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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 18 – October 23, 2002

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This week, TNA will try to deal with the ongoing issues between Team Derelicts and Team Jarrett. Five of the top X-Division talent vie for a chance at gold. Jerry Lynn looks to settle the score with Sonny Siaki. AJ Styles and Syxx Pac look to end their feud over the X-Division championship once and for all, and Curt Hennig looks to add another belt to his resume. How’d they do? Let’s find out!

Elimination Match To Determine the #1 Contender for the X-Division Championship: Amazing Red vs Kid Kash vs Joel Maximo vs Jose Maximo vs Elix Skipper: We start right off with the X-Division. Everyone gets an okay pop. Elix Skipper is back after being gone for a few weeks. The rules are pretty standard for a fatal five way Elimination match in WWE: Whoever is left standing wins. For whatever reason, Tenay and West feel the need to act like the audience has never heard of fatal five-ways and to explain the rules. This match was okay. Except for Kid Kash and Elix Skipper in a few spots, the match was basically a spotfest. There were also several botches and sloppy spots that made the match look a little amateurish.

Our order of Elimination was:

  1. Jose Maximo by Elix Skipper
  2. Elix Skipper by Joel Maximo
  3. Joel Maximo by Kid Kash
  4. Kid Kash by Amazing Red via InfraRed.

Winner: Amazing Red by pinfall.

Comment: That wasn’t a great match, but it wasn’t terrible. Kid Kash is definitely the highlight of the X-Division mid-card.

We go backstage and Goldylocks is trying to do an interview with Brian Lawler, but Lawler is more interested in looking out the arena door for some reason, presumably looking for April. Goldy tries to talk to him about his match with BG James and Lawler gets pissy with her, stating that he knows he’s got a match, that’s why he’s there!

Chill out, dude.

Goldy’s had enough and shoots back that she KNOWS that, she wants to know his thoughts on it. That seems to snap Lawler out of his own head and he apologizes to Goldy and says that he’s under a lot pressure right now and even offers to do the interview later.

We get a recap of Storm and Harris’ tag team championship run so far.

NWA-TNA Tag Team Championship Match – James Storm and Chris Harris vs The Hot Shots: Hot Shots come out first and they look confident and cocky as ever. Storm and Harris come out and they’re so pissed off that Storm doesn’t shoot off his capguns, they’re in the mood to fight.

This match started off on the floor and Storm and Harris dominated from the start, which isn’t much of change from their usual matches, what made this match different was the attitude. No joking, or goofy cowboy gimmicks, just straight ass-kicking. That said, they did sell for the Hot Shots and made them look fabulous, but no one really thought the Hot Shots had a prayer of beating Storm and Harris and they didn’t. Storm hit Eight Second Warning for the pinfall.

Winner: Storm and Harris by pinfall.

Comment: That was a really good match. Storm’s powerbomb counter to a hurricanrana was impressive.

Backstage, Goldylocks is talking to Jerry Lynn. She asks about his knee and Lynn admits that his knee is still messed up, but shrugs it off, saying that he’s worked hurt before.

Goldylocks suggests postponing the match until next week, but Lynn refuses. There’s no off season in pro-wrestling and he’ll do the match this week.

I like that even though Goldy’s suggestion annoyed him, Lynn didn’t act like a dick. It’s not a difficult thing to do, guys, I promise.

Lynn continues and says that he’s tired of all these young guys using him as a stepping stone and not respecting him and vows to make Sonny Siaki respect him.

At this point, for reasons only known to him, Lawler wanders in and looks nuttier than before and asking where the elusive April is. The acting is really bad, but maybe that was on purpose.

May I suggest asking X-Pac, since he claims to be sleeping with her.

Grudge Match – Jerry Lynn vs Sonny Siaki: Siaki is getting BOOED, loudly and it doesn’t sound like the kind of heat he wants. Lynn gets a great pop as he gets the jump on Siaki and this match starts on the floor.

This match was pretty good for as quick as it was. Siaki’s a great heel and really good in the ring, but the Rock ripoff is hurting him. Siaki works on Lynn’s knee from the start, but Lynn keeps fighting back. Lynn finally gets the pin after ramming Siaki into the middle turnbuckle and getting a rollup pin. Siaki is furious and attacks Lynn again

Winner: Jerry Lynn by pinfall.

Comment: A quick but really good match. Only really annoying thing is how Tenay and West over played the injury to Lynn’s knee.

Curt Hennig and BG James come out for a promo. Hennig looks drunk and bloated. Hennig gets on the mic and claims that he’s been dealing with Curt Hennig wannabes his entire career, including DDP, who Hennig claims stole his hairstyle.

I think DDP’s hair is that way naturally, Hennig.

Hennig turns his attention to Jarrett, who he claims is the biggest Curt Hennig wannabe of all. He reminds Jarrett of their match back when Jarrett was a rookie and Hennig kicked his ass all over the Asylum.  Hennig then claimed that the Double JJ/country music gimmick that Jarrett was famous for was actually a ripoff of Hennig’s band ‘West Texas Rednecks’ and their supposedly Gold single ‘Rap is Crap’.

This is total BS. Jarrett was doing the Double J gimmick from at least 1993 while Hennig was still Mr. Perfect. The West Texas Rednecks didn’t happen until Hennig was in WCW in the late 90s.

ANYWAY.

Hennig then challenges Jarrett to a match next week, regardless of the results of his NWA Championship match. He then rambles about his physique, never mind that he’s not the slim and trim Mr. Perfect he was ten years before. He then demands that the camera zoom in on him and claims that he took down Brock Lesnar during the infamous Plane Ride from Hell.

I should point out that no one, including those on that flight, are all entirely sure what happened. Lesnar himself claims that he doesn’t remember what happened because he was intoxicated during the flight.

Jarrett’s music hits but he doesn’t come out. Going backstage, we find Jarrett talking to Lawler, trying to get him to go out to the ring like they’re supposed to, but Lawler doesn’t want to because he’s still trying to find April. Jarrett finally gets sick of his excuses and the whole situation and storms off. James gets on the mic and mocks Lawler for his relationship troubles and vows to beat him during their match tonight.

Scott Hall vs Jeff Jarrett: Scott Hall comes out and this is a shock to everyone since his match with Jarrett is scheduled for later tonight. Hall gets on the mic and says that he wasn’t supposed to come out until later, but that he was never good at following the rules.

Really? We hadn’t noticed.

Hall then claims that he’s trying to be a good boy, but he flubs the next line, and says that he can’t be a good boy.

The audience forgives the flub, but it’s clear that Hall’s not stone cold sober.

He then calls Jarrett out so they can have this match now instead of Later and Jarrett obliges.

If Scott Hall had been sober, this would’ve been a really good match, but because he wasn’t, Jarrett nearly killed himself trying to hold the match together. That said, this was an okay match on its own. Hall and Jarrett really work well together, and we got a pretty good brawl on the floor and into the crowd.

The biggest gripe I have with this match is not the fact that Scott Hall wasn’t sober, I’m used to that, no, my big gripe is with the finish. It went something like this: Hall goes to clothesline Jarrett, misses, nearly hits the ref. Jarrett misses his clothesline and hits the ref. Jarrett hits Hall with his best friend, the steel chair, which brings out Hennig. The lights go out and we get a video of Truth making fun of Hennig and vowing victory. When the lights come back on, Lawler attacks Hennig for some reason, which brings out BG James. In all of this chaos, Hennig hits a low blow on Jarrett which lets Hall hit the Edge for the win.

Winner: Scott Hall by pinfall.

Comment: Okay match, lame ending.

Brian Lawler vs BG James: We come back from commercial and go right into the next match. James comes out first and Lawler comes out alone, no April in sight.

This match stunk. James was past his prime and, at one point, hit Lawler with a sloppy piledrive that easily could’ve broken Lawler’s neck. Lawler was dazed for much of the rest of the match. He would get on the mic and ask where April was, but it was really bizarre. James would get the win after Syxx-Pac and April come out to the ramp and start kissing, or Pac was trying to eat her face, whichever you prefer and distracted Lawler enough to let James get the pinfall.

Afterwards, Lawler tried to go after Pac and April and avenge his honor, but James held him back in the ring while Lawler cried very pathetically.

Winner: BG James by pinfall.

Comment: UGH.

No Disqualification Match for the X-Division Championship: Syxx-Pac vs AJ Styles (with Mortimer Plumtree): Back from commercial break and it is time for the X-Division championship match. Styles and Plumtree are out to boos. Syxx gets a good reaction and gets on the mic. He acknowledges that last week’s match wasn’t great and vows that this week will be better and threatens to kick Plumtree’s ass if he interferes.

This match was really good. Syxx showed signs of the really great performer he was when his demons weren’t getting a hold of him. While he wasn’t in the prime shape he’d been in years before, he was able to keep up with Styles. Styles was his usual great self. He slowed down his pace a little to accommodate Syxx, but they still put o a great match. The only snag was the Lawler/April storyline.

Lawler came out and attacked Syxx, hitting him in the head with the belt while Syxx was getting into the ropes to get out of a Styles Clash attempt. Styles hit the Clash and we have a NEW X-Division Champion. Despite the tainted win, Syxx is a good sport and raises Styles’ hand, but Styles passes the belt to Lawler, who knocks Syxx out with it.

Winner: AJ Styles by pinfall

Comment: That was a really good match.

Ace Steel (with Mortimer Plumtree) vs Jorge Estrada (with Priscilla): Steel, who is also managed by Plumtree, comes out alone because Plumtree is busy celebrating with Styles and thinks Steel should be able to handle Estrada on his own.

That was an unwise decision to make. This match was a wreck. Steel isn’t that good of a competitor and botched a lot of spots. Estrada is an okay competitor, but he had quite a job of making something out of this match. Priscilla was mostly there to be pretty and cheer Estrada, though she did end up being the deciding factor in the match by grabbing Steel’s leg, which helped Estrada get the pinfall.

Afterwards, Steel attacked Estrada and Plumtree came out to protest. Priscilla jumped on Plumtree and put on a pretty good sleeper hold until she was unceremoniously thrown off by Plumtree.

Winner: Jorge Estrada.

Comment: Meh.

Syxx comes back out, looking a little dazed from the X-Division match. He says that he paid the price for being distracted and that the Lawler situation has distracted him. Turns out that the whole April situation had started out as a rib to push Lawler’s buttons. However, the player fell for his mark. Syxx admitted to falling for April and calling her a great piece of ass.

I guess that’s a compliment.

Syxx is so enamored with April that he actually offers to wrestle Lawler for April.

Why not just ask April who she wants to date?

Lawler comes out and he looks confused and unsure…until April runs out and starts talking to Lawler and holding his face. An impatient Syxx demanded that they speak up so everyone could hear what was going on.

April declares her love for Lawler and seems to be spinning this as all Syxx’s fault and, despite the evidence to the contrary, that she’s innocent.

Lawler actually believes this and, new invigorated by the idea of Pac mistreating his woman, goes to the ring and starts fighting. The fight was broken up and April seems secretly pleased by her mischief.

West does his weekly ‘Please keep us employed’ sell.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ron Killings vs Curt Hennig: Killings comes out first and raps for the crowd before Hennig comes out.

This match was pathetic. It’s becoming pretty clear that Hennig was not the performer he was in WWE. He was almost a caricature of himself. Killings had to work very hard to keep this match looking presentable, including doing the lamest self-crotching on a top rope I’ve ever seen. They ended up brawling on the floor, which is always a great way of covering for one or both competitors short-comings in the ring.

A prime example of how out of shape and rusty Hennig had become came towards the end of the match. Killings threw Hennig back into the ring and Hennig went to a far corner and waited for Killings to come over instead of attacking Killings as he came in. Mr. Wrestling III comes in and starts attacking, but Hennig doesn’t want to win this way and beats up Mr. Wrestling and tries to unmask him, which gives Killings the opening to hit a cheap shot and get the pinfall. The show ends with Killings leaving, still the champion.

Winner: Ron Killings.

Comment: BLEH! As a fan of Mr. Perfect, it pains me to see how out of shape and bad he’d become.

Overall Comment: So, how was this week’s TNA? It was actually really good. All the matches had a purpose, even if the storylines were lame or the match quality was poor.

The Lawler/April storyline is finally starting to take shape and is blurring the line between abuser and abused in a way that is actually a little interesting in a twisted way. However, I’m not thrilled about April being the prize in a wrestling match.

Love that the guys seemed to have gotten the message that being a dick to a woman doesn’t make you cool. I actually applauded when Lawler apologized to Goldylocks for yelling at her.

I’m glad that Storm and Harris are starting to morph in their America’s Most Wanted personas, or Storm is.

I’m not feeling Mortimer Plumtree as a character. He’s like the most annoying traits of Bobby Heenan and Jim Cornette without the charm or wit of either of them.

It’s sad that Syxx-Pac’s personal issues had such a devastating effect on his career because the match against Styles showed how good Pac could be when he was focused.

Stinkers: It’s a tie between Killings vs Hennig and James/Lawler.

Snoozers: Number 1 Contender’s match.

Match of the Night: Syxx-Pac vs Styles. EASILY the best match of the night.

Final Thoughts:  This was a really good show overall. I can only hope that this continues.


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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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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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