Chairshot Classics continues to it’s foray across the pond thanks to Harry’s dedication. Let’s see what Harry thought about Chapter 2!
PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 2
‘The March of PROGRESS’
From: ‘The Garage’ in Islington, London, England
Date: June 24th, 2012
Run Time: 2:16:19
WITH SPECIAL THANKS: Ian Hamilton for some of the research that I did while working on this review. (http://www.backbodydrop.com)
Well, would you look at that? They are actually letting me continue doing these. Chapter 1 was a fun way to get back into reviewing, but man, I realized real quick just how rusty I was. I used to do two or three full length reviews a week for ‘Smash’ and it took me dang near three weeks to get ‘In The Beginning’ finished. Hopefully, you all enjoyed it. But even if you think I suck, thanks for reading all the same.
That brings me to why I’m here today. PROGRESS itself is coming off a critically acclaimed debut. They then proceeded to take off three months as the March debut was not followed up on until this show, all the way in the month of June. But we do return to the scene of the first chapter. Once again, we go into the way back machine with our date set at June 24th, 2012 as “What I Watched” presents ‘The March of PROGRESS’ or PROGRESS Chapter 2
*General Notes: the setup looks a lot cleaner this time. The hard cam is still set up by the sound table, but there is only one computer monitor visible with it being used for music. The angle towards the ring is a lot cleaner. The lighting on the ring is a lot better as well…
*Immediately, you can see them moving forward with storylines as the hype video package to open the show is to build to the main event, as ‘Show-Stealer’ Nathan Cruz defends the title in two-out-of-three falls against ‘Party’ Marty Scurll with promos from both to set it up. Sort of assumed this is where they were going for the second chapter, but the two out of three falls was not something I saw coming.
*Smallman does do his opening promo here, so all feels right into the PROGRESS world…not only does Smallman do his full opening interaction, but they actually use it to bring in a new talent in Stixx (or so I find out by the splash graphic before the first match). Stixx quickly establishes himself as a heel by running down Smallman, the crowd at the ‘Garage’ and the city of London in general. I’ll also take this opportunity to point out that Stixx is what would have happened if the Pitbulls from ECW would have still been in wrestling in 2012. Gary Wolfe, Anthony Durante and Stixx apparently (let’s all do Jaime Noble and Kid Kash a favor and let the WWE Pitbulls thing go)…the segment with Smallman and Stixx doesn’t really go anywhere, but does take us to our opening contest.
*Match #1: Lion Kid vs. Stixx
The Who: Well, let’s see. Lion Kid is a guy in what looks like a Halloween costume. Stixx, as I mentioned earlier, is a guy who looks he’d fit in better with the Pitbulls then in the current British independent wrestling scene. Upon looking for information (again, highly recommend Ian Hamilton’s work at BackBodyDrop): Lion Kid is apparently Wade Fitzgerald, who I believe I have previously seen in wXw in a team with Marc Redman. Stixx, well, looks like he’s just going to continue his cosplay.
The Why: I can’t say I have a viable reason for this one. I guess I’ll go with Stixx being an ass hat to Smallman and Lion Kid is sticking up for him. Sounds as good as anything at this point.
The Match: There was an attempt at a ‘Let’s Go Simba’ chant at the start of the match. Not so great attempt at humor. Now I gave the fans grief during my review of Chapter 1, but if whomever quoted Pride Rock scene from ‘Lion King’ afterwards right after the intros is reading this: good on you, mate. That was wonderful…Lion Kid gets a inset interview, Stixx doesn’t. But he did get the opening interruption…it’s once again *cough cough* Jimmy Barnett *cough cough* on commentary and he sounds a lot clearer this time…they cut the entrances, but what are the odds that Lion Kid comes out to ‘Lion Sleeps Tonight’?…noticeable size disparity here which will probably tell the story of the match…impressive springboard hurricanrana by Lion Kid early…and our first participant out of the ring happens at 1:48 into the first match…powerbomb into a ring post on the floor. Seems a bit excessive for the opening match, no?…fans quickly on Stixx’s case…will say for two guys making their debuts here to me, they have very good chemistry. Lucha spots from the big guy as well…and now the ‘Let’s Go Simba’ chant catches on. Sigh…cross body in the corner by Stixx. That’s a big dude to be doing that move…unique take on a grounded chin lock by Stixx. Still ultimately a rest hold, but at least it looks better…‘you wrestle, we shout things’. And that’s the PROGRESS fans in a nutshell…corkscrew enzugiri and then they badly blow a catch spot on a plancha attempt. I’m not sure who I’d put that one on…Lion Kid does mess a double springboard attempt but gets it on the second attempt…huge Black Hole Slam by Stixx…little later, a Splash Mountain attempt by Stixx is countered into a top-rope head scissors. Lion Kid goes for the Lionsault-DDT that AJ Styles likes to use but gets countered. Lion Kid reverses out and into a rolling prawn hold and that’s a three count at 10:24…they had a few rough spots, but managed to recover nicely from them. I wouldn’t call this a blow away start to the show, but it’s worth the ten minute run time and the crowd was pretty much into it. That’s ultimately what matters for an opener. After all, as Jimmy Barnett said: “You don‘t have to be a kid to enjoy saying rawr”. (AVERAGE)
*Match #2: BWC Scarlo Scholarship Title- Mark Andrews © vs. ‘Wild Boar’ Mike Hitchman
The Who: Mark Andrews is a pretty well known name, I feel. He’s not only had this run in PROGRESS, but he was in TNA as ‘Mandrews’ where I believe he won ‘British Boot Camp (have to look into that) and he now works for the WWE as part of their UK Division. Mike Hitchman is brand new to me and looks like Larry D from IWA-MS got shrunk in a dryer.
The Why: For the BWC Scarlo Scholarship. This same belt was defended on the first show back in February of 2012 and Barnett said the BWC belt would appear on all PROGRESS shows going forward. Two for two at this point. It was a triple threat on the first show that I thought was pretty good which involved then champion Xander Cooper, Zack Gibson and Darrell Allen.
The Match: I have always enjoyed what I’ve seen from Andrews, so my expectations of this are a little higher then they were of the triple threat from Chapter 1…both guys get inset promos. Neither one of them is anything to write home about, however…the snap amateur takedown by Hitchman early impressed me. That’s a move we see all the time in wrestling, but I’ve never seen someone do it as aggressively as Hitchman did. It made it look awesome, sound awesome and put over the aggression of Hitchman for his desire to win the title. Sometimes it’s the little stuff…nice bridge out of an attempted float over by Andrews. Like I said, it’s the little things…Barnett compares Hitchman to Tazz. ‘Not the fat annoying commentator in TNA either’. Big fish in a small pond still, Jim…don’t usually see a lot of mat wrestling on the Indies. It’s a nice change of pace from the opener which had the first dive attempt less then two minutes in…and the mat based crucifix gets two. Drago calls it ‘Tail of the Dragon’…and the first dive to the outside is a moonsault off the apron for the first ‘This Is PROGRESS’ chant…don’t know why everyone teases the German suplex off the apron. It’s not like any one every hits it…Hitchman with a DDT on the apron for the first fecal chant of the show…Hitchman is built like Bull Dempsey if that helps anyone…someone’s got a dirty face (TM Dave Prazak)…for the first time seeing him, Hitchman has impressed me. He’s very smooth in the ring and seems to have a good grasp of the what to do and when…counter sequence leads to a half nelson suplex and Andrews lands clean on his dome. Not wise, young Mark…you can’t powerbomb Andrews!!…standing sky twister gets two for Andrews. PAC (Neville) hits it cleaner, but still nice…Hitchman has Andrews in the tree of Joey Lawrence (WHOA) and hits a spear. I guess he kinda does look like a smaller Rhyno…back body drop into the turnbuckle by Andrews! Why? Like, why?…and Hitchman returns the favor with an exploder into the buckles…and now the fans are calling Hitchman Rhyno. So it wasn’t just me…and Mike Hitchman just Kevin Steen’d a bitch! Package Piledriver! And it only gets two! Strongly disagree with that…Hitchman looking for a top rope PPD. Andrews pushes him off and the Shooting Star misses!…another attempt at the Package PD is escaped by Andrews and into a small package for the three count at 14:05…and the BWC Scarlo lives up to expectations once again. Other then the Package Piledriver kick out (a move I strongly disagree with anyone kicking out of), these two put together a very good match that started heavily focused on the ground and then quickly picked up the pace at the mid point into a nice closing sequence. Andrews retains, but Hitchman definitely impresses and I’d like to see both of them back in PROGRESS sooner then later. (VERY GOOD)
*Post match, Mark Andrews is celebrating with the fans when a man in a suit and a t-shirt attacks him! That man is the former champion Xander Cooper. Well, that explains where he was and how Andrews got the belt. Cooper tries to belt shot Andrews, but Andrews ducks, gets in a dropkick to send Cooper to the floor and then chases him to the back.
*Match #3: Noam Dar (0-1) vs. Darrell Allen (0-0-1)
The Who: And for those wondering, this answers the question of the first guys to have matches on back to back PROGRESS chapters. Noam Dar was defeated by El Ligero in a PROGRESS Wrestling Staff’ qualifying match. ‘Dazzling’ Darrell Allen was part of the BWC Scarlo three way, where he ended up with a no decision as champion Xander Cooper pinned Zack Gibson.
The Why: To build some momentum going forward for one of them would be my guess. Dar got a pretty strong heel reaction on the first show. Allen’s high flying antics made him a crowd favorite, so it seems like a viable contest to me.
The Match: Both men get inset promos. Noam Dar doesn’t have a lot to say in his. Darrell Allen finds his inner Booker T. Yes, that Booker T promo. The less said the better, so let’s move on…apparently Allen dislocated his shoulder in the triple threat at Chapter 1 and finished the match. Having dislocated a shoulder before, that’s pretty impressive…little bit of miscommunication between the two early, but nothing that will greatly hurt the match…Dar is apparently a student of the Tracy Smothers school of wrestling as he tries to call a timeout…Dar with a dropkick while Allen tries to climb the ropes, catching Allen right in the injured shoulder. Spot on precision…Dar threatens to throw his gum at a fan before chomping back down on it. Good. Bodily fluids should never be a way to get heat from the crowd…airplane spin into a NLS as Barnett laments the lack of airplane spins in wrestling. I can agree with that. Very underutilized move…and now Dar shares his gum with Allen before chowing down again. That’s freaking gross…strike exchange see Dar get the better, but a superkick by Allen turns the tide…and another corkscrew enzugiri causes the double down for an eventual two…for all the people who complain about the overuse of superkick’s, I’d argue the enzugiri is just as overused…northern superkick into a rolling prawn for two by Allen…leg capture head kick by Dar. That’s new…crucifix knee bar is applied. Allen tries to fight out, but Dar pushes him back to the mat and starts kicking him in the face with Dar’s free leg. That gets a tap out from Allen at 11:04…Good, but not great. Don’t think the crowd was as invested in this match as they were in the first two and it kinda hurt the competitors. I know Dar is capable of much more. Allen was honestly just another guy here. The story telling of Dar being a dirty little prick works, but Allen doesn’t have the kind of following needed to get the emotional investment that a story like that needs. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
*Match #4: Danny Garnell vs. Jimmy Havoc
The Who: Up until watching this show right now, I would not have been able to pick Danny Garnell out of a lineup. I know nothing about him. Jimmy Havoc however, I’m very well aware of. As a follower of death match wrestling, the name Jimmy Havoc carries a lot of weight these days. He’d eventually go on to be a marquee player for this very company as well. How does he get there? Let’s find out…
The Why: So, this is where Ian Hamilton of BackBodyDrop helped. PROGRESS apparently sent out a tweet to its fans, asking them who they would want to see. Jimmy Havoc’s name came up a ton, so he’s being given the shot here. Ian also points out that Danny Garnell is Jimmy Havoc’s original trainer as well.
The Match: Smallman telling Havoc to ‘fucking behave himself’ before the match is a nice touch and a bit of a nod and a wink as to how the behind the scenes workings are at PROGRESS as well…during pre-match inspections, the referee finds a spoon on Jimmy. At least it wasn’t a fork, Abdullah the Butcher style…the spoon then gets a series of crowd chants…Danny’s inset promo is where he admits he was Havoc’s trainer. Not sure if that’s something to be proud of or not…it’s the basic promo from Danny else wise. ‘I taught you all you know but not all I know’…Barnett is lamenting Havoc’s involvement in the show. Yeah, not suspicious at all…Havoc surprising people by holding his own on the mat. Similar to his American namesake, Danny…Havoc gets an inset promo as well. I’d like to see them do some post match interviews in the future…and a spoon happens. An actual spooning…fans chant for the ref to get some spooning too but he’s having none of it…dropkick takes Garnell to the floor and Havoc follows out with a plancha at about the four minute mark…and Garnell lariats the shit out of him as they come back into the ring. Jesus…body slam and a variation of the surfboard applied. Five minutes in and they go a rest hold. But Havoc able to surprise people with a spinning head scissors to escape…Garnell goes for another clothesline but Havoc is able to duck and take Garnell down into a Crossface. Garnell gets to the ropes as a ‘We Miss Benoit’ chant starts. Remember what I said about PROGRESS fans going too far sometimes? Yeah, this is one of those…Havoc with a running step up knee in the corner. He goes for a second but Garnell ducks and Havoc goes out to the floor. Garnell pulls him back in with a hanging DDT for two…half-nelson suplex and a snapmare driver both drop Havoc on his head, but again only two…Garnell goes for the dirty face, but Havoc moves and catches Garnell with a chest blower for two…and back into the Crossface for another Benoit chant…Havoc gets frustrated and grabs a steel chair. Referee talks him out of using it, but Garnell gets a rollup for two…Havoc turns a tilt-a-whirl attempt into another Crossface (Jimmy Rave’s ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’) but Garnell is able to flip Havoc onto his shoulders and cradles the leg to get a three count for the win at about 10:36 (there were stopwatch issues)…for a guy who is supposed to just be a ‘death match’ or ‘garbage’ wrestler, Havoc more then held his own here. I think Jimmy is a part of that hybrid group of death match guys that can work pretty much any style. Danny Havoc, Drake Younger, JC Bailey (RIP), Nate Webb and Rickey Shane Paige are among the names that spring to mind here. The story of Havoc fighting himself to stay within the rules of PROGRESS was well done too and I do like that it didn’t directly lead to the finish. Instead of Havoc’s temper getting the better of him, his trainer just managed to get one up instead. Good stuff here. (GOOD)
*Post match, Smallman gives Havoc his spoon back (that was nice of him) and compliments Jimmy on his performance, saying that he’ll give Jimmy another chance on Chapter 3. I feel like that may come back to bite him…and the segment ends with a Havoc/Garnell/Smallman triple spoon. ‘This is PROGRESS’ indeed.
*Match #5: Velocity Vipers vs. London Riots
The Who: The London Riots consist of James Davis and Rob Lynch. I’ve seen them once before on the review that Patrick and I did for Chapter 36 for Wrestling Unwrapped, but I’m still going to have a hell of a time telling them apart. The Velocity Vipers are Will Ospreay (yes, he of New Japan and PWG fame) and Alex Esmail. The comparison that I saw made for them was the team of Brian Kendrick and Paul London, and physically, that certainly pans out. In the ring, we shall see…
The Why: Well, this is the first tag match in the history of PROGRESS, occurring in match number twelve. My guess is this is the beginning of establishing something of a tag team division, but I could be wrong.
The Match: Vipers make their entrance and immediately get nailed from behind by Lynch and Davis…the pre-match attack continues on the floor as the Riots are just beating the hell out of both Vipers…Vipers turn the tables and get both Riots out of the ring. Esmail catches Davis (I think) with a somersault plancha. Ospreay tries to dive out of the ring, but gets the ever loving bejesus forearmed out of him by Lynch (I think)…and Barnett confirms that it was Lynch that caught Ospreay with the European uppercut, so that confirms that I did tell them apart correctly, even if I got the move he stopped Ospreay with wrong…Lynch is in bikers, while Davis has the singlet for those following along at home…and we finally get an opening bell with Lynch beating the tar out of Ospreay…it’s kinda cool to think where they’d end up seeing that Andrews, Havoc and Ospreay all debuted for PROGRESS with only a Noam Dar match in between…Fit Finlay roll by Davis. One of my favorite moves…followed by a partner capture piggyback senton. Impressive display…he’s gotten significantly more technically fluent, but man, early Ospreay was a sight to see with all the flying around the ring he did…that’s fucking disgusting. Davis spits on Ospreay’s mouth guard and puts it back in Ospreay’s mouth…and Davis just kicked the absolute crap out of Ospreay. This match is feeling like legalized assault…Esmail is trying to reach out to Ospreay for the tag. I’m sitting here thinking “why would he want any part of this?”…and that was a super flippy-doo. Corkscrew head scissors takedown…crowd chanting for Esmail by chanting ‘Bieber’. They aren’t wrong…and Lynch welcomes Esmail to the violence party with a brutal spear to a chant of ‘you killed Bieber’, as Barnett laments the lack of Justin’s demise…Esmail tries to chop Lynch. It ends poorly for him…release German by Lynch and looked like Esmail landed on his shoulder…at what point does referee stoppage due to empathy become an option?…Davis with a huge exploder for two, allegedly. It does not look like Esmail kicked out, but grabs the knee right afterward, so I’m guessing that’s not good…and the match basically stops until Esmail can tag Ospreay…handspring Pele kick. That’s a new one…and Lynch gets caught with Code Red for two…C4 style snapmare by Ospreay…and Ospreay misses the double moonsault. Yes, you read that right. I said the words ‘double moonsault’…one Lariat by Lynch later and Davis covers for the three count at 10:19…from what actually happened before Esmail got hurt, it was actually a fun little battle of aerial vs. strong style. When Ospreay and Esmail could get into the air, they had a chance. On the ground, they were taking an absolute ass kicking. Unfortunately, Esmail’s injury robbed us of the sequence leading to the hot tag and thus took the fans out of the match. My guess is they went home early after the injury. Fun effort, with an unfortunate injury to Esmail. (ABOVE AVERAGE+, BUT WAS ON WAY TO BETTER)
*Upon checking Ian’s review of the show, it wasn’t the knee that Esmail was holding. It was his leg. He broke it on the landing of the exploder. As I said, unfortunate for him. I don’t know that he ever returned to PROGRESS. I’d say it worked out okay for Ospreay though.
*Post match promo from Rob Lynch where he basically says what he said in his inset promo. Kinda defeats the purpose of those, no?
*Match #6: #1 Contender’s Match- El Ligero (1-1) vs. Greg Burridge vs. RJ Singh
The Who: El Ligero was on the first show. He beat Noam Dar in the opener to advance to the four way, where he was the first person eliminated in the four way. Greg Burridge (which I originally read as Gurridge) is brand new to me. Have never seen or heard of him before. RJ Singh was supposed to be on the first show facing Colt Cabana in one of the qualifier’s, but didn’t make the show and was replaced with ‘Loco’ Mike Mason, who we don’t see on this second Chapter. Probably because he was basically less talented Davey Richards. And I’m not a huge Davey fan in the first place.
The Why: The graphic for the match said it’s for the number one contendership. What any of these guys have done to become number one contender is anyone’s guess. This could give an interesting sign of things to come in the main event though.
The Match: RJ Singh has a pair of managers. He didn’t have managers on the graphic. Hopefully Jim Smallman tells me who they is during the intros…I couldn’t make out what he said during introductions for them……I’ll keep looking and listening (there is a Jimmy Barnett still) and let you all know…Burridge gets the only promo and mentions what Smallman just mentioned that he’s the hometown boy. Ligero was also a crowd favorite on the first show, so it appears RJ Singh is the heel in this contest…nope, RJ Singh gets an inset promo too. It just happens a bit later. ‘This is PROGRESS and Singh is King’ is a strong line, give him that…Burridge and Ligero trade sissy kicks, until Burridge with a finger poke for a ‘holy shit’ chant…Singh comes back in and gets knocked right back on wallet…okay, I do like that they are mixing in spots with all three guys involved…and Burridge has fluffy dice hanging from his crotch. Because of course he does…Ligero’s reputation proceeds him, Singh is a nice little high flyer despite and Burridge is the charisma of this contest…Singh does like to focus on knee strikes…Barnett points out this is one fall to a finish, not elimination rules like the title match was…rolling hilo by Burridge. The Eddie Guerrero special from the big guy. If I had to give a build comparison for Burridge, I’d say Wade Barrett sounds about right…and the director for Singh gets an in ring face humping after attempted interference. No wonder these shows don’t allow kids…Ligero with a huge dive to take out Singh’s other second…Ligero with the Rings of Saturn that gets broken up with a back chop by Burridge. Back chops are for jerks!…RJ Singh applies a Camel Clutch, decreeing it’s name to the ‘Ethnic Submission’. That’s a whole lot of wrestling history wrapped up into two words right there…Ligero catches with the same DDT he beat Dar with, Burridge stops any attempt at a cover with a submission hold…they O’Connor Roll into the ropes, knocking Singh to the floor and Ligero ends up with the cover, grabbing the tights for the three count at 11:03 and the fans are pissed at Ligero for such dastardly tactics…match itself wasn’t bad, but nothing to write home about either. The finish is the big talking point as Ligero wasn’t seen as a guy who would have previously stooped to the level of using the tights in order to get a victory. I actually like him doing so here, because it keeps an air of mystery about the main event still. If Nathan Cruz wins, Ligero can go back to loveable baby face who did what was necessary to get the title shot. If Marty Scurll wins, Ligero can be the little bastard who will cheat against even his friends if it means being champion. Good story, average match. (AVERAGE)
*Post match, Burridge has a promo where he uses pretty much every curse word in the book and probably makes up a couple to describe the fact that Ligero cheated him out of the number one contendership. Definitely not a family show.
*Match #7: PROGRESS Wrestling Staff: ‘Showstealer’ Nathan Cruz © (2-0) vs. ‘Party’ Marty Scurll (1-0-1)
The Who: Nathan Cruz is the first PROGRESS champion, crowned at ’In The Beginning’ (available in my archive if you’ve not read). He won both a singles match over Colossus Kennedy and then the four way elimination main event. ‘Party’ Marty Scurll is the ‘Villain’ of modern day ROH and New Japan, but here he’s still more commonly known as one half of the ‘Leaders of the New School’. Scurll pinned Zach Sabre Jr at the first show in what I still feel is the best match in PROGRESS history to this point to advance to that four way.
The Why: The why here is simple and I touched on it earlier in the review. At ‘In The Beginning’, there was a previously mentioned four way. It came down to two people: Marty Scurll and Nathan Cruz. Scurll had a clear three count during the match, but the referee got knocked stupid. As Scurll was trying to resuscitate the referee, he was given a low blow by Cruz and then eventually Cruz’s sliding single foot dropkick spelled curtains for Scurll. On the PROGRESS YouTube channel (2012 and all, a company has to have a digital presence), Cruz challenged Scurll to the rematch, even letting Scurll pick the stipulation. Scurll choose ‘two out of three falls’ and here we are…
The Match: IT IS NOT A NAZI STAFF!!! Okay, maybe it is…interesting that the win-loss records on the chyron for Marty Scurll has him at 0 wins and 1 loss. Two things for that- first, they are completely ignoring him pinning Zach Sabre Jr. for that 0 wins total. Second, technically he didn’t lose the main event of Chapter 1. He just didn’t win. I personally consider that a draw, and therefore you see the 1-0-1 record that I have given to Scurll…Nathan Cruz’s chyron has him listed at 1-0, so I don’t know what the hell is going on…and the crowd once again gets on Cruz with a ‘shit Zack Ryder woo woo woo’ chant. Made me laugh the first time, makes me laugh the second…and Scurll spits his gum at Cruz. This has been a very unhygienic show…Barnett points out Scurll’s tan advantage. That checks…Scurll is quickly going after the arm and hand of Cruz. Makes sense to weaken a limb for what will probably be a long match…and Scurll busts out the Jim Briggs special. That move doesn’t get enough love…overhead chop from Scurll after a shushing. Wonder if he got that from Big Show or vice versa…Cruz fires back just as strongly with chops of his own…any chop you can throw, I can throw harder. I’ve never understood chops. Good for crowd reaction, but painful as all hell. In a business that supposed to look like it hurts without actually doing so…we once again go out to the floor for a brawl, because that’s exactly what this event needed. More crowd brawling like the main event of Chapter 1…slingshot back suplex by Cruz. Not sure if I’ve seen that one before…Cruz eats foot on a charge not once but twice, but a leaping knee strike gets two for Nathan…Barnett credits a delayed vertical as ‘shades of the late great Davey Boy Smith’…and it totals a fifty second delayed vertical, but I think it took as much out of him as it did Nathan…that suplex gets our second ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant of the match…Cruz went for the sliding kick again and nobody home. Eventually it leads to a tornado DDT for a close two count…looked like Scurll was going for a rack bomb there. Don’t think I’ve ever seen him use one of those…Scurll looks to be heading to the top fall here…Cruz catches him with an enzugiri while he’s on top. They battle up and Scurll manages to get a CIMA style Meteora with Cruz trapped on the buckles. Scurll lifts up Cruz into position for the Rack Bomb, but turns it into a double knee backcracker out of it. He calls it the ‘Hangover’ and that’s fall number one to ‘Party’ Marty @ 12:11
*Fall Two: For those wondering, I’m going to leave the clock running between falls, despite the both men on their feet rule…Cruz tries the Flair corner cradle right as the second fall starts but only gets two…it breaks into a slugfest before a Scurll cross body takes both to the floor…and Scurll uses beer as a weapon on the floor. I’m guessing that’s called the ‘Party Foul’…and a loud ‘we can’t see shit’ chant starts while they brawl on the floor. This is exactly why I advice against it. In larger crowds, it takes a portion of the crowd out of the match…Cruz traps Scurll somewhere and sprints back into the ring looking for a countout…but Scurll rolls back in at 8…and Scurll gets Irish (English?) whipped into a couple rows of chairs, where Cruz looks for the countout again…and the fans helped Scurll back into the ring at 8 again. I’m sensing a pattern here…once again out to the floor. This is getting repetitive, gentlemen…okay, that was almost worth it. Fireman’s carry slam on the sound desk by Cruz!…this time Scurll gets to the ring with a fan assist at the count of nine…Scurll eventually turns the table back in the ring with a series of windmill chops…Scurll busts out a move I’ve only see Cesaro (Claudio Castagnoli) use. A suplex from the apron back into the ring…a series of attempts at the figure four by Scurll are countered. Both men back up. Scurll tries for a tilt-a-whirl head scissors, but gets caught and dropped square on his dome with a Tombstone! That’s the second fall (and it should be. Tombstone is another of those moves that should not be kicked out of) @ 22:00
*Fall Three: The both men on their feet rule here helps Scurll. He’s out of it after that Tombstone…Scurll collapses at the bell, but the cover only gets two. Almost two minutes passed, so I can let that one go…Cruz looks to be setting up the sliding kick, but Scurll pops up with a rolling elbow and Barnett shouts out Mitsuhara Misawa. I went Masato Tanaka myself, but I’m an ECW mark…both men back up and punch drunk. Twenty five minutes in, it makes sense…series of pin attempts by Scurll, which I like. Puts over his desperation for the title…Scurll tries to run Cruz into a buckle but it’s the buckle where the ref is. Scurll puts on the brakes and Cruz’s trick knee acts up. Man, we’re hitting all the classic heel cliches in this one; aren’t we?…Barnett runs over the card for Chapter Three and he says we’re getting Andrews vs. Cooper for the BWC Scarlo…after trying to fight it most of the night, Cruz finally gets caught in the figure four by Scurll…Cruz keeps trying to get to the ropes, but losing his shoulers in the process…finally, Cruz to the ropes. It would have been a viable finish. Let’s see how Cruz sells it the rest of the way though…and Cruz pulls Chris Roberts into the way of a Scurll leaping knee…Cruz out to the floor and grabbing a chair. This is why not using the chair early means more…El Ligero comes out and pulls the chair away from Cruz. Cruz spits at Ligero, so Ligero delivers a superkick…to Marty Scurll as Nathan Cruz ducks. Ligero shrugs his shoulders about the whole thing and exits, as Cruz makes the cover…referee Roberts comes too and that’s a third fall, giving Nathan Cruz a 2-1 win @ 30:31…so, I get the idea here. And it makes sense given that El Ligero was facing the winner of this match on Chapter 3 that he would be an interested party. What I don’t care for is the fact that he stopped Cruz from using the chair. What does Ligero care if Cruz would have split Scurll’s wig with the chair? Either way, he ends up facing Nathan Cruz at Chapter 3 for the title anyway…that said, the match was very good, but I can’t give it excellent. Nor can I put it at the level of the Scurll-Sabre Jr match due to the booking involved. Just because I kind of understand the booking, doesn’t mean I have to like it. (VERY GOOD)
*Post match: Cruz celebrates with the staff and then exits…Scurll gets the microphone from Smallman before he can wrap things up and Scurll proceeds to lament the fact that this is twice in the first two shows in PROGRESS that he’s been screwed out of the title. He then makes a point to say that it doesn’t matter who is champion, he will be the man to be the PROGRESS Heavyweight champion in the future. With that, Scurll exits and we fade with a splash screen telling me that Chapter 3 will be subtitled “Fifty Shades of Pain”. So many jokes, so little time…after that, the credits roll and the website advertisements pop up, bringing us to a conclusion for Chapter 2.
Match #1: Lion Kid pins Stixx with a rolling prawn hold @ 10:24 (AVERAGE)
Match #2: BWC Scarlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © pins ‘Wild Boar’ Mike Hitchman with a small package @ 14:05 (VERY GOOD)
Match #3: Noam Dar taps Darrell Allen via ‘Champagne Super-Knee-Bar’ with head kicks @ 11:04 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #4: Danny Garnell pins Jimmy Havoc with a roll-up out of the Crossface @ 10:36 (ish) (GOOD)
Match #5: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) def. Velocity Vipers (Alex Esmail/Will Ospreay) when Davis pins Ospreay after a Lynch Lariat @ 10:19 (ABOVE AVERAGE+, BUT WAS ON WAY TO BETTER)
Match #6: #1 Contender’s Three-Way: El Ligero pins Greg Burridge with a tights assisted O’Connor Roll @ 11:03 in a match that also involved RJ Singh (AVERAGE)
Match #7: PROGRESS Wrestling Staff: Nathan Cruz © defeats ‘Party’ Marty Scurll by a score of 2 falls to 1 @ 30:31 to retain (VERY GOOD)
-Scurll, pinfall, Hangover, 12:11
-Cruz, pinfall, Tombstone, 22:00
-Cruz, pinfall, superkick by El Ligero @ 30:31
FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
I’m going to try to keep these a bit shorter then they were for Chapter 1. Mostly because this is already rocking almost ten pages here and I don’t want to go much more. They improved
the lightning in the building on the hard cam, but the roaming cam lighting is still hit and miss. With the amount of crowd brawling that went on in the main event, that becomes a seriously noticeable flaw.
Second, the lack of decisive finishes kind of bothered me. I get that it’s early in the company’s run. But one of the trademarks (in my opinion) of ‘strong style wrestling’ are clean and decisive finishes. Off the seven matches on this show, two had dead in the center of the ring clean finishes that weren’t rollups. I don’t like that at all.
There was no one on this show that felt like they didn’t belong to me. Despite me not knowing who Mike Hitchman was, he really impressed me in his match with Mark Andrews. Despite not knowing who Danny Garnell was, the story that he and Jimmy Havoc told more then justified his involvement. The opener was kinda lackluster overall, but it was good for the spot with the Lion Kid gimmick being something that’s easy for a crowd to get behind.
I gave them credit on the first show for crowning a champion. I’ll give them credit here for knowing that they needed to set things up for future shows to keep the hype train rolling. Yes, PROGRESS got off to a strong start, but the company didn’t yet have the name they do now where they could continue drawing huge cards solely on the PROGRESS name. In addition to being able to do several things for shows down the road, they immediately set up at least two matches for the next show. Nathan Cruz vs. El Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff and Mark Andrews vs. Xander Cooper for the BWC Scarlo Scholarship title. Good forward thinking.
A better show then Chapter 1, but not the blow away show that we would eventually come to expect. We top out at ‘very good’ on the scale and a good portion of that is because of the booking. We’ll chalk this up to the learning curve though. So where does this leave us? Well, it leaves me about to come back to check out “Fifty Shades of Pain”. It leaves you guys hopefully wanting to see me do so. And I’m still hungry. I clearly need to eat more…
THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: I’m going with the BWC Scarlo match between Mark Andrews and Mike Hitchman here. Despite the main event earning the same rating, I was more pleasantly surprised by this one then I was by the main event.
Worst match/moment: Lion Kid and Stixx as far as in ring content went. I get that it was there to get the crowd hyped and I appreciate that but it was still really sloppy, mostly on Lion Kid’s part.
MVP: I’m going to issue co-MVPs here to Mark Andrews and Jimmy Havoc. Andrews for delivering the in-ring performance that he did and Havoc for telling the story that he did during his match. Credit to both Hitchman and Garnell, but clearly Andrews and Havoc were the stars of those respective matches.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10
Until next time: “This Is PROGRESS” and that’s “What I Watched”. Catch you all for Chapter 3: “Fifty Shades of Pain”.
Chairshot Classics: WWE Elimination Chamber 2017
As we approach this year’s Elimination Chamber, we look back at one from the past with this SmackDown-exclusive from 2017!
Kickoff Match: Curt Hawkins vs. Mojo Rawley
The bell rings and Mojo chases Hawkins out to the apron, Hawkins steps back inside, ducks in the ropes to create separation, then delivers a cheap shot right hand. Rawley absorbs it, levels him with a clothesline, shoots Hawkins into the corner, then chops him down with a tackle to the knee. Hawkins rolls outside and Mojo goes out in pursuit, drapes him over the apron to drive him chest-first off the mat, throws him back into the squared circle, but gets caught coming in with a kick to the midsection. Mojo falls back to the floor, Hawkins goes out after him, drives him sternum-first into the ring apron, then slides in the ring and allows the referee to count.
Rawley slides in at 9, Hawkins is there to meet him with fists, puts him in the corner and stomps away as we head to break….We come back and Mojo battles up from a rear chinlock, hits the ropes, Hawkins follows him in and slides to the outside with a leg sweep, steps back in and hits a vertical suplex for a count of 2. He hooks a rear chinlock back on to wear Rawley down, Mojo works to his feet and escapes with a jawbreaker, hits the ropes and gets floored by a clothesline for multiple 2 counts. Hawkins starts talking trash and connects with fists, Rawley absorbs the shots and returns fire, whips Hawkins to the ropes and scores with multiple shoulder blocks. He flattens Hawkins with a clothesline, measures him in the corner for a splash, plants him with a fireman’s carry facebuster and nearly puts it away.
Hawkins tries to crawl out of the ring and Mojo grabs him by the foot, the official forces a break, Hawkins sneaks in a cheap shot, delivers a reverse STO and covers, but still can’t finish it. He start to shoot his mouth off and sets for a DDT, Mojo slips out, attempts a clothesline, Hawkins ducks it, connects with an enzuigiri and gets another 2 count. He gets set in the corner for a spear, Rawley powers him back into the turnbuckles, hits the ropes for a heavy right hand, plants Hawkins with a tilt-a-whirl powerslam and gets the win.
Winner: Mojo Rawley (Tilt-A-Whirl Powerslam)
- EA’s Take: Yikes, this one really started out pretty sloppy, but turned out to be what I would call decent to finish it out. This one was basically thrown together after a backstage segment last week on SmackDown Live and you could feel that, although Mojo is more over with the crowd than I thought. I’m not necessarily a big fan, but I can see the appeal. Hawkins was essentially brought back to the company to put guys like this over and as much as I am a fan of his previous work, this was the right move unless you want to turn this into a longer program.
Open: “Beauty, it’s everywhere. It’s the warm glow of our aspirations, but it can also be cold as steel and that’s beautiful. Tonight inside the steel beast, opportunity is a beautiful thing.” This is Elimination Chamber.
Match #1: Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
Collar & elbow tie-up to begin, both ladies jockey for position down to the canvas and to the outside, finally breaking away and rolling back into the squared circle for a staredown. They tie-up again and Becky hooks on a wristlock, Mickie cartwheels through for a wristlock of her own, switches to a hammerlock, Lynch counters out back to a wristlock and Mickie grabs the ropes to force the break. She quickly slaps on an armbar The Lass Kicker sends her outside to break free, invites Mickie to step back in, grabs her on the apron and rams Mickie head-first into the top turnbuckle. She scores with a slingshot sidekick to drop her to the floor, comes off the apron with a flying forearm, tosses Mickie back in the ring and climbs up, Mickie surprises her with a kick coming in, spikes Lynch with a DDT and gets multiple 2 counts.
She wraps Becky’s arm up in the ropes and goes to work on the shoulder joint, snapmares her out and grabs a modified key-lock, drops a leg on the shoulder and then buries a kick to the face for another 2 count. Mickie stays on the left arm and wrenches it up in the ropes again, hooks on a hammerlock to ground The Lass Kicker, Lynch fights to a standing position, scores with forearms and levels Mickie with a clothesline. Irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Mickie delivers a boot to the jaw, drives Becky shoulder-first into the ring post, climbs to the 2nd rope and hits a hurricanrana. She starts to toy with The Lass Kicker, Lynch tries to fight back and gets kicked back down for 2, Mickie employs a half-nelson to grind her down, Becky battles back to a standing position and arm drags her away.
They trade-off forearm shots, The Lass Kicker blocks a kick, scores with multiple clothesline, drops Mickie with a leg lariat, then tosses her with a Bexploder for a 2 count. Mickie pulls herself up in the corner, Lynch charges in with a Flying Firearm, Mickie side-steps it, plants her with a flapjack, kips up to her feet and then climbs to the top turnbuckle. She hits a Thesz Press that almost puts it away, looks to ram Becky shoulder-first into the ring post again, Lynch puts on the brakes, cracks her with a back elbow, executes a springboard back kick, then comes off the top with a dropkick for a near fall.
The Lass Kicker hooks Mickie for a pumphandle suplex, Mickie slips out of it, clocks her with a Mick Kick, covers and only gets a 2 count. She mounts Lynch and hammers her with right hands, calls for the Mickie-DT, Becky reverses out with a back body drop, looks for the Dis-Arm-Her, Mickie counters with a roll-up, Lynch reverses right back and stacks her up for the victory.
Winner: Becky Lynch (Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: As Mauro said on commentary, this was a wrestling clinic between arguably the two best technicians on the SmackDown Live side. I picked Mickie to get the win here because I don’t like having someone come in and start losing right away, but I understand that is likely the reason why she returned to begin with. I just have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of these two taking each other on, especially considering how it ended after a real back-and-forth battle.
In The Arena: Carmella & James Ellsworth are watching the show from a skybox when Dasha Fuentes comes in for comment, The Princess of Staten Island stating the wrong woman won the last match.
Match #2 is a Handicap Match: Apollo Crews & Kalisto vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler ambushes Kalisto from behind as he makes his way to the ring, drives him into the LED board on the stage, Crews leaves the ring to check on The King of Flight and Dolph heads to the squared circle through the crowd. Apollo marches to the ring and we’re underway, Crews powers The Show Off into the corner, unleashes a flurry of right hands and puts the boots to Dolph. The referee separates them, Apollo rushes back in and meets a back elbow, Ziggler charges out and Crews delivers a back elbow of his own, then scores with more heavy punches. He delivers a snap suplex, Ziggler rolls to the apron, Apollo reaches out to grab him, gets surprised by a hot shot, The Show Off following up with a neckbreaker through the ropes.
He steps back inside and rips away at Crews’ face in the corner, plants him with another neckbreaker for a count of 2, drops an elbow to the back, hooks the leg and gets another 2. Ziggler hooks on a rear chinlock to ground Crews, Apollo finds his footing, Dolph goes to the knee with a kick, hits the ropes for a Famouser, Crews blocks and rolls him up for a 2 count. Ziggler staggers to the corner and Apollo rushes in, gets caught with a back elbow, The Show Off plasters him with stiff punches, uses a single-leg takedown for a 1 count, then jumps on his back to hook on another rear chinlock. Crews works back to a vertical base, Ziggler with another kick to the knee, sets for a neckbreaker, gets pushed away to the ropes and Apollo buries a kick to the midsection.
He can’t capitalize and The Show Off delivers another neckbreaker, Kalisto starts to limp his way back down to the ring and climbs on the apron, Dolph is distracted and Apollo explodes up with an enzuigiri. Crews crawls over and tags out, Kalisto clocks The Show Off with an enzuigiri from the apron, springboards in with a seated senton to the back, scores with leg kicks, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, but The King of Flight handsprings into an enzuigiri. He hooks Ziggler for the Salida Del Sol and gets pushes away, Apollo makes a blind tag, Kalisto flips under a clothesline attempt from Dolph, drills him with an enzuigiri, Crews follows with a Toss Powerbomb and finishes it.
Winners: Apollo Crews & Kalisto (Crews/Toss Powerbomb)
- After The Bell: Kalisto & Apollo celebrate, The Show Off catches The King of Flight on the apron with a leg sweep, Crews chases him around ringside and back into the ring, Dolph catching him with fists and kicks. He gets a chair and locks Apollo’s foot in it, stomps away and Crews writhes in pain on the mat, Ziggler then doing it again.
- EA’s Take: Personally I was excited when Ziggler jumped Kalisto before the match because I thought that would lead to him getting a win. As I stated with Doug Berrill on yesterday’s episode of the Top Of The Morning Podcast, I didn’t see what good this would do for any of the parties involved. Thankfully, the aftermath allowed Dolph to save face, but it makes Kalisto & Apollo look pretty stupid that they were still bested in the end by one guy.
Match #3 – Tag Team Turmoil for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships: Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable)
Slater & Rhyno will kickoff with Breezango, Fandango & Heath to start the match off. They tie-up and Fandango backs Slater to the corner, breaks clean and does a little dance, another collar & elbow and The Lord of the Dance slaps on a side headlock. Heath pushes him away to the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder, Fandango with another little shimmy, hits the ropes, The One Man Band leapfrogs over, delivers a hip toss and does a dance of his own. He ducks a clothesline and splits The Lord of the Dance with an atomic drop, Breeze tags in, swings wildly with a clothesline that misses and gets hit with an atomic drop for his troubles.
Heath rocks him with a right hand and makes a tag, Rhyno utilizes a wristlock, Prince Pretty breaks free after a kick to the midsection, hits the ropes and gets flattened by a shoulder block. The Man Beast shoots him to the corner and follows in with a shoulder to the ribs, flattens Tyler with a short-arm clothesline, brings Slater back in and they send Breeze to the ropes for a double back elbow. The One Man Band hooks in a side headlock, gets sent off to the ropes, Fandango makes a blind tag, Heath ducks a clothesline from Tyler, but The Lord of the Dance sweeps the legs from the outside. He slides in and rains down heavy right hands, drops Slater stomach-first across the top rope, tags Breeze and they deliver in-sync kicks to the head for a count of 2.
Prince Pretty puts the boots to Heath in the corner and makes a tag, The One Man Band fires up with rights, hits the ropes, Fandango ducks down for a back body drop, Slater counters with a sunset flip, but can’t pull him down and gets rocked by a punch. The Lord of the Dance tosses a stack of tickets in Heath’s face, The One Man Band rolls him up off the distraction for a 2 count, both guys up quick, Slater connects with a heel kick and covers, but Breeze is there to break it up at 2. Rhyno steps in and runs Tyler over with a shoulder block, Fandango dumps him to the outside, Slater with a roll-up from behind for 2, makes a tag off the kick-out, The Lord of the Dance with a roll-up from behind now, but he’s got the illegal man. The Man Beast steps in behind him, charges in with a Gore and finishes Breezango off. Breezango has been eliminated.
The Vaudevillains are up next, they drag Rhyno to the outside as they head to the ring, drive him into the barricade, Slater comes off the top with a crossbody, helps The Man Beast back inside and makes a tag to pull Gotch in. Aiden ambushes Heath from behind and puts the boots to him, delivers a knee drop for a count of 2, planks The One Man Band across the top in the corner, The Vaudevillains rocking him with a barrage of boots as Gotch tags in. The Gentleman Brawler buries a barrage of knees to the ribs, powers Slater on his shoulders, makes a tag and plants him with a rolling fireman’s carry and English heads upstairs.
Rhyno steps in and splits Gotch with a Gore, Aiden looks for That’s A Wrap on Slater, The One Man Band rolls out of harm’s way, spikes him with The Smash Hit and gets the pinfall. The Vaudevillains have been eliminated. The Usos come out next, Jimmy slides inside, Heath unloads with rights, Jimmy drops him with a kick to the abdomen, then scores with stinging chops and shoots him to the ropes. Slater explodes back out with a flying forearm and makes a tag, Rhyno looks to whip Jimmy into the corner, Jimmy reverses, The Man Beast hits the turnbuckles hard and Jimmy drives him into his own corner. Jey tags in, Jimmy holds Rhyno in place for Jey to deliver a flying forearm for a 2 count, whips him back into the corner, The Man Beast rebounds out with a clothesline, Slater tags in and comes off the top with an overhand chop.
He drops Jimmy off the apron, avoids Jey charging into the corner, fires away with lefts and rights, hits the ropes for a running boot, Jey side-steps it and plants him with a pop-up Samoan Drop. He makes a cover and Rhyno breaks the count at 2, Jey grabs The Man Beast from behind and deposits him out of the ring, The One Man Band pushes Jey to the ropes for a roll-up, but Jey hangs on and Jimmy makes a blind tag. Jimmy rocks Heath with a superkick, hooks the leg and gets a 3 count. Heath Slater & Rhyno have been eliminated. American Alpha is the next team up, The Usos go to the outside to meet them on the ramp and the brawl is on before they head in the ring.
The champions hit double german suplexes, Jordan clotheslines Jimmy near the ropes and they both spill over the top, Gable ascends the corner and hits Jey with a crossbody for a count of 2. He snatches a wristlock and looks to make a tag, Jordan tries to step in early and the official cuts him off, Jey shoots Gable to the ropes and Jimmy with a cheap shot from the apron to give his brother the advantage. He pushes Gable into his corner and runs in with a shoulder to the midsection, Jimmy tags in, Jey cracks Gable with a backbreaker, Jimmy follows with a top rope double axe and gets a count of 2. He whips Chad sternum-first into the turnbuckles for another 2 count, chokes him on the 2nd rope, the ref backs him off, Jey sneaks in an uppercut from the apron, Jimmy follows with a big chop and tags out.
Jey buries a kick to the ribs and immediately brings Jimmy back in, Jimmy with a leg drop for another 2, then looks to wear Gable down with a rear chinlock. Chad fights back to his feet, Jimmy rocks him with a headbutt, tosses him out of the ring, Gable climbs back to the apron, fights off both Usos and slides in through Jimmy’s legs to try and tag. Jimmy hangs onto Chad’s arm to prevent it, gets sent into the corner, Gable knocks Jey off the apron with a forearm, turns to deliver a clothesline, Jimmy’s thinking the same thing and they both connect, then crawl to tags. Jordan comes in with forearm shots for Jey, connects with a dropkick, Jimmy steps in and gets tossed by an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, Jordan following with another for Jey.
He powers Jey up for an electric chair and Gable tags, heads to the top rope, Jey slips away and rolls Jordan up, Chad rushes in with a roll-up and scores the fall. The Usos have been eliminated. The Usos sneak attack the champions after the pinfall, drive Jordan shoulder-first into the ring post, slam Gable on the floor, then deposit him into the steel steps and rolls Jordan in the ring. Jimmy heads up top, scores with the Uso Splash and multiple referees have to finally pull them away. The Ascension is the last team out, Konnor & Viktor stand over a fallen Jordan in the ring and measure for the Fall Of Man, hit it and Konnor covers, Gable just barely making it in to break the count at 2.
Konnor powers Chad up on his shoulder, drops him throat-first across the top rope, Viktor tags in, The Ascension puts the boots to Jordan, Viktor pulling him up for heavy chops in the corner. He shoots Konnor at Jordan with a corner clothesline, follows with a high knee, Konnor with a lateral press and gains a near fall. Tag back to Viktor for more stinging chops, lines him up for a splash, Jordan avoids it, tosses him with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, then tries to crawl to his corner. Konnor steps in and rushes at him, Jordan ducks down to send him to the outside, reaches Gable for the tag, but Konnor rips him to the floor from the outside. Gable ducks under a clothesline and slides in, American Alpha hits Grand Amplitude and Chad covers to retain.
Winners and STILL SmackDown Tag Team Champions: American Alpha
- EA’s Take: Really entertaining match here that allowed every team to get a little bit of shine at the very least. I really thought my pick of The Ascension was going to be good after The Usos left the champions laying, then even more so after Ascension dropped Jordan with the Fall Of Man and by the sounds of the crowd, they thought the same. For those that missed Top Of The Morning yesterday, I talked about The Ascension coming up with a tweaked look and we saw it tonight, so remember…it pays to #GetOnTop. What’s next for the champs? I’m not sure because the attack by The Usos leads me to believe they aren’t finished, but the staredown with The Ascension could also be teasing something as well.
Match #4: Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
They go face-to-face at the bell and Natalya mocks John Cena, slaps her across the face and brings her down with a side headlock, Nikki counters out with a headscissors, but Nattie kips up to break free. She quickly hooks in a wristlock and does some trash talking, Nikki paintbrushes her with a slap of her own, rolls into a cross armbreaker, The Queen of Harts breaks free, but gets slapped again. She tackles Nikki down to the mat and bludgeons her with right hands, brings her to the mat with a waistlock takedown, buries a kick to the ribs, then delivers another waistlock takedown and poses for the people. She hooks Nikki for another waistlock takedown, Nikki blocks and rolls her into a knee bar, Natalya claws to the bottom rope to force the break, then rolls outside for a breather.
Nikki hits a baseball slide frm behind, steps out to the apron and jumps off with a clothesline, sends Nattie back in the ring, but The Queen of Harts rolls back out and calls for a time-out as Nikki is in pursuit. Natalya shoves her spine-first into the ring post, throws Nikki back into the squared circle, steps in, hauls her up by the hair and delivers a snap suplex, then drives a kick into the back. The Fearless One pulls herself up in the corner, The Queen of Harts puts the boots to her, taunts Nikki, snapmares her over and scores with a basement dropkick to the spine. She utilizes a rear chinlock to wear her down some more, Nikki fights back to a vertical base, arm drags Nattie away, but gets flattened by a clothesline.
The Queen of Harts mocks Cena again and walks over Nikki, gets surprised by a schoolboy from behind for a count of 2, Nattie quickly drops her with a kick to the abdomen, rams her face-first into the mat, then goes to work on the left leg with an inverted figure four. Nikki slaps Nattie across the face and slips out for an STF, Natalya quickly reaches the ropes to gain separation, misses with a clothesline and Nikki delivers a shoulder tackle. She connects with a dropkick, cracks The Queen of Harts with a modified jawbreaker for a count of 2, measures for a forearm shot, but walks into a kick to the breadbasket. Nattie follows with a Michinoku driver for a near fall, hooks her for the Sharpshooter, Nikki kicks her away and levels Natalya with a stiff forearm that almost finishes it.
Nikki picks her up for the Rack Attack 2.0, The Queen of Harts slips out, looks to shoot her to the ropes, Nikki reverses and plants her with a spinebuster, but can’t put it away. She springs off the 2nd rope with a roundhouse kick and gains another near fall, Nikki heads out to the apron, catches Nattie charging in with a shoulder to the midsection, scores with a knee lift and heads to the top turnbuckle. The Queen of Harts is there to meet her with right hands, plants her into the mat with a superplex, staggers to her feet and slaps on the Sharpshooter. Nikki rolls out of it and hooks on the STF, Natalya crawls to the ropes to force the break, grabs Nikki by the hair and they spill to the outside. The Queen of Harts drives her into the barricade and pummels her with right hands, Nikki fires back, deposits Nattie into the barricade, they continue to battle the ref’s count reaches 10.
Winner: Double Count-Out
- After The Bell: Natalya tosses Nikki back in the ring and argues with the official, Nikki rises to her feet and has some words for the ref, Nattie clocks her with a forearm and starts to walk away. Nikki rolls out of the ring, spears The Queen of Harts on the ramp for a barrage of fists, Nattie breaks free and sprints away.
- EA’s Take: Pretty vicious battle here which I expected and to be honest, I was surprised this was just a basic match and didn’t have a stipulation like No DQ. I suppose that’s the reason for the double count-out, this feud has been too good for it to end here and I can’t imagine we don’t get something better from them in the coming weeks on SmackDown.
In The Arena: Carmella & James Ellsworth are still watching on from the skybox and Dasha Fuentes asks for comment, The Princess of Staten Island stating Nikki Bella & Natalya have been out of control, Ellsworth echoing her sentiments.
Backstage: Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton are in a dark, smoky room in the back, The New Face of Fear saying that in order to be victorious tonight, they must go their separate ways. The Viper warns that everybody should run.
Match #5: Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper
Collar & elbow tie-up to begin and we have an early stalemate, they tie-up again with the same result, another lock-up, they jostle for position and Harper hooks on a side headlock. Orton pushes him away to the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder for a quick 1 count, The Apex Predator rolls out of the ring to regroup, Harper goes out after him, intercepts him with uppercuts, drives Randy into the barricade, then bounces him head-first off the announce table. He tosses The Viper back inside and Orton staggers to the corner, catches Harper walking in with a back elbow, Randy hits the ropes, Harper explodes up with a dropkick, then heads upstairs.
The Apex Predator drops him to the floor with a big right hand, Harper bounces face-first off the apron, Luke drags himself back inside and gets hammered with fists in the corner. Orton shoots him across hard into the turnbuckles and dumps him to the floor, heads after him and rams Harper head-first off the announce table, then drops him on it with a back suplex. He throws Luke into the ring and gets a count of 2, grabs a rear chinlock to grind the big man down, Harper makes it back to his feet, The Viper clubs him across the back, then drops him gut-first on the top rope. He climbs to the 2nd rope and poses for the people, rakes his boot across Harper’s face, stomps away in the corner, then drags Luke out and goes back to a chinlock.
Harper fights back to a vertical base, rocks Randy with uppercuts, The Viper returns the favor, shoots him into the corner, but the big man explodes back out with running forearms. Irish whip back to the corner is reversed, Harper leaps out to the apron, drops The Apex Predator with a forearm, then slingshots back in with a somersault senton. He floors Orton with a big boot for a 2 count, grabs him by the leg, The Viper kicks him away, grabs Harper by the jeans to send him to the apron, then hooks him for the elevated DDT. Luke fights it off, catapults Randy throat-first into the 2nd rope, The Apex Predator rolls outside to catch his breath, Harper hits the ropes for a suicide dive, but gets clocked by a forearm shot.
Orton looks to dump him to the outside, Harper turns the tables and sends Randy out instead, takes flight with a suicide dive and The Apex Predator flies over the announce table. Harper picks him up and drops him on the announce desk with a back suplex, lines him up and charges in, The Viper planting Luke on the floor with a powerslam. He rolls back in the ring and grabs Harper on the apron, Luke surprises him with a forearm shot, climbs the corner for a suplex to the outside, The Viper slips out of it, crotches Harper on the top turnbuckle and executes a superplex to the inside. Randy crawls to a cover and only gets 2, pulls Harper up, they exchange shots, Orton ducks one fot he RKO, gets pushed away, but counters a clothesline for a full nelson slam that gains a near fall.
Harper rolls out to the apron, The Apex Predator spikes him with a rope-assisted DDT, gets set for the RKO, but Luke explodes up with a superkick. He connects with another superkick and nearly puts it away, hauls Randy up for a powerbomb, The Viper slips out for the RKO, Harper blocks it again, but gets kicked in the abdomen. The Apex Predator hits the ropes and runs into a kick to the breadbasket, Harper plants him with a sit-out powerbomb that almost finishes it, “This Is Awesome” chants take over the crowd, both guys struggle to their knees and trade-off right hands back to their feet. Harper gets the better of it, hits the ropes for the Discus Clothesline, Orton blocks it, delivers an RKO and gets the victory.
Winner: Randy Orton (RKO)
- EA’s Take: Tremendous match and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say these guys just stole the show, which I had mentioned previously was a strong possibility. I am surprised Bray didn’t get involved here, but I suppose that was addressed with his previous promo of having to be separated from Orton tonight. Harper showed a lot tonight although we already knew he could do it, he just has never been given a chance to really shine. The Viper may have won the match, but Harper was the real winner here in the long run as long as the company does something with him to follow up.
Backstage: Renee Young is standing by with Nikki Bella, Nikki states things are far from over with herself and Nattie, but Natalya ambushes her from behind. They battle into the hallway where Maryse is near a makeup table, The Queen of Harts bounces Nikki’s face off of a production box and Nikki falls backwards into Maryse, causing powder to go everywhere. Nikki tackles Natalya and a group of referees finally separate them.
Match #6 for the SmackDown Women’s Championship: Naomi vs. SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss
Alexa with some trash talk for the challenger at the bell, attempts to slap her across the face, Naomi surprises her with a schoolboy and gets an early 2 count. The champion pulls out her gum and tosses it in Naomi’s face, The Glow Queen grabs her by the hair, drives Bliss multiple times head-first into the top turnbuckle, climbs up top, but gets pushed down to the apron. She lands on her feet and rocks Alexa with a roundhouse kick, looks to springboard in the champion grabs a handful of hair, slams her down to the mat, then unleashes a series of rights for a count of 2. She puts the boots to the challenger in the corner and chokes her with her foot, chokes Naomi on the 2nd rope now, charges in with double knees to the back and gains another 2 count.
Bliss tries to ram her head-first into the top turnbuckle, The Glow Queen blocks it, attempts to bulldog Alexa into the turnbuckles, but gets pushed away. The champion wraps Naomi’s hair up in the ropes and rips away, covers for another count of 2, stands on the challenger’s hair, then pulls her up by the arms, this time getting a 1 count. She slaps on a rear chinlock to wear Naomi down, The Glow Queen works to a standing position, arm drags the champion away, rushes her in the corner, but runs into a back elbow. Alexa hooks her by the arm and goes to the 2nd rope, the challenger tries to hip toss her down to the mat, Bliss flips to her feet, rolls her up for 2, Naomi with a roll-up of her own off the kick-out, but can’t finish it.
Both ladies are up quick and Naomi looks for a kick, the champion blocks it, attempts to clock her with a right hand, Naomi delivers a roundhouse at the same time and they both go down. Both women stagger back to their feet, The Glow Queen ducks under a clothesline and hits the ropes for one of her own, drops Bliss with a jumping back elbow, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Alexa charges in, blocks Naomi putting the boots up, but gets drilled by an enzuigiri instead. The challenger follows with a stiff kick to the abdomen, hits the ropes for a somersault clothesline, measures the champion in the corner and charges in, gets elevated over the top, but lands on her feet and scores with a forearm shot.
Naomi ascends the corner and connects with a blockbuster, hooks the leg and nearly finishes it off, Alexa crawls to the ropes for some reprieve, the challenger grabs her by the foot, but gets kicked away. Bliss pulls herself back up in the corner and rushes out, The Glow Queen catches her with the Rear View, hooks both legs, but still only gets a count of 2. She positions the champion near the corner for the Split-Legged Moonsault, Alexa grabs her by the foot, Naomi kicks free, Bliss tries to beg her off and ducks into the ropes. The referee gets in between to create separation, the champion with a cheap shot, slams Naomi to the mat by the hair, delivers Insult To Injury, covers and gains a near fall. Bliss hammers the challenger with right hands and heads to the high-rent district, The Glow Queen pops up with an enzuigiri, Alexa falls to the floor, Naomi gets set for an outside dive, but the champion climbs on the apron and cuts her off with forearm.
She steps back in, spikes The Glow Queen with a DDT and covers, the challenger just barely kicks out at 2 and Bliss starts to show her frustration. Alexa pulls Naomi up, gets surprised by a modified jawbreaker, tries to follow with the Split-Legged Moonsault, the champion rolls away to avoid it, rolls her up and puts her feet on the ropes. The referee counts to 2 and notices it, stops the count, Alexa argues the call, pummels the challenger with fists, then goes back up top for Twisted Bliss. The Glow Queen gets the knees up, follows with the Split-Legged Moonsault and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW SmackDown Women’s Champion: Naomi (Split-Legged Moonsault)
- After The Bell: Renee Young enters the ring for comment, a “You Deserve It” chant breaks out and Naomi is brought to tears, The Glow Queen states she’s envisioned this moment for many years and Alexa was a great champion, but she’s taking the title home to Orlando at WrestleMania.
- EA’s Take: Not a bad match in my opinion, but there were certainly a couple of spots that didn’t look great, the finish for example. Naomi has always been one of my favorites and very underused in my opinion, so I absolutely agree with the crowd and the “You Deserve It” chant. It’s been a long-time coming for her and I called for this to happen, mostly because of WrestleMania being in her hometown, which gives her that “feel-good” moment. Certainly Alexa will get a rematch and the way things are going, I still feel as if we’re headed towards multi-person title matches for both Women’s Divisions at the Showcase of the Immortals.
In The Arena: Carmella & James Ellsworth continue watching the show from the skybox, Dasha Fuentes tries to get comment, but The Princess of Staten Island says she’s sick of being bothered while trying to watch the show. Ellsworth tells Dasha to scram, sits back and puts his feet up.
Match #7 – Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship: WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin vs. The Miz vs. Bray Wyatt vs. AJ Styles vs. WWE Champion John Cena
Styles & Cena are going to begin, collar & elbow tie-up to start, the champion goes to a side headlock, AJ pushes him off to the ropes, but gets dropped by a shoulder block. They lock-up again and this time Styles hooks in a side headlock, Cena sends him off to the ropes, drops down, leapfrogs over and AJ scores with a leg kick. The Leader of the Cenation battles back with heavy rights, whips him to the corner and rushes in, The Phenomenal One side-steps out of harm’s way, powers him up on his shoulder and delivers a spin-out torture rack bomb for an early 2 count.
AJ looks to set for the Styles Clash, Cena powers out, launches him into the air, lets him drop face-first to the mat, then follows with a sunset flip bomb for a 2 count. The Leader of the Cenation pulls Styles up and they exchange shots, the champion takes The Phenomenal One down for the STF, AJ kicks him away, scores with the Ushigaroshi, hooks the leg and gains a near fall. Cena pulls himself to his feet in the corner, Styles rushes in for a flying forearm, the champion avoids it, hits the ropes for multiple shoulder tackles, ducks a clothesline and delivers a spin-out back suplex. He calls for the 5 Knuckle Shuffle, the countdown begins and Cena decides against it as Dean Ambrose enters the match.
He ducks a right hand and levels Cena with a flying clothesline, tosses him out over the top, drives the champion multiple times into the chain link, then stomps away. AJ comes out after them and The Lunatic Fringe rams him into the chain, clotheslines Styles back in the ring, kicks him to the apron, and sets for a suplex back inside. The Phenomenal One blocks it, looks to suplex Dean out on the chamber floor, Ambrose slips out, drops him with a release vertical suplex on the floor, Cena climbs up top, but The Lunatic Fringe drops him down with a forearm shot. He climbs on top of one of the pods and flies off with a diving elbow to the champion, tries to drag Cena into the squared circle, AJ grabs him with a waistlock, standing switch from Ambrose, Styles switches back, but the champion comes in and plants them both with a double german suplex.
The Leader of the Cenation picks Dean up for an AA, The Phenomenal One charges in, Cena drops Dean, lifts AJ for the Attitude Adjustment, rocking The Lunatic Fringe with Styles’ feet in the process. AJ counters the AA by landing on his feet, clobbers the champion with a kick, Dean rebounds off the ropes and floors Styles with a Lunatic Lariat as the timer hits zero. Bray Wyatt steps out and drops Dean with a right hand, flattens Cena with a running crossbody, tosses The Lunatic Fringe with a release vertical suplex, then charges AJ near the ropes and gets dumped outside. Styles tries to springboard out after him, gets thrown into the chain link, goes into the Spider Crawl for Sister Abigail, but The Phenomenal One slips away and shoves him into one of the pod doors.
He pulls Wyatt through the 2nd rope in the corner, hops in the ring and slingshots out with a leg drop to the back of the head, The Leader of the Cenation picks him up for an AA outside, but AJ breaks free and clocks him with forearms. He climbs the side of the cage and Cena goes up after him, they battle on the side of the wall, Styles clobbering the champion with fists and drops him to the chamber floor. The Phenomenal One climbs on top of The Miz’s pod, Ambrose scales up to meet him, rams Styles face-first off the plastic part of the wall, jumps off at Bray, but gets caught with a right hand on the way down. The Eater of Worlds tosses him in the ring, props The Lunatic Fringe on the top turnbuckle, climbs up for a barrage of headbutts, Dean slips down for a powerbomb, Bray grabs Styles in the process and tosses him across the ring as he gets planted into the mat as the clock ticks down again.
Baron Corbin comes in next, The Lunatic Fringe meets him with a flurry of forearms, hits the ropes, The Lone Wolf flattens him with a clothesline, deposits Dean to the outside, then rams him face-first off the chain multiple times. He throws Ambrose back in the ring and charges him in the corner, The Lunatic Fringe side-steps out, rushes in with a forearm, looks to follow with a running bulldog, but gets pushed away. He charges back in at Baron and gets planted by Deep Six, rolls out under the bottom rope, Corbin goes after him, but Wyatt attacks from behind and hooks him for a uranage. The Lone Wolf blocks it and sends Bray face-first into Miz’s pod, drops him with a big boot, slams him into the floor with a modified STO, then heads back inside.
The Phenomenal One meets him with a flurry of right hands and hits the ropes, Corbin cuts him off with End Of Days, Cena quickly grabs Baron by the leg and slaps on the STF. The Lone Wolf powers out of it, plants the champion with End Of Days, Ambrose comes off the top with a dropkick, then clotheslines Baron over the top and drives him into the chain numerous times. The Lone wolf finally puts on the brakes and returns the favor, launches Dean face-first into the wall, rams him head-first into one of the pods, then sends him back in the ring. He powers The Lunatic Fringe over his shoulder, Ambrose slides out behind, hooks him for Dirty Deeds, Corbin blocks it, tries to drive him into the corner, Dean holds up from hitting the turnbuckles and catches him with a back elbow. Ambrose climbs to the top rope now, The Lone Wolf pushes him off, The Lunatic Fringe hits the chain link face-first and the last man enters the match.
The Miz is in no hurry to step out of his pod as Corbin is waiting for him, Dean grabs The Lone Wolf with a schoolboy from behind and gets the 1-2-3. Baron Corbin has been eliminated. Baron is less than pleased, bludgeons Ambrose from behind with a clothesline, throws him through the plastic of one of the pods, props him up against the chain link, then unloads with forearms to the back of the head. He tosses Dean in the ring, plants him with End Of Days, multiple referees come inside and The Lone Wolf finally leaves, Miz quickly stepping in the ring to pin Ambrose. Dean Ambrose has been eliminated.
The A-Lister points to the WrestleMania sign and mocks a “Yes” chant, drills Cena & Bray with his Yes Kicks, hits the ropes and takes them both down with a double dropkick. Styles steps back in the ring and Miz puts him in the corner for another barrage of kicks, Cena & Wyatt stagger to opposite corners, The A-Lister delivering running dropkicks to everyone in the ring and dumping Bray to the outside. He crushes the champion in the corner with an Awesome Clothesline, climbs to the top turnbuckle, The Eater of Worlds drags him down to the floor for a clothesline, Miz blocks it and plants him with a Skull Crushing Finale.
The A-Lister heads back up top for a crossbody to the champion, The Leader of the Cenation rolls through, powers him onto his shoulders for the Attitude Adjustment and ends his night. The Miz has been eliminated. Bray & AJ attack Cena from behind and put the boots to him, The New Face of Fear holds the champion up for AJ, The Phenomenal One scores with right hands, poses for the crowd and Wyatt clocks him with an uppercut. He looks for a running senton to Cena and misses, drops Styles with multiple shoulder tackles, delivers a spin-out back suplex, catches Bray with one for his troubles, then hits them both with a double 5 Knuckle Shuffle. He scores with an AA to Wyatt, powers The Phenomenal One up for one, AJ slips out of it, connects with the Styles Clash, but only gets a near fall.
AJ rolls out of the ring and measures for a Phenomenal Forearm, The Leader of the Cenation ducks under it, delivers the Attitude Adjustment, but Styles just barely kicks out at 2. The champion looks stunned, steps to the outside and climbs on top of a pod, jumps off with a crossbody to wipe-out Styles & Wyatt, all three guys now down. Cena staggers back to his feet, hauls Bray up for an AA, The Eater of Worlds slips out of it, scores with Sister Abigail and covers for the 1-2-3. John Cena has been eliminated. Styles pulls himself to his feet and charges out at Bray, gets clocked by a forearm, The New Face of Fear batters him with right hands to the back of the head, throws AJ into the corner and charges in, but gets cut off by a dropkick to the knee.
The Phenomenal One follows with a basement forearm for a count of 2, Bray Spider Crawls back to his feet, snatches Styles for Sister Abigail, AJ breaks free, rolls him up and gains a near fall. He quickly scores with the Phenomenal Blitz, Bray comes right back and turns him inside-out with a clothesline, hooks the leg, but can’t put it away yet. He pulls AJ up for a uranage, Styles battles out of it, clobbers him with a Pele Kick, hits the ropes for a shining wizard, then rolls outside and springboards in with a 450 splash. He hooks the leg and The New Face of Fear just kicks out at 2, The Phenomenal One rolls back outside, pulls his elbow pad off, springboards in for a Phenomenal Forearm, Bray catches him in the air, hits Sister Abigail and finishes it.
Winner and NEW WWE Champion: Bray Wyatt
- After The Bell: Randy Orton comes out to the stage and watches on as Bray celebrates the win.
- EA’s Take: What an amazing match, I think we just saw the best Chamber match in WWE history. I have to admit, at first when I saw the padding on the outside of the ring instead of the usual steel grating we had in the old chamber, I was not overly enthused. The participants completely made me forget about that very quickly however and it allowed them to do so much more with less risk of injury. I’ve called for so long to have Bray get his big moment and we finally saw it, but we also saw some other interesting things take place which will shape for WrestleMania such as Corbin & Ambrose. I dare RAW to follow that, but I just know they can’t.
EA’s Finisher: Obviously the namesake of this pay-per-view is the big standout of the evening, but we also had another great moment in Naomi finally getting her just due by becoming the SmackDown Women’s Champion. While I wouldn’t call the undercard poor by any means, I truly could have lived without the Handicap Match personally. I think the Tag Team Turmoil was highly entertaining and showed why SmackDown Tag Team Division is far superior to RAW, meanwhile the women showed they have a lot more depth on the blue brand, which is not news to anyone. Overall, a very entertaining event that I think RAW will really have a hard time following up at FastLane.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Elimination Chamber
2 – Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton
3 – Tag Team Turmoil
Chairshot Classics: WCW Halloween Havoc 1995 – There’s Nowhere To Hide!
Our weekly Chairshot Classics WCW PPV series continues with Halloween Havoc ’95!
Open: “Motown’s gone mad, Halloween Havoc is here. Two demons have emerged, The Giant who has a jones for destruction. WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan has crossed over to the dark side to take on eerie powers in their world. Shutter to think two monster trucks will collide and if survival is possible, they’ll square-off eye-to-eye in the fortress known as the ring. It will happen before your very eyes here at Halloween Havoc.”
Kobo Hall: On the roof, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan & The Giant both get a feel for their monster trucks before tonight’s battle.
Video: At Fall Brawl, Johnny B. Badd won the right to face Sting for the WCW United States Championship, but when the moment arrived, Johnny was nowhere to be found. ‘Flyin’ Brian would get the opportunity instead, but at the end of the night Badd finally showed up, explaining he had a flat tire on the biggest day of his career. WCW World Television Champion Diamond Dallas Page would feel the need to rub it in Johnny’s face claiming he should have had the US Title shot, Max Muscle unknowingly admitting that they had something to do with Badd’s car problems.
Match #1 for the WCW World Television Championship: WCW World Television Champion Diamond Dallas Page w/The Diamond Doll & Max Muscle vs. Johnny B. Badd
Badd slides into the ring behind the champion while a stand-in walks down the ramp, Page is distracted and the challenger unloads with big right hands as the bell sounds. Johnny shoots DDP to the ropes for a kick to the midsection, follows up with a knee lift, whips the champion to the corner and Page spills over the top to the floor. Badd goes out in pursuit, thwarts off Max Muscle trying to get involved, drives him into the champion with a noggin knocker, then sends Page into the crowd with a big right.
Johnny steps over the barricade after him, deposits DDP into the steel barrier, clotheslines him back to ringside, gets his hands on a bucket and puts it over the champion’s head, then smacking it with an ear clap. He rolls Page into the ring, DDP catches him sliding in with clubbing blows, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, the challenger scores with a hip toss, follows with a drop toe hold and hooks in an armbar. The champion finds his footing, Badd switches to a wristlock, continues wrenching away at the left arm, but can’t break free. Dallas grabs a handful of hair and slams Johnny to the mat, the challenger kicks back up, returns the favor, then goes right back to the armbar.
DDP backs the challenger to the ropes, doesn’t break clean and buries a knee to the abdomen, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Johnny ducks down for a back body drop, the champion leapfrogs over it, gets surprised by another hip toss and Badd covers for a count of 2. He quickly connects with a dropkick and corners Dallas, climbs to the 2nd rope to rain down fists, DDP powers him out, drops the challenger face-first on the top turnbuckle and takes control, taunting Johnny while delivering kicks to the breadbasket. He shoves the challenger to the corner and drives shoulders to the ribs, stomps on Badd’s fingers, scores with a knee drop for a 2 count, then shoots him sternum-first into the turnbuckles. Page plants Johnny with a back suplex, spikes him with the Diamond Clash, goes into a lateral press and again finds a count of 2.
The champion looks to grind Badd down now with a rear chinlock, the challenger makes it to a standing position, DDP rips him back down by the hair, covers for 2, then argues with the official about the count. He quickly slaps the rear chinlock back on, gets frustrated after getting another 2 count, sends Johnny to the ropes for a hip toss, the challenger blocks it for a backslide and gains a near fall. Both guys back up quick, Dallas levels Badd with a clothesline for 2, shoots him to the ropes for a back body drop, Johnny counters with a sunset flip, can’t bring the champion over and gets nailed by a right hand. DDP drops down on top to cover, Badd kicks out at 2, rolls Page up for a 2 count of his own, can’t capitalize and gets dropped by a big boot.
Page muscles him up for a powerslam and still can’t put it away, wants to wear him down some more with a rear chinlock, Johnny battles back to his feet, counters to a top wristlock, but Max reaches in to lend a hand, the champion driving Badd back down to the mat for a near fall. DDP instructs Max to climb onto the apron, the referee is distracted, the champion unravels his wrist tape, then proceeds to choke the life out of the challenger. The official turns back to the action and Page switches to the rear chinlock, the ref checks Badd’s arm, Johnny holds it up on the third attempt and fights to a vertical base, countering out with a top wristlock. Page calls for Max’s help again, can’t reach him and gets planted by a back suplex, DDP stumbles back to his feet, gets caught by a right hand, tripped up by a leg sweep, but quickly rocks Badd with a punch of his own.
He drags Johnny up for another that’s off-target, the challenger splits him with an inverted atomic drop, follows with an atomic drop and then unleashes a flurry of fists. He looks to send the champion to the ropes and Dallas reverses, Johnny surprises him with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, ascends the corner to the top turnbuckle, connects with a double axe handle and almost finishes it off. He hooks DDP for a sit-out powerbomb and gets a near fall, shoots Page to the ropes, the champion spikes him with the Diamond Dream and both guys are down now. Dallas crawls into a lateral press for a count of 2, sets for the Diamond Cutter, Badd hangs onto the ropes to block it, tries a cover of his own, but still only finds a 2 count.
He tosses the champion into the corner, goes to the 2nd rope to fire away with punches, DDP tries to power him out, gets flipped over the top to the floor by a hurricanrana, Max coming around ringside to help him up. Johnny charges in and feigns an outside dive, instead flies over the top with the Badd Day, rolls Dallas back inside and heads to the apron, then slingshots in with a splash and nearly polishes Page off. Badd calls for the Tutti Frutti, Max climbs to the apron and hooks him by the arms, DDP looks to clock him with a fist, the challenger side-steps out of harm’s way, Page nearly hits Max, but instead holds up. Johnny with a dropkick from behind, Dallas gets knocked into Max to drop him to the floor, Badd with a schoolboy from behind and almost steals it.
DDP quickly grabs him by the trunks to dump him outside, Max looks to ram him into the ring post, Johnny pushes him off, climbs back inside and Max steps up after him. The champion grabs Badd from behind and holds him for Max, Page gets flattened by a clothesline as Johnny ducks, the challenger clocks Max with Tutti Frutti, makes a cover and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WCW World Television Champion: Johnny B. Badd (Outside Interference)
- EA’s Take: Solid opener tonight, Page really slowing down the action while Johnny picked up the pace when he was in control. A little silly that a clothesline from Max Muscle is what put Page away, but this is honestly about as good of in-ring work as we’ll get tonight. DDP was really starting to come into his own as a character and it was nearing the time for him to start losing the entourage, so the seeds had been planted already for dissension between The Diamond Doll (Kimberly) and Dallas, which will continue in the coming weeks.
Match #2: The Zodiac vs. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage
The Zodiac stands on the 2nd rope facing the crowd as Savage enters the ring, Macho Man rips him down, the bell rings and Zodiac gets sent head-first into the top turnbuckle. Macho unloads with punches, rakes Zodiac’s face across the top rope, a fan jumps into the ring and the referee tackles him, the action spilling to the outside. Savage sends Zodiac head-first into the ring post and barricade multiple times, The Zodiac surprises him with an eye rake, then sends Macho Man shoulder-first into the steel post. He tosses Savage back into the squared circle, scoops him up for a body slam, The Zodiac climbs to the 2nd rope, comes off for a splash, but nobody’s home. Macho Man quickly heads upstairs, connects with the Flying Elbow Drop and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage (Flying Elbow Drop)
- EA’s Take: Yikes, pretty quick one here that was only made even worse by that fan hopping the barricade. The most interesting part of this match was that Zodiac came out to the music that would later be used for Rey Mysterio. Hell, he got a bigger pop from the crowd than even Savage did during his entrance as he fought off security. This is your basic squash match as Macho Man lays waste to the cartoonish Zodiac in under two minutes and rightfully so. Initially, Savage’s opponent was supposed to be Kamala, but The Ugandan Giant had left the company after only getting a pay-per-appearance deal and never a full-time contract. Also, the stipulation here is that if Savage wins and Luger wins his match later, they’ll meet one-on-one tonight. I wonder what will happen?
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is in the locker room, plugs the WCW Hotline and teases Jimmy Hart recently speaking to a man he used to work with. Okerlund welcomes in WCW World Television Champion Johnny B. Badd, the new champion proclaiming there will be a celebration in the Motor City tonight. He speaks about how dreams can come true if you work hard, states he never gave up despite Diamond Dallas Page from Max Muscle and he plans on keeping the title for a long time.
Video: Back at Clash Of The Champions over the summer, Kurasawa viciously attacked Road Warrior Hawk’s arm, locking on the Kurasawa Crush and breaking it in the process.
Match #3: Kurasawa w/Col. Robert Parker vs. Road Warrior Hawk
The bell rings and Hawk immediately goes on the attack, clobbers Kurasawa with clubbing blows and chops, shoots him to the ropes and connects with a shoulder tackle. He cracks Kurasawa with a neckbreaker, follows with a fist drop for a count of 2, fires away with more stiff shots, then puts the boots to him. Hawk shoots him to the corner and charges in, Kurasawa side-steps out of harm’s way, Hawk goes shoulder-first into the ring post, absorbs it and peppers Kurasawa with big right hands. He muscles him up for a gutwrench suplex, plants him with a powerbomb, Parker distracts Hawk from the outside, Kurasawa rises back to his feet and ambushes him from behind.
He scoops Hawk up for a body slam and goes to the top rope for an elbow drop, Hawks avoids it, clotheslines Kurasawa to the outside, then steps out to the apron. He flies off with a clothesline to Parker, Kurasawa sends Hawk head-first into the ring post, rolls him into the squared circle, launches him with a back body drop, then hits a samoan drop. He goes into a cover and puts his feet on the ropes for leverage, Parker holds Kurasawa’s feet in place, the official doesn’t see it and makes the 3 count.
Winner: Kurasawa (Samoan Drop)
- EA’s Take: Alrighty then, I definitely did not see that coming. Hawk has been on his own for a bit now as Animal continues to rest up a back injury, so it seems like Hawk has just been floating around with not much to do. There was supposed to be a good feud here, but Hawk had been legitimately injured, leading to the angle where Kurasawa “broke his arm”. To sum it up, boring match, boring storyline.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is back in the locker room with ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, Macho saying there’s one down and one to go, reminding us he beat The Zodiac with no problem. Savage states he heard what Hulk Hogan recently said about him, says that he and Hogan are friends until the meet in the ring, claiming he can beat Hulk anytime. He talks about his curiosity to see what will happen tonight in the Monster Truck battle, warning he will be watching very closely.
Match #4: Mr. J.L. vs. Sabu w/The Sheik
Sabu slides right in and ambushes JL, blocks a kick, JL comes back with an enzuigiri and Sabu spills outside as the bell rings. JL slides to the outside in what looks to be a botched spot, Sabu drives him into the barricade, climbs to the apron, springs off the 2nd rope with a moonsault, taking out JL and The Sheik. Sabu lines JL up, leaps off the stairs for a crossbody, JL avoids it, climbs to the top turnbuckle and flies to the floor with a crossbody of his own. He sends Sabu back inside, Sabu surprises him with a kick to the abdomen, whips him to the corner, charges in and JL elevates him up. Sabu lands on his feet on the top rope, comes off with a moonsault that misses, JL heads upstairs for one of his own and gains a count of 2.
He delivers a sit-out powerbomb for another 2 count, sends him to the corner and rushes in with a dropkick, Sabu side-steps it, steps out to the apron and slingshots in with a somersault leg drop for a near fall. He ascends the corner back up top, JL clubs him across the back, pulls him down for a bridging german suplex, but Sabu kicks out at 2. JL looks to the high-rent district now, Sabu clocks him with an uppercut, climbs up for a super victory roll, hooks both legs, but still can’t put it away. Sabu scales the corner again, JL springs off the 2nd rope with a dropkick, sends Sabu spilling to the floor, but can’t capitalize. Sabu climbs to the apron and buries a shoulder to the breadbasket, drops JL throat-first across the top rope, steps inside, hits the Arabian Press and gets the win.
Winner: Sabu (Arabian Press)
- After The Bell: The Sheik lights is trademark fireball and throws it in JL’s face for good measure.
- EA’s Take: No selling, no pacing, no storyline…brutal. If you unmasked JL and gave these guys ten more minutes, you may have had something, but obviously this wasn’t the case. After being fired from ECW, Sabu arrived in WCW just over a month prior, however it was very short-lived and this would be his only PPV appearance before heading back to ECW just a couple of weeks later. JL is also a newcomer to WCW, who would be better known as Jerry Lynn in the future, but for the time being he would work under a mask as one of the lower-tier Cruiserweight competitiors until 1997.
In The Arena: The Master & The Taskmaster are on the stage for The Master’s Lair, The Master speaks about the moon falling over Detroit, claims the stars are lined up and the Milky Way is ready for The Taskmaster. He speaks about it being the start of a new day from China to the USA, believes there will be an eclipse of the sun and The Taskmaster will walk upon the galaxy as The Giant destroys Hulkamania with The Yeti as their back-up plan. The Taskmaster says that a giant will lead them into the next century, claims that when Hulk Hogan dawned black attire it pulled the evil out of him, warning that Hogan doesn’t have anyone to watch his back tonight.
Backstage: Gene Okerlund is standing by in the locker room with WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan & Jimmy Hart, the Hulkster joined by the winners of WCW’s Harley Davidson Sweepstakes. Hogan says it was important for him to be on a roll going into tonight, thinks giving this Harley away will give him the extra edge he needs, then offers up some extra custom work. The winners are presented with some t-shirts, Hulk speaks about The Giant running over his Harley recently and looks to return the favor.
Match #5: Meng w/The Taskmaster vs. Lex Luger
Luger wastes no time and fires away with fists at the bell, rams Meng head-first into the top turnbuckle numerous times, then grabs a side headlock. Meng pushes Lex off to the ropes, drops down, Luger grabs him by the legs, buries a stomp to the abdomen, then catapults him face-first into the top turnbuckle. He rakes Meng’s eyes across the top rope, Meng begins to battle back with kicks and chops, drives The Total Package face-first off the top turnbuckle, then looks to send him to the ropes. Luger reverses for a back body drop, Meng catches him with a kick, utilizes a small package for a quick 2 count, then unloads with shots across the back.
He tries to send Lex face-first back into the top turnbuckle, The Total Package blocks it, returns the favor, irish whip to the opposite corner is reversed, Meng charges in and meets a boot to the chin. Luger clotheslines him over the top to the floor, The Taskmaster helps Meng to his feet, Lex comes outside from behind, ramming Meng shoulder-first into the steel post. Lex rolls him back inside, climbs to the apron and drops the arm down across the top rope, climbs into the squared circle and Meng surprises him with shots to the ribs. Meng sinks his teeth into The Total Package’s nose, Luger starts fighting back with stiff right hands, shoots him to the corner and rushes in, but nobody’s home.
Meng measures for a clothesline that’s off-target, Lex powers him up for a back suplex, Meng switches his weight, falls on top and gets a count of 2. He puts the boots to The Total Package, scoops him up for a shoulder breaker, corners him and wrenches the right arm up in the ropes. He buries boots into the breadbasket, chokes Luger with his foot, spikes Lex with a piledriver and goes into a lateral press for a near fall. Meng quickly applies a choke, slaps on a rear chinlock to wear Luger down, The Total Package works his way back to his feet, hits the ropes for a clothesline, Meng ducks under it, both guys go for a crossbody and collide, Lex landing on top for a 2 count. Both guys back up quick and Meng goes to the ribs with a kick, plants Luger with a back suplex for a count of 2, deposits him out of the ring and The Taskmaster stands over Lex to have some words.
The Total Package tries to crawl back into the squared circle, Meng continually kicks him back down, Luger finally rolls back in and Meng keeps up the punishment with stomps. Lex catches Meng with shoulders to the abdomen and gets raked in the eyes, dishes out more shots across the back, sends The Total Package to the ropes for a dropkick, but Lex hangs onto the ropes to avoid it. Meng staggers to his feet and charges, Luger elevates him over the top, Meng hangs onto the apron, hooks The Total Package for a suplex to the floor, but Lex blocks and brings him in with a suplex of his own. He can’t capitalize and Meng shoots him to the ropes for a back body drop, Luger avoids it with a kick, tries taking him off his feet with multiple clotheslines, finally does it, then sends him to the ropes for a back body drop off of his own.
He measures Meng for more clotheslines, sends him to the ropes for a powerslam, calls for the Torture Rack, but Meng reaches into his boot for the gold spike. He surprises Lex with the gold spike to the throat, hooks the leg, The Taskmaster steps into the ring, kicks Luger and the referee calls for the bell.
Winner: Lex Luger (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Meng gets angered and shoves The Taskmaster, Sullivan trying to explain that now Luger will have to face Macho Man.
- EA’s Take: Not a bad match, but again, nothing overly exciting or entertaining. Since returning to WCW just over a month prior, Luger has been in a tweener state and a teased member of The Dungeon Of Doom. Thus, further explaining The Taskmaster’s interference. This was a strange time for Lex, as the fans didn’t really want to boo him at the time, however WCW was trying to lay some ground work for a big match-up with Hulk Hogan that would never really come to pass. Despite the tension between Meng & Sullivan, nothing would come of it and Meng would go on to become more of a tag team competitor alongside The Barbarian as The Faces Of Fear.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is joined by The Giant in the locker room, The Giant saying that if Hulk Hogan has the courage to show up for their Monster Truck battle, the roof won’t be big enough for the both of them. He states he will push the Hulkster right off of the building, then plans on Chokeslamming him through the floor to become the WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
Match #6: The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson & ‘Flyin’ Brian) vs. WCW United States Champion Sting & ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
Sting comes out on his own after Flair was ambushed earlier in the night by an unknown assailant. Double-A will kick things off, has some words for the Stinger and they lock-up, Anderson working to a hammerlock. The champion counters to one of his own and Arn reaches for the ropes to get the break, the fans chant “We Want Flair” they go in for another collar & elbow and Anderson goes to the midsection with a knee. He slaps on a full nelson, Sting kicks Pillman off the apron and reverses to one of his own, Double-A tries to scale the ropes with his feet, but the champion releases him and he falls to the mat.
Anderson rolls to the floor to regroup, steps back into the squared circle and the “We Want Flair” chants break out again, he locks-up with Sting, then goes to a wristlock and rips him down by the hair. The Stinger kips right back up and shoots Arn off to the ropes, gets knocked down by a shoulder block, Double-A goes back into the ropes, the champion leapfrogs over, then goes to the breadbasket with a kick. He hits the ropes and plants him with a facebuster, Flyin’ Brian comes in to help out, Sting thwarts both of the Horsemen off and clears the ring, Anderson & Pillman having a conference on the outside. Double-A rolls in and tags out, Pillman into the collar & elbow tie-up, the Stinger backs him to the ropes, Flyin’ Brian slaps him across the face off the break, then ducks to the floor to retreat.
The champion heads out in pursuit, Arn lays in wait around ringside for a clothesline, Sting ducks it, levels him with a clothesline of his own, then flattens Pillman with another. Flyin’ Brian takes a walk before heading back inside, he offers Sting a handshake, the champion accepts it, goes to the ribs with a kick, then powers him up for a military press slam. Pillman crawls away and makes a tag, Double-A cautiously steps in, has some words for the Stinger and then convenes with Flyin’ Brian. He avoids a lock-up with a boot to the breadbasket, clobbers the champion to the mat with double axe handles, picks him up for a piledriver and Flyin’ Brian climbs to the top rope. Sting blocks it, takes Arn down with a double leg, catapults him into Pillman and Flyin’ Brian gets crotched on the top turnbuckle.
The champion drops Anderson with a back elbow, steps to the apron, launches Pillman off the top down into the guardrail, then turns back to Double-A and peppers him with right hands. Arn sneaks in a thumb to the eye to stop the onslaught, unknowingly drives Sting head-first off Pillman’s skull in the corner, whips the champion to the ropes and buries a fist into the abdomen. ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair finally sprints down to the ring in street clothes, nearly runs over the official trying to get a piece of Anderson, but the ref works him over to his corner. Double-A deposits the Stinger to the outside, Flyin’ Brian goes to work behind the referee’s back, the champion staggers back inside and Arn puts the boots to him, then chokes Sting with the bottom of his foot.
Tag to Flyin’ Brian, he fires away with stinging chops in the corner, the Stinger begins to battle back with shots of his own, Pillman catches him with a drop toe hold, then reaches for the tag. The Enforcer continues the punishment by choking with his knee, grounds Sting with a rear chinlock, Flair gets tired of waiting and comes in with one of his shoes in his hand, the official cuts him off and Arn scoops the Stinger up for a body slam. He makes a tag and Flyin’ Brian heads upstairs, Double-A launches him off the top for a splash, Sting gets the knees up to avoid it, but Pillman tags out before he can reach Flair. Anderson plants the champion with a back suplex for a count of 2, he locks knuckles with Sting to try and hold him down, tries dropping down onto the Stinger, but he gets the knees up again.
The champion reaches for his corner and The Enforcer grabs him by the foot, Pillman drops off the apron, goes around ringside and baits Flair off the apron, The Nature Boy chasing him around ringside before order is restored. Double-A hooks Sting in an abdominal stretch, uses Flyin’ Brian for extra leverage out of the official’s sight, tags out and Pillman grinds the champion face-first into the canvas. He mocks Flair and fires off a chop to the chest, bites the Stinger across the nose, bludgeons him with heavy right hands, then snapmares him over for a single-leg crab. He uses The Enforcer to apply more pressure, Flair comes in to distract the referee, Flyin’ Brian and Anderson swap out, Double-A locking on a modified camel clutch.
He releases it and buries a boot to the spine, brings Pillman back in, Flyin’ Brian delivers a kick to the ribs, covers and only gets a 2 count. Tag back to Anderson, Arn goes to the midsection with a barrage of punches, The Nature Boy jumps into the ring to stop a 2-on-1 assault, the Stinger begins battling back, irish whip to the ropes is reversed and Double-A delivers a spinebuster for a near fall. Pillman reaches for the tag, targets the left knee with an elbow drop, slaps on a heel hold, brings The Enforcer back in for a wishbone, then Anderson goes to a heel hold of his own. Sting digs deep and starts crawling towards his corner, Arn buries knees into the back to put a stop to it, locks on a bearhug to wear him down further and the official has to check the arm.
The champion keeps it up on the third attempt, breaks free after an ear clap, Arn hooks him by the legs, reaches for Pillman and Flyin’ Brian cuts the Stinger off with an elbow drop. He chokes the champion, drags him up in the corner for heavy chops, snapmares him over and goes to a seated abdominal stretch. Sting starts working to his feet and Flyin’ Brian drives him head-first off the top turnbuckle, The Horsemen go on the attack, the champion fights his way out of the wrong part of town, but Pillman goes to the eyes. He brings Sting back to the corner, the Stinger rams Flyin’ Brian head-first into Anderson, finally reaches his corner and makes a tag. The Nature Boy steps in, hits the ropes, blasts Sting with a big right hand, then puts the boots to him with The Horsemen and the ref calls for the bell.
Winners: Sting & ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Flair, Anderson & Pillman work the champion over with an assault of punches and chops, put the boots to him and another official runs down to try and stop them unsuccessfully. ‘Mean’ Gene waits on the stage to speak with The Horsemen, plugs the WCW Hotline to kill time first, Flair takes the mic and proclaims that it’s now time to go to school. The Nature Boy says the first thing you’ll learn is not to jump on Double-A and secondly, you don’t play around with Flyin’ Brian. Flair states that thirdly you don’t mess with him and fourth you don’t breathe unless The Horsemen allow you to, Anderson saying everyone who asked for it now has it and needs to deal with. The Nature Boy exclaims they are reunited and it feels so good.
- EA’s Take: Beautifully put together swerve here after Flair and Anderson had been separated for a number of weeks now. Pillman was also just getting into his ‘Loose Cannon’ persona at this time too, which was very groundbreaking and left viewers, as well as the boys in the back wondering if he had legitimately lost his mind. Classic tactics during the match from two excellent tag team performers as well prior to Flair’s big turn, then of course you have Sting pulling off his babyface role perfectly. Overall a lot to like about this one.
Backstage: Mike Tenay is standing by with Lex Luger, The Total Package thinks there are forces at work here in WCW besides Sting who want him to face ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Luger says he can’t figure out why just yet, but when he hears the bell ring it’s time for the big boys to play and he will be victorious. Lex claims he knows Savage is in cahoots with Hulk Hogan, but it doesn’t matter because he will be the greatest wrestler WCW has ever seen, making an example of Macho Man.
Video: WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan knows the wrath of The Giant all too well by now, as we take a look at their history beginning with The Giant throwing a t-shirt of his father, Andre The Giant, into the champion’s face. He would continue to target the Hulkster, even nearly running him over with a monster truck, but destroying Hogan’s Harley Davidson in the process. The champion would announce his intentions to have his own monster truck built, however The Giant would continue to dominate him with help from The Taskmaster and the Dungeon Of Doom, even laying him out to shave Hulk’s mustache. This would lead Hogan to turn to a darker side of himself, showing he be as dastardly as anyone in the Dungeon Of Doom. The Master would notice this change in the champion, revealing he has an insurance policy of his own in The Yeti.
Match #7 is a Monster Truck Match: The Giant vs. WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan
Eric Bischoff & Bob Chandler join Heenan for commentary, as we go to the rooftop of Kobo Hall. Hogan and Giant are face-to-face as the rules are explained, as you must get all four of your opponents tires outside of the circle to win, but there are also two explosives charges randomly placed within it. They weld the front bumpers together, the engines fire up and we’re ready to go, Hogan and The Giant forcing each other back-and-forth around the circle. The Hulkster gets pushed through the circle, but only two wheels break the line and they continue jockeying back-and-forth. Hogan gets pushed back through the circle again, one of the charges explodes, the champion forces his way back into the circle and avoids getting knocked out. He battles back, forces The Giant backwards all the way through the circle and gets the victory.
Winner: Hulk Hogan
- After The Bell: The Giant steps out fuming and stalks the Hulkster near the edge of the roof, misses a double axe handle, but grabs Hogan by the throat and powers him into the air. They steps up to the ledge, the champion breaks free, Giant loses his balance and falls backwards off the roof.
- EA’s Take: So…they killed a guy? It was very strange covering a Monster Truck Match for one and while I give bonus points for trying to be creative, this was as unexciting as it reads. Then to finish it off, The Giant falls off the roof of an arena? Honestly, who thought this was a good idea?
Match #8: Lex Luger vs. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage
The bell rings and the two men exchange some words, Luger offers a handshake, but Savage suckers him with a fist. He rams Lex head-first into the top turnbuckle and whips him to the corner, The Total Package rebounds out with a clothesline, then rams Macho Man face-first into the turnbuckle. Jimmy Hart makes his way down to ringside, Luger puts the boots to Savage in the corner, chokes him with his foot and the official forces a break. Lex batters Macho Man with punches, clubs him with a double axe handle, buries a kick to the chest and then chokes him over the top rope. He taunts Savage to get back up, Macho Man starts fighting back, The Total Package rocks him with a forearm, deposits him to the outside, Savage tries to crawl back up to the apron and Lex kicks him to the floor.
He steps out to the apron and comes off with a double axe handle, looks to send him head-first into the barricade, Macho Man blocks it, returns the face, then rams Luger face-first off the steps. He sends The Total Package back into the guardrail multiple times, throws him back inside, steps in and clocks Lex from behind with a clothesline. Savage ascends the corner and flies off with a double axe handle, Luger catches him in the abdomen with a right hand, Jimmy Hart climbs on the apron and distract the official, Lex tries to whip Macho Man into the corner, but it’s reversed. Savage rushes in and eats a knee to the jaw, The Total Package makes a cover, the ref is still dealing with Jimmy, he hauls Macho Man up to shoot him to the ropes, Savage reverses and Lex collides with Hart to send him to the floor. Savage quickly climbs to the top rope, connects with the Flying Elbow Drop and gets the 1-2-3.
Winner: ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage (Top Rope Elbow Drop)
- EA’s Take: Another quick one with very unusual circumstances if you weren’t keeping up on Monday Nitro. They were really beginning to pit Luger and Sting to a certain extent up against Hogan & Savage, a bit of reality meets fiction played out on television. We will see more of Lex tonight though to further explain the situation.
Match #9 for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship: WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan w/Jimmy Hart vs. The Giant w/The Taskmaster
Hogan takes a microphone and explains that what happened earlier tonight wasn’t supposed to be, apologizes and says there was a terrible accident. Music hits and The Giant & The Taskmaster march to the squared circle. Giant chases Hulk out of the ring, the champion steps in, shreds his shirt and we’re underway. The champion peels off his bandana and reveals paint like The Taskmaster, The Giant charges in, Hogan side-steps him and unloads with big punches. The challenger absorbs them, the Hulkster hits the ropes for more fists, staggers the big man, then attempts a body slam. The Giant blocks it and clobbers him across the back, whips Hogan into the corner, then scores with a boot off the rebound.
He continues hammering the champion with shots to the spine, delivers big chops in the corner, chokes the Hulkster, then whips him to the opposite corner. Giant buries a boot to the breadbasket off the rebound, locks knuckles with the champion and powers him down to his knees, Hulk muscles his way to his feet, but the challenger goes back to the midsection with a kick. He whips Hogan to the ropes for a back elbow, scoops him up for a body slam, The Giant hits the ropes for a leg drop, but it’s off-target. The Hulkster gets a rush of adrenaline and fires away with fists, drives the challenger head-first into the top turnbuckle multiple times, corners him, then climbs to the 2nd rope to rain down rights. He rakes Giant across the back, sends him to the corner and follows in with a clothesline, shoots him to the ropes for a clothesline and the big man only staggers.
Hogan makes him stumble with a second clothesline, dumps him over the top with a third, The Taskmaster helps The Giant to his feet and they start to walk off to the back. The champion climbs outside and chases them down, delivers a double noggin knocker, sends The Giant into the squared circle, roll in and pokes him in the eyes multiple times. The Hulkster batters him with punches, hits the ropes for a shoulder block, still can’t bring the challenger down with another, goes back to the well again and Giant grabs him for a Chokeslam. Hogan rakes the eyes to escape it, chokes him against the ropes, The Giant goes to the eyes to stop the onslaught, whips him to the ropes and cracks the champion with a backbreaker.
The challenger goes into a lateral press for a count of 2, pummels Hulk across the back, sends him to the ropes and locks on a bearhug to wear him down. The Hulkster fights his way free, can’t capitalize and gets clubbed across the spine, The Giant delivers another body slam, then goes right back to the bearhug. Hulk begins to fade away and the ref checks the arm, the champion keeps it up on the third attempt, breaks the grip with heavy right hands, hits the ropes and gets planted by a Chokeslam. The Giant makes the cover, Hogan powers out of it, begins Hulking up and absorbs a number of shots. He blocks one, delivers a series of punches, whips The Giant to the ropes for a big boot, but the big man stays on his feet. The Hulkster calls for a body slam, rakes the eyes and scoops Giant up for the slam, hits the ropes to deliver the Leg Drop and covers, but Jimmy Hart nails the official to stop the count.
Hogan doesn’t know what happened, Jimmy steps inside and helps him pick the referee up, Hulk turns back to the challenger and Jimmy shoves the official to the mat. He picks up the WCW Title, clocks the champion from behind, the Hulkster absorbs it, gets his hands on Jimmy, but The Giant grabs him in a bearhug. The Taskmaster steps in and fires away at the champion’s back, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage & Lex Luger run down to the ring to make the save, but Luger turns on Savage and puts the boots to him. The Yeti marches down to the squared circle, wraps his arm around both Giant & Hogan, squeezing the champion in between the two big men. They put the Hulkster out, The Total Package powers him up in the Torture Rack, Yeti & Giant put Macho Man in their double bearhug, Luger following with another Torture Rack.
Winner: The Giant (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: The Giant grabs the World Title, raises it in the air and leaves with it.
- EA’s Take: So much bad to talk about here. The match was at least watchable thanks to Hogan, as this was The Giant’s first match, so he’s obviously greener than Kermit The Frog. A couple of spots it was very clear that he was ducking in to get the call from Hulk, but you could definitely see the potential there with him. I always found it absurd they claimed he was the son of Andre The Giant, but with everything else going on in the Dungeon Of Doom it wasn’t bad by comparison, specifically like The Yeti. This gimmick was so bad that it wasn’t even good enough for the Dungeon Of Doom, as he would only make three appearances before being repackaged later on (We will see him again, just not wrapped in toilet paper). Luger finally turns on Hulk and officially joins the Dungeon, plus Jimmy Hart swerves Hogan with it being revealed the next night on Nitro he had a clause in the contract stating the title would change hands by DQ. Therefore, The Giant wins the World Title in his very first match against the all-black Hogan, giving us a preview of things to come.
EA’s Finisher: No matter how you slice it, this event will always infamously be known for the Monster Truck Match, The Giant falling off of a rooftop and the debut of The Yeti…and not for good reasons. If you can look past those mishaps, the rest of the card wasn’t as bad as it seems aside from a couple. I thought the turn of Ric Flair on Sting was magnificently executed, Diamond Dallas Page and Johnny B. Badd showed what WCW’s up-and-coming stars can do, plus it is still the debut of a future Hall Of Famer in The Giant, even if it was rough. So whether you watch this for its comically epic failures, you can still find a couple of hidden gems in here. Basically, what I’m saying is if I didn’t have to pick three for the ‘3 On Top’, then I’d only choose two this time around.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Diamond Dallas Page vs. Johnny B. Badd
2 – Sting & Ric Flair vs. Arn Anderson & Flyin’ Brian
3 – Lex Luger vs. Meng