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Chairshot Classics: WCW Fall Brawl ’95 – Let The Games Begin!

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Fall Brawl 1995
Our weekly Chairshot Classics WCW PPV series continues with Fall Brawl ’95!

Match #1 – WCW United States Championship #1 Contender’s Match: ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman vs. Johnny B. Badd
The bell sounds and we’re underway! The crowd is more vocal for Badd. Collar and elbow, Badd takes position in the corner and he backs off. Pillman offers a handshake and Badd obliges. Arm drag by Badd and Pillman is up quickly. Duck behind and a waistlock, standing switch by Badd, Pillman reverses into a hammerlock and Badd returns the favor. Hip toss by Pillman and they regroup. Side headlock takeover by Pillman and he hangs on with a head lock. To the ropes they go, shoulder tackle by Pillman, Badd leaps, Pillman leaps and they have a drop kick standoff.

Collar and elbow, Pillman grabs the wrist and cranks on it, Badd somersaults to his feet and chucks Pillman across the ring. Neutral position, Badd with the wrist lock and he turns it into a hammer. Pillman counters with a leaping snapmare. Side headlock takeover and Pillman regains control. To the ropes, Pillman ducks, they both try a clothesline and Pillman gets the better of it. Modified arm bar by Pillman with Badd down on the mat. Snapmare by Pillman, he tries running but is tripped up. Pin attempt by Badd but Pillman is in the ropes. A wrist lock by the Badd Man, they run the ropes, drop toehold by Pillman and he maneuvers into a pin, Badd kicks out at two. Snapmare and a reverse chin lock by Pillman.

Badd works back to vertical and throws an elbow into the gut. Into the corner and its a flying headscissor by Flyin Brian who rolls Badd up for two. Brian stays on the offense with another head lock. Badd breaks it off, Pillman throws a chop, Badd reverses an Irish whip and scores with an arm drag and its his turn to throw on a headlock. They work to their feet and Pillman lifts him for a backbreaker, he hooks the leg and Badd kicks out. Pillman tries for a Boston crab and he locks it in. He drops the hold and throws a right. Pillman is cocky and throws a chop. Badd reverses a whip to the ropes and hits a spinning back breaker.

Johnny wraps Pillman’s knee and Brian is in pain. He drops an elbow on the inside of the leg and hangs on. Badd with a modified surfboard on the mat, but he’s too close to the ropes. Pillman pops up and a shoving match ensues. They lock up, Pillman with back elbows in the corner. He drags Badd across the top rope, Badd fights back with rights and body shots. Pillman leaves the ring to regroup and the fans have fully turned on him. Pillman offers a handshake and Badd wants no part of it. Pillman takes a cheap shot from the neutral position and dumps him out to the floor. From the apron, Pillman throws a right and bites Badd’s nose. Badd blocks a turnbuckle shot and turns the table on Flyin Brian.

He leaps from the apron over the top rope with a leg drop and gets a very close count. Back to the reverse chin lock for Badd, Pillman sinks into the mat. Back to their feet, they hit the ropes, Badd leapfrogs twice, they both go for a Thesz Press and collide in mid air. The count is on, and Badd is up first but he walks right into a headbutt and both men hit the mat again. Slowly to their feet, Pillman goes on the attack and knocks him off the turnbuckle. He stomps Badd out to the floor, there are 5 minutes left in the contest. From the apron, Badd blocks a vertical suplex and lifts Flyin Brian out to the floor.

The Badd Man hits a big plancha out to the floor and slowly rolls Pillman back in. He heads for the top rope, tries a double ax handle and Pillman cuts him off with a drop kick. He rolls over and lays on top of Badd but can only get two. To the ropes, Badd stops short and lifts Pillman for a sitout powerbomb, but Pillman gets his shoulder up. A whip to the ropes, Pillman catches him, spins him and drops him for a piledriver and a very close 2 count. Pillman is calling for the end, he tries a hurricane DDT but Badd pushes him off, hooks the leg and its another close count. Badd grabs the arm for a modified arm bar on the mat as Michael Buffer announces there are 2 minutes remaining.

They jockey around on their feet and Pillman hits a Russian leg sweep and maneuvers into a submission. He hooks the arms for an abdominal stretch from a seated position. The ref drop checks the arm, but he’s not out yet. He finds some energy and gets to his feet, into the ropes, Badd stops short for a face buster and lands the Tooty Fuity. He makes the cover with under 30 seconds left, but Pillman is under the ropes. Badd pops up not realizing this, Pillman climbs up on the apron and leaps from the top rope with a diving clothesline. He hooks the leg but Badd kicks out at two. The bell rings, calling for a 20 minute time-limit draw. It’s determined we need a #1 contender so the match must continue.

Pillman dives at Badd’s waist, he drives him in the corner and throws a right. Badd blocks a right and throws some of his own. They spill out to the floor for a brawl and Pillman reverses a whip into the steel rail. Badd is rolled back in, Pillman climbs to the top, he tries a drop kick but Badd puts one up and its a stalemate. They’re both down and the count is on, Pillman is up first and he sends Badd for the ride and he grabs a sleeper hold. He falls back to the mat and Nick Patrick checks the arm, Badd doesn’t give up and gets to the ropes. Up to their feet, Badd reverses a whip and its sleeper time for Pillman, Flyin Brian quickly counters with a belly to back suplex.

Pillman lifts Badd and seats him on the top turnbuckle, he hooks a front facelock but Badd blocks a suplex and tosses him to the mat. Johnny with a sunset flip from the top rope for a very close count. Badd stays on the offense, he tries a powerbomb but it’s reversed with a head scissor, Pillman hooks the leg and Badd gets his shoulder up in time. He tries again to no avail. Big chop from Pillman, Badd reverses a trip to the ropes, Pillman leaps up for a crucifix but Badd counters by falling backwards, Pillman barely escapes the count.

Badd sets Pillman up for a top rope hurricanrana and once again Pillman stays alive. Badd seats him up top again, Pillman cuts him off with a hurricane DDT. He’s slow to make the lateral press and Badd gets his shoulder up. Pillman climbs up to the top rope. Badd is up and trips him up. From the apron, Badd throws Pillman out to the steel rail. Pillman staggers up to his feet and Badd comes flipping over the top rope to take him out again. He rolls Pillman in, tries the Badd Mood but Pillman gets his knees up, tries a cover and its another close call. Pillman slingshots Badd across the top rope and Badd falls out to the floor.

Pillman with a big suicide dive out into the entry way. Badd is slow to the apron, Pillman tries to spring off the turnbuckle to boot him, but Johnny moves and Brian lands on the top rope. Badd goes for a pin, but it’s determined his feet were under the ropes. Both men hit the ropes hard, they duck clotheslines, both try crossbodies, Badd gets the better of it and we have a new #1 contender.
Winner: Johnny B. Badd (Crossbody)

  • EA’s TakeFantastic match to start the show! Easily the best match I’ve seen Johnny B. Badd in. They came through the curtain as two babyfaces, so I’m not sure if this was the plan or they played to the crowd and adjusted, but when it was clear the fans were more behind Johnny, Pillman did a great job flipping the script and heeling on him halfway through the match. That’s going to be hard to top, so it’s good for the rest of the locker room that next match on the card is a nonsense squash match.

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is joined by North Carolina native ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair. It was he and Double A for 15 years, they lived, bled, sweat and cried together, but they shared a bond. They were best friends and brothers, but ironically, here they are in Asheville walking out from opposite ends of the building. The problem is, he loves The Enforcer, but unfortunately he has to show him there is only 1 king of the hill.

Match #2: ‘The Pitbull’ Sgt. Craig Pittman vs. Cobra
Pittman’s music plays, but no one is coming out. An unidentified man appearing to be an army private comes out with a message, distracting Cobra as Pittman repels from the ceiling. He sneaks up with an army crawl and blindsides him with a choke. Pittman stomps and pounds away as Cobra is on the mat. Pittman dumps him to the floor. Cobra reverses a whip to the ring post and rolls him back in. Cobra leaps off the top rope, but Pittman moves out of the way. He locks in the Code Red and we have a winner.
Winner: ‘The Pitbull’ Sgt. Craig Pittman (Code Red)

  • EA’s TakeThe only interesting thing I can say about this one is that Cobra = Jeff Farmer, best known as ‘Fake Sting’. Oh, and of course Bobby Heenan constantly making me laugh out loud, this time by calling Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael – ‘Steve McNuggets’.

Video: Paul Orndorff is second guessing his career and identity after his recent loss to ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Gary Spivey comes in, and thoroughly reassures him that he IS ‘Mr Wonderful’.

Match #3 for the WCW World Television Championship: Diamond Dallas Page w/The Diamond Doll & Max Muscle vs. WCW World Television Champion The Renegade w/Jimmy Hart
DDP picks his moment and takes control of the high energy Renegade in the corner with some elbows. A whip to the corner and a Russian legsweep, but Renegade counters out. DDP tries a headbutt, but it takes more out of him and he stumbles out to the floor. Renegade gives chase, throws a headbutt and pulls him across the safety rail. He bashes Page into the apron and rolls him back in. Page baits him into the corner, tries a turnbuckle shot but Renegade turns the tide. He claps on a side headlock and cranks it hard.

Page gets to the ropes, but Renegade drops him hard. Standing lariat and a cover, Page kicks out. A whip to the ropes, he dives, DDP moves and Renegade hits the top rope. Page chokees him out and lectures the ref for counting. He leaps over the top and whiplashes Renegade, instructing The Diamond Doll to hold up a ’10’ sign.Renegade is dumped out to the other end, and DDP lands a knee knocking him off the apron. Renegade comes back with a headbutt from the apron, he tries a sunset flip, Page holds the ropes but the ref catches him, Renegade gets him over and Page kicks at 2. Running clothesline by DDP, hooks the leg and its another two count.

Forearm shot by DDP, he sends him for an Irish whip and hits a shoulder spear. Another Irish whip, but this time Renegade moves out of the way. Page tries a back body drop but gets kicked in the chest, running lariats by Renegade. Springboard back elbow by Renegade and he heads for the top rope and lands a double ax handle. He hooks the leg and its a close call for DDP. In the ropes, DDP reverses a hip toss with a leaping DDT. He’s slow to cover and Renegade stays alive. He tries a Diamond Cutter, but Renegade shoves him off and rolls him up. Max Muscle climbs up on the apron, and Jimmy Hart rushes over to protest.

Renegade whips Page into the ropes which knocks Max down, he delivers a power slam and heads for the top rope. Instead of going for Page, he leaps on top of Muscle. He goes to crawl back in, Max Muscle hangs onto his ankle allowing DDP to hit the Diamond Cutter and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WCW World Television Champion: Diamond Dallas Page (Diamond Cutter)

  • EA’s TakeWell, looks like the undeserved push is slowing down quickly for Renegade. Take a clothesline out of his offense and it’s ugly folks. Meanwhile, the 2017 Hall of Famer’s push is just beginning. I wonder if Tye Dillinger has seen this “10” sign gimmick they’re doing with The Diamond Doll?

Match #4 for the WCW World Tag Team Championships: Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) w/Sister Sherri vs. WCW World Tag Team Champions ‘Dirty’ Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck w/Col. Robert Parker
Slater and Booker kick off the action. Collar and elbow, Slater takes position, Booker reverses the Irish whip and throws a lariat. Collar and elbow, drop toe hold by Slater and he grabs a crossface, Booker counters into a wrist lock and tags in Stevie Ray. Scoop slam by the older brother and he drops an elbow. He makes a cover and Slater kicks out. Stevie works him over in the corner and grabs a side headlock. He makes a tag and Booker picks up where his brother left. They work to the champ’s corner and Buck takes over.

Booker works to a top wrist lock but Buck lays in some kicks to keep control. Booker pushes Buck into Heat’s corner and tags in Stevie. A clothesline and a blatant choke by Stevie. He locks in a reverse chin lock. Booker is tagged in and Buck is sent to the ropes for a spin kick. Back to the chin lock, Buck tries to break it with some elbows. They criss cross the ring and Booker hits a hip toss before dropping a knee for a 2 count. Tag is made to Stevie who hits some throat thursts. Buck tumbles back and tags in Slater. His jabs aren’t effecting Stevie and Ray hits some rights in the corner before its reversed with an atomic drop.

Swinging neck breaker by Slater and Stevie kicks out at two. Double leg take down and a choke hold by Stevie. Tag is made to Booker, Buck takes a cheap shot to the kidneys and Slater dumps him over the top rope with the ref’s back turned. Sherri helps him back to the ring, but he’s immediately cut off by Slater’s boot. A tag is made to Buck who knocks Booker down with big kicks. Body shot and he drives him into Slater’s boot before making the tag to keep the double team rolling. Forearm by Slater who distracts the ref so Buck can take liberties. Leg sweep by Slater and he tries a cover, only getting two.

Dirty Dick tries a piledriver and he lands it, he pulls Booker to the center but only gets a count of two. Tag is made to Buck, he does another illegal toss over the top rope, and this time its Slater with a cheap shot into the railing. He rolls Booker back into Buck, and he’s sent for a big boot. Reverse chin lock is applied, Booker slowly works his way up to his feet, lifting him on his back. A whip to the corner but Booker misses with a drop kick. Slater is tagged in, he baits Stevie for a distraction and he hits Booker with a belly to back suplex. He hooks the leg and Booker escapes. Short jabs from Slater and a big body blow takes him down.

He drives a knee into the skull and tries another cover but Booker powers up. Tag is made to Buck and Booker is victim of a double team. A rake to the eyes and Nick Patrick lectures Bunkhouse. Big stomps to the forehead to Booker and Buck grabs a chin lock. Booker works up to his feet, breaks the hold, hits the ropes but Buck catches him with a scoop slam. Tag is made to Slater who hits another swinging neck breaker, he just can’t keep the challenger down. Slater looks for a Boston crab but Stevie breaks it up with a bicycle kick. An exchange is made and Buck keeps on him with a half crab. He rolls him over and Booker kicks out quickly.

To the ropes, Buck looks for a back body drop, Booker counters with a scissor kick. Hot tag is made to Stevie and he cleans house with rights and scoop slams. He shoots Buck in for a power slam, but Slater make the save. Booker gets involved and its a 4 man brawl. Stevie is dumped to the outside enabling a double team on Booker. Ray is back in to help out, but in ring #2, Col. Robert Parker and Sister Sherri are standing across from one another. Sherri crawls his way and Parker leaps over the top rope. As they flirt and embrace, The Nasty Boys run into the match and deck Dirty Dick Slater with a boot, allowing Harlem Heat to regain the titles.
Winners and NEW WCW World Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat (Stevie Ray/Outside Interference)

  • After The Bell: ‘Mean’ Gene checks in with the losing team. Bunkhouse Buck asks where Col. Robert Parker has been when they needed him. He’s serious about Sherri, now get to the back, because he runs this outfit and he will help them get those titles back. He’s torn between two feelings, but he’s never felt the way he felt tonight.
  • EA’s TakeThe belts are returning to more worthy holders tonight, although by confusing circumstances due to The Nasty Boys’ long history with Harlem Heat. WCW fans know that Col. Robert Parker joins Sherri and Harlem Heat during 1996, but it doesn’t sound like he’s “turned” on his team yet, so I’m sure a rematch is in order.

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene gets a word with ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson. First, he wants to reflect on history and he cuts to a video of their friendship in and out of the ring, and why things have gone awry. Whether you love him or hate him, Double A has always called a spade a spade. We’ve always experienced a family member who has gone in the wrong direction and sometimes tough love is necessary. He hates that he has to exchange fists with someone who has been a brother to him, but he’s going to give him his all, respect himself in the morning, and The Nature Boy will respect him too.

Match #5: ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson
Many wrestlers have come out to the crowd to watch this one. Flair teases a tie up, runs his fingers through his hair and struts around. Collar and elbow tie up, they hit the ropes, Flair with a shoulder tackle and Anderson hits a drop toe hold on the comeback. They circle and are tentative, they tie up, Anderson with a side headlock, they hit the ropes and Anderson hits a shoulder tackle. Anderson shoves him over and slaps The Nature Boy across the face. Flair is stunned, so he slows it down on the outside. Back in the ring, Flair with a full arm drag and twist, quickly reversed by Anderson and he goes to the arm.

Flair is up and angry, he tries shoving Anderson but Double A gets the better of him. collar and elbow, standing switch into a hammerlock, countered by Anderson, Flair reverses with a leg trip, Flair goes over the top but Anderson counters quickly with a mat hammerlock. He drives the knee in and stands up to stomp the arm. Up to their feet, Anderson hangs onto the wrist hard. He works down into a cross arm breaker. Flair rolls out of it, Anderson tries a head scissor but Flair escapes, both men are up and Flair chops him down sending The Enforcer to the mat. Flair stomps the shin and hits another big backhanded chop. Irish whip by Flair but he runs into a back elbow.

Anderson goes for the top, Flair tries to catch him, Anderson says no and goes to the sleeper hold. Flair backs into the corner to break it, but he quickly receives a knee to the back. Hammerlock slam by Anderson and he stays with it on the mat. He maneuvers into a modified stretch and tries putting the shoulders on the mat. Anderson with a wristlock, Flair chops out of it but Anderson uses the hair to drag him back to the mat. Big stomps on the arm, he rolls out to the floor and Anderson uses the ring post as a weapon. Arm bar take down by Double A and he hangs on tight. Flair is vertical, he puts Anderson in the corner for a chop, Anderson turns it on him with lefts, he Irish whips him over the turnbuckle, he runs on the apron, Anderson rushes at him and Flair pulls the top rope down.

From the top rope, Flair leaps to the floor with a double ax handle. Flair breaks the count and lays in another thick chop as well as a measured right. From the apron, Flair slingshots Anderson’s neck. Stomps to the midsection by The Nature Boy and he lays the boot across the eyes. Anderson goes down with another chop and Flair and hits a signature knee. Flair covers and tries using the ropes but Anderson doesn’t stay down. Flair tells some fans in the front rope to keep their mouth shut. Anderson blocks a right, turns him in the corner and lays in some strikes. Irish whip and a back drop by Anderson, but Flair kicks out 3 times.

Flair begs for mercy, Randy Anderson backs Double A off from his left and Flair hits a low blow. Flair punts him in the ribs and dumps him out to the floor. Another vicious chop is followed by a strut for Flair. Anderson turns the tide with a poke to the eye, Flair tries charging but he’s back dropped on the floor. A frustrated Anderson lays in some jabs. Flair blocks a vertical suplex and gives Anderson his own. On the inside, Flair measures a big forearm shot. Front face lock and a suspended vertical suplex and they both hit hard. Flair finally rolls over, but its not over yet. Another Flair chop and a whip to the corner, Anderson bounces back and yet another chop knocks him down for a 2 count.

Anderson is sent for the ride, he leaps with a sunset flip, Flair tries countering with a right but Anderson moves. He drives Flair into the corner and rakes his eyes on the top rope. Flair is whipped upside down in the corner and Anderson throws in some kicks and a choke hold. He calls for the DDT, he tries it but Flair hangs onto the ropes to block it. The Nature Boy climbs the top rope, but Anderson catches him and presses him to the mat. Anderson leaps from the 2nd rope but Flair cuts him off with a thrust. Flair calls for a Figure Four and he cinches it in. Double A struggles to keep his shoulders off the mat. Flair spits in his face and an enraged Anderson turns the hold on him.

Both are slow to get up. Flair is up first and he drives a forearm into the back of the knee. He tries another Figure Four, but Anderson catches him with a small package for two. A kick to the back of the knee again by Flair and he works him over in the corner. Irish whip but Anderson simply collapses. ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman jumps up to the apron. He exchanges rights with Flair and Pillman kicks him in the back of the head. The Nature Boy stumbles backwards and walks right into a DDT, giving Double A the win.
Winner: ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson (DDT)

  • EA’s TakeI was looking forward to this one as soon as I saw it on the card, especially emanating in Horsemen country. By the end of the year, Pillman and Chris Benoit will join Flair and Anderson to reform The Horseman which is the foursome I knew when I started getting into WCW in real time at a hardcore level. This was a match that a lot of fans never thought they’d see and quite frankly, felt pretty weird.

Video: Some believe we are put on this earth for a reason, but especially, The Taskmaster who looks to put an end to Hulkamania. The World Champion has assembled an army of elite soldiers, and they’ll do battle in WarGames tonight.

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene checks in with the Hulkamaniacs before they do battle with the Dungeon of Doom. Gene likens it to the Battle of Normandy, but regardless of what it reminds him of, they’re impervious to pain tonight. Savage assures Gene there is no dissension in the group, and Stinger doesn’t want to talk, he wants to get out there and do it. Luger says he’s got the paint on because he knows he’s part of the team, and Hulk is sorry for anyone who may get in their way.

Match #6 is WarGames: WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, WCW United States Champion Sting & Lex Luger w/Jimmy Hart vs. The Dungeon Of Doom (Kamala, The Zodiac, The Shark & Meng) w/The Taskmaster
Sting & The Shark will be the first participants for 5 minutes. They stare each other down and Shark goes on the offense with forearms early. Body shot and forearm in the corner followed by a snapmare, the big man walks across Sting’s chest. He bites Sting in the corner and sends him with an irish whip, Stinger moves and throws a series of punches. Shark escapes to the other ring but Sting catches him with a flying crossbody. He lifts all 500 pounds of him for a scoop slam but his back feels it. He tries it again, but Shark’s weight topples him over. Big bear hug is locked on by Shark. Sting tries holding on to the top of the cage, but can’t easily escape.

Sting with some chops across the head and a bite on the bridge of the nose breaks the hold, but Shark knocks him down. Shark tries the same flying cross body but gets stuck between the two top ropes. Stinger with kicks to the gut, he tries another crossbody himself but Shark catches him and tosses him aside. Sting cuts him off as he tries climbing over the top rope. Into the mid section with a boot and an irish whip. He chops down Shark from behind the knee and there is less than 30 seconds left. Sting goes for the Scorpion Deathlock, successfully turns him but here comes The Zodiac. Sting hangs onto the bar at the top and kicks Zodiac around. He hits a scoop slam and tries a Deathlock on him, but Shark is back in the mix and a it’s 2 on 1.

Shark drops an elbow and a big leg and Zodiac piles on. A whip to the ropes and a double clothesline but the DOD. They try again, Sting ducks a double clothesline, comes back with one of his own, it takes out Zodiac but not Shark who turns around and throws Stinger into the cage. The bell rings and here comes ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. He takes on both men with a crazed look, Sting gets held from the outside by Meng so he can’t immediately help out, but eventually comes to his aid. It’s an all out brawl, Savage fighting from his knees. Shark lifts Sting for a powerslam but Savage takes him out. The action is back and forth as there are 30 seconds left. Kamala tries dragging Savage from underneith the cage. The count is on and the next man in is Kamala.

Shark holds Sting in place for Kamala to lay in some chops. Savage gets some licks in to Zodiac but he’s cut off from behind by Shark. Kamala lays in some headbutts to Sting while Zodiac chops Savage. Kamala and Sting move into ring #2, as Shark puts a knee lift into the Macho Man. Sting fights back with body shots and Kamala goes down, but continues to be out-manned. The 10 count starts and here comes Lex Luger. The Total Package ducks a clothesline and takes out Shark and Kamala with one pop. He moves back to help Savage throw Zodiac into the steel. Savage goes up top for a double ax handle to Shark. Sting climbs to the top and takes out Kamala with a forearm. Zodiac gets another wind and throws a throat thrust into Luger.

Savage throws Shark into the cage as the DOD’s last man is about to come in. Luger and Savage accidentally hit one another and start to brawl, Sting is forced to break it up as Meng enters the match. The distraction allows Meng to clean house with head butts and kicks. Big stomp to Sting’s mid section and the Hulkamaniacs are in trouble. Kamala chokes Luger and sends him into the top turnbuckle, following it with some chops. Meng helps the cause and chokes him out some more. Luger is sent to the ropes for a big kick by Meng. Shark tosses Savage into the cage as the crowd makes the final countdown, it’s finally Hulk Hogan’s turn.

He enters and throws powder in the face of 3 of the members of the DOD before leveling Shark with rights. He gives some to Kamala before springing Zodiac back and forth between the rings with rights and then biting his nose. Sting uses more of the powder on Kamala and Luger hits him with a double ax handle. Hogan abuses Zodiac on the top turnbuckle as Meng is thrown into the cage. Zodiac helps Kamala but he gets raked by Hogan. Action is happening all over as Hogan rakes Kamala and double teams him into the cage with Luger. Savage bullies Shark into ring one and it’s Zodiac’s turn to taste metal. Hogan saves Sting from a double team and Savage drops a knee on Meng. Hogan and Zodiac are back to ring #2, Hogan locks in a camel clutch and Zodiac submits.
Winners: Hulk Hogan, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, Sting & Lex Luger (Hogan/Camel Clutch)

  • After The Bell: As per the stipulation, Hogan gets The Taskmaster alone in the cage thanks to winning. Sullivan tries retreating, but security with the help of Sting gets dragged back to the ring. Hogan throws him into the cage over and over again before they spill out to the floor and he does it some more. He rolls Taskmaster back in and throws some rights. Sullivan misses with a right and gets sent for a clothesline. Hogan untapes his fist and chokes him with it. He sends Taskmaster for the big boot, but from the back, out comes The Giant. He manhandles Randy Anderson and leaps into the ring and stalks Hogan. He chokes him from behind, Hogan tries fighting back but to no avail. Hogan’s teammates rush back to ringside to make the save.
  • EA’s TakeWhile being one of the more memorable ones, but on paper, could there be a more outmatched WarGames in the match’s history? This of course is the build up for the man better known to younger WWE fans as The Big Show winning the World Championship in his debut match at Halloween Havoc, but equally as important, it marks the appearance of ‘The Yeti’, which lives in WCW lore in the same category as The Shockmaster!

EA’s FinisherHonestly, this was a damn good show. Only six matches, but save for the Pittman squash, they were all long and meaningful. By long, I mean bless DDP for getting almost 9 minutes out of The Renegade.  Opening match? A+; the TV Title made an appropriate switch; the Tag Title match furthered stories in the division; Flair and Anderson was a fan dream match and WarGames of course, is my favorite WCW gimmick match. Other than the fact that the teams in WarGames were basically 4 of the biggest stars in the industry going up against cartoon characters, I really can’t complain at all. There was something about Fall Brawl where they tended to get it right.

Top Three To Watch
1 – Brian Pillman vs. Johnny B. Badd
2 – Ric Flair vs. Arn Anderson
3 – WarGames


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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: PROGRESS Chapter 4

Harry keeps chugging away on the back catalog of Progress! He lends his expertise and knowledge to help us learn where some of our favorite UK superstars began!

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Harry keeps chugging away on the back catalog of Progress! He lends his expertise and knowledge to help us learn where some of our favorite UK superstars began!

PROGRESS is coming off the worst of the three shows thus far (my ratings were 6.5, 7, 5.5 respectively). The main event was Nathan Cruz and El Ligero as tag partners took a loss to Dave Mastiff and Greg Burridge. Post match, it broke down into a brawl between the two and Jim Smallman announced that they would face here at Chapter 4 for the PROGRESS Championship. Previously, they have stuck with a three months between shows show time. This time, it’s only two months as we go from end of September to end of November (the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2012, I believe). I know of the main event and not a whole lot else in relation to this show, so we’re going to find out together. With that said, we once again go into our way back machine and head to November 25th, 2012 as “What I Watched” presents ‘The Ballad of El Ligero’ or PROGRESS Chapter 4.

WRITER’S NOTE #1: My reviews will not be a play by play recap. I’ve done that style in the past and honestly, I don’t especially care for it. Instead, it’ll be more of a stream of consciousness review as I talk about the wrestlers, the matches, the storylines and whatever else happens to pop into my head while I watch.

WRITER’S NOTE #2: As much as I’d like to let everyone make their own decisions on the matches, giving away match results in the review will be a necessary evil. The reason being is that I will discuss what I think everything means going forward and maybe even doing a little fantasy booking of where I would go from where they presently are. I will still post the results as one big listing at the end of the articles as well as my ratings for the contests. The final show review will be after that as well as the ‘Final Reaction’ for the show. Going forward, I’ll have an archive to all of my previous reviews here on the Chairshot if you click on my user name.

MY RATING SCALE: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Above Average, Average, Below Average, Bad, Very Bad, Terrible and SKIP. Some matches will occasionally get a ‘N/A’ rating as well. That will be reserved for matches that I feel don’t warrant a rating.

PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 4
The Ballad of El Ligero’
From: ‘The Boston Dome’ in Tufnell Park, London, England
Date: November 25th, 2012
Run Time: 2:03:48 (Demand PROGRESS)
WITH SPECIAL THANKS: Ian Hamilton for some of the research that I did while working on this review. (http://www.backbodydrop.com)

*GENERAL NOTES: Obviously, the first thing to discuss is that we’re in a different place then we were for the first three shows. Rather this is a full time thing or just a one off remains to be seen when we get to Chapter 5. As far as how the set-up looks, hard cam doesn’t appear to be too bad. There’s a bit of a glare on the ring which could prove problematic as the show goes on.

*Our opening video focuses on the changes we’ve seen in El Ligero in his time here in PROGRESS compared to how he was prior. They focus on the underhanded way he beat Burridge at Chapter 2 and the ‘sorry, not sorry’ shrug after superkicking Marty Scurll during his match with Nathan Cruz at the same show.

*Once again, no Smallman promo to start the show. I do look forward to when those become a regular thing going forward. Jim has such an infectious personality that you can’t help but enjoy him clearly having the time of his life in the ring. Even if he does tend to run a little long with the openings on occasion these days.

*Match #1: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) (2-0 as a team) vs. The Hunter Brothers (Jim and Lee) (debut)
The Who: London Riots are clearly the class of the PROGRESS tag division. At this time though, that’s not really saying a whole lot. Davis and Lynch are coming off back to back wins at Chapters 2 and 3. Hunter Brothers are making their debut here and I can’t say I’ve heard of them before this. They do sort of physically resemble the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson).
The Why: While I can’t say for sure, my guess is that PROGRESS is attempting to flush out the tag division by adding a new team in the Hunter Brothers against an established one in the London Riots.
The Match: I believe Smallman called them Lee and Jim. My guess is another name for them would be ‘dead’ and ‘meat’, because I don’t anticipate much of a contest here…Hunter’s slide into the ring, the fisticuffs start flying and the opening bell rings here…quick tags after a breakdown see the brothers in control early until Lynch launches Jim with an exploder…fans getting on Davis’ case by chanting ‘London Diets’. That’s pretty funny…tilt-a-whirl face plant by Davis on Jim Hunter. Always liked that move. Looks cool with a minimal amount of effort and risk for both parties…huge double stomp by Lynch to the back of Jim. That’s a big dude to be using that…after that opening flurry, it’s been all Riots. Not that it’s much of a surprise…overhead belly2belly by Lynch. Everything the Riots have done has been really smooth in this match. You can see them gelling more and more from Chapter to Chapter…Jim and Lynch end up trading shots in an exchange that Jim wins. Suspension of disbelief something serious there since Lynch has Jim outweighed by probably a hundred pounds…superkick into a Code Red by the Hunters. It looked good…overhead throw by Lynch tosses Lee across the ring…drop toe hold into a stomach breaker. Again, looked good too…Riots go for that double powerbomb that they hit at the last show, but Lee gets out with a ‘rana…first ‘This is Progress’ chant after a top-rope ‘rana-frog splash combo by Hunter’s…Lynch appears to hurt his knee coming off the ropes, but I’ve seen this ruse before…and sure enough, ruse it is as Lynch and Davis deck the Hunters from behind. Upon the second attempt, the double team powerbomb (which according to my research would become known as ‘District Line’) gets the three count at 14:25…long for an opener, but a good enough match. I don’t think I like the cliché of the ‘fake injury’ being used in the opening contest. Hunter’s held their own against the established Riots and even though I had a few minor issues here and there in terms of believability, I got more out of this match then I was expecting. Call it an ABOVE AVERAGE way to start, minor discrepancies aside.

Post-match: More mic time for the Riots and more of the same that we’ve heard from them before. Nothing really comes of it other then the crowd once again getting to chant ‘London Diets’ and I believe Davis shoving a plant to the floor.

*Match #2: RJ Singh (1-0-1) vs. Paul Robinson (0-1)
The Who: RJ Singh comes off a win over Rob Cage at Chapter 3. The draw you see in his record above was from a no decision in a three way where El Ligero became the number one contender. He still has the biggest entourage in PROGRESS to this point. Paul Robinson was tapped out by Noam Dar in his debut on what was the opening contest.
The Why: Truthfully, I have no clue. My theory is to give Singh more momentum going forward, but Robinson did have a pretty good match with Dar at Chapter 3 whereas I found the Singh-Cage match to be just there.
The Match: Can someone get Paul Robinson a good sandwich? If he lost any more weight, he’d be transparent. Something about seeing a guy’s ribcage just doesn’t scream wrestler to me…bell goes and we’re under way once again…apparently Robinson has outside wrestling experience as a kick boxer, so I take back what I said earlier. I ain’t trying to get kicked…Robinson with the series of short kip-up’s that I first saw by Chris Hero into an arm drag…say this much, Robinson is technically skilled. He may not be the biggest dog in the fight, but he might be the most aggressive…basement enzugiri by Robinson and that’s a new one for me…Robinson takes out both members of Singh’s entourage and then a suicide dive takes out Singh (and almost a couple fans) on the opposite side of the ring…Singh with a pair of backbreakers (tilt-a-whirl and pendulum) to set up an attempt for the ‘Ethnic Submission’ later on, I’m sure…HOOK THE LEG, MAAAAAN…Robinson with a nice springboard flying forearm before a single foot basement dropkick. The issue I have is there is no sign of the back work that Singh was doing here…Robinson goes for a flying legdrop and it does not end well for his tailbone…little later, Robinson goes for a 619 (to the fans approval) but Singh moves and hooks Robinson up to hit ‘Welcome to Chicago, Motherfucker’ (double underhook into a backbreaker). Would that be ‘Welcome to Bombay?’…Robinson gets ‘Sliced Bread #2’ (with a shout out to Naomichi Marufuji) for two…both members of Singh’s entourage get involved again. Shah Boudica eats the 619 to save Singh. Director gets knocked off the apron, but the distraction of Robinson allows Singh to catch him with a Widow’s Peak. Singh then applies the ‘Ethnic Submission’ (Camel Clutch) and that gives us a tap out at 10:56…I think the one I would use here is inconsistent. Singh tried to work over the back of Robinson, but Robinson barely sold it at all. The problem with that is when the ‘Ethnic Submission’ gets put on, you look like a putz who just taps rather then a guy who has been worn down. The ring work was fine otherwise but while I would put the entertainment level at about the same as the opener, I would call this one only AVERAGE due to the fact that Jim and Lee Hunter actually sold the beating they were taking from the London Riots. Somewhat of a disappointment.

Post-match: Director and Boudica come into the ring and attack Robinson after the match, only to be pulled away by Singh. Singh yells at both of them to leave and they exit the ring before Singh extends the hand to a now-risen Robinson. Interesting to see where a face turn for Singh could go. RJ seems to be a pretty competent wrestler, but the hijinx of his entourage have definitely hurt the quality of his matches thus far. I’ll be curious to see what he’s capable of against an opponent of a higher quality as well.

*Match #3: ‘Submission Match’- Noam Dar (2-1) vs. Jimmy Havoc (1-2)
The Who: Dar is coming off back to back wins here in PROGRESS, beating Darrell Allen and Paul Robinson by submission at Chapters 2 and 3 respectively. Havoc is coming off the absolute throw down with Jon Ryan in what basically turned into a death match at Chapter 3.
The Why: Unsure. It being a submission match is even more bizarre for me because to my knowledge, these guys have never been anywhere near each other in PROGRESS. That said, I’m actually looking forward to this as I am a fan of both guys.
The Match: Smallman’s ring intro is very biased…‘Spoon him up Jimmy, spoon him up’. PROGRESS fans, you glorious bastards…they then chant for a forking, but weapons are not legal…Jimmy does go for a spoon early but Dar is able to stay out…apparently, the bloodbath that Havoc had with Ryan at Chapter 3 was the end for Ryan. That’s unfortunate. I always thought he was a good hand…clean break by Dar in the ropes. Not something you usually see…Dar’s infatuation with his gum is borderline disturbing…Dar takes a tasty cake break and makes friends around ringside before eventually returning…Dar goes for the grapevine kneebar early but Havoc is able to escape and gets a dropkick while Dar is trapped in the corner…Havoc plans to fly, but Dar comes back in with a single foot dropkick before instinctively going for a cover. I would be shocked if that doesn’t happen more…Dar goes for a teabag but Havoc counters with the old Corino ‘thumb in the bum’. Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen…Dar is staying heavily on Havoc’s knee and Jimmy is actually selling it. Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson…the thing you learn in these early PROGRESS shows is Havoc is actually a competent wrestler. He just made his name as a death match guy…Jimmy Barnett compares Noam Dar to Brutus Beefcake on a sleeper before spinning that in a direction that is not appropriate for this review. Funny, just not appropriate…Havoc catches a Sharpshooter on Dar of all things. Been almost no work to set it up, but it does draw quite the pop from the crowd…and Dar empties a bag of thumbtacks in the ring. Havoc tries to DVD Dar into them, but the referee blocks that. A fireman’s carry throw puts Dar in the corner and Havoc sweeps up the tacks with a broom and basket…Dar has time to recover and takes Jimmy down before a top-rope double stomp to the knee puts Havoc down. Dar applies the Champagne Super Kneebar, but Jimmy is able to get to the ropes…they are just countering back and forth so fast that I can’t keep up with everything…Jimmy applies Mr. Socko (generic version) and puts on the Mandible Claw. Dar grabs the shoulder of Havoc to stop his hand from falling. That’s new…Dar brings a chair in. Ref gets rid of it and Dar pulls the Eddie Guerrero spot with a briefcase which leads to the referee ringing the bell on a DQ at 17:14…Smallman makes his way ringside and points out the shenanigans that Dar just attempted, restarting the match…Havoc takes Dar down into a Crossface. Dar once again gets to the rope. Dar is then able to catch Havoc in the ‘Champagne Super Kneebar’ once again and this time bites the foot. That’s just fucking gross. It also draws the tap out at 18:40…that was a lot of fun. They played the hits of a submission match and even tossed in a couple new school wrinkles with Noam Dar trying his best Eddie Guerrero impression. The finish, while gross, makes sense as well since Dar had been working the knee of Havoc for most of the match. The biting of the foot was just Dar being a dick and it protects Havoc a bit since it gives him an out that Dar had to do so. Fun match here and I’ll give it a GOOD rating. Best thing on the show thus far.

*Match #4: ‘Natural Progression’ First Round: Will Ospreay (0-0 as a single. 0-1 overall) vs. Mark Andrews (2-0)
The Who: Will Ospreay is obviously a big name now with his work for New Japan Pro Wrestling, however here he’s not nearly as big a deal. His only prior appearance for PROGRESS was a losing effort as one half of the tag team ‘Velocity Vipers’ with Alex Esmail. They lost to the London Riots in a match that was just getting good when Esmail broke his leg. Mark Andrews has been a staple since Chapter 2, defending the BWC Starlo Scholarship against Mike Hitchman and the former champion Xander Cooper. There is no mention of the Starlo here, so my guess is that three chapters is how long the PROGRESS/BWC relationship lasted.
The Why: First round match in what is deemed the ‘Natural Progression’ tournament. As to what exactly that means, maybe Jimmy Barnett will tell me and I can fill you all in on that. My guess would be a future title shot, but I honestly don’t know.
The Match: opening bell doesn’t go but goes, since it never officially rings, but the ref makes the motion…Barnett confirms the title shot for the winner as the tournament will continue over the next six Chapters…we stay on the mat early, but I don’t anticipate that will last long. Ospreay has gotten better on the mat over the years but both of these guys are much better fliers then they are scientific wrestlers…a high speed series of exchanges leads to Andrews getting in déjà vu (the double wrap around flying head scissors)…and Ospreay nails both Andrews a fan with a suicide dive. Her lap ate that dive. Make your own joke here…standing SSP gets two for Ospreay and he puts on a grounded Kimura. It’s the 2003 Brock Lesnar school of wrestling…I believe the mat portion of this contest is over. Of course, right as I type that, Ospreay puts on a seated chinlock…nice ‘dropsault’ by Ospreay. Almost as pretty as Paul London’s…tornado DDT out of back handspring by Andrews draws the second ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant of the night…Stomp 182 sets up a standing MS senton by Andrews. The flippy is strong with these two…impressive series of offense from Ospreay ends with a brainbuster for a double down…Ospreay has something ridiculous planned on the top, but Andrews has plans to drop him on his balls…avalanche reverse ‘rana draws a ‘he’s dead’ from Barnett. Andrews went all the way over and face planted on it…FIGHTING SPIRIT~!!!…Ospreay goes for a 450 but Andrews moves, leading to Ospreay landing on his feet. Andrews gets in a shot and heads to the apron himself, where a springboard in leads to him connecting with the ‘West Coast Pop’ (hurricanrana into a cradle) and that’s the three count at 10:29…man, if you are going to do one of these styles of matches, this is how you do it. Everything they did looked super clean and while there was no real selling to speak of, neither person had the advantage long enough for that to really be a complaint. They just traded bomb after bomb after bomb until eventually Andrews was able to put Ospreay’s shoulders down with that ‘West Coast Pop’ and advance to the semifinals on I’m guessing around Chapter 8 or 9. VERY GOOD match and definitely a sign of things to comes from both of these guys.

Post-match: A well deserved standing ovation for both competitors. A show of respect to each other as well and the fans chant ‘welcome back’ towards Ospreay as he makes his exit. Smallman puts over both guys on the house mic as well.

*Match #5: Stixx (1-1) vs. Marty Scurll (1-1-1) vs. Dave Mastiff (0-0 as a singles. 1-0 in tag matches)
The Who: Stixx is the guy who has faced Lion Kid (Wade Fitzgerald) on the last two shows. Chapter 2 was not so good. Chapter 3 was in my opinion the best match on the show. Here’s hoping his performance is more towards the second half of that. Marty Scurll is returning to in ring competition after TNA kept him off of Chapter 3, where he was just the special guest referee for the main event. In his most recent match in the company, he was defeated by champion Nathan Cruz in a ‘two out of three falls’ match for the PROGRESS Championship Staff at Chapter 2. Dave Mastiff who people may now know from the NXT UK TV show is making his singles debut here. He made his PROGRESS debut at Chapter 3, teaming with the now gone Greg Burridge to defeat Nathan Cruz and El Ligero, scoring the pinfall on the champion in the process.
The Why: The last time there was a three way in PROGRESS, it was a number one contendership match. One could argue that this could very easily be a de facto number contendership match as well. You have the best performer on Chapter 3 (Stixx), the man who took the champion to the limit at Chapter 2 (Scurll) and the man who pinned the champion at Chapter 3 (Mastiff), albeit in a tag match.
The Match: Would be wise for Scurll and Stixx to work together against Mastiff here, but we’ll see if that happens…we actually do get an opening bell this time…Scurll tries to make a friendship and attempts to double cross both Stixx and Mastiff. It doesn’t end well for him with either of them…Scurll tries an overhead chop to Mastiff and it has no affect. Following chops from Mastiff both stagger Stixx and knock Scurll down…Scurll slaps Stixx in the face. He’s just full of dumb ideas in this match, isn’t he?…huge clothesline from Stixx takes Mastiff over the top and to the floor. Not gonna lie, would be kinda interested in a one on one match between those two…Scurll comes after Stixx and Mastiff with a suicide dive. Both move and Scurll eats chairs on the dive attempt. That’s just a terrible idea and this is now a singles match, at least for the time being…wow, Marty came back a lot quicker then I thought he would. About a minute or so…Scurll hooks Mastiff and Stixx for a suplex but again, no dice…Mastiff tries a sit-down splash on Scurll and misses. Stixx then comes in and catches Mastiff with a rolling neckbreaker…at this point, Nathan Cruz makes his presence known and pulls Scurll out to the floor, brawling to the back with him…impressive escape by Stixx and a big flying shoulder block gets two…Mastiff with a Fit Finlay roll and a senton. That’s a big boy to be pulling off both those moves…Stixx with a backdrop counter to a powerbomb attempt. I believe these are the type of guys that led to the Hoss division becoming a thing in other companies. I think they add a belt down the line of that dimension here in PROGRESS, but I don’t know when…clothesline by Stixx is ducked and Mastiff with a release German into the turnbuckle. Mastiff creates a little space as Stixx slumps and a cannonball splash in the corner (Into the Void on NXT UK) spells the three count for Mastiff at 10:28…Cruz taking Scurll out of the match makes sense given their history but doesn’t given that Cruz is about to defend his title against El Ligero in the main event. What participation Scurll did have was fun, but it was minimal. As far as Stixx and Mastiff go, it was entertaining but never had the opportunity to reach another level just based on how short it was after Scurll got taken out. I stand by what I said earlier in wanting a proper one on one match between the two. Overall, it’s a GOOD match, but it could have been much better given what these men have proven capable of.

*Match #6: PROGRESS Wrestling Staff: ‘Showstealer’ Nathan Cruz © (3-0) vs. El Ligero (2-1)
The Who: Nathan Cruz is the inaugural PROGRESS champion, having won the title back at Chapter 1 in a four way match that included El Ligero, who was eliminated first. This will be his second title defense, as he beat Marty Scurll in the previously discussed ‘two out of three falls’ match at Chapter 2. El Ligero won a three way at Chapter 2 to become the number one contender, pinning Greg Burridge with a handful of tights. Ligero and Cruz teamed at Chapter 3, but it did not go well for them as Ligero kicked Cruz in the face, leading to Cruz getting pinned by Dave Mastiff. Post match, they got into another brawl and that brings us to the title match here.
The Why: This may be the easiest one of the evening. Tempers have flared over the last two Chapters and as the old adage goes, ‘if you can’t get along, you got to get it on’ so they will for the PROGRESS Wrestling Staff that represents their Heavyweight title.
The Match: Cruz has a pre-match promo that insults Ligero, Smallman and the fans to make Ligero the face for this match. In addition, Cruz demands that Smallman ban Scurll from ringside or Cruz is leaving and taking the Staff with him. Smallman agrees and the match is officially a go…again, the ‘shit Zack Ryder’ chant breaks out towards Cruz. He’s not wearing the single leg trunks this time, so it doesn’t have the same affect to me…opening bell goes and we’re underway…rolling sole butt leads to Cruz getting sent out to the floor less then a minute into the match…Ligero waits for Cruz to come back and it breaks down into a brawl in the middle…Ligero then proceeds to throw Cruz into the seats, about three row deep. Looks like we’re heading towards more crowd brawling here, which is something I absolutely don’t like for venues like this. Thankfully, this building is better lit then the previous one was, so we can actually see what’s happening…and there’s the ‘we can’t see shit’ chants. That’s not a good thing for your crowd to be chanting, guys…Cruz with lift and drop on the entrance and then a suplex onto the merch tables. Can’t help but feel like Smallman doesn’t appreciate this…Ligero pitches Cruz from the stage to the floor and then comes flying over with flipping dive, giving us the third ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant of the night…they briefly go back to the ring and then right back out…the moves on the floor are impressive and all, but I still feel like the match is best kept in the ring where the guys can go balls out…finally back in again and Cruz takes control with a huge release German suplex, throwing Ligero into a stomach first landing…fans chanting ‘Ole’ for Ligero. Reminds me of another masked guy they used to chant that for. Hope he’s doing well helping with the orphans…once we got back into the ring, it’s been all Cruz. On the floor, it was almost all Ligero…vertical suplex leads to a one count. Rare that you see the one count, but its Ligero’s way of telling Cruz that Ligero isn’t nearly done yet. I wish more people would use that story…Ligero gets the C4L (Crazy 4 Ligero) in ring (not the rope spring version) and that puts both guys down…Ligero gets a springboard enzugiri for a good near fall after Cruz went for ‘Show-Stolen’, the fireman’s carry Michinoku Driver…Cruz with a nice looking chest blower out of a pop up in the corner. For as much shit as the crowd gave him, he seems to win a good bit of them over during his matches…Cruz calls for the sliding single foot kick but Ligero moves. Ligero again wiggles out of ‘Show-Stolen’ and hits the Beach Break (down the back Tombstone) for two…trading blows back and forth here before Cruz again goes for ‘Show-Stolen’, turned into a roll-up for two…huge superkick puts both men down again. No count by the referee though. Ligero looks for C4L but Cruz counters with a Cutter which again leads to a double down, this time with a count from Chris Robinson…getting deep into this contest. Easily the longest on the show and not even close…Cruz looks for a superplex which could be a bad idea with this low ceiling…it’s countered, thankfully…top-rope splash by Ligero gets two. Fans are calling for flips, but I’m not sure the roof is high enough to support that theory off the top…Ligero gets the PROGRESS Staff. He looks to hit Cruz with it but the ref talks him out of it. The distraction leads to ‘Show-Stolen’ for a two count. A second ‘Show-Stolen’ only gets a one count…Cruz then hits the sliding single foot kick but that only gets two as well…alright, we’re on the verge of overkill here gentlemen. I get what you are trying to do, but killing Cruz’s move set isn’t the way to get there…Cruz tries to pick Ligero up and Ligero quickly catches him in a guillotine choke. Cruz tries to roll out but Ligero rolls through and has it hooked in from a seated position, bending Cruz forward. Cruz tries to fight but can’t and taps out, ending the match and giving the title to El Ligero at 26:51…I’m torn here. While I more or less enjoyed the match, there were definitely parts of it I did not care for. The constant crowd brawling that happens in the main events of PROGRESS shows has to stop. It takes the home viewer out of the experience. While it may be cool for the fans in attendance for the guys (or girls eventually) to make their way around the building, it’s a burden for the camera crew to follow along with and for the fans at home to follow. The overkill on the finishers at the end by Cruz was another thing that bothered me. I knew going in that Cruz was dropping the belt to Ligero here but in effect, you killed off most of Cruz’s main move set in the process with the repeated kick outs. That’s not to say the match was all bad. There was nothing blown, most of the exchanges looked really good and while I may not personally care for the amount of kick outs, I can understand the story they were going for. All in all, it’s a GOOD match to end the show and the Nathan Cruz era but for the time they got, I think I just expected more.

Post-match: Ligero is crowned king as they fans applaud his performance. Jimmy Barnett signs us off and the final images we get are that of El Ligero celebrating with the Staff after Cruz makes his way backstage to a ‘You Tapped Out’ chant. Credits roll and Chapter 4 is a wrap.

RESULTS
Match #1: London Riots (J. Davis/R. Lynch) defeat Hunter Brothers (Jim and Lee) when Lynch pins Jim (I think) after the ‘District Line’ powerbomb @ 14:25 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #2: RJ Singh taps Paul Robinson, ‘Ethnic Submission’ @ 10:56 (AVERAGE)
Match #3: ‘Submission Match’: Noam Dar taps Jimmy Havoc, ‘Champagne Super Kneebar’ with foot bite @ 18:40 (GOOD)
Match #4: ‘Natural Progression’ Quarterfinal Match: Mark Andrews pins Will Ospreay, West Coast Pop @ 10:29 (VERY GOOD)
Match #5: Dave Mastiff wins three way, pinning Stixx with the ‘Into the Void’ cannonball splash @ 10:28 of a match that also involved Marty Scurll (GOOD)
Match #6: PROGRESS Championship Staff: El Ligero taps Nathan Cruz ©, guillotine choke @ 26:51 to win the title (GOOD)

FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
Clearly a step up from Chapter 3, I’m not sure it quite reaches the heights of Chapters 1 and 2. The Ospreay and Andrews match is very good but there isn’t a match that gets an extended time to draw you in and push you to that excellent range like we got with Scurll and Sabre on Chapter 1 or the main event between Cruz and Scurll on Chapter 2. Times are definitely changing here, as the ‘Natural Progression’ tournament has started and that’ll give us something to look forward to as these shows continue. Plus, the era of the ‘Showstealer’ has come to a close as El Ligero goes from quasi dick challenger to now being the most hunted man in the company as the new champion. It’s a good show, but not the top-to-bottom great show that PROGRESS would eventually spoil fans with on a consistent basis.

So, where does this leave us all? Well, it’ll leave me coming back to watch ‘For Those About to Fight, We Salute You’, or PROGRESS Chapter 5. It’ll hopefully lead the readers here to give the show a shot themselves and form their own opinions. And for the fourth time in as many shows, I’m hungry after finishing one of these. I think it’s time for some pizza.

THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: Ospreay vs. Andrews for sure. It was a spotfest and a sprint, but it was a really good one.
Worst Match/Moment: I’ll go with all the crowd brawling in the main event. A couple of cool spots aside from it, it just seemed like a way to make the match go longer for going longer sake.
MVP: Going to give this one to the new champion El Ligero. While I personally may have enjoyed the Ospreay and Andrews match more, this was a big moment for Ligero and you could tell that it meant a lot to him. We’ll see where his title reigns goes.
FINAL SCORE: 6.5/10

Until next time: “This Is PROGRESS” and that’s “What I Watched”. Up next is Chapter 5: “For Those About to Fight, We Salute You”.

And make sure you guys check out the Raw Reaction every Monday night at 11:30 PM (EST) to hear Tony Acero, Andrew Balaz and myself break down important news of the week and cover Monday Night Raw over on the Chairshot Radio Network. (www.blogtalkradio.com/chairshotradio for more)


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWE Fastlane 2015 – Reigns vs. Bryan

Looking back at WWE Fastlane 2015 with Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan!

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Eric brings you the details of WWE Fastlane 2015 in this edition of Chairshot Classics!

Open: A video talking about destinations and the Road To WrestleMania, highlighting the rivalries between Bryan/Reigns, Cena/Rusev and HHH/Sting.

Match #1: Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan & Ryback vs. Big Show, Kane & “Mr. Money In The Bank” Seth Rollins w/J&J Security
A clip from last Thursday’s Smackdown, which led up to this 6 man tag. Ziggler & Rollins kick it off, with Rollins leading the charge until Dolph gets a roll-up for a quick 2, goes for a superkick and Rollins ducks out for a breather. Crowd chants “You Sold Out” at Rollins. Rollins with a quick edge, thwarted by a Ziggler dropkick and he tags Rowan who overpowers Rollins. Rowan ducks a kick and gets a pumphandle backbreaker, followed by an elbow for 2. Rollins is able to worm away to his corner and tag Kane. Rowan with a body slam, leg drop and 2nd rope back elbow, but is pushed in the wrong part of town and Big Show tags.

Show unloads in the corner, catches a boot from Rowan, but Show sends Rowan to the outside. Show out after him gets pushed into the ring post, J&J approach but get scared off by Rowan, who then goes for a heel kick, Show moves and Rowan’s leg hits the post. Show works over the injured leg and makes the tag to Kane, who follows suit before making a tag to Rollins. Rollins hits a 2nd rope blockbuster for a near fall and then brings back Big Show. Show continues to punish the leg, goes for a Chokeslam, but is countered into a DDT. Show tags Rollins, who cheap shots Ziggler in the corner, but turns around into a heel kick by Rowan using the bad leg.

Rowan is finally able to crawl over and tag Ryback, who goes to work on Rollins with heavy offense. Rollins rolls away from a splash and goes for the Curb Stomp, but gets caught into a powerbomb. Ryback sets-up for the Meat Hook, but Kane slides in and ends up taking it. Rollins misses a move off the distraction, Ryback goes for Shell Shocked, then J&J Security hit the apron giving Rollins the chance for a roll-up that gets 2, immediately followed by a head kick for another near fall. Rollins to the top for a flying knee, Ryback ducks it but takes a kick on the other side. Rollins goes for another 2nd rope blockbuster and gets caught in Shell Shocked.

Show hits the ring and splashes Ryback and quickly rolls back out. Ziggler & Kane gets tags, Ziggler dropkicks Show on the apron, Kane looks for a Chokeslam that gets reversed and Kane is pushed into Show, knocking him to the floor. Jumping DDT by Ziggler for a near fall. Dolph goes for a Fameasser and gets caught in a side slam, countered and Ziggler with a superkick. Rollins tries to get in the ring and takes a Fameasser, then Dolph mounts Kane in the corner. Show hits Ziggler with a WMD from the outside and Kane covers to grab the win.
Winners: Big Show, Kane & Seth Rollins (Kane/Interference)

  • After The Bell: The Authority celebrates in the ring and Rollins delivers a Curb Stomp to Ziggler. Ryback & Rowan come in, but the numbers game is too much for them. Ryback takes a Chokeslam and Rowan eats a Curb Stomp. They set Ryback up for a Curb Stomp, but out comes the returning Randy Orton, who proceeds to clean house. Noble suffers an RKO and Mercury gets caught coming off the 2nd rope with another. Rollins takes a kick trying to get in the ring with the briefcase and Orton sets him up for the IEDDT, but Big Show grabs Rollins from behind and saves him. Orton hits Kane with an RKO as Rollins retreats through the crowd and leaves the arena.
  • EA’s TakeYou had to figure it was about time for Orton to return, as he was never originally scheduled to be off for that long. The match itself was decent with the pace really picking up when Ziggler & Rollins would get in the ring, as you would expect. Rowan is in a really unusual state right now. He’s just not clicking as a face with the fans, as he continues to get little to no reaction. Unless you watch Smackdown, then he’s as popular as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Hopefully now we can see Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan go do something else, they need to get away from this Authority angle already.

Video: Reviewing the dissolution of the tag team and “cosmic” brothers, Gold & Stardust.

Backstage: In the locker room is Goldust. In walks his father, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. He talks about Dustin doing what he has to do, but not hurting his brother in the process. Goldust says tonight he’s not facing Cody and he has to beat Stardust so bad that he will never want to wear paint again. “Tonight, I’m not leaving that ring until I bring my brother Cody home.”

Match #2: Stardust vs. Goldust
They lock-up and Goldust back Stardust into the corner, tries to clean break and Stardust with a couple shoves. Lock-up again and Stardust backs Goldust up, pushes him again and then receives a slap in return that makes Stardust rethink his approach. Crowd chants “Cody” to Stardust’s extreme disdain. We get a nice back and forth, with neither man getting an edge until Stardust is arm dragged into a corner. More loud “Cody” chants. They go back at it with more back and forth, both men posturing until Goldust gets Stardust set-up for the Director’s Cut, but Stardust slips to the outside. Dusty Rhodes is shown watching on a monitor backstage.

Stardust tries for a running bulldog that gets countered into a backbreaker, Goldust follows up with a clothesline that dumps Stardust back outside. The “Cody” chants seem to be getting to Stardust. Both men are able to hit duck-under strikes, Goldust sets-up Stardust for Shattered Dreams, but he slips out onto the apron. Stardust goes for a sunset flip, but Goldust moves and heads to the 2nd rope and Stardust gets the boot up in the mid-section. Stardust goes to work on the boot, spilling Goldust to the outside and battering him into the ring apron before rolling him back inside and punishing Goldust’s torso. Stardust with a front suplex and an arrogant cover that gets 2.

Stardust just continues going to work on the rib area. Goldust misses a springboard back elbow, Stardust sets-up for Cross Rhodes, but Goldust counters into a roll-up and gets a very shaky 3 count.
Winner: Goldust (Roll-Up)

  • After The Bell: Stardust looks stunned about the end of the match. Goldust implores Stardust to shake his hand, Stardust grabs it quickly and rolls out of the ring, still looking in shock from the outcome.
  • EA’s TakeReally an odd ending because of the count. Was it supposed to go that way? It almost seemed like it was meant to be part of the story with the way Stardust was reacting. I’d expect this to continue on into a match at WrestleMania for Goldust’s farewell.

Video: Seth Rollins from Monday Night Raw last week, referencing that he could host The Daily Show better than Jon Stewart. Jon Stewart has a few choice words for Rollins and then Rollins has a retort, and invites Stewart to show up at Fastlane.

Backstage: Dusty Rhodes and Goldust are talking about the previous match when Stardust walks up and says it looks like a family reunion, but they forgot to invite him. Stardust asks Goldust if he thinks they’re done and ambushes him, beating him down. Dusty implores Stardust to stop, calling him ‘Cody’. Stardust tells Dusty that he killed Cody, by sending him “this bag of bones” and that he is no longer living in Dusty’s shadow.

Match #3 For The WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) w/Naomi vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro w/Natalya
Video of the dinner between Kidd/Natalya and Jimmy/Naomi from Smackdown 3 weeks ago. Kidd & Jey begin with Jey getting the upper-hand after a flying forearm and a slam, then a tag to Jimmy. Double team move now, a combo backbreaker/top rope forearm gets a 2 count. Jimmy with heavy chops and he hits a corkscrew senton from the top for a near fall. Kidd backs Jimmy in for a tag to Cesaro, shoots Jimmy in and runs him into Cesarom Jimmy counters but Cesaro chops the leg. Jimmy tries to fight out of the wrong corner, Kidd gets a tag and langs Jimmy’s leg across the ropes.

Kidd works the leg and makes a tag to Cesaro, for more of that same prescription. Cesaro with a one-legged big swing into a single leg crab, Kidd tags and hits a slingshot leg drop for a count of 2. Kidd continues to work the leg, wrapping it on the ring apron, but Jimmy gets himself a small window of opportunity. Cesaro rolls kid back inside and gets the tag as Jimmy reaches Jey, who hits a flurry of moves exclamated by a Samoan drop. He lines up for the Umaga Hip Attack, but Kidd is on the apron with a distraction that allows Cesaro to get a roll-up for 2. Jey with an enzuigiri and this time connects on the Umaga Hip Attack, but Cesaro is out at 2. Jey ascends the turnbuckle, but Cesaro hits the ropes which crotches Jey.

Kidd makes a tag, Cesaro hits the Swiss Superplex and Kidd follows with a springboard elbow drop that nearly wins them the titles. Kidd wants the Sharpshooter, counter by Jey, Kidd hits the apron and gets a roll-up on Jey, but Jimmy made a blind tag. Uso’s hit Alley Us and Jimmy covers, but Cesaro breaks it at 2 and pulls Kidd to the outside. Jimmy eats a kick from Kidd and Jey with an outside dive onto Cesaro. Kidd takes out Jey with a kick and here comes Jimmy who misses a baseball slide, then counters a kick from Kidd to a Samoan drop into the barricade. Jimmy rolls in Kidd and heads to the top, Cesaro’s distraction on the apron is thwarted and Jimmy goes for the Samoan Splash.

Kidd gets the knees up and rolls Jimmy into a cover for a near fall, then locks Jimmy in the Sharpshooter. Jey breaks it up with a kick to the back of the head, Cesaro in now and they brawl to the outside as Jimmy crawls to a cover that’s only good for 2. Cesaro rolls Jey into the ring which distracts the ref, then swallows a kick from Jimmy. Kidd capitalizes on the distraction and hits the swinging fisherman neckbreaker to capture the gold.
Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (Kidd/Swinging Fisherman Neckbreaker)

  • EA’s TakeLillian Garcia – “Here are your winners and still….the new WWE Tag Team Champions…”. Why in the BLUE HELL did they let Justin Roberts walk again? Anyway, this was yet another example of why The Uso’s are the best tag team in the business. Not to discredit Kidd & Cesaro because they are great too and I like the different paths they could take with them going forward in terms of challengers. There’s a bunch of babyface teams right now with the breakup of Gold & Stardust and the eventual split of The Miz & Damien Mizdow. Add to that the recent call-up of Kalisto to add The Lucha Dragons into the mix.

Video: Triple H talking about his allegiance to WWE, 2 weeks ago on Raw and what has led up to Triple H calling him out for tonight.

In The Ring: It’s time for that confrontation and here comes Triple H, who is wearing street clothes and not his usual suit. Triple H talks about last week on Raw, when he was confronted by Ric Flair about Sting and how he regrets losing his cool and apologized to Flair, but doesn’t apologize for what he said about Sting. He says he is not standing in the ring as the COO, but as the heartbeat of WWE, The Game, The King of Kings and “Sting, I am waiting for you!”. He makes Triple H think about it for a moment and finally “The Vigilante” Sting makes his way to the ring. HHH says that they are past pleasantries and cuts right to the chase, he knows why Sting is here and isn’t mad about it, but feels sorry for him.

HHH says Sting backed the wrong horse by being undyingly loyal to WCW, but he respects that Sting “went down with the ship”. HHH says that guys like himself made that ship go down and he knows Sting came for him because without HHH & Stephanie the “WWE dies.”, but Sting failed and that’s what Sting does. HHH offers to let Sting have his legacy back and wants to do what’s best for business by putting all this behind them and doing business with Sting. All Sting has to do is walk away and HHH promises to make Sting bigger than ever by putting out DVD’s, action figures, loads of merchandise and possibly someday get him a Hall of Fame induction. Sting still says nothing and HHH takes his coat off and says the other option is the hard way, where he will beat the legacy out of Sting and he’ll be carried out and his legacy erased.

HHH says the choice is Sting’s, but he still doesn’t respond. HHH says he can tell by the look in Sting’s eye, he’s already made up his mind and tries to sucker punch Sting. Sting sees it coming and attacks The Game, but is hit by the microphone and HHH takes over. HHH beats down Sting, yelling at him “I gave you a chance!”, before rolling to the outside and grabbing his trusty sledgehammer. Sting pulls a baseball bat out of his jacket and catches HHH under the chin with it, pushing him into the corner until HHH drops the sledgehammer outside. He backs off and points to the WrestleMania sign with the bat, HHH tries to sneak attack, but gets pushed back into the corner and Sting points to the sign again. This time HHH agrees, Sting pushes HHH back again, points to the sign once more and begins to make his exit. HHH comes up from behind, but takes a ball-bat to the gut and receives a Scorpion Death Drop before Sting leaves.

  • EA’s TakeSeems like they are paying homage to the Sting/nWo storyline here a bit, with The Authority playing the nWo role. Loved this segment, Sting didn’t have to speak to get his point across. I’m not sure the WCW vs. WWE part of the story is really something that needs to be played up as much as they have been, but they ultimately need to talk about Sting’s history for the younger crowd to really understand the mark he’s made in the industry.

Backstage: We see Daniel Bryan preparing for his match with Roman Reigns later tonight.

Video: Recap of the Kickoff Show, where The Miz’s guest on Miz TV was Paul Heyman. Heyman says it doesn’t matter who wins tonight, Bryan or Reigns because they will lose to Brock Lesnar and we can “believe that”.

Match #4 For The WWE Divas Championship: Paige vs. WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella w/Brie Bella
Video of 3 weeks ago on Raw when The Bella’s sprayed Paige with tanner, then last week when they stole her ring gear and Paige had to wrestle in Rosebud attire. According to Lillian Garcia, Nikki is the Women’s Champion. Brawl to start and Nikki rolls out of the ring, Paige after her with Brie standing in the way, Paige catches Nikki in the ring, then goes for the knees on the apron that is countered and Paige spills to the floor. Nikki sends Paige into the apron and barricade, then back in the ring for a 1 count. Nikki grounds Paige and hits an Alabama Slam for a count of 2. Nikki continues to control until Paige gets in a kick, goes for a roll-up into the bottom turnbuckle, Nikki botches it. Paige with a series of clotheslines and a dropkick for 2.

Nikki ducks a kick into a roll-up that gets 2. Paige connects with the kick this time for another near fall. Paige sets-up for RamPaige, Nikki counters to a facebuster, but Paige retorts with a side kick and crawls into a count of 2. Nikki is caught climbing up top, she counters Paige into a powerbomb for 2. Paige is able to set for the PTO, but Nikki gets the ropes before Paige fully locks it in. Nikki grabs Paige’s tights and hauls her face-first into the turnbuckle, then rolls her up and grabs the tights again for the win.
Winner and STILL WWE Divas Champion: Nikki Bella (Roll-Up)

  • EA’s TakeIf this is headed in the direction that I think it is, which is the return of AJ Lee to help Paige…then shouldn’t Brie have gotten involved to help Nikki win? Maybe AJ is not the plan after all.

Match #5 For The WWE Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett
Clip of last Monday’s Raw, when Ambrose zip-tied Barrett to the ring post and forced him to sign the contract for an IC Title match. Both men connect with strikes, trying to prove who’s tougher, Ambrose with the advantage hits a crossbody and some rights, Barrett avoids a clothesline and ducks outside to regroup. Barrett back in, still can’t solve the puzzle of Ambrose, absorbs punishment until he catches Ambrose on the top with a big boot. Barrett sends Ambrose face-first into the steel steps before rolling him in and now he punishes Ambrose in the corner and grounds him. Ambrose gets a couple strikes in, but runs into Barrett’s boot and to the outside.

Barrett throws Ambrose in the ring, but he counters with a variation of the pendulum clothesline on the outside. Inside they go and Ambrose hits a tornado DDT and they double down. Ambrose is on fire now with a series of strikes and a running bulldog, he goes to the top, hops Barrett and rolls through. Barrett looks for Winds Of Change, Ambrose reverses into a roll-up for 2. Ambrose delivers a dropkick and a top rope diving elbow for a near fall. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds, countered into Wasteland, Ambrose gets out and takes a kick, springs off for a pendulum clothesline again countered and Barrett hits Wasteland for 2.

Barrett sets his sights on a Bullhammer, Ambrose into a roll-up for 2 and then hits with the pendulum clothesline and Barrett rolls outside. Barrett grabs his title and tries to leave, but Ambrose with a suicide dive. Barrett tries escaping through the crowd, but Ambrose gets him back in the ring. Barrett tries to crawl out again, Ambrose catches him and delivers a beat down in the ropes. Ambrose doesn’t break on the refs count and the ref calls for the bell.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Bad News Barrett (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: Ambrose hits Barrett with Dirty Deeds, goes to leave, then comes back in and grabs the IC Title.
  • EA’s TakeThis was one of the more predictable finishes of the night, as its been rumored that they’re penciled in to go 1-1 at WrestleMania. Decent match that did what it needed to do and advanced the story and rivalry between Ambrose & Barrett.

In The Ring: The Undertaker’s druids come out carrying torches to a spiritual chant. Taker’s music hits and out comes 2 more druids, pushing a casket down the aisle and up next to the ring. The casket opens to reveal…Bray Wyatt. Bray says there’s a wicked feeling in the air tonight. He talks about the first time he saw The Undertaker and how he feared him, but now he has become like everyone else, weak and broken with his soul lost. Bray says it’s time for Taker to go home. He knows he can hear him and he wants Taker to know he’s not afraid anymore. He is the new face of fear. “At WrestleMania, I will claim the soul of The Undertaker.”

  • EA’s TakeGreat way to keep the suspense of whether or not Undertaker will accept the challenge by Bray. I’d leave Taker off until WrestleMania or perhaps even the Raw before. Bray Wyatt is pure gold and doesn’t need Taker to appear to make this feud interesting. Wyatt is a perfect example of someone when they’re firing on all cylinders.

Panel: Renee Young and the rest of the Kickoff panel offer their thoughts on what just happened with Bray Wyatt. Booker T, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton recap the nights events.

Video: The buildup between John Cena and Rusev, leading up to their match tonight for the United States Championship.

Match #6 For The WWE United States Championship: John Cena vs. WWE United States Champion Rusev w/Lana
They feel each other out and circle around, Cena floors Rusev with a right and grabs a headlock. Rusev with a big kick for 2, then begins to dominate Cena with strikes in the corner. Cena fights back and shoots Rusev in, but falls victim to a spinning heel kick and a count of 2, then goes back to beating Cena down. Rusev grabs another near fall off a corner avalanche, Cena’s out on the apron and Rusev drives him off into the barricase, rolls him in for a cover and gets 2. Rusev gets distracted by the crowd and hits a dropkick for 2, only to have the favor returned by Rusev for 2 as well.

Cena gets a short burst of energy and takes Rusev down, raining fists, hits a shoulder tackle off the rope, goes for another and gets caught in a fallaway slam. Rusev really in control and gets 2 off multiple elbow drops. Cena uses Rusev to get to his feet and throws some gut shots, whip into the corner and runs into a back elbow, before being grounded by Rusev again. Cena powers out of the hold and takes a kick, Rusev goes for a suplex and Cena reverses, then hits a big clothesline for a count of 2. Cena tries the AA, Rusev counters into a DDT for a 2 count. Splashes in the corner by Rusev only get another 2 and Rusev shows signs of frustration. Cena shows signs of life and makes the comeback, hitting the 5 Knuckle Shuffle and going for an AA, Rusev pushes off and kicks Cena’s head off for another near fall.

Rusev tries to go for The Accolade, Cena counters to the STF, Rusev pushes off and hits a Gunnslinger that Rusev can’t believe doesn’t get 3. Rusev charges Cena and runs into a boot, Cena to the 2nd rope hits a tornado DDT, Rusev kicks out at 2. They slug it out in the middle of the ring, Cena looks AA again, Rusev goes for another Gunnslinger, but Cena turns it into a crossface. Rusev just powers out of the hold and hits an Alabama Slam, Cena kicks after a 2 count. Rusev attempts The Accolade once more, Cena catches his foot and gets him in the STF, but Rusev makes it to the ropes. Cena sets for an AA, Rusev is out with an elbow then a kick, looks for another superkick and this time Cena connects on the AA, but still can’t get a 3 count.

Cena climbs to the top and goes for the leg drop, Rusev catches him into a powerbomb and immediately locks in The Accolade. Cena breaks the grip a couple times and is finally able to get to his feet with Rusev on his back. Lana enters the ring and distracts the ref, Rusev with a low blow and then a kick to the face. He slaps The Accolade on again and Cena passes out.
Winner and STILL WWE United States Champion: Rusev (The Accolade)

  • After The Bell: Trainers check on John Cena, who is still unconscious, face down in the ring. Rusev & Lana celebrate and the Russian flag drops behind them. Cena starts to come-to, but has trouble getting to his feet. He fights off help and heads to the back.
  • EA’s TakeReally liking the mid-card title scene since some of the bigger names have been getting involved. Both the IC & US titles have been begging for a revival and these kinds of feuds will do that. Lana’s interference allows for a logical reason to have the rematch at Mania, which is where this is headed. Hopefully, more layers can be added to the story to keep it interesting until then.

Panel: Back to the Kickoff Panel to recap the night before heading to the main event.

Video: The rising tension between Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns, as they vie for a spot in the main event at WrestleMania.

Match #7 – Winner Gets WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match At WrestleMania: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
They posture, lock up and break clean. Dueling Bryan & Reigns chants. They posture, lock-up and break again. Both men still trying to feel each other out, Bryan gains a headlock, Reigns powers out and reverses, catching Bryan with a shoulder, Bryan comes back with a roll-up for 2. Bryan catches Roman’s legs and attempts a surfboard, but Reigns powers out, leading Bryan to ponder his next move. Bryan kicks at Reigns, but is overpowered. Bryan flips over Reigns and hits the ropes, Reigns with a tilt-a-whirl slam, then clotheslines Reigns to the outside. Reigns follows him and viciously attacks Bryan using the barricade.

Bryan catches Reigns with a kick back in the ring, trying to cut Reigns down at the legs. Reigns breaks a submission with heavy rights, slingshots Bryan across the top, hits a Samoan drop and a flying clothesline. He charges Bryan, but Bryan with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle. Bryan charges and is hammered with a big clothesline that turns Bryan inside-out for a count of 2. Reigns hits rolling suplexes and his signature apron dropkick, then sets-up the Superman Punch. Bryan counters with a kick and tries to take advantage, but the ref is checking on Reigns to see if he can continue. The match goes on and Bryan works the mid-section, the same area that Reigns had hernia surgery months before. Cormer dropkicks precede a top rope hurricanrana attempt by Bryan, countered by Reigns into a powerbomb for a near fall.

Reigns crushes Bryan with clotheslines in the corner, props him up top, but Bryan counters and seats Reigns on the turnbuckle. Bryan lands a top rope back suplex that only gets 2. Bryan gets the Yes Lock, but Reigns drags him to the ropes and rolls outside. Bryan hits on 2 suicide dives, goes for a third and is caught into an overhead belly to belly on the floor. Reigns has Bryan in his crosshairs for a Spear, but Bryan side swipes him into the steel steps. Both men struggle to reach the ring before the count of 10, but do. Bryan comes off the top and is caught with a Superman Punch for 2. Reigns tries a Spear and Bryan catches him in a roll-up for a near fall. Bryan with a big kick, and then connects with Knee Plus, but Reigns kicks at 2.

Reigns on his knees and Bryan goes back to the kicks, tries for a head kick, but Reigns catches the leg. Bryan slaps Reigns and snatches the arm, worming down to the mat into the Yes Lock. Reigns finally powers out and mounts Bryan, hammering down with big forearms. Bryan grabs a triangle choke, Reigns is able to lift him up and slam him to break. They double down and then get into a striking contest on the mat, Bryan to his feet and hits the big head kick before setting up for Knee Plus again. Bryan charges and Reigns catches him with a Spear to get the victory.
Winner: Roman Reigns (Spear)

  • After The Bell: Both men are in the ring, spent. Bryan grabs Reigns and turns him arounf. Face to face, Bryan tells Reigns he better win at WrestleMania and then offers his hand. Roman takes it and then celebrates.
  • EA’s TakeExcellent main event match that exceeded my expectations. Easily, the best match of Roman Reigns’ career. A lot of people will attribute that to working with Bryan, but Reigns really answered the call and brought it. Bryan was the perfect opponent to get Reigns ready for Lesnar. Bryan is a very physical wrestler and working that style with Reigns can only help him going into an even more physical opponent, in Brock Lesnar.

EA’s FinisherOverall a much better show than I was anticipating. I half-went in thinking most of the finishes would be DQ’s or count-outs so they could build to rematches at WrestleMania. Have to give WWE credit for coming up with alternatives as they could easily have taken that route, especially since this is free trial month and a lot of people are probably not paying anything for this. Bryan/Reigns exceeded all expectations I had and I applaud WWE for sticking to the plan this time around and not giving in to all the post-Rumble noise. Bryan can help out in other ways without being involved in the title picture right now. Doesn’t mean he’s out of it forever. Storylines for WrestleMania became a lot clearer, with Randy Orton returning for revenge on Seth Rollins. Cena never tapped to Rusev, so that will continue. Sting & HHH are already official for the big show and as an admitted Sting mark, I for one couldn’t be more pumped (eventhough that has been the direction since Survivor Series). Also, good to see Tyson Kidd & Cesaro putting themselves on the map. I really like the tandem, especially now that Kidd actually has developed a character to go along with the tremendous in-ring skills we all knew he had. Maybe he can pull Cesaro’s out too. Great segment by Bray Wyatt, which has to ultimately lead to The Undertaker accepting the challenge. Why else would they put the thought in our heads if it wasn’t going to happen?

Top Three To Watch
1 – Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
2 – Rusev vs. John Cena
3 – The Usos vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro


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