Chairshot Classics: WCW WrestleWar ’91
In The Arena: Paul E. Dangerously makes his way to the ring dressed in a Mexican getup. The good news is his name is Paul E. Dangerously and this is the ‘Danger Zone’. The bad news is that he works undercover for immigration and all of the illiegals in the crowd are under arrest tonight. He introduces his guest, El Gigante. Dangerously taunts Gigante, and says perhaps he wants to learn some english words like “jerk” because that’s what he is. He explains that Gigante has been assigned the special guest referee for a future cage match between Flair and Sting. He’s never known an honest Latino and believes that he’ll cheat Nature Boy out of the match. He gives Gigante a chance to forfeit his role. Gigante doesn’t speak English, but maybe he’ll understand “this” and Dangerously throws his sombrero into his face. Gigante lifts Dangerously up for a scoop slam and leaves the ring with his sombrero.
In The Arena: This time alongside Tony Schiavone is Hiro Matsuda & The Great Muta. They discuss WCW’s upcoming ‘Rolling Thunder Tour’. Matsuda says that Muta will have a home field advantage when he faces Sting in Japan.
Match #7: Big Van Vader vs. Stan ‘The Lariat’ Hansen
Hansen attacks Vader, but is grabbed in a bear hug. Vader pulls him onto the ramp and they brawl. Vader is dumped back in the ring and Hansen stays on him. He rams Vader into the turnbuckle. Vader comes back with a clothesline and delivers big rights on the mat. Hansen kicks out at two. Irish whip and a big splash by Vader. He drops an elbow on Hansen who kicks out at two. Reverse chinlock by Vader. He delivers a right and dumps The Lariat outside. Vader gives chase but Hansen fights back. They exchange rights. Vader with a headbutt and Hansen staggers back into the ring. Big rights by Vader in the corner. Irish whip again by Vader, but Hansen moves.
Belly to back suplex on the 400 pound vader and he gets a two count. Stomps and elbows to the head of Vader. Hansen uses the ropes to drop an elbow and another near fall. Hansen boots Vader back to the floor. Both men use weapons on the outside and nearly hit the commentary team. Vader is rolled back in. Hansen with a series of rights and a forearm knocks him back outside. Vader fights back with a forearm and sends Hansen gut first on the railing. Vader with an elbow and he comes back into the ring. Hansen is slow to get up.
He rolls back in and Vader kicks him back out. Hansen pulls his opponent on the outside and sends him face first into the stairs. Both men roll back in and brawl from their knees. Randy Anderson tries to break it up. He’s shoved by Vader and dumped to the outside by Hansen. He calls for a double DQ.
Winner: Double Disqualification
- After The Bell: Both men continue brawling and Vader heads for the top rope and hits a flying clothesline. He goes for a big splash but Hansen moves. The Lariat stands up and hits a football tackle. He grabs his rope and chokes Vader. Vader turns it on him and drags him toward the back. They take turns with the upper hand but disappear behind the curtain.
- EA’s Take: A taste of Japan comes to WCW with this one and as you’d think, it was just an absolute melee. I don’t quite understand the double DQ finish here, knowing that they don’t meet again and Hansen is back off to Japan in June.
Match #8 for the WCW United States Championship: WCW United States Champion Lex Luger vs. ‘Dangerous’ Dan Spivey
Collar and elbow tie up and Luger powers Spivey to the corner before a quick break. No rest time before another tie up. Spivey lands lefts in the corner. Luger reverses a whip to the ropes and lands a back body drop. Football tackles by Package followed by a clothesline. Collar and elbow and Spivey takes control with some big hammers. Luger blocks an atomic drop and gets a two count on a belly to back suplex. The two regroup and tie up. Spivey takes control in the corner. Irish whip by Spivey and Lex gets his boot up. Big rights by the champ and Spivey goes down. Hip toss by Luger, he goes for a cross body but Spivey moves.
Luger falls into ring number two. Spivey drags him to the apron and brings him back into the ring with a vertical suplex. Spivey with kicks to the ribs. Piledriver by Spivey and Luger kicks out. Big left by the challenger followed by a neck breaker. He still can’t get three, and he goes into a reverse chin lock. Luger is sent for the ropes and he gets a DDT and another two count. He saddles Luger across the middle rope. Luger fights back with quick strikes but a Spivey head butt takes him down. Irish whip and close clothesline by Spivey, Luger kicks out again. Spivey sends him again, Luger moves, Spivey hits the turnbuckle and gets rolled up for two. Spivey stays in control with kicks to Luger’s back. Luger blocks a vertical suplex and comes back with one of his own.
Luger can’t capitalize and Spivey is up first. A scoop slam from Dangerous Dan followed by a top rope elbow but the champ kicks out again. Swinging neck breaker by Spivey but he still can’t get him. Spivey moves into a headscissor submission. Luger is sent to the ropes for a big boot to the face, but he once again kicks out. Spivey goes for another piledriver, and lands it on the 2nd attempt. Luger kicks out but he’s hulking up. Spivey delivers lefts, but Luger fights back. The momentum is stopped by a belly to back suplex from Spivey. Reverse chin lock by Dangerous Dan. Nick Patrick checks the arm but Luger doesn’t let it fall 3 times.
The crowd gets behind Luger who gets back to a vertical base. He lands some mid section elbows but Spivey pulls him over with a Japanese arm drag. Football tackle by Spivey. Dan tries another offensive move but Luger lifts him and hangs him over the top rope. He falls to the apron before rolling back in. Elbow and rights from Luger knocks Spivey on the mat. Package with a flying clothesline from the second turnbuckle. He sends Spivey for a power slam. Luger goes to pick him up but is dumped outside. Back up on the apron, Luger lands a shoulder block to the mid section and returns with a sunset flip. Spivey holds the ropes and doesn’t go down.
He pounds on Luger’s head. Spivey sends Luger and both men hit each other with clotheslines. Patrick starts the 10 count. To their knees, both men exchange blows. Vertical base and Luger lands two more. Another run to the ropes and they collide once again. Luger slowly heads for the top rope. Spivey catches him. He goes for a gorilla press, but Luger rolls through it and retains the title.
Winner and STILL WCW United States Champion: Lex Luger (Roll-Up)
- After The Bell: Tony Schiavone is with Grizzly Smith and Nikita Koloff for the presentation of the new, $20,000 US Championship belt. Koloff explains that he takes pride in presenting it to the champ, but immediately clocks him with the belt. The seemingly retired Koloff is coming back and gunning for that belt. The Championship committee explained to him he has to prove he deserves a match. Koloff accuses Luger of stealing the title from him 4 years ago and he’s coming to reclaim it.
- EA’s Take: Spivey really impressed me in this match. A really diverse move set for a big man, especially in this era, but I suppose his work in Japan really helped in that way. The match would honestly mean nothing for him in the long run though, as anytime you start an angle immediately following a match, said match is quickly forgotten.
Match #9 for the WCW World Tag Team Championships: WCW World Tag Team Champions Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed) w/Theodore R. Long vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin & Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes) w/’Diamond’ Dallas Page, The Diamond Dolls & Big Daddy Dink
DDP, accompanied by The Diamond Dolls, delivers an introduction for The Freebirds as well as Big Daddy Dink. The Freebirds Suck chants start right away. Hayes and Simmons lock up and Hayes accuses him of pulling the hair. Collar and elbow and once again we see the same result. Simmons cuts off a collar and elbow and pounds away. Two consecutive Irish whips and he grabs Hayes in a bear hug followed by a spine buster. Hayes catches Simmons after an Irish whip and lands a bulldog. Simmons kicks out at two. Hayes goes for the ride and receives a power slam. Garvin tries to save his opponent off the top rope and he gets a power slam as well.
The Freebirds regroup with Big Daddy Dink. Back to the ring and it’s Garvin’s turn. He wants Reed and Doom obliges. Garvin with a big flurry but Reed takes control. They run the ropes and Garvin hits a sunset flip. Reed scissors his legs and kicks out. Hayes is tagged in to a sea of boos. Hayes is sent for the ride, he makes a blind tag to Garvin, Reed lifts Hayes in a military press and sends him over. Garvin rushes in and is also lifted, but Hayes catches him with a left and Garvin falls on top of him. To their feet, they run the ropes and Garvin takes a back breaker. Reed with a double under hook suplex and Garvin kicks out.
Tag is made to Simmons and Doom delivers a double elbow. Standing leg drop followed by a series of head butts by Simmons. Garvin is dumped outside of the ring. The ref gets hung up by Simmons and Hayes squabbling and Reed takes advantage with a scoop slam on the floor. Hayes comes to check on his partner and Randy Anderson backs him off. Garvin is rolled back into the ring. Simmons pounds on the Freebird and uses Reed’s boot as a weapon. Tag is made to Hacksaw. Garvin is sent for the ride, and reverses it into a DDT, both men are down. Simmons is tagged in first and delivers a spinebuster. Hayes breaks up the pin.
Garvin is sent again and receives a power slam and once again Hayes breaks it up. Simmons and Hayes brawl. Big Daddy Dink gets up on the apron to distract Randy Anderson. Simmons holds Hayes in place and Long tosses Reed a foreign object. Hayes moves away from the right and Reed accidentally clocks Simmons. Hayes and Reed get tangled up and Garvin dives on Simmons for the pin.
Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: The Fabulous Freebirds (Garvin/Foreign Object)
- After The Bell: Doom gets in a disagreement. Simmons shoves Teddy Long and Reed turns on his partner, brutally attacking him with the brass knuckles.
- EA’s Take: It was the first tag team championship match I’ve seen in these NWA and WCW PPVs that didn’t have a defined babyface, so that was different. They had been teasing a breakup of Doom and here it is. Simmons will clearly be the babyface, while Reed sticks with Teddy Long and I anticipate a showdown at SuperBrawl. Clocking in at less than 7 minutes, I’m wondering if this match fell victim to timing, because these guys could have easily delivered more.
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Attitude Of Aggression #277- The Big Four Project Chapter 4: Summer Slam ’88 & Survivor Series ’88
The Attitude Of Aggression returns for Chapter 4 of The Big Four Project, a chronological analysis, review, and discussion about WWE’s Big Four PPVs/ Premium Live Events. On this Episode, Dave is again joined by the one and only PC Tunney to discuss two more huge events in pro wrestling history, the inaugural Summer Slam and Survivor Series’88. However, the guys are also joined by the debuting DJ of The Mindless Wrestling Podcast to join in the festivities. Summer Slam ’88 was a key event in the story of the rise, and eventual fall, of The Mega Powers. But it also saw a different kind of explosion as The Ultimate Warrior burst upon the scene like few had before him with an iconic dethroning of The Honky Tonk Man. The fellas look at how the events of that night in MSG nearly 35 years ago redefined an industry. From there, Dave & DJ recap the second Survivor Series. While not as unique or good as the first Survivor Series, there were still many key moments that took place that night. The Mega Powers would be the sole survivors of their match that night,,,,but they would not survive as a united force for much longer. What changed that night in Richfield, Ohio so long ago? We have the whole story for you here on Chapter 4 of The Big Four Project!
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Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #16 – ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
Breaking up the 2018 time travel with a much deeper dive! Harry goes back to some prime ECW with Guilty As Charged 1999!
Greetings, salutations and welcome back. Harry here once again with another edition of ‘What I Watched’. As the calendar year turns to 1999 on my watch-through of all things ‘big three’ wrestling, I covered Starrcade 1998 in an earlier edition of WIW. I figured since this is probably the last year where all three major companies are relevant (at least at the start), it could be fun to compare and contrast how I feel about the respective PPVs when compared to some of the independent wrestling I’ve been covering recently. Or even going back to the PROGRESS or Impact Wrestling shows that I’ve covered before. I am fully aware there are going to be some bad shows in 1999. But there is also a lot to talk about in a drastically changing industry. Let’s do this, shall we?
ECW is in flux as talent losses haven’t yet gotten to what they would become but names like Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Bam Bam Bigelow and others are no longer with the company. To make matters worse, the ECW-FMW relationship is falling apart now as well as a Chris Candido and Sunny (sorry, Tammy Lynn Sytch) no-show of a scheduled FMW appearance. Paul Heyman himself is the first person we see telling us the card is going to change…how much does it change? The WayBack Machine takes us to January 10th, 1999 in Kissimmee, FL as it’s time for ECW to be Guilty as Charged!
What I Watched #16
ECW Guilty as Charged 1999
Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL
Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)
Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)
- Match 1: Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney win 3 team tag elimination match, eliminating Little Guido/Tracy Smothers @ 10:44 (Danny Doring/Roadkill eliminated @ 8:15)
- Match 2: Yoshihiro Tajiri pins Super Crazy, dragon suplex @ 11:37
- Match 3: Psycho Sid Vicious pins John Kronus, powerbomb @ 1:31
- Match 4: Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley def. New Jack/Spike Dudley, both Dudleyz pin Spike @ 10:05
- Match 5: ECW TV Title- Rob Van Dam pins Lance Storm, bridged German suplex @ 17:46
- Match 6: Justin Credible pins Tommy Dreamer, That’s Incredible on ladder @ 18:44
- Match 7: ECW Heavyweight Title- Taz defeats Shane Douglas © by KO, Tazmission @ 22:15
Three Team Tag Elimination Match
Started as a straight up 2 vs. 2, but within the first two minutes, Ballz and Axl (Axl making his return to the company after the passing of his grandmother) join the frey and it becomes your traditional ECW three team brawl. Nothing really stands out here but the overall work is good enough for what the match is supposed to be. The elimination of Doring and Roadkill is well done, as a FBI double-team fishermanbuster looks really cool and gets a decisive win for what was to be the original match. They do give the win to Axl and Ballz here, which I get given the fact they are a popular act, but I personally think that Guido and Tracy were a better team during the time frame. (**½)
Super Crazy vs. Tajiri
Yes, it’s the feud that never ends. But this is where it begins. Both men were relative newcomers to the American wrestling scene with both having had limited exposure on WWF TV (both were in the Light Heavyweight title tournament). This is a good match but not a great match and honestly, I think timing is the issue here. Eleven minutes may seem like a lot but knowing what these two would be capable of down the road once there is more of a fan and time investment into their matches, it ends up being a good starting point but probably not the blow away match that ECW was expecting to deliver here. (***)
John Kronus vs. Mystery Opponent
So, ECW fans are notorious for their belief that the “big oaf” style of the WWF and WCW wouldn’t work in ECW. Obviously, they are wrong. Guys like Big Dick Dudley and 911 became massive fan favorites due to their look, not anything they could do in a wrestling ring. You can add another name to that list, as Psycho Sid makes his ECW debut here (following an introduction by the ‘Judge’ Jeff Jones) and absolutely kicks Kronus’ ass in less than two minutes. Sid was never anything special in the ring but he is one of the more charismatic big men in wrestling history so the cult-like following is easy to understand. Too short to rate, but fun for what it was. (X)
Dudleyz vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley
Sixteen year old Harry getting into ECW was a huge Joel Gertner fan. Thirty seven year old Harry going back and watching these shows is an even bigger fan of Joel Gertner. Granted, his shtick is incredibly juvenile but sometimes, you just want to laugh…
The match is your standard ECW garbage brawl. Most New Jack matches definitely have a similarity to them that does not hold up well for re-watching. I will openly admit to being a Spike Dudley mark and he does well taking an ass whooping from Bubba Ray. The Dudleyz definitely have their moments in ECW (the best is still to come in my opinion) but this isn’t one of their best performances. I will give props to New Jack for taking 3D on the ramp, even if it doesn’t come across the cleanest. About what you’d expect, but nothing more. (**)
TV Title- Rob Van Dam © vs. Lance Storm
Rob Van Dam vs. Masato Tanaka was the originally scheduled match and I think it could have been fun. However, Tanaka apparently has visa issues which prevent him from being able to get into the US for the show and thus ECW has to pivot quickly. I do have to give credit to Lance Storm for his pre-match promo here. For someone who is not known as one of the better talkers in wrestling history, he does a really good job explaining the situation with the 3 way that was supposed to happen (Storm vs. Spike vs. Jerry Lynn (cracked pelvis)) and then calling out Rob Van Dam since his opponent wasn’t there either. Storm has a really good closing line for the promo too: “I’m not the ‘Whole F’n Show’, but I am the best damn part of it’. That is one of the lines that sticks with you and you remember it.
The match itself is very good but not great. It is better than anything else on the show, so perhaps I’m rating it on a slight curve for that. Van Dam’s selling is sporadic but to be fair, Van Dam’s selling is always sporadic. The biggest thing for me is that despite that, they still keep an impressive pace and the match is by and large clean. There is a super weak chair shot by Storm (which the crowd gives him a good ration of shit over), but they do manage to turn that crowd around for the finishing sequence. A little surprised by the choice of finish, but I imagine that has something to do with telling the idea that Storm got caught and wasn’t soundly defeated like most of Van Dam’s prior opponents had been. (***½)
Stairway to Hell- Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer
The problem for Credible in ECW is that Paul wanted you to believe that Justin was this huge deal but truthfully, the booking never actually treated him as such. Yeah, he won…A LOT…but more often than not, it was almost treated as an afterthought. He very rarely won the big matches on his own and while I get that as a heel, you want to give him that sense of dickishness, as a wrestling fan eventually you have to make it look like the dude could stand up on his own. Dreamer has long been a favorite of mine, even if he has overstayed his welcome in the ring on occasion. You know going in that win or lose, Tommy will bust his ass to give you as good a match as he is capable of.
As for this match, it never reaches that next level that you expect a gimmicked semi main event of a PPV to reach. It’s not actively bad or anything (in fact, probably up there for Credible’s best match in ECW to date) but with the stipulation and the gaga around it, it feels like there was so much more it could have been. The finish comes off really flat as well as it renders the whole point of the stipulation useless and only serves to put more heat on Credible by way of Funk. (**½)
Heavyweight Title- Shane Douglas © vs. Taz
So, I’ll be a little nicer to this match then some other reviewers I’ve seen for a couple reasons. It completely accomplishes the goal that Heyman set out for it. Taz comes out of the match looking like a world beater. Douglas comes out of the match as the face of the company who “went out on his shield” as the old phrase goes. Sabu looks like a lunatic and a viable threat to take the title at any time he damn well pleases. Candido comes off as a huge dick and sticks the final knife in Douglas’ back for the end scene. So the story telling is magnificent.
The match itself? At least a good five to seven minutes too long for that story. I get wanting that epic storytelling to fold out but when you guys are down and low on ideas, it might not be the worst idea to take it home. The other issue is that by trying to serve so many masters, Heyman causes the main event to end up being epically overbooked. Granted, that is an ECW trademark but for what was to be the crowning moment for Taz, I don’t think the 73rd Airborne needed to be a part of it. Sabu could have just as easily returned post match to set up a run with Taz. Or Candido could have turned on Douglas post match to give him a direction going forward since Taz would be occupied with Sabu. I’m not saying it completely takes away the moment but it does make it mean less than it could or should have in the overall scheme of things. (**)
THE FINAL REACTION
- Best Match/Moment: Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm, although I do think their match at the first ECW PPV ‘Barely Legal’ (which I imagine I’ll eventually do) is better
- Worst Match/Moment: The main event. What could have been an awesome moment for the ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and the biggest ass kicker in the company is ruined with a boring crowd brawl (to the home viewer) and a couple of run-ins that either end up actively taking away from it.
- Overall Show Score: 5.5/10
- MVP: Joey Styles is the best thing about this show with his one man performance. There is a reason he was such a major influence on what I did as an announcer.
It’s not a bad show. It’s just not a particulary good one either. And while ECW would put out worse, it only barely outdoes Starrcade 98 to avoid the worst show of the return thus far.
So, where do we go from here? January of 1999 had no chill. The very next Sunday would see the first WCW outing of 1999, called Souled Out. The Sunday after that would be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. I’m going to hit both of those but as a fair warning, I’ll probably try to mix an Independent show from 2018 in the middle of them. Hope to see you guys at Souled Out. And feel free to check out my archives by clicking on my name at the top of this review. Thanks for reading, everyone.
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