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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 26 – December 18, 2002

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Tiffany MC’s weekly TNA IMPACT Chairshot Classics series continues!

It’s the last TNA episode of 2002! Vince Russo’s Sports Entertainment X-Treme continues to run roughshod over TNA. AJ Styles and Jeff Jarrett both face questions about their loyalty. The X-Division fights to decide a new #1 Contender, and it’s Doomsday for the Tag Team Division.

How’d they do? Let’s find out!

We open with a recap of last week’s action with Vince Russo’s SEX faction. Back to reality, Mike Tenay tells us that this will be TNA’s final show of 2002 and they’ll be taking two weeks off for Christmas and New Year’s.

Before the show gets underway, Tenay talks about the importance of the NWA title and we get some really grainy pictures of Jeff Jarrett defending the NWA title in the UK, Northern Ireland, and Japan. Jarrett also gives an interview to Jeremy Borash, discussing how much the NWA means to him and how happy he is to fly around the world to defend it against whomever wants a shot.

Back in the Asylum, we go backstage where Goldylocks is trying to get a word with Curt Hennig who just ignores her. Hennig comes through the crowd in his street clothes and snatches the mic away from a confused Borash.

Hennig immediately starts complaining about what happened during his title match last week with Jeff Jarrett and claims that Russo screwed him over, though given how poorly Hennig has been wrestling, it could be said that Russo did everyone a favor. Hennig then says that he’d planned to wait until later in the show to do this, but he’s run out of beer on the bus and he’s waiting for Lesnar to return from the liquor store, which no one seems to buy, along with his claim to still be the greatest wrestler to lace up a pair of boots.

As for Russo, he’s ‘just a fan’ as far as Hennig is concerned, but that doesn’t mean Hennig won’t beat the hell out of him and tie him up like a pretzel. Hennig used a lot of rodent metaphors to describe Russo, which was a little creepy.

At this point, Russo’s come out and he’s running his mouth, though we can’t quite hear what he’s saying. Hennig takes the bait and gets jumped by Low-Ki, Elix Skipper, and Christopher Daniels. From what we can hear from Lo-Ki, these three were supposed to be part of the Gauntlet for the Gold match, but they’re pulling out. Russo taunts Tenay and West while James gets on the mic and mocks Jim Ross. It’s all NWO antics but none of these guys are cool enough to get it over.

Backstage, Goldylocks is talking to Bob Armstrong and asking him about what was going on. Armstrong doesn’t seem overly bothered, at least not yet, and says that Russo only thinks he’s in charge.

As this was going on, AJ Styles, who seemed to have joined Russo’s faction walked past, heading for the locker room. Armstrong stopped him and upbraided him for aligning Russo and warning Styles against whatever promises Russo might have made him.

Confused and irritated, Styles denied that he was aligned with Russo. He was doing his talking in the ring, just like Armstrong preached. He doesn’t care about Russo or SEX, he’s after Jarrett’s title and promises to keep coming for Jarrett until he gets a title shot. Armstrong doesn’t buy this and leaves to talk to Styles some more.

10 Man Gauntlet for the Gold for the #1 Contendership: This TNA staple is a mix of a Gauntlet match and the Royal Rumble. Two men start in the ring and every 90 seconds someone else will join the fun. You can only be eliminated by pinfall or submission. Our first two contestants are Jason Cross, who debuted last week, and Amazing Red. As the match is getting underway, we go to the back and find Jarrett beating the holy hell out of Styles while Mortimer Plumtree tried, but not very hard, to stop Jarrett.

Overall, this match was pretty good and was clearly there to eat up time on a holiday show. The biggest problem I had was that, outside of a few people, this match was mostly comprised of the dregs of the X-Division.

In the end, it came down to Jason Cross and Amazing Red, who were our first two contestant. Cross hit his AMAZING Crossfire, which Red sold by flopping like a fish on dry land, which was hilarious to watch. Jason Cross gets the pin and is now the #1 Contender, which is weird considering that he jobbed to Tony Mamaluke last week. ANYWAY, pretty good match and a surprise ending.

As Cross and Red leave the ring, Tenay announces that he’s been told by Bob Armstrong that Jerry Lynn has been added to the X-Division Championship match between Sonny Siaki and EZ Money since Lynn was screwed over by the woman who ran in to help Siaki last week.

Russo and his crew come out. Russo insults TNA and the fans, saying that people in New York, re: WWE, are laughing at TNA’s weekly PPVs. He also claimed that he could become a dentist and make a fortune in Tennessee.

Turns out, it’s time for the airing of the grievances by the three X-Division guys who have joined SEX. Lo-Ki’s complaint is that the NWA stopped booking him because he wouldn’t commit to a 52 week schedule with them; because pushing a guy who’s only around some of the time over guys who are there and getting over with the fans every week makes SO much sense.

Christopher Daniels’ complaint is a little more reasonable. He claims that the NWA wouldn’t book him because the cost of  a plane ticket from California to Tennessee every week was too expensive. Though, given that TNA is just starting out and the NWA isn’t as big as it used to be, I can also see the other side of this. Russo soothes Daniels by saying he’ll buy him a new plane.

Skipper claims that the NWA wasn’t paying him enough money, though from what I’ve seen of Skipper’s work in TNA, it’s more like the NWA was paying him too much. Russo promises that Skipper will get paid twice a day.

BG James thinks he’s going to kick his own father’s ass, which I seriously doubt since Bullet Bob is in better shape than his own son. Russo warns the Harris brothers to not let him down, which already seems like a recipe for disaster.

Turning his attention to Jeff Jarrett, Russo tells his former…associate to bring his ‘hillbilly hick ass’, Russo’s words, not mine, to the ring.

Jarrett comes out and says that he’s spent the last three weeks listening to Russo run his mouth and it’s time to set the record straight. Jarrett gets in the ring and starts dropping some truth bombs.

Truth #1: Vince Russo was a magazine writer who acted like a fanboy (paraphrasing) to interview Jarrett in the early 90’s.

Truth #2: Vince Russo disrespects professional wrestling because he hates it.

Truth #3: Jarrett protected Russo from getting his ass kicked by the likes of Shawn Michaels, Scott Steiner, and Goldberg. Personally, I would pay to see any of these fights, but that’s me.

However, to his immense credit, Jarrett doesn’t completely throw Russo under the bus. He also cites his own less than stellar record in Sports Entertainment, including beating up old ladies. Jarrett seemed genuinely guilt-ridden by those actions. He also points out that if it weren’t for the fact that Russo somehow keeps finding jobs in wrestling, he’d be selling TVs in New York City.

Russo was unimpressed and said that Jarrett has lost his balls and has become a daddy’s boy, though I’m not sure Russo realizes that that’s not really an insult in the South. Trying another tactic, he says that the wrestlers in the back don’t respect Jarrett and laugh at him behind his back, but if he sides with Russo, Russo will make sure that he’s respected.

By this point, Jarrett was over this conversation and puts his position in plain English: He is not now, nor was he ever on Russo’s side. Them’s fightin’ words and all hell breaks loose. Jarrett puts up a pretty good fight by grabbing his favorite non-guitar equalizer, a metal chair, and starts swinging, but he was eventually overwhelmed by SEX and it took a run in by security to settle the situation down.

Non-Title Tag Team Match – The New Church (with James Mitchell and Bella Donna) vs America’s Most Wanted vs the Harris Brothers: For some reason, despite being part of the previous segment, the Harris Brothers were no in the ring when this segment started. Storm and Harris are still not being called America’s Most Wanted for some reason. Percy Pringle is there, but he’s sitting on the ramp and isn’t looking very good.

The match was okay. For awhile, it seemed like it was an AMW vs New Church match with the Harris Brothers looking on. The match quickly devolved into an all-out brawl. Belladonna is getting better at her role as valet, but she’s still learning. She jumps up on the apron and seems to be shaking her, admittedly lovely, ass, but since she’s facing the wrong way, it has little affect on Scott Armstrong. Mitchell is also on the apron and has more luck getting Armstrong’s attention.

It looked like the Harris Brothers were going to pull out a win, but then things got even crazier. First, Athena, who was destroyed by the Harrises at the instigation of Vince Russo, ran in and hit Ron with a low blow. Don grabbed her, but was stopped from actually harming her by the f***ing ROAD WARRIORS!!! Hawk and Animal storm the ring to a HUGE pop and take out the Harris Brothers. One Harris gets a trip on the Doomsday Device and the other one gets squashed by a Hawk splash.

Wildcat and Storm, wisely, don’t ask questions and quickly get the pinfall win, though since neither of them pinned a member of the New Church, it’s not clear that they’ll get a title shot out of this win.

Backstage, Goldylocks is trying to get a word with the Road Warriors, but their promo wasn’t one of their better efforts. Animal says what just happened is what Vince Russo can do with his ‘Sports Entertainment’ and warns that Russo’s next. Hawk actually pauses for a moment and warns Russo that the Warriors still snack on danger and dine on death and they’re coming for Russo, before storming out.

Confused and a little freaked out, Goldy begins to head for another part of the building when we hear Bob Armstrong talking. Sneaking into the X-Division locker room, we find Armstrong giving a…pep talk to the X-Division and trying to find some people to deal with the X-Division defectors. Armstrong’s clearly had his fill of SEX’s antics and is trying to stop it before it becomes the monster the NWO was in its heyday.

X-Division Championship Match – Sonny Siaki vs Jerry Lynn vs EZ Money: We get a recap of the Siaki vs Lynn saga and all three men come out and we get the intros in the ring, like a big match, but the inclusion of EZ Money kind of kills that vibe.

The match was okay, Lynn and Siaki worked well together, but Money was clearly in over his head and was probably just there to take the pin. It honestly looked like Lynn was going to regain his title when the lady from last week came out to the ring and got on the apron, enticing Lynn to come over. When he gave her his attention, she opened her jacket to reveal her goods and then slapped Lynn. Siaki took advantage and threw Lynn out of the ring.

EZ Money tried to go in for the kill on Siaki, but got killed instead with a Money Clip, retaining his X-Division Championship. Afterwards, Russo comes out of the crowd and is greeted with a hug by the girl and gets in the ring.

Russo addresses Siaki and says that it was always about him and that Russo’s had his eye on Siaki and called him the elite athlete of TNA, which shows how little Russo really gets about wrestling. The girl is introduced as Desire and she’s being offered as Siaki’s new valet. What are her qualifications? She’s got tits and a nice ass, which Russo thinks is all that’s needed, especially for SEX.

While Siaki mulls this over, the enraged Lynn attacks him from behind, but finds himself being attacked by Siaki, Russo, and Desire. Russo dismisses Lynn as a ‘Professional Wrestler’ before leaving with Russo and Desire in tow. So SEX has the X-Division champion instead of the NWA Heavyweight Champion, not much of a second option.

Street Fight – Ron Killings vs BG James: Killings came out first and started rapping, but James got the jump on him and the match is on. This match was a pretty basic Hardcore Match, though James and Killings were much slower to pull out the weapons than they would have in WWE. However, just as it seemed that Killings was going to get the upperhand, SEX attacked, which allowed James to pick up the win.

However, Bob Armstrong comes out and he’s had it with all this bullshit and grabs the mic. In the ring are the Maximos and Amazing Red, who have apparently volunteered to defend the honor of TNA against SEX. Armstrong then challenges Russo to send however many guys he wanted to face the SATs and Amazing Red and out come Lo-Ki, Christopher Daniels, and Elix Skipper.

SAT and Amazing Red vs Lo-Ki, Christopher Daniels, and Elix Skipper: The match started out as a brawl that SEX dominated for the most part, but Team TNA were able to get on top for a little while. This was a great match, even if the story was pretty shitty. Eventually, Team SEX was able to finally pull out the win. So, for now, SEX would be the dominate faction.

Russo and James come out and Russo insults Amazing Red, saying he’d taken craps bigger than Red. His goons prepare to put the Maximos and Red through a table, but Hennig ran out to stop them, but was quickly overwhelmed by SEX.

Then David Flair came out and attacked Hennig, though no one in the crowd seemed all that intrigued by Flair’s appearance. Jarrett came out and started cleaning house, but he was set upon by SEX and AJ Styles who came out to pick the bones before Jarrett was put through a table by Daniels and Skipper.

While this was going on, Russo was lounging around and generally trying to be cool and looking stupid. After Jarrett was put through the table, Russo destroyed the TNA log and claimed that the show was brought to them by SEX.

Overall Comments: So, how was this week’s TNA? It was okay. The SEX storyline was heavily featured, as usual, and the influx of the young guys helped keep SEX from looking too much like a crew of WWE leftovers, but other than Lo-Ki, Daniels and Skipper weren’t really established enough for anyone to care. Siaki’s defection would’ve been a bigger deal if he’d been over with the crowd.

The stuff about Jarrett and Russo’s relationship in WWE and WCW has been the only really interesting part of this whole storyline, the rest of SEX is basically a bad NWO redo.

Another interesting thing was AJ Styles. His position of not being part of SEX but taking advantage of the disruption they’re creating to advance his own agenda was interesting. He would’ve been a better pick than Siaki.

The Road Warriors things was interesting, but I’m not sure how well they’re going to fit into TNA. Hennig continues to disappoint, but at least he owned up to the drinking, but the Lesnar thing is becoming eye-rolling.

Overall, this was an okay show, it’s about what I expected from a holiday show. Hopefully things will improve in the new year.


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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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