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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WCW Halloween Havoc ’93 – Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal

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Open: Children are trick or treating and they come upon a creepy house. Tony Schiavone greets them at the door and invites them in. He offers them a cookie, but they have plenty of treats, they came to see something scary. Tony rips his face off, turning into a monster who chases them out.

Match #1: Harlem Heat (Kole & Kane) & The Equalizer vs. Ice Train, Charlie Norris & The Shockmaster
It’s going to be Kole and Ice Train to kick things off. Collar and elbow tie up, Train gets position and the ref breaks it on the ropes. They lock up, side headlock by Train, to the ropes they go, shoulder tackle by the bigger man. Collar and elbow, Kole takes control with a knee and an elbow. He tries a scoop slam, but can’t lift him. Train returns the favor with a slam and a clothesline. He backs off and tags in Kane. Kick to the gut and clubbing forearms by Kane, he can’t get Train’s head in the corner and instead he eats the turnbuckle.

Hammerlock by Train and a tag is made to Norris. Ax handle from the middle turnbuckle, Kane rakes the eyes to regain control and he tags his brother back in. Kole is met with an arm drag and Norris hangs on with an arm bar. Up to their feet, Norris pulls on the wrist to keep control. Tag is made to The Shockmaster, he continues to work the wrist and he flips Kole to the mat before dropping a leg. He calls for some cheers and drops it again. Tag is made to Norris who puts the boot to the gut. He grabs a wristlock and makes the quick tag to Train. To the ropes and Kane puts a cheap boot to Train’s back. Kole takes advantage with a dropkick and tags Kane back in.

Double team side slam and Train kicks out. Kane stomps the head and tags in the Equalizer. Kicks to the kidneys and he grabs a reverse chin lock. Train tries fighting from his knees. Equalizer with a headbutt and a chop, he ties Train on the ropes and the ref breaks it. Train is sent for the ride, he stops and drives Equalizer face first on the canvass. Equalizer is wobbly and Train tags Norris. Side headlock is applied and they run, he can’t get Equalizer over with a shoulder tackle and is knocked backwards. Equalizer asks him to try again, he does and gets the same result. Norris points to the big man in his corner and tags in Shockmaster to give it a try.

Equalizer cuts him off with a boot and forearms. He sends Equalizer for the ride but is shocked by shoulder tackles. Scoop slam on Equalizer and here comes Train. They double team him to the ropes and each lay in an elbow. Norris is tagged in, sends Equalizer for a chop and Harlem Heat break up the pin. Equalizer chops Norris’ back when he turns to his opponents corner, Norris reverses the Irish whip but he runs into a big boot. Charging clothesline by Equalizer who tags in Kole. Scoop slam on Norris, lateral press and Charlie kicks out. Blatant choke on the mat is broken up by the ref. Tag is made to Kane, Heat send Norris for a double clothesline but can’t get 3. Kick to the gut and a spinning kick is delivered by Kole.

Norris is rolled over and he has to kick out. Scoop slam by Kole who heads to the 2nd rope, Norris moves out of the way of the big splash. He makes a tag to The Shockmaster. Kane rushes to cut him off but he eats some rights. Equalizer tries to help out but Shockmaster is cleaning house. Kole finally gouges the eyes, Shockmaster reverses the whip to the ropes and grabs him in a big bearhug. Train and Norris prevent make sure Kane and Equalizer can’t break it up, Shockmaster plants Kole with an inverted atomic drop and they pick up the opening win.
Winners: Ice Train, Charlie Norris & The Shockmaster (Shockmaster/Inverted Atomic Drop)

  • After The Bell: Tensions are still high, leading to Shockmaster and Equalizer in a brawl. Shockmaster gets the better of it knocking Equalizer out of the ring with a big forearm.
  • EA’s TakeRun of the mill stuff to get as many B-players on the show as you can (at this point, don’t worry, I see you coming Harlem Heat). Without looking ahead, I get the sense there could be a Shockmaster vs. Equalizer bout at Battle Bowl. I think it’s fair to guess that won’t be a technical masterpiece either

Backstage: Eric Bischoff is standing by with Terry Taylor who will be the special 2nd referee for the Rick Rude/Ric Flair bout. He wanted to be the extra official because of the magnitude of the match, and he wants a chance to do the right thing so he’ll be calling the action right down the middle.

Match #2: ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff w/The Assassin vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat
The “Paula” chants ring from the rafters. Orndorff cheapshots The Dragon as he takes off his entrance get up. Clubbing forearms and uppercuts. To the ropes and Steamboat is sent with a back body drop. Straight rights by Mr. Wonderful, Steamboat chops his way back but Orndorff cuts him off. The Dragon is sent head first into the turnbuckle. Snapmare by Orndorff followed by an elbow. Orndorff is distracted by the crowd and Steamboat almost shocks him with a victory roll. Orndorff runs Steamboat down with a clothesline and The Dragon rolls to the floor. Orndorff rushes him with a double ax handle and throws him onto the ramp.

Nick Patrick tells them to get back in the ring but Wonderful decides to scoopslam Steamboat instead. Orndorff heads back in to pose, he goes back out and lays in an elbow and a right. The ref starts his count and Orndorff heads back in. Patrick is very stern with Mr Wonderful and Steamboat is finally back up. He measures, springs and tries diving over the top rope. Orndorff sees it coming and moves out of the way. Belly to back suplex by Orndorff, he cradles The Dragon but cannot get the win. Steamboat sent to the ropes, The Dragon leapfrogs and comes back with a modified arm drag. Steamboat leaps on top for a hammerlock, Nick Patrick checking to see if he submits. The Dragon piles on with knees and uses his feet to fall backwards for leverage.

Steamboat now bridges to pull back with the hammerlock. He rolls back over, maneuvers into an arm bar. Orndorff is slow to his feet, he headbutts Steamboat, they hit the ropes, Orndorff has to hit the deck as Steamboat is flying and he finally hits Wonderful with a cross body. He hooks the leg and Orndorff kicks out. Steamboat goes back to the arm, Orndorff is in the ropes so he has to break. Steamboat relentlessly drops his weight on Orndorff’s shoulder. Steamboat drags him arm first to the ring post and wraps his arm around. Assassin tries to run a distraction and Steamboat threatens him. Nick Patrick gets some order, Steamboat continuing to punish Orndorff on the outside. Steamboat is in the ring, but can’t take any more stalling.

He rushes out and lays in some chops. Mr Wonderful is thrown into the guard rail and Orndorff is favoring the shoulder. Steamboat rolls back in, the ref prevents him from heading to the top rope and The Dragon is fired up. Orndorff is up on the entrance ramp, he wans a timeout but gets his arm snapped across the top rope. Takedown and multiple elbows by Steamboat. Steamboat tries splitting Orndorff’s fingers apart. Orndorff tries working his way to his feet but gets a shot in the arm. Orndorff misses an elbow and Steamboat lays him out with clotheslines. Orndorff is reeling and asking the ref to back him off. Steamboat doesn’t care and lays in rights. The Dragon uses the ropes for height, driving the knee into Orndorff’s shoulder.

Steamboat blocks a right and fires back, Orndorff is chopped to the mat and he crawls out of the ring and down the steps. Steamboat pursues him and bashes his head into the ramp. Steamboat doesn’t want a countout, he tries to return to the floor but Nick Patrick stops him, holding him by the waist. Wonderful takes advantage and pulls Steamboat head first into the apron. Orndorff stays with it and drives his head repeatedly. Straight rights by Orndorff, Steamboat trying to fight back with chops. The Dragon is sent head first over the steel rail and Patrick gets Orndorff to back off. Wonderful rolls him back into the ring and heads for the top rope. He flies with a big elbow, tries a pin and The Dragon kicks out.

Orndorff with a whip to the ropes, Steamboat ducks a clothesline, they both try crossbodies and collide. Both men are slow to get back, double leg by Orndorff but Steamboat is in the ropes. Orndorff holds Steamboat on the mat by holding the top rope and Patrick is forced to kick his hands off allowing Steamboat a roll up, he kicks out. Orndorff charges and is dumped back to the ramp, Steamboat with an ax handle from the top rope. Kick to the ribs and an atomic drop sends Orndorff back inside. To the top again for The Dragon who hits a big karate chop. Lateral press and a kickout at two. To the ropes they go and a double chop sends Orndorff back to the apron. They run again, Orndorff reverses a backbody drop with a desperation face buster.

Wonderful sets up for the piledriver, Steamboat fights it off and drops Orndorff over his back. Bridging pin by the Dragon and Orndorff powers out of it. Steamboat tries a backslide, Orndorff flips him over his back, double leg by The Dragon and he catapaults Wonderful into the turnbuckle, Orndorff barely kicks out. Belly to back suplex by Steamboat and he heads back to the top. He leaps and lands a flying body press. The Assassin jumps on the apron to prevent a pin, Patrick finally turns around and counts too late. The Dragon pleads with the referee that he had him pinned, Orndorff blindsides him with a kidney shot. He sends Steamboat for the ride, but it’s The Dragon landing shoulder tackles. A lateral press and another kickout by Orndorff.

He lays in a chop and a turnbuckle shot. Straight rights, Nick Patrick tries to break it on the ropes, an enraged Steamboat throws the referee across the ring before Orndorff launches him over the top rope. The Assassin puts a foreign object in the front of his mask and head butts Steamboat. The Dragon tries to crawl up to the apron but he’s too late.
Winner: ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff (Count-Out)

  • EA’s TakeTons of time spent out on the floor and on the entrance ramp in this one. Plenty of energy here as Orndorff is getting some of the best heat in the company right now and this match showed a much more aggressive side of Steamboat. How The Dragon wasn’t DQed for all the times he put his hands on the official, I have no idea, but these two aren’t finished with each other just yet.

Match #3 for the WCW World Television Championship: WCW World Television Champion Lord Steven Regal w/Sir William vs. ‘The British Bulldog’ Davey Boy Smith
Regal is hesitant to lock up but finally goes for it. He complains about how greased up Bulldog is. Collar and elbow and it’s a wristlock by Regal. Bulldog somersaults around the ring and counters. Regal with a somersault, a wristlock takedown and he takes advantage of the leverage. Bulldog leaps back to his feet with another reversal, Regal tries to twist out of it, but Bulldog does a hand spring and breaks the sequence. Single leg by Regal, he steps on the arm and grabs the wrist. Up to vertical, Bulldog reverses into a wristlock takedown but Regal isn’t impressed.

Regal ducks the collar and elbow tie up, he tries to send Bulldog to the ropes but Davey Boy simply cartwheels out of it. Collar and elbow tie up, Regal tries to one up the cartwheel, but he turns around into a monkey flip. Bulldog gives him a smirk. Regal slows it down, Collar and elbow, some chain wrestling resulting in an arm drag takedown by Regal. He works over the wrist, Bulldog attempts a reversal but it’s Lord Steven with the snapmare. He tries to lock in on the chin, but Bulldog is up quickly. Regal tries again and it’s the same result. He tries a third time and instead of a reverse chinlock on Bulldog, Regal is captured into an arm bar. Regal to the ropes and it’s broken.

Regal shakes it off. Collar and elbow, Regal steps in behind for a chin lock and works it into a European cravat. To the ropes and Bulldog elevates Regal and drops the ribs to the knees. Bulldog steps on the hamstrings and pulls the arms. He moves it all the way to a surfboard and Regal is in trouble. William is up on the apron and it causes Bulldog to break. Regal blind sides him and throws a fist to the gut. To the ropes but Bulldog comes back with a big kick and a flying body press. He hits the ropes again but it’s Regal with the knee this time. He tries a cover but no luck. Snapmare and a senton by Regal, Bulldog kicks out. Regal drops the shin into the midsection and grabs a modified headlock.

Sir William tries to get the fans to stop cheering on Bulldog. Irish whip and Bulldog collapses, he makes a cover and Bulldog kicks out. European uppercuts and high knees from the champ before dropping a knee. He cranks on the head but Bulldog won’t give. To the ropes, Bulldog tries a sunset flip and Regal kicks out. Lord Steven is first on the attack and he works to the mat for an umbrella submission. Up to vertical and Bulldog throws elbows, he comes back with a clothesline. Irish whip but Bulldog walks into a knee. Lord Steven kicks the ribs and grabs a modified camel clutch, he works it into a half nelson with only three minutes left in the bout.

Up to vertical and there is a fireman’s carry, Regal catches him with a short left and breaks it up. The champ goes right back to the half nelson crossface. Bulldog elevates again, Regal is placed on the apron and he’s the first to get the short right. In the ring, Regal tries a lateral press but Bulldog won’t have it. Bulldog is up and he levels Regal with a clothesline before lifting him for a veritcal suplex. He lifts the champ for a scoop slam and Sir William is on the apron. Bulldog backs into William to knock him off and powerslams Regal but there is a kickout. Bulldog lifts Regal for a piledriver, he pins Regal but he is just barely out of time given the 15 minute time limit.
Winner: Time Limit Draw

  • EA’s TakeAwesome match by two guys who belong in the Hall of Fame, but just aren’t there yet. I really have little to say other than a rock solid performance. It’s a bit strange to see Davey falling down the card some to give Regal a bit of a rub, but that was the nature of his career; the ability to move up and down the card while having it make sense.


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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #16 – ECW Guilty As Charged 1999

Breaking up the 2018 time travel with a much deeper dive! Harry goes back to some prime ECW with Guilty As Charged 1999!

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Greetings, salutations and welcome back. Harry here once again with another edition of ‘What I Watched’. As the calendar year turns to 1999 on my watch-through of all things ‘big three’ wrestling, I covered Starrcade 1998 in an earlier edition of WIW. I figured since this is probably the last year where all three major companies are relevant (at least at the start), it could be fun to compare and contrast how I feel about the respective PPVs when compared to some of the independent wrestling I’ve been covering recently. Or even going back to the PROGRESS or Impact Wrestling shows that I’ve covered before. I am fully aware there are going to be some bad shows in 1999. But there is also a lot to talk about in a drastically changing industry. Let’s do this, shall we?

ECW is in flux as talent losses haven’t yet gotten to what they would become but names like Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Bam Bam Bigelow and others are no longer with the company. To make matters worse, the ECW-FMW relationship is falling apart now as well as a Chris Candido and Sunny (sorry, Tammy Lynn Sytch) no-show of a scheduled FMW appearance. Paul Heyman himself is the first person we see telling us the card is going to change…how much does it change? The WayBack Machine takes us to January 10th, 1999 in Kissimmee, FL as it’s time for ECW to be Guilty as Charged!

What I Watched #16

ECW Guilty as Charged 1999

1/10/1999

Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL

Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)

Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)

 

THE RESULTS

  • Match 1: Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney win 3 team tag elimination match, eliminating Little Guido/Tracy Smothers @ 10:44 (Danny Doring/Roadkill eliminated @ 8:15)
  • Match 2: Yoshihiro Tajiri pins Super Crazy, dragon suplex @ 11:37
  • Match 3: Psycho Sid Vicious pins John Kronus, powerbomb @ 1:31
  • Match 4: Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley def. New Jack/Spike Dudley, both Dudleyz pin Spike @ 10:05
  • Match 5: ECW TV Title- Rob Van Dam pins Lance Storm, bridged German suplex @ 17:46
  • Match 6: Justin Credible pins Tommy Dreamer, That’s Incredible on ladder @ 18:44
  • Match 7: ECW Heavyweight Title- Taz defeats Shane Douglas © by KO, Tazmission @ 22:15

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Three Team Tag Elimination Match
Started as a straight up 2 vs. 2, but within the first two minutes, Ballz and Axl (Axl making his return to the company after the passing of his grandmother) join the frey and it becomes your traditional ECW three team brawl. Nothing really stands out here but the overall work is good enough for what the match is supposed to be. The elimination of Doring and Roadkill is well done, as a FBI double-team fishermanbuster looks really cool and gets a decisive win for what was to be the original match. They do give the win to Axl and Ballz here, which I get given the fact they are a popular act, but I personally think  that Guido and Tracy were a better team during the time frame. (**½)

Super Crazy vs. Tajiri

Yes, it’s the feud that never ends. But this is where it begins. Both men were relative newcomers to the American wrestling scene with both having had limited exposure on WWF TV (both were in the Light Heavyweight title tournament). This is a good match but not a great match and honestly, I think timing is the issue here. Eleven minutes may seem like a lot but knowing what these two would be capable of down the road once there is more of a fan and time investment into their matches, it ends up being a good starting point but probably not the blow away match that ECW was expecting to deliver here. (***)

John Kronus vs. Mystery Opponent

So, ECW fans are notorious for their belief that the “big oaf” style of the WWF and WCW wouldn’t work in ECW. Obviously, they are wrong. Guys like Big Dick Dudley and 911 became massive fan favorites due to their look, not anything they could do in a wrestling ring. You can add another name to that list, as Psycho Sid makes his ECW debut here (following an introduction by the ‘Judge’ Jeff Jones) and absolutely kicks Kronus’ ass in less than two minutes. Sid was never anything special in the ring but he is one of the more charismatic big men in wrestling history so the cult-like following is easy to understand. Too short to rate, but fun for what it was. (X)

Dudleyz vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley

Sixteen year old Harry getting into ECW was a huge Joel Gertner fan. Thirty seven year old Harry going back and watching these shows is an even bigger fan of Joel Gertner. Granted, his shtick is incredibly juvenile but sometimes, you just want to laugh…

The match is your standard ECW garbage brawl. Most New Jack matches definitely have a similarity to them that does not hold up well for re-watching. I will openly admit to being a Spike Dudley mark and he does well taking an ass whooping from Bubba Ray. The Dudleyz definitely have their moments in ECW (the best is still to come in my opinion) but this isn’t one of their best performances. I will give props to New Jack for taking 3D on the ramp, even if it doesn’t come across the cleanest. About what you’d expect, but nothing more. (**)

TV Title- Rob Van Dam © vs. Lance Storm

Rob Van Dam vs. Masato Tanaka was the originally scheduled match and I think it could have been fun. However, Tanaka apparently has visa issues which prevent him from being able to get into the US for the show and thus ECW has to pivot quickly. I do have to give credit to Lance Storm for his pre-match promo here. For someone who is not known as one of the better talkers in wrestling history, he does a really good job explaining the situation with the 3 way that was supposed to happen (Storm vs. Spike vs. Jerry Lynn (cracked pelvis)) and then calling out Rob Van Dam since his opponent wasn’t there either. Storm has a really good closing line for the promo too: “I’m not the ‘Whole F’n Show’, but I am the best damn part of it’. That is one of the lines that sticks with you and you remember it.

The match itself is very good but not great. It is better than anything else on the show, so perhaps I’m rating it on a slight curve for that. Van Dam’s selling is sporadic but to be fair, Van Dam’s selling is always sporadic. The biggest thing for me is that despite that, they still keep an impressive pace and the match is by and large clean. There is a super weak chair shot by Storm (which the crowd gives him a good ration of shit over), but they do manage to turn that crowd around for the finishing sequence. A little surprised by the choice of finish, but I imagine that has something to do with telling the idea that Storm got caught and wasn’t soundly defeated like most of Van Dam’s prior opponents had been. (***½)

Stairway to Hell- Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer

The problem for Credible in ECW is that Paul wanted you to believe that Justin was this huge deal but truthfully, the booking never actually treated him as such. Yeah, he won…A LOT…but more often than not, it was almost treated as an afterthought. He very rarely won the big matches on his own and while I get that as a heel, you want to give him that sense of dickishness, as a wrestling fan eventually you have to make it look like the dude could stand up on his own. Dreamer has long been a favorite of mine, even if he has overstayed his welcome in the ring on occasion. You know going in that win or lose, Tommy will bust his ass to give you as good a match as he is capable of. 

As for this match, it never reaches that next level that you expect a gimmicked semi main event of a PPV to reach. It’s not actively bad or anything (in fact, probably up there for Credible’s best match in ECW to date) but with the stipulation and the gaga around it, it feels like there was so much more it could have been. The finish comes off really flat as well as it renders the whole point of the stipulation useless and only serves to put more heat on Credible by way of Funk. (**½)

Heavyweight Title- Shane Douglas © vs. Taz

So, I’ll be a little nicer to this match then some other reviewers I’ve seen for a couple reasons. It completely accomplishes the goal that Heyman set out for it. Taz comes out of the match looking like a world beater. Douglas comes out of the match as the face of the company who “went out on his shield” as the old phrase goes. Sabu looks like a lunatic and a viable threat to take the title at any time he damn well pleases. Candido comes off as a huge dick and sticks the final knife in Douglas’ back for the end scene. So the story telling is magnificent. 

The match itself? At least a good five to seven minutes too long for that story. I get wanting that epic storytelling to fold out but when you guys are down and low on ideas, it might not be the worst idea to take it home. The other issue is that by trying to serve so many masters, Heyman causes the main event to end up being epically overbooked. Granted, that is an ECW trademark but for what was to be the crowning moment for Taz, I don’t think the 73rd Airborne needed to be a part of it. Sabu could have just as easily returned post match to set up a run with Taz. Or Candido could have turned on Douglas post match to give him a direction going forward since Taz would be occupied with Sabu. I’m not saying it completely takes away the moment but it does make it mean less than it could or should have in the overall scheme of things. (**)

 

THE FINAL REACTION

  • Best Match/Moment: Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm, although I do think their match at the first ECW PPV ‘Barely Legal’ (which I imagine I’ll eventually do) is better
  • Worst Match/Moment: The main event. What could have been an awesome moment for the ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and the biggest ass kicker in the company is ruined with a boring crowd brawl (to the home viewer) and a couple of run-ins that either end up actively taking away from it.
  • Overall Show Score: 5.5/10
  • MVP: Joey Styles is the best thing about this show with his one man performance. There is a reason he was such a major influence on what I did as an announcer.

 

THE SIGNOFF

It’s not a bad show. It’s just not a particulary good one either. And while ECW would put out worse, it only barely outdoes Starrcade 98 to avoid the worst show of the return thus far.

So, where do we go from here? January of 1999 had no chill. The very next Sunday would see the first WCW outing of 1999, called Souled Out. The Sunday after that would be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. I’m going to hit both of those but as a fair warning, I’ll probably try to mix an Independent show from 2018 in the middle of them. Hope to see you guys at Souled Out. And feel free to check out my archives by clicking on my name at the top of this review. Thanks for reading, everyone.


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Chairshot Classics

What I Watched #10b: All IN 2018

Harry decided to abridge his All In write up and bring us the blast from the past while he’s on vacation! With only a few weeks until All Out, reminiscing could be fun!

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ALL IN

Greetings, salutations and what nots. At the time you are reading this, I will be away from home on vacation with my amazing girlfriend. In the interest of not want to lose everyone’s attention in the downtime, I decided to go back to one of my earlier reviews and reformat it to match the current style while giving people who may have not been interested due to the length of the previous review a chance to see what they may have missed as well as share my thoughts on a show that had quite the buzz when it happened.

I mention in my review of AAW’s Destination Chicago 2018 (full review available in my archive by clicking my name at the top of this review) that everyone was in Chicago for this particular show. Obviously, though it was presented as part of a deal with ROH (and to some extent New Japan), this ends up being what many consider the launching point for AEW. So join me once again as the WayBack Machine takes us to suburban Chicago on September 1st 2018 and we revisit ‘All In’ here on ‘What I Watched’.

What I Watched #10-B

ROH/NJPW/Friends ‘All In’ 2018

9/1/2018

Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, IL

Runtime: 4:45:24 (45:27 on YouTube for the preshow, 3:57:57 on Fite.TV/HonorClub/NJPW World/traditional PPV for the main show)

Commentary By: Excalibur (PBP), Don Callis (Color), Ian Riccaboni (PBP/Color)

THE RESULTS

  • Match #1: Zero Hour- Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky def. Jay/Mark Briscoe, Kazarian pins Mark with a powerslam counter to the Doomsday Device @ 12:35
  • Match #2: Zero Hour- Flip Gordon wins the ‘Over the Budget Battle Royal’ @ 17:11, last eliminating Bully Ray
  • Match #3: Matt Cross pins Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Shooting Star Press @ 10:07
  • Match #4: Christopher Daniels pins Stephen Amell, Best Moonsault Ever @ 11:45
  • Match #5: Tessa Blanchard wins four way, pinning Chelsea Green with the Buzzsaw DDT @ 12:43 of a match that also involved Britt Baker and Madison Rayne
  • Match #6: NWA World Heavyweight Title- Cody Rhodes pins Nick Aldis ©, sitdown on sunset flip attempt @ 22:03
  • Match #7: Adam Page pins Joey Janela, Rite of Passage off a ladder through a table @ 20:09
  • Match #8: ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © pins Flip Gordon, Lethal Injection @ 14:25
  • Match #9: Kenny Omega pins Pentagon Jr., One Winged Angel @ 17:48
  • Match #10: Kazuchika Okada pins Marty Scurll, Rainmaker #2 @ 26:06
  • Match #11: Kota Ibushi/Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson def. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio Jr., Matt pins Bandido after the Meltzer Driver @ 11:44

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Zero Hour- SCU (Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky) vs. The Briscoes (Jay/Mark)

*Hell of a way to kick things off and the exact kind of match that you want to put out to people in order to get those on the fence to order the show. I don’t know about the $50 price tag that the PPV had, but this would have been enough for me to sign up for Honor Club for $10 to watch the show at least. I’m curious if ROH ever followed up on SCU pinning the ROH tag champions here. I’d imagine so even though the end is near for Kazarian, Scorpio and Daniels in ROH with AEW looming on the horizon. (***½)

Over the Budget Battle Royal

*It was fun for what it was. Maybe a little overcrowded, but there are several people who have got to make a name for themselves off this match. Marko Stunt is all over Game Changer Wrestling (and got a run in AEW as part of Jurassic Express) and Jordynne Grace, who got herself a deal with Impact, being two to spring immediately. I don’t rate battle royals but it was entertaining, which is all you can ask for sometimes. (X)

Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Matt Cross

*Good little opener here for the main show. My misgivings on the rope hanging piledriver aside (MJF calls it the Heatseeker), they worked together well without throwing too much against the wall and burning out the crowd for later. I had hoped Cross would get a chance with AEW but we know that doesn’t happen, unfortunately. MJF does become one of the biggest creations AEW has up until this point, but no-one is really sure where his status lies with the company at present. Strong start to open the show and really happy for a genuinely good dude in Matt Cross to have gotten this opportunity. (***)

Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell (special guest referee: Jerry Lynn)

*When this show first happened, I heard a myriad of opinions on this match. Some thought it was really good, others thought it stunk. I fall somewhere in the middle here. Amell, for an actor, put in a pretty good performance here. I’m not saying he should do this full time or anything, but it’s not like he embarrassed himself either. Daniels had his own hiccups here as well though. So the blame doesn’t fall solely on Stephen. Overall, I’d call it above average given who Daniels’ opponent was. But I know first hand that Daniels is capable of much, much more. (**½)

Britt Baker (bay bay) vs. Madison Rayne vs. Chelsea Green vs. Tessa Blanchard

*Not sure if it was just me but the finish looks a little suspect. Tessa getting the win did make sense though at the time (I’d imagine this result changes with benefit of hindsight). As for the match, they worked hard and it by and large came together well. It definitely lost its way a bit towards the end, so I have to dock it a bit for that. All in all, I’d say good effort from the ladies involved and I’d even put it just slightly above the Daniels and Amell match it just followed. (***)

NWA World Heavyweight Title- Nick Aldis © vs. Cody (Don’t Call Him Rhodes)

*A very good match but a couple of little things keep it from the next level for me. First, the blatantly missed superkick. I’m not really as upset about that one as some people may be because I get it, shit happens in the moment. The blade job however, I can’t forgive. It was terribly obvious. I get the intent behind it to help Cody fight from underneath. I have no issues with blood in general (hell, I watch death matches). But if you can’t do the blade job more realistically there, it shouldn’t have been done. It doesn’t really factor into the match in the grand scheme of things. Also while I personally don’t mind the methodical pace, I do know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I dug the match as a whole though. And props to Brandi for eating it on that flying elbow drop. (****)

‘Chicago Street Fight’- Adam Page vs. Joey Janela

*This match won’t be for everyone. Some people like the old school ECW brawl and some people don’t. I do when it’s well executed but there seemed to be quite a bit of downtime in this one. Honestly, to me…Penelope Ford came out of this match looking like the biggest star of the three. All in all, I’d say good for what it was but nothing I’d probably want to go back and re-watch either. The finish was dope though. Janela is a crazy person for taking it. (***)

ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © vs. Flip Gordon

*Let’s not kid ourselves. There was no way that they were going to change the ROH title on a non-ROH show. As much as they enjoyed having the belt defended, this defense was a lock for Lethal regardless of the opponent. Flip getting the match itself is the story here and his performance justifies it. I’d call it good but again, it’s nothing that you’ll want to re-watch again, despite the impressive agility of Gordon and the sheer nostalgia of Lethal busting out the ‘Black Machismo’ shtick again. (***½)

Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr.

*Your mileage may vary for sure on this one. Everyone heaped a ton of praise on it and while it is very good, it does not raise to the level of excellence for me. The ridiculously spotty selling and the absolute disrespect to some of the most protected moves in wrestling cause me to take an issue. I do think they worked really well together and the styles meshed a lot better than I thought they might. But there was nowhere near the emotion here that came through clear as day on the Cody and Aldis match earlier. From a pure work rate aspect, it’s the best on the show so far. But personally, I prefer Cody and Aldis to Omega and Pentagon Jr. (****)

Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurll

*A little long. But they told a pretty strong story throughout.At the time of this writing, I had made it no secret that I was not sold on Kazuchika Okada as a draw in the US. Clearly, I was wrong. He had the entire crowd in the palm of his and Scurll’s hands for basically the entirety of this contest and it was one that I think both raised Scurll’s standing in the world of wrestling and confirmed what many people already feel about Okada. That being said, it’s a better match if you chop off five to eight minutes from it. (***½)

Young Bucks/Kota Ibushi vs. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio

*Clearly much shorter than it was probably supposed to be, they packed a ton of action into these almost twelve minutes. I’d have been curious to see what was possible with a full run time but with Rey already gone (he had just resigned with the WWE), there would be no chance to run this back. I think it was a good way to send everyone home happy and get all the marquee moments in, but overall it just ends up being a spotfest fluff match rather than anything that’ll be strongly remembered as standing out down the road. (***½)

THE FINAL REACTION

There is a lot to get through here. As you guys saw above, the totality of both Zero Hour and All In run almost five hours. While not all of that is well spent, there is more than enough to sink your teeth into here, even if you wouldn’t classify yourself as a traditional ‘Independent Wrestling’ fan. There are a couple of real good spotfests if you liked the ECW/WCW luchador/cruiserweight style. There’s a tremendous call-back to the old NWA days with how Nick Aldis vs. Cody plays out. There is a interesting take on the old ‘hardcore’ styles that both ECW and the WWF used to enjoy presenting in Janela vs the ‘Hangman’. You even get the chance to see the celebrities that get trotted out for the big shows in places like the WWE and Impact Wrestling. Does it all work? No. But a good majority of it does. As I said, it’s almost five hours. But by and large, it’s five hours well spent. Call it an 8.5 and while there is room for improvement (as with everything), a very strong start for Cody and the Bucks as promoters.

Best Match/Moment: I’ll go moment here and go with the obvious of Cody getting to hold the same NWA title his father did in what was an NWA stronghold town. It’s cool to see the torch passed like this.

Worst Match/Moment: The fact that the main event with arguably six of the best wrestlers in the world at the time ends up getting the second shortest amount of time.

Overall Show Score: 8.5/10

MVP: I’m going to give this one to Cody, both for the role he played as a producer/agent for the show as well as the performance in the match with Aldis as well. A good night for young Mr. Runnels.

THE SIGNOFF

And that wraps up the first of the ‘retro’ look backs at previous ‘What I Watched’ reviews. When I return, I will be coming back with ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999, the first pay-per-view of the last year of the 1900s. Following that, I know the WWF’s Royal Rumble 1999 is on the list. I’d imagine I’ll get to WCW’s Souled Out 1999 and when I do return to the Indies, promotions like IWA-MS, CHIKARA, Freelance, BEYOND, WWR and so many others are within my potentially planned scope. Hope to see you down the road and may you all enjoy quality time with those you care. See you next time and thanks for reading, everyone.


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