. He sets up for the STF, locks it in but Sir William Dundee hits him in the face from the floor. Regal blindsides him with a schoolboy and we have our winner.
Winner: Lord Steven Regal (Schoolboy)

  • EA’s TakeA welcome to WCW PPV’s to one of the most underrated talents in professional wrestling history. I say that acknowledging he won his share of belts and that he continues on as the General Manager of NXT, but Regal was brilliant in the ring. The little things make all the difference in professional wrestling and Regal’s crisp technical skills, believable selling, facial expressions and mannerisms were always great from him. One of the competitors you couldn’t really appreciate until you’re older and have a better understanding of everything. Also, how is Erik Watts still employed?
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Chairshot Classics: WWF King Of The Ring 1994

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Despite all the controversy, WWE Crown Jewel is moving forward as planned on November 2nd and not only will the event feature the in-ring return of Shawn Michaels when D-Generation X meets The Brothers Of Destruction, but also the World Cup tournament. So today, we’re looking back at another past WWE tournament with the 1994 King Of The Ring! Following Bret Hart’s King Of The Ring win last year, his brother Owen looks to claim the throne for himself and step out on his own. However, the likes of Razor Ramon, Bam Bam Bigelow, Jeff Jarrett and The 1-2-3 Kid all have their sights set on the crown. Let’s jump into the action!

Open: Earlier in the day as the camera crews were setting up around the tournament bracket board, Jeff Jarrett showed up to do some premature advancing of his name. Owen Hart would walk in to correct him, followed by Bam Bam Bigelow and Irwin R. Schyster. Todd Pettengill then voices over highlights showcasing tonight’s card, including the first round tournament matches, our WWF Title match and Roddy Piper vs. Jerry Lawler.

In The Arena: Bill Dunn asks the crowd to please rise, as Ricky Medlocke of the band Blackfoot sings our National Anthem.

Match #1 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Bam Bam Bigelow w/Luna Vachon vs. Razor Ramon
Luna has some words for The Bad Guy and he tosses his toothpick in her face, Bam Bam ambushes him from behind as the bell rings, clobbering him down to the mat. He sends Ramon to the ropes for a shoulder block, whips him back in for another, plants him with a body slam, drops a headbutt and follows with a big leg drop. Bigelow to the top turnbuckle for the Diving Headbutt, Razor rolls out of harm’s way, scores with big right hands, irish whip to the corner is reversed and The Bad Guy hits the turnbuckles hard.

The Beast from the East looks to send him back across, Ramon reverses, follows in and slides under the legs to the outside, trips Bam Bam up and yanks him in an unforgiving position into the ring post. The Bad Guy climbs back in, comes off the 2nd rope with a bulldog for a near fall, starts to target the left leg with elbow drops and grabs a heel hold. Bigelow kicks him away, goes for a kick that gets caught, tries to bring his other foot around for an enzuigiri, Ramon ducks it and then staggers him with a clothesline. He goes to the ropes for another and can’t bring Bam Bam down, tries once more, The Beast from the East side-steps it and uses the momentum to dump Razor over the top to the floor.

Bam Bam goes out and hits a couple of rights before rolling Ramon back in, clubs him in the back, loud “Razor” chants and Bigelow puts the boots to him for a count of 2. He clocks Razor with an enzuigiri for another 2 count, drives headbutts into the lower back, then powers him into a torture rack. The referee checks the arm, Ramon doesn’t let it drop on the third attempt, Bigelow can’t hold him up anymore, flips him over to his feet for a side headlock and The Bad Guy counters with a back suplex. Both guys stagger to their feet, Ramon blocks right hands and returns fire, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Bam Bam charges in and The Bad Guy side-steps out of the way.

He delivers a body slam, lifts him up to prop him on the top turnbuckle, Bigelow with a big back elbow to avoid it, then plants Razor with a body slam of his own. He scales the corner to go for the Bam Bamsault, Ramon pops to his feet, plants him into the canvas, stacks The Beast from the East up and gets a 3 count.
Winner: Razor Ramon (Bam Bamsault Counter)

  • EA’s TakeThis has nothing to do with the match, but I need to address it right off the bat…why on Earth is Art Donovan on commentary tonight? Just awful. Anyways, good to open the night and tournament with this one as Razor is  over and Bam Bam was one of the best heels in the company. Honestly, either of these guys would have been excellent choices to win the whole thing. In case you’re wondering, after retaining his Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania against Shawn Michaels, Ramon would lose it just a few short weeks later to The Heartbreak Kid’s bodyguard, Diesel.

Backstage: Todd Pettengill is standing at the King Of The Ring board with Irwin R. Schyster & Mabel with Oscar, opponents in our next tournament match. IRS informs Mabel he’s not worried about him and then next up will be Razor Ramon, then says he hopes 1-2-3 Kid makes it to the finals before walking off. Mabel thinks Schyster needs to stop thinking about Razor and be concerned with him, then states if he meets Ramon then he will learn who the real Bad Guy is.

Match #2 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Irwin R. Schyster vs. Mabel w/Oscar
IRS tries to attack from behind after the bell, Mabel drives him head-first into the top turnbuckle over and over, levels him with a clothesline, then plants The Tax Man with a body slam. He hooks Schyster for a delayed vertical suplex, grabs a wristlock for clubbing blows to the back, brings him back to the canvas with a modified fireman’s carry takeover, then drops a massive elbow to the chest. Mabel shoots Irwin to the corner and follows him in for a splash, IRS side-steps it, delivers a knee to the back to send the big man to the outside and takes himself a breather in the ring.

Mabel rolls back into the squared circle, Schyster meets him with right hands, sends him off to the ropes and drops him with the Write-Off followed by multiple elbow drops for a count of 2. He attempts to pick Mabel up for a body slam, can’t lift the weight, Mabel counters to a small package for a quick 2 count and IRS swiftly starts putting the boots to him before slapping on a rear chinlock. The big man powers up to a standing position, backs Irwin into the turnbuckles to break the hold, hammers him with big punches, shoots him to the ropes and elevates him with a big back body drop.

Mabel runs him over with a clothesline, shoots Schyster back to the ropes for a high back elbow, then back in again for a sidewalk slam, nearly putting the match away. He drives IRS into the mat with another body slam, climbs to the 2nd rope, Irwin quickly shakes the ropes forcing Mabel to lose his balance, he crashes down to the canvas, Schyster with a cover using the ropes for leverage and he gets the win.
Winner: Irwin R. Schyster (Pinfall)

  • EA’s TakeHo-hum, pretty basic stuff here to get IRS to advance and meet Razor Ramon is the semi-finals. The company was trying out Mabel as a singles competitor for the first time as they still were enamored by Superstars of enormous size, but it wouldn’t last past the summer and he’d slide back into tag team action with Mo.

Video: Earlier in the day, Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette were prepping Yokozuna & Crush for their match-up for the WWF Tag Team Titles tonight. Cornette says Fuji has his boys well prepared to take the championships tonight, Fuji stating he wants The Headshrinkers to be squashed and for his guys to walk out as the new champs.

Match #3 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Tatanka vs. ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart
Owen steps into the ring after his entrance and Tatanka immediately meets him with right hands, the bell sounds and The Native American whips him back and forth into the turnbuckles, elevates him with a back body drop and gains a quick 2 count. He executes a vertical suplex for another count of 2, The Rocket goes to the eyes to stop the onslaught, slows things down with a standing side headlock, The Native American pushes him off to the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder block.

Hart goes back to the ropes, Tatanka drops down, leapfrogs over and catches him with a hip toss, shoots him back to the ropes for a Japanese arm drag, then grabs a side headlock of his own. Owen shoves him off to the ropes, Tatanka with a big shoulder knockdown, goes back to the ropes, The Rocket drops down and uses the momentum to toss him over the top to the floor. The Native American back to his feet, sweeps Owen’s legs from the outside and drags him under the bottom rope, connects with a series of overhand chops, Hart returns fire and whips him shoulder-first into the ring post before rolling back inside.

We go backstage where IRS & Razor Ramon are involved in a shoving match, WWF officials having to step in between them as Tatanka pulls himself back into the ring in the arena. Owen drops him on the 2nd rope and chokes away, hits the ropes and drops all his weight onto the back with a seated senton, then rakes Tatanka’s face on the top rope. He plants The Native American with a gutwrench suplex, heads upstairs for a dropkick, hooks the leg and gains a near fall before grabbing a rear chinlock. Tatanka fights up to his feet, hits the ropes and ducks under a clothesline, The Rocket slaps on a sleeper hold and The Native American starts to fade down to the canvas.

The referee checks the arm, Tatanka shows some life on the third attempt, battles his way up, Owen clocks him with fists, drives him head-first into the top turnbuckle over and over, but it has little affect and The Native American goes into his war dance. He pummels The Rocket with knife-edge chops and punches, makes a cover for a count of 2, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Owen follows him in and runs into a boot to the jaw. The Native American spikes him with a DDT for a near fall, plants him with a body slam, heads to the top rope for an overhand chop, but still can’t get a 3 count.

Tatanka sends Hart to the corner and charges in behind, The Rocket looks to hop up and over, gets caught on The Native American’s shoulders, but Tatanka gets frustrated after another 2 count. He argues with the official about the count, catches Owen trying to sneak up from behind, irish whip to the ropes is reversed by The Rocket for a back body drop, Tatanka goes for a sunset flip, Hart drops down on top, hooks the legs and advances.
Winner: ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart (Sunset Flip Counter)

  • EA’s TakeAnother bit of a “ho-hum” contest, but much better than the previous IRS/Mabel match. Owen is really on fire as a heel following his win over Bret at WrestleMania, a quarterfinals loss here would have made no sense whatsoever, no matter how over Tatanka was at the time.
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Chairshot Classics: WCW Monday Nitro Episode 19 (1/8/96)

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WCW Monday Nitro

From the North Charleston Coliseum, in Charleston, South Carolina, comes WCW Monday Nitro! Set up from the last episode, we have Hulk Hogan teaming with Randy Savage to take on Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. The other advertised matches are very intriguing as Lord Steven Regal battles Eddie Guerrero and Sting faces Diamond Dallas Page. A solid sounding lineup, especially those under card matches. Let’s see how it plays out!

Chris Benoit vs Alex Wright

Wright comes out to a sizable reaction, he definitely was a fan favorite. Benoit jumps him quickly and hits a solid snap suplex and back elbow. Wright tries to come back but takes a beautiful bridging northern lights suplex for a near fall. Benoit throws Wright outside and distracts the referee while Pillman at ringside chokes Alex for a bit. Wright sends Benoit over the top rope and Heenan asks if that’s a DQ? Was that still illegal at this point? Alex hits Chris with a big cross body from the top rope to the outside. Wright sinks in a deep boston crab before transitioning into an STF before Benoit gets out. Pillman trips Wright, but Wright launches himself over the top to drop him. Coming back into the ring, Benoit gets the upper hand with knees to the midsection. Benoit hooks and drops a dragon suplex with a bridge to pick up the pinfall. Fun little match here, lots of fun back and forth action.

Winner: Chris Benoit via pinfall

Lord Steven Regal vs Eddie Guerrero

Great chain wrestling to start this matchup, they go back and forth, trading holds and counters. Eddie counters a double arm suplex with an arm drag before a nearfall exchange is ended when Regal pokes Guerrero’s eyes. Regal takes control with a big European uppercut and several more strikes before hitting a nice reverse suplex, a move that is very underutilized in my opinion. Eddie reverses a pinning attempt for a nearfall before eating a big back elbow from Regal. Regal is in control with strikes and out of nowhere, Eddie drops Regal with a backslide and picks up the shocking win. This was a very fun match, but I would have liked something twice as long.

Winner: Eddie Guerrero

Mean Gene is on the ramp with Sting and Lex Luger. Sting asks Lex about Starrcade why he pulled Sting down before he could get back into the ring, costing Sting a chance at the title. Lex claimed he got hurt and was reaching for help and asked Sting to give him a chance at redemption as a tag team against the Blue Bloods at Clash of the Champions. Sting agrees and it is set.

Sting vs Diamond Dallas Page

DDP gets Sting with the cigar in the eye to start the match and gains the upper hand. Sting counters with a double axe handle, a dropkick that sends DDP out of the ring followed by a cross body over the top rope. Strange spot where Sting goes for a leapfrog and initially it looked like Sting came up too early, but he sold like a low blow. No DQ, but DDP is in control with a belly to back suplex and swinging neckbreaker. DDP grounds Sting with a rear chin lock and plants his feet on the ropes but denies it to referee, Nick Patrick. Sting tries to counter out with a top wrist lock but DDP gets a handful of hair to drag him back down to the mat. Sting fights out with a facebuster and some big strikes before hitting a reverse atomic drop and big dropkick to send DDP into the corner. Sting hits the Stinger Splash but can’t get the Scorpion Death Lock in. DDP hits another neckbreaker and a thumb to the eyes out of a pinfall attempt. Sting counters a kick and locks on the Scorpion Death Lock and DDP taps out. This was another fun match with two great guys in the ring.

Winner: Sting via submission

Ric Flair and Arn Anderson vs Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan

Flair and Hogan start us off, and Hogan gets his hits in, a big boot, some clotheslines and bodyslams to both Flair and Anderson. Arn is tagged in and in comes Savage as well. Anderson tries to suplex Savage out of the ring, but Savage counters it, sending him to the outside with a big boot from Hogan. Savage hits a double axe handle from the top rope to the outside of the ring and one to the inside. Arn tags in Flair who tries to go to the top rope, but Hogan sends him off the top. Hogan and Savage lock on figure 4 leg locks but the Horsemen get out. Anderson sends Savage outside and into the guardrail before feeding him back in to Flair. Flair hits a big belly to back suplex and tags in Anderson. Flair is back in and hits a shin breaker and attempts the figure 4, but Savage rolls him up a couple of times for near falls. Flair comes back with a couple of vicious sounding chops. Savage gets the hot tag to Hogan and he’s in on fire. Back body drops, and clotheslines with a double clothesline to send them both outside. Anderson back and and hits a big spinebuster, but Hogan no sells it, Hulks up, big boot, leg drop, pinfall. Pillman and Benoit come down and fights with the Dungeon of Doom. The Giant comes in and gives chokelsams to both Hogan and Savage. Hogan barely got up in the air for it, looked kinda sad. The show goes off the air after that exchange.

Winner: Hogan and Savage via pinfall

So, we had a pretty fun show here with some good matches. Stories are still being made clear as we work towards Clash of the Champions. It’ll be interesting to see how the next few months play out as we are going to get into some intriguing angles.


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