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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WCW Spring Stampede 1994 – Let The Stampede Begin!

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Our weekly WCW Chairshot Classics series continues with the inaugural Spring Stampede!

Open: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is in the arena and he introduces Aaron Neville to sing the National Anthem.





Match #1: Johnny B. Badd vs. Diamond Dallas Page w/The Diamond Doll
Page has a small black bag that he gives to The Diamond Doll. It appears she gives it to Bobby Heenan. Page ambushes Badd and they go right to work. Victory roll by Badd  and he can’t catch him early. Badd clotheslines Page outside and drags him right back in quickly, going to the wrist lock. Page pulls him down and stomps the mid section. Duck under takedown by Page and Badd kicks out. Front facelock by Page, Badd reverses into a hammerlock and drops his knee into the back. Badd rolls him over but can’t get 3.

He hangs on to the hammerlock as they work back to their feet. Page breaks it with an elbow and drops Badd with a shoulder block. Badd kicks him away and scores with an arm drag, cranking on the arm down on the mat. Page goes to the eyes and takes Badd over. Johnny bridges out on the headlock, lifts his feet in the air and uses his momentum to roll DDP over. Dropkick by Badd and a lateral press for two. Page baits Badd and throws him head first into the turnbuckle. Page lays in some elbows. Belly to back suplex by DDP and he’s feeling it. He continues to kick Badd while he’s down. To the ropes, a kick to the midsection and a gut buster by Page.

Snap suplex by Page and Badd kicks out again, DDP moves quickly into the reverse chinlock. Page with a nerve hold as the crowd rallies behind Badd. Up to vertical, Badd lays in some elbows and it’s his turn for a belly to back. A right to the midsection and Badd somersaults away from contact. Inverted atomic drop and a clothesline from Badd. He sends Page for a back body drop, to the ropes again, Badd gets up with a head scissors. He hits him with a left hook and Page tumbles to the floor. Flying cross body by Badd and he rolls DDP back in. To the top rope, Badd lands a sunset flip and that’s all he needs.
Winner: Johnny B. Badd (Top Rope Sunset Flip)

  • EA’s TakeIt’s our first PPV look at DDP’s real (at the time) wife, Kimberly Page, known of course at this point as The Diamond Doll. Shortest match on the card, but dense with action – no wasted moves. Both of these guys are about to come into their own over the next 12-18 months, so this is just a small preview of that as they both start to increase their profiles.

In the Arena: ‘Mean’ Gene is standing by with Jesse Ventura. They plug the WCW Hotline, Jesse’s ready to call right now. He’ll be available to talk to fans on Wednesday and he has plenty of dirt that can’t be talked about on the air.

Match #2 for the WCW World Television Championship: ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman vs. WCW World Television Champion Lord Steven Regal w/Sir William
There is a 15 minute time limit. Brian wastes no time and he throws Regal into the turnbuckle and lays in a variety of strikes. Irish whip, Regal stops short and tries a single leg pickup but Brian stays on offense. They exchange roll ups, and Regal tries to slow it down. Pillman drops to his knees to get on Regal’s level and slaps him across the face. He sends the champ face first into the canvass. To the ropes, leapfrog by Pillman and an arm drag. Regal bails to the floor, Pillman gives chase but he’s been baited. Pillman protects himself from the railing and sends Regal into it instead. Lord Steve retreats into the ring, Pillman slingshots his arm over the top rope.

In the corner, they jockey for position, Pillman takes him down with a hammerlock and drags Regal to the post where he continues work on that left arm. Pillman stalks Sir William away, giving Regal a chance to get in the ring. Chop from Pillman but Regal pulls the hair. European uppercut and an arm drag by Regal. He stays on the wrist. Pillman works his way back up and chops out of the wrist lock, but the champ slows the momentum. They hit the ropes, Pillman tries a Thesz Press, Regal catches him and flips him onto his back. Regal is slow to cover and Pillman kicks out. Forearms across the back by Lord Steven, Pillman fights back from his knees. It’s Regal keeping the upperhand and he lifts Pillman up on his shoulder.

Pillman maneuvers out of it and surprises with a small package, Regal kicks out. Single leg takedown by Regal, he grapevines the legs and maneuvers into a crossface. He switches into a half nelson on the mat. Regal grinds away with some mat work before picking Pillman up for some uppercuts. Pillman tries to reverse into a backslide but can’t pull it off. Regal lifts Pillman with a surfboard submission. He hangs on with a reverse chin lock. They exchange chops and hit the ropes, Pillman wants a back drop but Regal stops short with a forearm. The champ jackknifes Pillman up, but Flyin Brian counters with a head scissor take down.

Regal gets his shoulder up at two. Pillman attempts a crucifix, Regal makes it to the ropes, he stands back up and drops him with a Regal roll, Pillman kicks out at two. Modified abdominal stretch on the mat by Regal. Regal tries a crossbow but only gets one leg. Pillman breaks the hold with right hands. He goes to the ropes but Regal stops him with a single leg and a half crab. Pillman with some desperation chops and Regal lifts his boot to the challenger’s face. He tries a roll up with a handful of trunks but Pillman escapes. Back to a crossface by Regal. USA chants break out in favor of Pillman. Up to their feet and they exchange shots. Pillman gets the better of it in the corner but Regal won’t give. Desperation headbutt by Pillman but it seems to take more out of himself.

Forearm between the shoulder blade and an upper cut by Regal. Desperation drop kick by Pillman and both men are down. To the ropes, Regal catches Pillman’s drop kick, tries a Boston crab but Pillman throws him aside. Enzigure by Pillman, reacting to Regal’s single leg pickup attempt. Pillman tries a monkey flip, Regal tosses him off but misses with a knee drop. Regal goes to the middle rope as it’s announced there is 1 minute left in the time limit. Regal leaps but Pillman catches him with a drop kick. Pillman sends him for the ride and a back body drop. Pillman is fired up and he delivers rights in the corner.

To the ropes again, Pillman stops short of a hip toss and pulls Regal face first on the mat. Pillman runs for a cross body, Regal catches him out of midair, stumbles toward the ropes and both men tumble over the top and to the floor. Pillman is up first, he fends off Sir William and heads back to the ring. He gives Regal a vertical suplex back into the ring, but time has expired.
Winner: Time Limit Draw

  • EA’s TakeDean Malenko may be the ‘Man of 1,000 Holds’, but Regal is right there with him. His creativity on the mat is definitely in the highest percentile. I find myself using the word “modified” a lot during his matches because it’s as if he has 7 different variations of any given hold. The TV Title was treated a lot like the IC Title, often going to the reliable technicians. In the belt’s 27-year history, the top five guys in terms of combined reigns were Arn Anderson, Ricky Steamboat, Tully Blanchard, Lord Steven Regal and Mike Rotunda. Steve Austin comes in at #6, so I think that’s some solid evidence for my assertion.

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is joined by Col. Robert Parker and his new client, Bunkhouse Buck. Parker feels like the greatest promoter of all time. He has a lot to look forward to, but the one he’s looking forward to the most is Buck’s showdown with ‘The Natural’ Dustin Rhodes. Buck says he hasn’t showered in a long time, he’s dirty and smelly because that’s the way Daddy used to do it.

Match #3 – Falls Count Anywhere Chicago Street Fight: WCW World Tag Team Champions The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags) vs. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne
The brawl starts right on the entrance ramp. Sags and Payne take it to the ring, Payne with a spine buster. Sags rolls to the floor and Payne chases. Knobbs beats Jack with a foreign object while Sags is thrown into the railing. Jack takes the baton and takes control of Knobbs in the ring. Jack sets him up, clotheslines Knobbs to the floor landing on the apron himself. Sags takes a chair to both his opponents and he beats Jack with a pool cue. Jack takes control of the chair and all four just have an all out brawl on the floor. Jack runs Knobbs into the entrance ramp, Payne drops two elbows on Sags. Sags takes the pool cue into the ring and beats Jack on the side of the head.

Payne and Knobbs take their battle toward the entrance ramp. Headbutt from Payne and he throws him into the ramp. Inside the ring, Sags measures Jack and uses the cue to send him over the top. Knobbs and Payne have made their way to a souvenir stand and Knobbs uses a trash can on him. Jack and Sags have rolled back to the floor and they’re fighting amid the fans. Jack delivers a chair shot across the head while Payne lifts Knobbs and sends him through a merchandise table. Payne stuffs a t-shirt down Knobbs throat, he tries a pin but Knobbs won’t let up. Sags joins his partner but Jack is right behind him. Cactus is tossed over the safety rail. The Nasty Boys double team Payne through the back of the souvenir stand.

Sags grabs a table and beats Jack over the top of the head. Up on the entrance ramp and Jack hits Sags with a neck breaker. He drops the table across the mid section of the tag champ. He goes for a pin but Knobbs cuts him off with a shovel. Knobbs climbs up to clock him again, but Payne makes the save. He grabs the shovel and assaults Knobbs. with it. Jack and Sags stand up on the table, it appears that Sags wants a piledriver, but the table gives way. He instead simply throws Jack over the side. He takes the shovel, clocks Cactus across the skull, makes a pin on the concrete and that’s enough for the win.
Winners: The Nasty Boys (Sags/Foreign Object)

  • EA’s TakeYou had to know exactly what you were in for before this match even started, just an ugly, unhinged free-for-all. I think battle royals are easier to sensibly call in a format like this. That spot on top of the table when it just broke on them was absolutely hilarious.

Backstage: Jesse Ventura is joined by Johnny B. Badd. Slamboree is a month away, DDP is a good wrestler but he’s a Badd man, and he wants a shot at the winner of the following United States Championship match.

Match #4 for the WCW United States Championship: The Great Muta vs. WCW United States Champion ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin w/Col. Robert Parker
Austin backs away from a karate kick and takes his time to move in. Collar and elbow, waistlock by Muta and Austin breaks it on the ropes. They lock up again, side headlock takedown by Muta and he hangs on. Austin twists out to a top wristlock but can’t completely escape. Stunning Steve is forced to go to the ropes again. Austin ducks the collar and elbow and hits a double leg takedown, delivers a stomp and picks Muta up for a right. To the ropes they go and it’s Muta who catches Austin in an abdominal stretch. Austin reverses but Muta lays in an elbow. Collar and elbow, waistlock by Muta and he tries a schoolboy. Side headlock takedown by Muta and he hangs onto the headlock.

Austin tries grabbing the hair by the referee catches him. Austin lifts for a belly to back suplex, but Muta takes him back over again, not relinquishing the lock. Up to their feet again and this time Steve’s successful. Austin tries a vertical suplex, Muta blocks and delivers one of his own. He lays in an elbow and moves back to the headlock. Austin is slow to his feet, they hit the ropes, Muta with a shoulder block, Austin leapfrogs but then eats a drop kick. Muta with another side takeover, Stunning Steve counters with a head scissor submission. Muta escapes and Austin rolls out to check in with Parker. Austin rolls back in on the near side. Back to the neutral position, Austin tries hooking a schoolboy but can’t get the pin. Drop toe hold into a front face lock, Muta counters into a hammerlock.

Muta tries getting the shoulders down but Austin fights out of it. Side headlock by Muta and they hit the ropes, Parker grabs the leg and Austin blindsides him with a knee. Austin runs a distraction and the Colonel takes advantage, choking Muta. Austin rolls out and sends Muta into the ring post. The champ sends Muta into the railing. Back in the ring, Austin stays on him with knees and kicks. Snapmare by Austin and he follows with a knee to the forehead. Lateral press and Muta kicks out. Austin moves into an abdominal stretch, the ref checks in but Muta’s not interested in quitting. Austin grabs the rope for leverage.

Nick Patrick catches him doing it and kicks him away, Muta lifts him with a hip toss to break the hold. Muta blocks a right and lays shots into the champ. Into the ropes but he misses with a drop kick. Austin lays in a knee from the middle rope and Muta kicks out at two. He hooks the leg but still can’t get him. Austin hangs Muta across the bottom rope and the ref backs him off, Parker takes a cheap shot. Muta blocks a buckle shot and gives one to Austin instead. Spinning karate kick by Muta. He sends Austin for a back body drop, following it with a vertical suplex. Standing drop kick by the challenger and he’s heading for the top rope. He tries a drop kick but no one is home.

Austin tries the Hollywood and Vine submission but Muta escapes. To the ropes and Muta is the one who hits the Stun Gun across the top rope. Irish whip and a back splash by Muta. He seats Austin on the top turnbuckle and lands a hurricanrana. Parker is up on the apron and he eats a spinning kick. Austin charges him, Muta reacts with a back body drop over the top rope, prompting a disqualification.
Winner and STILL WCW United States Champion: ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin (Disqualification)

  • EA’s TakeGood match. For the first couple of minutes I was asking myself who was the heel and who was the babyface. It should be obvious that Austin is the heel champion, but the fans do like him and the backstory was that Muta wanted to take the United States Championship back to Japan. At the end of the day, the fans were still behind the Japanese star.


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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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