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Chairshot Classics: WCW Halloween Havoc 1995 – There’s Nowhere To Hide!

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Halloween Havoc 1995
Our weekly Chairshot Classics WCW PPV series continues with Halloween Havoc ’95!

Open: “Motown’s gone mad, Halloween Havoc is here. Two demons have emerged, The Giant who has a jones for destruction. WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan has crossed over to the dark side to take on eerie powers in their world. Shutter to think two monster trucks will collide and if survival is possible, they’ll square-off eye-to-eye in the fortress known as the ring. It will happen before your very eyes here at Halloween Havoc.”

Kobo Hall: On the roof, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan & The Giant both get a feel for their monster trucks before tonight’s battle.

Video: At Fall Brawl, Johnny B. Badd won the right to face Sting for the WCW United States Championship, but when the moment arrived, Johnny was nowhere to be found. ‘Flyin’ Brian would get the opportunity instead, but at the end of the night Badd finally showed up, explaining he had a flat tire on the biggest day of his career. WCW World Television Champion Diamond Dallas Page would feel the need to rub it in Johnny’s face claiming he should have had the US Title shot, Max Muscle unknowingly admitting that they had something to do with Badd’s car problems.

Match #1 for the WCW World Television Championship: WCW World Television Champion Diamond Dallas Page w/The Diamond Doll & Max Muscle vs. Johnny B. Badd
Badd slides into the ring behind the champion while a stand-in walks down the ramp, Page is distracted and the challenger unloads with big right hands as the bell sounds. Johnny shoots DDP to the ropes for a kick to the midsection, follows up with a knee lift, whips the champion to the corner and Page spills over the top to the floor. Badd goes out in pursuit, thwarts off Max Muscle trying to get involved, drives him into the champion with a noggin knocker, then sends Page into the crowd with a big right.

Johnny steps over the barricade after him, deposits DDP into the steel barrier, clotheslines him back to ringside, gets his hands on a bucket and puts it over the champion’s head, then smacking it with an ear clap. He rolls Page into the ring, DDP catches him sliding in with clubbing blows, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, the challenger scores with a hip toss, follows with a drop toe hold and hooks in an armbar. The champion finds his footing, Badd switches to a wristlock, continues wrenching away at the left arm, but can’t break free. Dallas grabs a handful of hair and slams Johnny to the mat, the challenger kicks back up, returns the favor, then goes right back to the armbar.

DDP backs the challenger to the ropes, doesn’t break clean and buries a knee to the abdomen, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Johnny ducks down for a back body drop, the champion leapfrogs over it, gets surprised by another hip toss and Badd covers for a count of 2. He quickly connects with a dropkick and corners Dallas, climbs to the 2nd rope to rain down fists, DDP powers him out, drops the challenger face-first on the top turnbuckle and takes control, taunting Johnny while delivering kicks to the breadbasket. He shoves the challenger to the corner and drives shoulders to the ribs, stomps on Badd’s fingers, scores with a knee drop for a 2 count, then shoots him sternum-first into the turnbuckles. Page plants Johnny with a back suplex, spikes him with the Diamond Clash, goes into a lateral press and again finds a count of 2.

The champion looks to grind Badd down now with a rear chinlock, the challenger makes it to a standing position, DDP rips him back down by the hair, covers for 2, then argues with the official about the count. He quickly slaps the rear chinlock back on, gets frustrated after getting another 2 count, sends Johnny to the ropes for a hip toss, the challenger blocks it for a backslide and gains a near fall. Both guys back up quick, Dallas levels Badd with a clothesline for 2, shoots him to the ropes for a back body drop, Johnny counters with a sunset flip, can’t bring the champion over and gets nailed by a right hand. DDP drops down on top to cover, Badd kicks out at 2, rolls Page up for a 2 count of his own, can’t capitalize and gets dropped by a big boot.

Page muscles him up for a powerslam and still can’t put it away, wants to wear him down some more with a rear chinlock, Johnny battles back to his feet, counters to a top wristlock, but Max reaches in to lend a hand, the champion driving Badd back down to the mat for a near fall. DDP instructs Max to climb onto the apron, the referee is distracted, the champion unravels his wrist tape, then proceeds to choke the life out of the challenger. The official turns back to the action and Page switches to the rear chinlock, the ref checks Badd’s arm, Johnny holds it up on the third attempt and fights to a vertical base, countering out with a top wristlock. Page calls for Max’s help again, can’t reach him and gets planted by a back suplex, DDP stumbles back to his feet, gets caught by a right hand, tripped up by a leg sweep, but quickly rocks Badd with a punch of his own.

He drags Johnny up for another that’s off-target, the challenger splits him with an inverted atomic drop, follows with an atomic drop and then unleashes a flurry of fists. He looks to send the champion to the ropes and Dallas reverses, Johnny surprises him with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, ascends the corner to the top turnbuckle, connects with a double axe handle and almost finishes it off. He hooks DDP for a sit-out powerbomb and gets a near fall, shoots Page to the ropes, the champion spikes him with the Diamond Dream and both guys are down now. Dallas crawls into a lateral press for a count of 2, sets for the Diamond Cutter, Badd hangs onto the ropes to block it, tries a cover of his own, but still only finds a 2 count.

He tosses the champion into the corner, goes to the 2nd rope to fire away with punches, DDP tries to power him out, gets flipped over the top to the floor by a hurricanrana, Max coming around ringside to help him up. Johnny charges in and feigns an outside dive, instead flies over the top with the Badd Day, rolls Dallas back inside and heads to the apron, then slingshots in with a splash and nearly polishes Page off. Badd calls for the Tutti Frutti, Max climbs to the apron and hooks him by the arms, DDP looks to clock him with a fist, the challenger side-steps out of harm’s way, Page nearly hits Max, but instead holds up. Johnny with a dropkick from behind, Dallas gets knocked into Max to drop him to the floor, Badd with a schoolboy from behind and almost steals it.

DDP quickly grabs him by the trunks to dump him outside, Max looks to ram him into the ring post, Johnny pushes him off, climbs back inside and Max steps up after him. The champion grabs Badd from behind and holds him for Max, Page gets flattened by a clothesline as Johnny ducks, the challenger clocks Max with Tutti Frutti, makes a cover and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WCW World Television Champion: Johnny B. Badd (Outside Interference)

  • EA’s TakeSolid opener tonight, Page really slowing down the action while Johnny picked up the pace when he was in control. A little silly that a clothesline from Max Muscle is what put Page away, but this is honestly about as good of in-ring work as we’ll get tonight. DDP was really starting to come into his own as a character and it was nearing the time for him to start losing the entourage, so the seeds had been planted already for dissension between The Diamond Doll (Kimberly) and Dallas, which will continue in the coming weeks.

Match #2: The Zodiac vs. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage
The Zodiac stands on the 2nd rope facing the crowd as Savage enters the ring, Macho Man rips him down, the bell rings and Zodiac gets sent head-first into the top turnbuckle. Macho unloads with punches, rakes Zodiac’s face across the top rope, a fan jumps into the ring and the referee tackles him, the action spilling to the outside. Savage sends Zodiac head-first into the ring post and barricade multiple times, The Zodiac surprises him with an eye rake, then sends Macho Man shoulder-first into the steel post. He tosses Savage back into the squared circle, scoops him up for a body slam, The Zodiac climbs to the 2nd rope, comes off for a splash, but nobody’s home. Macho Man quickly heads upstairs, connects with the Flying Elbow Drop and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage (Flying Elbow Drop)

  • EA’s TakeYikes, pretty quick one here that was only made even worse by that fan hopping the barricade. The most interesting part of this match was that Zodiac came out to the music that would later be used for Rey Mysterio. Hell, he got a bigger pop from the crowd than even Savage did during his entrance as he fought off security. This is your basic squash match as Macho Man lays waste to the cartoonish Zodiac in under two minutes and rightfully so. Initially, Savage’s opponent was supposed to be Kamala, but The Ugandan Giant had left the company after only getting a pay-per-appearance deal and never a full-time contract. Also, the stipulation here is that if Savage wins and Luger wins his match later, they’ll meet one-on-one tonight. I wonder what will happen?

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is in the locker room, plugs the WCW Hotline and teases Jimmy Hart recently speaking to a man he used to work with. Okerlund welcomes in WCW World Television Champion Johnny B. Badd, the new champion proclaiming there will be a celebration in the Motor City tonight. He speaks about how dreams can come true if you work hard, states he never gave up despite Diamond Dallas Page from Max Muscle and he plans on keeping the title for a long time.

Video: Back at Clash Of The Champions over the summer, Kurasawa viciously attacked Road Warrior Hawk’s arm, locking on the Kurasawa Crush and breaking it in the process.

Match #3: Kurasawa w/Col. Robert Parker vs. Road Warrior Hawk
The bell rings and Hawk immediately goes on the attack, clobbers Kurasawa with clubbing blows and chops, shoots him to the ropes and connects with a shoulder tackle. He cracks Kurasawa with a neckbreaker, follows with a fist drop for a count of 2, fires away with more stiff shots, then puts the boots to him. Hawk shoots him to the corner and charges in, Kurasawa side-steps out of harm’s way, Hawk goes shoulder-first into the ring post, absorbs it and peppers Kurasawa with big right hands. He muscles him up for a gutwrench suplex, plants him with a powerbomb, Parker distracts Hawk from the outside, Kurasawa rises back to his feet and ambushes him from behind.

He scoops Hawk up for a body slam and goes to the top rope for an elbow drop, Hawks avoids it, clotheslines Kurasawa to the outside, then steps out to the apron. He flies off with a clothesline to Parker, Kurasawa sends Hawk head-first into the ring post, rolls him into the squared circle, launches him with a back body drop, then hits a samoan drop. He goes into a cover and puts his feet on the ropes for leverage, Parker holds Kurasawa’s feet in place, the official doesn’t see it and makes the 3 count.
Winner: Kurasawa (Samoan Drop)

  • EA’s TakeAlrighty then, I definitely did not see that coming. Hawk has been on his own for a bit now as Animal continues to rest up a back injury, so it seems like Hawk has just been floating around with not much to do. There was supposed to be a good feud here, but Hawk had been legitimately injured, leading to the angle where Kurasawa “broke his arm”. To sum it up, boring match, boring storyline.

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is back in the locker room with ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, Macho saying there’s one down and one to go, reminding us he beat The Zodiac with no problem. Savage states he heard what Hulk Hogan recently said about him, says that he and Hogan are friends until the meet in the ring, claiming he can beat Hulk anytime. He talks about his curiosity to see what will happen tonight in the Monster Truck battle, warning he will be watching very closely.

Match #4: Mr. J.L. vs. Sabu w/The Sheik
Sabu slides right in and ambushes JL, blocks a kick, JL comes back with an enzuigiri and Sabu spills outside as the bell rings. JL slides to the outside in what looks to be a botched spot, Sabu drives him into the barricade, climbs to the apron, springs off the 2nd rope with a moonsault, taking out JL and The Sheik. Sabu lines JL up, leaps off the stairs for a crossbody, JL avoids it, climbs to the top turnbuckle and flies to the floor with a crossbody of his own. He sends Sabu back inside, Sabu surprises him with a kick to the abdomen, whips him to the corner, charges in and JL elevates him up. Sabu lands on his feet on the top rope, comes off with a moonsault that misses, JL heads upstairs for one of his own and gains a count of 2.

He delivers a sit-out powerbomb for another 2 count, sends him to the corner and rushes in with a dropkick, Sabu side-steps it, steps out to the apron and slingshots in with a somersault leg drop for a near fall. He ascends the corner back up top, JL clubs him across the back, pulls him down for a bridging german suplex, but Sabu kicks out at 2. JL looks to the high-rent district now, Sabu clocks him with an uppercut, climbs up for a super victory roll, hooks both legs, but still can’t put it away. Sabu scales the corner again, JL springs off the 2nd rope with a dropkick, sends Sabu spilling to the floor, but can’t capitalize. Sabu climbs to the apron and buries a shoulder to the breadbasket, drops JL throat-first across the top rope, steps inside, hits the Arabian Press and gets the win.
Winner: Sabu (Arabian Press)

  • After The Bell: The Sheik lights is trademark fireball and throws it in JL’s face for good measure.
  • EA’s TakeNo selling, no pacing, no storyline…brutal. If you unmasked JL and gave these guys ten more minutes, you may have had something, but obviously this wasn’t the case. After being fired from ECW, Sabu arrived in WCW just over a month prior, however it was very short-lived and this would be his only PPV appearance before heading back to ECW just a couple of weeks later. JL is also a newcomer to WCW, who would be better known as Jerry Lynn in the future, but for the time being he would work under a mask as one of the lower-tier Cruiserweight competitiors until 1997.

In The Arena: The Master & The Taskmaster are on the stage for The Master’s Lair, The Master speaks about the moon falling over Detroit, claims the stars are lined up and the Milky Way is ready for The Taskmaster. He speaks about it being the start of a new day from China to the USA, believes there will be an eclipse of the sun and The Taskmaster will walk upon the galaxy as The Giant destroys Hulkamania with The Yeti as their back-up plan. The Taskmaster says that a giant will lead them into the next century, claims that when Hulk Hogan dawned black attire it pulled the evil out of him, warning that Hogan doesn’t have anyone to watch his back tonight.

Backstage: Gene Okerlund is standing by in the locker room with WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan & Jimmy Hart, the Hulkster joined by the winners of WCW’s Harley Davidson Sweepstakes. Hogan says it was important for him to be on a roll going into tonight, thinks giving this Harley away will give him the extra edge he needs, then offers up some extra custom work. The winners are presented with some t-shirts, Hulk speaks about The Giant running over his Harley recently and looks to return the favor.

Match #5: Meng w/The Taskmaster vs. Lex Luger
Luger wastes no time and fires away with fists at the bell, rams Meng head-first into the top turnbuckle numerous times, then grabs a side headlock. Meng pushes Lex off to the ropes, drops down, Luger grabs him by the legs, buries a stomp to the abdomen, then catapults him face-first into the top turnbuckle. He rakes Meng’s eyes across the top rope, Meng begins to battle back with kicks and chops, drives The Total Package face-first off the top turnbuckle, then looks to send him to the ropes. Luger reverses for a back body drop, Meng catches him with a kick, utilizes a small package for a quick 2 count, then unloads with shots across the back.

He tries to send Lex face-first back into the top turnbuckle, The Total Package blocks it, returns the favor, irish whip to the opposite corner is reversed, Meng charges in and meets a boot to the chin. Luger clotheslines him over the top to the floor, The Taskmaster helps Meng to his feet, Lex comes outside from behind, ramming Meng shoulder-first into the steel post. Lex rolls him back inside, climbs to the apron and drops the arm down across the top rope, climbs into the squared circle and Meng surprises him with shots to the ribs. Meng sinks his teeth into The Total Package’s nose, Luger starts fighting back with stiff right hands, shoots him to the corner and rushes in, but nobody’s home.

Meng measures for a clothesline that’s off-target, Lex powers him up for a back suplex, Meng switches his weight, falls on top and gets a count of 2. He puts the boots to The Total Package, scoops him up for a shoulder breaker, corners him and wrenches the right arm up in the ropes. He buries boots into the breadbasket, chokes Luger with his foot, spikes Lex with a piledriver and goes into a lateral press for a near fall. Meng quickly applies a choke, slaps on a rear chinlock to wear Luger down, The Total Package works his way back to his feet, hits the ropes for a clothesline, Meng ducks under it, both guys go for a crossbody and collide, Lex landing on top for a 2 count. Both guys back up quick and Meng goes to the ribs with a kick, plants Luger with a back suplex for a count of 2, deposits him out of the ring and The Taskmaster stands over Lex to have some words.

The Total Package tries to crawl back into the squared circle, Meng continually kicks him back down, Luger finally rolls back in and Meng keeps up the punishment with stomps. Lex catches Meng with shoulders to the abdomen and gets raked in the eyes, dishes out more shots across the back, sends The Total Package to the ropes for a dropkick, but Lex hangs onto the ropes to avoid it. Meng staggers to his feet and charges, Luger elevates him over the top, Meng hangs onto the apron, hooks The Total Package for a suplex to the floor, but Lex blocks and brings him in with a suplex of his own. He can’t capitalize and Meng shoots him to the ropes for a back body drop, Luger avoids it with a kick, tries taking him off his feet with multiple clotheslines, finally does it, then sends him to the ropes for a back body drop off of his own.

He measures Meng for more clotheslines, sends him to the ropes for a powerslam, calls for the Torture Rack, but Meng reaches into his boot for the gold spike. He surprises Lex with the gold spike to the throat, hooks the leg, The Taskmaster steps into the ring, kicks Luger and the referee calls for the bell.
Winner: Lex Luger (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: Meng gets angered and shoves The Taskmaster, Sullivan trying to explain that now Luger will have to face Macho Man.
  • EA’s TakeNot a bad match, but again, nothing overly exciting or entertaining. Since returning to WCW just over a month prior, Luger has been in a tweener state and a teased member of The Dungeon Of Doom. Thus, further explaining The Taskmaster’s interference. This was a strange time for Lex, as the fans didn’t really want to boo him at the time, however WCW was trying to lay some ground work for a big match-up with Hulk Hogan that would never really come to pass. Despite the tension between Meng & Sullivan, nothing would come of it and Meng would go on to become more of a tag team competitor alongside The Barbarian as The Faces Of Fear.

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is joined by The Giant in the locker room, The Giant saying that if Hulk Hogan has the courage to show up for their Monster Truck battle, the roof won’t be big enough for the both of them. He states he will push the Hulkster right off of the building, then plans on Chokeslamming him through the floor to become the WCW World Heavyweight Champion.

Match #6: The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson & ‘Flyin’ Brian) vs. WCW United States Champion Sting & ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
Sting comes out on his own after Flair was ambushed earlier in the night by an unknown assailant. Double-A will kick things off, has some words for the Stinger and they lock-up, Anderson working to a hammerlock. The champion counters to one of his own and Arn reaches for the ropes to get the break, the fans chant “We Want Flair” they go in for another collar & elbow and Anderson goes to the midsection with a knee. He slaps on a full nelson, Sting kicks Pillman off the apron and reverses to one of his own, Double-A tries to scale the ropes with his feet, but the champion releases him and he falls to the mat.

Anderson rolls to the floor to regroup, steps back into the squared circle and the “We Want Flair” chants break out again, he locks-up with Sting, then goes to a wristlock and rips him down by the hair. The Stinger kips right back up and shoots Arn off to the ropes, gets knocked down by a shoulder block, Double-A goes back into the ropes, the champion leapfrogs over, then goes to the breadbasket with a kick. He hits the ropes and plants him with a facebuster, Flyin’ Brian comes in to help out, Sting thwarts both of the Horsemen off and clears the ring, Anderson & Pillman having a conference on the outside. Double-A rolls in and tags out, Pillman into the collar & elbow tie-up, the Stinger backs him to the ropes, Flyin’ Brian slaps him across the face off the break, then ducks to the floor to retreat.

The champion heads out in pursuit, Arn lays in wait around ringside for a clothesline, Sting ducks it, levels him with a clothesline of his own, then flattens Pillman with another. Flyin’ Brian takes a walk before heading back inside, he offers Sting a handshake, the champion accepts it, goes to the ribs with a kick, then powers him up for a military press slam. Pillman crawls away and makes a tag, Double-A cautiously steps in, has some words for the Stinger and then convenes with Flyin’ Brian. He avoids a lock-up with a boot to the breadbasket, clobbers the champion to the mat with double axe handles, picks him up for a piledriver and Flyin’ Brian climbs to the top rope. Sting blocks it, takes Arn down with a double leg, catapults him into Pillman and Flyin’ Brian gets crotched on the top turnbuckle.

The champion drops Anderson with a back elbow, steps to the apron, launches Pillman off the top down into the guardrail, then turns back to Double-A and peppers him with right hands. Arn sneaks in a thumb to the eye to stop the onslaught, unknowingly drives Sting head-first off Pillman’s skull in the corner, whips the champion to the ropes and buries a fist into the abdomen. ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair finally sprints down to the ring in street clothes, nearly runs over the official trying to get a piece of Anderson, but the ref works him over to his corner. Double-A deposits the Stinger to the outside, Flyin’ Brian goes to work behind the referee’s back, the champion staggers back inside and Arn puts the boots to him, then chokes Sting with the bottom of his foot.

Tag to Flyin’ Brian, he fires away with stinging chops in the corner, the Stinger begins to battle back with shots of his own, Pillman catches him with a drop toe hold, then reaches for the tag. The Enforcer continues the punishment by choking with his knee, grounds Sting with a rear chinlock, Flair gets tired of waiting and comes in with one of his shoes in his hand, the official cuts him off and Arn scoops the Stinger up for a body slam. He makes a tag and Flyin’ Brian heads upstairs, Double-A launches him off the top for a splash, Sting gets the knees up to avoid it, but Pillman tags out before he can reach Flair. Anderson plants the champion with a back suplex for a count of 2, he locks knuckles with Sting to try and hold him down, tries dropping down onto the Stinger, but he gets the knees up again.

The champion reaches for his corner and The Enforcer grabs him by the foot, Pillman drops off the apron, goes around ringside and baits Flair off the apron, The Nature Boy chasing him around ringside before order is restored. Double-A hooks Sting in an abdominal stretch, uses Flyin’ Brian for extra leverage out of the official’s sight, tags out and Pillman grinds the champion face-first into the canvas. He mocks Flair and fires off a chop to the chest, bites the Stinger across the nose, bludgeons him with heavy right hands, then snapmares him over for a single-leg crab. He uses The Enforcer to apply more pressure, Flair comes in to distract the referee, Flyin’ Brian and Anderson swap out, Double-A locking on a modified camel clutch.

He releases it and buries a boot to the spine, brings Pillman back in, Flyin’ Brian delivers a kick to the ribs, covers and only gets a 2 count. Tag back to Anderson, Arn goes to the midsection with a barrage of punches, The Nature Boy jumps into the ring to stop a 2-on-1 assault, the Stinger begins battling back, irish whip to the ropes is reversed and Double-A delivers a spinebuster for a near fall. Pillman reaches for the tag, targets the left knee with an elbow drop, slaps on a heel hold, brings The Enforcer back in for a wishbone, then Anderson goes to a heel hold of his own. Sting digs deep and starts crawling towards his corner, Arn buries knees into the back to put a stop to it, locks on a bearhug to wear him down further and the official has to check the arm.

The champion keeps it up on the third attempt, breaks free after an ear clap, Arn hooks him by the legs, reaches for Pillman and Flyin’ Brian cuts the Stinger off with an elbow drop. He chokes the champion, drags him up in the corner for heavy chops, snapmares him over and goes to a seated abdominal stretch. Sting starts working to his feet and Flyin’ Brian drives him head-first off the top turnbuckle, The Horsemen go on the attack, the champion fights his way out of the wrong part of town, but Pillman goes to the eyes. He brings Sting back to the corner, the Stinger rams Flyin’ Brian head-first into Anderson, finally reaches his corner and makes a tag. The Nature Boy steps in, hits the ropes, blasts Sting with a big right hand, then puts the boots to him with The Horsemen and the ref calls for the bell.
Winners: Sting & ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: Flair, Anderson & Pillman work the champion over with an assault of punches and chops, put the boots to him and another official runs down to try and stop them unsuccessfully. ‘Mean’ Gene waits on the stage to speak with The Horsemen, plugs the WCW Hotline to kill time first, Flair takes the mic and proclaims that it’s now time to go to school. The Nature Boy says the first thing you’ll learn is not to jump on Double-A and secondly, you don’t play around with Flyin’ Brian. Flair states that thirdly you don’t mess with him and fourth you don’t breathe unless The Horsemen allow you to, Anderson saying everyone who asked for it now has it and needs to deal with. The Nature Boy exclaims they are reunited and it feels so good.
  • EA’s TakeBeautifully put together swerve here after Flair and Anderson had been separated for a number of weeks now. Pillman was also just getting into his ‘Loose Cannon’ persona at this time too, which was very groundbreaking and left viewers, as well as the boys in the back wondering if he had legitimately lost his mind. Classic tactics during the match from two excellent tag team performers as well prior to Flair’s big turn, then of course you have Sting pulling off his babyface role perfectly. Overall a lot to like about this one.

Backstage: Mike Tenay is standing by with Lex Luger, The Total Package thinks there are forces at work here in WCW besides Sting who want him to face ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Luger says he can’t figure out why just yet, but when he hears the bell ring it’s time for the big boys to play and he will be victorious. Lex claims he knows Savage is in cahoots with Hulk Hogan, but it doesn’t matter because he will be the greatest wrestler WCW has ever seen, making an example of Macho Man.

Video: WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan knows the wrath of The Giant all too well by now, as we take a look at their history beginning with The Giant throwing a t-shirt of his father, Andre The Giant, into the champion’s face. He would continue to target the Hulkster, even nearly running him over with a monster truck, but destroying Hogan’s Harley Davidson in the process. The champion would announce his intentions to have his own monster truck built, however The Giant would continue to dominate him with help from The Taskmaster and the Dungeon Of Doom, even laying him out to shave Hulk’s mustache. This would lead Hogan to turn to a darker side of himself, showing he be as dastardly as anyone in the Dungeon Of Doom. The Master would notice this change in the champion, revealing he has an insurance policy of his own in The Yeti.

Match #7 is a Monster Truck Match: The Giant vs. WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan
Eric Bischoff & Bob Chandler
 join Heenan for commentary, as we go to the rooftop of Kobo Hall. Hogan and Giant are face-to-face as the rules are explained, as you must get all four of your opponents tires outside of the circle to win, but there are also two explosives charges randomly placed within it. They weld the front bumpers together, the engines fire up and we’re ready to go, Hogan and The Giant forcing each other back-and-forth around the circle. The Hulkster gets pushed through the circle, but only two wheels break the line and they continue jockeying back-and-forth. Hogan gets pushed back through the circle again, one of the charges explodes, the champion forces his way back into the circle and avoids getting knocked out. He battles back, forces The Giant backwards all the way through the circle and gets the victory.
Winner: Hulk Hogan

  • After The Bell: The Giant steps out fuming and stalks the Hulkster near the edge of the roof, misses a double axe handle, but grabs Hogan by the throat and powers him into the air. They steps up to the ledge, the champion breaks free, Giant loses his balance and falls backwards off the roof.
  • EA’s TakeSo…they killed a guy? It was very strange covering a Monster Truck Match for one and while I give bonus points for trying to be creative, this was as unexciting as it reads. Then to finish it off, The Giant falls off the roof of an arena? Honestly, who thought this was a good idea?

Match #8: Lex Luger vs. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage
The bell rings and the two men exchange some words, Luger offers a handshake, but Savage suckers him with a fist. He rams Lex head-first into the top turnbuckle and whips him to the corner, The Total Package rebounds out with a clothesline, then rams Macho Man face-first into the turnbuckle. Jimmy Hart makes his way down to ringside, Luger puts the boots to Savage in the corner, chokes him with his foot and the official forces a break. Lex batters Macho Man with punches, clubs him with a double axe handle, buries a kick to the chest and then chokes him over the top rope. He taunts Savage to get back up, Macho Man starts fighting back, The Total Package rocks him with a forearm, deposits him to the outside, Savage tries to crawl back up to the apron and Lex kicks him to the floor.

He steps out to the apron and comes off with a double axe handle, looks to send him head-first into the barricade, Macho Man blocks it, returns the face, then rams Luger face-first off the steps. He sends The Total Package back into the guardrail multiple times, throws him back inside, steps in and clocks Lex from behind with a clothesline. Savage ascends the corner and flies off with a double axe handle, Luger catches him in the abdomen with a right hand, Jimmy Hart climbs on the apron and distract the official, Lex tries to whip Macho Man into the corner, but it’s reversed. Savage rushes in and eats a knee to the jaw, The Total Package makes a cover, the ref is still dealing with Jimmy, he hauls Macho Man up to shoot him to the ropes, Savage reverses and Lex collides with Hart to send him to the floor. Savage quickly climbs to the top rope, connects with the Flying Elbow Drop and gets the 1-2-3.
Winner: ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage (Top Rope Elbow Drop)

  • EA’s TakeAnother quick one with very unusual circumstances if you weren’t keeping up on Monday Nitro. They were really beginning to pit Luger and Sting to a certain extent up against Hogan & Savage, a bit of reality meets fiction played out on television. We will see more of Lex tonight though to further explain the situation.

Match #9 for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship: WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan w/Jimmy Hart vs. The Giant w/The Taskmaster
Hogan takes a microphone and explains that what happened earlier tonight wasn’t supposed to be, apologizes and says there was a terrible accident. Music hits and The Giant & The Taskmaster march to the squared circle. Giant chases Hulk out of the ring, the champion steps in, shreds his shirt and we’re underway. The champion peels off his bandana and reveals paint like The Taskmaster, The Giant charges in, Hogan side-steps him and unloads with big punches. The challenger absorbs them, the Hulkster hits the ropes for more fists, staggers the big man, then attempts a body slam. The Giant blocks it and clobbers him across the back, whips Hogan into the corner, then scores with a boot off the rebound.

He continues hammering the champion with shots to the spine, delivers big chops in the corner, chokes the Hulkster, then whips him to the opposite corner. Giant buries a boot to the breadbasket off the rebound, locks knuckles with the champion and powers him down to his knees, Hulk muscles his way to his feet, but the challenger goes back to the midsection with a kick. He whips Hogan to the ropes for a back elbow, scoops him up for a body slam, The Giant hits the ropes for a leg drop, but it’s off-target. The Hulkster gets a rush of adrenaline and fires away with fists, drives the challenger head-first into the top turnbuckle multiple times, corners him, then climbs to the 2nd rope to rain down rights. He rakes Giant across the back, sends him to the corner and follows in with a clothesline, shoots him to the ropes for a clothesline and the big man only staggers.

Hogan makes him stumble with a second clothesline, dumps him over the top with a third, The Taskmaster helps The Giant to his feet and they start to walk off to the back. The champion climbs outside and chases them down, delivers a double noggin knocker, sends The Giant into the squared circle, roll in and pokes him in the eyes multiple times. The Hulkster batters him with punches, hits the ropes for a shoulder block, still can’t bring the challenger down with another, goes back to the well again and Giant grabs him for a Chokeslam. Hogan rakes the eyes to escape it, chokes him against the ropes, The Giant goes to the eyes to stop the onslaught, whips him to the ropes and cracks the champion with a backbreaker.

The challenger goes into a lateral press for a count of 2, pummels Hulk across the back, sends him to the ropes and locks on a bearhug to wear him down. The Hulkster fights his way free, can’t capitalize and gets clubbed across the spine, The Giant delivers another body slam, then goes right back to the bearhug. Hulk begins to fade away and the ref checks the arm, the champion keeps it up on the third attempt, breaks the grip with heavy right hands, hits the ropes and gets planted by a Chokeslam. The Giant makes the cover, Hogan powers out of it, begins Hulking up and absorbs a number of shots. He blocks one, delivers a series of punches, whips The Giant to the ropes for a big boot, but the big man stays on his feet. The Hulkster calls for a body slam, rakes the eyes and scoops Giant up for the slam, hits the ropes to deliver the Leg Drop and covers, but Jimmy Hart nails the official to stop the count.

Hogan doesn’t know what happened, Jimmy steps inside and helps him pick the referee up, Hulk turns back to the challenger and Jimmy shoves the official to the mat. He picks up the WCW Title, clocks the champion from behind, the Hulkster absorbs it, gets his hands on Jimmy, but The Giant grabs him in a bearhug. The Taskmaster steps in and fires away at the champion’s back, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage & Lex Luger run down to the ring to make the save, but Luger turns on Savage and puts the boots to him. The Yeti marches down to the squared circle, wraps his arm around both Giant & Hogan, squeezing the champion in between the two big men. They put the Hulkster out, The Total Package powers him up in the Torture Rack, Yeti & Giant put Macho Man in their double bearhug, Luger following with another Torture Rack.
Winner: The Giant (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: The Giant grabs the World Title, raises it in the air and leaves with it.
  • EA’s TakeSo much bad to talk about here. The match was at least watchable thanks to Hogan, as this was The Giant’s first match, so he’s obviously greener than Kermit The Frog. A couple of spots it was very clear that he was ducking in to get the call from Hulk, but you could definitely see the potential there with him. I always found it absurd they claimed he was the son of Andre The Giant, but with everything else going on in the Dungeon Of Doom it wasn’t bad by comparison, specifically like The Yeti. This gimmick was so bad that it wasn’t even good enough for the Dungeon Of Doom, as he would only make three appearances before being repackaged later on (We will see him again, just not wrapped in toilet paper). Luger finally turns on Hulk and officially joins the Dungeon, plus Jimmy Hart swerves Hogan with it being revealed the next night on Nitro he had a clause in the contract stating the title would change hands by DQ. Therefore, The Giant wins the World Title in his very first match against the all-black Hogan, giving us a preview of things to come.

EA’s FinisherNo matter how you slice it, this event will always infamously be known for the Monster Truck Match, The Giant falling off of a rooftop and the debut of The Yeti…and not for good reasons. If you can look past those mishaps, the rest of the card wasn’t as bad as it seems aside from a couple. I thought the turn of Ric Flair on Sting was magnificently executed, Diamond Dallas Page and Johnny B. Badd showed what WCW’s up-and-coming stars can do, plus it is still the debut of a future Hall Of Famer in The Giant, even if it was rough. So whether you watch this for its comically epic failures, you can still find a couple of hidden gems in here. Basically, what I’m saying is if I didn’t have to pick three for the ‘3 On Top’, then I’d only choose two this time around.

Top Three To Watch
1 – Diamond Dallas Page vs. Johnny B. Badd
2 – Sting & Ric Flair vs. Arn Anderson & Flyin’ Brian
3 – Lex Luger vs. Meng


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


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: PROGRESS Ch. 3: Fifty Shades of Pain

Harry brings us another throwback episode of Progress! His play by play style will paint a picture so clear Bob Ross wouldn’t even need to add trees!

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Harry brings us another throwback episode of Progress! His play by play style will paint a picture so clear Bob Ross wouldn’t even need to add trees!

Two of these reviews down. Let’s go ahead and make it a trifecta. Hopefully, you are enjoying the series as ‘What I Watched’ returns under the Chairshot Classics banner for PROGRESS (as well as Impact Wrestling. Hopefully, we can eventually cover some other promotions as well). I’ll be taking note of all the comments left on these reviews and addressing them as new ones get typed out. In the interest of a somewhat regular schedule of these posting, the first couple PROGRESS reviews are being typed out in advance of their release on the website.

So, to the reason of today’s gathering. PROGRESS has had two good (but not necessarily great) shows so far. Instead of going to a more regular occurrence, they stuck with the three months between shows model. Chapter 2 had us in June, whereas this show doesn’t take place until September. The bigger story to me though is that the main event is not what I though it would be at the end of Chapter 2. Instead of getting Nathan Cruz vs. El Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff, we are instead getting a tag match with Cruz and Ligero as partners. With that, we once again step into the way back machine and head to September 30th, 2012 as “What I Watched” presents ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’ or PROGRESS Chapter 3.

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 3 – Fifty Shades of Pain’
From: ‘The Garage’ in Islington, London, England
Date: September 30th, 2012
Run Time: 2:08:49 (Demand PROGRESS)
WITH SPECIAL THANKS: Ian Hamilton for some of the research that I did while working on this review. (http://www.backbodydrop.com)

*Our opening video focuses on a tag match between the London Riots (James Davis and Rob Lynch) facing Danny Garnell and Darrell Allen. In addition, we see that Marty Scurll will be the special guest referee for our main event. Which apparently will not be the previously thought Cruz vs. Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff, but a tag match instead with Cruz and Ligero as partners…

*There is no Smallman opening promo, as I believe it was it edited into the opening video with Scurll being added to the main event as the referee. Disappointing start, as I find Smallman’s opening welcome to be a nice light hearted way to get these shows started.

*Match #1: Noam Dar (1-1) vs. Paul Robinson
The Who: Noam Dar is coming off a victory over Darrell Allen via ‘Champagne Super KneeBar’ at the last show to even his record up. Paul Robinson is making his in-ring debut for the company and he is replacing MK McKinnan, who was the originally announced opponent for Dar in this contest.
The Why: My guess would be to get Dar more momentum going forward. I don’t imagine that Robinson is going to be added last minute and beat Dar, but stranger things have happened.
The Match: They still have the records on the name bar’s for the intros. I know that’s not something they do any more, but I’m curious how long it sticks around for…both guys get inset promos. Dar’s is by far the better, as he informs us that he’s going to keep winning so he can get the ‘big stick’ by which he means the PROGRESS Championship Staff, despite the crowd’s borderline racist chants towards him…opening bell rings and we’re underway…Robinson shows off the Chris Hero shoulder kips into the forward roll. Pretty sure that dates back to England before Hero, but Hero is where I personally remember first seeing it…commentary starts a little late, but there’s Jimmy Barnett, who claims he’s not affiliated with Jim Smallman despite sounding a lot like him. That cat is now long since out of the bag…backslide for two and then a super spinning backslide for another two. Seemed a little unnecessary but the fans enjoyed it. Know your audience, I guess…Paul Robinson is a very small guy. Believed the announced weight was just over one hundred forty. For a visual representation, think Spike Dudley…certainly a unique twist on the Garvin Stomp…Dar focusing on Robinson’s knee pays off the fans who have watched the previous shows and the ‘Champagne Super KneeBar’…Dar repeats the gum spot from Chapter 2. Gross. And the fans appropriately respond with a ‘you sick fuck’ chant. Not the most hygienic man in wrestling, is he?…lighting for this show is quite a bit better then it has been for previous shows…Robinson with a suicide dive, which could have been a disaster. There is almost no room between the ring and the front row of fans…said it before, say it again: the superkick and the enzugiri are the most overused moves in wrestling…airplane spin however, we could use more of…Robinson tries to drop the Guillotine Legdrop, but Dar moves and Robinson lands hard…pair of fisherman’s (both suplex and buster) lead to a grounded kneebar. Not quite the ‘Super Kneebar’, but it’s enough for the tap at 11:41…pretty basic match to kick off the show. The crowd was into it, which is good. But as a fan who watches a lot of wrestling, it never seemed to get out of the first gear and move into being more then just there. Dar’s personality make his matches an easy enough watch, but at same point, the in ring product has to be risen up to mean anything. (AVERAGE)

*Match #2: BWC Starlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © (1-0) vs. Xander Cooper (1-0)
The Who: Mark Andrews is a pretty well known name here in the States now. He’s coming off a successful title defense against Mike Hitchman at Chapter 2. Xander Cooper wasn’t in a match on Chapter 2, but did win a three way match at Chapter 1 with this title on the line,
The Why: Between Chapters 1 and 2, Andrews beat Cooper for the title. Andrews had his previously mentioned defense at Chapter 2 and after that match, Cooper came in through the crowd and attacked him. That led to PROGRESS management scheduling this rematch between the two for the title.
The Match: I believe only the second match in PROGRESS history to have been set up on the show before. The only match on Chapter 2 that was set up at Chapter 1 was the main event, if memory serves…‘Man for All Seasons’ is such a proper asshole nickname. I dig it…Cooper impressed me at the first show. Andrews and Hitchman had a banger at the second. My expectations are pretty high for this one…both get inset promos. Andrews has the best line: “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and you’re just a dick”…bell goes and we’re underway…the fans insinuate that Cooper has herpes. Somewhere, Rhett Titus is pissed his chant got taken…pace finally starts to pick up around three minutes in…Cooper busts out Miz’s old Reality Check combo. Personality wise, he kind of reminds me of Miz as well…Andrews with a Bubba Bomb. Not something you usually see a guy his size use…standing moonsault senton gets two and looks really cool in the process. Andrews was a lot like Ricochet and PAC early in his career. Not everything made sense, but most of it looked cool…stranglehold Golden Rule by Cooper. That’s a first for me…rope assisted enzugiri kick knocks Cooper back into the center of the ring. Andrews comes flying in with a Shooting Star Press (over-shooting just a bit, actually) and that’s the closing bell at 8:52…better then the opener, but a step down from what both of them did before. Took a bit of time to get out of the starting block, but once it did, it picked up quite nicely. I would recommend the three way for Cooper and the Hitchman match for Andrews more personally though. (ABOVE AVERAGE)

*Match #3: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) (1-0) vs. The Bastard Squad- Darrell Allen and Danny Garnell (debut as a team. Allen is 0-1-1 as a single. Garnell is 1-0 as a single)
The Who: London Riots were successful in their debut at Chapter 2 against Will Ospreay and Alex Esmail in what was shaping up to be a good match until Esmail got hurt (broken leg). Allen got a no decision at Chapter 1 in the three way for the Starlo Scholarship and was tapped by Noam Dar at Chapter 2. Danny Garnell won his debut match, pinning Jimmy Havoc at Chapter 2.
The Why: Damn good question and one I don’t presently have an answer for. I checked the history of PROGRESS that is maintained at Voices of Wrestling by Rob Reid and found nothing to give any reasons as to why this is happening. Maybe Jimmy Barnett will shine some light on the reason during the match itself.
The Match: Lynch has what I thought was a paddle but was corrected by Barnett is a cricket bat in his hand. Is cricket big in England? Thought that was more of an Australian thing…Barnett informs us that a poll on the PROGRESS website has dubbed Garnell and Allen as ‘The Bastard Squad’, so my why maybe just as a way to try to build up a tag division…as per the warning I issued during Chapter 2, it is entirely possible that I will screw up Lynch and Davis. If I do so, I apologize…then again, they appear to have keep the one in singlet, one in trunks look. I should be okay…and we’re off as a brawl breaks out…man, that one roaming cam is making me sea sick. Super wobbly…Lynch drops Garnell on the floor with a Michinoku Driver…and the official PROGRESS Chapter 3 chair of that fan has been broken…Lynch and Garnell just trading bombs in the center of the ring…high angle release German by Garnell. Lynch lands almost square on the back of his damn head…Allen and Garnell do have quite the big guy/little guy dynamic going for them…first ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant…Allen has Davis caught in a Octopus but Davis turns it into a wheelbarrow facebuster. Again, another first…Riots grind down the pace of the match on Allen, but it makes sense for them to do so. They have a significant size edge over Allen, why not use it?…one of these shows, I’m going to keep a running enzugiri count. If we don’t hit double digits, I’d be stunned…Barnett advocates the old Gorilla Monsoon stance of multiple referees for tag matches…Lynch with an overhead superplex on Allen and Allen lands square on his tailbone. I’m guessing that probably sucked…both men on the ropes and Allen with another enzugiri to knock Lynch to mid-ring. The same thing Andrews did to Cooper in the previous match…Allen tries to come in with a cross-body off the top but gets caught by both members of the Riot Squad. Lynch helps Davis pop Allen up and into a sit out powerbomb which gets the three count at 12:25…a few good moments here and there but not enough to make it anything really worth remembering. It followed the old school tag wrestling formula to a tee. The thing about formulas is that they become formulas because they work. It does here and while it’s not going to light the world on fire or anything, it produced an above average tag match that sees the Riot Squad continue their winning ways. (ABOVE AVERAGE)

Post match: The Riots lay in a beat down to Garnell, as one of the chairs from ringside is used multiple times against the knee of Garnell, before they use the cricket bat into the chair to ‘Pillmanize’ the ankle of Garnell. Microphone time for Lynch afterwards and declares war not just on the tag teams in the UK but on PROGRESS as well, laying down an open challenge for any place, any where, any time. Guess this story will develop more going forward then…

*Match #4: Jon Ryan (0-0) vs. Jimmy Havoc (0-1)
The Who: Jon Ryan makes his PROGRESS debut here, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him before working for wXw out of Germany. Jimmy Havoc is back after a losing effort to Danny Garnell on Chapter 2 as a favor from his friend, Jim Smallman.
The Why: ‘Strictly No Blood, No Hardcore’ is the tag line for the match. Let’s just say that somehow I doubt this…
The Match: Ryan does get booed on his intro and the fans love Havoc, chanting ‘Jimmy’s Gonna Spoon You’, a call back to the great spooning debacle of Chapter 2…apparently Ryan was Havoc’s original trainer whereas Garnell was the one who trained him in the ways of technical wrestling…an attempted handshake by Havoc is met by a bitch slap from Ryan. That’ll end poorly for him, I feel…Havoc works in a spoon while on the mat to continue that bit…knowing Havoc’s reputation, it’s weird seeing him in normal matches…and as I type that, Havoc goes for dive and misses but lands on his feet. He turns towards Ryan, who thwacks him with a frying pan for the DQ at 3:36…normally, three minutes is about the mark where I would try to give a match a rating. I don’t feel like I can’t rate this here given what happens next, therefore I’m not going to…(N/A (ANGLE ADVANCEMENT))

*Post match- Havoc is understandably less then pleased about Ryan going upside his dome with a frying pan, which opened up Havoc’s forehead. He demands that Smallman restart the match under ‘Hardcore’ rules. Smallman warns people that don’t like this style of match to move away from the ring but as far as he is concerned: “fucking kill him, I don’t care.”

*Match #4b: Hardcore Rules: Jon Ryan (0-1) vs. Jimmy Havoc (1-1)
The Match: And thus the lack of rating for the previous match…opening bell once again here…and the first official weapon is a kendo stick. Which Ryan just beats the hell out of Havoc with. I think the kendo stick is one of those overrated weapons. Not enough reaction to justify how much those things actually hurt…cheese grater. It’s like every ECW brawl from 1998 on featuring New Jack…there’s not really a lot to discuss in a match like this. It’s basically just them hitting each other with a bunch of various shit…feel like throwing a bloody person into a group of people’s chairs is a bad idea…powerbomb through an ironing board. Not what those are intended for, but it looked cool enough…never cared for staple guns, myself. Similar to the kendo stick, but I guess a little easier to gimmick…staple to the dingus. Because of course he does…I’m guessing this is the match that leads into intermission so they have time to clean up the ring after it. It’s a combination of the old WWF hardcore brawls and the ultra-violent style matches you’d see from a CZW or a Big Japan…and now the thumbtacks make an appearance…DVD into the tacks. And the referee wusses out by grabbing a cookie sheet to count on. It was a smart move on his part, but not the most masculine….the problem with matches like this is it takes a while to set up the next spot. Spot, set-up, spot, set-up. Rinse and repeat as necessary…a ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant breaks out, followed immediately by a ‘No, it’s not’. That could make for an interesting way to go down the line with it. And a definite divide in the fan base for someone like Havoc…okay, that finish worked. They had set the BW board across two chairs. Havoc tries for a spinning head scissors and gets caught and dropped clean on his head with a package Tombstone (think Tombstone set-up and then Ryan cradled both legs under his own arms). Rather then go for the pin there though, Ryan adjusts his grip around Havoc’s waist and launches him through the BW board with a release wheelbarrow suplex. It was all over but the counting and the counting hits three at 14:36…this kind of match is going to be very divisive. There are fans of this genre and there are those who feel like it’s a black eye on the sport. I personally enjoy death match wrestling as long as we don’t go too over the top with it (needles, fire, stuff that can really hurt someone). I thought this was a pretty good match for the genre while not going too far in order to affect the crowd that may not be as interested in this style. We’ll go ‘above average’ for the rating, but your mileage will vary. (ABOVE AVERAGE)

*Post match- both guys get a nice ovation from the crowd and a ‘That was awesome’ chant. Let’s not go around tossing that out so freely. A sign of respect as a hug and handshake from teacher and student occurs and Havoc pops on the microphone once again to put over the crowd and Jon Ryan as well. He also asks the fans to buy him and Ryan beer and have a chat. Always working, that Havoc…

*Match #5: RJ Singh (0-0-1) vs. Rob Cage (debut)
The Who: RJ Singh returns after getting a no decision in the number one contender’s three way at Chapter 2. He still has his entourage with him as well. Rob Cage is a man that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of before so we’ll see what he can do in this match.
The Why: Can’t say I really have an answer for this. My guess would be to help flush out the roster with more people.
The Match: Can’t say my expectations are really high here, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised before. Mike Hitchman at Chapter 2 comes to mind there…the match graphic has Singh listed as 0-1. However, since he didn’t get pinned in the three way, I gave him a draw/no decision instead…inset promo for RJ Singh and the ‘Singh is King’ catchphrase remains in tact. It works for him. Promo wasn’t anything special however…opening bell goes as Singh’s accomplices make friends at ringside…apparently Rob Cage went the Jimmy Havoc route of campaigning on Twitter in order to get a spot on this show…I do still enjoy the fact that RJ calls his Camel Clutch the ‘Ethnic Submission’. It’s wrong on several levels, but still funny…Cage gets caught up with Singh’s crew and Singh gets a nice looking leaping neckbreaker, done Zig Zag style. That was smooth…running knee strike looks less smooth…Cage goes to the top and the ‘Director’ pushes him off while the referee was working on getting the other member of the Bollywood Empire out of the ring. That said, it happened so close to the referee that he had to have seen it. Really poor ring positioning…that leads to RJ Singh applying the ‘Ethnic Submission’ and it leads to a tap out from Rob Cage at 7:27…well, they reached my expectations with this. Worst match on the show thus far. I found RJ to be very entertaining for the role he had in the three way, so this was a major step down for him. As far as Rob Cage, not the best first impression made. For the first time on the show, I go with a ‘below average’ rating. It’s not awful, but if you are in a rush while watching this show, it’s seven minutes you can easily skip and not miss anything. (BELOW AVERAGE)

*Post match: it appears that all is okay as Singh offers his hand and Cage accepts it. Until RJ kicks Rob in the junk and puts him back in the Camel Clutch while his cohorts talk trash right in his face. The hold gets broken by the referee and Singh poses on the turnbuckle to celebrate his victory.

*Match #6: Stixx (0-1) vs. Lion Kid (1-0)
The Who: Stixx and Lion Kid both make their return after opening up Chapter 2 with a singles match. As previously mentioned there, I’ve heard that Lion Kid was the former Wade Fitzgerald, but have never seen any confirmation of this.
The Why: This one is easy. As mentioned, they had a match at Chapter 2. Lion Kid won. Stixx wants revenge. Pretty simple, really.
The Match: The who and the why was pretty easy to get through. I fear the match may not be. These two didn’t exactly set the world on fire at Chapter 2. Hopefully, it was just nerves and we get a better performance here…we start hot as Stixx knocks Lion off the apron and proceeds to beat him around ringside before the opening bell…Stixx rolls back in and demands a count-out, despite the fact we’ve not had an opening bell (at least, not one I’ve heard)…appears Lion Kid caught a knee injury in the floor brawl, but we’re a go now with an opening bell and everything…huge Black Hole Slam forty seconds in and I thought that was three. It wasn’t, but it wouldn’t have surprised me. Looked really good…huge Flair shin breaker by Stixx. He’s definitely looked better tonight then last outing…Lion Kid looked for a reverse rana but Stixx powered him back up. Kid transitions right into a victory roll, which I believe is how he won at Chapter 2. It only gets two this time…Stixx with a nice looking variation of the half calf, but Kid does eventually get to the ropes…series of chops sees Lion Kid ‘roar up’, but a shot to the knee keeps Stixx in charge…half crab giant swing. That’s just a dick move…Lion Kid goes for a springboard and falls. Crowd chants ‘you fucked up’, but I don’t think he did. I think it was on purpose to sell the knee and if it was, bravo…the crowd continues the ‘roar’ chant to rally Lion Kid. As Jim Smallman said in the favorite chants video he did, it’s just fun to say ‘roar’…avalanche tabletop (fall away slam to vertical) suplex. Don’t believe I’ve ever seen that done from the buckles before…Stixx is being almost Anderson like in his focus on the leg here. These guys are putting on quite the show here…very cool turnbuckle sequence leads to the big guy coming in with a frog splash on the knee…Lion Kid with a series of roll-ups to put over how desperate he is. Psychology, psychology, psychology…Stixx tries the Black Hole again but Lion Kid counters into a tornado DDT. Lion Kid goes for a 450, but Stixx rolls in. Lion Kid lands on his feet. Normally, that’s a good thing. With a bad knee, not so much. Stixx hauls Lion Kid up and drives him into the mat with Splash Mountain (Crucifix PB set-up but into a standard PB finish. I dub it the River Stixx). After a quick debate of a submission attempt, it’s a three count instead at 12:21…well done, gentlemen. Way to make me eat my words. After being significantly less then impressed with their match at Chapter 2, they turned things around and put on in my opinion the best match of Chapter 3 thus far. A big credit for this goes to big man, Stixx. He put on a technical clinic in this match, which you wouldn’t expect from a guy his size. Lion Kid more then held up his end of the bargain as well. You mix psychology with solid in ring work and no noticeable blown spots, it makes for a happy reviewer. I would rate this match as ‘very good’. (VERY GOOD)

*Match #7: Nathan Cruz (3-0, PROGRESS Championship Staff Holder) and El Ligero (2-1, #1 Contender to Nathan Cruz) (debut as a team) vs. Dave Mastiff (debut) and Greg Burridge (0-1) (debut as a team)
The Who: Cruz and Ligero are the champion and challenger elect for the next time the PROGRESS Staff is on the line. Cruz won the four way on the first show for the Staff. Ligero won a three way on the second show for the number one contendership. Dave Mastiff is making his PROGRESS debut here. From what little of him I’ve seen on NXT UK, he’s impressed me. Greg Burridge took the loss in the three way at the last show. Marty Scurll is the referee and he’s probably not going to be an unbiased one as he has issues with both Cruz and Ligero.
The Why: If I’m being entirely honest, I don’t have a damn clue for this one. I expected we’d get Cruz vs. Ligero here, but instead it’s this tag match. Burridge wanting revenge on Ligero makes sense. Burridge wanting a crack at Cruz makes sense. Where Dave Mastiff fits into this is anyone’s guess. As for Scurll, that’s easy. He was cheated out of the title by Cruz at the first show. He had Cruz beat at the second show while the referee was down. Ligero attempted to interfere and superkick Cruz, but Cruz ducked and Ligero wiped out Scurll. Despite not hitting his intended target, Ligero didn’t seem especially upset about it. Cruz got the victory and Scurll got screwed once again. How does this all tie together? Hell if I know. Let’s find out…
The Match: Man, this is a clusterfuck and a half just based on the description I had to type…once again, Cruz is greeted with the ‘shit Zack Ryder’ chants. Probably still my favorite one thus far in PROGRESS…Scurll gestures that he’ll call it down the middle during intros. I doubt that…Ligero and Mastiff are both in NXT UK. I think Burridge is now retired. I think Cruz just came back to wrestling, but I’m not sure…Mastiff’s beard is not nearly as impressive as it is these days…inset promos for only Cruz and Mastiff. Nathan Cruz is laying on the Shawn Michaels impression a bit thick. He is not only the ‘Show-Stealer’, he’s also the ‘Leader of the New Generation’. Bloody hell, mate…opening bell and we’re underway…Burridge and Ligero to start, until Ligero tags out to Cruz…I can’t entirely tell with the accent, but I believe that Burridge is calling Cruz a ‘slag’…I believe Cruz and Burridge are the two biggest guys height wise in PROGRESS (maybe outside of Stixx to this point). I’m almost certain that Mastiff is the heaviest…tags made on both side and we go to Ligero and Mastiff…do believe that Mastiff just called Ligero a cat. Or something similar. It was of the feline variety…Mastiff with a massive delayed vertical…and Burridge comes in to beat the hell out of Ligero…Ligero turns the table by going to the knee of Burridge and takes control…and that explains why Scurll wasn’t allowed to wrestle on this show. It was around the time of his ‘British Boot Camp’ run with TNA. And TNA were being dicks about their people working elsewhere due to not wanting injuries…last few minutes of this match has been all Ligero and Cruz working over Burridge’s knee. Smart wrestling, but not always the most entertaining…the f bombs are flying in this one. Viewer discretion is advised…little bit of in-fighting between Cruz and Ligero leads to Burridge making the tag to Mastiff…even back here some six years ago, Mastiff moves very well for a guy his size…Cruz and Ligero try to work together to suplex Mastiff. It doesn’t go well. Mastiff takes them both over with a double vertical…Ligero clearly gets caught calling a spot. I usually try to get the guys the benefit of the doubt, but that was blatant…Ligero trying to trade shots with Burridge. Why would he want to do that?…breaks down to Ligero and Mastiff in the ring. Top rope cross body attempt by Ligero just bounces off Mastiff. Mastiff tries to climb, but Ligero dropkicks the legs and then hits the Del Rio corner double stomp. Scurll refuses to count for Ligero and shit cans him to the floor…Cruz gets caught in a submission but manages to escape and hit his version of the Whiplash. Again, Scurll refuses to count though…Ligero goes for his tornado DDT, but Cruz tags himself in and sets up for his superkick. He goes for it on Mastiff but Ligero superkicks him mid-move. Ligero again shrugs his shoulders and rolls out of the ring as Mastiff lands on Cruz with a huge cannonball senton in the corner. He pulls Cruz to center ring and a follow-up cover gets the three count for the ‘Bastard’ Dave Mastiff at 18:10…took a bit to get going, but once it did, it was pretty entertaining. I’d say basically the first ten minutes of this match are a wash though, as it’s mostly mat wrestling and then leg work on Burridge that gets completely forgotten about in the closing stretch. I understand the idea of having Ligero and Cruz lose here. I even get the idea of Cruz taking the pinfall. To me, it would have made more sense for Burridge to get the pin since it would validate his point from the last show. Then again, we’d never see Greg Burridge in PROGRESS (to this day, I believe), so in hindsight, Mastiff was the right choice. The first half of the match was average, the closing sequence was pretty good. So we’ll settle in the middle and give this a good rating overall but easily the lowest quality of the three main events to this point. (GOOD)

*Post match: Mastiff gets mic time, saying that he did what he said he was going to do, which was something Scurll couldn’t do. He says that Cruz may be the man around here, but he’ll never be a ‘Bastard’. Mastiff and Burridge exit, with Scurll following shortly behind…Cruz gets the microphone as he’s recovering and points out that he’s still the champ and that picking up a win on the scraps of Ligero means nothing…eventually, it leads to Ligero making his way back out and security having to separate Cruz and Ligero. Smallman yells at them for screwing around at this end of his show and makes the title match official for Chapter 4. Smallman then cuts a quick version of his usual opening promo and we’re officially out for Chapter 3.

RESULTS
Match #1: Noam Dar taps Paul Robinson with a grapevined kneebar @ 11:41 (AVERAGE)
Match #2: BWC Starlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © pins Xander Cooper with a Shooting Star Press @ 8:52 to retain (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #3: Riot Squad (J. Davis/R. Lynch) defeat Darrell Allen and Danny Garnell when Davis pins Allen after a sit out powerbomb @ 12:25 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #4: Jimmy Havoc defeats Jon Ryan by DQ @ 3:36 (N/A (ANGLE ADVANCEMENT))
Match #4b: Hardcore Rules: Jon Ryan pins Jimmy Havoc with a release wheelbarrow suplex through a barbed wire board @ 14:36 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #5: RJ Singh taps Rob Cage with the ‘Ethnic Submission’ (Camel Clutch) @ 7:27 (BELOW AVERAGE)
Match #6: Stixx pins Lion Kid after a Splash Mountain Bomb @ 12:27 (VERY GOOD)
Match #7: Dave Mastiff and Greg Burridge defeat El Ligero and Nathan Cruz when Mastiff pins Cruz following a corner cannonball senton @ 18:10 (GOOD)

FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
Rather then do positives and negatives here, I feel it’s easier to save those for the Final Reaction going forward. Two reasons for that…one, the Final Reaction gets a bit redundant if I’m typing the same thing there that I am here. Two and just as importantly is it’ll help decrease the length of these reviews a bit.

As far as ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’ goes overall, I’d say it’s the weakest of the three shows thus far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad show. Once again, we top out with a ‘very good’ match on the scale. This time though, we do see the ‘below average’ make a return to the scale as well. Consistency is key and while top to bottom, the shows are watchable, there is nothing really blow away that the company would eventually be known for having show in and show out down the road. We see more stuff coming together for the future of the company and the cream is starting to rise to the top in guys like Scurll, Andrews, Ligero, Cruz and the London Riots.

So, where does this leave us all? Well, it’ll leave me coming back to watch ‘The Ballad of El Ligero’ or PROGRESS Chapter 4. It’ll leave you all hopefully wanting to come back and read when I do so. I’m once again off to find food. Honey Buns sound really good right about now.

THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: Has to be the surprise contest of the evening to me. The super redeeming effort that we got from Lion Kid and Stixx earns them best match.
Worst match/moment: That RJ Singh and Rob Cage match was rough. From both an in ring content and from a ‘suspension of disbelief’ perspective. I’ve seen better from RJ but Cage was a definite disappointment in his first outing here.
MVP: This one is going to go to Dave Mastiff, who debuted in the main event of the show for the company and didn’t even look the slightest bit out of place doing so. Not only did he get to showcase his impressive arsenal, he even got to pin the champion in the center of the ring, even if it was under somewhat dubious methods.
FINAL SCORE: 5.5/10

Until next time: “This Is PROGRESS” and that’s “What I Watched”. Catch you all for Chapter 4: “The Ballad of El Ligero”.


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