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NWA-TNA Episode 7: Reset? What Reset?

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This week, TNA will deal with the fallout of the trainwreck NWA Title match between Shamrock and Sabu that ended with Malice taking off with the NWA title. Jeff Jarrett’s ongoing war against the NWA continues. AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn continue to try and co-exist despite their dueling egos. So, let’s see what’s going on now!

Opening

Okay, old opening montage is back, but we’re still in the Asylum, it looks like and we go right into our first match.

X-Division Championship Match: AJ Styles (with Jerry Lynn) vs Elix Skipper

Elix Skipper doesn’t get much of a reaction and given what happened between him, Monty Brown, and Truth last week, that’s a surprise. Styles comes out with Jerry Lynn and he looks winded and sweaty for some reason, maybe the A/C isn’t working tonight.

Skipper gets the jump on Styles and we’re off!

Lynn joins Tenay and company on commentary and is playing cheerleader to Styles, which seems a little odd given that they’ve been beating each other up for the last few weeks.

This was a really good match. It got a little rough in places, but both guys did a really good job. Skipper positioned himself as a possible heel for a division that really needed one.

However, Styles is a pretty resilient champion and withstood everything Skipper threw at him. Ultimately, though, Styles pulled it out with a Spiral Tap. Jerry Lynn gets on the apron to congratulate his partner and all seems right with the Tag Team Champs.

Winner: AJ Styles by pinfall.

Comment: This was a good opening match. There were a lot of rough spots, but nothing too ‘WTF’. Also, Jerry Lynn’s cheerleading got a little hard to swallow.

After all the crazy shenanigans of the last few weeks, the NWA has decided that they need someone to lay down the law, so they sent Ricky Steamboat. We’re told that the day after last week’s taping, Steamboat started calling in the worst miscreants in TNA to his office and read them the riot act and these are his rulings:

  1. Malice has returned the NWA Championship to Ken Shamrock.
  2. Jarrett’s 60 day suspension has been lifted, by request of Scott Hall
  3. Jarrett and Hall will have a match tonight.

Ferrara implies that Jarrett refused to come to the NWA office for his talk with Steamboat.

Meanwhile, Elix Skipper is trying to make his way to the back, when Monty Brown comes out to confront the man who left him to the mercy of Truth. West applauds the butt kicking Skipper is getting, though Ferrara points out that Brown waited until Skipper had already had a match before showing his face, implying that the Alpha Male is an opportunistic coward. Either way, Skipper gets his clock cleaned for about a minute by Brown before they fight in the ring.

Jarrett comes out, carrying someone in a burlap bag, for some reason. Jarrett seems to be feeling generous tonight. He says that since Shamrock isn’t performing tonight, and Steamboat hasn’t gotten there yet, he’s going to take an opportunity to entertain all the fans.

(Why do I have a sense of dread in my stomach?)

Jarrett comments on his 60-day suspension, noting that he’s taking it very seriously, as indicated by the squirming person in the burlap sack. He comments that Bill Behrens not only denied him his title shot, but that he was going to have to start at the very bottom.

He admits that he didn’t go to the NWA meeting and decided to abide by their ridiculous rules work his way up from the bottom.

(Oh, that feeling is getting worse).

So, who’s in the bag? A little person, and it looks like one of the people Puppet beat up during the first few episodes of the show. And if looks could kill, Jarrett would be a pile of dust on the floor, judging by his ‘opponent’s’ expression. Jarrett beats his opponent up and then offers to have a match with old ladies and/or farm animals, while the hapless Elix Skipper is pulling one of the worst jobs of acting hurt I’ve ever seen.

Puppet comes out and he doesn’t find this funny either. Jarrett mocks Puppet and calls himself the ‘Dwarf Destroyer’. Puppet’s reaction is to pull a (clearly fake) gun, because that’s the solution to every problem these days. Jarrett decides that the smartest thing for him to do is clear out while security tries to calm Puppet down while not tripping over Skipper who is STILL in the ring. Jarrett takes advantage of the distraction of the security guards to lay Puppet out with a very gentle chairshot to the head (seriously, he barely touched him). Jarrett then wears the chair out on Puppet and Skipper.

Thankfully, this segment (and my sanity) are saved by Ricky Steamboat, who comes out to stop this dumpster fire and has one of the Harris brothers and Brad Armstrong as backup. Ricky Steamboat says that Jarrett’s not going to pull the same crap with him that he’s pulled on Jim Miller or Bill Behrens. Despite Tenay and company saying at the top of the show what Steamboat had decided, no one told Steamboat what he’d decided because he acted like Jarrett’s suspension was still in force.

(Good grief, guys, you can do better than this)

Jarrett asks how they’re going to do it, asking if Steamboat, Armstrong, and Don Harris are going to attack him three on one. He suggests that he and Steamboat settle this one on one instead with some stipulations: If Jarrett wins, he gets the title shot he believes he’s owed. If Steamboat wins, Jarrett will take his suspension.

Steamboat appears to think it over and asks the fans what they want. After a little more thought, Steamboat takes the challenge. Jarrett wasn’t prepared to have his bluff called, especially since Steamboat hasn’t wrestled in at least seven years.

Turns out, this is a ruse, Scott Hall comes in and lays into Jarrett. Hall pulls a stretcher out from under the ring, because that’s a logical place to store one, and cuts a promo on Jarrett.

Okay, apparently, Steamboat wasn’t behind Hall’s run in because Hall tells him to step aside because this situation doesn’t involve him or the fans, it’s between Hall and Jarrett. Hall vowed to send Jarrett out on a stretcher after their match.

(When Scott Hall is the only one who remembers that most of what was just discussed was already decided in kayfabe, there’s a problem)

Comment: What was the point of all that? That was awful, even for Vince Russo.

Goldilocks is trying to do with an interview with Siaki who has a match against Slash for some reason. She asks where the rest of Flying Elvises are. Siaki accuses her of checking out his ass and tells her to never check out his ass without permission again. He then tells her to never touch him again or think dirty thoughts of him again. He then says he doesn’t need back up from the Flying Elvises.

Slash (with James Mitchell) vs Sonny Siaki

Slash, now sporting an eyepatch and still without the rest of Guns -n- Roses, comes out to a minimal pop, as does Siaki.

Even though I really don’t care about either of these guys, this was a good match. Slash has a lot of potential, he just needs a lot of polishing. Siaki really showed himself to have real star potential, even if his fairly blatant ripping off of the Rock’s promo style doesn’t work as well for him as it did for Dwayne Johnson.

That said, this match had some rough spots, including a mutual crotching on the top rope and turnbuckle.

Slash gets the pin by putting a black hood over Siaki’s head and hitting a neckbreaker. Not sure why, but that’s how the match ended. Afterwards, the real ‘fun’ started. Siaki not only had to endure the indignity of taking a pin via neckbreaker, he got washed in the blood of…something, probably dark cornsyrup with some red food coloring added in.

Don Harris, who is every bit the asskicker he was back in WWE, runs in and saves Siaki, powerbombing Slash. Malice runs in and the two have a face off.

Winner: Slash by pinfall.

Comment: Uh…yeah, that ending happened.

Goldilocks is doing an interview with Ricky Steamboat, who seems to be the only male in the building who knows how to talk to a woman without being a sexist pig. She asks him what he’s going to do about the chaos that TNA’s been in since the start and what Steamboat’s going to do about it.

Steamboat admits that he’s had his fair share of headaches while working for the NWA, but the rules haven’t changed that much and that he was asked to lay down the law to all these wrestlers and if they don’t like it, tough.

Goldilocks asks why Steamboat thinks he’ll be more successful than Behrens, which irritates Steamboat for some reason and he tells her not to compare him to Bill Behrens and walks off.

Comment: Okay, I want to give Steamboat the benefit of a doubt that that last comment was maybe meant to indicate that Steamboat is having his own issues with NWA higher ups or that he doesn’t like Behrens and/or his handling of this whole situation, and not him deliberately being a jerk to Goldilocks, but the way he delivered it was very rude and unnecessary, especially to a really simple question. It doesn’t reflect well on Steamboat’s ‘good guy’ persona to have him act that way.

Truth is back out and he’s got some more stuff to tell us about ‘Them’. He calls out the dancer, who is just trying to earn a living, and assumes that she’s being made to dance in the cage instead of being there of her own free will and getting paid for it. The dancer isn’t having it and seems confused, then bored, and then pissed by Truth’s yammering. Finally, the dancer’s had enough of this and slaps Truth. Truth moved as if to punish her for not buying his BS when he was jumped from behind by Monty Brown in retaliation for last week.

The two fight through the crowd until Truth knocks Brown over the head with a 2×4 and goes to the back.

Steamboat comes out and addresses Truth by name and says that he’s gotten his (Steamboat) attention. He addresses Truth’s beef with ‘Them’ and tells Truth to at least have the balls to address him face to face.

Truth comes out but refuses to let Steamboat talk and spouts the same stuff he’s been spouting for two weeks about how ‘They’ have kept him down.

Steamboat’s not putting up with this and tells Truth that if he wants respect, he’s going to have to earn Steamboat’s respect and that he has no idea what Truth is talking about (Join the club, dude). He says that if the ‘Them’ Truth keeps blaming for his lack of success is an authoritative figure, then Truth is talking about Steamboat, but if the ‘Them’ is skin color, that’s another story, and it’s the first time that it’s been acknowledged that this storyline has been about race and opportunities. Either way, Steamboat is here to listen to what Truth has to say.

Truth doesn’t seem to realize that Steamboat is trying to help him out, and keeps lashing out, saying that Steamboat is just like ‘Them’, but then again, he’s not.

(Okay, maybe this is going to get better)

Truth says that Steamboat means as much to ‘Them’ as Truth does. As proof, Truth uses Steamboat’s own career as his proof and insults his Intercontinental Championship run, saying that the Intercontinental Title was for ‘second-class citizens’.

(Oh boy)

To Steamboat’s immense credit, he doesn’t lay Truth out with a solid punch to the face, and lets Truth vent, even when Truth insults everything Steamboat worked so hard to accomplish.

When Steamboat is finally given the mic back, he tells Truth that he gets where Truth is coming from, especially when it comes to ‘Them’, so he’s going to give Truth the opportunity of a lifetime: An NWA World Heavyweight Championship match against Ken Shamrock next week! I’m not sure who is more stunned, Truth, the audience, or the commentators. Truth accepts and celebrates by rapping to the audience after Steamboat leaves.

Malice (with James Mitchell) vs Apolo

Malice and Mitchell come out to no reaction and Mitchell has his box of anointing corn syrup with him. Apolo doesn’t get a better reaction, I think the overlong promos killed this audience.

Tenay and company point out that Apolo and Malice were both in line for title shots, but just got leapfrogged by Truth, which probably doesn’t make either of them very happy.

Why Steamboat might have decided to skip over Malice and Apolo is put on display because this match wasn’t very good. Apolo tries to hit a hurricanrana and it botches, thankfully no one’s neck was in danger. Malice shows a lot of potential as a dominate heel, but, like Slash, he needs a lot of work.

To everyone’s surprise, including mine, Apolo manages to get a pin on Malice after Malice dominated most of the match. Though, to protect Malice, it looks like he got his shoulder up a split second too late. Malice still isn’t happy about losing and attacks the ref and Apolo, which brings out Don Harris. Unfortunately for Harris, he gets overwhelmed by the numbers game of the New Church and gets his own ‘baptism’ of corn syrup.

Winner: Apolo by pinfall.

Comment: That was okay, it wasn’t a great match by either man, but Malice was protected as a toppish heel.

Don West decides to cleanse everyone’s palate (and wake the audience up) by bringing out Miss TNA, Taylor Vaughn. Vaughn gets a nice pop and comes out dressed like a beauty queen. The interview barely gets started when Bruce of the Rainbow Express comes out. Apparently, Bruce feels that the Miss TNA Lingerie match wasn’t inclusive enough and that watching Truth spout on about ‘Them’ has inspired him to go for what he wants: The Miss TNA Crown and that Taylor should give him a shot at winning the crown if she doesn’t want to be a bitch like ‘Them’. Taylor takes exception to being called a bitch and accepts with a low blow.

 Taylor Vaughn vs Bruce For the Miss TNA Crown

I’m not going to dignify this trainwreck with a full account. It was a woman in a dress going up against a trained male wrestler over a fake crown. The best that can be said is that Taylor didn’t wrestle in heels, though she managed to get in a few basic moves.

 Winner: Bruce by pinfall.

Comment: WTAF?!

Goldilocks tries to get an interview with Lo Ki, who is prepping for his match with Jerry Lynn, but Lo Ki again states that he does his talking in the ring.

Lo Ki vs Jerry Lynn (with AJ Styles)

Lo Ki gets a good reaction, as does Jerry Lynn. AJ is on commentary and is continuing the painfully false-sounding cheerleading of Jerry Lynn.

This was a really good match. Both guys looked like a million bucks and it was a bright spot of this show. Everyone in the X Division works really well together, my only gripe is that there’s often too many high spots and not enough wrestling, and that there are no real faces and heels.

AJ seemingly tries to help Lynn sneak out a victory, but Lo Ki saw it coming and whipped Lynn to Styles’ sneak attack, which caused Scott Armstrong to throw the match out. Styles talks trash to the prone Lynn, leading us to believe that the ‘botched’ sneak attack wasn’t so botched after all. Even Lo Ki is confused and attacks Styles for costing him the match.

Winner: No Contest due to Styles’ interference

Comment: That was a bad way to end a good match.

Backstage, Goldilocks tries to get an interview with Don Harris about what happened with Malice. Harris acts like a bit of a jerk to Goldi but says while it’s cool that Malice got the jump on him this week, if it’s blood Malice wants, it’s blood he’ll get. We’ll be getting a First Blood Match next week.

The first episode of Jive Talkin’ premiered this week, but the whole thing was so insulting to me as a woman and a lifelong wrestling fan that I couldn’t bring myself to cover it like I normally would. Basically, Disco Inferno’s guest was the long-suffering Goldilocks and basically said that her real talent required kneepads (yes, SERIOUSLY). He then took off his pants and revealed his privates and basically thought Goldi should blow him on PPV. Not surprisingly, Goldi was NOT down, and kicked him in the balls. To make this garbage worse, she was attacked by a muscular blonde who puts her in a sleeper hold before rushing to Disco’s aid. Security goes to Goldi’s aide, but she has had just about enough of everything and shoves them away.

Don West, in an effort save TNA’s viewership, does the most over the top hyping of next week’s show ever.

Scott Hall vs Jeff Jarrett

Hall is out to a good pop and he’s brought his stretcher with him. Jarrett doesn’t have time to get much of a pop because Hall runs up the ramp to greet him and the fight’s on. They fought all over ringside and into the backstage area before finally making it back to the ring.

Once it actually got started, this was a really good match. When Hall has it turned on, he’s one of the best wrestlers in the business, Jarrett is always good. The problem is that the people in charge made this match such a mess. We had a run in by Truth, for some reason, Monty Brown ran in to neutralize Truth, Jerry Lynn attacked Jarrett for no apparent reason that I can think of, which brought Styles out to attack Lynn. I’m not sure who Styles was going to attack in the ring, probably Hall, but he was stopped by Don Harris. Harris’ intervention brought out the New Church, but while Armstrong stopped the Lynn/Lo Ki match for one incident by Styles, this match kept going, despite everyone and their fifth cousin taking shots at either Jarrett or Hall.

Hall’s fixation with taking Jarrett out on a stretcher backfires when he takes out the ref, which gives Jarrett the opening he needs to turn the tables and get his own equalizer: a steel chair. Steamboat runs out to stop this mess and nearly takes a shot to the head, but jumps out of the way, which makes the chair rebound on Jarrett.

Steamboat’s admirable attempt to keep this thing street legal is all for naught when his attempt to stop Hall from using the chair on Jarrett resulted in Jarrett hitting the Stroke on Hall on the chair.

Winner: Jeff Jarrett by pinfall.

Comment: That could’ve been a great match, instead it was a mess.

Overall Comments

What the heck did I just watch? Apparently, all the stuff I enjoyed last week seemed to be because someone other than Vince Russo was doing the writing and this week was Vince getting the pen back and taking things back to how they were in Episode 5 while not totally doing away with what happened in Episode 6.

The issue of how women are being treated? That is back in full force and it was even worse than Episode 5. The treatment of Goldilocks and Taylor Vaughn was disgusting and insulting to female wrestling fans.

Another big issue was the sheer amount of in-ring promo segments. They spent most of this episode talking and the matches were a distant second. The first segment took a good 10-15 minutes of nonsense just to set up Scott Hall’s run in and explain to the live audience what Tenay and company had already told the PPV audience at the top of the show, which made everyone look stupid. The Truth/Steamboat segment was better and at least set things up for next week, but the segment still went long.

Stinkers: Just about every match stunk, but pride of place goes to Malice/Apolo.

Snoozers: Jarrett/Hall simply because what could’ve been a great match was ruined by stupidity.

Match of the Night: Styles/Skipper, just because it was the only match not have a wonky finish.

Final Thoughts: I have been watching wrestling since I was at least six, this was the worst episode I’ve ever seen, and I lived through the Attitude Era. I hope next week is better than what I just watched.


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Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 12 – Best of the X-Division

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This recap is going to be a little different from the usual. Since, at the time this episode was done, TNA was still looking for new investors after Health South withdrew its financial backing of the program, the decision was made to do a clip show of the X-Division for Week 12 to fill the timeslot. This was September 4, 2002, Week 13 wouldn’t air until the 18th due to being preempted by remembrance of the 9/11 attacks, which had happened the year before. So, let’s see what’s going on.

We start off with a RARE Lo-Ki interview with Goldilocks. Lo-Ki says there’s no bigger opportunity than this and that opportunities like him don’t get many shots like this on a national level.  We also get some fan interviews stating that they keep coming back for the X-Division matches. A lot of TNA stars like Kid Kash, Ron Killings, Monte Brown, and the Flying Elvises sing the praises of the X-Division and how great it is that anyone can compete in it, despite the fact that the division is pretty much made up of cruiserweight size guys.

Jeremy Borash and Goldylocks, who seems to be in a very good mood, probably because Borash isn’t being a jerk to her. Borash and Goldy discuss how great the X-Division has been and how you never know what to expect. We get the explanation about how the X-Division is open to all kinds of athletes regardless of size or wrestling style. Again, I will point out that except for Sonny Siaki, all of the athletes in the X-Division fall into the Cruiserweight category. Also, Siaki had BARELY competed in the X-Division, at least as far as this episode.

ANYWAY, let’s take a look at the matches TNA has dubbed the best of the X-Division.

The Flying Elvises vs Lo-Ki, AJ Styles, and Jerry Lynn

Comment: I remember being very impressed with this match. It seemed like a good opening match for TNA. These six men are easily the best of the X-Division as they actually WRESTLE and do the high-flying stuff. Sonny Siaki stands out here, not only due to his skills, but because he’s easily the tallest and largest man in the match. This was such a good match that the fact that Styles took the pin doesn’t really seem to matter.

*-*-*–*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

In the backstage interview, Estrada talks about how much pressure they were under because they were the first match. Yang says that his favorites to watch were Amazing Red, Lo-Ki, and AJ Styles. We also learn that Styles and Yang are great friends and started out together, which is a nice tidbit. Estrada talks again about paying their dues and working hard and wanting some changes. Yang talks about his WCW run and how he never felt like he’d be an impact player and that it feel different in TNA.

Tenay talks about how the Elvises were the first winners of TNA but that they’ve had communication issues and issues with Siaki’s ego, which prompts a clip of Siaki saying that he’s the best of the X-Division.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Borash and Goldy talk about the Elvises and Borash comments about Siaki thinking Goldy is sweet on him, to which Goldy says ‘Only in his own mind.’

With that settled, we are turning our attention to Lo-Ki, Styles, and Lynn who, along with Psichosis, competed to be the first X-Division Champion.

Double Elimination Round Robin Match For the X-Division Championship: AJ Styles vs Psichosis vs Lo-Ki vs Jerry Lynn.

Comment: This match is, for me, still the best match, not just X-Division, but overall match that TNA has put on so far. That said, I still think they should’ve had a tournament to decide who would compete for the title and brought it down to Jerry Lynn vs AJ Styles because it felt like Lo-Ki and Psichosis were just there to take the pins, especially Psichosis.

*-**-*–*-*–*-*-*–*-*-*-*-*-*-*–*-*-*

Borash and Goldy discuss Styles and Lynn getting the Tag Team Championship and the issues the two men have had with each other during the show’s run so far.

NWA Tag Team Championship: Jerry Lynn and AJ Style vs Slash and Tempest (with James Mitchell).

Comment: First of all, I’m annoyed that they didn’t show us the Tag Team Championship Final between the Rainbow Express and Lynn/Styles, which is what it looked like they were going to show.

Anyway, I still think this was a pretty good match. Slash and Tempest, like many guys in TNA weren’t totally ready for prime time, but still did a really great job of keeping up with Lynn and Styles.

As I’m watching this, a scroll is going across the screen, announcing that TNA will be back in two weeks, so the partnership with Panda Energy must’ve happened pretty quickly.

Watching this back, I’m not totally buying Jerry Lynn’s excuse about Styles playing mind games and pulling ribs as the reason he turned on him. Lynn is clearly not happy about Styles tagging himself in the get the pinfall. Why not just stick with that instead of ret-conning it to make Lynn more sympathetic instead of a veteran being mad about a kid showing him up?

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*–*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

Borash and Goldy continue their discussion about the issues between Lynn and Styles, which has been the central story of the X-Division and how it was all about respect.

NWA World Tag Team Match: The Flying Elvises vs Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles.

Comment: This was another really great match from these teams. The five guys in this segment are the core of the fledgling X-Division because they consistently put on great matches together, though the Elvises tend to stumble when they work with other teams. I still don’t know who did the blade job on Lynn, but they overdid it for that little bump on the guardrail.

After this match, we get a clip of the Styles/Lynn backstage fight and them trying to work things out so that they can function as tag partners. I find it interesting that for all Lynn’s talk about respect, he goes out of his way to disrespect Styles and what Styles has done in his, then, short career. I guess no one told Lynn that the best way to get respect is to give it in return and that he should earn Styles’ respect instead of demanding it after jumping him from behind and beating him up. I guess this is why they had Lynn come up with the excuse of mind games and ribbing to justify him being the babyface despite being a jerk.

We see Styles and Lynn seeming to want to work things out and have the kinks ironed out, but that didn’t even last the one show.

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Chairshot Classics: WWE Survivor Series 2015

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With all signs pointing to The Brothers Of Destruction teaming up at WWE’s Crown Jewel on November 2nd, today we’re looking back at another time The Undertaker partnered up with his brother Kane, Survivor Series 2015! It was a celebration of 25 years of ‘The Deadman’ on this evening, but The Wyatt Family looked to spoil the party. Could ‘The New Face Of Fear’ defeat The Brothers Of Destruction and take his place as WWE’s newest evil?

Kickoff Show Match – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Miz, Bo Dallas, Stardust & The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) vs. Neville, The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von), Titus O’Neil & Goldust

  • Gold & Stardust will kickoff the action, Stardust tries a boot, Goldust catches the foot and they slug it out, The Cosmic One falling back into his corner and tagging out. Viktor hits the ring, charges right into a powerslam, Goldust with the cover and he scores an early elimination. Viktor has been eliminated.
  • Konnor steps in and has words for The Bizarre One, Titus calling for the tag and he gets it. Collar & elbow lock-up, Konnor backs O’Neil into the corner, doesn’t break clean and hammers away with right hands before celebrating prematurely, Titus turning the tables and unleashing a series of his won. Konnor reverses a whip across, charges in, O’Neil hops up and over and delivers a slam, following with a leg drop before tagging out. D-Von enters the match, connects with a couple of rights and brings in his brother, Bubba hitting a slam and calling D-Von to the top, hitting the Wazzup Headbutt. Bubba gives the orders for tables, Stardust and Miz charge the ring, only to get clotheslined to the outside. The Man That Gravity Forgot comes in, sees Dallas running in and elevates him out to the floor, hits the ropes and flies to the outside with a moonsault plancha as we go to a break….Konnor whips Bubba into the ropes for a back body drop when we come back, drops a big elbow and covers for 1. Bubba ducks a right hand and plants Konnor with a uranage out of nowhere, hooks the leg and gets a sneaky 3 count. Konnor has been eliminated.
  • Stardust rushes the ring and runs into a hiptoss, D-Von tags in and takes a knee to the breadbasket, The Cosmic One tagging out and Miz pummels D-Von in the corner. Bo tags and does more of the same, quickly tags out and Stardust rips at D-Von’s face. The A-Lister re-enters the match, snapmares D-Von over and hits the ropes for a running boot that gets a count of 2. He goes to a front facelock, D-Von battles to his feet, Miz with a kneelift, hits the ropes and D-Von plants him with a spinebuster. Stardust gets a tag, climbs to the top for a double axe handle and catches a right hand to the midsection on the way down. D-Von crawls to a tag, The Man That Gravity Forgot spingboards into the ring over Stardust, takes down Dallas and Miz on the apron, then connects with a flurry of kicks to The Cosmic One. Neville scores with an enzuigiri, shoots him in for a back body drop and Stardust with a kick to the chest. He charges Neville in the corner, The Man That Gravity Forgot side-steps it, Bo makes a blind tag and plants him with the Running Bo-Dog, Miz with a blind tag, follows with the Skull Crushing Finale and finishes Neville off. Neville has been eliminated.
  • The A-Lister runs his mouth at The Dudleys on the apron, Goldust slides in from behind with a schoolboy and gets the 1-2-3. The Miz has been eliminated.
  • Miz can’t believe it and argues with the referees on his way out, Goldust is distracted and Stardust takes advantage as we go to another break….Bo has Goldust on the floor when we return, rolls him back inside and covers for a 2 count before going to a rear chinlock. The Bizarre One finds his footing, breaks the hold and hits the ropes, running into a dropkick by Dallas for another count of 2. Stardust tags, clobbers away at Goldust on the apron, feigns going for a table and changes his mind, stomping away at his brother in the ring. The Cosmic One grabs a crossface chickenwing, pulls Goldust up for a suplex, The Bizarre One counters to a small package for a count of 2, but gets immediately laid out by a clothesline. Stardust with some early celebration, Goldust takes advantage with a schoolboy for 2, The Cosmic One angrily pounding away and bringing Dallas back in. The Inspirational One continues the onslaught, levels Goldust with a short-arm clothesline for a near fall, then goes back to the rear chinlock to wear him out. Bo slams him to the mat trying to get to his feet, Stardust tags and they split The Bizarre One with a wishbone, then drops The Dudleys & Titus off the apron. The Cosmic One runs at Goldust in the corner, meets a boot to the midsection and The Bizarre One plants him with a sunset flip bomb. Bo gets the tag as Goldust reaches Titus, O’Neil with a shoulder to Dallas, squashes Stardust in the corner, then clotheslines Bo and shoots him in for a back body drop. The Inspirational One sees it coming and hits a kick, but gets dropped by a big boot, Titus turning around and catching Stardust coming off the top into multiple backbreakers. O’Neil stacks them in the corner, squashes them both and Goldust & Bubba enter the ring with synchronized Dusty tributes, Clash Of The Titus to Bo and we’re down to 4 on 1. Bo Dallas has been eliminated.
  • Stardust realizes he’s all by himself, drops off the apron and tries to take a walk. O’Neil goes out to meet him, Goldust comes up from behind and catches a back elbow, The Cosmic One tries to run away, slides in the ring and runs into a 3D to finish it.

Winners & Sole Survivors: The Dudley Boyz, Titus O’Neil & Goldust

  • EA’s TakeI think Renee Young is overblowing just how ‘good’ this match really was. To me it was just an appetizer, a time-filler, something to get the people in the arena a little more hyped up for the main show. The match was not bad by any means, but it was merely a bunch of thrown-together parts and the only significance was the return of Goldust.

Open: Everyone rises to their feet in the arena, as Lilian Garcia is in the ring to sing our National Anthem.

Video: “Once in a generation there comes a phenom. An individual not measured in seconds, days, weeks or even years, but by the legacy he’s built. A presence that’s risen above all challenges and gone head-first into the unknown. But, when a Phenom joins a Demon from the depths of Hell, only time will tell us what the future will bring.” Tonight marks the 25 year anniversary of The Undertaker in WWE, as he and his brother, Kane, look to cement their spot as the keepers of the darkness over The Wyatt Family. A change is coming, as tonight we crown a brand new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. “History is written, by the survivors.”

Match #1 – WWE Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Roman Reigns vs. WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio w/Zeb Colter
Collar & elbow tie-up to start, Alberto backs Roman into the corner and they break clean. Another lock-up, Reigns with a side headlock, Del Rio pushes him off into the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder, re-thinking his strategy. The champion with a leg kick, backs Reigns into the corner for more to the ribs, then fires off right hands from the 2nd rope. Roman powers out of the corner with Alberto on his shoulder, flipping him to the mat, Del Rio coming right back by pulling Reigns to the outside. The Big Dog drags Alberto out by the foot, looks to drive him into the barricade, Del Rio counters and Roman is sent into the wall, then rolled back inside.

Alberto comes off the top with an overhand chop for a count of 2, Roman reversing a whip into the corner, climbs to the 2nd rope with right hands, Del Rio pushes him off, charges in and gets planted by a tilt-a-whirl powerslam for 2. Roman drives the champion into the top turnbuckle, whips him hard into the corner, charges in and gets elevated to the apron, Alberto hanging him across the top rope and dropping him to the floor with an enzuigiri. Del Rio heads out and rams Reigns into the steel steps as Triple H watches from the back. Back in the arena, El Patron tosses Roman inside, heads up top for another overhand chop and goes to a rear chinlock.

The Big Dog battle to a standing position, whips Del Rio into the corner, rushes in and misses, hitting the ring post shoulder-first. The champion keeps the pressure on with kicks and right hands, charges for a running dropkick, Roman avoids it and Alberto flies through the ropes to the outside. Reigns rolls outside, catches Del Rio climbing up the apron with the Drive-By, bashes his head off the apron and announce desk, then rolls him back in the ring. Alberto tries a clothesline, Reigns ducks it and connects with one of his own, then clobbers the champion in the corner with a flurry more before hitting the ropes for a big boot. The Big Dog calls for the Superman Punch, El Patron ducks out of the way and scores with a Backstabber, makes the cover and gets a near fall.

Del Rio goes back to kicks in the corner, spikes Roman with a DDT for another count of 2, arguing with the ref about the count. The champion sets his sights on a superkick, The Big Dog ducks out of the way, plants Alberto with a Samoan Drop and gets 2. Reigns props Del Rio on the top turnbuckle, attempts a superplex, Alberto with headbutts, gets Reigns in the tree of woe and tries the double stomp. Roman avoids it, Del Rio’s knee buckles on the landing, Reigns coming back with a Superman Punch and positioning himself for the Spear, Alberto countering with a superkick for a near fall.

The champion thinks it’s time for the Cross Armbreaker, Reigns counters into a schoolboy powerbomb, Alberto kicking out at 2. Both men struggle to get to their feet, Alberto grabbing a Cross Armbreaker out of nowhere on the canvas, Reigns powers Del Rio up to a vertical base, but the champion hanging onto the hold in the ropes. The referee finally forces the break, El Patron heads to the top, jumps over Roman who’s getting to his feet, turns around and takes a Spear, Reigns covering to advance.
Winner: Roman Reigns (Spear)

  • EA’s TakeDel Rio clearly still hasn’t quite gotten his footing back yet, there were some mix-ups at the beginning of the match that were glaring, things were a bit choppy for a bit there. They were able to turn it around towards the end of the match, but I’ve had Roman as a lock for the finals since the tournament was announced. Nothing surprising here in a match that was similar to a Raw main event.

Backstage: Jojo brings in Roman Reigns for some words, Dean Ambrose coming right in and congratulating his friend on the victory. Roman tells Dean that all he has to do is win and it’ll be them for the title, Ambrose walking away. The Big Dog tells Jojo that once Dean’s done, it will be best friends fighting for the championship. Kevin Owens comes in to remind Roman that he’s not eliminated yet, telling Reigns he’s been close before and tonight, he’s the guy that will stop him. KO walks off, Reigns stating that Owens is about to get his ass whooped.

Match #2 – WWE Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Dean Ambrose vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens
Ambrose with a hammerlock to start, switches to a side headlock, Owens fighting out and grabbing one of his own. The Lunatic Fringe pushes KO into the ropes and gets dropped by a shoulder knockdown, Owens back into the ropes and Dean with multiple armdrags. The champion reverses whip into the ropes, Ambrose with a schoolboy for a quick 1, gets a waistlock and Owens with a back elbow, using a schoolboy for a quick 1 of his own. KO with shoulders to the midsection in the corner, shoots Dean across and charges in, The Lunatic Fringe hops up and over, hits the ropes and takes Owens down with a forearm.

He rakes KO’s face on the top rope, clotheslines him to the outside and flies with a slingshot crossbody to the floor. Ambrose sends the champion back inside, charges him in the corner with a forearm, follows with a running bulldog and covers for 1. The Lunatic Fringe heading upstairs, Owens hits the ropes and crotches Dean, dropping him to the mat with right hands and scoring with the Cannonball that gets 1. The Prize Fighter utilizes a rear chinlock, Ambrose gains a vertical base and breaks the hold with jabs and chops, Owens countering a whip into the corner and Dean goes in sternum-first.

The champion plants Dean with a torture rack neckbreaker for a 2 count, hits the ropes for a running senton and gets another count of 2. He chokes Ambrose on the middle rope, levels him with a short-arm clothesline, fires away with heavy rights, sends Dean into the ropes for a back elbow and gets another near fall. KO back to the rear chinlock, again Triple H is watching from the back as The Lunatic Fringe fights to his feet. Owens catches him in a sleeper, Dean counters to a back suplex, then avoids a running senton, hits the ropes and they double down off a double clothesline. The Lunatic Fringe tries Dirty Deeds, KO blocks it, they exchange right hands, Ambrose hits the ropes and Owens hangs him on the top rope.

He splits Dean with a gutbuster, heads up top for a moonsault and misses, The Lunatic Fringe scaling the corner to follow with a diving elbow drop and a near fall. Ambrose props Owens on the top turnbuckle, hooks for a superplex, KO blocks it and drops Dean back to the mat. The Lunatic Fringe fires back up to attempt a superplex, the champion counters and powers him into a 2nd rope fisherman’s buster, but still can’t get a 3 count. Owens yells at Dean to stay down, sends him into the ropes for a Pop-Up Powerbomb, Ambrose rebounds off the middle rope and scores with the Lunatic Lariat, KO rolling to the outside.

Ambrose flies through the ropes with a suicide dive, tosses the champion in, Owens rolls out the other side and Dean tries another suicide dive, but gets caught. KO drops The Lunatic Fringe on the announce table, tosses him back in for a Pop-Up Powerbomb, Dean avoids it and lands on his feet turning around into a superkick. Ambrose rebounds off the ropes for another Lunatic Lariat, walks into another superkick, the champion attempts the Pop-Up Powerbomb again, Dean counters with a hurricanrana, then spikes Owens with Dirty Deeds to head to the finals.
Winner: Dean Ambrose (Dirty Deeds)

  • EA’s TakeA better match, a lot cleaner than our first semi-final. I had a hard time believing Ambrose wouldn’t win this, but figured the odds were greater than that of Reigns, so it definitely helped make the match more interesting. I’m hoping for something more interesting to happen in the main event, as everything thus far has been expected.
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Chairshot Classics: WCW Halloween Havoc ’92 – Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal

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Open: Tony Schiavone & Bruno Sammartino introduce the show, specifically talking about the “Spin the Wheel – Make the Deal” match between Sting and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ron Simmons must be cautious of The Barbarian, and there has been some conflict between Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham. Missy Hyatt is backstage to figure out whether or not Rick Rude has decided who his choice of guest referee will be for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship match. She has no information at this time and sends it off to the commentary team.

Match #1: Arn Anderson, ‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton & Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes vs. ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk, Johnny Gunn & Shane Douglas
Anderson and Gunn get us going. Collar and elbow tie up, Anderson with position, the veteran with some condescension before beating the young kid down. Irish whip, Gunn puts on the breaks and lands a drop kick. Anderson gets a knee to the midsection after a distraction by his teammate, he goes to the top but the Z-Man takes care of him with a drop kick of his own. Anderson’s team regroups on the floor, Double A comes back to the ring. Collar and elbow, Gunn with a wristlock and a tag to Z-Man. Zenk with an elbow and he grabs the wrist. Anderson with a drop toe hold and he tags in Eaton.

Beautiful Bobby with some rights. Zenk reverses the Irish whip and Eaton digs his heels in giving Z-man a shot. They hit the ropes and Zenk executes a high elevation back body drop. He follows it with a drop kick back to Eaton’s corner and Michael Hayes is tagged in to a big pop. Hayes with a side headlock, Z-Man forces him on the ropes, they run and Zenk delivers a hip toss. Hayes slows it down. Collar and elbow tie p and Zenk makes a quick tag to Douglas. Shane twists the wrist, they hit the ropes and Shane is quick with an arm drag. He hangs on with an arm bar until Hayes gets a knee to the gut and tags in Eaton. Shane greets him with an arm drag and he locks in.

Bobby gets position with a vertical base, he moves to the corner for a break but takes some liberties. Douglas reverses the Irish whip and elevates with the back body drop. Headscissor takedown by Shane followed with a single leg takedown. A tag is made to Zenk and he goes right to work on Bobby’s leg. Eaton is able to crawl his way to his corner and tag in The Enforcer. Arn with a forearm and a side headlock, they hit the ropes, Double A gets a shoulder tackle but he’s caught in a sleeper hold on the comeback. Anderson escapes it with a belly to back suplex. Hayes is tagged in and he hits a quick elbow, followed with a fist to the face before grabbing a reverse chin lock. Z-Man fights out with elbows to the gut, he hits the ropes but Hayes catches him with a kick.

Swinging neckbreaker by Hayes and he gets two. Eaton is tagged back in, Z-Man trying to fight him off. Z-Man lifts Eaton for an atomic drop, unaware Eaton tagged in Anderson. Eaton reverses the Irish whip, Z-Man ducks his clothesline but runs into the elbow of the legal man. Anderson with a lateral press and he gets two. Anderson feeds Z-Man to the corner and he tags in Michael Hayes. The Freebird locks in a modified camel clutch, he breaks it, goes for a vertical suplex but it’s reversed. Hayes tags Anderson while Zenk tags Douglas. Shane goes to work on all of his opponents. A front face lock is placed on Anderson, and Eaton cheap shots him at the knees.

Double A goes to work on the leg that was clipped, Eaton is tagged in and he enters with some flying knee to knee contact. Beautiful Bobby locks in the figure four and he gets some help from Michael Hayes. Douglas tries to roll it over and Eaton smartly tags in Anderson. Arn sends him for an Irish whip, he comes off the ropes and catches Double A with an atomic drop but both men knock heads and they’re down. Anderson crawls and tags in Hayes but Douglas is able to tag is Gunn right after. Johnny sends Hayes for the ride and a back body drop, he’s rushed by Eaton who gets a scoop slam and a melee breaks out. While all six competitors brawl, Johnny Gunn hits a Lou Thesz Press on Michael Hayes and they pick up the win!
Winners: ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk, Johnny Gunn & Shane Douglas (Gunn/Lou Thesz Press)

  • EA’s Take: This match felt like a collection of guys with nothing meaningful to do storyline-wise (which is basically the case), but they still delivered a perfectly fine opening bout. With three grizzled vets on the other side of the ring, I’m not sure who they’re trying to put over here, if anyone. No one on the winning team stood out, but I sincerely enjoyed the match all the same.

Backstage: Missy Hyatt is still outside Rick Rude’s locker room. She can’t get in, but here comes Harley Race. The former World Champion is just here to watch a championship match and he won’t let Hyatt into the locker room.

Match #2: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman
Collar and elbow tie up, Pillman gets position and chops away. Steamboat retaliates with a chop of his own, they hit the ropes and Ricky takes Pillman down with a shoulder block. He tries another and gets a two count. Pillman tries flipping Steamboat over the top rope but The Dragon hangs on and grabs a victory roll for two. Off the kickout, Steamboat hits the turnbuckle and Pillman scoop slams him. Pillman taunts and Steamboat plays possum, baiting him into an arm bar. Pillman up to a vertical base, they hit the ropes, Steamboat with a shoulder tackle and a hip toss. Deep arm drag by The Dragon and he hangs on.

Steamboat moves to the wrist and he puts a lot of power on it. Pillman reverses with a drop toe hold, he can’t grab the chin lock and Steamboat reverses back into the hammerlock. Steamboat with knees to the kidneys, they’re up to vertical. Pillman fights back with forearms and Steamboat retaliates with chops and a back body drop. Scoop slam by Steamboat, but he’s met with a slow blow, an eye rake and a clothesline. Pillman hangs Steamboat on the ropes and throws him back. Steamboat is sent for the ride, he leap frogs Pillman and catches him in a choke on the comeback. Pillman meets the turnbuckle, Steamboat tries to send him for the ride but Brian drops down. The ref backs Steamboat off and Flyin Brian takes a cheap shot.

Brian rubs Steamboat’s face into the canvass. Steamboat fights back with some chops and sends Pillman into the turnbuckle. They run the ropes and Pillman counters with a head scissor take down. Pillman takes Steamboat to the middle rope, he sends The Dragon for the ride and he counters into a back slide and a two count. Pillman quickly hammers Steamboat’s head into the canvass and chokes him out. Ref breaks it up. Pillman sets Steamboat on the top turn buckle and slaps him in the face. He sets up for a superplex, Steamboat blocks it and throws Pillman to the canvass. Steamboat comes off the turnbuckle but he runs into a drop kick by Flyin Brian.

Pillman says its over, Steamboat gets his shoulder up on multiple covers. Brian checks in with the ref and is victim of a belly to back suplex. The ref starts his 10 count, Steamboat is up first, Pillman reverses the whip to the ropes and catches The Dragon in a sleeper. Steamboat drives into the corner, Pillman hangs on, but not the second time. From the apron, Pillman snaps Steamboat’s neck off the top rope. He climbs the turnbuckles, Steamboat catches him with a gorilla press. Steamboat is fired up, Pillman escapes to the floor. Ricky gives chase and chops him on the outside. Pillman is rolled back in, Brian regains the advantage with a knee to the face and some chops.

Steamboat is sent into the turnbuckle, The Dragon fights back with chops. Steamboat tries to grab him, again Brian rolls to the floor but he’s followed again. Irish whip by Steamboat and he runs into a knee. Pillman with a cross body press from the 2nd rope and he gets a two count. Standing switch into a back breaker by Steamboat who heads for the top rope. A big sunset flip earns him two. Pillman counters the pin, but The Dragon flips him back and he picks up the 3 count.
Winner: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (Roll-Up)

  • EA’s Take: This was exactly what you would expect, Pillman is showing some heel behavior. He’s also taken quite a few losses, albeit to legitimate opponents, you’d hate to see his talent get buried. Unfortunately, this is kind of his road until a partnership that wasn’t fondly remembered until years after Pillman’s early passing.
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