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Chairshot Classics: WWE Survivor Series 2016 – Fantasy Warfare Just Got Real

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We’re getting closer to WWE’s annual November tradition the Survivor Series, so today we’re taking a look back at another previous event! The build to this show began with rumblings of Goldberg’s return due to his involvement with WWE 2K17, ultimately leading to this big rematch with Brock Lesnar twelve years later. Also, for the first time in a long time it will be brand warfare as RAW’s best takes on the best SmackDown Live has to offer! Let’s see how it played out!

Kickoff Match #1: Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak & Tony Nese vs. Noam Dar, Rich Swann & TJ Perkins
Nese & Swann will get us started, collar & elbow tie-up sees The Premier Athlete back Rich into the corner, doesn’t break clean, but swings wildly and misses. Swann scores with stinging chops, irish whip across is reversed, Tony charges into a boot to the jaw, powers Rich up to the top turnbuckle and blocks a tornado DDT for a vertical suplex. Swann slips out of it and hits the ropes, front-flips over a monkey flip attempt connects with a dropkick and tags out. The Fil-Am Flash slingshots in with a somersault senton, drives Nese head-first into the top turnbuckle, climbs to the 2nd rope and brings down a barrage of right hands.

He fires Tony across and follows in, runs into a boot to the chin, Perkins fires back with a spinning back kick, delivers a vertical suplex, hangs on for a back suplex and gets a count of 2. Irish whip to the ropes is reversed, TJP tilt-a-whirls into an octopus stretch, The Premier Athlete uses his strength to counter into an inverted slam, then crawls to his corner. Gulak gets the tag and steps right into an arm drag, counters out with a headscissors, TJ bridges over to escape and scores with a dropkick. Rich tags back in, double drop toe hold to Gulak, Perkins delivers a basement dropkick, Swann follows with one of his own, then brings in Dar. Noam stays on the limb with an arm wringer, TJP re-enters the match, rams Drew head-first into the top turnbuckle and hammers him with uppercuts.

Gulak returns fire with right hands, sends Perkins across and rushes in behind, The Fil-Am Flash hops up-and-over, hits the ropes and rolls him into the TJP Clutch. Daivari & Nese hit the ring to break it up, Swann & Dar meet them face-to-face and we head to commercial….Back from the break and Noam gets a tag, double whip of Daivari to the ropes, TJP & Dar with a series of kicks, Noam finishes it up with a dropkick and gets a 2 count. He measures Ariya in the corner and scores with a dropkick to the back, lines him up again, Nese creates a distraction from the apron and pays for it, Daivari plants Noam with a spinebuster and gets a near fall.

He shoots Dar hard into the corner and charges in, Noam gets the boot up and hops to the 2nd rope, Daivari takes him out at the knee with a kick, clocks him with a superkick and hooks the leg for another 2. Gulak gets the tag and puts the boots to Noam, brings in The Premier Athlete and he pummels Dar with crossface blows. He drops a leg across the chest, powers him up into a delayed vertical suplex, lateral press, but Noam kicks out at 2. Tag back to Drew, teams up with Nese for a rolling slam, Gulak hangs on and wrenches away with a heel hold, then switches to an inverted indian deathlock. Dar starts to work to a vertical base, Gulak cracks him with a headbutt, slaps on a front facelock, Noam escapes it and starts crawling to his corner.

Ariya tags in and cuts him off with an elbow drop, he whips Dar to the ropes, Noam hangs on, Daivari charges in, Dar side-stepping it and gets caught up by Gulak. He knocks Drew to the floor, levels Daivari, crawls across the ring and finally reaches a tag. Swann hits the ring and ducks under a clothesline, drops Nese to the floor with a forearm, delivers multiple clotheslines to Daivari, spinning back kick to the midsection and he follows with a standing double stomp. Ariya pulls himself up in the corner, Rich rushes in and eats a boot to the chin, Daivari goes to the 2nd rope, but Swann explodes back up with a hurricanrana for a near fall. Nese distracts the official and Swann hits the ropes, Gulak with a cheap shot to the back from the outside, Daivari follows it with a jumping neckbreaker, hooks the leg, but TJ & Dar break the count at 2.

Nese & Gulak hit the ring and try to toss them outside, Noam & Perkins turn the tables, Dar flies outside with a suicide dive to Gulak and TJP measures for an outside dive. The Premier Athlete slides back in behind him, charges TJ and jumps, misses Perkins and flies over the top onto Dar. The Fil-Am Flash hits the ropes to take flight, the referee stops him in his tracks, leans to the outside to instruct everyone else and TJ flies over the top of him with a somersault plancha. Back in the ring, Swann drills Daivari with a spinning back kick, squashes him with the Standing 450 Splash and covers for the win.
Winners: Noam Dar, Rich Swann & TJ Perkins (Swann/Standing 450 Splash)

  • EA’s TakePretty good for a virtually unadvertised match. The crowd is still filing in, but the ones that were there were pretty into it. This match to me just solidifies that WWE has really gotten behind Swann, he continues to look good week-in and week-out on RAW and if Kendrick retains tonight, which I think he will, I fully expect Swann to be the next challenger.

Kickoff Match #2: Kane vs. Luke Harper
Kane goes into a full nelson off the opening tie-up, snapmares Harper over and hooks on a rear chinlock, Luke works back to his feet and sends him away to the ropes. The Big Red Monster scores with a shoulder knockdown, Harper collects himself, they tie-up again and Luke works to a side headlock. The Devil’s Favorite Demon plants him with a back suplex to escape, Harper again regroups, obliges Kane in a test of strength, but strikes with kicks and right hands instead. Kane returns the favor, drives him shoulder-first into the turnbuckles, starts to target the left arm and grabs a wristlock. Harper sneaks in a forearm shot to break the grip, hits the ropes and runs into a back elbow, looks to roll outside, The Big Red Monster tries to stop him and gets pushed outside himself.

Harper hits the ropes and flies through the ropes with a suicide dive, rolls Kane back into the squared circle, climbs to the apron and slingshots in with a somersault senton for a count of 2. He measures The Devil’s Favorite Demon, lays him out with a running big boot, hooks the leg and gets another 2 as we hit a break….We return and Harper has Kane grounded with a rear chinlock, drives forearm shots to the back of the neck and re-employs the hold. The Big Red Monster starts to squirm and Harper with an assault of knee drops to the head, steps out to the apron and heads upstairs, Kane back to his feet and meets him with an uppercut. He climbs up and connects with a superplex, Harper staggers to his feet, Kane sits up and grabs him by the neck.

Luke breaks the grip and hits the ropes, The Devil’s Favorite Demon flattens him with clotheslines, sends him to the corner and charges in with more clotheslines, delivers a side slam and gains a near fall. Kane hits the ropes to build a head of steam, Harper cracks him with a superkick that almost puts it away, whips The Big Red Monster into the corner and rushes in. Kane gets the boot up, hits the ropes to build momentum, Harper explodes up with a dropkick, hooks the leg, but still can’t finish it. The Devil’s Favorite Demon sits up and rises to his feet, Harper goes to the midsection with a kick, sets for a powerbomb, Kane reverses with a back body drop, but Luke hangs on for a sunset flip and a 2 count.

Harper goes to the ropes now to build a head of steam, The Big Red Monster drills him with a big boot, spikes him with a running DDT, lateral press, but only a 2 count. He measures for the Chokeslam, Harper kicks his way free, Kane returns fire, hits the ropes, Harper plants him with a sidewalk slam and gets a near fall. Harper wants to finish it and lines him up for the Discus Clothesline, The Devil’s Favorite Demon cuts him off by grabbing him by the neck, delivers a Chokeslam and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: Kane (Chokeslam)

  • EA’s TakeNothing overly exciting here, all I can think is, “Man, Luke Harper’s so good”. I really felt like Harper should have gotten the win here, it was the perfect spot for it and Kane didn’t need it. The only reason I can think of for a Kane victory is if this is supposed to be his measure of revenge on The Wyatts after being turned on by Orton. Still though, this should have been a solid win for Harper.

Open: “Where else can a dream become reality? Where enemies become allies? Where anything is possible, for one night only? Fantasy warfare just got real as The Beast, The Myth and the blurred lines of fantasy and reality come crashing into each other. Supremacy, turmoil, controversy all collide for a common cause. Tonight, it’s not a game anymore. It’s not a fantasy, it’s for real. It’s about survival. This is Survivor Series.”

Match #1 – 5-On-5 Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team RAW (Bayley, Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks & RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte) w/Dana Brooke vs. Team SmackDown Live (SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Carmella & Natalya)
Nikki Bella doesn’t show up for her entrance, cameras go to the back and she’s been laid out, stating someone hit her from behind. Doctors says they can’t clear her right now, Natalya wonders what they’re going to do and says she will have to jump in. Daniel Bryan says there’s no other option and sends her out. Alicia & Carmella will kickoff the action, collar & elbow tie-up to begin, they jostle for position and The Princess of Staten Island grabs a handful of hair to back Foxy to the ropes, then breaks clean.

She shoves Alicia, Foxy returns the favor, scores with a dropkick, hits a northern lights suplex and gains a 2 count. She hooks on a wristlock, Carmella strikes to escape it, hits the ropes for a headscissors takedown, Foxy crawls to the corner and gets hit with a bronco buster for a count of 2. The Princess of Staten Island shoots her to the ropes for a back body drop, Alicia counters with a kick, looks for the Scissors Kick, Carmella avoids it and makes a tag to Becky, Foxy does the same and Bayley steps in. Charlotte reaches over and tags herself in, Sasha does the same to The Queen, it leads to s ashoving match and Becky levels Charlotte with an uppercut.

Everything starts to break down now with everybody in the ring, Nia clears all of SmackDown Live down to the canvas and seemingly restores order by herself. The Lass Kicker avoids a tie-up and rolls Sasha up for a quick 2, Banks comes back with a backslide for a 2 count of her own, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Lynch ducks down for a back body drop, The Boss avoids it with a kick and Charlotte tags herself in again. She charges Becky and runs into multiple arm drags, The Lass Kicker hooks on an armbar, The Queen works to her feet, swings wildly with a right that misses and Lynch pushes her into the ropes for a roll-up. Charlotte hangs on to avoid it, Lynch brings her down with a roll-up anyways, The Queen rolls through it and buries a knee to the breadbasket.

She goes for a trademark chop and misses, Becky picks the arm and looks for the Dis-Arm-Her, The Queen reaches the ropes for some reprieve and tags out. Nia steps in, drives Becky backwards into the corner, rushes in with a splash, then throws her towards her teammates. Carmella tags in and gets leveled by a clothesline, tags right out to Bliss, Alexa steps inside and gets the same result, Naomi tags and comes off the 2nd rope with a crossbody, but gets caught. The Glow Queen slips free and hits the ropes, Jax flattens her with a clothesline, Natalya tags in, grabs a side headlock and gets pushed away to the ropes. Carmella makes a blind tag, double shoulder block to Nia, it barely budges her and she drops Nattie & Carmella with a double clothesline.

Alicia tags in, The Princess of Staten Island fires up with strikes, tosses her across the ring by the hair, moonwalks and lines Foxy up for a bronco buster. Alicia avoids it and starts to go crazy with vicious strikes, the official backs her away, Dana with a cheap shot behind the ref’s back, Foxy follows with the Scissors Kick and covers for a 3 count. Carmella has been eliminated. Alexa steps right in and attacks Alicia from behind, drives her head-first into the 2nd turnbuckle, goes to the top turnbuckle and connects with Twisted Bliss for the pinfall. Alicia Fox has been eliminated.

Charlotte sneaks in behind Bliss, misses with a clothesline, Alexa hops on her back for a sleeper and Naomi makes a blind tag. The Queen tosses Bliss away, Naomi surprises her with a sit-out jawbreaker, Charlotte crawls away and tags out, Nia tries to step in and Naomi knocks her to the floor. The Glow Queen sends all of Team RAW off the apron with forearm shots, climbs to the top rope and comes off on Nia with a crossbody to the floor. The official starts to count, Naomi pulls herself up to the apron, Nia hooks her by the foot, gets clocked by a roundhouse kick, sends The Glow Queen into the ring post, then dumps her to the floor and rolls back in as the count reaches 10. Naomi has been eliminated.

Bliss takes the ring as Sasha gets a tag, Alexa rips her down to the mat by the hair, stands on her back and rams her face-first into the canvas. The Queen of Harts re-enters the match and puts the boots to Banks in the corner, the referee backs her off, The Boss seizes the opening to fight her way out and drags Alexa into the ring. She sends Bliss into Natalya, rams her face-first into the 2nd turnbuckle, Nattie tries to sneak in a kick, Banks blocks it and delivers one of her own. She planks Alexa across the 2nd rope in the corner, Natalya tries to intervene and gets rammed into Bliss’ midsection, Sasha sets her up below Alexa and comes down with the dropping double knees. Natalya is able to roll to the outside and avoid it, The Boss steps out to the apron, takes her out with double knees anyways, throws her into the squared circle and hooks her for a suplex.

Nattie counters into a small package for 2, powers Sasha up with a delayed vertical suplex, The Boss slides out of it, goes for a Back Stabber, but Bliss is there to intervene. Banks clocks her with a forearm shot, The Queen of Harts rolls up Sasha from behind, stacks her up and steals a pinfall. Sasha Banks has been eliminated. The Queen steps in behind Natalya and meets her with stinging chops, Nattie fires back with some her own, connects with Nattie By Nature, then tosses Charlotte with a german suplex. Charlotte battles back with a knee to the abdomen, slams Natalya to the mat by the hair, goes up top for a moonsault, but The Queen of Harts powers her out for a sit-out powerbomb.

Jax comes in and breaks the count at 2, Nattie instead slaps on the Sharpshooter, The Queen crawls towards the ropes, Dana giving an assist and she gains a break. Natalya argues with the official about Dana’s involvement, turns around, Charlotte floors her with a big boot, goes into a lateral press and gets the elimination. Natalya has been eliminated. The Lass Kicker comes in and levels Charlotte from behind, Alexa tags herself in, they start to argue, pushing and shoving as Charlotte tags in Nia. Jax looks for a double clothesline and they duck it, set for a double suplex, Nia blocks it and plants them both with a double suplex of her own. She measures Bliss in the corner for a splash, Alexa side-steps out of the way, hits the ropes, ducks under a clothesline, Lynch with a blind tag as Bliss gets caught going for a crossbody.

The Lass Kicker comes off the top and dropkicks Bliss on top of Jax, spike her with a double DDT and Lynch gets a near fall. She quickly picks the arm and slaps on the Dis-Arm-Her, wrenches back on the shoulder and Jax taps. Nia Jax has been eliminated. Nia drags Becky outside after the fall and deposits her into the barricade, throws her back in the ring and Alexa tags in. Charlotte takes her out immediately with a big boot, hooks the leg and ends Bliss’ night. Alexa Bliss has been eliminated. The Queen rolls outside and sends Becky back in, puts the boots to her in the corner, covers and only gets 2.

She grabs the leg and sets for a Figure Four, The Lass Kicker kicks her away, scores with multiple clotheslines, then clocks her with a heel kick. She crushes Charlotte in the corner with the Flying Firearm, throws her with a Becks-Plex, ascends the corner and drops a leg off the top, Bayley disrupting the count at 2. The Queen crawls over and tags out, Bayley & Becky go face-to-face, Bayley with a double leg takedown into a jackknife cover for a quick 2 count. The Lass Kicker with forearm shots, Bayley returns fire, hits the ropes, Lynch catches her with a pumphandle suplex, hooks the leg and only gets 2. She delivers multiple leg drops, Bayley rolls out of the way of one, hits her with a basement clothesline, follows with a basement back elbow to the spine, but still can’t put it away.

She grabs Becky to pick her up, Lynch picks the arm and tries for the Dis-Arm-Her, Bayley avoids it, plants her with an exploder suplex, but The Lass Kicker continues to try and hook on the Dis-Arm-Her. Bayley hangs onto the ropes to stave it off, surprises her with the Bayley-To-Belly and gets the 1-2-3.
Winners & Sole Survivors: Bayley & Charlotte

  • After The Bell: The referee raises their hands in victory, Charlotte ambushes Bayley, slams the back of her head off the mat and throws her to the outside. The Queen goes out in pursuit, tosses her into the barricade multiples times, then leaves her laying with a big boot on the floor.
  • EA’s TakePretty good opener aside from a couple of miscues, I figured either this or the 10-Tag Match would start the show and break-up some of the redundancy of these elimination matches throughout the night. I can’t say I expected much of anything because quite honestly, I feel like this is one of the hardest PPVs of the year to predict. I can at least say that the finish made sense with all signs being that Bayley would challenge Charlotte next. I also like how Nia looked completely dominant, but I don’t agree with having her tap-out the way that she did unless that comes into play in an upcoming angle.


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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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