As we approach this year’s Elimination Chamber, we look back at one from the past with this SmackDown-exclusive from 2017!
Kickoff Match: Curt Hawkins vs. Mojo Rawley
The bell rings and Mojo chases Hawkins out to the apron, Hawkins steps back inside, ducks in the ropes to create separation, then delivers a cheap shot right hand. Rawley absorbs it, levels him with a clothesline, shoots Hawkins into the corner, then chops him down with a tackle to the knee. Hawkins rolls outside and Mojo goes out in pursuit, drapes him over the apron to drive him chest-first off the mat, throws him back into the squared circle, but gets caught coming in with a kick to the midsection. Mojo falls back to the floor, Hawkins goes out after him, drives him sternum-first into the ring apron, then slides in the ring and allows the referee to count.
Rawley slides in at 9, Hawkins is there to meet him with fists, puts him in the corner and stomps away as we head to break….We come back and Mojo battles up from a rear chinlock, hits the ropes, Hawkins follows him in and slides to the outside with a leg sweep, steps back in and hits a vertical suplex for a count of 2. He hooks a rear chinlock back on to wear Rawley down, Mojo works to his feet and escapes with a jawbreaker, hits the ropes and gets floored by a clothesline for multiple 2 counts. Hawkins starts talking trash and connects with fists, Rawley absorbs the shots and returns fire, whips Hawkins to the ropes and scores with multiple shoulder blocks. He flattens Hawkins with a clothesline, measures him in the corner for a splash, plants him with a fireman’s carry facebuster and nearly puts it away.
Hawkins tries to crawl out of the ring and Mojo grabs him by the foot, the official forces a break, Hawkins sneaks in a cheap shot, delivers a reverse STO and covers, but still can’t finish it. He start to shoot his mouth off and sets for a DDT, Mojo slips out, attempts a clothesline, Hawkins ducks it, connects with an enzuigiri and gets another 2 count. He gets set in the corner for a spear, Rawley powers him back into the turnbuckles, hits the ropes for a heavy right hand, plants Hawkins with a tilt-a-whirl powerslam and gets the win.
Winner: Mojo Rawley (Tilt-A-Whirl Powerslam)
- EA’s Take: Yikes, this one really started out pretty sloppy, but turned out to be what I would call decent to finish it out. This one was basically thrown together after a backstage segment last week on SmackDown Live and you could feel that, although Mojo is more over with the crowd than I thought. I’m not necessarily a big fan, but I can see the appeal. Hawkins was essentially brought back to the company to put guys like this over and as much as I am a fan of his previous work, this was the right move unless you want to turn this into a longer program.
Open: “Beauty, it’s everywhere. It’s the warm glow of our aspirations, but it can also be cold as steel and that’s beautiful. Tonight inside the steel beast, opportunity is a beautiful thing.” This is Elimination Chamber.
Match #1: Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
Collar & elbow tie-up to begin, both ladies jockey for position down to the canvas and to the outside, finally breaking away and rolling back into the squared circle for a staredown. They tie-up again and Becky hooks on a wristlock, Mickie cartwheels through for a wristlock of her own, switches to a hammerlock, Lynch counters out back to a wristlock and Mickie grabs the ropes to force the break. She quickly slaps on an armbar The Lass Kicker sends her outside to break free, invites Mickie to step back in, grabs her on the apron and rams Mickie head-first into the top turnbuckle. She scores with a slingshot sidekick to drop her to the floor, comes off the apron with a flying forearm, tosses Mickie back in the ring and climbs up, Mickie surprises her with a kick coming in, spikes Lynch with a DDT and gets multiple 2 counts.
She wraps Becky’s arm up in the ropes and goes to work on the shoulder joint, snapmares her out and grabs a modified key-lock, drops a leg on the shoulder and then buries a kick to the face for another 2 count. Mickie stays on the left arm and wrenches it up in the ropes again, hooks on a hammerlock to ground The Lass Kicker, Lynch fights to a standing position, scores with forearms and levels Mickie with a clothesline. Irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Mickie delivers a boot to the jaw, drives Becky shoulder-first into the ring post, climbs to the 2nd rope and hits a hurricanrana. She starts to toy with The Lass Kicker, Lynch tries to fight back and gets kicked back down for 2, Mickie employs a half-nelson to grind her down, Becky battles back to a standing position and arm drags her away.
They trade-off forearm shots, The Lass Kicker blocks a kick, scores with multiple clothesline, drops Mickie with a leg lariat, then tosses her with a Bexploder for a 2 count. Mickie pulls herself up in the corner, Lynch charges in with a Flying Firearm, Mickie side-steps it, plants her with a flapjack, kips up to her feet and then climbs to the top turnbuckle. She hits a Thesz Press that almost puts it away, looks to ram Becky shoulder-first into the ring post again, Lynch puts on the brakes, cracks her with a back elbow, executes a springboard back kick, then comes off the top with a dropkick for a near fall.
The Lass Kicker hooks Mickie for a pumphandle suplex, Mickie slips out of it, clocks her with a Mick Kick, covers and only gets a 2 count. She mounts Lynch and hammers her with right hands, calls for the Mickie-DT, Becky reverses out with a back body drop, looks for the Dis-Arm-Her, Mickie counters with a roll-up, Lynch reverses right back and stacks her up for the victory.
Winner: Becky Lynch (Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: As Mauro said on commentary, this was a wrestling clinic between arguably the two best technicians on the SmackDown Live side. I picked Mickie to get the win here because I don’t like having someone come in and start losing right away, but I understand that is likely the reason why she returned to begin with. I just have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of these two taking each other on, especially considering how it ended after a real back-and-forth battle.
In The Arena: Carmella & James Ellsworth are watching the show from a skybox when Dasha Fuentes comes in for comment, The Princess of Staten Island stating the wrong woman won the last match.
Match #2 is a Handicap Match: Apollo Crews & Kalisto vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler ambushes Kalisto from behind as he makes his way to the ring, drives him into the LED board on the stage, Crews leaves the ring to check on The King of Flight and Dolph heads to the squared circle through the crowd. Apollo marches to the ring and we’re underway, Crews powers The Show Off into the corner, unleashes a flurry of right hands and puts the boots to Dolph. The referee separates them, Apollo rushes back in and meets a back elbow, Ziggler charges out and Crews delivers a back elbow of his own, then scores with more heavy punches. He delivers a snap suplex, Ziggler rolls to the apron, Apollo reaches out to grab him, gets surprised by a hot shot, The Show Off following up with a neckbreaker through the ropes.
He steps back inside and rips away at Crews’ face in the corner, plants him with another neckbreaker for a count of 2, drops an elbow to the back, hooks the leg and gets another 2. Ziggler hooks on a rear chinlock to ground Crews, Apollo finds his footing, Dolph goes to the knee with a kick, hits the ropes for a Famouser, Crews blocks and rolls him up for a 2 count. Ziggler staggers to the corner and Apollo rushes in, gets caught with a back elbow, The Show Off plasters him with stiff punches, uses a single-leg takedown for a 1 count, then jumps on his back to hook on another rear chinlock. Crews works back to a vertical base, Ziggler with another kick to the knee, sets for a neckbreaker, gets pushed away to the ropes and Apollo buries a kick to the midsection.
He can’t capitalize and The Show Off delivers another neckbreaker, Kalisto starts to limp his way back down to the ring and climbs on the apron, Dolph is distracted and Apollo explodes up with an enzuigiri. Crews crawls over and tags out, Kalisto clocks The Show Off with an enzuigiri from the apron, springboards in with a seated senton to the back, scores with leg kicks, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, but The King of Flight handsprings into an enzuigiri. He hooks Ziggler for the Salida Del Sol and gets pushes away, Apollo makes a blind tag, Kalisto flips under a clothesline attempt from Dolph, drills him with an enzuigiri, Crews follows with a Toss Powerbomb and finishes it.
Winners: Apollo Crews & Kalisto (Crews/Toss Powerbomb)
- After The Bell: Kalisto & Apollo celebrate, The Show Off catches The King of Flight on the apron with a leg sweep, Crews chases him around ringside and back into the ring, Dolph catching him with fists and kicks. He gets a chair and locks Apollo’s foot in it, stomps away and Crews writhes in pain on the mat, Ziggler then doing it again.
- EA’s Take: Personally I was excited when Ziggler jumped Kalisto before the match because I thought that would lead to him getting a win. As I stated with Doug Berrill on yesterday’s episode of the Top Of The Morning Podcast, I didn’t see what good this would do for any of the parties involved. Thankfully, the aftermath allowed Dolph to save face, but it makes Kalisto & Apollo look pretty stupid that they were still bested in the end by one guy.
Match #3 – Tag Team Turmoil for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships: Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable)
Slater & Rhyno will kickoff with Breezango, Fandango & Heath to start the match off. They tie-up and Fandango backs Slater to the corner, breaks clean and does a little dance, another collar & elbow and The Lord of the Dance slaps on a side headlock. Heath pushes him away to the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder, Fandango with another little shimmy, hits the ropes, The One Man Band leapfrogs over, delivers a hip toss and does a dance of his own. He ducks a clothesline and splits The Lord of the Dance with an atomic drop, Breeze tags in, swings wildly with a clothesline that misses and gets hit with an atomic drop for his troubles.
Heath rocks him with a right hand and makes a tag, Rhyno utilizes a wristlock, Prince Pretty breaks free after a kick to the midsection, hits the ropes and gets flattened by a shoulder block. The Man Beast shoots him to the corner and follows in with a shoulder to the ribs, flattens Tyler with a short-arm clothesline, brings Slater back in and they send Breeze to the ropes for a double back elbow. The One Man Band hooks in a side headlock, gets sent off to the ropes, Fandango makes a blind tag, Heath ducks a clothesline from Tyler, but The Lord of the Dance sweeps the legs from the outside. He slides in and rains down heavy right hands, drops Slater stomach-first across the top rope, tags Breeze and they deliver in-sync kicks to the head for a count of 2.
Prince Pretty puts the boots to Heath in the corner and makes a tag, The One Man Band fires up with rights, hits the ropes, Fandango ducks down for a back body drop, Slater counters with a sunset flip, but can’t pull him down and gets rocked by a punch. The Lord of the Dance tosses a stack of tickets in Heath’s face, The One Man Band rolls him up off the distraction for a 2 count, both guys up quick, Slater connects with a heel kick and covers, but Breeze is there to break it up at 2. Rhyno steps in and runs Tyler over with a shoulder block, Fandango dumps him to the outside, Slater with a roll-up from behind for 2, makes a tag off the kick-out, The Lord of the Dance with a roll-up from behind now, but he’s got the illegal man. The Man Beast steps in behind him, charges in with a Gore and finishes Breezango off. Breezango has been eliminated.
The Vaudevillains are up next, they drag Rhyno to the outside as they head to the ring, drive him into the barricade, Slater comes off the top with a crossbody, helps The Man Beast back inside and makes a tag to pull Gotch in. Aiden ambushes Heath from behind and puts the boots to him, delivers a knee drop for a count of 2, planks The One Man Band across the top in the corner, The Vaudevillains rocking him with a barrage of boots as Gotch tags in. The Gentleman Brawler buries a barrage of knees to the ribs, powers Slater on his shoulders, makes a tag and plants him with a rolling fireman’s carry and English heads upstairs.
Rhyno steps in and splits Gotch with a Gore, Aiden looks for That’s A Wrap on Slater, The One Man Band rolls out of harm’s way, spikes him with The Smash Hit and gets the pinfall. The Vaudevillains have been eliminated. The Usos come out next, Jimmy slides inside, Heath unloads with rights, Jimmy drops him with a kick to the abdomen, then scores with stinging chops and shoots him to the ropes. Slater explodes back out with a flying forearm and makes a tag, Rhyno looks to whip Jimmy into the corner, Jimmy reverses, The Man Beast hits the turnbuckles hard and Jimmy drives him into his own corner. Jey tags in, Jimmy holds Rhyno in place for Jey to deliver a flying forearm for a 2 count, whips him back into the corner, The Man Beast rebounds out with a clothesline, Slater tags in and comes off the top with an overhand chop.
He drops Jimmy off the apron, avoids Jey charging into the corner, fires away with lefts and rights, hits the ropes for a running boot, Jey side-steps it and plants him with a pop-up Samoan Drop. He makes a cover and Rhyno breaks the count at 2, Jey grabs The Man Beast from behind and deposits him out of the ring, The One Man Band pushes Jey to the ropes for a roll-up, but Jey hangs on and Jimmy makes a blind tag. Jimmy rocks Heath with a superkick, hooks the leg and gets a 3 count. Heath Slater & Rhyno have been eliminated. American Alpha is the next team up, The Usos go to the outside to meet them on the ramp and the brawl is on before they head in the ring.
The champions hit double german suplexes, Jordan clotheslines Jimmy near the ropes and they both spill over the top, Gable ascends the corner and hits Jey with a crossbody for a count of 2. He snatches a wristlock and looks to make a tag, Jordan tries to step in early and the official cuts him off, Jey shoots Gable to the ropes and Jimmy with a cheap shot from the apron to give his brother the advantage. He pushes Gable into his corner and runs in with a shoulder to the midsection, Jimmy tags in, Jey cracks Gable with a backbreaker, Jimmy follows with a top rope double axe and gets a count of 2. He whips Chad sternum-first into the turnbuckles for another 2 count, chokes him on the 2nd rope, the ref backs him off, Jey sneaks in an uppercut from the apron, Jimmy follows with a big chop and tags out.
Jey buries a kick to the ribs and immediately brings Jimmy back in, Jimmy with a leg drop for another 2, then looks to wear Gable down with a rear chinlock. Chad fights back to his feet, Jimmy rocks him with a headbutt, tosses him out of the ring, Gable climbs back to the apron, fights off both Usos and slides in through Jimmy’s legs to try and tag. Jimmy hangs onto Chad’s arm to prevent it, gets sent into the corner, Gable knocks Jey off the apron with a forearm, turns to deliver a clothesline, Jimmy’s thinking the same thing and they both connect, then crawl to tags. Jordan comes in with forearm shots for Jey, connects with a dropkick, Jimmy steps in and gets tossed by an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, Jordan following with another for Jey.
He powers Jey up for an electric chair and Gable tags, heads to the top rope, Jey slips away and rolls Jordan up, Chad rushes in with a roll-up and scores the fall. The Usos have been eliminated. The Usos sneak attack the champions after the pinfall, drive Jordan shoulder-first into the ring post, slam Gable on the floor, then deposit him into the steel steps and rolls Jordan in the ring. Jimmy heads up top, scores with the Uso Splash and multiple referees have to finally pull them away. The Ascension is the last team out, Konnor & Viktor stand over a fallen Jordan in the ring and measure for the Fall Of Man, hit it and Konnor covers, Gable just barely making it in to break the count at 2.
Konnor powers Chad up on his shoulder, drops him throat-first across the top rope, Viktor tags in, The Ascension puts the boots to Jordan, Viktor pulling him up for heavy chops in the corner. He shoots Konnor at Jordan with a corner clothesline, follows with a high knee, Konnor with a lateral press and gains a near fall. Tag back to Viktor for more stinging chops, lines him up for a splash, Jordan avoids it, tosses him with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, then tries to crawl to his corner. Konnor steps in and rushes at him, Jordan ducks down to send him to the outside, reaches Gable for the tag, but Konnor rips him to the floor from the outside. Gable ducks under a clothesline and slides in, American Alpha hits Grand Amplitude and Chad covers to retain.
Winners and STILL SmackDown Tag Team Champions: American Alpha
- EA’s Take: Really entertaining match here that allowed every team to get a little bit of shine at the very least. I really thought my pick of The Ascension was going to be good after The Usos left the champions laying, then even more so after Ascension dropped Jordan with the Fall Of Man and by the sounds of the crowd, they thought the same. For those that missed Top Of The Morning yesterday, I talked about The Ascension coming up with a tweaked look and we saw it tonight, so remember…it pays to #GetOnTop. What’s next for the champs? I’m not sure because the attack by The Usos leads me to believe they aren’t finished, but the staredown with The Ascension could also be teasing something as well.
Match #4: Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
They go face-to-face at the bell and Natalya mocks John Cena, slaps her across the face and brings her down with a side headlock, Nikki counters out with a headscissors, but Nattie kips up to break free. She quickly hooks in a wristlock and does some trash talking, Nikki paintbrushes her with a slap of her own, rolls into a cross armbreaker, The Queen of Harts breaks free, but gets slapped again. She tackles Nikki down to the mat and bludgeons her with right hands, brings her to the mat with a waistlock takedown, buries a kick to the ribs, then delivers another waistlock takedown and poses for the people. She hooks Nikki for another waistlock takedown, Nikki blocks and rolls her into a knee bar, Natalya claws to the bottom rope to force the break, then rolls outside for a breather.
Nikki hits a baseball slide frm behind, steps out to the apron and jumps off with a clothesline, sends Nattie back in the ring, but The Queen of Harts rolls back out and calls for a time-out as Nikki is in pursuit. Natalya shoves her spine-first into the ring post, throws Nikki back into the squared circle, steps in, hauls her up by the hair and delivers a snap suplex, then drives a kick into the back. The Fearless One pulls herself up in the corner, The Queen of Harts puts the boots to her, taunts Nikki, snapmares her over and scores with a basement dropkick to the spine. She utilizes a rear chinlock to wear her down some more, Nikki fights back to a vertical base, arm drags Nattie away, but gets flattened by a clothesline.
The Queen of Harts mocks Cena again and walks over Nikki, gets surprised by a schoolboy from behind for a count of 2, Nattie quickly drops her with a kick to the abdomen, rams her face-first into the mat, then goes to work on the left leg with an inverted figure four. Nikki slaps Nattie across the face and slips out for an STF, Natalya quickly reaches the ropes to gain separation, misses with a clothesline and Nikki delivers a shoulder tackle. She connects with a dropkick, cracks The Queen of Harts with a modified jawbreaker for a count of 2, measures for a forearm shot, but walks into a kick to the breadbasket. Nattie follows with a Michinoku driver for a near fall, hooks her for the Sharpshooter, Nikki kicks her away and levels Natalya with a stiff forearm that almost finishes it.
Nikki picks her up for the Rack Attack 2.0, The Queen of Harts slips out, looks to shoot her to the ropes, Nikki reverses and plants her with a spinebuster, but can’t put it away. She springs off the 2nd rope with a roundhouse kick and gains another near fall, Nikki heads out to the apron, catches Nattie charging in with a shoulder to the midsection, scores with a knee lift and heads to the top turnbuckle. The Queen of Harts is there to meet her with right hands, plants her into the mat with a superplex, staggers to her feet and slaps on the Sharpshooter. Nikki rolls out of it and hooks on the STF, Natalya crawls to the ropes to force the break, grabs Nikki by the hair and they spill to the outside. The Queen of Harts drives her into the barricade and pummels her with right hands, Nikki fires back, deposits Nattie into the barricade, they continue to battle the ref’s count reaches 10.
Winner: Double Count-Out
- After The Bell: Natalya tosses Nikki back in the ring and argues with the official, Nikki rises to her feet and has some words for the ref, Nattie clocks her with a forearm and starts to walk away. Nikki rolls out of the ring, spears The Queen of Harts on the ramp for a barrage of fists, Nattie breaks free and sprints away.
- EA’s Take: Pretty vicious battle here which I expected and to be honest, I was surprised this was just a basic match and didn’t have a stipulation like No DQ. I suppose that’s the reason for the double count-out, this feud has been too good for it to end here and I can’t imagine we don’t get something better from them in the coming weeks on SmackDown.
In The Arena: Carmella & James Ellsworth are still watching on from the skybox and Dasha Fuentes asks for comment, The Princess of Staten Island stating Nikki Bella & Natalya have been out of control, Ellsworth echoing her sentiments.
Backstage: Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton are in a dark, smoky room in the back, The New Face of Fear saying that in order to be victorious tonight, they must go their separate ways. The Viper warns that everybody should run.
Match #5: Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper
Collar & elbow tie-up to begin and we have an early stalemate, they tie-up again with the same result, another lock-up, they jostle for position and Harper hooks on a side headlock. Orton pushes him away to the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder for a quick 1 count, The Apex Predator rolls out of the ring to regroup, Harper goes out after him, intercepts him with uppercuts, drives Randy into the barricade, then bounces him head-first off the announce table. He tosses The Viper back inside and Orton staggers to the corner, catches Harper walking in with a back elbow, Randy hits the ropes, Harper explodes up with a dropkick, then heads upstairs.
The Apex Predator drops him to the floor with a big right hand, Harper bounces face-first off the apron, Luke drags himself back inside and gets hammered with fists in the corner. Orton shoots him across hard into the turnbuckles and dumps him to the floor, heads after him and rams Harper head-first off the announce table, then drops him on it with a back suplex. He throws Luke into the ring and gets a count of 2, grabs a rear chinlock to grind the big man down, Harper makes it back to his feet, The Viper clubs him across the back, then drops him gut-first on the top rope. He climbs to the 2nd rope and poses for the people, rakes his boot across Harper’s face, stomps away in the corner, then drags Luke out and goes back to a chinlock.
Harper fights back to a vertical base, rocks Randy with uppercuts, The Viper returns the favor, shoots him into the corner, but the big man explodes back out with running forearms. Irish whip back to the corner is reversed, Harper leaps out to the apron, drops The Apex Predator with a forearm, then slingshots back in with a somersault senton. He floors Orton with a big boot for a 2 count, grabs him by the leg, The Viper kicks him away, grabs Harper by the jeans to send him to the apron, then hooks him for the elevated DDT. Luke fights it off, catapults Randy throat-first into the 2nd rope, The Apex Predator rolls outside to catch his breath, Harper hits the ropes for a suicide dive, but gets clocked by a forearm shot.
Orton looks to dump him to the outside, Harper turns the tables and sends Randy out instead, takes flight with a suicide dive and The Apex Predator flies over the announce table. Harper picks him up and drops him on the announce desk with a back suplex, lines him up and charges in, The Viper planting Luke on the floor with a powerslam. He rolls back in the ring and grabs Harper on the apron, Luke surprises him with a forearm shot, climbs the corner for a suplex to the outside, The Viper slips out of it, crotches Harper on the top turnbuckle and executes a superplex to the inside. Randy crawls to a cover and only gets 2, pulls Harper up, they exchange shots, Orton ducks one fot he RKO, gets pushed away, but counters a clothesline for a full nelson slam that gains a near fall.
Harper rolls out to the apron, The Apex Predator spikes him with a rope-assisted DDT, gets set for the RKO, but Luke explodes up with a superkick. He connects with another superkick and nearly puts it away, hauls Randy up for a powerbomb, The Viper slips out for the RKO, Harper blocks it again, but gets kicked in the abdomen. The Apex Predator hits the ropes and runs into a kick to the breadbasket, Harper plants him with a sit-out powerbomb that almost finishes it, “This Is Awesome” chants take over the crowd, both guys struggle to their knees and trade-off right hands back to their feet. Harper gets the better of it, hits the ropes for the Discus Clothesline, Orton blocks it, delivers an RKO and gets the victory.
Winner: Randy Orton (RKO)
- EA’s Take: Tremendous match and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say these guys just stole the show, which I had mentioned previously was a strong possibility. I am surprised Bray didn’t get involved here, but I suppose that was addressed with his previous promo of having to be separated from Orton tonight. Harper showed a lot tonight although we already knew he could do it, he just has never been given a chance to really shine. The Viper may have won the match, but Harper was the real winner here in the long run as long as the company does something with him to follow up.
Backstage: Renee Young is standing by with Nikki Bella, Nikki states things are far from over with herself and Nattie, but Natalya ambushes her from behind. They battle into the hallway where Maryse is near a makeup table, The Queen of Harts bounces Nikki’s face off of a production box and Nikki falls backwards into Maryse, causing powder to go everywhere. Nikki tackles Natalya and a group of referees finally separate them.
Match #6 for the SmackDown Women’s Championship: Naomi vs. SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss
Alexa with some trash talk for the challenger at the bell, attempts to slap her across the face, Naomi surprises her with a schoolboy and gets an early 2 count. The champion pulls out her gum and tosses it in Naomi’s face, The Glow Queen grabs her by the hair, drives Bliss multiple times head-first into the top turnbuckle, climbs up top, but gets pushed down to the apron. She lands on her feet and rocks Alexa with a roundhouse kick, looks to springboard in the champion grabs a handful of hair, slams her down to the mat, then unleashes a series of rights for a count of 2. She puts the boots to the challenger in the corner and chokes her with her foot, chokes Naomi on the 2nd rope now, charges in with double knees to the back and gains another 2 count.
Bliss tries to ram her head-first into the top turnbuckle, The Glow Queen blocks it, attempts to bulldog Alexa into the turnbuckles, but gets pushed away. The champion wraps Naomi’s hair up in the ropes and rips away, covers for another count of 2, stands on the challenger’s hair, then pulls her up by the arms, this time getting a 1 count. She slaps on a rear chinlock to wear Naomi down, The Glow Queen works to a standing position, arm drags the champion away, rushes her in the corner, but runs into a back elbow. Alexa hooks her by the arm and goes to the 2nd rope, the challenger tries to hip toss her down to the mat, Bliss flips to her feet, rolls her up for 2, Naomi with a roll-up of her own off the kick-out, but can’t finish it.
Both ladies are up quick and Naomi looks for a kick, the champion blocks it, attempts to clock her with a right hand, Naomi delivers a roundhouse at the same time and they both go down. Both women stagger back to their feet, The Glow Queen ducks under a clothesline and hits the ropes for one of her own, drops Bliss with a jumping back elbow, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Alexa charges in, blocks Naomi putting the boots up, but gets drilled by an enzuigiri instead. The challenger follows with a stiff kick to the abdomen, hits the ropes for a somersault clothesline, measures the champion in the corner and charges in, gets elevated over the top, but lands on her feet and scores with a forearm shot.
Naomi ascends the corner and connects with a blockbuster, hooks the leg and nearly finishes it off, Alexa crawls to the ropes for some reprieve, the challenger grabs her by the foot, but gets kicked away. Bliss pulls herself back up in the corner and rushes out, The Glow Queen catches her with the Rear View, hooks both legs, but still only gets a count of 2. She positions the champion near the corner for the Split-Legged Moonsault, Alexa grabs her by the foot, Naomi kicks free, Bliss tries to beg her off and ducks into the ropes. The referee gets in between to create separation, the champion with a cheap shot, slams Naomi to the mat by the hair, delivers Insult To Injury, covers and gains a near fall. Bliss hammers the challenger with right hands and heads to the high-rent district, The Glow Queen pops up with an enzuigiri, Alexa falls to the floor, Naomi gets set for an outside dive, but the champion climbs on the apron and cuts her off with forearm.
She steps back in, spikes The Glow Queen with a DDT and covers, the challenger just barely kicks out at 2 and Bliss starts to show her frustration. Alexa pulls Naomi up, gets surprised by a modified jawbreaker, tries to follow with the Split-Legged Moonsault, the champion rolls away to avoid it, rolls her up and puts her feet on the ropes. The referee counts to 2 and notices it, stops the count, Alexa argues the call, pummels the challenger with fists, then goes back up top for Twisted Bliss. The Glow Queen gets the knees up, follows with the Split-Legged Moonsault and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW SmackDown Women’s Champion: Naomi (Split-Legged Moonsault)
- After The Bell: Renee Young enters the ring for comment, a “You Deserve It” chant breaks out and Naomi is brought to tears, The Glow Queen states she’s envisioned this moment for many years and Alexa was a great champion, but she’s taking the title home to Orlando at WrestleMania.
- EA’s Take: Not a bad match in my opinion, but there were certainly a couple of spots that didn’t look great, the finish for example. Naomi has always been one of my favorites and very underused in my opinion, so I absolutely agree with the crowd and the “You Deserve It” chant. It’s been a long-time coming for her and I called for this to happen, mostly because of WrestleMania being in her hometown, which gives her that “feel-good” moment. Certainly Alexa will get a rematch and the way things are going, I still feel as if we’re headed towards multi-person title matches for both Women’s Divisions at the Showcase of the Immortals.
In The Arena: Carmella & James Ellsworth continue watching the show from the skybox, Dasha Fuentes tries to get comment, but The Princess of Staten Island says she’s sick of being bothered while trying to watch the show. Ellsworth tells Dasha to scram, sits back and puts his feet up.
Match #7 – Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship: WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin vs. The Miz vs. Bray Wyatt vs. AJ Styles vs. WWE Champion John Cena
Styles & Cena are going to begin, collar & elbow tie-up to start, the champion goes to a side headlock, AJ pushes him off to the ropes, but gets dropped by a shoulder block. They lock-up again and this time Styles hooks in a side headlock, Cena sends him off to the ropes, drops down, leapfrogs over and AJ scores with a leg kick. The Leader of the Cenation battles back with heavy rights, whips him to the corner and rushes in, The Phenomenal One side-steps out of harm’s way, powers him up on his shoulder and delivers a spin-out torture rack bomb for an early 2 count.
AJ looks to set for the Styles Clash, Cena powers out, launches him into the air, lets him drop face-first to the mat, then follows with a sunset flip bomb for a 2 count. The Leader of the Cenation pulls Styles up and they exchange shots, the champion takes The Phenomenal One down for the STF, AJ kicks him away, scores with the Ushigaroshi, hooks the leg and gains a near fall. Cena pulls himself to his feet in the corner, Styles rushes in for a flying forearm, the champion avoids it, hits the ropes for multiple shoulder tackles, ducks a clothesline and delivers a spin-out back suplex. He calls for the 5 Knuckle Shuffle, the countdown begins and Cena decides against it as Dean Ambrose enters the match.
He ducks a right hand and levels Cena with a flying clothesline, tosses him out over the top, drives the champion multiple times into the chain link, then stomps away. AJ comes out after them and The Lunatic Fringe rams him into the chain, clotheslines Styles back in the ring, kicks him to the apron, and sets for a suplex back inside. The Phenomenal One blocks it, looks to suplex Dean out on the chamber floor, Ambrose slips out, drops him with a release vertical suplex on the floor, Cena climbs up top, but The Lunatic Fringe drops him down with a forearm shot. He climbs on top of one of the pods and flies off with a diving elbow to the champion, tries to drag Cena into the squared circle, AJ grabs him with a waistlock, standing switch from Ambrose, Styles switches back, but the champion comes in and plants them both with a double german suplex.
The Leader of the Cenation picks Dean up for an AA, The Phenomenal One charges in, Cena drops Dean, lifts AJ for the Attitude Adjustment, rocking The Lunatic Fringe with Styles’ feet in the process. AJ counters the AA by landing on his feet, clobbers the champion with a kick, Dean rebounds off the ropes and floors Styles with a Lunatic Lariat as the timer hits zero. Bray Wyatt steps out and drops Dean with a right hand, flattens Cena with a running crossbody, tosses The Lunatic Fringe with a release vertical suplex, then charges AJ near the ropes and gets dumped outside. Styles tries to springboard out after him, gets thrown into the chain link, goes into the Spider Crawl for Sister Abigail, but The Phenomenal One slips away and shoves him into one of the pod doors.
He pulls Wyatt through the 2nd rope in the corner, hops in the ring and slingshots out with a leg drop to the back of the head, The Leader of the Cenation picks him up for an AA outside, but AJ breaks free and clocks him with forearms. He climbs the side of the cage and Cena goes up after him, they battle on the side of the wall, Styles clobbering the champion with fists and drops him to the chamber floor. The Phenomenal One climbs on top of The Miz’s pod, Ambrose scales up to meet him, rams Styles face-first off the plastic part of the wall, jumps off at Bray, but gets caught with a right hand on the way down. The Eater of Worlds tosses him in the ring, props The Lunatic Fringe on the top turnbuckle, climbs up for a barrage of headbutts, Dean slips down for a powerbomb, Bray grabs Styles in the process and tosses him across the ring as he gets planted into the mat as the clock ticks down again.
Baron Corbin comes in next, The Lunatic Fringe meets him with a flurry of forearms, hits the ropes, The Lone Wolf flattens him with a clothesline, deposits Dean to the outside, then rams him face-first off the chain multiple times. He throws Ambrose back in the ring and charges him in the corner, The Lunatic Fringe side-steps out, rushes in with a forearm, looks to follow with a running bulldog, but gets pushed away. He charges back in at Baron and gets planted by Deep Six, rolls out under the bottom rope, Corbin goes after him, but Wyatt attacks from behind and hooks him for a uranage. The Lone Wolf blocks it and sends Bray face-first into Miz’s pod, drops him with a big boot, slams him into the floor with a modified STO, then heads back inside.
The Phenomenal One meets him with a flurry of right hands and hits the ropes, Corbin cuts him off with End Of Days, Cena quickly grabs Baron by the leg and slaps on the STF. The Lone Wolf powers out of it, plants the champion with End Of Days, Ambrose comes off the top with a dropkick, then clotheslines Baron over the top and drives him into the chain numerous times. The Lone wolf finally puts on the brakes and returns the favor, launches Dean face-first into the wall, rams him head-first into one of the pods, then sends him back in the ring. He powers The Lunatic Fringe over his shoulder, Ambrose slides out behind, hooks him for Dirty Deeds, Corbin blocks it, tries to drive him into the corner, Dean holds up from hitting the turnbuckles and catches him with a back elbow. Ambrose climbs to the top rope now, The Lone Wolf pushes him off, The Lunatic Fringe hits the chain link face-first and the last man enters the match.
The Miz is in no hurry to step out of his pod as Corbin is waiting for him, Dean grabs The Lone Wolf with a schoolboy from behind and gets the 1-2-3. Baron Corbin has been eliminated. Baron is less than pleased, bludgeons Ambrose from behind with a clothesline, throws him through the plastic of one of the pods, props him up against the chain link, then unloads with forearms to the back of the head. He tosses Dean in the ring, plants him with End Of Days, multiple referees come inside and The Lone Wolf finally leaves, Miz quickly stepping in the ring to pin Ambrose. Dean Ambrose has been eliminated.
The A-Lister points to the WrestleMania sign and mocks a “Yes” chant, drills Cena & Bray with his Yes Kicks, hits the ropes and takes them both down with a double dropkick. Styles steps back in the ring and Miz puts him in the corner for another barrage of kicks, Cena & Wyatt stagger to opposite corners, The A-Lister delivering running dropkicks to everyone in the ring and dumping Bray to the outside. He crushes the champion in the corner with an Awesome Clothesline, climbs to the top turnbuckle, The Eater of Worlds drags him down to the floor for a clothesline, Miz blocks it and plants him with a Skull Crushing Finale.
The A-Lister heads back up top for a crossbody to the champion, The Leader of the Cenation rolls through, powers him onto his shoulders for the Attitude Adjustment and ends his night. The Miz has been eliminated. Bray & AJ attack Cena from behind and put the boots to him, The New Face of Fear holds the champion up for AJ, The Phenomenal One scores with right hands, poses for the crowd and Wyatt clocks him with an uppercut. He looks for a running senton to Cena and misses, drops Styles with multiple shoulder tackles, delivers a spin-out back suplex, catches Bray with one for his troubles, then hits them both with a double 5 Knuckle Shuffle. He scores with an AA to Wyatt, powers The Phenomenal One up for one, AJ slips out of it, connects with the Styles Clash, but only gets a near fall.
AJ rolls out of the ring and measures for a Phenomenal Forearm, The Leader of the Cenation ducks under it, delivers the Attitude Adjustment, but Styles just barely kicks out at 2. The champion looks stunned, steps to the outside and climbs on top of a pod, jumps off with a crossbody to wipe-out Styles & Wyatt, all three guys now down. Cena staggers back to his feet, hauls Bray up for an AA, The Eater of Worlds slips out of it, scores with Sister Abigail and covers for the 1-2-3. John Cena has been eliminated. Styles pulls himself to his feet and charges out at Bray, gets clocked by a forearm, The New Face of Fear batters him with right hands to the back of the head, throws AJ into the corner and charges in, but gets cut off by a dropkick to the knee.
The Phenomenal One follows with a basement forearm for a count of 2, Bray Spider Crawls back to his feet, snatches Styles for Sister Abigail, AJ breaks free, rolls him up and gains a near fall. He quickly scores with the Phenomenal Blitz, Bray comes right back and turns him inside-out with a clothesline, hooks the leg, but can’t put it away yet. He pulls AJ up for a uranage, Styles battles out of it, clobbers him with a Pele Kick, hits the ropes for a shining wizard, then rolls outside and springboards in with a 450 splash. He hooks the leg and The New Face of Fear just kicks out at 2, The Phenomenal One rolls back outside, pulls his elbow pad off, springboards in for a Phenomenal Forearm, Bray catches him in the air, hits Sister Abigail and finishes it.
Winner and NEW WWE Champion: Bray Wyatt
- After The Bell: Randy Orton comes out to the stage and watches on as Bray celebrates the win.
- EA’s Take: What an amazing match, I think we just saw the best Chamber match in WWE history. I have to admit, at first when I saw the padding on the outside of the ring instead of the usual steel grating we had in the old chamber, I was not overly enthused. The participants completely made me forget about that very quickly however and it allowed them to do so much more with less risk of injury. I’ve called for so long to have Bray get his big moment and we finally saw it, but we also saw some other interesting things take place which will shape for WrestleMania such as Corbin & Ambrose. I dare RAW to follow that, but I just know they can’t.
EA’s Finisher: Obviously the namesake of this pay-per-view is the big standout of the evening, but we also had another great moment in Naomi finally getting her just due by becoming the SmackDown Women’s Champion. While I wouldn’t call the undercard poor by any means, I truly could have lived without the Handicap Match personally. I think the Tag Team Turmoil was highly entertaining and showed why SmackDown Tag Team Division is far superior to RAW, meanwhile the women showed they have a lot more depth on the blue brand, which is not news to anyone. Overall, a very entertaining event that I think RAW will really have a hard time following up at FastLane.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Elimination Chamber
2 – Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton
3 – Tag Team Turmoil
Chairshot Classics: WWE Fastlane 2015 – Reigns vs. Bryan
Looking back at WWE Fastlane 2015 with Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan!
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 Take: You 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 Take: Really 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 Take: Lillian 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 Take: Seems 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 Take: If 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 Take: This 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 Take: Great 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 Take: Really 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 Take: Excellent 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 Finisher: Overall 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
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!
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.
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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