On the eve of NXT TakeOver: War Games II, we look back at a previous November TakeOver event with TakeOver: Toronto
Open: “Toronto, the birthplace and proving ground for some of the greatest Superstars from the ‘Great White North’. For over three decades, the host of some of the most memorable moments in WWE history. Now, it’s NXT’s turn to takeover Toronto.”
Match #1: ‘The Glorious’ Bobby Roode vs. ‘The Perfect 10’ Tye Dillinger
We have a staredown at the bell, Roode slowly starts to circle Tye and he starts to strike a ‘Glorious’ pose. Dillinger strikes with left hands, Bobby goes to a side headlock, quickly gets pushed off to the ropes, scores with a shoulder knockdown, then goes back to the ropes. The Perfect 10 catches him with a back elbow and clotheslines him to the outside, throws him back in, clotheslines him back out the other side, then steps out and fires away with stinging chops. The Glorious One sneaks in a right hand to stop the onslaught, irish whip into the barricade is reversed, Tye elevates him with a back body drop off the rebound and Roode smacks off the floor.
Dillinger sends him into the ring and Bobby tries to beg him off, The Perfect 10 mocks him and stomps away at the fingers, flashes a ’10’ in his face, avoids a chops and scores with one of his own. He puts The Glorious One in the corner, climbs to the 2nd rope and lets go with stiff lefts, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Roode ducks down for a back body drop, Dillinger catches him with a kick, charges and gets deposited over the top to the outside. The Glorious One slides out the opposite side, clobbers Tye with a forearm from behind, drops him chest-first across the top of the barricade, then drapes him across the apron. Bobby comes down with a clubbing shot to the sternum, drives him down into the apron, pushes him in and chokes him in the corner with the bottom of his boot.
Roode with heavy knife-edge chops, shoots The Perfect 10 hard into the turnbuckles, follows in with a clothesline, then heads to the 2nd rope for a shot across the back of the neck. The Glorious One is supremely confident now, hooks Dillinger for a neckbreaker, Tye surprises him with a backslide and gets a count of 2. He starts to build some momentum with chops, irish whip to the corner is reversed, The Perfect 10 hits the turnbuckles hard and Roode follows with a neckbreaker for a 2 count. He drops a knee across the chest, rakes his bootlaces across the eyes and starts toying with Tye as he pummels him.
Roode puts him in the corner and goes to the 2nd rope to right down punches, gets a little to confident and The Perfect 10 powers him out into an inverted atomic drop. Dillinger gets a rush of adrenaline and battles to his feet, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Tye ducks a clothesline and scores with multiple flying forearms. He delivers a knee lift, flattens Roode with a clothesline, stomps away in the corner and then exposes the knee for the Tye Breaker. The Glorious One sees it coming, rolls outside and starts walking to the back, Dillinger goes out in pursuit, throws him back in the ring and slides in, Bobby catches him with a spinebuster and nearly puts it away.
He props Tye on the top turnbuckle and sets for a superplex, plants The Perfect 10, rolls into a cover and only gains a near fall. The Glorious One starts to look puzzled, stands over Tye and flashes a ’10’, then exposes his knee and tries for a Tye Breaker of his own. Dillinger slips out of it and looks for a superkick, Roode ducks it, goes to a schoolboy, puts his feet on the ropes, but the official sees it and stops at 2. Bobby can’t believe it and argues with the referee, The Perfect 10 surprises him with a schoolboy for a near fall, both guys up quick, he connects with the superkick, but still can’t finish it.
Both guys stagger to their feet and exchange fists, The Perfect 10 gets the better of it, powers Roode up for the Tye Breaker, The Glorious One escaping and hooks him for the Glorious Drop. Tye avoids it, Bobby attempts a sunset flip, The Perfect 10 rolls through it, slaps on the Sharpshooter, but Roode is able to crawl to the ropes. Tye stumbles back up, tries to pick The Glorious One to his feet, gets caught in a small package for a 2 count, counters to one of his own off the kick-out, but still only gets 2. Roode staggers to the corner and Dillinger comes charging in, The Glorious One side-steps out of the way, drives him shoulder-first into the steel post, spikes him with the Glorious Drop and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: ‘The Glorious’ Bobby Roode (Glorious Drop)
- EA’s Take: I think about what it must be like to be Bobby Roode walking into the arena, to a packed house and a massive pop compared to his previous situation in TNA. I have made my feelings on Dillinger clear before, the man is a future champion and I stand by that. This was the best way to start this event off. The match was well paced and the two men worked together wonderfully. The crowd was high energy which only heightened the already great match’s intensity. Roode getting the win makes sense. He is set to advance into the title picture imminently. My boy Tye however, got to show what he could do and look as good as you can in a loss. Good luck to the rest of the card because these two just set an epic tone to start the night.
Match #2 – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals with Paul Ellering Suspended Above The Ring In A Shark Cage: The Authors Of Pain (Rezar & Akam) w/Paul Ellering vs. TM61 (Shane Thorne & Nick Miller)
The cage lowers, Ellering holds a quick conference with The Authors, the official locks him inside and it is raised above the squared circle. Akam & Miller to kickoff the action, Akam immediately drives Miller into the corner at the bell, shoots him across, Miller puts on the brakes and fires back with forearms. Akam blocks a whip and sends him to the ropes, Thorne tags in on the way through, delivers a big boot to send Akam to the outside, Rezar hits the ring and runs into a double dropkick. TM61 clothesline him to the outside, Thorne spills to the outside, Miller builds a head of steam and flies over the top with a somersault plancha onto Akam.
Rezar looks up at the support structure for the shark cage, powers Thorne onto his shoulders and starts to climb up with some devious plans in mind. Shane kicks him away, climbs to the top of the structure, jumps off with a somersault and takes out The Authors Of Pain. He throws Akam back in the ring and climbs onto the apron, Miller slides inside, the official tells Miller he’s not legal and works to get him back to the corner, Rezar taking the opening to sweep the legs of Shane on the apron. He climbs up to the apron and tags in, sends Thorne into the squared circle and covers for 2, bludgeons him with big right hands and stomps, then rips away at the face. Akam tags in and comes off the 2nd rope with a combination stop/side slam for a count of 2, Akam hammers Shane with heavy shots, hooks the leg and gains another 2 count.
He looks to ground Shane now with a rear chinlock, Thorne works his way to a standing position, Akam launches him across the ring, lateral press and another near fall. He measures Thorne in the corner and rushes in, Shane side-steps out of harm’s way, Rezar gets the tag and knocks Miller off the apron, picks Thorne up and gets surprised by a dropkick. Miller pulls himself back to the apron and tags in, cracks Rezar with forearms, slams Akam coming in, delivers a corner clothesline to Rezar, then hits an exploder suplex on Akam. He plants Rezar with a back suplex, smashes them both with basement flying forearms, goes to the top turnbuckle and executes a moonsault, but can’t finish it. Akam & Thorne get back involved and every pairs off in opposite corners, TM61 with in-sync punches from the 2nd rope, The Authors look to counters into the Clink Powerbomb, but Thorne & Miller reverse with hurricanranas.
Shane gets a tag, TM61 plant Rezar with Thunder Valley, Thorne hooks the leg, but Akam is there to make the save. Miller dumps him to the outside, slingshots over the top with a crossbody, Thorne follows with a somersault plancha, the official takes in the chaos and Ellering drops a chain into the ring from above. Rezar wraps it around his fist, tries to clock Thorne climbing up to the apron, Shane blocks it, the chain flies into the crowd and he rolls Rezar up for a near fall. He pops back to his feet, Rezar delivers a spinebuster, tag to Akam, they take out Miller on the apron and deliver The Last Chapter for the win.
Winners: The Authors Of Pain (Akam/The Last Chapter)
- After The Bell: The cage lowers and Ellering is freed to raise his guys’ hands. NXT General Manager William Regal & Triple H come down to the ring along with Dustin Rhodes, presenting The Authors with the Dusty Cup and posing for a photo-op.
- EA’s Take: I called AOP to win this tourney before it began. It just made too much sense as hard as they have been pushed. The way the match was completed fits into the idea that Ellering always is involved in some way. TM61 kept the pace of the match where it needed to be. It was bogged down in spots, but not so much so that it made the match plodding. Both teams should look to be competing in the title picture in the aftermath of this event. Also, I hope no one got hit by that chain that went into the crowd….jeez!
Match #3 – 2 out of 3 Falls for the NXT Tag Team Championships: #DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) vs. NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
Gargano & Dawson to begin, Dawson with an arm drag off the opening lock-up, Johnny with a headscissors to escape, scores with an arm drag of his own and Dawson returns the favor with the headscissors. Quick pace to start, Johnny Wrestling with an early 2 count off of a roll-up, Dawson collects himself, they tie-up again and Dawson backs Gargano into the corner. No clean break and he goes to the breadbasket with a fist, snapmares Johnny over, hits the ropes for a shoulder knockdown, goes back in, puts on the brakes and sends Gargano to the ropes instead.
Ciampa gets a tag, Johnny Wrestling catches Dawson with an inverted atomic drop, Tommaso follows with a running forearm, connects with one for Dash stepping in, DIY then scoring with in-sync dropkicks. The Psycho Killer covers for a count of 2, goes to a wristlock, Dawson rakes the eyes to break it, brings Wilder in and he clubs Ciampa down to the canvas. He tries to drive Tommaso head-first into the top turnbuckle, The Psycho Killer blocks it, returns the favor, irish whip across is reversed into a knee, Dash tagging out. Dawson delivers a body slam and brings back Dash, drops him into a leg drop on Ciampa for a 2 count, Wilder grabs a side headlock, looks for a running bulldog and gets pushed away into the opposite corner.
Both guys crawl to tags, Gargano slingshots in with a kick to Dawson, levels him with a clothesline, ducks a shot from Wilder and tosses him with an overhead belly-to-belly. He lines The Revival up in opposite corners and charges in with running chops, pulls Dash out for a running bulldog and clotheslines Dawson in the process, plants him with a leaping neckbreaker and almost gets 3. Johnny Wrestling charges Dawson in the corner, gets elevated over the top, Wilder makes a tag, Gargano lands on his feet on the apron and Dawson clocks him with a right hand. He hits the ropes to build a head of steam, Johnny looks to slingshot back in with a spear, Dawson counters into the Shatter Machine and Wilder covers for the fall.
First Fall: The Revival
Gargano staggers to his feet, Wilder tries to attack him from behind, gets surprised by a roll-up for a near fall, but Johnny can’t capitalize. Dawson tags in and ties Johnny up in the ropes for heavy shots, Wilder clotheslines him back into the ring behind the ref’s back, Dawson follows with a slingshot suplex and again gets a count of 2. Dawson shoves him into the corner, Dash tags in and the champions pound him with clubbing shots, Wilder with some words for the crowd, then Dawson re-enters the match. Dash sends Gargano to the ropes for a drop toe hold, Dawson follows with an elbow drop for a 2 count, then looks to ground Johnny Wrestling with a body scissors. Gargano works to a vertical base, Dawson switches into a Gory special, Johnny slips out of it, takes a shot at Dash on the apron, but gets clocked by Dawson.
Wilder steps in, Gargano charges, grabs Dash for a tornado DDT, kicks Dawson in the process, crawls to his corner and reaches for the tag. Dash grabs Ciampa from the outside and then slides in the ring, the official is distracted as Gargano tags out, the ref doesn’t allow it and The Revival double team Johnny in the corner. Tommaso has had enough and chases Dawson around the ring, the official cuts him off as they slide back in, the champions hit Gargano with a Hart Attack, Dawson covers and nearly finishes it. Wilder re-enters the match and props Johnny on the top turnbuckle for a super back suplex, Johnny Wrestling switches the weight in mid-air, lands on top and gets 2. Dash tags out and Dawson quickly tries to prevent Gargano from reaching his corner, Johnny clocks him with an enzuigiri, leaps and finally tags out.
The Psycho Killer hits the ring off the top with a dropkick, crushes Dawson in the corner with a running knee, then drops him with back elbows. Dawson ducks under one and shoots him to the corner, rushes in and meets a boot to the chin, Tommaso runs out with a Famouser, covers and only gets a count of 2. Wilder rolls into the ring and gets dumped back outside just as quick, Dawson takes the opening for a roll-up from behind, Ciampa rolls through it, delivers rolling german suplexes, scores with the Running Knee for a near fall. He calls for Gargano to climb back on the apron, Dawson clobbers him from behind, pulls Johnny into the ring and The Revival set for a spike piledriver.
Ciampa knocks Wilder off the top turnbuckle, Johnny blocks the piledriver, Tommaso comes off the top with a crossbody, but still can’t find a 3 count. Dash slides in again and Ciampa cracks him with a high knee, the referee forces Wilder back to the apron, #DIY lineup for the Combination Superkick/Running Knee to Dawson and Tommaso covers to tie it up.
Second Fall: #DIY
Dawson rolls to his corner and tags out, Dash steps in, has some words for Ciampa and they trade-off shots. The Psycho Killer gets the better of it and measures for a discus clothesline, Dawson makes a blind tag, sneaks into the ring and ducks it, but Ciampa picks the arm and goes into the Bridging Fujiwara Armbar. Dawson reverses into a roll-up for a 2 count, Gargano makes a blind tag, decks Dawson with an enzuigiri from the apron, Tommaso following up with a rope-assisted reverse STO. He looks to dive outside onto Dash and gets surprised by an uppercut, Wilder charges around ringside after Gargano, Johnny laying him out with a kick from the apron. He slingshots into the ring and spikes Dawson with a DDT, stacks him up for a count of 2, then looks around wondering what to do next.
Dawson rolls out to the apron, Johnny hooks him for a suplex back inside, Dawson slips out of it, waistlock by Gargano and he pushes him towards the ropes for a roll-up. Dash hangs onto Dawson from the outside to block it, tags himself in, Gargano battles them both off, looks for a tornado DDT on Wilder, but gets thrown off. The champions plant him with a combination clothesline/german suplex, Dawson hooks both legs, but The Psycho Killer just barely breaks it up before 3. Dawson drives Ciampa shoulder-first into the ring post, goes back to the apron to tag in, then trades shots with Gargano. Johnny gets the upper-hand, Dawson ducks a shot for a backslide, Gargano counters out, kicks Dash in the process of rolling up Dawson with a small package and almost steals it.
Wilder goes to the timekeeper’s area and grabs one of the titles, slides back into the ring, Ciampa meets him with a clothesline and they both fall over the top to the floor. The official is distracted, Dawson grabs the championship, blocks a Gargano kick with it and then slaps on an inverted figure four. Johnny Wrestling struggles to hold on, scratches and claws his way to the bottom rope and forces the break, but the damage has been done. Wilder calls for a tag and gets it, they mock #DIY and go for their combination finisher, Gargano ducks it, Dawson gets clocked by a superkick, #DIY hit Wilder with a Shatter Machine, but Dawson is able to stop the count before a finish.
Ciampa tries to roll back inside and the ref forces him back to the corner, Dawson switches out without making a tag, surprises Gargano with a roll-up, the official turns around and counts to 2, but notices it’s not the legal man in the ring. Wilder rams Tommaso into the ring post on the outside, Johnny deposits Dawson through the ropes with a superkick, Dash slides in from behind and takes Gargano out at the knees. He sets for the inverted figure four, Gargano counters into a small package for 2, they exchange roll-ups for near falls, Johnny finally hooks on the Garga-No-Escape, Ciampa cuts off Dawson and slaps on the Bridging Fujiwara Armbar, Wilder tapping out.
Winners and NEW NXT Tag Team Champions: #DIY
- EA’s Take: Is it just me or did this whole feud get undersold and was not well built up? I picked The Revival to win this one mainly because I am so used to seeing them win at these TakeOver events. I am glad to have been wrong. #DIY looked great, as did The Revival. There were a couple of sloppy moments, but they were few and far enough between and the match was still quite good. #DIY I am sure will be seeing The Authors of Pain very soon. As for their counterparts, RAW’s Tag Team Division has become quite stale and to steal a quote from my editor, could use a “Revival”.
Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 23
NWA-TNA Episode 23: November 27, 2002
Goldy is introduced and sings ‘God Bless America’ and sounds lovely as usual.
Opening: We open with Borash in the ring and he says that since it’s the day before Thanksgiving and because everyone is feeling grateful, despite everything the country has been through and is about to go through (the War in Afghanistan was about to start, I think), everyone at TNA is thankful to the fans for supporting them.
Briscoe Brothers vs Divine Storm (with Trinity): The Briscoes are back! They’re going up against generic new comers, Divine Storm.
This match was much better than Divine Storm’s previous outing last week. They and the Briscoes worked together very well and put on a really good match. Trinity got involved, hitting a hurricanrana on one of the Briscoes. There was also a really cool spot where one member of the Briscoes and one member of Divine Storm hit stereo diving sentons on each other’s opponent.
Ultimately, Divine Storm would win this round with a cradle suplex.
At ringside, Tenay addresses the revelation that Vince Russo was Mr. Wrestling III. The usually calm, neutral Tenay minces no words about how he feels. He does NOT like Vince Russo, he does NOT want to be associated with him, and vows to not let Russo destroy TNA the way he did WCW. West is a little stunned by Tenay’s anger, claiming that he didn’t realize that Tenay disliked Russo that much.
After the commercial break, Tenay is in the ring and he’s wanting to interview Jeff Jarrett. He gets Vince Russo instead. Russo seems to see no reason to play nice. He throws Tenay out of the ring and tells him to go sulk in the commentary area. Apparently Tenay had vowed to quit if Russo was allowed into TNA and Russo called his bluff, telling him he can go home and pout like Sean Waltman and they’ll replace him with a chimpanzee that will have more personality.
Addressing the audience, and seemingly unaware of just how many people hold him responsible for the destruction of WCW, Russo introduced himself as the Anti-Christ of wrestling and said that he came back because the business was ‘in the shitter’, without seeming to accept that he’s very much to blame for the state of the business.
Russo then tries to claim credit for Jarrett’s rise in the late 90s, claiming to have befriended him in WWE, despite the Double J gimmick, though it should be pointed out that Russo’s ‘friendship’ didn’t help Jarrett get out of the mid-cards in WWE. Russo then clams that the Jarrett’s begged him to come in and help TNA, saying that TNA means ‘Tits and Ass’ not ‘Total Non-Stop Acton’.
Proving that he has no clue what he’s doing, Russo disrespects the NWA greats who have been putting up with his garbage, and claims he’s saving TNA, instead of destroying it.
But Russo’s wants us all to know that he’s not a total psychopath. He offers Jarrett, who owns the company and put up with Russo’s BS even when it nearly closed the company down, be in on what he’s got planned for TNA, which will include some drastic changes. He will expect an answer by the end of the show.
After Russo leaves, an incensed Tenay calls Russo a cancer, stating that Russo is everything that is wrong with professional wrestling and says, point blank, that Russo killed WCW.
Throughout the evening’s show, there were various TNA on-screen talent plugging a silent auction to benefit a school for autistic children and for breast cancer awareness. The segments were pretty lame, so I’m not going to mention them past this point.
America’s Most Wanted vs The Hot Shots: Hot Shots don’t get a ton of love from the crowd,but there are some cheers. AMW are extremely over, but they aren’t in good moods after losing their rematch to New Church last week. The match was pretty typical for these teams. AMW was ground and pound, while the Hot Shots were a lot of flash and cockiness, butthe match was really good.
During the match, James Mitchell and Bella Donna come out, which distracts Storm and Harris, just when they had the match won. AMW pursued the Not-So-Good Minister and his lady, getting themselves counted out in the process. Mitchell, proving that there is no honor among thieves, ran for his life and left Bella Donna to the wolves.
Storm and Harris, proving that they are equal opportunity ass-kickers, were ready to hit the Death Sentence on Bella Donna, when Mitchell returned to half-heartedly try to save her. As the AMW were distracted, the New Church attacked from behind. Mitchell grabbed Bella and they got away, but Bella needs to rethink her life choices.
Backstage, Goldylocks is looking to talk to Jeff Jarrett about his upcoming match against Ron Killings and, presumably, Russo’s offer, but Dory Funk Jr is barring the door.
Funk, lets Goldy know that while Jarrett IS in the locker room, he doesn’t want to talk to anyone since he’s focusing on the match. When Goldy asks if he’s Jarrett’s manager, Funk simply says that he’s got a vested interest in the match.
NWA Tag Team Championship Match: BG James and Curt Hennig vs New Church (with James Mitchell and Bella Donna): I’m not sure why the Harris Twins aren’t in this match since they’re supposed to be the #1 Contenders for the tag titles, but we’re getting James and Hennig. It was supposed to be James/Waltman, but Tenay informs us that Waltman has refused to show up because he doesn’t to be associated with Russo.
Michell gets on the mic and says that he doesn’t care about the difference between professional wrestling and sports entertainment, he’s just interested in being evil.
This match was really basic, which is probably the best option for everyone involved. Hennig looks like he’s laid off the booze and hit the gym a little more, but there’s no hiding the fact that his ring skills are lacking, though he shows some of his former brilliance with an interesting modified figure-four.
AMW run in, causing James and Hennig to be DQ’d just when they thought they had the match won. All hell breaks loose with AMW not only brawling with the New Church, but with the angered James and Hennig who feel that they were robbed of their opportunity. AMW would chase New Church into the back, but it’s clear that AMW have made enemies of James and Hennig.
Alyx Winters vs EZ Money: For reasons that I can’t explain, EZ Money has gotten over with the higher ups at TNA and is back for another match. His opponent is Alyx Winters,who reminds me a little of the Wunderkind from WCW.
The match has a pretty basic start, but there’s an interesting reverse Boston Crab/swing hold by Money. There’s a spot where Winters was supposed to float over Money, but Money didn’t run in and when Winters landed, it was balls first on Money’s knee. After that stupid spot,that Money was very proud of, the match went rapidly downhill. Money picked up the win with a cradle suplex and left poor Winters in the ring.
Backstage, we find Goldylocks with Bruce, who has been in middle of the drama that is the relationship of Brian Lawler and April. After seeming to be caught in the shower with April and probably NOT conserving water, unless April gets turned on by saving the Earth’s oceans, Bruce found himself fending off not only an enraged Lawler, but his former partner, Lenny Lane, who tried to claim that Bruce was ineligible to be Miss TNA because he was actually straight. If you find that confusing, join the club.
This week, Bruce has ditched the pastels and his fetching Miss TNA number for a pretty basic…guy look, long-sleeved shirt, baseball cap.When Goldy introduces him as Bruce, he corrects her and says that his name is now Allen Funk. A confused Goldy asks him about the April situation and Funk claims that he felt sorry for April because of how Lawler treated her and tried to comfort her. What that has to do with showering together, I have no idea.
Furthermore, Bruce states that he is gay, but that his heart got involved and that April is a very sexual person. Goldy makes a really bad joke, but asks what Funk plans to do with the Miss TNA gear, and Funk says he’ll give it to April.
Crimson Dragon vs Sonny Siaki: Last week, Crimson Dragon made a mediocre debut in a match involving AJ Styles. This week, Dragon and Siaki meet one on one. Dragon’s changed his look and looks like a very stylish ninja, while Siaki looks bored,though he gets a bit of a pop from the crowd.
The match was okay, Siaki does his best, but Dragon sucks. He botches several spots before Siaki can put him away with a super overhead-toss and a Money clip.
Once Crimson Dragon is vanquished, a disgusted Siaki gets on the mic and states that he’s tired of the lackluster opponents he’s been getting. If TNA won’t give him better competition than this, he doesn’t want to say. Sonny Siaki, in his own mind, should only be wrestling top guys and be in title matches.
Backstage, Goldylocks is with April, apparently, Goldy was wanting to interview Lawler, but found April instead. April says that Lawler has been in the production truck watching the footage of the shower scene all day. April doesn’t seem to get what the problem is, Bruce is gay and she’s faithful to Brian, which shows that either she’s an idiot or he is.
Goldy points out that no one believes her, especially after last week, to which April coyly implies that Goldy’s jealous. Angry and fed up…FINALLY, Goldy tells the cameraman to cut off the interview because she’s ‘done with this bullshit’.
To add more drama to this mess, Lawler goes to ringside, not dressed to wrestle and looking very sad. According to him, he gave everything he had to a woman and that April cheated on him and made him look like an idiot, though it must be said that Lawler was already doing a good job of making himself look like an idiot before April got there. In play at sympathy, Lawler then claims that April and Goldylocks had an affair, which didn’t win him much sympathy. Fed up, Lawler says he’s quitting the wrestling business and does his really bad crying act before walking away.
Tenay and West are dumbstruck, with even West saying that that was weird.
Thing get weirder back stage when Goldylocks tries to talk to Lawler, but finds him being comforted by Priscilla, Jorge Estrada’s manager. Lawler is STILL doing the fake crying thing, telling Priscilla that she’s the only one that cares. They walk away together, but we see Lawler grabbing Priscilla’s butt, so I don’t think we have to worry about him bouncing back from April.
X-Division Championship Match: Jerry Lynn vs AJ Styles (with Mortimer Plumtree): The rivalry between Styles and Lynn is well-known, so I won’t go into it here. Styles won the right to face Lynn last week after defeating Jorge Estrada and Crimson Dragon.
The match was okay. Even the best rivals have a clunker and this was that match for Styles and Lynn. I’m not sure what was going on,but they just could seem to mesh as seamlessly as they usually do.
Added to the trouble was Plumtree, who was trying to use some heel manager tactics and not doing a great job at it. Unfortunately, Plumtree’s antics would end up costing Styles the match when the brass knucks Plumtree tossed him ended up with Lynn, who knocked Styles into next week for the pin.
In a pre-show interview, Tenay interviewed Dory Funk Jr. Funk, who has none of his brother’s personality, talked about how much being NWA champion meant to him, and talked about what he learned from all the greats he worked with, and plugged the Funking Conservatory wrestling school. For whatever reason, the person typing up the names of the former NWA greats Funk mentions spells Jack Brisco’s name as ‘Briscoe’.
Funk stated that he believed that the Jarrett/Killings feud was the future of the NWA and would be seen as a great rivalry in twenty years. As for Russo, Funk makes no bones about the fact that he doesn’t like Russo and feels that Russo’s sports entertainment had no place in professional wrestling.
NWA Championship Match: Jeff Jarrett vs Ron Killings: It’s time for the rematch. Both men get great pops, though Jarrett’s is a little mixed. This was a really great match, much better than last week’s. Jarrett and Killings took each other all over the arena, actually resulting in a double countout, but Bob Armstrong demanded that the match be restarted so that there could be a definitive winner.
There was a really lame ‘take out ref’ spot that was only saved by Armstrong’s selling, While Armstrong was ‘out’, Russo showed up, seeming to help Jarrett, handing Jarrett his guitar to finish Killings off. Instead, Jarrett breaks the guitar over the turnbuckle to the crowd’s delight, choosing to put Killings away with three Strokes to retain the title.
Angered, Russo go on the mic as Jarrett was leaving,demanding to know Jarrett’s answer, but the show ends before we hear what Jarrett has to say.
Overall Thoughts: So, how was Week 23 of NWA-TNA? Not great. There were a lot of blah matches andstupid/awful segments and only a couple of really good matches to cover for it.
The use of Russo was interesting, he seemed to truly NOT get that most people hold him responsible for what happened to WCW, a fact that bears out if you ever listen to him and seemed to honestly think that the wrestling business needed him. Spoilers: It doesn’t. In my opinion, having watched this show from the first episode to now, Russo’s involvement has been what’s kept TNA from really flourishing in the early stages, which nearly put the company out of business.
I’m glad the Lawler/April/Bruce/Goldy thing seems to be finally over because it was godawful to watch. Siaki getting fed up with having to deal with mediocre job guys was interesting, but they’re still trying to make him a Rock clone and it’s not getting over with fans.
Overall, this was an okay show. I’m hopeful next week will be better.
Chairshot Classics: WWF In Your House 5 – Season’s Beatings (1995)
A look back at a previous December pay-per-view!
As we get closer to closing the book on 2018, we’re approaching WWE’s December pay-per-view so today we’re looking back at a past December event with In Your House 5: Season’s Beatings! A family squabble has been renewed in a rematch from SummerSlam 1992, except this time The British Bulldog challenges his brother-in-law Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart for the WWF Championship! Let’s get into the action…
Open: “It’s that special time of year. A time of giving, a time of joy, but one family not enjoying the spirit of this holiday season is The Harts. At a time when most come together, this family has been ripped apart. Bret Hart, the reigning three-time WWF Champion puts his title on the line against his brother-in-law, The British Bulldog, a man driven by the obsession to become champion, who Bret has never beaten. Tonight, two men stand apart, one family stands divided. Tonight, it will be more like seasons beatings for The Hart Family.”
Match #1: The 1-2-3 Kid & Sycho Sid w/’The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon & Marty Jannetty
Goldust is seen sitting in the crowd to watch the action, applauding Razor as he makes his way to the ring. 1-2-3 Kid & Jannetty will kick things off, Marty teases having Ramon start the match, The Kid goes on the attack with kicks, shoots him to the ropes, but Marty slides under him for a kick of his own. Kid blocks it, Jannetty brings the other leg around for an enzuigiri that gets 2, hooks on a wristlock and looks to make a tag, but The Kid squirms free. They lock-up and 1-2-3 Kid backs Marty to the corner, doesn’t break clean and slaps him across the face, Jannetty pushes him onto his backside, then grabs a side headlock.
Kid pushes him away to the ropes, Marty scores with a shoulder block, goes back to the ropes and The Kid leapfrogs over, attempts a hip toss, but it’s blocked. Jannetty goes for a hip toss of his own to no avail, 1-2-3 Kid flips himself to his feet, gets leveled by a clothesline, Marty hooks the leg and finds a 2 count. He hooks on another wristlock and tries to tag, The Kid again squirms away, gets surprised by a drop toe hold, Jannetty goes to drag him to his corner, but 1-2-3 Kid breaks free once more. He puts the bad-mouth on Jannetty and a shoving match ensues, Kid swings wildly with a right hand that misses, Marty splits him with an atomic drop, then finally tags out. The Bad Guy steps in and 1-2-3 Kid retreats to the outside, Jannetty drops off the apron, rolls him right back in and Razor throws his toothpick in The Kid’s face.
1-2-3 Kid doesn’t appreciate it and pushes him, Ramon retorts with a slap to the face, ducks under a punch and delivers an atomic drop of his own, Kid making a blind tag in the process. Sid steps in and flattens The Bad Guy with a clothesline, hammers away at his back, chokes the champion across the 2nd rope, then brings Kid back in for a series of kicks. 1-2-3 Kid corners Razor and unloads with rights and chops, Sycho Sid re-enters the match, continues to batter The Bad Guy in the corner, then fires away with right hands. Ramon rebounds off the ropes and scores with fists of his own, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Sid tries a clothesline that’s off-target, Razor comes back through for one of his own and they double down after a double clothesline.
Both guys crawl to tags, Jannetty peppers The Kid with punches, attempts to shoot him to the ropes, 1-2-3 Kid reverses for a back body drop, Marty puts on the brakes and drives him face-first into the canvas. He sends Kid back to the ropes for a clothesline, The Kid ducks it, runs into a powerslam for a near fall, then reverses a whip to the corner. 1-2-3 Kid charges in and eats a back elbow, Marty hops to the 2nd rope, comes off with a somersault cutter, but only gains a near fall. He looks to ground The Kid with a camel clutch, we go to Todd Pettengill who is sitting with Goldust, The Bizarre One speaking about how much machismo Razor is oozing and comments on how good The Bad Guy looks before presenting Todd with an envelope to give him.
Back in the ring Marty slaps on a front facelock, Kid backs him to the corner, drives shoulders to the midsection, Jannetty counters one with a knee, snapmares The Kid over and grabs a rear chinlock. DiBiase climbs to the apron to distract the official, Kid finds his footing, shoves Jannetty off to the ropes, Sid clocks him from behind and 1-2-3 Kid follows with a spinning heel kick. Sid gets the tag and bludgeons Marty in the corner, Jannetty begins to battle back, climbs to the top rope for a crossbody, but gets caught in mid-air with a powerslam that almost puts it away. Sycho Sid scoops him up for a body slam, baits The Bad Guy into the ring, Marty hooks Sid from behind with a schoolboy, but the referee is busy dealing with Razor.
Sid quickly tags out and Kid plants Marty with a body slam, ascends the corner to the top rope, connects with a frog splash, but still can’t finish it off. Tag back to Sid, The Kid shoots Jannety to the ropes, the big man follows up with a big boot, The 1-2-3 Kid then baiting Ramon back inside. The official works to get the champion back to his corner, Sycho Sid whips Marty into the turnbuckles, shoots Kid in for a running dropkick, then turns Jannetty inside-out with a clothesline. He drives a knee into the spine and slaps on a chinlock, Marty fights to his feet, Sid clubs him back to the mat, Jannetty tries to punch his way back in it, but gets knocked down again. The Kid re-enters the match, snapmares Marty over and hits the ropes for a short leg drop, tags right back out and Sycho Sid uncorks with more heavy shots.
He tags out and Kid comes off the top with a double axe handle, sends Jannetty to the corner and charges in, nobody’s home and both guys reach out for a tag. The Bad Guy fires away with stiff right hands to Sid, knocks him down with a discus punch, catches The Kid coming in with another haymaker, then sends him colliding into his partner. He tosses 1-2-3 Kid with a fallaway slam to dispose of him, hooks Sid for the Razor’s Edge, the big man counters out with a back body drop, hits the ropes for a leg drop and it’s off the mark. Ramon looks to whip Sycho Sid to the corner, the big man reverses it and follows him in, takes a boot to the chops, the champion climbs to the 2nd rope, planting Sid with a bulldog for the 1-2-3.
Winners: Razor Ramon & Marty Jannetty (Razor/2nd Rope Bulldog)
- After The Bell: Kid hits the ring to make the save a little too late, The Bad Guy grabs him for the Razor’s Edge, Sid reaches in from the floor and drags The Kid outside to safety.
- EA’s Take: Just a solid match to begin the show here, the action was really driven by Kid & Jannetty as you’d expect. Kind of an abrupt finish too, it almost seemed like The Kid was supposed to make the save, but his timing was off. I know they WWF is building towards a 1-1 match between Razor & Kid after The Bad Guy’s brief feud with Goldust, but it just seems strange that they would have Sid take the loss here. Especially with them pumping Sid & The Kid as the next great tag team, they probably should have gone over.
In The Arena: Our ring announcer makes the announcement for our next match, but Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler interrupts and says he’s got something big for everyone. The King says we are close to that time of year when everyone expects a visit from a special individual, but there’s a fat chance Santa Claus will come see any of the idiots here tonight. Lawler states he’s brought a surprise for everybody that is very special, introducing ‘Double J’ Jeff Jarrett. King tells us that Double J is greater than great, claims Jarrett is preparing for his newest world tour, saying that his last album and tour was so successful that he has a gift. He presents Jarrett with a gold CD to commemorate selling 500,000 copies of his last album, Double J calling it the culmination of that tour. He reminds us that he said he would use the WWF and that’s what he did, claiming to have taken Monday Night RAW to new levels all by himself. Jarrett speaks about putting the finishing touches on his new album, but also wants to declare himself as the first participant in next month’s Royal Rumble, believing he will go to WrestleMania XII and be crowned WWF Champion.
In The Arena: Dean Douglas heads to the ring for his match, calls for a mic and says class is in session now. He states he was prepared to come out tonight and give Ahmed Johnson a wrestling lesson, but the doctors did what no wrestler could do and sidelined him. Douglas claims his back is only at 65%, says he could still show Ahmed a thing or two, but they wouldn’t allow it so he had to find a replacement, introducing Buddy Landel.
Match #2: Buddy Landel w/Dean Douglas vs. Ahmed Johnson
‘Double J’ Jeff Jarrett has joined commentary for this match. Ahmed enters the squared circle and gets right in Douglas’ face, Dean slaps him, Johnson looks to unload with a big right hand, but Landel blocks it from behind and we’re underway. Buddy fires away with stinging chops, Ahmed absorbs them, Landel tries to beg him off, scores with fists, but they have no affect. Ahmed grabs him by the throat, props Landel on the top turnbuckle, the referee steps in to force a break, Buddy comes off the 2nd rope with a crossbody, but gets caught in mid-air. Johnson plants him with a spinebuster, hauls him up for the Pearl River Plunge and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: Ahmed Johnson (Pearl River Plunge)
- After The Bell: Douglas has his head down in disbelief on the outside, Ahmed slides to the floor, grabs the paddle and whacks him across the backside to send him scurrying. Lawler calls Johnson to the floor for an interview, calls for a different camera angle and goes on to talk up Double J instead of asking questions. He insults Ahmed and asks Jarrett how he’d do against him, Johnson states he’s heard enough, calls Double J a fake cowboy and a wannabe. Jarrett picks up his gold CD plaque clobbers Ahmed on the back of the head, then smashes the glass over him. He drags Johnson up, Lawler holds up a chair, Double J drives Ahmed into it, then rocks him with multiple chair shots. He rams Ahmed head-first into the steep steps, grabs the paddle and delivers a shot, then fires away with right hands. Johnson begins absorbing the shots, grabs the chair and chases Double J to the back.
- EA’s Take: Not much to say about this one. Dean was pulled after complaining of a back issue, something that garnered him loads of heat considering Undertaker had been performing with a broken orbital bone in his face. This would be the last of Douglas we see in the WWF as whether any of the stories for why it happened are true or not, it led to him departing the company after roughly six months. Ahmed is still only a couple of months into his run and is being pushed pretty quickly despite still lacking in some areas, but would go on to feud with his post-match attacker, the returning Jeff Jarrett.
Backstage: Todd Pettengill is joined by Razor Ramon, congratulates him on the win and speaks about defending the IC Title against Yokozuna on RAW tomorrow. The Bad Guy informs Yoko that if he wants it, he just has to take it, but doesn’t think he can. Pettengill hands Ramon the envelope from Goldust and takes his leave, Razor rips it open and reads the letter, looking puzzled before crumpling it up.
Match #3 is an Arkansas Hog Pen Match – Special Referee Hillbilly Jim: Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Henry O. Godwinn
Godwinn chases Helmsley to the outside with a bucket of slop prior to the bell, The Connecticut Blue Blood avoids the swap and Tony Chimel takes it at ringside instead. Hunter takes the opening and goes on the attack, rolls Henry back into the ring, slides in and staggers him to the corner with a forearm. I guess we’re officially underway with no bell, The Hog Farmer begins to battle his way out of the corner, shoots Helmsley to the ropes for a back body drop, Hunter rolls out-and-in for a quick walk, then catches Henry with a thumb to the eye. The Connecticut Blue Blood looks to whip him to the ropes, Godwinn reverses it, goes downstairs with a right hand, follows with an uppercut, then ties him up in the ropes.
He reaches out for a handful of slop, rubs it all over Hunter’s face, Helmsley slips free and clobbers him from behind with a forearm. He unloads in the corner with boots and fists, chokes The Hog Farmer, then shoots him across and delivers a kick to the midsection. He hits the ropes and scores with a swinging neckbreaker, lines Henry up for a knee drop, then plasters him with more heavy punches. He shoots Godwinn to the ropes and connects with a high knee, dumps him to the outside, climbs out and looks to whip him into the steel steps. The Hog Farmer reverses, drives The Connecticut Blue Blood into the stairs with a battering ram, powers him up over his shoulder and starts heading towards the hog pen.
Helmsley slides off and rocks Henry with a right hand, rams him face-first off of a guardrail, wants to do it again, but it’s blocked and Godwinn returns the favor. He drops Hunter with a big right, attempts to shoot him into the fencing of the pen, The Connecticut Blue Blood turns the tables and sends Henry into it instead. He hooks The Hog Farmer for the Pedigree, Godwinn reverses with a back body drop, Helmsley lands on the top of the fencing, stands up and connects with a diving elbow drop on the floor. Hunter looks to get away from the hog pen and crawls back to the ring, Henry gives chase, reverses a whip to the corner and charges in, but eats a boot to the chops.
The Connecticut Blue Blood collapses and they double down, Helmsley finds his footing first, whips Godwinn to the ropes, drops down and goes for a monkey toss, but Henry puts on the brakes and plants him with a wheelbarrow facebuster. Both guys stagger back up, The Hog Farmer sends Helmsley into the corner, Hunter gets turned inside-out, Henry shoots him back across and The Connecticut Blue Blood spills over the top to the floor. Godwinn goes out after him, they exchange blows and The Hog Farmer gets the better of it, sets him up for the Slop Drop on the floor, but Helmsley hangs onto the barricade to block it.
The Connecticut Blue Blood goes to shoot Henry into the side of the pen, Godwinn reverses and deposits Hunter instead, plants him on the floor with a Slop Drop and both guys struggle back to their feet. Helmsley uses the hog pen to get back up, The Hog Farmer charges in, gets back body dropped into the pen and this one’s over.
Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley
- After The Bell: Hillbilly raises The Connecticut Blue Blood’s hand, Helmsley rips his arm away, shoves him, Hillbilly Jim returns the favor and Henry reaches over the fencing to grab him. He powers Hunter up in a military press, drops him face-first in the mud, then hauls him up for a body slam. The Connecticut Blue Blood pulls himself back to his feet, but slips and falls back down over-and-over.
- EA’s Take: While this was certainly no masterpiece and the stipulation is pretty cheesy for my taste, this one is actually pretty entertaining overall. It’s at least a new idea, both competitors gave a solid showing with some not-so-typical offensive maneuvers and the aggression, especially from Helmsley, was clearly turned up and showed a different side of The Connecticut Blue Blood. This would basically serve as the finale of this rivalry, although they’d meet once again in the Royal Rumble. Henry would go on and reunite with his old tag partner from WCW, while Hunter’s push would stall a little bit as he began coming to the ring accompanied by some high-profile beauties.