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.
Chairshot Radio: Classic Shane Douglas Interview 
ECW icon “The Franchise” Shane Douglas joins Greg DeMarco and Patrick O’Dowd for this classic interview!
ECW icon “The Franchise” Shane Douglas joins Greg DeMarco and Patrick O’Dowd for this classic interview!
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Today’s hosts Greg DeMarco (@chairshotgreg) & Patrick O’Dowd (@wrestlngrealist) sat down with ECW legend Shane Douglas for an amazing 2012 interview that was slated for 10-15 minutes and went 45, all thanks to the engaging attitude of “The Franchise.”
- Shane talks about his relationship with Ric Flair and how it got there.
- A discussion around Shane Douglas throwing down the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, how it came to be, and how he really didn’t want to do it.
- Shane provides the background and details for his ECW reunion events (at the time).
- All this and more with legendary wrestling figure “The Franchise” Shane Douglas!
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WWE’s Top 50 Tag Teams – Was it Right?
Rob applies some of his genius in breaking down the hits, misses and which one WWE got exactly right on their Top 50 Tag Teams list. Check it out!
A few weeks ago the WWE began releasing their Top 50 tag teams in history, and now that the full list is out there I thought it would be a good time to reflect on it a bit. Lists are subjective of course, but as is usually the case there were some choices made here that were flat out head scratchers. Some too high and some too low. And there was one in particular that was just right. So to sum it all up in one question:
Who got robbed, who got hooked up, and who was just right?
Robbed: The Usos
How could the number seven spot be a disservice? Well, let’s see. Jimmy and Jey have been together longer than Edge & Christian (4), The Hart Foundation (3), and even the New Day (1). They were in the WWE longer than The Legion of Doom (6), and the Dudleys (5). And they have more titles than the LOD or the Harts. They also have more memorable matches than the Harts or LOD did in the WWE. And they assuredly faced stiffer competition than the LOD did during their time there. When you add all that up you can definitely make a case for them being as high as number 2, and I’d say they should be no lower than 4th behind New Day, the Dudleys, and the Hardys.
Hooked Up: The Legion of Doom
Hawk and Animal are to this day my favorite tag team ever. That being said, there is no way on God’s green earth that their time in the WWF can be considered anything close to their best years. By the time they arrived in the WWF in 1990 they were already past their peak as their best years were spent in the AWA, NWA, and Japan. The only thing they did more in the WWF was win world titles (two vs one apiece in the NWA and AWA). Putting them at number 6 is clearly a pander to old guys like me who saw them in their prime but trust me, I would have totally understood if they’d been like number 20 instead.
Speaking of guys who wore facepaint and all black…..
As much as Hawk and Animal were my favorites, Demolition was the opposite. Look, they were obvious knockoffs of the Road Warriors and as a big Road Warrior mark I was not here for them. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have the better WWF career. In four years together they had three title reigns, which was unheard of at that time, including the longest reign ever until New Day broke it in 2016. From WrestleMania IV through Summerslam 1990 Demolition held the tag team titles for 698 out of 883 days, 79 percent of the time. But once Hawk and Animal finally came to the WWF their usefulness ended and they’ve been cast into the dustbin of history. And while that was kind of the point of their whole existence it’s not fair to these guys who beat every team in the division over a three years period to treat them as if they were together for six months or something. Number 11 is just too low.
Hooked Up: The Rockers
Putting them at 14 is clearly a nod to Shawn Michaels and his post Rockers career, because it damn sure can’t be about what they did as a team. In three and a half years they officially won zero championships and were basically a .500 team who were there to put over the top teams of the moment while getting enough wins to stay relevant. Yes they were the most talented team of their time but they were never booked as more than guys to make someone else look good then lose. Is that worthy of recognition? Sure. Is it good for being in the top half of the top 50? Yeah. But number 14, ahead of teams who won multiple championships? Nope.
Speaking of which….
Robbed: The Smoking Gunns
Billy and Bart Gunn were together for three years and won the tag titles three times, and they’ve seemingly been banished to the Shadow Realm because Billy went on to bigger and better things as part of DX and Bart made the mistake of winning the Brawl for it All. They’re listed at number 47 behind multiple teams who had fewer reigns and/or weren’t together as long. Should they be ahead of the Rockers? I don’t know about that but the gap should definitely be a lot smaller than 33 slots for sure.
Hooked up: The Mega Powers
Another reward for two guys for their singles careers. Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage are of course two of the biggest icons in wrestling history, but they teamed up in a proper tag team match a whopping two times. That’s it. Need I say more? To be honest they shouldn’t even be on the list at all.
Robbed: The Bar
In a little over two years Sheamus and Cesaro were champions 4 times between Raw and Smackdown, worked three WrestleManias and beat a Murderers Row of opponents – New Day, the Usos, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, the Hardys – so putting them at 28 behind several teams that did less like the Steiners or teams that never really competed in the tag division like the aforementioned Mega Powers is a joke.
Just Right: The New Day
Number one was correct. Over ten times as champions across both Raw and Smackdown and they’ve faced everyone along the way from the Usos to the Bar to Harper and Rowan to the Hurt Business to Gallows and Anderson to the Lucha Dragons and more. They’ve been in some of the most spectacular matches ever with those guys and the other teams like the Street Profits, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, and the Shield. They’ve been together for almost seven years now and became a big enough act to launch one of their members to a World Title victory at WrestleMania 35. No tag team has accomplished more at any level as a unit in wrestling history, let alone the WWE. When you sit down and really think about it there is no debate whatsoever. This was the most important pick of the list and they nailed it.
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