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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWE Royal Rumble 2015

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Royal Rumble 2015
Our road to the 2019 Royal Rumble continues with a look back at one from the past!

The Road To WrestleMania begins at the Royal Rumble and this year’s winner has the unenviable task of facing the unstoppable Brock Lesnar!

Kickoff Show Match: The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) w/Xavier Woods vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro w/Natalya, Adam Rose & The Rosebuds
This was supposed to be a 6 man tag match with Adam Rose & Xavier Woods also in it, but Woods suffered a foot injury. Kidd tries to wrestle Big E, but Big E is too powerful and ends up hitting a triple backbreaker for a count of 2. Tag to Kofi Kingston and New Day with a combo lift/dropkick move, Kidd is able to squirm away and make the tag to Cesaro. They lock up and Cesaro gets back into the wrong corner where Kofi tags out. Big E with some big shoulder tackles, Kofi back in for another double team move into a crossbody that gets 2.

Cesaro tags Kidd after a big uppercut and Kidd takes the advantage. Cesaro & Kidd punish Kofi in their corner, he makes a minor comeback, but gets caught by Cesaro. Kidd tags and they hit the big swing/dropkick combo for a near fall and we get a break….Cesaro is dominating Kofi when we come back. Kofi is able to get a sunset flip on Cesaro, but he makes a blind tag and Tyson Kidd comes in with a big kick for a 2 count. Kofi hits a springboard 2nd rope dropkick and finally gets the hot tag to Big E. Big E in control with clotheslines and a belly to belly suplex. He goes for the big splash, but Cesaro is up for a boot to the face.

It only dazes Big E who catches Cesaro for a botched slam that gets 2. Kidd tries to dropkick Big E from behind, but he’s caught and gets catapulted over Cesaro on the apron. Big E launches Kofi to the outside onto Kidd and then hits a spear through the ropes onto Cesaro. New Day goes for their finisher in the ring, Kidd pulls Kofi down and Cesaro counters with a dropkick. Kofi hits a springboard crossbody and covers, ref tells Kofi he’s not legal and Kofi argues their was a tag. Big E Rolls back in and tags Kofi, Cesaro dumps Big E outside and catches Kofi with a big uppercut on the top rope. Kidd tags, Cesaro hits the Cesaro Superplex and Kidd follows with a springboard elbow drop that gets a very near fall.

Crowd thought it was over. Kidd goes for the Sharpshooter, but its countered and he’s sent to the outside. Kidd with a sunset flip back inside and uses Cesaro’s feet as leverage for a pinfall, but the ref sees it. Kofi with a quick roll-up only gets 2. Kidd locks in the Sharpshooter this time, but Big E breaks it up. Cesaro comes in to dispose of Big, but gets dumped outside and now Adam Rose is up on the apron. Rose eats Trouble In Paradise, Kidd gets a roll-up reversed into a pin by Kofi. Kidd kicks out, which sends him into an uppercut by Cesaro on the outside, Kidd follows with the swinging fisherman neckbreaker for the victory.
Winners: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (Kidd/Swinging Fisherman Neckbreaker)

  • EA’s TakeReally good opening match and it looks like WWE might be putting something into Kidd & Cesaro now. The New Day are still fresh and had all the vignettes and build-up for their arrival as a trio and to put a thrown-together team over them really says a lot about their future as a team.

Open: Promo featuring entrants in the Royal Rumble match and a chance at the main event of WrestleMania 31. “I will be the one.” Highlights of the rivalry between John Cena, Seth Rollins & WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. The title’s on the line…tonight.

Match #1: The New Age Outlaws (“Road Dogg” Jesse James & “Badd Ass” Billy Gunn) vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
Outlaws come out and do their usual schtick on the mic. Recap of how this match came about from Raw Reunion last Monday night. Viktor & Billy start, with Billy gaining an early advantage and grounding Viktor. Crowd chants “You still got it”. Billy tags Road Dogg, but Viktor is able to get a tag to Konnor and they double team in the corner. Road Dogg counters an irish whip with Shake, Rattle & Roll followed by the knee for a 2 count. Road Dogg battles in the corner, but Konnor’s just too much, Viktor in off the tag and he grounds Road Dogg.

Konnor back in to do more of the same. Road Dogg counters a back suplex, Konnor misses an elbow then tags Viktor. Viktor can’t stop Road Dogg and he makes the tag to Billy. Billy on fire hits a tilt-a-whirl slam and goes for the Fameasser, but doesn’t connect. Viktor makes a quick tag and Konnor hangs Billy across the ropes. Viktor takes Road Dogg out on the apron and they set-up for and hit The Fall Of Man to finish it.
Winners: The Ascension (Konnor/The Fall Of Man)

  • EA’s TakeWas there ever any doubt? We all knew that NAO was brought in solely to lose to The Ascension.

Video: Recap of the event’s last Monday on Raw. Sting made his first ever Raw appearance and helped John Cena win a match to get Dolph Ziggler, Ryback & Erick Rowan their jobs back.

Backstage: Triple H & Stephanie McMahon are looking at a cell phone and talking about how Sting got into the building last week on Raw. Triple H says he will destroy Sting if he walks in again. In comes Paul Heyman, who’s looking to solve all The Authority’s problems. Paul says if they have a problem with Sting then he has the solution…”Brock Lesnar”.

Match #2 for the WWE Tag Team Championships: The Miz & Damien Mizdow vs. WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
Clip of The Usos regaining the WWE Tag Team Championships from The Miz & Damien Mizdow last month on Raw. Miz & Jey Uso begin things, crowd chants “We Want Mizdow” and it distracts Miz who had gained the upper hand. Jimmy Uso makes a blind tag and Usos hit a combo backbreaker/top rope forearm for a count of 2. Miz is able to hit his corner clothesline, but again is distracted by Mizdow chants and gets crotched on the top by Jimmy. Mizdow climbs the opposite corner and crotches himself, mimicking Miz getting hit with chops.

Miz is able to come off the top, but takes a shot to the bread basket and Mizdow mimicks that before rolling outside. The crowd loves it. Miz is able to toss Jimmy throat-first into the ropes and he grounds Jimmy. Miz goes for the combo back/neckbreaker, gets countered, but then hits it for a 2 count. Miz looks to Mizdow to tag as the crowd goes crazy, sticks his hand out then removes it when Mizdow tries to tag. Jimmy hits Miz with an enzuiguiri, making the tag to Jey who goes to work with clotheslines, a kick & Samoan drop. Jey nails the Umaga hip attack in the corner, Mizdown slides in but gets quickly dumped to the outside.

Miz gets a roll-up for 2 off the distraction, Jey rolling through for a near fall. Miz catches Jey with a spike DDT for another close 2 count, goes for the Figure Four, countered to another enzuigiri that sends Miz outside. Jey goes for a dive onto Miz & Mizdown, but Miz jumps up and hangs Jey across the ropes. Here comes Jimmy though and Miz pushes Mizdow in the line of fire, then takes out Jimmy. Now Jey with a somersault dive to the outside onto Miz and the ref starts the count. Looks like Miz was a little out of position on that. Jey rolls Miz back in and goes for the Samoan Splash but misses, Miz hits Skull Crushing Finale and Jey kicks out at 2.

Crowd chants for Mizdow again. Jey nails Miz with a superkick and connects with the Samoan Splash, Mizdow in to break it up at 2 and the crowd cheers. Mizdow sideswipes a charging Jimmy into the ring post, then hits the Skull Crushing Finale on Jey. Miz crawls into a cover and only gets 2. Miz goes for a superplex and gets countered, blind tag by Jimmy. Jey powerbombs Miz to the mat and Jimmy follows with the Samoan Splash to retain.
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The Usos (Jimmy/Samoan Splash)

  • EA’s TakeGreat tag match, as Mizdow continues to build steam with the WWE Universe. I love how they’ve built the story that will lead to Mizdow turning on Miz. It’s not often in this time in wrestling where a story is given enough time to have the “slow burn”, as with so many hours of content to fill every week most storylines get rushed and it diminishes the payoff. Interested to see where The Uso’s go from here and who may be the next challengers. It could be Kidd & Cesaro with the way they’ve been getting used recently.

Panel: We go to the Royal Rumble Kickoff Panel, Renee Young, Booker T, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves. They talk about which match they’re still anticipating tonight and then recap New Day vs. Kidd & Cesaro from the Kickoff show.

Backstage: We see someone playing WWE Immortals on a tablet, it’s Joey Mercury. Jamie Noble asks about the game and goes to put it on his phone when Seth Rollins comes in. Rollins wants to know why they’re playing games and not being focused on getting him the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tonight. Rollins is tired of hearing about the future and wants to make it happen, right now.

Match #3: The Bella Twins (Brie & WWE Divas Champion Nikki) vs. Natalya & Paige
Clip of how Natalya & Paige became allies against The Bellas. Paige & Nikki Bella begin, back and forth before Paige gets a slight edge and tags Nattie. Double team snapmare & kick for 2. Nikki comes back and makes the tag to Brie Bella, who gets overpowered by Nattie who then tags Paige for a double delayed vertical suplex. Headbutts and knees on the apron from Paige, tag to Nattie who hits a dropkick and quicktags Paige. Looks like they get mixed-up as Nattie stays in the ring and Brie tries to cover her before they get Paige in. Paige with a superkick for a 2 count, Nattie back in. Nattie goes for a slam, Brie counters with a move that is botched before getting Nikki in.

Nikki with a Mr. Perfect-esque neck snap for 2 and then keeps Nattie grounded. Brie comes in for more double team offense, which Nattie is able to kick-out of after 2, Brie follows with the knee against the ropes for another near fall and Nikki’s now legal. Double team rolling wheelbarrow slam gets another count of 2. Nikki gets a headscissor submission, but Nattie is able to get to a vertical base and hit an electric chair. Nattie looks Sharpshooter, but is reversed. Nattie finally makes it close to tag Paige, but Brie rips Paige off the apron. Nikki smashes Natalya with a big forearm shot and gets 3.
Winners: The Bella Twins (Nikki/Forearm Smash)

  • EA’s TakeCrowd was pretty dead for this match other than a little bit of noise for Paige. It’s apparent that they wanted to keep Paige a non-factor in the finish, perhaps she will run through other partners against the Bella’s before finally finding someone to stop them? Not sure who that partner would be, but you’d have to think AJ Lee will be returning at some point. Maybe she’s the answer.

Video: A series of promos by the participants in the Royal Rumble match, talking about how they will be “The One”.

Video: Highlights of the events leading up to tonight in the Triple Threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Match #4 – Triple Threat For The WWE World Heavyweight Championship: John Cena vs. “Mr. Money In The Bank” Seth Rollins w/J&J Security vs. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman
Lesnar goes for Rollins out of the gate, Rollins squirms outside and Cena takes a German suplex already. Lesnar hits another German, Rollins tries to sneak in and gets caught in an F5, but J&J come in to make the save. Rollins ducks outside, J&J get disposed of after a double German by Lesnar. Cena goes for an AA and gets thrown into a kick by Rollins on the apron, who then finally gets flipped in the ring by Lesnar. Lesnar goes to work on Rollins & Cena, hitting them with multiple German’s and snap suplexes. Crowd starts an “ECW” chant.

Lesnar grabs Cena in the Kimura Lock, Cena gets to a vertical base while holding Lesnar and Rollins hits them both with a springboard knee. Cena & Rollins briefly work together for a double suplex, Cena follows with the Attitude Adjustment. Rollins dumps Cena on the outside and covers Lesnar, but only gets 1 off it. Lesnar is back on top, dumping Rollins & Cena outside and going after them. Rollins & Cena dispose of the champion for a moment and then Cena gives chase to Rollins into the ring. Cena sets-up for the 5 Knuckle Shuffle to a chorus of boo’s, Rollins tries to counter, but gets caught in it again. Lesnar slides in and stops it with a couple more Germans to Cena.

Rollins sends Lesnar outside after a knee and then gets caught in a Michinoku Driver by Cena for a near fall. 2nd rope Blockbuster by Rollins is broken up after a 2 count by Lesnar, who spills Rollins outside. Cena goes fisticuffs and knocks Lesnar down with a clothesline, then gets pulled outside by Rollins who goes for another springboard knee, caught by Lesnar into an F5 but Cena breaks the cover at 2. Lesnar with a German to Cena, then decides to pay a visit to the Spanish announce table. Lesnar back inside gets hit with three consecutive AA’s by Cena, who covers but is dragged out at 2 by Rollins, sending Cena into the steps.

Rollins rolls in and hits Lesnar with a Curb Stomp, but the pinfall is broken by Cena. Lesnar rolls outside to recover, but Cena follows and spears him through the barricade. Lesnar won’t stay down so Cena tosses him into the ring steps, Lesnar still moving takes another steel stair shot which lays him out on the Spanish announce table. Rollins takes out Cena and notices Lesnar, who is laying prone on the table. Rollins goes up top and drives an elbow into Lesnar that breaks the table. Crowd chants “This is awesome”. Cena gets Rollins back in the ring, but Rollins with a roll-up for 2, followed by a big kick that gets 2.

Cena goes for the AA, but Rollins lands on his feet, then caught by Cena into a pop-up sit-out powerbomb for a 2 count. Heyman is heard telling the commentators that Lesnar needs a doctor. Cena props Rollins on the top for a superplex, countered and Rollins hits the turnbuckle powerbomb for 2. Rollins tries to Curb Stomp Cena and gets caught in the STF until J&J come in to break it up. In the background, EMT’s bring out a stretcher for Brock Lesnar, while Rollins with J&J hit a triple powerbomb on Cena that only gets a count of 2. Rollins gets his briefcase and tries to hit Cena, but gets dumped over the top. J&J come in after Cena and get hit with a double AA.

Rollins back in also gets caught in an AA, but he kicks out after 2. Michael Cole reports that Lesnar has “at least, a broken rib” as Rollins & Cena go back and forth in the ring. Rollins with an enzuigiri, followed by a Curb Stomp and still can’t get a 3 count. Rollins heads to the top and hits a Phoenix Splash, right behind him slides in Lesnar, drilling Rollins & Cena with a vicious German suplex that sends Cena outside. Lesnar tries another on Rollins, but he lands on his feet and smashes Lesnar with multiple briefcase shots. Rollins sets Lesnar up for a Curb Stomp on the briefcase, but Brock jumps up and hits the F5 to finally gain the win.
Winner and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Brock Lesnar (F5)

  • EA’s TakeINCREDIBLE championship match that showcased the strengths of all the competitors. Even Cena pulled some moves out of the arsenal that we hadn’t seen from him before. This match was really a showcase for Seth Rollins, who pulled out one of his amazingly athletic moves from his repertoire. This really cemented Rollins as a main eventer. Everyone needs to start buying in on Rollins now.


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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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