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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WCW SuperBrawl V (1995) – The Biggest Brawl Of Them All

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SuperBrawl V

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene’s guests at this time are Sting & ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Savage isn’t interested in talking and instead paces. Sting shows off a scar from Randy because of how amped up they are just talking about this match. Sting tries to coax Savage into talking, but he continues to refuse because he’s afraid of what he may say. Sting doesn’t want to talk anymore either, he wants to just go do it.

Match #5: The Blacktop Bully w/Col. Robert Parker & Meng vs. ‘The Natural’ Dustin Rhodes
After the earlier incident with ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan, WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel makes the decision that Meng will be banned from ringside. A brawl breaks out immediately as they roll around the mat. Dustin takes the early advantage, he sends Bully for a big lariat and sets him up for some corner rights. The Bully absorbs the blows and desperately takes Rhodes out at the knee. Bully pulls Rhodes’ coat over his head and he pummels The Natural. Irish whip by Bully, Rhodes moves and follows him with a right. Irish whips by Rhodes, Bully gets stuck on the top turnbuckle and Rhodes punts him to the floor.

He gives chase but the ref instructs Rhodes to keep it in the ring. Side headlock and a takeover by Rhodes, he hangs on with a headlock. To the ropes, a shoulder block by Rhodes and Bully kicks out at two. Rhodes grabs the wrist and transfers into an arm bar. Bully reverses with a scoop slam but Dustin doesn’t relinquish the arm. Shoulder block by Bully, Dustin raises the knee on the next attempt. An elbow to the forehead by Rhodes and he sends Bully into the corner. Some chain wrestling until Rhodes takes control with a hammerlock. Bully is slowly back to vertical, Rhodes keeping the hammerlock applied. Bully backs Rhodes into the corner and takes a cheap shot.

He sends Rhodes for the ride, shoulder block by The Natural. They keep running, Bully tries a leapfrog, Dustin stops short and clocks him with a right hand. An uppercut and a schoolboy by Rhodes, Bully keeps out. Rhodes locks in an arm bar as the crowd gives Parker grief. Drop toe hold by Bully, but Dustin stays in control of the arm. He lays in an elbow to Bully’s shoulder, Bully gets position in the corner. Irish whip, Rhodes with a springboard back elbow on the comeback. Bully sends him again, Rhodes climbs the turnbuckle, Bully stops short but Dustin sees him. Rhodes hits a big right and follows it with a snap suplex. He makes a cover and Bully kicks out.

Rhodes tries a sunset flip, Bully tries walking to the ropes, he hangs on to the top rope and the ref kicks his arm away. Bully kicks Rhodes in the head to break up the pin. Rhodes tries a monkey flip, Bully throws him away and hits an inside out clothesline. Bully is slow to cover and Dustin kicks out. Bully dumps Rhodes to the floor and Col. Parker gets some kicks in. A big forearm from the apron by Bully and he drives his boot to the back of Dustin’s head. Bully with a shot to the midsection, Rhodes fights from his knees. Bully lifts Rhodes for a belly to back suplex and makes a cover, Rhodes kicks out again. Rhodes breaks up a side headlock, he tries a high risk maneuver and tumbles to the outside, hitting the steps along the way.

Bully shoves him into the apron and kicks him in the head before celebrating in the ring. Rhodes reaches in and pulls Bully to his back and wraps the knee around the ring post. Snapmare by Rhodes but Bully rolls away from the axe handle. He comes back with one of his own and delivers a snap suplex. Bully climbs to the 2nd rope, Dustin catches him halfway with a clothesline. Shots to the gut by Rhodes and he throws Bully into the corner. Bully is lifted for a big back body drop, Rhodes pulls his shirt over Bully’s head and pounds away. Dustin shoots him in for an inverted atomic drop. He calls for the bulldog and lands it, but Col. Parker puts Bully’s leg on the ropes. Rhodes pulls Parker up to the apron and brings him in with a vertical suplex.

Parker rolls out the other side, Rhodes ducks a clothesline from Bully and Blacktop tumbles to the apron. The Natural exchanges blows and it’s Bully’s turn for a vertical suplex. Col. Parker pulls himself up and grabs Rhodes’ foot, causing Bully to land on top of him and he steals a win.
Winner: The Blacktop Bully (Outside Interference)

  • EA’s TakeAfter appearing in the crowd and causing disturbances, it doesn’t surprise me that Bully picks up the win in this PPV match. They looked to extend this feud, but it ultimately resulted in a ‘King of the Road’ match at the next special, Uncensored, after which both Rhodes and Bully (Barry Darsow) were fired for blading during the encounter. Just WAIT until we get to that one!

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is getting a work with Vader, who is raging around. What time is it? It’s Vader time! Hogan can run and hide no more because the demon of fear is upon. Gene asks Vader who was in the limo earlier today, but he deflects the question. Vader’s vision is standing in front of thousands of people, with a broken Hogan on the mat, and he must admit that he’s the man.

In the Arena: Now, Gene welcomes 12-time World Champion ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair. He’s questioned if he was the person in Vader’s limo earlier tonight. He also deflects the question, he’s just in Baltimore for the party! He talks up the acquisitions of ‘Macho Man’, Hulk Hogan, and of course Sting is in the house. He’ll be watching the main events from the front row with 5 beautiful ladies.

Match #6: Sting & ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage vs. Avalanche & Big Bubba Rogers
The crowd is fired up for the babyfaces as the big men try to use intimidation. Sting will kick it off against Avalanche. Collar and elbow and Avalanche tosses Sting into the corner and gives the crowd a pose. Sting asking for the crowd to make some noise. Collar and elbow and Avalanche does more of the same. Avalanche rushes Sting and mauls him in the corner. Irish whip, but with a head of steam, Sting hits some clotheslines and a drop kick. He tries another clothesline but Bubba grabs him. Savage tries to make the save but he’s backed off.

Bubba is tagged in and he lifts Sting for a back breaker. Rogers heads for the top rope, but Savage trips him up. Sting lands a superplex on Bubba before he and Savage take turns delivering some rights. Rogers gets caught in the middle rope until he’s knocked to the floor. Savage delivers a double ax handle from the top rope on the floor. Macho Man gets the tag, Avalanche tries to back him off after checking in with his wounded partner. Savage with an arm drag off of a tie up. He signals to Flair to come get in the ring allowing Rogers to blindside him. Savage is shot in, he ducks a clothesline, tries a sunset flip, Bubba holds up and tries sitting down but Macho Man moves out of the way.

Savage drives two knees to the kidney and Bubba kicks out of a roll up at two. Savage slaps Avalanche to bait him in the ring, and insults him with a second one. Savage tries to lift the big man, Avalanche falls on top of him and it almost ends the match. Avalanche with the advantage in the corner, he shoot Savage in with an Irish whip but Macho moves. Avalanche finds himself laid across the top turnbuckle, Savage gives him some punts and tags in Sting who picks up where he left off. Sting tries to take the big man down by the knees and he does. He sets up for the Scorpion deathlock, Bubba tries making the save and he’s cut off by Savage.

Both big men get Stinger splashes until Avalanche cuts him off with a side slam. Flair taunts Savage from rindside and Macho Man takes exception to it. Back in the ring, Avalanche drops an elbow on Sting. Irish whip by Avalanche, Sting moves and he scoop slams the giant. He walks into Bubba’s right, but Sting faceplants into a low blow on the fallen Avalanche. Both men are slow to get up, Savage gets the tag first, Bubba rushes in for the save and Savage fends both foes off. It’s a four men donnybrook. Savage lifts Bubba for a scoop slam while Sting occupies Avalanche. He tries a pin but Nick Patrick reminds him that Avalanche is the legal man. Sting flies off the top with a crossbody, Avalanche trips over Bubba on the way down, and they pick up the win.
Winners: Sting & ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage (Sting/Top Rope Crossbody)

  • EA’s TakeI’m such a Savage mark, this match was meant to pop the crowd and it worked. I find it interesting that Savage isn’t allowed to make the pin on Bubba because Avalanche is the legal man, but then Sting scores the pin even though HE’S not the legal man! Bizarre, but I won’t overthink it. Obviously something is coming up down the line between Savage and Flair, great to see The Nature Boy after he was off Starrcade.

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene’s final guest is WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan & Jimmy Hart. Vader has been bullying his way around, but this is THE test to figure out who the good and bad men are. He knows all about Vader, and to say he’s not psyched and ready would be wrong. By hook or by crook, he’s going to find out exactly what he’s made of. Hogan is aware of Flair’s presence and he tells Hart to keep an eye on him.

Match #7 for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Vader vs. WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan w/Jimmy Hart
Collar and elbow tie up, Vader gets position and it’s broken in the corner. Another tie up, Hogan lays in some rights but the big guy doesn’t budge. He takes off his head gear and tells Hogan he has nothing. Back to the neutral position, Hogan with position in the corner and he slaps and pounds the challenger. Irish whip and a splash by Hogan but it’s not phasing Vader. Collar and elbow, Hogan grabs a wristlock and elbows the tricep. He drags Vader down with a short arm scissor, Vader gets up and steps on his face and it’s broken in the ropes. Collar and elbow tie up, Vader takes position  and throws body shots and forearms on the champion.

Standing clothesline by Vader and Hogan retreats to the corner. Irish whip and a big splash by Vader, Hogan rolls to the floor and Jimmy Hart checks in. Vader gives chase and throws a headbutt. He tries a whip, but Hogan reverses it and Vader is tossed over the guard rail and right by Flair’s seat. Vader is upset and breaks through the guard rail and stalks his way back to the ring. Hogan catches him coming in and he chops him in the corner. Hogan stands for 10-count rights, Vader reverses an Irish whip but Hogan rushes back with a clothesline. To the ropes and Hogan hits a big boot before clotheslining him over the top rope to the floor. Vader climbs back in and he gets leveled by Hogan some more.

Hogan rakes the eyes and goes for a scoop slam, Vader is too much to handle and he falls on top of the champ. To the ropes and Vader hits a big body shot. Vader throws some forearms and pokes Hogan in the eyes. Standing clothesline by the challenger and he poses to a sea of boos. Vader lifts Hogan for a scoop slam and he heads to the 2nd rope, he lands the big splash but he’s slow to cover and Hogan kicks out. Blatant choke by Vader and the ref lectures him. Vader heads all the way to the top rope, he goes for the moonsault and Hogan rolls out of the way. They take the fight to the floor and Hogan throws Vader into the railing. Hogan grabs a chair and clocks the big man.

He hits another head shot and Vader reels. A series of rights from Hogan and he rolls Vader back into the ring. To the ropes, Vader ducks a clothesline and counters with a chokeslam. Vader drops an elbow before working Hogan over in the corner. Vader with a front facelock and a delayed vertical suplex, the champ kicks out at two and jumps up to his knees quickly. Vader with some strikes but the champ is hulking up. Right hands from Hogan as the crowd counts. Vader gets shot in for a big boot. He calls to the crowd and he lands the big leg drop, but Vader kicks out at one. Vader with a body block from behind, but it knocks Randy Anderson down as well.

Vader hits a powerbomb but there’s no ref to cover. Ric Flair is irate, and he comes in signalling for a cover. He takes a cheap stomp on Hogan and Vader lands a splash. Anderson is up to count but Hogan kicks out at two. Hulk is up with more rights, he shoots him in for a big boot and clotheslines Vader out to the floor. Flair rushes back in the ring and attacks Hogan, prompting a disqualification.
Winner and STILL WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: Vader and Flair continue to assault Hogan, Flair locking in the Figure Four. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage & Sting come rushing down to Hulk’s aid, and they celebrate with the champion.
  • EA’s TakeIt’s Vader’s first match in a long time without Harley Race, which is too bad because I really loved that pairing. Unfortunately, Harley was in a horrible car accident which ended his managerial career. Vader got plenty of heel boos, but the crowd was definitely mixed on Hogan. Bobby Heenan is too funny, playing it off saying the crowd was asking “Who?”. Not a bad match, but unbelievably predictable. Unfortunately for Vader, he was just a placeholder in the continuation of Flair/Hogan.

EA’s FinisherThis one was slightly better than Starrcade, but still has little to write home about. Flair’s return was a big plus and it’s looking like Meng will be wrestling soon, so those are positives. It’s not about to get any better as the original Uncensored was notoriously bad. So bad that if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching…you know…because it’s bad. Things are going to get considerably worse for WCW over the next 18 months, as anybody who may have followed this series from the beginning is likely eagerly awaiting when we get to Bash At The Beach 1996.

Top Three To Watch
1 – Sting & Randy Savage vs. Avalanche & Big Bubba Rogers
2 – Hulk Hogan vs. Vader
3 – Harlem Heat vs. The Nasty Boys


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Chairshot Classics

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!

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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

1/10/1999

Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL

Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)

Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)

 

THE RESULTS

  • 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

 

THE BREAKDOWN

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.

 

THE SIGNOFF

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.


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Chairshot Classics

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!

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ALL IN

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

9/1/2018

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)

THE RESULTS

  • 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

 

THE BREAKDOWN

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.

THE SIGNOFF

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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