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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWF Survivor Series 1987

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Forget Crown Jewel. Let’s just forget about it. It might be the first of two November events this year, but the second is the one I’m looking forward to and that’s Survivor Series. So today, let’s get ready for it with a look back at the inaugural event!

Piggybacking off the success of WrestleMania III comes the WWF’s Thanksgiving tradition, the Survivor Series! This event was used to capitalize off the momentum and rivalry between Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant, beginning the 2nd of what would become the WWF’s “Big 4” PPVs. The concept was to have 5-on-5 elimination matches, giving multiple wrestlers the opportunity to settle or continue feuds and rivalries within one match. Vince McMahon would leverage cable companies into showing his PPV and not the NWA’s Starrcade, which went head-to-head with the WWF on the same night. Ultimately, only a handful of providers would run the NWA show due to McMahon threatening to not allow those who did have WrestleMania IV. Enough with the small talk, let’s see who can hang on and survive for his squad at the Survivor Series!

Open: Gorilla & Jesse breakdown the rules for the elimination matches tonight. Elimination can occur by pinfall, submission, count-out or disqualification. Referees can also eliminate a participant at their discretion because of injury.

Backstage: Craig DeGeorge welcomes team captain The Honky Tonk Man and his squad. HTM says his team is ready to play a tune at the Survivor Series that nobody has ever heard before. He calls his squad the best team ever assembled, then warns Elizabeth to stay out of the ring or he may Shake, Rattle & Roll her. On the other side is ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund with the opposing team and their captain ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Steamboat talks about having scores to settle tonight, Duggan wanting the King to fall and Savage tells Honky Tonk he’s about to enter the danger zone for putting his hands on Elizabeth.

Match #1 Survivor Series Elimination Match: ‘King’ Harley Race, Hercules, ‘Outlaw’ Ron Bass, ‘Dangerous’ Danny Davis & WWF Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man w/’Colonel’ Jimmy Hart & Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat, Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan & ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage w/Elizabeth
Beefcake starts the match with Hercules, locking up and there’s a stalemate. Beefcake does a strut, then catches a knee to the midsection and Herc grabs a rear chinlock. Brutus rolls out and tries to drop a fist, misses and Hercules hits the ropes and a shoulder knockdown. Back into the ropes, Brutus locks in a sleeper and gets shoved into the his own corner, bouncing back into a hip toss. Davis & Bass try to come in, getting hip tossed themselves and Brutus is trying to figure out who’s legal. He slingshots Danny Davis in the ring, slamming him and then tagging The Snake. Roberts comes in and goes to the arm, Savage in to maintain the hold.

Steamboat tags, heading up top and coming down with an overhead chop, then a thrust kick. He whips Davis into the corner and runs at him, colliding with the boots and allowing Davis to tag in The King. Race comes in and lands a shoulderbreaker, then rams Steamboat into the turnbuckle. He sends Ricky across, Steamboat blocks and hits a 2nd rope karate chop. They exchange shots, Race tries to send Steamboat outside and both times The Dragon hangs onto the ropes and skins the cat back in. Race with a 3rd try, Steamboat switches the momentum and tosses The King to the floor. Harley recovers quickly, coming back in and delivering a belly to belly suplex for a count of 2. Steamboat crawls through The King’s legs, making the tag to Hacksaw who comes in and clotheslines Race out to the floor. Duggan gives chase and pounds away at The King outside, the referee’s count hits 10 and they have been counted out. ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan & ‘King’ Harley Race have been eliminated.

Jake & Ron Bass enter the ring, Bass with control, slamming Roberts, but missing an elbow drop. Jake tags Savage who comes in with a knee to the back, whipping Outlaw into the corner and following with a back elbow and knee drop, that only gets 1. Macho slams Bass, then goes after Honky on the apron, but pays for it. HTM gets the tag and comes in to do a number on Savage. Macho turns the tide, but gets caught in the wrong corner, Bass coming back in with a back elbow and a 2 count. He whips Savage into the ropes, Macho ducks a clothesline and connects with a running elbow. The Outlaw rakes the eyes and attempts a piledriver, Savage flips him out, but gets caught in a side headlock. Macho backs Bass into the ropes and shoots him in as Beefcake makes a blind tag, Savage ducking down and The Barber with a dropkick, then a cover for a 3 count. ‘Outlaw’ Ron Bass is eliminated.

Hercules comes right in for an elbow drop, but misses and hits Bass instead. Brutus with a slam, but Hercules goes to the midsection and starts to pummel the arm of The Barber. HTM maintains the hold off the tag, delivering more punishment to Beefcake’s arm with a wristlock. Hercules is legal now, still working on the arm, Brutus punches his way out, but Herc hooks the legs and gets Honky Tonk in the match to keep at the arm. Beefcake attempts to strike his way out again, but is not successful. He finally ducks under a right hand and hits an atomic drop, then fires away at the IC Champion. He hits the ropes and Davis with a cheap shot, HTM capitalizes with the Shake, Rattle & Roll to send Brutus packing. Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake has been eliminated.

Savage rushes the ring, he ducks outside and Herc makes a tag, coming in and beating him to the canvas. Davis makes the tag, firing lefts and rights, Macho overpowers him and puts him in the ropes, Honky Tonk tagging in. Into the ropes, Savage ducks a clothesline and tags Roberts, coming in with stinging lefts and rights. He attempts the DDT, HTM slips out and Jake runs into the boots in the corner. Honky hammers away, brings in Herc for more heavy artillery and he covers for numerous 2 counts. Davis comes in with more strikes, distracting the ref for Honky to score a cheap shot, then working over Roberts in the corner. The Snake fires up, absorbing blows and landing a short-arm clothesline. The crowd calls for it and Jake spikes Davis with the DDT for the pinfall. ‘Dangerous’ Danny Davis has been eliminated.

Hercules is in quickly, leveling The Snake with a vicious clothesline and dropping the elbow twice for a count of 2. He contines to pummel Jake, getting him in his corner and double teaming with Honky. Savage comes in illegally to try and help Jake, but when the ref gets Macho back to the apron there’s more double teaming. HTM measures away and drops a fist to Roberts, gaining a count of 2, then going into a rear chinlock. Jake is able to get to a vertical base, driving the elbow to the midsection to break the hold, then hitting the ropes for a kneelift. He crawls toward his corner, but Herc tags in and prevents Jake from getting there, going back to the rear chinlock to wear him out.

The Snake gets to his feet and is able to roll Hercules off, but the big man grabs it again and grounds Jake. Roberts to his feet again, breaking the hold with a jawbreaker and getting the tag to The Dragon. Steamboat is a house of fire, delivering chops to Hercules & HTM. Ricky to the top, bombs away with an overhead chop. He slams Herc, then tags Savage who scales the turnbuckle and hits his patented elbow drop for the 1-2-3. Hercules has been eliminated. Honky Tonk is left all by himself now, Savage unloads with lefts, ramming him in the corner and charging, but HTM moves out of the way. Honky takes the advantage, aggressively clubbing away at Macho. Irish whip, Savage ducks a clothesline and hits a running elbow, making the tag to Steamboat for more punishment.

The Snake’s in now, sending HTM into the ropes and going for a back body drop, Honky tries a sunset flip, but Jake reigns down a right hand. Great teamwork, Savage coming in off the 2nd rope with a double axe handle. He slams Honky Tonk, heads upstairs and comes down with another double axe handle, following with an atomic drop that sends HTM out to the floor. Honky Tonk has had enough and heads for the exit, getting counted out.
Winners & Survivors: ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat & Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts

  • EA’s Take: ‘Macho Man’ is white hot right now, after turning babyface when The Honky Tonk Man proclaimed himself the ‘greatest Intercontinental Champion’ of all-time. Jake Roberts was also still embroiled in a feud with HTM from WrestleMania and Ricky Steamboat was the man that Honky had defeated for the IC Title. Ron Bass had just jumped from the NWA and had a small rivalry with Brutus Beefcake. Brutus continued using ‘The Barber’ moniker after shaving Adrian Adonis’ head at WrestleMania.

Backstage: Broadcast colleague Craig DeGeorge is standing by team captain Andre The Giant and his monstrous squad. Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan claims Andre got screwed at WrestleMania when he got a “3 count” on Hulk Hogan. The Giant says he did it once and he will do it again. ‘The Doctor of Style’ Slick talks about how they will be a cohesive unit of ‘animals’ in tonight’s main event. Andre states he’s here for one reason and that’s Hogan’s soul.

Match #2 Survivor Series Elimination Match: WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin & Leilani Kai), Dawn Marie, Donna Christianello & WWF Women’s Champion ‘Sensational’ Sherri w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. Velvet McIntyre, Rockin’ Robin, The Jumping Bomb Angels (Itsuki Yamazaki & Noriyo Tateno) & The Fabulous Moolah
Sherri attacks Velvet and the bell rings, she rams her into the turnbuckles, whips her into the ropes and hits a clothesline. Velvet is whipped in again, ducking a clothesline and hitting a crossbody, then making the tag to Moolah. She prevents Sherri from getting to her corner, proceeding to hammer away. Moolah’s a little overzealous, knocking The Sensational One into her own corner, Christianello making the tag and being brought in the hard way. Moolah with a slingshot, she tags Noriyo who slingshots in the ring with a kick, followed by a dropkick. She goes for another and Christianello avoids it, but Noriyo is too close to her corner and Velvet tags back in.

She irish whips Christianello to the ropes, connecting with a back elbow, a standing dropkick, then a body slam for a count of 2. Christianello fires back, gets flattened by a forearm and then Velvet catches her with a victory roll to pick up the elimination, Donna Christianello has been eliminated. Leilani Kai charges in right after the 3 count, sneak attacking Velvet. She sends her into the corner and rushes at her, Velvet catching her in a headscissors, followed by a dropkick before making the tag to Robin. Leilani drags Robin into the wrong part of town, Dawn Marie tags in and slams Robin to the mat by the hair a couple of times.

Martin off the tag, whips Robin in, Robin ducks a clothesline and lands a crossbody for a near fall, then follows with a dropkick. She attempts a snapmare, Martin hangs on into a roll up for a 2 count, then hits a big boot with Robin coming off the ropes. The champion re-enters the match, hitting a nice running dropkick and then quick tagging Dawn Marie. She sends Robin in and lands a double throat thrust, Robin to her feet and striking back with a clothesline, then a running crossbody to gain a count of 3. Dawn Marie has been eliminated.

Leilani Kai is again quick to rush in right after the 3 count, but she’s a little too aggressive and hammers Robin, sending her into her own corner for Itsuki to tag. Leilani utilizes her size advantage, slamming Itsuki and covering for 2, but Itsuki bridges out. She hops over Leilani and grabs a roll-up, nearly getting 3. Itsuki hits the ropes and jumps into a victory roll for another 2 as Leilani tags out to Martin. Itsuki is still a house of fire, whipping Martin in and landing a couple running knees and a crossbody for a 2 count. Noriyo tags and climbs up top, coming off with an arm drag that sends Martin across the ring into her corner, Sherri making a tag.

Noriyo flips the champion into the ring, sending her in for a back elbow, then a double underhook suplex for a count of 2. Robin comes in now firing away at Sherri and hitting an elbow drop for 2. The Sensational One tags out to Leilani, Robin reverses an irish whip into the corner and hits a monkey flip. Leilani is back up, again using her size to force Robin in the wrong corner and bring Sherri back in, slamming Robin and hitting a suplex for a 3 count. Rockin’ Robin has been eliminated.

Itsuki wastes no time coming in, connecting with multiple running dropkicks, the last one sending Sherri into her corner and Leilani enters the match. She sends Itsuki into the corner, then tosses her by the hair into the canvas. Velvet tagging in, hits the ropes and she counters a tilt-a-whirl attempt into a crossbody for a count of 2. Leilani tags Martin, Velvet bringing her in the hard way and slingshotting her across the ring, then tagging Moolah. The Fabulous One with strikes, a monkey flip and then a dropkick, Martin strikes back and drives Moolah down by the hair. Moolah fights back, taking Martin over into a pinning predicament for 2, then bringing Noriyo into the match.

She gets caught by the hair as soon as she gets in the ring, Martin dragging her into the corner and Leilani tagging, then scaling to the 2nd rope. Noriyo with a shot to the midsection, slamming Leilani down from the 2nd rope, but then missing a dropkick. Leilani whips Noriyo in and connects with a flying double axe handle before tagging the champion, Sherri coming in and driving Noriyo’s head into the mat. Martin tags in, hip tosses Noriyo into the corner, Itsuki tags and gets tossed to the outside, Martin going after Moolah on the apron. Moolah gets pulled into the ring, she hits a dropkick, a clothesline, body slam and then a headlock takeover on Martin.

She grabs the side headlock, Martin pushes her off into the ropes, then uses Leilani on the apron for a double clothesline, makes the cover and gets 3. The Fabulous Moolah has been eliminated. Itsuki jumps Martin, whipping her into the ropes and getting caught with a big boot. Martin tries it again, but this time Itsuki catches the foot and drills her with a big right hand, dragging her to the corner and tagging Noriyo. She starts to work over Martin’s leg, Velvet coming in off the tag to continue the punishment and put Martin in a Boston crab. Velvet switches into a cross leg lock, then going for a surfboard. Back up Velvet, sends Martin in and lands a dropkick, Martin falling into her corner and Sherri tags.

Velvet flips the champion in, but Sherri goes to the midsection and drives Velvet’s face into the mat. She follows with a leg drop and a suplex, tags Leilani who tosses Velvet across the ring into her own corner, Itsuki with the tag. Leilani grabs her and tosses her clear across the ring, then plants her with a double underhook suplex. Itsuki bridges out of a cover, the bell rings inadvertently and Itsuki is able to tag out to Velvet. She gets forced into the wrong part of town, Sherri comes in to try a double team move, Velvet counters and puts the champion in a big swing. She whips Sherri into the corner, reversed, Sherri charges and Velvet hops up on the shoulders, getting a victory roll and pinning the champion. ‘Sensational’ Sherri has been eliminated.

Martin rushes in the ring, clobbering away at Velvet and sending her into her own corner for Itsuki to tag in. They go into the corner and Itsuki comes off the 2nd rope into a sunset flip for a count of 2, following with a rolling headbutt out of an irish whip. Itsuki goes for a slam, Martin keeps blocking and Noriyo tags in, for a double underhook suplex. Martin blocks it once, but not twice, Noriyo covering and getting 2. Martin falls back into her corner, Leilani comes in with a double leg takedown, Noriyo turning it into a body scissors. Leilani gets out with right hands, slingshotting Noriyo across the ring and Velvet tags. She comes in and hits a back elbow, then goes into a roll-up for a count of 2, then hops on Leilani’s shoulders for another victory roll.

Leilani counters, slinging Velvet into the top rope and then back with an electric chair to grab the 3 count. Velvet McIntyre has been eliminated. The Jumping Bomb Angels rush the ring and whip The Glamour Girls into each other, hit simultaneous body slams and then slingshot their opponents onto each other. Order is restored as Noriyo & Leilani stay in the ring, Leilani sending Noriyo into the ropes and Martin with a cheap shot from the apron. Leilani slams Noriyo and heads upstairs, missing a top rope splash. Itsuki tags, climbing to the top and connecting with a crossbody for the 1-2-3. Leilani Kai has been eliminated.

Martin is left all alone, going to work on Itsuki with clubbing blows and driving her head into the canvas. Martin gets Itsuki in a fireman’s carry, lifting her up and planting her face first, she covers and Itsuki gets a foot on the ropes at 1. Into the ropes, Itsuki ducks a clothesline and plants Martin on her backside to the mat, tags Noriyo and then slams Martin. Noriyo to the top, coming down with a knee drop, The Angels send Martin into the ropes and hit a double back body drop as Jimmy Hart gets on the apron. Itsuki dropkicks him to the floor, Noriyo coming off the top with a clothesline to Martin and she picks up the victory.
Winners & Survivors: The Jumping Bomb Angels (Itsuki Yamazaki & Noriyo Tateno)

  • EA’s Take: The real standouts of the contest get to be the survivors, as The Jumping Bomb Angels are ahead of their time in terms of American women’s wrestling. Velvet McIntyre is in that category too, as all 3 ladies work a pretty fast pace with some aerial offense. The Glamour Girls and Sherri can hold their own, but everyone else in the match was sloppy at best. The WWF Women’s Tag Team Championships have actually been in existence since 1983, but their shelf life wouldn’t last past the next year, 1988.


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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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