The Twentieth edition of SummerSlam is here and it features three World Titles. John Morrison will clash with CM Punk for the ECW Title. John Cena faces off with Randy Orton in their first singles match for the WWE Strap. Oh yeah, there’s Batista/Khali too…
The Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey is jammed packed with a sold-out crowd of 17,441. The tickets for this SummerSlam went on sale December 30, 2016 and sold-out in forty minutes. This netted the WWE over a Million bucks in ticket sales alone. This number doesn’t include the other 537,000 Pay-Per-View buys that were 30 bucks a pop, either. The theme song for the evening is “Whine Up” by Kat DeLuna Feat. Elephant Man. Lets get to it and head into the arena because apparently “The Party is Over”.
The opening monologue is great and is the better we have had in a few years. It begins by highlighting the return of the Sultan of the 619, Rey Mysterio from injury. Next up is Batista challenging The Punjabi Nightmare and World Heavyweight Champion, The Great Khali. Next we see The Viper Randy Orton and his quest to take the WWE Title off of John Cena. Just as the narrator says “Get ready for the party of the summer” his voice is cut off and the screen burns up. Through the fire a video of Triple H being rebuilt like the Terminator begins. This is done to hype up the return of Triple H, who is also on his way back from Injury. It shows the build of his feud with the false king, King Booker. The Motorhead song, and Triple H’s theme, “King of Kings” plays as the video rolls on. Like I said, great opening here folks.
Michael Cole welcomes us in to the sold-out arena and introduces his SmackDown announce partner, John “Bradshaw” Layfield. They then turn it over to the Raw announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. They then send it over to the ECW crew of Tazz and Joey Styles. They then send it back to the SmackDown guys who introduce the competitor in the first match Kane. Kane enters and has the ribs taped up. This is from a previous attack at the hands of Finlay and his Shillelagh. The entrance stag here is cool and looks like a 90’s Bash at the Beach set. His opponent is out next and Finlay wastes no time getting to the ring. This is a feud that was rushed together because Finlay spilled a cup of coffee on Kane. This is a common theme for this SummerSlam, as a lot of injuries occurred around this time.
Kane is quick with the first punch, an uppercut, and pounds Finlay into the corner. He whips Finlay into the ropes and drops him with a back elbow that he follows up with a dropped elbow. Kane scoopslams Finlay next and is already selling the rib injury. The momentum stays in Kane’s favor and he works Finlay with a lot of rope chokes. Of course the ref is there to break these, and Kane is growing frustrated with the ref for this. Finlay finally does something and catches Kane with a big boot after he is whipped to the corner. Finlay takes to the second rope but Kane smokes him with a right hand and Finlay falls to the outside. The clap from this right hand is loud and really looked to have landed solid. Kane joins Finlay on the outside and flattens him with a big boot before returning him to the ring. For some reason Kane tries to take to the top rope, but Finlay chops his leg out. This sends Kane crashing into the turnbuckle, ribs first. Finlay starts to stomp the ribs of Kane and eventually splashes onto them. This leads to a cover for Finlay, but Kane kicks it out. Finlay puts Kane in a single leg crab and starts to stretch the big man. Kane turns him over after some time and out of nowhere Kane nails Finlay with an enziguri. This gets the first real pop of the night from the fans and me as well.
Both men are slow to rise to their feet but Kane gets there first. He nails Finlay with a pair of uppercuts before landing a big boot that lays Finlay on his back. Kane whips Finlay into the corner and charges with a clothesline. He then picks Finlay up with one arm and gives him a sidewalk slam. Kane goes for the cover but Finlay gets the shoulder up at two. Kane takes to the skies and comes off the top rope with a diving lariat. The ribs are really bothering Kane at this point and both men are slow to regain their footing. Kane charges Finlay, who is in the corner, but Finlay dodges him and Kane collides with the turnbuckle. Finlay then delivers a leg drop to the ribs of Kane and attempts a cover. This is only a two and Finlay does a good job of selling the shock here. Finlay then leaves the ring and checks under it. The crowd really pops when the Cruiserweight Champion, and resident leprechaun, appears. Hornswoggle joins Finlay in the ring but as soon as they do Kane sits up in his usual fashion. When Kane is on his feet Hornswoggle runs from the ring and Kane catches Finlay with the big boot. Kane then leaves the ring and grabs the leprechaun, who is trying to escape back under the ring. Kane throws him into the ring ad tries for the double chokeslam. The rib injury is cause for problem here and is struggling to left them up. This opens the window for Finlay to kick the ribs and escape the grasp of Kane. He kicks the ribs a few more times and then hits Kane with a kneeling DDT. Finlay goes for a cover and Kane is still able to get a shoulder up. Finlay is frustrated and removes the turnbuckle cover. The ref comes over a puts it back on, but the distraction allows Finlay to bring his Shillelagh into the ring. Kane stops the attack with an uppercut and is now staring at the weapon. The ref grabs it first and turns his back to remove it. This is when Finlay rolls from the ring and is handed another one from under the ring and strikes Kane in the ribs with it. He then tries to steal the win with a roll-up pin but Kane manages to kick it out. Kane nails the chokeslam next and the fans count along as the ref bangs the three count. Not a fan of this opening match and it surely can be skipped over. Match Time-8:54
We see Jonathon Coachmen and he is joined by Vince McMahon and some of his lackeys. They include SmackDown GM, Teddy Long, Steven Regal and Alejandro. The men look to be in a room that is set-up for a Tiki Party. Coachmen tells Vince “This is party central” to which Vince replies “Four men. How can you have Party Central with four men? Where are the women?” MVP eventually joins the party and issues a non-wrestling match challenge to Matt Hardy. This is because MVP is unable to wrestle because he was diagnosed with a rare heart condition, Wolf-Parkinsons-White Syndrome. It was easily treated, but MVP just had to take a break from the ring to do so. This whole segment is straight goofy. Next.
We are back in the arena and Mr. Kennedy is quick to make his way to the ring. We get JR and The King back for this Triple Threat bout that is for the Intercontinental Championship. Mr. Kennedy takes to the mic and re-introduces himself to the fans and they react positively to this. The next challenger out is Carlito. Carlito has a few words for Kennedy before the Champion is introduced. Umaga makes his way to the ring, and this is another match that was just thrown together after the original plans fell through. Originally it was scheduled to be Umaga Vs. The MTV Jackass Crew. They backed out at that last minute due to not wanting to be associated with all the recent controversy surrounding the Chris Benoit situation. This would have included a boxing match between Hornswoggle and Wee Man. What could of been. The next plan also had to be scrapped, as Jeff Hardy was going to face Umaga for the Strap here, but he was sent home four days prior for thirty days. The reason being “Unspecified Violation of Company Policy.” Hmm…
Umaga makes quick work of the other two competitors with some big right hands. Kennedy rolls from the ring and Carlito is whipped to the corner. Carlito then rolls from the ring and starts to form a plan with Kennedy to take on Umaga together. Both men enter from opposite sides of the ring but this plan backfires and Umaga lays them both down with more right hands. Kennedy again rolls from the ring while Carlito is whipped to the corner. Kennedy grabs the foot of Umaga though and this allows Carlito to dropkick him out of the ring. Umaga falls to the floor and Kennedy uses a scissor kick to drive Umaga’s shoulder into the steps. Kennedy returns to the ring but Carlito is quick to roll him up for the pin. It looks like Carlito may get the three but the ref notices him using the rope for leverage so he stops the count. Both men hit their feet and Kennedy hits Carlito with a clothesline. Soon after Kennedy attempts a second one but this one Carlito ducks and lands a springboard back elbow. Carlito covers but only gets a two.
Kennedy eventually gets some offense in, and after a inverted side Russian leg sweep, Umaga is starting to stir on the outside. This doesn’t go unnoticed, and Kennedy attempts to baseball slide him. Umaga catches his foot and yanks him from the ring. After a quick beat down of Kennedy, Umaga returns to the ring and turns his attention on Carlito. He hits Carlito with a scoopslam and then comes off from the second turnbuckle with the diving headbutt. Carlito finds himself in the corner with Umaga charging him next. This backfires when Kennedy pulls Carlito from harms way and Umaga splashes into the turnbuckle. Kennedy then takes a monitor from the announce table and rams it into the top of Umaga’s head. When Kennedy tries to return to the ring Carlito sends him flying off the apron with a forearm. Carlito goes for a cover but the Samoan Bulldozer kicks out. Kennedy returns to the ring and once again Carlito convinces him they need to work together on this one. The double suplex fails them and Umaga lifts them both up for a suplex of his own. Umaga makes quick work of the two, hitting Carlito with a Samoan drop and Kennedy with a swinging sidewalk slam. He covers Kennedy, but Carlito is there to break it up. For this, Carlito is rewarded with a superkick that sends him flying into the corner. Umaga rams his ass into the face of Carlito before he charges at Kennedy. This doesn’t work out for Umaga, and Kennedy pulls the top rope down sending the big man crashing to the floor. He hits Carlito with the Green Bay Plunge and goes for a cover. Umaga re-enters the ring, though, and breaks it up. Umaga then hits Kennedy with the Samoan Spike and makes the cover. The ref counts the three and Umaga retains the IC Title. The match wasn’t good at all and is definitely worth hitting fast forward on. Match Time-7:35
Attitude Of Aggression #275- The Big Four Project Chapter 3: Royal Rumble ’88 & WrestleMania IV
The Attitude Of Aggression returns for Chapter 3 of The Big Four Project, a chronological analysis, review, and discussion about WWE’s Big Four PPVs/ Premium Live Events. On this Episode, Dave welcomes back the one and only PC Tunney to discuss two more immensely important events in pro wrestling history, the inaugural Royal Rumble and WrestleMania IV. The 1988 Royal Rumble was different than any other Rumble in history and not just because it was the first. Dave and Tunney break down the fascinating history of the first installment of an event that would evolve into an annual favorite for many in the WWE Universe. From there, the guys recap the surreal events that led to the end of Hulk Hogan’s 4-year reign as WWF Champion and set the stage for, arguably, the most important tournament in WWE History at WrestleMania IV. Macho Madness reached new heights that night. But was Savage the first choice of Vince McMahon to emerge from Atlantic City with the gold that night? We have the whole story for you here on Chapter 3 of The Big Four Project!
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Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #15 – AAW Defining Moment 2018
Harry covers a show that helped to continue Sami Callihan’s 2018 infamy. AAW Defining Moment should be a fun trip down memory lane!
Apologies for the slight delay getting to this but it’s Harry here once again. And for as verbose as I can be at times, I don’t feel the need to waste any time getting to this one. This is the second part of the double shot for AAW on ‘All In’ weekend in Chicago.
The WayBack Machine takes us to August 31st, 2018 as we once again arrive at the Logan Square Auditorium (and oh boy does that become important later) for AAW’s Defining Moment 2018.
What I Watched #15
AAW Defining Moment 2018
Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago, IL
Runtime: 3:18:22 (HighSpotsWrestlingNetwork)
Commentary By: Tyler Volz (PBP) and Marty DeRosa (Color)
- Match 1: Curt Stallion/Jake Something def. Ace Romero/Colt Cabana, Something pins Cabana @ 8:41
- Match 2: Shane Strickland pins Darby Allin, top-rope Swerve Stomp @ 13:30
- Match 3: Jessicka Havoc def. Palmer Cruise/Steve Manders, pinning Cruise with a Chokeslam @ 2:52
- Match 4: OI4K (Dave/Jake Crist) def. Ace Austin/Brian Cage, Dave pins Austin @ 5:55
- Match 5: AAW Heritage Title- Trevor Lee © pins DJ Z (Shiima Xion), roll-through on CBB with tights @ 13:30
- Match 6: AR Fox/Myron Reed def. Bandido/Flamita, double cover @ 15:42
- Match 7: Maxwell Jacob Friedman taps Marko Stunt, Salt of the Earth @ 10:41
- Match 8: Sami Callihan pins Jimmy Jacobs, Cactus Driver on a bridged guardrail @ 17:52
- Match 9: AAW Tag Titles- Eddie Kingston/Jeff Cobb © def. Davey Vega/Mat Fitchett, Cobb pins Fitchett @ 14:19
- Match 10: AAW Heavyweight Title- Brody King pins ACH ©, All Seeing Eye (Whiplash) @ 22:46
Curt Stallion/Jake Something vs. Ace Romero/Colt Cabana
*The match was decent but nothing special. A pretty big win for Something at the end with the three count over Cabana, who has a storied past in Chicago and was one of the biggest names in independent wrestling. That said, I personally don’t love the flukish nature that Something pins Cabana, as I think Something could have used a defining pinfall to really give him a rub going forward.
Cabana usually makes for a fun watch and I’ve grown to enjoy Ace Romero the more I see him (he especially stands out for Limitless, which I hope to get to one day soon). Jake Something is a huge star in the making and you can see it even early in the run of AAW that he has. Stallion is what Stallion is. Solid opener, but nothing you’ll remember post show. (**½)
Darby Allin vs. Shane Strickland
*Showstealer, plain and simple. Strickland had been with AAW for a while but to the best of my memory, it was more often in a tag team with Keith Lee (funny how that works out with 2022 eyes on it, as Swerve and Keith are the current AEW tag champions at the time of writing). I do believe this is only Darby’s second match in AAW (the prior being a five-ish minute loss to Brody King). Both guys are huge names now and with efforts like this, it’s easy to see how. Darby tries to keep pace with Swerve and is able to do so for a good portion of the contest until Swerve finds that next gear down the stretch and puts Allin down with the Swerve Stomp to a massive (deserved) ovation from the crowd. (****)
Jessicka Havok vs. Palmer Cruise/Steve Manders
*I dislike handicap matches in general. However, unlike certain other writers for this site, I don’t mind intergender wrestling. But the suspension of disbelief gets lost here when you have two dudes the size of Cruise and Manders struggling with Jessicka Havok, who should realistically not being coming in at 100% after taking the Ganso Bomb from Brody King through the chairs the night before. I won’t rate the match due to the Larry Csonka (RIP) Rule of not rating anything shorter than three minutes, but I’m calling this a miss regardless. (X)
OI4K (Dave/Jake Crist) vs. Ace Austin/Brian Cage
*The Brothers Crist come out to ringside to stand next to Havok after said match and call out Brody King and Jimmy Jacobs. They get one of those two men as Jacobs makes his way out, but informs Dave and Jake that neither he nor Brody will be facing them due to having prior obligations, but he did find the perfect opponents for OI4K. As for the opponent, Cage does make for a good size fill-in for Brody King. Ace Austin is a OI4K trainee that hadn’t quite made a name for himself at the time but has since turned into a pretty good wrestler, having just competed for NJPW in Best of the Super Jr’s as well as being Impact Wrestling’s X Division champion for a while.
The match itself was not memorable at all. I will admit to typing this review on a bit of a delay and other than the finish (a Tiger Driver ‘98 by Dave to Austin), I don’t remember anything that happened during the course of the contest. Not the best impression for these four men to leave. (**)
AAW Heritage Title- Trevor Lee © vs. DJ Z
*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I like DJ Z. I liked him more under his previous identity, but this was him using the Impact Wrestling name for more notoriety with the casual fan. That being said, despite DJZ winning a three way relatively quickly the night before while Trevor was in a war with Ace Romero, I never felt the title was in jeopardy here. For as much as I like DJZ’s run with AAW, this misfortune of his injury just so happened to coincide with Trevor Lee becoming one of the hottest acts on the undercard and there wasn’t anything in the build up to the rematch (despite some good promo work from Z) that made me think that the strap was switching here.
As for the match itself, they have really good chemistry together and that isn’t a surprise given how many of the same promotions they were working for at the time as well as their history in AAW up to this point. I do think this match does a nice job of setting the stage for a return match as it is DJZ’s offensive attack at the end of the contest that gets reversed into the cradle (with a handful of tights) for the finish. The nature of the victory leads me to believe that the story with these two isn’t over quite yet. (***½)
AR Fox/Myron Reed vs. Bandido/Flamita
*This was similar to the main event the night before, but didn’t have the same crowd investment that match did. Bandido and Flamita once again shine here and it is easy to see why they become semi-regulars in AAW after this weekend. AR Fox and Myron Reed (Team Firefox, as they were referred to by Sarah Shockey) get a massive victory with a double pinfall following stereo 450 splashes. This sets up Fox and Reed for a title match against the winners of WRSTLING vs. Besties later in the night, but honestly, I think that Bandido/Flamita was the better pairing to have go forward to a title shot. Firefox had previously unsuccessfully challenged for the tag belts and if I’m being fully honest, I prefer AR Fox as a singles wrestler over being in a tag team. Good match, but I think the wrong team wins. (***½)
Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Marko Stunt
*Marko had just made a name for himself at GCW’s Lost in New York (a show I have watched) and this was a way for him to break out back in his Midwest home. MJF has been on a hot streak point up to this point (believe he is the current CZW Heavyweight champion, though I don’t think he ever actually defends that title) and MJF would make himself a known commodity the next night opening the ‘All In’ PPV against Matt Cross (in a losing effort)
Easy story to tell with MJF taking the much smaller Stunt lightly and Marko making him pay for it. It is unfortunate that more people didn’t get to see what Stunt is capable of, because his run in the indie scene before he went to AEW was quite special to watch due to his ability to connect with a crowd (no different here). The finish sees MJF take advantage of the arm work that he did early in match and after Marko escapes a fujiwara armbar, MJF is able to catch Marko in ‘Salt of the Earth’, a wakigatame (Marko on stomach as MJF applies a cross-armbreaker) for the the tapout. Very good work and Marko does really well for himself in his debut with another high end US Independent. (***)
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Sami Callihan
*Ooooh, boy. A lot to unwrap with this one. Let’s get the match first, because the drama that it creates leads to the fallout that has to be discussed. It is honestly a pretty standard Sami brawl for the time frame. PWG used to have what was known as the “Sami Sprint”…by which it would be Callihan vs. Opponent and the match would run anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes of hard hitting back and forth action with little in terms of a cohesive story or selling. Pretty much a ‘can you top this?’ kind of situation. This feels like that in a sense because the match features both Sami and Jimmy going into their well of tricks (the crowd brawling, the spike, the guardrail that gets used in the finish) while maintaining the crowd reaction from the prior night’s tag match. Fittingly, the finish is visually impressive as Callihan hits the ‘Cactus Driver’ (pulling piledriver) on a guardrail bridged across two metal folding chairs to secure the three count. (***½)
The bigger story coming out of this is that this match almost costs AAW the Logan Square Auditorium and almost ends even more disastrously personally for Callihan. At one point, Callihan and Jacobs are brawling over by the stage in the venue (traditionally used for concerts) where Callihan buries Jacobs under a portion of the stage. Callihan then starts winging metal sitting chairs (not the standard folding ones you see in most companies because the four legged dinner table type chairs) at Jacobs. A voice comes over the house mic telling Callihan to stop, causing a loud visceral boo from the crowd. Callihan more or less tells said voice to “fuck himself” and hurls more chairs at Jacobs.
At first, I thought it was Danny Daniels telling Callihan to stop, but it turns out it was actually building management. This becomes important when after the three count goes down, building security surrounds the ring to escort Callihan out of the building as they were pissed at Sami for throwing chairs that the venue used for other events. As I’ve heard the story, Callihan thinks this is part of a storyline and begins to push the security guys until one of them shows Callihan that he is carrying a real pistol and will use it if necessary. Things break down from there with the rest of OI4K getting involved and eventually Sami is escorted to the back (and presumably out of the building).
How much of this is real? How much of this is scripted? How much of this was sensationalized for additional attention? I don’t have the answers for those questions. I do know that cooler heads would prevail and AAW was able to continue running at LSA, however I feel the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It may have been a planned altercation to play off the recklessness of Callihan. It may have been a real reaction from the building to what they perceived as damage to personal property. The old axiom in wrestling is “believe none of what you hear and half of what you see”. Overall, it makes for a great story with a relatively happy ending all considered. But man does it take the wind of the crowd for quite a while. And I will have to check out the follow up AAW shows to see what the fallout truly is.
AAW Tag Titles- Eddie Kingston/Jeff Cobb © vs. Davey Vega/Mat Fitchett
*Trevor Lee’s promo before the match is not one I can do justice. I recommend the show in general, but Trevor’s asshole smarmy heel persona in AAW (Impact Superstar Trevor Lee) is one of the best things going in the company.
Match is good but you’d have to expect that from the four men involved. Kingston and Cobb work surprisingly well as a team and despite being on separate pages for most of the bout, Vega and Fitchett do link up for a few double teams (corner enzuigiri/Kippou kick combo being standout among them) to continue to prove why they are one of the best tag teams in pro wrestling (still are to this day, though not known as the Besties in the World anymore). The finish sees the final stab from Vega to Fitchett as Vega chooses to take Scarlett to the back after she gets knocked off the apron, leaving Fitchett alone to take a one-two combo of the Backfist to the Future from Kingston that staggers him into a Tour of the Islands from Cobb to finish the contest. The ring work is on point, the story is very well told and you can hear the disappointment from the crowd when Vega chooses the hussy over his long-time tag partner. (****)
AAW Heavyweight Title- ACH © vs. Brody King
*Unfortunately, something gets lost during the course of this contest through no direct fault of the participants. As I understand it, Brody King got concussed relatively early in the bout. Credit to ACH for keeping things together as well as he did, but I would be curious to see what they are capable of with both competitors at 100% capacity for the full duration of the match.
As for the match, it does tell a pretty good story. ACH comes in still pretty beat up from the match with Jeff Cobb the night before. However, ACH lets his pride (or perhaps his ego) get the better of him as he once again tries to hang step for step, strike for strike and move for move with a man much bigger than he is. It ends up coming back to bite him at the end as a distraction from Jimmy Jacobs allows Brody King to take a distracted ACH up into the All Seeing Eye (fireman’s carry into a Michinoku Driver) for the three count to crown a new champion. Slightly cheap on the distraction ending but does help get Jimmy some of the heat he lost earlier in the evening back after dropping the contest to Callihan. (***½)
THE FINAL REACTION
Overall, a better show then the day before but not without a couple flaws. Obviously, the big story to come out of this show would be the fact that AAW almost lost Logan Square Auditorium due to the issues in the Callihan-Jacobs match. Thankfully, those would be resolved and to my knowledge, AAW is still running there. But it gets awfully hairy there for a few.
The highs: two four star matches on this show and they come in completely different type contests. Eddie Kingston continues his march of dominance in AAW and cuts one hell of a promo at the end of the show to run down how ACH let him down by losing the title. Marko Stunt has a fun debut and quickly gets the crowd behind him. The lows: that handicap match helped no one and the tag match that followed wasn’t much better. The main event isn’t what it could have been either, but that’s a case of shit happens with the early concussion to King. I will also say that I thought Sarah Shockey did a better job on color commentary yesterday then Marty DeRosa does here.
We’ll call it an 8 overall. As I said, it is a better top to bottom show then Destination Chicago is. And while high on the guest stars (for obvious reasons), you also get a really good look at what the overall AAW roster is all about too. I look forward to coming back to AAW down the road (ironically, upcoming shows are a double shot as well for the ‘Jim Lynam Memorial’ tournament), but I do want to mix in some other odds and ends before I do so.
Best Match/Moment: Shane Strickland vs. Darby Allin
Worst Match/Moment: The Havok handicap. Especially when you consider what Steve Manders would come to mean for AAW, it’s a really inauspicious debut.
Overall Show Score: 8/10
MVP: Eddie Kingston. The key part of a match that tied for best match of the night honors and absolutely shows why he is viewed the way he is when it comes to talking with an amazing promo to close out the show.
So, where does ‘What I Watched’ go from here? I go on vacation in about a week’s time and will be gone for most of August. I spoke to Andrew and what I hope to do is reformat the ‘All In’ report that I did to the new style so you guys have something to tide you over. As for where I go when I get back from vacation…well, the Peacock WWE Network watch-through that I am working on has reached a show that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen (and if I have, it has been quite a while). Therefore, ‘What I Watched’ #16 will be ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999 to set the tone for a year where all hell breaks loose in two of the three major promotions. Hopefully, you guys enjoy the ‘All In’ redo to hold you over and I’ll be back later in August with Guilty as Charged. I appreciate everyone who has been checking these out and if you’ve missed any, feel free to click on my name at the top of the article to check out my archive. Thanks for reading.
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