As we approach WrestleMania season, Eric Ames looks back at one from the past!
It’s never too early to start thinking about WrestleMania season, especially as 2018 is in its waning days and the Royal Rumble approaches. So with that in mind and with the rest of the Chairshot Classics WrestleMania section filled up, here’s a look back at the only one we haven’t covered!
Kickoff Match #1 for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Austin Aries vs. WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville
Collar & elbow tie-up to begin, the champion with a side headlock, gets pushed off to the ropes, scores with a shoulder knockdown and mocks Aries. They lock-up again and Neville gains a wristlock, The Greatest Man That Ever Lived rolls out of it, hooks on a side headlock, gets backed to the ropes, The King of The Cruiserweights not breaking clean. He goes back to a side headlock of his own, Austin shoves him off to the ropes and gets knocked down again by a shoulder, the champion back into the ropes now, A-Double drops down, pops up with an arm drag and slaps on an armbar.
The King of the Cruiserweights counters to a headscissors, the challenger flips himself over, they bridge back up and Aries with a backslide for a quick 1 count. He looks for the Last Chance-Arie early, Neville squirms away to the outside, climbs back on the apron and catches Austin with a shoulder to the ribs. He flips back inside and hits the ropes, A-Double charges in behind him, gets elevated over the top, lands on his feet on the apron and delivers his own shoulder to the breadbasket. He copies the champion with a flip inside, smacks Neville on the ears, brings him down with a rope-assisted side headlock, The King of The Cruiserweights quickly reverses with a headscissors, but Aries goes into a handstand and scores with a basement dropkick.
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived charges Neville in the corner with an elbow, snapmares him out, comes off the 2nd rope with an elbow to the back of the head, hooking the leg for 2. The champion rolls out of the ring to regroup, Austin builds a head of steam for an outside dive, runs into an enzuigiri, Neville climbs to the top turnbuckle and connects with a dropkick for a 1 count as we go to break….We come back and The King of the Cruiserweights has Aries grounded with a rear chinlock, A-Double works back to a standing position, reverses a whip into the corner, walks into double boots and Neville comes off the 2nd rope with a phoenix splash. The challenger rolls out of harm’s way, scores with stinging chops to the chest, cracks him with a modified gutbuster, follows with an STO and delivers the Pendulum Elbow.
He muscles the champion up on his shoulders, Neville slides out of it, pushes Aries to the ropes for a roll-up, The Greatest Man That Ever Lived hangs on to block it, then back body drops him out to the floor. Austin heads upstairs and flies off with a forearm, slides in, hits the ropes and goes through the ropes with a suicide dive, then rolls Neville inside for a count of 2. He looks for the Last Chance-Arie, The King of the Cruiserweights powers up and backs Aries to the corner, the ref steps in-between them to force the break, but the champion connects with a bicycle kick. He props Austin on the top turnbuckle for superplex, A-Double fights it off, pushes him down, Neville backflips to his feet, but Aries comes off with a dropkick and gains a 2 count.
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived drags the champion up for a suplex, The King of the Cruiserweights slips out into a waistlock, gets cracked by a back elbow, side-steps Aries rushing in and plants him with a snap german suplex. He hauls Austin up for a dead-lift german suplex, Aries flips to his feet, looks for the Discus Five-Arm, gets drilled by a superkick, Neville hitting the dead-lift german suplex for a near fall. The King of the Cruiserweights is starting to get frustrated, puts the boots to A-Double, chokes him in the corner with his foot, then tries to lock-in the rings of saturn. Austin counters to a roll-up for 2, both guys are back up quick, they exchange fists and kicks, Aries clobbers Neville with the Discus Five-Arm, but the champion spills to the outside.
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived staggers to go get him, rolls The King of the Cruiserweights back to the apron, reaches from the ring to grab him and gets decked by an enzuigiri. Neville staggers to his feet, ascends the corner, A-Double cuts him off with a forearm, climbs up after him and delivers a super hurricanrana. The champion stumbles to the opposite corner, Austin charges in with a forearm shot, goes to the top rope and connects with a 450 Splash, but still can’t put it away. He immediately slaps on the Last Chance-Arie, The King of the Cruiserweights rips at the eye to break free, scales the corner again and hits the Red Arrow to retain.
Winner and STILL WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Neville (Red Arrow)
- EA’s Take: Great way to “kickoff” the night here, I thought these two had a shot at stealing the show and while I don’t think they did that, they definitely didn’t disappoint. I’m a little surprised that Neville retains here, the only sense of it I can make is if Aries will be getting a rematch, which is likely after the eye rake seemingly cost him the match. How ironic that Austin’s “trademark” move is the one that leads to his demise. Neville has run through every babyface on 205 Live already, so if Aries doesn’t eventually take the title then I can’t imagine who else would.
Kickoff Match #2 – Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Mojo Rawley, Apollo Crews, Big Show, Curt Hawkins, Sami Zayn, Braun Strowman, Goldust, R-Truth, Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Primo, Epico, Jinder Mahal, Heath Slater, Rhyno, Dolph Ziggler, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Jason Jordan, Chad Gable, Fandango, Tyler Breeze, Mark Henry, Tian Bing, Killian Dain, Titus O’Neil, Aiden English, Simon Gotch, Konnor, Viktor, Luke Harper, Kalisto, Sin Cara
The bell rings and Braun tosses Primo to the outside right off the bat, Kalisto unwisely goes after him and gets dumped, followed by Gotch & Slater. Big Show tosses Goldust and Jimmy Uso on the other side of the ring, Konnor tries to get a piece of him and his night ends quickly as well. Strowman and The Giant come face-to-face, the rest of the Superstars split-up after them, The Monster Among Men breaks free and dumps Show over the top, then tosses out Viktor. Everyone else in the ring comes to an agreement, pushes Braun over the top rope and now it’s anyone’s ball game.
Hawkins hits the floor on one side of the ring, Truth knocks Ziggler over the top, The Show Off hangs onto the apron, Truth charges in and Dolph low-bridges the top rope to eliminate him. He catches Rhyno from behind and deposits him to the outside, Aiden rushes American Alpha near the ropes, gets back body dropped over the top, Axel tries to ambush them from behind, Jordan dropkicking him off the apron. Killian clobbers them from behind, dumps out Jordan & Gable one-by-one, Bing sends Breeze to the floor, tosses Fandango over, he hangs onto the apron, but gets knocked down bya superkick. Sin Cara and Mark Henry are both quickly eliminated by Killian, The Show Off powers Bing to the apron, scores with a right hand, but Dolph delivers a Superkick to drop him.
Epico goes up top after Zayn, Sami rushes in and shoves him over the top, Mojo sends Dallas flying to the outside, Ziggler spins him around for a series of right hands, rushes him near the ropes, but Rawley sends him over the top. Cres gets tossed out by Dain, Titus with a big boot to Harper on the apron to knock him to the floor and we’re down to five. Sami with a head of steam to clothesline Titus over the top, Killian does the same to Zayn to finish his night, turns around and Mojo splashes him in the corner. Rawley levels Mahal with a clothesline, comes face-to-face with Killian, hits the ropes for a football tackle, turns around and Jinder pulls him outside through the ropes.
The Maharaja steps out after him, drives Rawley into the barricade, puts the boots to him and then gets in Rob Gronkowski’s face in the crowd. He swipes Gronk’s drink and throws it into his face, Gronkowski steps over the wall, nearly gets stopped by security, then steps into the ring. He lines up behind Jinder and plows him over with a shoulder tackle, Mojo slides back inside and Gronk goes back to his seat. Killian tries to ambush Rawley from behind, gets rocked by multiple haymakers, then dumped over the top. Mahal looks to attack from behind and gets tossed to the apron, hooks Mojo for a suplex to the outside, Rawley blocks it, hits the ropes and knocks him to the floor.
Winner: Mojo Rawley
- EA’s Take: This was pretty bland except for the finish. I’m a huge New England Patriots fan, so it was great to see Gronk get involved despite the uninformed security guard trying to keep him away from the ring. I figured Mojo would be one of the final men in the ring because of the push he’s been getting, but figured this was a lock for Braun to take it. It’s too bad Big Show didn’t get a better showing either since this may be his last WrestleMania.
Kickoff Match #3 for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: Baron Corbin vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose
The bell rings and Ambrose rushes right in, Corbin flattens him with a clothesline, drives the champion head-first into the top turnbuckle, rushes in and Dean side-steps out of harm’s way. The Lone Wolf slides out under the ropes, The Lunatic Fringe flies outside with a suicide dive, deposits the challenger into the barricade multiple times and rolls him into the squared circle. Baron staggers to the corner, Ambrose slides in and charges in with a forearm, looks to follow with a bulldog, but gets pushed away and slides spine-first into the ring post. The Lone Wolf buries dropkicks into the ribs, puts the boots to the champion, then unloads with heavy shots to the midsection.
He hauls Dean back up and The Lunatic Fringe tries to battle back, gets knocked into the corner with a right hand, catches Baron rushing in with a boot, charges out and gets caught by the neck, then planted into the mat with an STO. The challenger hooks the leg for a count of 2, throws Ambrose out to the floor, steps out in pursuit and tosses him into the retaining wall. He rolls Dean into the ring, steps inside for a vertical suplex, The Lunatic Fringe slips out of it, looks for Dirty Deeds, but it’s blocked and Corbin sends him to the corner, charging in with a clothesline. He grinds the champion down with a half-nelson, Dean battles his way back up, Baron buries a knee to the ribs, rushes him in the corner, but runs into a back elbow.
The Lone Wolf tries to charge back in, gets sent shoulder-first into the ring post, The Lunatic Fringe climbs to the high-rent district, comes off and gets caught with a knee to the abdomen. The challenger props him on the top turnbuckle for a superplex, the champion blocks it, fights Corbin off, then jumps over-the-top of him. Baron spins him around, nearly gets caught with Dirty Deeds, pushes Dean towards the ropes, Ambrose puts on the brakes, then deposits him to the outside. He slingshots over the top and gets clocked in mid-air with a right hand, The Lunatic Fringe pulls himself up near the steel stairs, side-steps Baron running in, The Lone Wolf drives himself into the steps, then Ambrose comes off the top with the diving elbow.
He rolls the challenger inside and scores with a flurry of strikes, ducks a clothesline, scores with a clothesline, then rushes Baron in the corner, running into a back elbow. The challenger charges out for a clothesline, The Lunatic Fringe counters into a swinging neckbreaker, corners Corbin and goes to the 2nd rope to rain down fists. The Lone Wolf pushes Ambrose off and cracks him with a knee to the breadbasket, sends him to the ropes for Deep Six, the champion slips away from it, rebounds off the ropes for the Lunatic Lariat, but gets cut-off by a big boot. Corbin shoots him back to the ropes and delivers Deep Six for a near fall, rips off his elbow pad and batters Dean with stiff forearms, Ambrose staggers to his feet and slaps the challenger across the face.
Baron is angered, rocks him with another heavy forearm, the champion rebounds off the ropes with the Lunatic Lariat, hooks the challenger for Dirty Deeds, but Corbin powers out with a spin-out back suplex and almost finishes it. The Lone Wolf screams at the official about the count, bad-mouths the champion and hammers him with forearms, calls for End Of Days, The Lunatic Fringe flips out of it, spikes him with Dirty Deeds and gets the 3 count.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Dean Ambrose (Dirty Deeds)
- EA’s Take: Decent match, one sloppy little spot, but overall it was what I expected aside from the finish. I am flabbergasted that Ambrose retained here, Corbin needed the win much more to continue establishing himself as a player on SmackDown Live and Dean has done absolutely nothing with the title. That was not the right decision in my opinion. Also, I hope everyone who complained about the SmackDown Women’s Title match being on the Kickoff show because you just pushed the IC Title into that spot.