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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWF Survivor Series ’90 – The WWF Thanksgiving Night Tradition!

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Survivor Series 1990
Looking back at the 1990 Survivor Series!

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 1990 Survivor Series is primarily remembered for the mystery surrounding it, as two big, looming questions were finally answered. What was going to come out of the giant egg? Who was Ted DiBiase’s mystery partner?





Open: A video voiced-over by Vince McMahon plays, running down tonight’s card featuring teams captained by Hulk Hogan, Earthquake, The Ultimate Warrior, Mr. Perfect, Sgt. Slaughter and more.

Match #1 – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Perfect Team (Demolition (Ax, Smash & Crush) & Mr. Perfect) w/Mr. Fuji & Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan vs. The Warriors (WWF Intercontinental Champion The Texas Tornado, The Legion Of Doom (Hawk & Animal) & WWF Champion The Ultimate Warrior)
Animal tackles Smash and unloads with right hands to start us off quick, sends him into a right hand from Hawk, The Warriors play back and forth with Smash. Animal shoots him into the ropes for a back body drop, Smash sees it coming and delivers a big right, Perfect with one from the apron and Smash follows with a snap suplex for a count of 2.

He drives Animal into Perfect’s boot, tags him in and The Perfect One clubs away before bringing Smash back in. Animal reverses a whip into the ropes, plants Smash with a powerslam, then catches Perfect coming in with an atomic drop, Hawk enters the ring and follows with an inverted atomic drop and Warrior with a clothesline. Order is restored, Texas Tornado gets the tag and fires away with stiff rights, loses track of where he is in the ring and Ax gets the tag and clubs away. Tornado reverses a whip into the corner, gets him in the Iron Claw off the rebound, but Smash comes in to break the hold. The Warrior gets the tag, hits the ropes for multiple shoulder tackles, follows it all up with a splash and gets a count of 3. Ax has been eliminated.

Crush tries to ambush The Ultimate One after the pinfall, gets slammed for his troubles, Smash comes in and takes one too, Perfect getting clotheslined over the top. Crush takes advantage of the distractions, lays Warrior out with a clothesline and delivers heavy shots, Smash tags for a quick slam, tag back to Crush and he comes off the top with a knee drop that gets a 2 count. He buries fists into Warrior’s midsection in the corner, whips him across, charges in and meets a boot to the face, The Ultimate One exploding out with a clothesline. Hawk enters the match as Perfect gets a tag, Perfect gets right hands blocked and Hawk elevates him in the air with a choke, then flattens him with a clothesline.

He whips The Perfect One into the corner, Perfect stumbles and falls face-first into the turnbuckle. Hawk with a whip back across, rushes in for a spear and drives his shoulder into the ring post as Perfect moves. Smash gets the tag, drags him to his corner, brings in Crush and they beat Hawk down to the mat. Crush with a backbreaker, The Perfect One tags for a series of rights, quick-tags out to Smash and Hawk with a quick flurry, but gets taken down with a drop toe hold. Smash sends him into the ropes, misses a clothesline and Hawk scores with a shoulder tackle, drops a big fist and levels him with a clothesline.

He climbs to the top turnbuckle, comes off the top with a clothesline and covers, but Crush is in to make the save. Animal comes in to get a piece, LOD & Demolition brawl and the referee ends up taking a boot to the midsection, calling for the bell and disqualifying all 4 guys. Hawk, Animal, Smash & Crush have been eliminated. Mr. Perfect is now left all by himself in a 2 on 1 situation, The Brain offers some advice on the apron as Warrior steps in the ring. The Perfect One asks for The Tornado, Warrior obliges and makes the tag, Perfect ambushes him coming in the ring and takes him to the corner.

Tornado turns the tables, unleashes a flurry of right hands and sends Perfect flying to the outside, he slingshots him back in from the apron, then clotheslines him over the top on the other side. Perfect tries to regroup with Heenan, The Warrior comes around ringside and brings them closer together with a double noggin knocker, rolls The Perfect One back inside and tosses The Brain over the barricade. Back in the ring, Tornado shoots Perfect into the corner, charges in, Perfect side-steps and Texas Tornado goes shoulder-first into the post. Mr. Perfect takes advantage with heavy blows, stops a small flurry with a finger to the eye, drives him head-first into a turnbuckle that had become exposed and finishes Tornado off with the Perfect-Plex. The Texas Tornado has been eliminated.

We’re down to 1 on 1, The Ultimate One rushes in for a splash in the corner and misses, hits the exposed turnbuckle, Perfect scores with another Perfect-Plex, but the champion kicks out at 2. The Perfect One fires away with fists, lays him out with a standing dropkick and gets a count of 2. He pummels the champion with kicks and chops, irish whip into the ropes and levels him with a clothesline for a near fall and continues to dish out punishment. The Ultimate One starts to block some right hands, gets a rush of adrenaline and hits the ropes for multiple clotheslines. Back into the ropes he goes for a shoulder tackle, connects with the splash and wins the match.
Winner & Sole Survivor: The Ultimate Warrior

  • EA’s Take: Initially I thought to myself, “At least Kerry Von Erich and Perfect are part of the match”, as I knew with the participants this had the makings of a messy brawl. While it was not that messy it was certainly a brawl, even Perfect getting sucked into using very little wrestling holds. It’s a bit of an odd time as Ultimate Warrior didn’t really have any challenger for his WWF Title, joining forces with the LOD in their rivalry with Demolition. The rivalry would fizzle out before the end of the year and the LOD would focus on the tag team titles. As for Demolition, Ax would leave the company soon after this night while Smash & Crush would continue on, but also continue to be phased out. As for Mr. Perfect, he would regain the IC Championship by the end of the year, going in a seperate direction from The Texas Tornado.

Backstage: Sean Mooney is standing by with The Million Dollar Team. Jimmy Hart vows that they will surive tonight, conspicuous by his absence is Ted DiBiase’s mystery partner. DiBiase ensures Mooney that he’s in the building and everyone’s in for a big surprise. As for Koko B. Ware, he’s just another bird that will be plucked for Thanksgiving. Rhythm & Blues will take care of The Hart Foundation and Dusty Rhodes will be where he belongs, begging on his hands and knees for mercy.

Match #2 – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Dream Team (‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware & WWF Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation (Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart & Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart) vs. The Million Dollar Team (Rhythm & Blues (The Honky Tonk Man & Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine), Million Dollar Champion ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase & The Undertaker) w/’Colonel’ Jimmy Hart, Virgil & Brother Love
Undertaker & Bret will kickoff the action, Taker with clubbing shots, shoots Hitman into the ropes, Bret ducks a right hand and gets caught by the throat, then slammed to the canvas. The Anvil gets the tag, hits the ropes for a shoulder and Taker doesn’t budge, tries it again and gets caught in a slam.

Koko gets a tag and hits the ropes for a crossbody, Undertaker side-steps it and The Birdman is hung across the top rope, Taker spiking him with a Tombstone Piledriver and Koko’s night is finished. Koko B. Ware has been eliminated. Bret steps in and looks puzzled by Undertaker, they tie-up and Hitman gets shoved into the ropes, rebounding off for right hands that have little affect, Taker casually tagging out. The Hammer & Dusty take the ring, collar & elbow tie-up, Valentine backs The Dream into the corner and fires away chops, Rhodes returning fire and bringing in Neidhart. The Anvil with a wristlock, hammers away at the shoulder, Bret gets the tag and works Valentine over in the corner.

He whips him across and follows in, meets a boot to the face, Honky Tonk enters the match and pummels away at the Hitman. Bret buries elbows to the midsection, hits the ropes and scores with a shoulder knockdown, back into the ropes and HTM buries a knee to the breadbasket. Neidhart gets a blind tag as Honky dances for the crowd, Hitman reversing an irish whip into the ropes, The Anvil steps in and catches Honky Tonk in a powerslam for a count of 3. Honky Tonk Man has been eliminated.

DiBiase jumps Neidhart after the fall, serves a plate of chops in the corner, The Anvil reverses a whip across and flattens him with a clothesline off the rebound. Neidhart slams him and brings in The American Dream, Rhodes with The MDM in the corner, reigning down right hands from the 2nd rope. Irish whip to the ropes, Dusty with a dropkick, brings The Anvil back in and they score with a double back elbow for a count of 2. Neidhart with a snap suplex for another 2, grabs a side headlock, gets pushed into the ropes and drops DiBiase with a shoulder. Back into the ropes he goes, Virgil grabs the foot causing a distraction, DiBiase clocks The Anvil in the back of the head with a forearm and gets the elimination. Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart has been eliminated.

The Hitman wastes no time stepping in and pounding DiBiase with right hands, drives him into Dusty’s elbow and tags out. The Dream with left hand jabs, The MDM goes to the eyes, shoots him into the ropes and levels him with a clothesline. The Undertaker re-enters the match, scores with a shot to the throat, Rhodes falls back into a tag and Bret takes a throat shot stepping in. Taker gets the Hitman in his corner, The Hammer tags for boots to the ribs, brings in DiBiase and Bret battles out of the corner with right hands, splitting The MDM with an inverted atomic drop. Dusty back in with heavy elbows to the top of the head, The MDM reaches Undertaker and regains control.

Irish whip to the ropes, Taker with a knee to the midsection, climbs upstairs, walks the top rope and connects with a clubbing blow to score the pinfall. ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes has been eliminated. Taker tosses Rhodes over the top to the outside after the 3 count, Bret ambushes him from behind, but Valentine is able to get the tag as Brother Love puts the boots to The Dream on the floor. Dusty finally gets his hands on him, but Taker clocks him from behind and they fight their way down the aisle, the bell rings and Undertaker has been counted out. The Undertaker has been eliminated.

Back in the ring, The Hammer is putting a number on Hitman, goes for the Figure Four, Bret counters into a small package and gets the 1-2-3. Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine has been eliminated. We’re down to 1 on 1, DiBiase steps into the ring and Hitman fires up with fists, hits an atomic drop and The MDM spills out to the floor. Bret flies over the top with a slingshot crossbody, puts a beating on DiBiase and drives him into the ring post, then the steel steps. He tosses The MDM back inside, working him over in the corner with uppercuts and headbutts, DiBiase reverses a whip across and the Hitman goes hard into the turnbuckles sternum-first, MDM covering for a count of 2.

DiBiase delivers chops in the corner, whips Hitman across for a back body drop off the rebound, Bret sees it coming and goes to a backslide for a near fall. Into the ropes they go, DiBiase with a drop down and Bret collapses to the mat holding his knee. The MDM thinks it’s easy pickings now, Hitman was playing possum, gets a roll-up from behind and gains a 2 count. Virgil gets to the apron, ducks a right hand, holds Bret for DiBiase, Hitman escapes and Virgil gets dropped, Bret with a schoolboy and another near fall. He splits The MDM with a backbreaker, drops an elbow from the 2nd rope and DiBiase kicks out at 2. The MDM reverses a whip into the ropes, Hitman with a crossbody, DiBiase rolls through, hooks the leg and steals the win.
Winner & Sole Survivor: ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase

  • EA’s Take: This was much better than our opening contest, a lot more of a mix of styles. It would have been a big win for Bret, but with the format this year having all the survivors in the main event, you had to have some heels in there. Obviously the big takeaway from this is the debut of The Undertaker, as he was made to look very strong and had a character the like of which had never been seen before. After leaving WCW just two months prior, ‘Mean’ Mark Callous would work dark matches as Kane the Undertaker prior to debuting as Ted DiBiase’s mystery partner. He’d look to solidify himself as a Superstar in the coming months, dropping Brother Love in favor of a future Hall Of Fame manager. This would also mark a coming out party for Bret Hart, the office taking notice of how well the people were receiving him.

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is standing by with The Vipers in the showers, a place that Damian enjoys. Jake Roberts talks about The Rockers looking to seek revenge on Power & Glory for tearing up Shawn Michaels’ knee. He tells us that Jimmy Snuka has been through many battles and as for himself, he may be showing the affects of taking Rick Martel’s Arrogance, but if his team dares to rattle his tree then Damian just might fall out of it.

Match #3 – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Visionaries (‘The Model’ Rick Martel, Power & Glory (Paul Roma & Hercules) & The Warlord) w/Slick vs. The Vipers (Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) & ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka) w/Damian
Jannetty & Warlord to get us going, Marty using his quickness to avoid Warlord’s grasp, sticking and moving with jabs. Warlord finally catches him in the corner, charges in and Jannetty hops to the apron to avoid it, slingshots back in with a kick and staggers the big man with a dropkick, tries another and Warlord brushes him away. Marty rolls to the apron, slides back in between Warlord’s legs, delivers right hands to Roma & Martel, then avoids Warlord rushing in and he collides with Hercules.

Michaels gets the tag, Jannetty with a sunset flip, Shawn takes Warlord down with a clothesline and covers for a count of 2. The Warlord pushes Michaels into his corner, The Model tags in, attempts to ram Shawn’s head into the turnbuckle, Michaels blocks and Martel gets driven in. Michaels grabs a side headlock, The Model pushes him off into the ropes, tries a hiptoss, Shawn flips to his feet and tosses Martel with one of his own, following up with a dropkick. He monkey flips Martel out of the corner, gets the tag to The Snake and The Model quickly tags out to Roma. Collar & elbow tie-up, Roma with a knee to the midsection, shoots Roberts into the ropes, leapfrogs over and turns around into a right hand.

Roberts goes to work on the arm, Superfly tags in and pounds on the shoulder joint, going to a wristlock and Roma rakes the eyes to little affect. Herc enters the match, gets a side headlock and is pushed into the ropes, scores with a shoulder knockdown, goes back into the ropes and Snuka with a knife-edge chop. Warlord re-enters the contest, Superfly hits the ropes and they collide shoulders, hits the ropes again for a clothesline, Warlord ducks it and slams Snuka, looks to follow with an elbow drop and misses. Snuka hits the ropes for a dropkick, Jannetty tags in and goes to a wristlock, Warlord with clubbing blows to the back to break the hold.

He gets Marty in a bearhug, Jannetty fights out of it, connects with a right hand off the 2nd rope, climbs back up for a crossbody, Warlord catching him into a powerslam and he gets a 3 count. Marty Jannetty has been eliminated. Shawn steps in and fires away with lefts and rights, Warlord reverses a whip into the ropes, catches Michaels trying to leapfrog over on his shoulders, Michaels countering into a hurricanrana and tagging out. Roberts works over Warlord with lefts and rights, the big man reverses a whip into the corner, The Snake rebounding out with a clothesline that merely budges him.

Warlord reverses another irish whip into the corner, follows in and takes a boot to the face, Roberts with another clothesline and Warlord finally goes down. Shawn tags in and makes the cover, gets powered to the outside off the kickout, Roma coming back in and dropping an elbow as Michaels slides into the ring. He stomps away at Michaels, hammering him with forearms, brings Warlord back in and he shoots Shawn in for a back body drop. Hercules tags and makes the cover for 2, sends Michaels into the ropes and turns him inside out with a clothesline. Martel with the tag, drops a knee for a count of 2, then pummels Shawn in the corner with double axe handles.

He cracks Michaels with a backbreaker for a 2 count, Roma in and he whips Shawn into the corner, turning him inside-out again, The Model with the tag for another 2 count. He sends Michaels across to the opposite corner, charges in and Shawn ducks away, Martel going shoulder-first into the ring post. Michaels crawls to a tag, Snuka comes in and hammers The Model in the corner, whips him into the corner and hits a back body drop off the rebound. Martel reverses a whip to the ropes, Superfly scores with a flying forearm, shooting The Model into the corner. Martel reverses it, Snuka jumps to the 2nd rope for a crossbody, The Model uses the momentum to roll through, grabs the tights and gets the elimination. ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka has been eliminated.

Roberts comes in and Martel looks to get away, making the tag to Herc and The Snake is frustrated. They lock-up, Hercules backs The Snake into the ropes, whips him across for a back body drop and Roberts counters with a kneelift. Jake calls for the DDT, The Mighty One bails out under the bottom rope and gets some words of wisdom from Slick before heading back inside. Martel holds a conference in the corner, Hercules gets a right hand blocked, Roberts fires back with jabs, The Model dropping The Snake with a clothesline from the apron. Roma gets the tag and slams Roberts, heads to the top rope and misses a fist drop, Michaels getting the tag.

Shawn whips Roma into the ropes for a jumping back elbow, Roma reverses another whip for a back body drop, Michaels sees it coming and hooks him for a vertical suplex. He comes off the 2nd rope with an elbow drop for a count of 2, ducks a right hand and splits Roma with an atomic drop, Hercules making a blind tag. Shawn lays Roma out with a flying forearm, Hercules dropping an elbow to the back of the head and taking back control. He unloads with the heavy artillery in the corner, shoots Michaels in and flattens him with a clothesline. The Mighty One drops Shawn off the military press, The Model comes in for a couple quick shots before bringing back Herc for clubbing shots to the back.

He props Michaels on the top turnbuckle, tags Roma, they connect with the PowerPlex and Roma gets the 1-2-3. Shawn Michaels has been eliminated. The Snake is staring at a 1 on 4 situation, Hercules takes the ring and corners Roberts, delivering boots to the breadbasket. Warlord tags in, whips Jake hard into the turnbuckles and locks in a bearhug off the rebound. Roberts goes to the eyes to break it, drops Power & Glory off the apron with right hands, Warlord with a shot to the back, attempts a slam and The Snake slips out, spiking him with a DDT. Power & Glory have the referee distracted, Martel grabs his bottle of Arrogance and sprays it in Jake’s face. Roberts goes over and pulls Damian out of the bag, chases The Model out of the ring and to the back, the referee counts to 10.
Winners & Sole Survivors: ‘The Model’ Rick Martel, The Warlord, Hercules & Paul Roma

  • EA’s Take: Decent match here that continued rivalries between Power & Glory and The Rockers, as well as Jake Roberts & Rick Martel. Snuka & Warlord were just used to fill out the teams as neither really had any kind of impact on television anymore. The Rockers’ feud with Power & Glory would quickly die-out as dissension would start to boil backstage between Michaels & Jannetty. Jake had his eyes (or should I say, eye?) set on Rick Martel after The Model sprayed some of his trademark fragrance in The Snake’s left eye, leaving him (kayfabe) partially blinded, Roberts wearing a contact that made his entire left eye whited-out. This was one of the company’s hottest feuds at the time, continuing into the coming year with Roberts still seeking to exact revenge.


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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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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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