Tiffany MC’s weekly TNA IMPACT Chairshot Classics series continues!
It’s the first TNA of 2003 and we’re picking up right where we left off in 2002! Russo’s SEX faction continues to wreak havoc. Jeff Jarrett gives three members of SEX an opportunity. Bob Armstrong calls in the big guns to combat SEX’s threat, and America’s Most Wanted gets one more shot at the New Church. How’d they do? Let’s find out!
We start with a recap of Russo’s debut on TNA and his and S.E.X’s efforts to take over with ‘Sports Entertainment’ and his battle with Jeff Jarrett. TNA also has a new logo.
We open with Tena and several wrestlers in the ring, Jerry Lynn and Ron Killings among them. There are also a lot of NWA legends in the ringside area. Tenay says he’s going to introduce us to our ‘future’, which turns out to be two of the security guys. He also sings the praises of the four current starts in the ring, referring to Lynn and AMW as MVPs.
The point of this segment becomes obvious when Tenay starts talking about WCW and listening to Russo say he could make anyone a wrestler, using Judy Bagwell and David Arquette as example.
For those who don’t know about this, Judy Bagwell was the mother of Buff Bagwell and was heavily featured in some storylines towards the end of WCW’s run. David Arquette is an actor who won the World Heavyweight championship, despite not being a trained wrestler and having more respect for the title than Russo did. Arquette’s winning of the title was widely criticized at the time and cited as one of the many reasons WCW ultimately went under, though at that the point that the moment happened, the WCW ship was already taking on water.
Tenay begs the fans to go to TNA’s website and voice their support for ‘true wrestling’ rather than Russo’s ‘Sports Entertainment’. The fans seem to be behind this move, but Russo and his crew come out of the crowd.
Russo is not in a good mood and threatens to beat up Tenay, claiming he’s there to save the business. Tenay wasn’t impressed, or intimidated, pointing out that business is DOWN, Russo claims that it’s because of people like Tenay running their mouths. He then reminds us that WCW’s ratings were huge with him in charge and that, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, no one was coming to TNA shows before he showed up. He then insults the Traditional Wrestling stalwarts. Sara Lee, one of the NWA legends, and the only one with any guts, slaps Russo and the fight’s on! S.E.X gets the upper hand until the Road Warriors and Jarrett come barreling out of the back and S.E.X wisely beat a retreat.
Backstage, Desire throws out two of TNA’s dancers so S.E.X can have their locker room.
Back at ringside, the evicted dancers are being taken to a different locker room and it’s time for our first match.
EZ Money and Kid Kash vs Tony Mamaluke and David Young: Kash is easily the most over of the four guys in the ring. As usual, with the X-Division outside of a few people, this match was a mess, lots of high spots, not a lot of wrestling and there were a lot of botches. Kid Kash did his best to save it, but it was a futile effort.
Young and Mamaluke would get the win, but only after Young botched a spot with EZ Money and then had to pick up the pieces. Not a great opener and the fans were booing pretty loudly by the end of it.
After the match, the X-Division members of S.E.X come out and beat the holy hell out of everyone in the ring. We also see the formation of what would be a legendary tag team. Skipper gets on the mic and says the best part of S.E.X is the XXX. That’s right, the legendary team of XXX, which would have a fabulous feud with America’s Most Wanted, was part of this pathetic NWO/DX ripoff. Skipper then claims that, despite the X-Division functioning reasonably well without them, there is no X-Division without himself, Lo-Ki, and Skipper and that the X-Division is either with them, or against them.
At this point, Jarrett plays security guard and storms the ring. Jarrett claims it’s his and the NWA’s house. Jarrett gives XXX an opportunity, he’ll take each of them on in separate singles matches TONIGHT. XXX can’t believe their ears and accept easily. Jarrett ups the ante by saying that when he’s done with them, he’s going to put Russo through a table.
Backstage, Goldylocks is with Team NWA where Armstrong and company are holding a meeting. Goldy wants to know what the plan is since Russo is back. Armstrong asks AMW to get ‘him’ on the phone. Turning back to Goldy, Armstrong says he’s not dumb enough to think he can win this war on his own, it’s going to take everything and everyone he can muster and he needs a Grand Slam, as in baseball, not wrestling. Lynn and Killings step up and promise to strike back for the NWA.
AMW are back with the phone and Armstrong tells whoever is on the other end that he needs him now. Not sure who it’s going to be, but the conversation seemed positive.
X-Division Championship Match: Jason Cross vs Sonny Siaki: Desire is billed as Miss SEX, which is okay, I guess. For some reason, there’s a big pole in one turnbuckle, no idea what that’s about.
This match is a typical Siaki affair, lots of great moves, no chemistry and the audience doesn’t care. Fortunately for Siaki, Desire/Miss SEX was there to keep things interesting. This isn’t a good match for Jason Cross because he looked hopelessly outmatched by Siaki and didn’t get to break out a lot of his big moves. In the end, Miss SEX would be the deciding factor in the match, taking advantage of a downed ref to crotch Cross, giving Siaki time to get the pinfall.
However, Bob Armstrong isn’t going to stand for this and comes out, telling Miss SEX to get her ass into the back and trying to restart the match. Russo comes out and refuses to let the match be restarted, calling Cross a punk who was in no shape to wrestle anyway. After more increasingly nasty arguing, Russo says James will do a match instead and Lynn and Killings run out to answer.
BG James and Don Harris vs Jerry Lynn and Ron Killings: This match started with a fight. Harris and James were really outmatched in terms of skill by Lynna and Killings.
This match was just a mess. I’m not sure there’s anything redeeming that can be said about it. Killings botched a 450 and overshot the landing, but James gets a few points for selling it anyway. Killings and Lynn get a DQ win when a man, ID’d as Mike Sanders, whoever that is. We’re shown a pre-show interview with Percy Pringle, who is NOT in good shape. Pringle had last been seen on WWF TV in the late 90s before Undertaker had to take time off for an injury.
The interview was not much if you wanted to know his motives for being in TNA. Pringle had no opinions and no ideas about much of anything, but says his time in WCCW and WWE was good. Basically, he’s there but no one knows what to do with him. He did talk about the old NWA, but nothing ground-breaking
NWA Tag Team Championship Match – New Church (with James Mitchell and Bella Donna) vs America’s Most Wanted: Before the match gets underway, it’s announced that there will be no rematch, whatever the outcome. If New Church loses, they won’t have a chance to regain the titles, if AMW loses, no matter what, they’re SOL. The match started with a fight, as is usual between these teams and stuff is flying!
Things went about how they usually did for these teams, but the stipulation that this was last call for their feud seemed to have lit a real fire. It looked like AMW would get the win after a miscue lead to Slash throwing powder in Lee’s eyes while Belladonna had the ref distracted.
The end came after AMW hit the Death Sentence on Slash onto a chair. NEW Tag Team champions. Everyone goes nuts and while Belladonna rolls Slash and Lee out of the ring, AMW and the fans celebrate.
Backstage, Goldylocks is trying to do her job and talk to Bob Armstrong about what’s been going on, but Bob doesn’t have time for her right now, much to her irritation, though Armstrong was polite about blowing her off.
Axe-Handle on a Pole Match – Curt Hennig vs David Flair: Hennig comes out in street gear. This match explains the huge pole that’s been stuck to the ring all night. Hennig gets on the mic and cuts a really bitter and pathetic promo in the style of the ‘Priceless’ commercials by MasterCard which were all the rage back then. He talks about how much money to pay his dues and becoming the greatest wrestler, and take down Brock Lesnar. Hennig reminds us that he ran Ric Flair out of the WWF.
David Flair tried to get the jump on Hennig, but Hennig saw it coming. This was an AWFUL match. David Flair was a terrible wrestler and Hennig, without Jarrett to cover for him, looked terrible. Hennig would win this one, but everyone lost.
After the match, Goldylocks is waiting to talk to Flair, but gets blown off…again. Goldylocks is pissed and frustrated, and you can hardly blame her. Miss SEX, or whatever her name is, confronts Goldy for coming around ‘her boys’ and warns her to back off. Goldy stands up for herself and gets attacked. To make this more…odd, Athena comes to Goldy’s rescue and attacks Miss SEX before Siaki gets them apart.
Don West is trying to do his usual promo when Sanders from earlier comes out and berates Tenay, but says Tenay will have an opportunity to interview Russo next week (Oh goody). Tenay, clearly angry, agrees and we’re all left to wonder if we’ll see a fight between Tenay and Russo. My money is on Tenay in a fair fight. Don West can’t believe his eyes or his ears and it’s time for the main events.
Christopher Daniels vs Jeff Jarrett: Daniels comes out of the crowd to little reaction. Jarrett gets a good reaction and we’re off!
The match was short, but incredibly good, which is a plus given how the rest of the night has gone. Jarrett does a good job of making Daniels seem like a worthy competitor but, for once, he’s not having to damn near kill himself to do it. Jarrett won this with a Stroke after hitting a knee on Daniels.
Elix Skipper vs Jeff Jarrett: Skipper wastes no time jumping into the ring and dominating the first part of the match.
This match wasn’t quite as good as Daniels/Jarrett, but it wasn’t awful. Skipper’s put on a few pounds of muscle and looks like a viable threat. His moves are a little out of control, but it doesn’t hurt to watch him wrestle. It looked like Jarrett was going to be beaten when Christopher Daniel tried to help Skipper, but Jarrett ducked and got the pinfall.
Lo-Ki vs Jeff Jarrett: Now no one is holding back and it takes two refs to restore order with Scott Armstrong forcing Skipper and Daniels back.
Lo-Ki dominated much of this match and was as brutal to watch as ever. Jarrett made him look great and didn’t need to nearly kill himself to do it. Jarrett had the match won, but Daniels and Skipper interfered and the match was thrown out. XXX started attacking Jarrett.
EVENTUALLY, the Road Warriors come out and attack XXX, but AJ Styles runs in and attacks the Road Warriors. Then the rest of SEX comes out and the fight’s on. Russo’s like a kid at Christmas at the thought of having AJ Styles in SEX but Styles blows him off, the only side he’s on is his own.
SEX is about to put Jarrett through a table when Dusty Rhodes comes out and it Bionic Elbow City for everyone and that’s where the show ends.
Overall Comments: So how was TNA this week? It was ‘eh’ at best. They furthered the ‘Sports Entertainment vs Traditional Wrestling’ storyline, but that was it. Only a couple of the matches were any good and there was more time spent on promos than anything else.
The SEX storyline continues to be a mashup of the NWO and DX but there aren’t any big stars to lead it. Everyone it is either a has-been, a never-was, or a young guy just starting out. There isn’t a Hogan, or Nash, or Rock to be the focus of the group.
Russo continues to be trash and watching Sara Lee slap him was refreshing. I’m not sure what the inclusion of Dusty Rhodes is supposed to do, but he was still SO over with the crowd that it doesn’t really matter right now.
One sad note is Curt Hennig. This would be his final appearance on TV. He would pass away in February of 2003. RIP Mr. Perfect.
This week was a lukewarm okay show. I’m hoping next week will be better.
Chairshot Classics: WCW Slamboree 1995 – A Legends’ Reunion
Our weekly Chairshot Classics WCW PPV series continues with Slamboree ’95!
Following a brutally cheesy inaugural Uncensored event in March, what would WCW do to follow-up? Let’s not waste any time and get to the action!
Match #1 for the WCW World Tag Team Championships: The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs & Jerry Sags) vs. WCW World Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) w/Sister Sherri
Jerry Sags makes his way down to the ring by himself at the open. Brian Knobs was previously injured and they’re not sure what his status is. The “Nasty” chants break out for Sags who is by himself. Booker T will start it off for Harlem Heat. He lectures the chanting crowd and rounds the ring. They exchange slaps and strikes, Sags takes the advantage and hits an inside out clothesline. Booker eats turnbuckle, Irish whip and Sags comes in with another big lariat. Stevie rushes the ring, but Sags takes it to both champions with a double DDT.
Sherri is on the apron and she eats a right from the Nasty Boy. Sags sets up a pumphandle slam on Booker and lands it. He makes a cover and Booker kicks out at two. Sags pursues in the corner, but Booker lands a right. The champs double team Sags and Stevie is tagged in. He tries an elbow, but Sags moves. Double leg takedown by Sags and he hits a low blow head butt. Sags sets up again and he drops a leg across the mid section. He makes a cover and Booker T comes in for the save. Scoop slam by Sags and he heads up the turnbuckles. Double ax from the top rope and Booker is forced to make the save once again. Sags tries a cover but Sherri pulls his leg.
Jerry pursues the valet who baits him into a beat down from Stevie Ray. The ref pulls him off and Sags rolls to the floor, where he’s double teamed by Booker and Sherri. Stevie heads out, drives him into the steel and rolls him back into the ring. Double team in the ring by the champs and Booker grabs a reverse chin lock. Back to vertical, Sags tries to go to the eyes but Booker stays in control. He misses an elbow, but with a spin-a-roonie comes back to his feet and hits a heel kick. Tag is made to Stevie, Sags is sent for the ride and he eats a drop kick. Side slam by Stevie and Sags is set up for a senton by Booker. He’s slow to make a cover and Sags gets his shoulder up.
A quick tag is made back to Stevie who lands a leg drop and a big forearm. Another fast tag back to Booker who lifts Sags and sends him to the ropes. Sags reverses a back drop into a piledriver, and finally from the back, here comes a taped up Brian Knobs. Sags makes the hot tag and Knobs cleans house. Scoop slams and back elbows for both. He hits a bulldog on Booker and back drops Stevie over the top. Sherri climbs to the top rope and leaps but Knobs catches her out of the air and drops her hard on the canvass before dumping her to the floor. Knobs tags in Sags, hits a powerslam, Jerry hits a top rope elbow and we have new champs!
Winners and NEW WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Nasty Boys (Sags/Top Rope Elbow Drop)
- After The Bell: The Blue Bloods are standing at the top of the ramp in suits, looking disgusted with the new champions. They seem to want a piece of them, but they shake their heads and head to the back. The Nasty Boys join Eric Bischoff after, and if The Blue Bloods want an opportunity, they’re going to get one.
- EA’s Take: Very good opening match between two teams who are no strangers. The story of Knobs escaping from the back after being kayfabe injured was a nice touch and it popped the crowd when he came rushing down. I continue to respect Sherri’s bumping as a valet. The introduction of The Blue Bloods (Regal and Eaton) will help a pretty thin tag team division.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is joined by Kevin Sullivan. He’ll be facing the man formerly known as The Butcher. He told him not to show up, and he hasn’t slept in the last 5 days. The problem is that ‘The Man With No Name’ still believes in Hulkamania, and he heads for the ring after some deranged musings.
Match #2: Kevin Sullivan vs. The Man With No Name
A brawl breaks out immediately, and a big knee lift sends Sullivan to the floor. TMWNN follows him immediately and continues his assault. Back in the ring, a countoff series of rights is delivered to Sullivan and he gets his eyes rakes. Uppercut by TMWNN and Sullivan eats turnbuckle. A whip to the ropes and TMWNN locks in a sleeper, Sullivan drops to the mat to reverse it and dumps him to the floor. TMWNN hits the steel and they exchange chops. Sullivan is rolled back into the ring, TMWNN takes position in the corner with a splash. Sullivan has a knee driven his neck and gets an eye rake, but he fights back with chops.
It only wakes up TMWNN and he fires back with rights. A big chop between the eyes knocks Sullivan down and he gets a two count. TMWNN sets up for and hits a piledriver. TMWNN is slow to cover and Sullivan barely escapes. He pursues but Sullivan goes to the eyes. TMWNN is smashed into the turnbuckle and dumped outside for a shot on the ring post. Sullivan rakes his back and rolls him back in. TMWNN blocks a chop and fires back. To the ropes they go, TMWNN hits a big lariat. He tries a running splash, but Sullivan moves out of the way. Sullivan sets him up for the tree of woe and he hits a running knee. Double stomp by Sullivan and we have a winner.
Winner: Kevin Sullivan (Devil Stomp)
- After The Bell: A strange voice starts yelling and an image of a creepy man appears on the big screen. He summons Sullivan, but Kevin bails out through the crowd.
- EA’s Take: How many monikers has the man best known as Brutus Beefcake had? Clearly the post-match is planting the seeds for the proper Dungeon of Doom and things are about to get even MORE weird. Hard to imagine after Uncensored, eh?
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is joined by WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage & Jimmy Hart. They were late showing up tonight because Macho Man was dog paddling from the beach, his dad Angelo was doing the backstroke, and he wishes that he ran into Vader and Flair in the parking lot. With all the power on their side, there is no way they’re making it out alive. Savage says the monster maniacs will not be denied, nothing is raining on their parade. Whatcha gonna do? Ooohhh Yea!
Match #3: Dick Murdoch vs. Wahoo McDaniel
Gordon Solie has joined commentary for this legends match. Both men measure and lock up, McDaniel takes position in the corner and it’s a messy break. Another collar and elbow, McDaniel with an arm drag. A third tie up and McDaniel scores another arm drag. Murdoch blocks a strike and drops an elbow on the head. Murdoch charges into the midsection on McDaniel and grabs a wristlock. McDaniel fires back with a slap across the face and Murdoch falls on the canvass. Collar and elbow tie up, Murdoch hits some knee lifts and a big elbow. McDaniels fights back and chops Murdoch between the eyes. McDaniels gets the top wristlock, he takes position in the corner and the ref calls for a break.
Murdoch doesn’t oblige, he hits some short range rights but McDaniels strikes back and Murdoch falls to the mat. Murdoch’s head hits the turnbuckle multiple times and he eats another chop. Murdoch almost buckles but he hits some knees and stomps. Murdoch bails to the floor and lays an elbow across McDaniel’s throat on the apron. Irish whip by Murdoch, he climbs to the top rope and he hits a modified bulldog. McDaniels is sent for the ride, he eats a back elbow and an elbow drop for a two count. Big elbows across McDaniel’s forehead. Wahoo reverses a whip to the ropes, hits a backhand chop across Murdoch’s throat and that’s good for 3.
Winner: Wahoo McDaniel (Backhand Chop)
- EA’s Take: I get the whole legends thing, but broadcasting the match in black and white was a little cheesy, in my opinion. I love Solie’s voice, though. Due to both men’s age and old style, this match was obviously slow. I fear the modern crowd with their boring chants and ability to get more fired up by beachballs wouldn’t give legends like this the respect they should get if WWE did something like this now.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is joined at this time by Big Bubba Rogers. He recognizes that Sting is one of the best wrestlers in the world today, but he is one of the few who has a pinfall victory over him. What people don’t know is that when the referee counted 1-2-3, he knows the faith in him disappeared. He plans to do it again because he’s big enough, bad enough, and because he can.
Match #4 for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship: ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff vs. IWGP Heavyweight Champion The Great Muta
The “Paula” chants inevitably come out and Mr. Wonderful takes it out by yelling at Nick Patrick. The official blows right back up to him and let’s him know who is in charge. Muta backs him up swinging with some kicks, Orndorff wants space. Collar and elbow tie up, they reverse wristlocks and Muta takes advantage. Drop toe hold by Orndorff but he can’t grab a headlock, Muta reversing with a hammerlock by Orndorff is on the ropes. Muta motions that he’s going to kill him and Orndorff tells him where to stick it. Collar and elbow, chain wrestling with Orndorff into a hammerlock. Muta flips out with a single leg and a stomp and both men back up and feel each other out.
Collar and elbow, side headlock by Muta, they hit the ropes and Muta hits a shoulder tackle. He ducks a clothesline and hits a spin kick, Orndorff rolls out. Muta teases a leap from the top rope but Mr. Wonderful sees him and walks away. Collar and elbow hookup, Muta with the side headlock and a takeover. Orndorff counters with a roll up, Muta kicks out and gets back in control. Orndorff escapes and wrestles his way into a hammerlock. He drives the knees into Muta’s shoulder and really cranks the arm. Back to vertical, it’s knee lifts and rights from Orndorff. Muta is on the receiving end of a short clothesline but Muta moves away from an elbow drop, scores with a dropkick, a snapmare, and a theatrical elbow drop.
Another snapmare and Muta goes into a reverse chin lock. Orndorff works back to vertical, tries a reversal but it’s quickly countered by Muta with a head scissor. Orndorff rolls to his knees, Muta tries cranking back and he strikes Wonderful in the eyes. Desperation belly to back suplex by Orndorff and he’s slow to get up. Stomps to the back of the head by Orndorff and he dumps Muta to the floor. He follows and chokes the IWGP champ with a camera chord. He returns to the ring and poses as the crowd boos. He pulls Muta back to the apron and hits a vertical suplex. He comes in with an elbow drop and cranks on Muta’s chin.
He keeps the knee at the top of the back for leverage. The crowd gets behind Muta as he works his way to his feet. He hits some body shots, breaks the hold and knocks Orndorff down with rights. To the ropes, Muta tries a dropkick but Orndorff puts on the brakes. Wonderful drops an elbow across the back and tries a front facelock. They’re on their feet, Orndorff hanging on. Muta counters by lifting with an inverted atompic drop. Short clothesline by Muta, he heads for the 2nd rope and drops an elbow but Orndorff moves. Wonderful hits some forearms and drives Muta’s head into the mat.
Vicious kicks by Orndorff and he hits a snapmare before driving a fist between the eyes, Muta kicks out at two. Orndorff wants a piledriver but it’s reversed with a backdrop. They exchange rights before Muta hits a spin kick. Big back elbow in the corner by Muta and he follows with a bulldog. Muta with a lateral press and Orndorff kicks out. Shoulder block by Muta and he follows with a side breaker. Muta scores with a moonsault from the top rope and he retains the title.
Winner and STILL IWGP Heavyweight Champion: The Great Muta (Moonsault)
- EA’s Take: Great to see Muta again. He’s a guy who deserves to go in the Hall of Fame, but I’m not sure if or when that will happen due to his lack of WWE ties. Just a solid, smart match by two pros here. You had to know the New Japan champion was retaining, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. You also will get a new appreciation for Orndorff through all of these Chairshot Classics as well, as unfortunately he’s almost remembered more for his injury and weak arm than anything else.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene gets a word with WCW World Television Champion Arn Anderson, ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & Vader. What The Enforcer is going to do tonight is going to show Alex Wright why people his age call him Mr. Anderson. Flair is already planning to celebrate his and Vader’s victory, Hogan and Savage have run roughshod long enough. When Hogan looks at Vader, he’s looking at the most powerful wrestler in the world today. He can run, but he can’t hide because it’s Vader time.
Match #5 for the WCW World Television Championship: ‘Das Wunderkind’ Alex Wright vs. WCW World Television Champion ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson
Collar and elbow tie up, they jockey for position and Wright hits an arm drag. They lock up, Wright grabs the headlock, Anderson throws him to the ropes but he puts on the brakes and drops down to re-grab the headlock on the mat. Back to vertical, they hit the ropes again, Wright confuses Anderson by flipping around, hits a drop kick and goes back to the headlock. Anderson tries countering with a roll up but Das Wunderkind stays in control. Back to their feet, Anderson powers into position on the ropes and drives his shoulder again.
Wright reverses a whip, Anderson catches the boot but Wright hits an enzigure. Back to the mat with the headlock and he cranks away. Left hand body shots by The Enforcer, he grabs the leg but Wright hits a backflip and a dropkick. European uppercut and a side headlock takeover by the kid and he hangs on. Back to vertical, Anderson lifts the knee and lays in a punch. He sends Wright for the ride, Wunderkind grabs a boot, Anderson tries an enzigure but misses and Wright moves into complex crossface submission. Anderson pulls himself to the ropes to break the hold and he bails out for some regroup. He takes too long and Wright hits him with a baseball slide before flying over the top rope with a crossbody.
He fires in some rights, Enforcer fights back but Wright makes him eat the ring post. Back in the ring, Wright tries hyperextending the arm and he works down to the mat for some submission work. With leverage, Wright drives his knees into Anderson’s arm. Up to their feet, Anderson is trapped in a hammerlock but breaks it with an elbow to the side of the head. Some kicks and a headbutt by Arn before dragging Wright’s eyes across the top rope. Wunderkind fights back with European uppercuts. Anderson misses with an atomic drop, but the vintage spinebuster is on point. Double ax handle by Anderson and he stomps away before slingshotting Wright into the bottom rope.
Blatant choke by The Enforcer and the ref has to call for a break. He uses the ropes for leverage to drop the boot across Wright’s throat. Anderson cranks with a wrist lock and works over the shoulder. Single leg sweep by Anderson, he appears to try a Figure Four but Wright boots him away. From the 2nd rope, Wright counters with a right to the midsection. Snap suplex by Wright and he heads for the top. He leaps with missile dropkick and Double A is forced to kick out. They hit the ropes, Anderson grabs a front facelock and they exchange inside cradles. On their feet, Anderson pokes the eyes, Irish whip but Anderson runs into elbows. Wright ducks a punch, but Anderson takes advantage of the positioning and scores a DDT out of nowhere to retain his belt.
Winner and STILL WCW World Television Champion: ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson (DDT)
- EA’s Take: I was looking forward to this one as soon as I did the template. It’s also the first time I remember hearing the Arn music, later adapted in general 4 Horsemen matches. I love how many clean finishes there are in this show so far. As Scott Hall has explained, that’s ‘Curt Hennig Booking — if you’re going to make someone, make them and take their finish”.
Chairshot Classics: WWF Royal Rumble ’90 – Every Man For Himself
Our road to the 2019 Royal Rumble continues with a look back at one from the past!
It’s the third annual Royal Rumble, for the first time ever the January WWF tradition would play a major part in the buildup to WrestleMania. The concept of giving the Royal Rumble winner a title shot at WrestleMania hadn’t been introduced yet. However, this would mark the first time the Rumble match would be used to advance and begin feuds heading into the big event, thus you could call this show the inaugural Road To WrestleMania! It’s every man for himself in the Royal Rumble, so let’s head back to the Orlando Arena in 1990….
Open: Vince McMahon voices over a video running down tonight’s Royal Rumble participants, in addition to the great singles matches we have tonight.
Match #1: The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Jacques & Raymond) w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch)
Butch & Raymond will kick off the action, Raymond offers a handshake, then goes to the midsection with a boot and delivers right hands. Jimmy Hart jumps on the apron to distract the ref, Jacques hops in the ring for a double team, but Luke comes in to thwart the attempt. Butch shoots Raymond into the ropes, Raymond grabs a sleeper, Butch driving him into the turnbuckle to break it and biting him on the backside. Butch bites the ref now, Jacques comes in after him and Luke follows suit, delivering a double clothesline to Raymond. The Bushwhackers go for the Battering Ram on Jacques, he rolls outside to avoid it and The Rougeaus have a pow-wow with Jimmy on the outside.
Order is restored, Jacques takes the ring as Luke tags in, Jacques with right hands and some words for the crowd. Luke fires back with lefts and rights, biting Jacques on the bridge of the nose. Jacques reverses a whip into the ropes, leapfrogs over, Luke hangs on, Jacques taunting him and Luke charges, missing Jacques with a clothesline, but hitting Raymond on the apron. Butch comes in from behind Jacques, drops him with a clothesline and The Rougeaus convene with Jimmy on the floor again. Jacques taunts Butch on the apron, drawing the referee’s attention, Raymond clobbers Luke from behind and Jacques takes the advantage.
He drives Luke into the corner, goads Butch into the ring again, allowing Raymond to choke Luke with the tag rope. Jacques covers for a count of 2, tags in Raymond and he connects with a savat kick for another 2 count. Raymond unloads right hands to the breadbasket, sends Luke into the corner with a hard irish whip, then dumps him on the outside and distracts the ref. Jacques hops off the apron, sends Luke spine-first into the ring apron, prompting Butch to march after Jimmy on the outside. Luke rolls back inside, Raymond gets a 2 count, Luke with more biting of the leg and Jacques steps in to stop it. Raymond with a shot to Butch on the apron, preventing the tag, more double teaming from The Rougeaus and Raymond gets another count of 2.
Jacques back in, hits a jumping back elbow out of the ropes, then kips up to a chorus of boos. Quick tags from The Rougeaus, driving Luke back-first into the turnbuckles multiple times, again Butch steps in and distracts the ref, allowing The Rougeaus to press Luke and drop him throat-first across the top rope. Raymond snapmares Luke over, grabs a rear chinlock, Luke fights to his feet, biting the nose to break the hold. Jacques gets the tag and drops Butch off the apron again, puts Luke in the wrong part of town and locks in an abdominal stretch. Raymond offers a hand for leverage from the apron, tags in and fires a right hand to the breadbasket before going back to a chinlock.
Tag back to Jacques, Raymond slams Luke and Jacques looks to follow with a splash, but Luke gets the knees up. Butch gets the tag, unloads with lefts and rights, shoots Jacques into the ropes and buries a right hand to the midsection. Raymond steps in and immediately gets dropped, Butch with a knee lift for Jacques, covers, then bails out to go back after Raymond. Butch with a flurry of lefts and rights, all 4 men in the ring now, they pair off in opposite corners and The Bushwhackers whip The Rougeaus into one another. They set for the Battering Ram, Jimmy Hart grabs Luke’s leg, Butch lays Raymond out with a clothesline and Luke gets ahold of Jimmy.
They go for a wishbone split on the Mouth Of The South, The Rougeaus slide in with double dropkicks, Jacques with a schoolboy on Butch and he gets a 2 count. Raymond puts Butch in a Boston crab, Jacques hits the ropes and Luke trips him from the outside. Raymond breaks the hold, checks on Jacques and The Bushwhackers hit them from behind with the Battering Ram, Butch covering Jacques and getting the count of 3.
Winners: The Bushwhackers (Butch/Battering Ram)
- EA’s Take: Lots of sloppy shenanigans as is generally the case with The Bushwhackers, but a fairly entertaining match only because of the characters involved. The crowd was hot for The Bushwhackers, which I remember them being over when I was a kid, but not THAT over. This would mark the finale of their almost year-long feud with The Rougeaus, after defeating them now 4 consecutive times on PPV/TV. Raymond’s time was winding down quickly and would ultimately come to an end a little later in the year.
Backstage: Joining Gene Okerlund is ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase with his bodyguard, Virgil. DiBiase doesn’t look very happy, as there was added security this year when it came to drawing entry numbers in the Royal Rumble. Last year, DiBiase paid somebody off for a better number and that wasn’t going to be allowed this year. MDM shows Okerlund his number, which is #1. DiBiase just says that means he’ll be the first man in the ring and the last to leave.
Match #2: The Genius vs. Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake
Brutus stalks The Genius, backing him into the corner and Genius hops to the outside to get away. Back inside they lock-up, Beefcake backs Genius into the corner and we get a clean break. The Barber mocks The Genius, Genius with a front handspring and they taunt each other. They tie-up again, Brutus backs Genius into the corner and gets his eyes raked. The Genius takes control with heavy right hands, goes back to the eyes and chokes The Barber in the corner. Beefcake powers out and hits The Genius with an inverted atomic drop, Genius taking a time-out on the floor.
He regroups and flips back into the ring, they tie-up once again and Genius goes back to the eyes, delivering right hands and driving Beefcake into the top turnbuckle. He shoots Brutus into the corner, charges in for a dropkick and The Barber avoids it. They lock knuckles in a test of strength, Beefcake with the clear power edge brings The Genius to his knees and drops an elbow on his head. Genius tries to bail out over the top, Brutus stops him and he gets crotched on the top rope, jumping to the outside again to take a walk. He climbs back inside, they lock-up and Genius backs Beefcake into the corner, driving shoulders to the midsection and delivering a flurry of boots. He sends Brutus into the ropes, ducks his head and The Barber with a kick.
Genius fires out of the corner with a kick, shoots Beefcake back into the ropes and scores with a dropkick for a count of 2. Genius with more right hands and a rake of the eyes, gets a schoolboy for a 2 count, then slams Brutus and climbs to the 2nd rope. Beefcake buries a right hand to the breadbasket, catching The Genius coming down, sends him into the ropes for another right hand to the midsection. The Barber slams Genius, whip into the ropes and he locks in the Sleeper Hold. The Genius reverses, grabs a side headlock, Beefcake pushes him off and the referee gets knocked to the floor.
More stiff right hands from Genius, Brutus reverses an irish whip and gets him in the Sleeper Hold again, The Genius fades out. Brutus motions for his scissors, grabbing them at the timekeeper’s table and then cutting Genius’s hair. Mr. Perfect hits the ring and unloads on Beefcake, plants him with a PerfectPlex and the bell rings.
Winner: Double Disqualification
- After The Bell: Perfect grabs a chair, The Genius holds Brutus up and Perfect drives the edge of the chair to the breadbasket, then delivers another shot before a bevy of refs get involved.
- EA’s Take: I had completely forgotten just how flamboyant The Genius was, that character was very light in the feet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The Genius is the younger brother of Randy Savage, but was more known for his promos that were poems than his in-ring work. He wrestled sparingly and would gain his most notoriety after being paired with Mr. Perfect as his ‘executive consultant’ and occasional tag partner. Beefcake and Perfect’s rivalry would lead them into WrestleMania.
Backstage: Sean Mooney is standing by with Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, Haku, ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude & Andre The Giant as they get ready for the Royal Rumble. Heenan tells Mooney it’s not every man for himself, but every family for themselves. Mooney wonders what happens if Rude & Haku are the last two left, Rude saying he’ll do what he has to do to win. The Brain tries to argue with them that they need to stick together, but they can’t seem to get on the same page.
Match #3 is a Submission Match: Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. ‘Rugged’ Ronnie Garvin
Valentine leaves the ring at the bell, complaining to the ref about Garvin’s shin guard, then having words with Jimmy Hart. Rugged Ronnie jumps him from behind, firing away with right hands and rolling The Hammer back inside. Valentine tries to beg off, but Garvin’s not having any of it, dropping The Hammer with chops. He drives Valentine’s head into the top turnbuckle, The Hammer turns the tables and serves a plate of chops of his own. They exchange shots, Garvin connects with a big right hand and Valentine slides to the outside to grab a breather.
Back in the ring now, Rugged Ronnie with more punches, tries to pick the leg and The Hammer prevents it, drops elbows until Garvin rolls away from one. Valentine drops a headbutt to the breadbasket, scores with left hand jabs, Rugged Ronnie fights his way out of the corner, hits a headbutt and both men drop to the canvas. Garvin recovers first, sets for a piledriver, Valentine flips him out of it, Rugged Ronnie hanging on for a sunset flip, but this is a submission match. Collar & elbow tie-up, The Hammer backs Garvin into the corner, unleashes a flurry of chops, Rugged Ronnie pushes Valentine into the ropes and collide heads. Valentine looks for the Figure Four, Garvin kicks him off into the turnbuckle and gets a schoolboy, but again there are no pinfalls.
The Hammer comes right back with a back elbow that drops Rugged Ronnie, locks in the Figure Four and it has no affect due to Garvin’s shinguard. Valentine immediately goes back to the chops, elevates Garvin in a modified torture rack, releases and attempts the Figure Four again, getting kicked off and going into a choke. Garvin gains his footing, connects with lefts and rights in the corner, takes Valentine down with a drop toehold and goes into an indian deathlock. The Hammer gets to the bottom rope to force the break, rolls out to the floor and regroups with Jimmy Hart. Valentine drags Rugged Ronnie to the outside, they exchange chops, Garvin sets for a piledriver and again The Hammer flips Garvin over.
Back inside, Valentine drives his shoulder into the midsection in the corner, Garvin reverses a whip across, follows in and gets caught up in the tree of woe. The Hammer delivers punishment as the ref untangles Rugged Ronnie, grabs a headlock, gets pushed into the ropes and they collide heads again. Jimmy Hart removes Garvin’s shinguard, Valentine with a backbreaker and goes back to the Figure Four. Rugged Ronnie battles through the pain, rolls over to counter and Valentine flips back over, grabbing the ropes for leverage. The ref forces him to break, The Hammer going right to work on the damaged knee. Valentine goes for the Figure Four again, Rugged Ronnie counters into a small package to avoid it, but immediately gets dropped by a Valentine right hand.
The Hammer heads to the top, Garvin sees it coming, hopping on one leg and slamming Valentine to the mat. Rugged Ronnie removes The Hammer’s shinguard now, Valentine with a schoolboy, but they didn’t get the memo that this is a submission match. The Hammer shoots Garvin into the ropes, Rugged Ronnie ducks a clothesline, lays in a right hand and ties Valentine up in the ropes. He gets The Hammer’s shinguard, Jimmy Hart to the apron to break Valentine loose, Rugged Ronnie grabs him and brings him into the ring the hard way. Garvin stalks Jimmy with the shinguard, The Hammer comes up from behind with Garvin’s shinguard, Rugged Ronnie turns around and decks Valentine with it, locking in a sharpshooter and Valentine submits.
Winner: ‘Rugged’ Ronnie Garvin (Sharpshooter)
- EA’s Take: The big blow-off to this long-running rivalry fell flat, in my opinion. This seemed like more of a boxing match with countless amounts of punches being thrown. The idea of guys going for numerous pin attempts in a submission match is a bit absurd in and of itself also. This would mark the end for Garvin’s WWF run and essentially his career, after setting up a feud with Rick Martel to follow, nothing ever came of it and Rugged Ronnie would only work indies on a semi-retired basis. The Hammer’s days of being a singles star were numbered as well, forming an alliance with another of Jimmy Hart’s clients The Honky Tonk Man.