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! With Yokozuna still on top of the WWF mountain following SummerSlam, Lex Luger was still on his chase. Along with his team of All Americans, the stage was set for a showdown against the WWF Champion’s Foreign Fanatics. Plus, this event has by far the very BEST of Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan from beginning to end!
Open: A video package is played with Lex Luger sitting with his family to talk about Thanksgiving, wishing everybody a happy holidays.
In The Arena: The crowd rises for the singing of our National Anthem.
Match #1 – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: Irwin R. Schyster, Diesel, ‘The Model’ Rick Martel & Adam Bomb w/Harvey Wippleman vs. The 1-2-3 Kid, Marty Jannetty, WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon & ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage
Razor introduces Savage as his new partner to replace Mr. Perfect. Martel & Ramon to kick things off, The Model with some words for The Bad Guy, Razor pushes him and receives a slap to the face in return. Collar & elbow tie-up, Martel gains a wristlock, the champion counters to one of his own, switches to a hammerlock and they trade reversals before The Model uses a drop toe hold. He goes to a side headlock, The Bad Guy counters again to a hammerlock, Martel working his way up and breaking out with a back elbow, celebrates a little early and gets slapped in the face for it.
The Model strikes with kicks and fists, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Martel hops up and over the champion charging in, runs back across to the 2nd rope for a crossbody, Razor switching the leverage and gets a count of 2. He shoots The Model to the ropes, misses a wild right hand, Martel attempts another crossbody, Ramon catching him in the air for a fallaway slam and another 2 count. The Model goes to the breadbasket with left hands, sends The Bad Guy to the ropes for a kick to the midsection, Razor catches the foot, spins him around and splits him with an atomic drop. Macho sneaks in a jab, the champion follows with an inverted atomic drop, hits the ropes and flattens The Model with multiple clotheslines.
Martel rolls to his corner and tags out, Adam Bomb stepping in and goes face-to-face with The Bad Guy, locking up and Bomb powers Razor back into the corner. They tie-up again and this time Adam powers Ramon to the canvas, the champion going back in for another tie-up and gets caught in a side headlock. Razor pushes him away to the ropes, Bomb explodes off with a shoulder knockdown, the champion looking befuddled and obliging Adam in a test of strength. Bomb grinds The Bad Guy to his knees, Ramon uses the crowd to work back to his feet, uses kicks to the breadbasket and then a northern lights suplex for a cover. Martel hits the ring to break the count at 2 with an elbow drop, Razor sees it coming and avoids it, The Model hitting his partner instead.
Wippleman gets into the ring and shoves Martel, The Model returning fire and punches Harvey to his backside, Adam making him pay with right hands. Diesel comes into the ring to break it up, IRS has to get in between everybody and settle them down. Order is restored, The Kind tagging in, goes to a side headlock on Bomb, gets pushed away to the ropes and floored by a big shoulder knockdown. Adam shoots him back in for a back body drop, 1-2-3 Kid counters with a sunset flip, Adam simply grabbing him by the throat, elevating him into the air and dropping him face-first on the mat. Diesel gets a tag and hammers The Kid, tosses him clear across the ring, then plants him with a gutwrench suplex.
He shoots Kid to the ropes and clocks him with a big boot, Diesel sending him back in for a side slam, but it’s countered into a headscissors takedown. Savage quickly gets a tag and runs to the top turbuckle for a double axe handle, clobbers Bomb off the apron with a clothesline, catches Schyster coming in with a back elbow, Martel following to be hit with a body slam. Macho Man splits IRS with an atomic drop, he collides into The Model, both men spilling to the outside, Adam sliding in from behind and ambushing Savage. He hammers Macho in the corner with right hands, irish whip across is reversed, Bomb collides with Diesel who has just gotten back to his feet, Savage clearing Adam to the outside with a high knee to the back.
He slams Diesel, goes back upstairs, scores with the Elbow Drop and gets the elimination. Diesel has been eliminated. The Model attacks Macho from behind and chokes him in the corner, irish whip across is reversed, Savage hitting a back body drop off the rebound. He drives Martel head-first into the top turnbuckle, falls backwards to a tag after taking a big right, IRS entering the match. Schyster strikes first off the collar & elbow tie-up, pummels Savage in the corner, shoots him to the ropes for a clothesline, Macho ducking it and hits a crossbody for a 2 count. He flattens IRS with multiple clotheslines, tag to Razor, The Bad Guy working over the shoulder and goes to an armbar. Schyster finds a standing position, Ramon switches to a side headlock, gets pushed away to the ropes, IRS drops down and The Model delivers a cheap shot from the apron.
He tags in and comes off the 2nd rope with a double axe handle, cracks the champion with a backbreaker, then hammers away at the lower back with a knee drop. Bomb re-enters the match, shoots The Bad Guy to the ropes for a back elbow, tags back out and Martel again comes off the 2nd rope with a double axe. Another quick tag, IRS snapmares Razor over, drops an elbow, follows with a leg drop and gains a count of 2. He utilizes a rear chinlock to wear the champion down, Savage tries to come in and help, gets cut-off by the referee and it allows The Model to switch out without a tag. Martel releases it and sends The Bad Guy to the ropes for a back body drop, Razor counters with a big knee lift, The Model tagging IRS and preventing Ramon from making a tag.
The champion battles back, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Schyster charges in and meets a boot to the chin, Macho getting the tag. Savage slingshots into the ring and immediately gets caught with a knee lift, IRS whips him to the ropes for a back body drop, Macho Man avoiding it with a kick, then drives him head-first into the top turnbuckle after a high knee to the back. He drops Schyster throat-first on the top rope, body slams him in the middle of the ring, climbs the corner and Crush makes his way to the aisle. Savage notices him, drops to the floor, his teammates prevent him from going after Crush and he heads into the ring, still focused on the big Hawaiian.
He climbs to the 2nd rope and taunts Crush to come fight, IRS grabs Macho from behind, schoolboy and he gets a 3 count. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage has been eliminated. Savage sprints to the back, Jannetty taking the ring now, locks up with Schyster and goes to a side headlock. IRS sends him away to the ropes, attempts a hip toss, Marty blocks and hits one of his own, follows with a dropkick and covers for 2. Schyster quickly tags out, The Model drives Jannetty back into the corner and hits a flurry of left hands, buries knees into the abdomen, tag to Adam Bomb and he plants Marty with a back suplex. He chokes him on the top rope, delivers kicks to the ribs in the corner, Martel re-enters and applies an abdominal stretch, using Bomb for extra leverage.
They get caught and the hold is broken, The Model shoots Jannetty to the corner, runs in to deliver a spear, misses and drives his shoulder into the ring post. The Bad Guy tags in as IRS enters, Schyster gets met with with heavy punches, the champion whips him hard back-and-forth into the turnbuckles, grabs him by the neck and plants him with a chokeslam. Ramon says it’s over and sets for the Razor’s Edge, drives IRS into the mat and his night is finished. Irwin R. Schyster has been eliminated. Martel ambushes Razor from behind, pummels him in the corner, the champion turns the tables on his, Adam hits the ring and it causes everyone to join the fray.
The Model shoots The Bad Guy to the ropes for a back body drop, the champion puts on the brakes, picks him up for the Razor’s Edge, IRS taking advantage of the referee being occupied and clocks The Bad Guy with his briefcase. The champion spills to the outside, the official puts on the count and he can’t make it back in. Razor Ramon has been eliminated. The Kid steps in, Wippleman holding a conference with his squad, collar & elbow tie-up with Martel, The Model going to the ribs with a knee for the early advantage. Irish whip to the ropes is reversed, 1-2-3 Kid drops leapfrogs over, drops down, measures The Model for a punch, but Martel cartwheels around him to avoid it.
They tie-up again, Kid with a side headlock, gets shoved to the ropes, The Model leapfrogs over this time, gets caught with a Japanese arm drag and The Kid grabs a wristlock. Martel easily escapes after a forearm shot and tags out, Bomb coming in and swinging wildly with a right hand, Kid ducks it, picks the legs and hits the ropes. Adam tosses him into the air, The Kid countering with a dropkick that sends him to the outside, Kid hitting the ropes again and takes flight with a suicide dive. Bomb catches him in the air and slams him on the floor, throws The Kid back into the ring, climbs to the apron and slingshots in with a clothesline. He whips 1-2-3 Kid hard into the turnbuckles, does it again and follows him in, Kid side-stepping away, uses a schoolboy and gets a near fall.
The Kid using stiff kicks, crawls towards his corner, Adam prevents him from getting there and tags out, The Model dropping an elbow to the lower back, plants 1-2-3 Kid with a gutwrench suplex and gets a count of 2. He shoots him to the ropes, doubles him over with a fist to the breadbasket, Martel to the 2nd rope for a double axe handle, but Kid counters with a punch to the ribs of his own. Marty gets the tag and fires away with right hands, whips The Model to the ropes for a jumping back elbow, sends him back in and goes to the abdomen with a fist, following it up with a knee lift. Jannetty shoots him to the corner, rams him head-first into the top turnbuckle over and over, snapamare into a cover and he gains a 2 count.
The Kid tags in and they send Martel to the ropes for a double back elbow, whip to the corner is reversed, The Model charges in, 1-2-3 Kid hops up and over into a sunset flip and that’s a 3 count. ‘The Model’ Rick Martel has been eliminated. Adam Bomb hits the ring and chases Kid to his corner, Marty tags, drives a shoulder to the abdomen from the apron, slingshots in with a sunset flip and puts it away.
Winners & Sole Survivors: The 1-2-3 Kid & Marty Jannetty
- EA’s Take: Crowd is on fire tonight, especially for this opening contest that was pretty good as far as Survivor Series elimination matches go. This was a pretty good blend of power, speed, technical skills, star power, new and familiar. A nice blend of veterans and up-and-comers like Adam Bomb or The Kid, Savage stepping in for Mr. Perfect who had his comeback attempt derailed by more back issues. Macho was having issues with Crush and served as the “perfect” replacement in his PPV return to the ring after serving as a color commentator on RAW. The only other story line issue here is between Razor & Martel, The Bad Guy having won the IC Title after defeating The Model. Shawn Michaels had been suspended and stripped of the championship, but had returned by this time and claimed to be the rightful title-holder.
Backstage: Todd Pettengill is standing by with Shawn Michaels, The Heartbreak Kid claiming he’s still the Intercontinental Champion because the gold never left his waist. Pettengill shows some footage from earlier today in which Family Feud’s Ray Combs for comments by The Hart Family about their match tonight. Michaels mocks The Harts some more after watching the tape, informs Bret that he’s got a score to settle with him after last year’s Survivor Series. His Knights will easily handle the retired Hart brothers and if Stu sticks his nose in it, Shawn vows to waffle him.
In The Ring: Ray Combs of The Family Feud introduces The Hart Family seated at ringside, then takes a survey about our next match before announces the participants.
Match #2 – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: Shawn Michaels & His Knights (Blue Knight, Red Knight, Black Knight) vs. The Harts (Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart, Bruce & Keith) w/Stu Hart
Combs joins commentary for the match, Shawn & Owen to start the action, Michaels wants a piece of Bruce, The Rocket tagging out. Collar & elbow tie-up, Shawn gains a side headlock, tags The Red Knight, Bruce sending Michaels off to the ropes. Bruce drops down and Red does the same to avoid a collision, Bruce pushes them into one-another and Shawn has some choice words for Red. Michaels stays in the ring, Bruce backs him into the corner off the tie-up, chops away at the chest, irish whip across is reversed, Shawn doubling him back towards his corner and Bruce levels Red & Blue with a double clothesline to knock them off the apron.
Black grabs Bruce and holds him, Shawn with a head of steam for a high knee, Bruce side-steps it, Black gets drilled instead and Bruce follows with an arm drag to Michaels before making a tag. Keith enters the ring and grabs a wristlock, switches to an armbar, then to a hammerlock. The Heartbreak Kid counters out with one of his own, Keith with a back elbow to escape it, hits the ropes and ducks a clothesline, Shawn ducks for a back body drop, Keith puts on the brakes, sends him back to the ropes for a slam, Michaels slipping out and scoring with a kick. He hooks him for a vertical suplex, Keith counters into a small package for a 2 count, quickly catches Shawn with a drop toe hold and goes back to an armbar.
He switches to a standing wristlock, Michaels uses a body slam to escape and makes a tag, Red taking the ring and attempts an elbow drop, but doesn’t find the mark. Keith quickly goes into an arm drag and another armbar, tag to Owen he works over the shoulder with a wristlock, Red Knight counters into one of his own, The Rocket rolling through to break away, but takes a thumb to the eye. Red shoots him to the ropes, drops down, goes for a hip toss, Owen blocks it and hits one of his own, follows with a Japanese arm drag and a dropkick, Red falling back into his corner and tagging out. Black comes in and runs right into a hip toss, The Rocket with multiple arm drags, staggers to the wrong corner and pays for it, Owen tossing Black back to his own corner and there’s tags on both sides.
Bret steps in with Blue and ties up, Blue rips at the eyes, whips him to the ropes for a kick to the breadbasket, The Hitman catches his foot, spins him around and splits him with an atomic drop. He follows with an inverted atomic drop, hits the ropes and flattens Blue with a clothesline, makes a cover and gets a count of 2. Tag back to Keith, fireman’s carry takes Blue over, he slaps on an armbar, makes a tag, Bruce coming in to maintain the hold. Blue finds his footing and sends Bruce off to the ropes, Shawn sneaks in a cheap shot to the lower back, Blue taking the opening to deliver a body slam, making a tag to Michaels who cracks Bruce with a backbreaker.
The Heartbreak Kid drops multiple elbows to the lower back and tags out, Red comes off the 2nd rope with a double axe to the spine, throws Bruce with a butterfly suplex and gets a near fall. Black tags in and pummels Bruce with right hands, Bruce blocks one and goes into a backslide for a quick 2 count, Shawn quickly getting a tag and puts the boots to Bruce to stop any momentum. Bruce spills to the outside under the bottom rope, Michaels goes out to bring him back to the apron, looks to drive him head-first into the top turnbuckle, Bruce blocking it and returning the favor, but he’s too close to the wrong corner and gets dropped by Red.
The Heartbreak Kid sends him to the ropes for a clothesline, Bruce ducks it, levels Michaels with one of his own, tags on both sides and The Hitman fires away on Black with rights, sends him to the ropes for another to the ribs, then rolls him up for a near fall. He follows with a small package for another quick 2, cracks Black with a backbreaker, comes off the 2nd rope with an elbow drop, hooks the leg and Shawn breaks the count at 2. Tag to Owen, double irish whip to the ropes, The Rocket clocks Black with a spinning heel kick, lateral press and now Blue hits the ring to break it up before the match falls apart with everyone paired off in opposite corners. Four way irish whip, Michaels & His Knights all collide into one another and the ring clears, Owen goes to the top rope, scores with a dropkick to Black, hooks the leg and gets 3. The Black Knight has been eliminated.
Combs shouts out that we have a winner, but of course that’s not the case. Red tries to ambush Owen after the pinfall and gets taken out at the knee, The Rocket targeting the left leg and he makes a tag to Bret for a wishbone. The Hitman keeps on the injured limb, Keith re-enters the match to do more of the same, ties the leg up in the ropes and drives knees to the joint before the ref forces a break. Red uses the opening to score with a big knee lift, tries to reach for a tag, Keith cuts him off, drags him back to the corner and brings Bruce in for more punishment to the knee. Hitman re-enters for another quick wishbone, tag back to Keith who goes back to the leg, Red kicks him away and Keith is sent head-first into the top turnbuckle.
The Red Knight strikes with fists and headbutts, snapmares him over for a knee drop and misses the target, Keith immediately locking on a figure four. Shawn steps in to break it up which baits in Bruce, the official is distracted, Blue Knight switching out without a tag and he pounds Keith with clubbing blows and chops. Keith turns the tables and fires away, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Red trips Keith up as he hits the ropes, Michaels slingshots in with a diving headbutt to the shoulder and Blue follows with a leg drop on the arm. He goes to work on the shoulder joint with elbows and locks in an armbar, The Heartbreak Kid tags in, drops a double axe to the arm off the top, drives Keith’s shoulder into the top turnbuckle multiple times, then wraps it around the ropes and makes a tag.
Red re-enters and keeps on the left arm, pulls Keith under the bottom rope in the corner, drives the shoulder into the ring post and climbs back inside. He positions Keith under the bottom rope and catapults him throat-first into it, Blue gets a tag, drops another leg on the left arm, plants him with a hammerlock body slam, drops another leg and tags out. Shawn goes back upstairs, Blue launches him into a splash, Keith rolls away to avoid it, Bret gets the tag and Michaels quickly tags right out. Red steps in and is met by stinging right hands, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Red Knight attempts to leapfrog over, Hitman catches him, drops him flat on his back and slaps on the Sharpshooter for the elimination. The Red Knight has been eliminated.
The Blue Knight steps right in and levels Bret before he even releases the Sharpshooter, puts the boots to The Hitman and then dumps him on the outside. Keith comes around ringside to check on him, the official hops out to get Keith back to his corner, Michaels taking the opportunity to drop a double axe on Bret from the apron and throw him back inside. Blue plants Hitman with a vertical suplex for a count of 2, drops an elbow for a quick 1, then drives Bret face-first into Shawn’s boot before tagging him. The Heartbreak Kid whips Bret hard into the turnbuckles, drives knees to the lower spine, hooks the leg and gains another 2 count. Irish whip back to the ropes and Michaels connects with a jumping back elbow for another 2, grounds The Hitman with a rear chinlock, the ref checking the arm, but Bret is able to keep it up on the third attempt.
Hitman works to a vertical base, hits the ropes, Shawn goes to the breadbasket with a knee, tag to Blue and he drops a headbutt to the lower abdomen for a near fall. Blue Knight backs Bret into the corner and drives shoulders to the ribs, shoots him across and charges in, The Hitman gets the boots up, hops to the 2nd rope for a clothesline and he crawls to a tag. The Rocket springs in and fires away with fists, scores with a dropkick, puts Blue in the corner and climbs to the 2nd rope for a barrage of punches, then plants him with a body slam. Owen comes off the 2nd rope with an elbow drop and makes a cover, Michaels hits the ring to break it up, Bruce comes in to meet him with heavy rights, then teams up with Owen for a double noggin knocker.
He shoots Shawn at The Rocket, Shawn with a baseball slide under Owen’s legs to duck to the outside, turns around and Stu clocks him with a left. Owen slingshots over the top with a crossbody and rolls Michaels back in, whips him into a collision with Blue, goes up top for a crossbody, Shawn ducking it, but The Rocket hits Blue into a cover. The Heartbreak Kid tries to break it up with an elbow drop, misses Owen and hits his partner, Bruce & Owen with a double clothesline to dispose of Michaels, The Rocket locks a Sharpshooter on Blue Knight and he gives. The Blue Knight has been eliminated.
Shawn is left all by himself now, Michaels looks to take a walk and gets cut-off by Bret, Hitman throws him back in the ring, and Owens splits him with an atomic drop. The Heartbreak Kid staggers into the wrong corner and meets a succession of fists, Bruce re-enters and drops multiple knees for a count of 2, sends Shawn to the corner, charges in and runs into a back elbow. Michaels uses a blatant choke, drills Bruce with a superkick, hooks the leg and only gets 2. He whips Bruce to the ropes for a back body drop, Bruce puts on the brakes and counters with a kick, tag to Bret and he steps in for an inverted atomic drop.
He whips Shawn hard into the turnbuckles, catapults him back into the buckles, drops an elbow, lateral press and a near fall. The Hitman plants him with a side russian leg sweep for another 2, looks for a backbreaker, Michaels rips at the eyes to avoid it, Owen tags himself in, sends The Heartbreak Kid to the ropes and tosses him with a belly-to-belly suplex for a near fall. Another whip to the ropes is reversed, Michaels drops down, Owen collides with Bret on the apron and sends him flying into the barricade, Shawn takes advantage of the distraction, schoolboy on The Rocket and a count of 3. ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart has been eliminated.
Bruce & Keith are on the floor checking on Bret, meanwhile Owen is losing his temper in the ring, Heenan tosses Shawn a bottle of water and The Heartbreak Kid gets a brief recoup. Bruce slides into the ring and meets him with right hands, flattens Michaels with a clothesline and gains a 2 count. He shoots Shawn in and locks in a sleeper hold, The Heartbreak Kid pulls Bruce into the top turnbuckle to break the hold, Bruce tries to use a side headlock, gets pushed away to the ropes, both guys colliding heads and dropping to the mat. Bruce reaches a tag, Keith whips Shawn to the ropes for an abdominal stretch, Michaels powers out with a hip toss, Keith now reaching a tag to The Hitman.
Bret comes in and pummels The Heartbreak Kid with punches, shoots him into the corner and turns him inside-out, sends him back across, Michaels landing planked across the top turnbuckle. Bret with kicks to the abdomen, Shawn gets crotched on the top rope, Hitman sweeps the legs for the Sharpshooter, Michaels ducks out under the bottom rope and runs to the back, getting counted out.
Winners & Sole Survivors: Bruce Hart, Keith Hart & Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart
- After The Bell: Owen comes back out to seemingly join in on the celebration, shoves Bret and an argument ensues. The Rocket is still hot about the way he was eliminated, Bruce & Keith attempt to reason with him, but Owen won’t hear it and he’s left in the ring to celebrate alone to a chorus of boos. Todd Pettengill catches up with Owen for a word as he makes his exit, but Owen doesn’t want to talk.
- EA’s Take: A painfully long match that was never the scheduled or planned contest from the beginning. Shawn Michaels was inserted into this rivalry as a placeholder for Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler after The King was caught under some legal issues. Hence the “Knight” gimmick, which makes a little more sense knowing The King was supposed to be the team captain. Bruce & Keith were pretty boring in the ring to be honest, but thankfully Bobby Heenan’s Hart Family zingers kept me interested throughout. The Blue Knight was played by Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine, The Red Knight was Barry Horowitz and Black was a man named Jeff Gaylord that never really gained any notoriety. This match would mark the beginning of Owen’s famed heel turn, an angle that truly helped him make a mark on the industry, however he’d give an alignment with Bret one last shot at the Royal Rumble.
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!
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
Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL
Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)
Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)
- 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
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.
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.
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!
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
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)
- 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
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.
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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