SummerSlam 2009 brings us CM Punk facing off against Jeff Hardy for the World Title in TLC Match, Randy Orton and John Cena Competing for the WWE Championship and Christian taking on William Regal for the ECW Gold. All this and so much more in this edition of The Chairshot Classic.
The day is August 23, and “The Biggest Event of the Summer” is upon us. The Staples Center in Los Angeles, California is jam packed with 17,146 eager fans. There are another 369K tuning in at home on PPV, but this number is down about 23% from the previous years SummerSlam (477K). This is a fraction of the UFC 100 PPV from that time, which came in with 1.6 million PPV buys. The UFC card featured Brock Lesnar beating Frank Mir for the Heavyweight Title. This is the second SummerSlam to take place in California, the first being the 2002 edition in San Jose. (More on that here.) The Staples Center would host this event for six consecutive years. The theme for the evening is “You Gotta Move” by legendary rock band, Aerosmith. The sponsor is another legend in its own right, Seven-Eleven. Lets head into the arena and see what they present us with!
The show opens with a package that just runs through all the matches on the card. This is, of course, interrupted by Degeneration-X and their shadow puppets. They stop the camera on The Legacy, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, saying “I think I know them guys from somewhere.” D-X then circles the pairs picture with a heart and concede that it must be from the kiss cam. They break the projector that is displaying this video and soon Triple H and Shawn Michaels appear in front of the white screen. The two continue their sophomoric ways and, after arguing, fix the projector. When it starts again it’s a D-X version of the open. This definitely wasn’t the best open and I didn’t really care for it.
Jim Ross welcomes us into the sold-out arena and introduces his partner, Todd Grisham. It isn’t long before Rey Mysterio enters to defend his Intercontinental Championship. The crowd explodes for him, and so does the pyro. Mysterio stops to greet the kids like he normally does and gives one a mask that he is wearing over his main Lucha face covering. The challenger enters next and Dolph Ziggler gets nothing but heat from the fans. Ziggler earned this spot by winning a Fatal Four-Way match against Finley, R-Truth and Mike Knox, that was for the number one contender spot. I’m just going to go on record and say I am not a fan of how the design of this IC Strap looks.
Once the bell sounds, Ziggler catches Mysterio with a few right hands and pounds him into the corner. This forces an early separation from the ref, causing the match to reset. The two trade some more punches before Dolph whips Rey into the ropes. When Rey returns, Dolph uses the momentum to deliver a brutal powerslam. An early cover is made by Ziggler but Rey quickly kicks it out. After Dolph kicks Rey a few times in the midsection, Mysterio reveres an Irish whip to the corner. Mysterio then leaps over Dolph’s head, lands on the top turnbuckle and moonsaults onto the standing Ziggler. Amazing stuff early here from Mysterio. He then hooks the leg of Ziggler, but the challenger is able to get the shoulder up. After a few more punches are exchanged, Dolph charges Mysterio, but the Champ is able to pull the tope rope down thus sending Ziggler to the outside. Mysterio then gets a running leap off the ring apron and catches Ziggler with a hurricanrana on the outside. Mysterio returns Ziggler to the ring and tries to take to the top rope. Ziggler meets him there and delivers the first blow. Mysterio lands the next few and sends Ziggler crashing to the mat with a headbutt. Mysterio leaps from turnbuckle two, but this backfires when Dolph catches him and mangles Mysterio with a buckle bomb. Dolph then hooks both legs and tries for another cover. Rey narrowly escapes and the match continues.
After a few close fisted rights, and another kick-out from Mysterio, Ziggler applies the grounded side headlock. When Rey makes it to his feet he is slammed right back to the mat with a spinning sidewalk slam. This quiets the “Lets go Rey” chants and Ziggler tries for another cover but Rey again is able to get the shoulder up. After Ziggler flicks the sweat from his face at Mysterio, he hits him with a jumping elbow drop and tries the cover once again. When Mysterio kicks this one out, Ziggler is right back to work with the side headlock. This is then transitioned into a chinlock and the crowd start to pop when Mysterio stands this up. He is able to land a few punches to the midsection of Ziggler before drop toe holding him into the bottom turnbuckle. Mysterio hits the ropes, but Ziggler bursts from the corner and flattens the Champ with a clothesline. Another cover and yet another near fall for Ziggler. This has Dolph angry and he picks Mysterio into the gorilla press position and drops Mysterio onto his knee or a gutbuster, if you will. He then delivers a series of closed fisted rights to the head of Mysterio until the ref separates them. After a rear naked choke from Ziggler is escaped, Rey finds himself whipped hard into the corner. When Ziggler tries to splash him Rey finally avoids something and Ziggler collides with the turnbuckle. Mysterio then springboards, from the apron, and catches Dolph with the seated senton. After a kick to the midsection, Dolph tries for the sunset flip, but he is unable to pull Mysterio to the mat. Mysterio then delivers a snapping kick to the side of Ziggler’s face. It is Rey who now hooks the leg and tries for the pin. Dolph isn’t done yet and kicks out at two.
When both men return to their feet they both hit the ropes. Mysterio is able to duck a clothesline and try for a springboard elbow. This doesn’t go as planned because Dolph meets him mid-air with a dropkick. Dolph again covers and when Mysterio kicks out this time Dolph works him with stomps. Rey tries for a sunset flip, after reversing an Irish whip, but it is countered by Ziggler into a pin. This is the closest Dolph has got to a three count so far, but near falls avail nothing. After Dolph shoves Rey chest first into the turnbuckle, he attempts to back drop Mysterio. Mysterio is able to flip through it and catch Ziggler with the enziguri. When Ziggler hits the mat, he falls into perfect 619 position. Mysterio attempts the finish but Dolph is able to avoid it and roll from the ring. Mysterio just spins through it and stands back up. Ziggler still maintains the advantage and arm sweeps the legs of Mysterio out from under him. Ziggler slides into the ring and nails Rey with the Fame-asser. JR doesn’t call it such and calls it a “Running Leg Drop”. This must be due to the PG nature of the show I’m guessing. Ziggler hooks the leg once more, but Rey still kicks out. Both men are slow to rise to their feet, and when they do Ziggler whips Mysterio into the corner. Ziggler is met with the boot of Mysterio, and Rey hits the ropes. Mysterio spins around the head of Dolph and backslides into a pin of his own. It is Dolph’s turn to kick-out now and does so in the nick of time. It looks as though Mysterio is going to take a slam next, but he is able to counter it into a tornado DDT. He tries for another cover but Dolph still isn’t done yet. Then men are slow returning to their feet but when they do so, Mysterio nails Ziggler with a dropkick to the back that places him in the 619 position. This time when Mysterio attempts the finish it lands successfully. Mysterio then springboards from the apron and tries for a diving headbutt. Ziggler is able to move, and Rey face plants into the canvas. Ziggler hooks the leg and the crowd explodes when Mysterio kicks out. Dolph is doing some yelling of his own, and drives Mysterio into the corner. He unloads with right hands until the official separates the two. Dolph charges and is met with a back elbow from Mysterio. This doesn’t affect Ziggler much, and he takes Mysterio off his feet with a big boot. Ziggler then goes to the top rope and places Mysterio in the gutbuster position. Mysterio is able to counter this and give Ziggler a hurricanrana off from the top rope. The crowd is sent into a frenzy when Mysterio hooks the leg and the ref counts the three. And Rey Mysterio retains the IC Title. I plan on doing a “Best SummerSlam Opening Match” article after the conclusion of this series and I am hard pressed to believe this doesn’t take that title. On a sidenote, Mysterio would be suspended four days later for “Violation of the Companies Wellness Policy”. Mysterio disputed this saying it was for a drug that he had a prescription for. Regardless, he would serve a 30 day suspension after he dropped the Strap to John Morrison during the episode of SmackDown following SummerSlam. This match was a great start to the career of a young Dolph Ziggler and I think this match may of just stole the show early. Do yourself a favor and check this one out, the ebb and flow here is just amazing. Match Time-12:16
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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