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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWF Survivor Series ’95 – Who’s Fit To Survive?

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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 1995 edition sees the company continuing their tweaks with the event, adding in a special Wild Card Elimination Match featuring heels and faces on the same team. To top it off, we’ve got a tremendous main event as Diesel will defend his WWF Title against Bret Hart!

Open: Mr. Perfect enters the arena and heads down to ringside, making his return to the WWF to join our announce team.

Video: “One man is the most honored athlete in Federation history. The other, the leader of the New Generation. Their previous encounters were marred by injustice, but this time the laws have changed. The champion, Diesel. The challenger, Bret Hart.” This is the Survivor Series.

Match #1 is a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Underdogs (Marty Jannetty, Barry Horowitz, Bob ‘Spark Plug’ Holly & Hakushi) vs. The BodyDonnas (Skip, Rad Radford, Dr. Tom Prichard & The 1-2-3 Kid) w/Sunny & ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase
Razor Ramon comes down to ringside trying to get a piece of The Kid, a group of referees holding him off and they are able to get him to the back. Prichard & Jannetty will get the action started, they lock-up and Dr. Tom backs Marty to his corner, Jannetty starts to battle his way out, but gets caught by a right hand. Skip & Radford step in, Prichard looks to shoot Marty at them, Jannetty takes them down with a double clothesline, swings and misses and The Kid and gets hooked by the arms. Dr. Tom hits the ropes for a high knee, Jannetty avoids it and Kid gets knocked to the floor, Marty whips Prichard to the ropes, then elevates him with a back body drop.

Dr. Tom rolls to the outside and The BodyDonnas regroup, he steps back in and tags out, Rad Radford taking the ring. They tie-up and Marty gains a wristlock, makes a tag and Holly steps inside, Radford escapes Jannetty and goes into a collar & elbow with Spark Plug. He gets caught in a side headlock, pushes Holly off to the ropes, Spark Plug scores with a shoulder blocked, goes back to the ropes, Radford leapfrogs over, but gets surprised by a hurricanrana. Holly fires away with fists, Radford slaps on a side headlock, gets shoved off to the ropes and this time hits a shoulder block of his own. He goes back to the ropes and now Spark Plug leapfrogs over, Rad attempts his own hurricanrana, but gets planted into the mat by a powerslam.

Holly scoops him up for a body slam follows with an arm drag into an armbar, switches to a wristlock and drops a leg across the left arm. He makes a tag to Hakushi and The Modern-Day Kamikaze maintains the hold, Radford whips him off to the ropes for a body slam, but The White Angel slips out and connects with an uppercut. Irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Radford misses with a clothesline, catches Hakushi with a spinebuster and tags out, 1-2-3 climbs up top, connects with a splash, but only gets a count of 2. He corners The Modern-Day Kamikaze and unloads with kicks, Skip tags in, props him on the top turnbuckle for a super back suplex, but The White Angel switches his weight and falls on top. Tag to Holly, Spark Plug hammers Skip with rights, sends him to the ropes and leapfrogs over, Skip slides through between the legs, Holly with a leapfrog now and catches him with a back body drop.

He levels Skip with multiple clotheslines, follows up with an arm drag to an armbar, Skip rakes the eyes to escape, then makes a tag. Prichard pummels Spark Plug in the corner, delivers a gutwrench sit-out powerbomb for 2, plants him with a body slam, then goes upstairs for a moonsault. Holly rolls out of harm’s way and ascends the corner, connects with a crossbody, hooks the leg and pins Dr. Tom. Dr. Tom Prichard has been eliminated. Spark Plug celebrates and Skip hooks him with a schoolboy from behind, stacks Holly up and gets the pinfall. Bob ‘Spark Plug’ Holly has been eliminated. Skip starts to celebrate now and Hakushi spins him around for uppercuts to the jaw, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Skip looks to score with a kick, The White Angel blocks it and sweeps the leg.

He goes for another kick and Skip catches his foot, The Modern-Day Kamikaze brings his other leg around with a spinning heel kick, positions him near the corner with a body slam, slingshots off the 2nd rope with a splash, but Skip gets the knees up. He peppers Hakushi with punches in the corner, props him on the top turnbuckle, delivers a super hurricanrana, but hurts himself in the process and collapses to the canvas. Skip crawls to a tag and The Kid puts the boots to The Modern-Day Kamikaze, Hakushi stagger to his feet, fires back with uppercuts, whips Kid into the corner and follows in with a back handspring back elbow. He hits the ropes and connects with a flying forearm, climbs to the high-rent district for a flying shoulder block, lateral press and a near fall.

The White Angel scoops 1-2-3 Kid up for a body slam, steps out to the apron, looks to springboard back in with a splash, but nobody’s home as Razor Ramon watches from backstage. The Kid tags out and Radford steps in, distracts Hakushi, Kid drills him with a spinning back kick to the head, Radford makes the cover and picks up the elimination. Hakushi has been eliminated. Horowitz comes in to check on The White Angel, Radford blasts him from behind with clubbing blows, Kid re-enters the ring for a double whip to the ropes, they hit a double back elbow and 1-2-3 Kid follows with a vertical suplex for a 2 count.

He puts Barry in the corner for a series of kicks, whips him to the ropes for a back body drop, Horowitz avoids it with a kick, unleashes a flurry of punches, Kid staggers back to the corner and catches him coming in with more kicks. He drives Barry head-first into the top turnbuckle, Radford comes in off the tag with boots in the corner, executes a gutwrench suplex and covers, but picks Horowitz up at 2. Barry surprises him with a jawbreaker, sends him to the ropes for a back body drop, Radford connects with a kick, flattens him with a clothesline, covers and again picks Horowitz up at 2. Rad drops a headbutt to the lower abdomen, snapmares him over for a rolling neck snap, then chokes him using the bottom of his boot.

He delivers a bridging northern lights suplex for a near fall, does some jumping jacks and push-ups to impress The BodyDonnas, Horowitz grabs him from behind with a roll-up and steals a 3 count. Rad Radford has been eliminated. Skip steps inside and is incensed, turns around and comes face-to-face with Horowitz, Barry batters him with forearms, launches him out of the corner with a hip toss, then follows with a jumping back elbow. He hits the ropes for a high knee, whips Skip in for a clothesline, Skip ducks under it, makes a blind tag, slides under Barry’s legs and The Kid steps in from behind with a spinning heel kick. He hits the ropes, follows with a short leg drop, makes the cover and ends Barry’s evening. Barry Horowitz has been eliminated.

Jannetty is the lone man left and corners 1-2-3 Kid, Skip ends up taking the ring, they lock-up and Marty gets backed to the corner. Skip doesn’t break clean and buries a shoulder to the breadbasket, shoots Jannetty across, charges in for a dropkick, but Jannetty side-steps and Skip gets crotched on the 2nd turnbuckle. Marty snapmares him over, picks Skip up and sends him to the ropes, ducks his head down for a back body drop, but eats a kick instead. He gets rocked by rights in the corner, Skip shoots him across and follows in, Jannetty looks to hop up-and-over, but gets caught on Skip’s shoulder. He slips off for a german suplex, Skip blocks it, hooks him for a powerbomb, Marty counters to a roll-up and Skip barely kicks out at 2.

He quickly whips Jannetty to the ropes for a back body drop, Marty puts on the brakes, plants him with a Rocker Dropper, then climbs up top. Sunny climbs on the apron and shakes the ropes, Jannetty falls and gets crotched on the top turnbuckle, Skip heads up to meet him for a back body drop, but Marty counters with a super powerbomb for the 1-2-3. Skip has been eliminated. We’re down to one-on-one, The Kid charges in with a flying clothesline, sends Marty to the ropes for a spinning wheel kick, goes upstairs for a leg drop and scores, but only gets a count of 2. He whips Jannetty into the corner and rushes in with a dropkick, plants him with a body slam, 1-2-3 Kid looks to head back up top for a somersault senton, but Marty rolls away to avoid it.

Both guys stagger to their feet, Jannetty blocks punches and returns fire, backs Kid to the corner, the ref creates separation, Marty whips The Kid to the ropes and connects with a dropkick for 2. He unleashes a barrage of fists and Sycho Sid saunters down to ringside, Marty shots Kid to the ropes for a jumping back elbow, drives 1-2-3 Kid face-first into the mat, but keeps a watch on Sid on the outside. He looks to send Kid to the ropes and it’s reversed, The Kid looks for a back body drop, Jannetty comes to a stop, delivers the Rocker Dropper, but Kid gets the ropes at a 2 count. DiBiase climbs up on the apron to get the ref’s attention, Sid steps up and drops Marty on the ropes with a hot shot, 1-2-3 Kid drapes an arm over to cover and finishes it off.
Winner & Sole Survivor: The 1-2-3 Kid

  • After The Bell: Razor Ramon is losing his cool in the locker room watching how this one played out, trashing the place as other Superstars try to calm him down.
  • EA’s TakeEven though this match was filled with Superstars from the bottom of the card, it was actually fairly entertaining as nearly every participant was a young, up-and-comer outside of Prichard and Horowitz. Hakushi really got the crowd going with his aerial offense and despite having no success at all in the WWF, Rad Radford impressed me with some of his offense (which is likely how he ended up in ECW and then later on, WCW under his real name, Louie Spiccoli). In the bigger picture, there was really no need for this match as it was clearly just serving as a tool to help get The Kid over as a heel, since he completed his turn on Razor just a week prior. It also solidified his alliance with DiBiase as this was the first time the two were together.

Backstage: Todd Pettengill is backstage with Razor Ramon’s teammates tonight, Owen Hart, Yokozuna, Dean Douglas, James E. Cornette & Mr. Fuji. Cornette says The Bad Guy can beat a TV up just fine, but that won’t work tonight trying to win a wrestling match and he needs to figure out where his head is at. Owen thinks Ramon better stop fooling around and get The 1-2-3 Kid off his mind, stating that Razor has a responsibility to be at the top of his game for them. Douglas believes that his team is united minus The Bad Guy, informing him they have business to take care of tonight.

Match #2 is a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe & Lioness Asuka w/Harvey Wippleman vs. WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze, Kyoko Inoue, Sakie Hasegawa & Chaparita Asari
Asuka & Asari will kickoff the action, Asari sends Asuka off to the ropes for a crossbody that misses, Lioness Asuka drills her with a spinning wheel kick, hooks her by the legs and goes into a giant swing for a count of 2. She lifts Asari for a back suplex and Chaparita flips out to her feet, falls into a cover and Alundra steps in, ducks under a right hand and connects with a savate kick. She looks to shoot Lioness Asuka to the ropes, Asuka falls to her backside, Blayze lifts her back up for a body slam, makes a tag and Asari comes in off the top with the Sky Twister Press, then tags back out.

Aludra drags Asuka back up to send her to the ropes, Lioness reverses, scores with a double chop to the chest, shoots Blayze to the ropes now for another, Alundra ducks under it, delivers a Bridging German Suplex and picks up a 3 count. Lioness Asuka has been eliminated. Watanabe quickly steps in and puts the boots to Alundra, hops to the 2nd rope to celebrate, looks to come off the top with a moonsault, but nobody’s home. She rolls to the floor and the champion goes upstairs, flies off with a crossbody, drags Watanabe back into the ring, snapmares her over by the hair and tags out. Hasegawa takes the ring and hits a double underhook suplex, hangs on and rolls into four more of them, drags Watanabe up and sends her to the ropes, Tomoko surprising her with a seated senton.

She ascends the corner for another seated senton and gets a 2 count, Kong tags in, whips Hasegawa to the ropes and flattens her with a clothesline, then begins to celebrate. Hasegawa catches her with a savate kick, delivers multiple uranage suplexes, lateral press and a near fall. She looks to head to the high-rent district now, gets caught in mid-air with a roundhouse kick to the midsection, Kong plants her with a saito suplex and that’s it for Hasegawa. Sakie Hasegawa has been eliminated. Asari comes in right after the fall and sends Aja to the ropes for a crossbody, hits a brick wall and Kong doesn’t budge, scoops Chaparita up for a body slam, then goes to the 2nd rope for a splash and that’s all she wrote. Chaparita Asari has been eliminated.

Alundra takes the ring and walks into kicks to the leg, looks to return the favor, Kong blocks it, but doesn’t see the other foot coming around for an enzuigiri. She rolls to her corner and tags Inoue, Kyoko floors Aja with multiple clotheslines, looks to send her to the ropes, Kong reverses, ducks down for a back body drop, but Inoue counters with a sunset flip. She can’t bring Aja down and Kong drops down on top of her, sits on Kyoko’s chest and gets the pin. Kyoko Inoue has been eliminated. The champion is left all by herself now, all three of her opponents step into the ring to corner her, Alundra kicks Kong away, but the numbers are too much.

Bertha pummels her with clubbing shots in the corner, the official restores some order Alundra drags Watanabe into the squared circle, snapmares her to the mat by the hair, then follows with a snap suplex for what appears to be a count of 2. She hauls Watanabe up and sets for a powerbomb, it looks as if there’s a miscommunication, Blayze spikes her with a piledriver and covers for the 3 count. Tomoko Watanabe has been eliminated. Bertha comes in from behind and puts the boots to Alundra, shoots her into the corner and charges in with a splash, whips her to the ropes and they both a spot. They go back into it again and Bertha ducks under a spinning heel kick, Kong steps in and hits the ropes behind her, looks for a double splash with Faye, but Alundra avoids it.

Bertha accidentally drills Aja, Blayze surprises Faye her from behind with a Bridging German Suplex and puts an end to her night. Bertha Faye has been eliminated. It’s 1-1 now and Kong ambushes the champion from behind, cracks her with a barrage of headbutts, sends Blayze to the ropes and Alundra flips herself to the apron, then climbs to the top rope. Kong heads up to meet her, plants her with a superplex for a count of 2, pulls her up for a spinning back fist, Alundra avoids it, then hooks her for the Bridging German Suplex. Kong drives the champion backwards into the corner to get out of it, uses her backside into the breabasket, gets caught walking back in with double boots and Alundra hits the ropes for a hurricanrana, nearly finishing it.

She quickly goes to the 2nd rope for a missile dropkick, follows with a standing moosault for a near fall, the champion looks to go back to the top rope, Kong pulls her back down to the mat, then hops to the 2nd rope, Blayze cuts her off with a roundhouse kick and climbs up after her, Aja knocks her to the bat with a headbutt, shoots her to the ropes and flattens Alundra with a clothesline multiple times. She waits for the champion to stagger back up, drills her with a Spinning Back Fist and covers to put it away.
Winner and Sole Survivor: Aja Kong

  • EA’s TakeOutside of that beautiful looking Sky Twister Press from Asari, this was absolutely brutal to watch. There were multiple botches, seemingly no chemistry between the women, very little selling and no psychology whatsoever. This was the proverbial nail in the coffin for women’s wrestling in the WWF as there was little-to-no interest anymore and the last time we’d seen Alundra Blayze or the Women’s Title (at least for another couple of years). Kong picks up the win here as she was being built to face the champion, however the company would decide by the end of the year to drop the division altogether and Alundra would infamously return to WCW as Madusa, dropping the title into the garbage live on Monday Nitro. The Women’s Championship would remain dormant until 1998.

In The Arena: Todd Pettengill is sitting in the crowd with ‘President Bill Clinton’, Bill stating he’s enjoying himself as the participants in our next match head to the ring. Clinton says he’s a big fan of Bam Bam and has watched him every Saturday with Fred, Barney and Wilma, Pettingill informing him that he’s referring to The Flintstones. Bigelow’s pyro goes off and Bill hits the floor, his security team yelling at him to get down.

Match #3: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Goldust
Bigelow looks puzzles at Goldust’s antics, The Bizarre One surprises him with right hands, chokes Bam Bam on the top rope, then looks to whip him to the ropes. The Beast from the East reverses for a big haymaker, Goldust hangs on, slides to the outside and takes a walk. He steps back into the squared circle and they lock-up, Goldust hooks on a hammerlock, pesters Bigelow with a chop, Bam Bam retaliates with a big fist, then shoots him to the corner. He charges in and The Bizarre One gets the boot up, The Beast from the East comes right back with a dropkick, Goldust rolling to the outside. Bigelow shouts down at him from the ring, Goldust reaches in and drags him to the floor, clobbers him across the back, then measures him against the ring post for a clothesline.

Bam Bam ducks under it and throws him inside, gets caught coming in with a barrage of boots, The Bizarre One builds a head of steam, clotheslines him over the top and Bigelow falls to the floor. The Beast from the East rolls into the ring at a count of 6, Goldust is there waiting to unload with more boots, Bam Bam starts to battle back with headbutts, gets caught by a knee to the midsection and The Bizarre One covers for 2. He looks to wear Bigelow down some more with a front facelock, rips at Bam Bam’s face, tosses him over the top to the outside, then steps out in pursuit. Goldust rams him face-first off the steel steps, sends him into the squared circle, buries kicks to the midsection, goes for another and it’s blocked.

The Beast from the East plants him with a back suplex, hits the ropes for a falling headbutt that’s off-target, The Bizarre One covers for another 2 count, then grounds him with an armbar. He switches to a chinlock and Bigelow works to a standing position, powers Goldust up onto his shoulders, drives him down with an electric chair, but can’t capitalize. The Bizarre One peppers him with punches, Bam Bam returns fire, gets caught getting back up with more right hands, Goldust shoots him off the ropes and connects with a flying clothesline. He follows up with a knee drop, hooks the leg and Bam Bam kicks out at 2, The Bizarre One looking to grind him down some more now with a rear chinlock.

The Beast from the East finds his footing, escapes after dropping Goldust with a back suplex, starts to build momentum with multiple clotheslines and gains a near fall. He sends The Bizarre One for the ride hard into the turnbuckles, measures him for a corner splash, Goldust side-steps it, hits the ropes for a Running Bulldog and that finishes it.
Winner: Goldust (Running Bulldog)

  • EA’s TakeThis one wasn’t as good as I thought it could have been between two good workers, a couple of spots looked a little sloppy, but it had its moments. Goldust’s push continues as this is really a glorified squash match, he controlled the entirety of it. He hasn’t quite hit his stride yet, but will do so in the coming months as he steps into his first big feud in early 1996. For Bam Bam, his time with the WWF would come to an end following this show, as he reportedly left due to ongoing problems with The Kliq. The should-be Hall Of Famer would resurface again in early ’96 with Extreme Championship Wrestling, then later with WCW before his death in 2007 due to drug and heart related issues.


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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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