Our weekly Chairshot Classics WCW PPV series continues with SuperBrawl V!
Open: Technical difficulties occurred in the original broadcast, so any opening package or segments are unavailable. We pick up in the middle of match #1.
Match #1: ‘Das Wunderkind’ Alex Wright vs. ‘Pretty’ Paul Roma
As stated above, the beginning of the match is missing due to technical difficulties. We come upon Alex Wright holding an arm bar on Roma. Pretty Paul gets to vertical and turns the tide. He grabs a wrist lock, Wright cartwheels out of it, Roma tries to stay in control with some hair takedowns. The ref lectures him allowing Wright to pop up, he walks the rope for an arm drag takedown. Hiptoss into an arm bar by Das Wunderkind. ‘Mr Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff comes walking toward the ring from the back, and he’s cheering for Roma.
Wright works Roma to the mat for a 1 count, tries again and still can’t wrestle him down. Fireman’s takeover by Wright and he hangs onto the arm while Roma screams at the referee. Roma circles behind for a forearm shot and he drops a couple of elbows across the chest of Wright. Scoop by Roma and he drops Wright for a back breaker. He hangs on and lifts him for two more. Orndorff loves it. Roma puts the boots to Wright and dumps the young kid on the outside. Orndorff stands back and doesn’t take advantage. From the apron, Roma strikes with a forearm and boots Wright to the floor once again.
Orndorff stays out of it once again. Wright climbs to the apron and fights back with rights. He tries a sunset flip but Roma cuts him off. Pretty Paul makes a cover but Wright kicks out, Paul thinks the count was slow. To the ropes, Wright tries reversing a hiptoss into a backslide. Roma struggles but he finally gets him over for one. Wright tries a small package but can only manage two. Roma is up with the advantage, he gouges the eyes and Randy Anderson warns him. Snapmare takeover and Roma locks in a reverse chin lock. He uses the ropes for leverage and Orndorff runs a distraction. The ref drop checks the arm and gets two.
Wright works his way up and breaks the hold with elbows. He sends Roma for a dropkick but Roma holds the ropes. Pretty Paul leaps to the top rope and lands a big elbow. He is slow to cover and pulls Wright up by the hair. Irish whip, Wright moves and lays in some rights and European uppercuts. Whip to the ropes for a hip toss, he shoots him in again for a spin kick and Roma kicks out at one. To the corner, Wright comes back with a crossbody, but Orndorff breaks up the pin from the outside. Scoop slam by Roma and he conferences with Orndorff who is up on the apron. Wright blindsides him with a dropkick and schoolboys Roma for the victory.
Winner: ‘Das Wunderkind’ Alex Wright (Schoolboy)
- EA’s Take: Oh, WCW. We didn’t get the opening segment or the start of the match due to technical difficulties – color me not surprised! I was expecting Orndorff to turn on Roma or vice versa when he came out from the back, especially when no liberties were taken with Wright on the outside. It didn’t happen and it was pretty standard stuff here.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is standing by with WCW World Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat & Sister Sherri. Sherri mocks The Nasty Boys for crying the management and not coming to the woman who could get them another shot at the belts. Stevie Ray tells them you either smoke or get smoked, if you want the belts, come and get them. Booker T chimes in by reminding them who the champs are, they have a new move in mind for tonight and there is going to be a Harlem hangover tonight in Baltimore.
Match #2: Bunkhouse Buck w/Col. Robert Parker & Meng vs. ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan
The brawl breaks out before Duggan even lets go of his flag. Buck goes down with a right and he’s thrown into the buckle. Forearm shots from Hacksaw and he throws Buck into the other buckle. Buck turns the tables with an eye rake but it’s Duggan with a hip toss off the ropes and a clothesline out to the floor. Buck grabs his ankle and invites Duggan to a slugfest on the floor. Duggan is run into the ring post and he rolls back in. To the ropes, Duggan stops short and drops a knee on Bunkhouse Buck.
He grabs a reverse chin lock, Buck gets back to his feet but he gets a head butt and several elbows across the tricep. Buck tries a kick, Duggan catches him and spins him into an atomic drop. Heavy right by Duggan and Buck gets his foot on the rope when he’s pinned. Reverse chin lock by Duggan, he works out of it but he’s pounded down by a right. Buck is thrown repeatedly into the turnbuckle, but he grabs a rope from the outside and gets Duggan in the throat with it. Duggan is dumped out to the floor and Buck pursues. He stomps on Duggan’s ribs and rips at his face. Back in the ring, it’s Buck with a chinlock.
Duggan lifts Buck and sits him on the top turnbuckle. They exchange strikes and Duggan gets the upperhand. He drives his shoulder into Buck and sends him for a back body drop, he goes for a cover and Buck kicks out. Buck pursues Duggan but Hacksaw is getting a 2nd wind, Buck goes down with a big right and eats an elbow for two. Reverse chin lock by Duggan and he gets the USA chants going.A forearm shot puts Buck on the apron, and Duggan tells Parker to watch himself. Whip to the ropes and Duggan spins him for a powerslam. A knee drop and Buck kicks out at two. Back to the reverse chin lock by Duggan and he transitions into a nerve hold.
Duggan measures a big right and lifts Buck for a headbutt. Bunkhouse drops to his back, Duggan is slow to cover and Buck is in the ropes. Duggan grabs at a distracting Col. Parker before placing Buck in the corner for 10-count rights. Forearm shot and an Irish whip by Hacksaw, he firmly drives the shoulder into Buck’s gut. Wristlock applied by Duggan and he cranks on the shoulder. He positions into a hammerlock and he rips the rest of Buck’s shirt off. To the ropes and a big power slam by Duggan. Buck rakes the eyes and sends Duggan into Parker who is on the apron. Hacksaw comes back with a 3 point stance clothesline and he wins the bout.
Winner: ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan (3-Point Stance)
- After The Bell: Meng rushes the ring, hits Duggan with a savate kick and applies a nerve hold. It takes multiple referees and Col. Parker’s urging for him to let it go.
- EA’s Take: Boy, this was slow and basic. The most exciting takeaway was Meng’s involvement at the end of the match. He has been on the floor and not in the ring for far, far too long while being built up as an unstoppable beast.
Backstage: Standing by with ‘Mean’ Gene is The Nasty Boys. Do they have a battle plan for Harlem Heat’s gold? Sags explain that it’s hard to think about much, but they’re going to take the champs to Nastyville. What if Sherri gets involved? Knobs tells Gene if she does, she’ll get smacked down, the time is now and the championships are returning home tonight!
Match #3: Kevin Sullivan w/The Butcher vs. Dave Sullivan
Kevin wastes no time to attack, but Dave’s ready. They exchange blows and Dave hits a few scoop slams. He sits on Kevin’s chest and lays in rights. To the ropes and a back elbow sends Kevin outside. The Butcher checks in and offers some encouragement. Dave hits Butcher on the back of the head and returns to the ring. Kevin eats the turnbuckle and count-off rights. Kevin is sent for the ride and lifted for a back body drop. A lateral press and Kevin kicks out. Back to the ropes, they collide and Kevin goes down. Dave runs again and he’s tripped up by Butcher. Kevin sends Dave to the outside and shoves him into the apron.
Butcher takes liberties while Kevin distracts Nick Patrick. Dave staggers to his feet but he’s booted from the apron. Kevin pulls him back up for a huge forearm across the chest, and a baseball slide knocks Dave back down to the floor. From the apron, Dave reaches out and grabs Kevin’s neck before clubbing in. Irish whip but Kevin gets his boot into Dave’s face. Karate chops by Kevin to the neck and arm. Dave tries fighting from his knees and he bites Kevin on the stomach. Kevin is able to stay on the offense and he chokes Dave in the ropes, the referee must break it up. A big slap and some chops from Kevin in the corner.
Dave won’t give up and he tries fighting back, but he’s dumped through the middle ropes out to the Butcher who tosses him into the steps. From the apron, Dave blocks a right and delivers some strikes, Kevin stumbles back. Dave lifts Kevin with a two handed choke until the ref calls it off. Kevin slices with some chops and takes position in the corner. Headbutt by Kevin and he hits a bronco buster in the ropes. He tries again but Dave moves and Kevin gets hung up. Dave is on the offense and drives Kevin into the turnbuckle until Kevin collapses. Butcher is up on the apron but Dave is pounding away. Butcher baits Dave to the corner, Kevin blindsides him and drives him into Butcher. He grabs a schoolboy and Kevin wins the battle of the brothers.
Winner: Kevin Sullivan (Schoolboy)
- After The Bell: Kevin checks in with his sacrificed buddy, Butcher who appears to be in immense pain. He grabs his face and staggers to the back with Kevin helping him out temporarily. Finally, Kevin says forget it and walks away from Butcher.
- EA’s Take: Not too shabby given that Dave Sullivan’s work rate is fairly limited and that’s being nice. Obviously Kevin Sullivan will have to answer for his abandonment of The Butcher after the conclusion of the match. Foreshadowing!
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is joined by Avalanche & Big Bubba Rogers. Gene discusses the former face reconstruction of Butcher and why that may be important going forward. He asks his guests about Sting and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Avalanche has a score to settle with Savage for sticking his nose in his business. Rogers is going to leave Sting and Savage laying tonight.
Match #4 for the WCW World Tag Team Championships: The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs & Jerry Sags) vs. WCW World Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat (Booker T. & Stevie Ray) w/Sister Sherri
Booker T lectures some fans in the front row. A big staredown between all four, Nick Patrick tries to get some order. The crowd is firmly behind The Nasty Boys. It’ll be Booker T and Brian Knobs to start. They lock up and struggle from the neutral position. Booker looks ticked after getting thrown away, he grabs a wristlock, quickly reversed by Knobs and it’s broken on the ropes. Booker shoves and Knobs slaps. Booker throws his knee into the gut and sends Knobs for a spin kick, Knobs ducks and Booker is caught on the top rope. The Nasty Boys yank it up and down until Booker falls to the floor.
Booker is sent down on the floor and Sherri is chased away. Sags rolls Booker back in and Knobs hits a forearm and makes a tag. The Nasty Boys land a double clothesline and Sags follows with a low blow on the mat. Double leg pick up by Sags and he drops an elbow on the thigh. Sags lifts Booker up and hits an inverted atomic drop. He prevents a tag and goes for a pin, Stevie breaks it up. Booker changes the tide with a thumb to the eyes and makes an exchange. The fresh Stevie Ray clubs some rights in the corner and goes to the gut. Sags is drilled in the corner and choked. The ref backs him off, Stevie sends him for a whip, Sags moves and comes back with a series of rights.
He makes the tag to Knobs and Stevie deals with a double clubbing. Double leg pickup by Knobs and he drops a leg on the thigh. He follows with an elbow and makes a quick tag back to Sags. Sags applies more punishment to Stevie’s ankle and makes a tag. Knobs hits a big splash across the leg of Stevie and he’s in pain. Stevie breaks it up with an eye poke, tags in Booker but Knobs welcomes him with a hip toss and shoots him outside. Sags takes advantage with an elbow from the apron. Irish whip by Knobs, Booker gets his boots up, Knobs ducks a comeback clothesline and scores with a scoop slam. Knobs throws fists and tags in Sags.
A double team shot to the back of the knee. Booker is able to get a knee lift and he sends Sags to the ropes. Stevie grabs him from behind and Sags is dropkicked over the top by Booker. Stevie and Sherri send him into the safety rail and roll him back into the ring. Official tag is made to Stevie who drops him with a snapmare, but Sags avoids a leg drop. Sags drops a knee and tags in his partner. Knobs drops an elbow and tries a cover for two. Knobs uses Sags’ boot as a weapon and makes a quick tag. They hit the ropes and Sags hits an inside out clothesline. Stevie is up quick and he hits a spinning Harlem kick, knocking Sags to the floor. Booker takes a cheapshot with another one, he holds Sags in place and Sherri throws a right cross.
A double team is in the ring, and Stevie is sent to the outside. Sags rolls outside of the ring, but he’s met by Stevie Ray leaping off the apron. Sags is rolled back in, snapmare by Booker and he holds a reverse chin lock. Jerry slowly works his way back up, breaks the hold and hits the ropes but pays for it with a spin kick from Booker. Stevie is tagged back in and he’s ruthless, choking Sags on the mat. Reverse chin lock by Stevie Ray and the ref checks in. Sags tries standing but he’s whipped back down on the mat. Knobs gets the crowd cheering. Sags is able to work back up, Stevie drives him into Heat’s corner though and tags in Booker T.
The younger brother hits an axe kick and tries a pin but he wasted too much time. Sags kicks out. Front facelock by Booker, Sags lifts him on his shoulder but Stevie breaks it up. From the 2nd rope, Booker misses a knee drop, Sags ducks a clothesline and hits a desperation power slam. Stevie is tagged in but so is Knobs. Brian cleans house with clotheslines and scoop slams. Harlem Heat fight back, they go for a double back drop but Knobs reverses with a double DDT. Knobs lands a splash on Stevie but Booker breaks up the pin. Sags comes to his partner’s aid and throws Booker over the top rope.
With the ref distracted, Sherri climbs up to the top rope, Stevie Ray holds Knobs in place but Brian moves and Sherri clocks him. Knobs rolls up Stevie and we appear to have new champions. Referee Randy Anderson comes down to the ring to explain that Booker was thrown over the top rope, prompting a DQ and Harlem Heat retains.
Winners and STILL WCW World Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat (Disqualification)
- EA’s Take: Harlem Heat may be my favorite tag team of all time and they’re definitely hot heels right now, no pun intended. The end saves the babyfaces, but keeps the belts on who needs to have them. I’m positive these two teams haven’t seen the last of each other and with a DQ finish here, expect it to get more wild moving forward.
Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #16 – ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
Breaking up the 2018 time travel with a much deeper dive! Harry goes back to some prime ECW with Guilty As Charged 1999!
Greetings, salutations and welcome back. Harry here once again with another edition of ‘What I Watched’. As the calendar year turns to 1999 on my watch-through of all things ‘big three’ wrestling, I covered Starrcade 1998 in an earlier edition of WIW. I figured since this is probably the last year where all three major companies are relevant (at least at the start), it could be fun to compare and contrast how I feel about the respective PPVs when compared to some of the independent wrestling I’ve been covering recently. Or even going back to the PROGRESS or Impact Wrestling shows that I’ve covered before. I am fully aware there are going to be some bad shows in 1999. But there is also a lot to talk about in a drastically changing industry. Let’s do this, shall we?
ECW is in flux as talent losses haven’t yet gotten to what they would become but names like Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Bam Bam Bigelow and others are no longer with the company. To make matters worse, the ECW-FMW relationship is falling apart now as well as a Chris Candido and Sunny (sorry, Tammy Lynn Sytch) no-show of a scheduled FMW appearance. Paul Heyman himself is the first person we see telling us the card is going to change…how much does it change? The WayBack Machine takes us to January 10th, 1999 in Kissimmee, FL as it’s time for ECW to be Guilty as Charged!
What I Watched #16
ECW Guilty as Charged 1999
Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL
Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)
Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)
- Match 1: Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney win 3 team tag elimination match, eliminating Little Guido/Tracy Smothers @ 10:44 (Danny Doring/Roadkill eliminated @ 8:15)
- Match 2: Yoshihiro Tajiri pins Super Crazy, dragon suplex @ 11:37
- Match 3: Psycho Sid Vicious pins John Kronus, powerbomb @ 1:31
- Match 4: Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley def. New Jack/Spike Dudley, both Dudleyz pin Spike @ 10:05
- Match 5: ECW TV Title- Rob Van Dam pins Lance Storm, bridged German suplex @ 17:46
- Match 6: Justin Credible pins Tommy Dreamer, That’s Incredible on ladder @ 18:44
- Match 7: ECW Heavyweight Title- Taz defeats Shane Douglas © by KO, Tazmission @ 22:15
Three Team Tag Elimination Match
Started as a straight up 2 vs. 2, but within the first two minutes, Ballz and Axl (Axl making his return to the company after the passing of his grandmother) join the frey and it becomes your traditional ECW three team brawl. Nothing really stands out here but the overall work is good enough for what the match is supposed to be. The elimination of Doring and Roadkill is well done, as a FBI double-team fishermanbuster looks really cool and gets a decisive win for what was to be the original match. They do give the win to Axl and Ballz here, which I get given the fact they are a popular act, but I personally think that Guido and Tracy were a better team during the time frame. (**½)
Super Crazy vs. Tajiri
Yes, it’s the feud that never ends. But this is where it begins. Both men were relative newcomers to the American wrestling scene with both having had limited exposure on WWF TV (both were in the Light Heavyweight title tournament). This is a good match but not a great match and honestly, I think timing is the issue here. Eleven minutes may seem like a lot but knowing what these two would be capable of down the road once there is more of a fan and time investment into their matches, it ends up being a good starting point but probably not the blow away match that ECW was expecting to deliver here. (***)
John Kronus vs. Mystery Opponent
So, ECW fans are notorious for their belief that the “big oaf” style of the WWF and WCW wouldn’t work in ECW. Obviously, they are wrong. Guys like Big Dick Dudley and 911 became massive fan favorites due to their look, not anything they could do in a wrestling ring. You can add another name to that list, as Psycho Sid makes his ECW debut here (following an introduction by the ‘Judge’ Jeff Jones) and absolutely kicks Kronus’ ass in less than two minutes. Sid was never anything special in the ring but he is one of the more charismatic big men in wrestling history so the cult-like following is easy to understand. Too short to rate, but fun for what it was. (X)
Dudleyz vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley
Sixteen year old Harry getting into ECW was a huge Joel Gertner fan. Thirty seven year old Harry going back and watching these shows is an even bigger fan of Joel Gertner. Granted, his shtick is incredibly juvenile but sometimes, you just want to laugh…
The match is your standard ECW garbage brawl. Most New Jack matches definitely have a similarity to them that does not hold up well for re-watching. I will openly admit to being a Spike Dudley mark and he does well taking an ass whooping from Bubba Ray. The Dudleyz definitely have their moments in ECW (the best is still to come in my opinion) but this isn’t one of their best performances. I will give props to New Jack for taking 3D on the ramp, even if it doesn’t come across the cleanest. About what you’d expect, but nothing more. (**)
TV Title- Rob Van Dam © vs. Lance Storm
Rob Van Dam vs. Masato Tanaka was the originally scheduled match and I think it could have been fun. However, Tanaka apparently has visa issues which prevent him from being able to get into the US for the show and thus ECW has to pivot quickly. I do have to give credit to Lance Storm for his pre-match promo here. For someone who is not known as one of the better talkers in wrestling history, he does a really good job explaining the situation with the 3 way that was supposed to happen (Storm vs. Spike vs. Jerry Lynn (cracked pelvis)) and then calling out Rob Van Dam since his opponent wasn’t there either. Storm has a really good closing line for the promo too: “I’m not the ‘Whole F’n Show’, but I am the best damn part of it’. That is one of the lines that sticks with you and you remember it.
The match itself is very good but not great. It is better than anything else on the show, so perhaps I’m rating it on a slight curve for that. Van Dam’s selling is sporadic but to be fair, Van Dam’s selling is always sporadic. The biggest thing for me is that despite that, they still keep an impressive pace and the match is by and large clean. There is a super weak chair shot by Storm (which the crowd gives him a good ration of shit over), but they do manage to turn that crowd around for the finishing sequence. A little surprised by the choice of finish, but I imagine that has something to do with telling the idea that Storm got caught and wasn’t soundly defeated like most of Van Dam’s prior opponents had been. (***½)
Stairway to Hell- Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer
The problem for Credible in ECW is that Paul wanted you to believe that Justin was this huge deal but truthfully, the booking never actually treated him as such. Yeah, he won…A LOT…but more often than not, it was almost treated as an afterthought. He very rarely won the big matches on his own and while I get that as a heel, you want to give him that sense of dickishness, as a wrestling fan eventually you have to make it look like the dude could stand up on his own. Dreamer has long been a favorite of mine, even if he has overstayed his welcome in the ring on occasion. You know going in that win or lose, Tommy will bust his ass to give you as good a match as he is capable of.
As for this match, it never reaches that next level that you expect a gimmicked semi main event of a PPV to reach. It’s not actively bad or anything (in fact, probably up there for Credible’s best match in ECW to date) but with the stipulation and the gaga around it, it feels like there was so much more it could have been. The finish comes off really flat as well as it renders the whole point of the stipulation useless and only serves to put more heat on Credible by way of Funk. (**½)
Heavyweight Title- Shane Douglas © vs. Taz
So, I’ll be a little nicer to this match then some other reviewers I’ve seen for a couple reasons. It completely accomplishes the goal that Heyman set out for it. Taz comes out of the match looking like a world beater. Douglas comes out of the match as the face of the company who “went out on his shield” as the old phrase goes. Sabu looks like a lunatic and a viable threat to take the title at any time he damn well pleases. Candido comes off as a huge dick and sticks the final knife in Douglas’ back for the end scene. So the story telling is magnificent.
The match itself? At least a good five to seven minutes too long for that story. I get wanting that epic storytelling to fold out but when you guys are down and low on ideas, it might not be the worst idea to take it home. The other issue is that by trying to serve so many masters, Heyman causes the main event to end up being epically overbooked. Granted, that is an ECW trademark but for what was to be the crowning moment for Taz, I don’t think the 73rd Airborne needed to be a part of it. Sabu could have just as easily returned post match to set up a run with Taz. Or Candido could have turned on Douglas post match to give him a direction going forward since Taz would be occupied with Sabu. I’m not saying it completely takes away the moment but it does make it mean less than it could or should have in the overall scheme of things. (**)
THE FINAL REACTION
- Best Match/Moment: Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm, although I do think their match at the first ECW PPV ‘Barely Legal’ (which I imagine I’ll eventually do) is better
- Worst Match/Moment: The main event. What could have been an awesome moment for the ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and the biggest ass kicker in the company is ruined with a boring crowd brawl (to the home viewer) and a couple of run-ins that either end up actively taking away from it.
- Overall Show Score: 5.5/10
- MVP: Joey Styles is the best thing about this show with his one man performance. There is a reason he was such a major influence on what I did as an announcer.
It’s not a bad show. It’s just not a particulary good one either. And while ECW would put out worse, it only barely outdoes Starrcade 98 to avoid the worst show of the return thus far.
So, where do we go from here? January of 1999 had no chill. The very next Sunday would see the first WCW outing of 1999, called Souled Out. The Sunday after that would be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. I’m going to hit both of those but as a fair warning, I’ll probably try to mix an Independent show from 2018 in the middle of them. Hope to see you guys at Souled Out. And feel free to check out my archives by clicking on my name at the top of this review. Thanks for reading, everyone.
What I Watched #10b: All IN 2018
Harry decided to abridge his All In write up and bring us the blast from the past while he’s on vacation! With only a few weeks until All Out, reminiscing could be fun!
Greetings, salutations and what nots. At the time you are reading this, I will be away from home on vacation with my amazing girlfriend. In the interest of not want to lose everyone’s attention in the downtime, I decided to go back to one of my earlier reviews and reformat it to match the current style while giving people who may have not been interested due to the length of the previous review a chance to see what they may have missed as well as share my thoughts on a show that had quite the buzz when it happened.
I mention in my review of AAW’s Destination Chicago 2018 (full review available in my archive by clicking my name at the top of this review) that everyone was in Chicago for this particular show. Obviously, though it was presented as part of a deal with ROH (and to some extent New Japan), this ends up being what many consider the launching point for AEW. So join me once again as the WayBack Machine takes us to suburban Chicago on September 1st 2018 and we revisit ‘All In’ here on ‘What I Watched’.
What I Watched #10-B
ROH/NJPW/Friends ‘All In’ 2018
Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, IL
Runtime: 4:45:24 (45:27 on YouTube for the preshow, 3:57:57 on Fite.TV/HonorClub/NJPW World/traditional PPV for the main show)
Commentary By: Excalibur (PBP), Don Callis (Color), Ian Riccaboni (PBP/Color)
- Match #1: Zero Hour- Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky def. Jay/Mark Briscoe, Kazarian pins Mark with a powerslam counter to the Doomsday Device @ 12:35
- Match #2: Zero Hour- Flip Gordon wins the ‘Over the Budget Battle Royal’ @ 17:11, last eliminating Bully Ray
- Match #3: Matt Cross pins Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Shooting Star Press @ 10:07
- Match #4: Christopher Daniels pins Stephen Amell, Best Moonsault Ever @ 11:45
- Match #5: Tessa Blanchard wins four way, pinning Chelsea Green with the Buzzsaw DDT @ 12:43 of a match that also involved Britt Baker and Madison Rayne
- Match #6: NWA World Heavyweight Title- Cody Rhodes pins Nick Aldis ©, sitdown on sunset flip attempt @ 22:03
- Match #7: Adam Page pins Joey Janela, Rite of Passage off a ladder through a table @ 20:09
- Match #8: ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © pins Flip Gordon, Lethal Injection @ 14:25
- Match #9: Kenny Omega pins Pentagon Jr., One Winged Angel @ 17:48
- Match #10: Kazuchika Okada pins Marty Scurll, Rainmaker #2 @ 26:06
- Match #11: Kota Ibushi/Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson def. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio Jr., Matt pins Bandido after the Meltzer Driver @ 11:44
Zero Hour- SCU (Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky) vs. The Briscoes (Jay/Mark)
*Hell of a way to kick things off and the exact kind of match that you want to put out to people in order to get those on the fence to order the show. I don’t know about the $50 price tag that the PPV had, but this would have been enough for me to sign up for Honor Club for $10 to watch the show at least. I’m curious if ROH ever followed up on SCU pinning the ROH tag champions here. I’d imagine so even though the end is near for Kazarian, Scorpio and Daniels in ROH with AEW looming on the horizon. (***½)
Over the Budget Battle Royal
*It was fun for what it was. Maybe a little overcrowded, but there are several people who have got to make a name for themselves off this match. Marko Stunt is all over Game Changer Wrestling (and got a run in AEW as part of Jurassic Express) and Jordynne Grace, who got herself a deal with Impact, being two to spring immediately. I don’t rate battle royals but it was entertaining, which is all you can ask for sometimes. (X)
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Matt Cross
*Good little opener here for the main show. My misgivings on the rope hanging piledriver aside (MJF calls it the Heatseeker), they worked together well without throwing too much against the wall and burning out the crowd for later. I had hoped Cross would get a chance with AEW but we know that doesn’t happen, unfortunately. MJF does become one of the biggest creations AEW has up until this point, but no-one is really sure where his status lies with the company at present. Strong start to open the show and really happy for a genuinely good dude in Matt Cross to have gotten this opportunity. (***)
Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell (special guest referee: Jerry Lynn)
*When this show first happened, I heard a myriad of opinions on this match. Some thought it was really good, others thought it stunk. I fall somewhere in the middle here. Amell, for an actor, put in a pretty good performance here. I’m not saying he should do this full time or anything, but it’s not like he embarrassed himself either. Daniels had his own hiccups here as well though. So the blame doesn’t fall solely on Stephen. Overall, I’d call it above average given who Daniels’ opponent was. But I know first hand that Daniels is capable of much, much more. (**½)
Britt Baker (bay bay) vs. Madison Rayne vs. Chelsea Green vs. Tessa Blanchard
*Not sure if it was just me but the finish looks a little suspect. Tessa getting the win did make sense though at the time (I’d imagine this result changes with benefit of hindsight). As for the match, they worked hard and it by and large came together well. It definitely lost its way a bit towards the end, so I have to dock it a bit for that. All in all, I’d say good effort from the ladies involved and I’d even put it just slightly above the Daniels and Amell match it just followed. (***)
NWA World Heavyweight Title- Nick Aldis © vs. Cody (Don’t Call Him Rhodes)
*A very good match but a couple of little things keep it from the next level for me. First, the blatantly missed superkick. I’m not really as upset about that one as some people may be because I get it, shit happens in the moment. The blade job however, I can’t forgive. It was terribly obvious. I get the intent behind it to help Cody fight from underneath. I have no issues with blood in general (hell, I watch death matches). But if you can’t do the blade job more realistically there, it shouldn’t have been done. It doesn’t really factor into the match in the grand scheme of things. Also while I personally don’t mind the methodical pace, I do know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I dug the match as a whole though. And props to Brandi for eating it on that flying elbow drop. (****)
‘Chicago Street Fight’- Adam Page vs. Joey Janela
*This match won’t be for everyone. Some people like the old school ECW brawl and some people don’t. I do when it’s well executed but there seemed to be quite a bit of downtime in this one. Honestly, to me…Penelope Ford came out of this match looking like the biggest star of the three. All in all, I’d say good for what it was but nothing I’d probably want to go back and re-watch either. The finish was dope though. Janela is a crazy person for taking it. (***)
ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © vs. Flip Gordon
*Let’s not kid ourselves. There was no way that they were going to change the ROH title on a non-ROH show. As much as they enjoyed having the belt defended, this defense was a lock for Lethal regardless of the opponent. Flip getting the match itself is the story here and his performance justifies it. I’d call it good but again, it’s nothing that you’ll want to re-watch again, despite the impressive agility of Gordon and the sheer nostalgia of Lethal busting out the ‘Black Machismo’ shtick again. (***½)
Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr.
*Your mileage may vary for sure on this one. Everyone heaped a ton of praise on it and while it is very good, it does not raise to the level of excellence for me. The ridiculously spotty selling and the absolute disrespect to some of the most protected moves in wrestling cause me to take an issue. I do think they worked really well together and the styles meshed a lot better than I thought they might. But there was nowhere near the emotion here that came through clear as day on the Cody and Aldis match earlier. From a pure work rate aspect, it’s the best on the show so far. But personally, I prefer Cody and Aldis to Omega and Pentagon Jr. (****)
Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurll
*A little long. But they told a pretty strong story throughout.At the time of this writing, I had made it no secret that I was not sold on Kazuchika Okada as a draw in the US. Clearly, I was wrong. He had the entire crowd in the palm of his and Scurll’s hands for basically the entirety of this contest and it was one that I think both raised Scurll’s standing in the world of wrestling and confirmed what many people already feel about Okada. That being said, it’s a better match if you chop off five to eight minutes from it. (***½)
Young Bucks/Kota Ibushi vs. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio
*Clearly much shorter than it was probably supposed to be, they packed a ton of action into these almost twelve minutes. I’d have been curious to see what was possible with a full run time but with Rey already gone (he had just resigned with the WWE), there would be no chance to run this back. I think it was a good way to send everyone home happy and get all the marquee moments in, but overall it just ends up being a spotfest fluff match rather than anything that’ll be strongly remembered as standing out down the road. (***½)
THE FINAL REACTION
There is a lot to get through here. As you guys saw above, the totality of both Zero Hour and All In run almost five hours. While not all of that is well spent, there is more than enough to sink your teeth into here, even if you wouldn’t classify yourself as a traditional ‘Independent Wrestling’ fan. There are a couple of real good spotfests if you liked the ECW/WCW luchador/cruiserweight style. There’s a tremendous call-back to the old NWA days with how Nick Aldis vs. Cody plays out. There is a interesting take on the old ‘hardcore’ styles that both ECW and the WWF used to enjoy presenting in Janela vs the ‘Hangman’. You even get the chance to see the celebrities that get trotted out for the big shows in places like the WWE and Impact Wrestling. Does it all work? No. But a good majority of it does. As I said, it’s almost five hours. But by and large, it’s five hours well spent. Call it an 8.5 and while there is room for improvement (as with everything), a very strong start for Cody and the Bucks as promoters.
Best Match/Moment: I’ll go moment here and go with the obvious of Cody getting to hold the same NWA title his father did in what was an NWA stronghold town. It’s cool to see the torch passed like this.
Worst Match/Moment: The fact that the main event with arguably six of the best wrestlers in the world at the time ends up getting the second shortest amount of time.
Overall Show Score: 8.5/10
MVP: I’m going to give this one to Cody, both for the role he played as a producer/agent for the show as well as the performance in the match with Aldis as well. A good night for young Mr. Runnels.
And that wraps up the first of the ‘retro’ look backs at previous ‘What I Watched’ reviews. When I return, I will be coming back with ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999, the first pay-per-view of the last year of the 1900s. Following that, I know the WWF’s Royal Rumble 1999 is on the list. I’d imagine I’ll get to WCW’s Souled Out 1999 and when I do return to the Indies, promotions like IWA-MS, CHIKARA, Freelance, BEYOND, WWR and so many others are within my potentially planned scope. Hope to see you down the road and may you all enjoy quality time with those you care. See you next time and thanks for reading, everyone.
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