Jimi Kilear brings you back to 12 years ago for WWE SummerSlam 2006, featuring Big Show vs. Sabu, Batista vs. Booker T, and John Cena vs. Edge!
The Big Show and Sabu go one-on-one for the ECW Championship in an Extreme Rulez Match. The McMahon’s are facing off against the newly returned Degeneration-X. Batista and Booker T compete for the World Heavyweight Title, and Edge and John Cena square-up for the WWE Championship. All this and so much more as this edition of Chairshot Classics brings you SummerSlam 2006.
For today’s show we will spend the evening in the home of the Boston Celtics, the TD Bank North Garden. The Boston, Massachusetts arena is packed with 16,168 eager fans and there are another 541K tuning in at home on PPV. The ECW Brand has returned along with its grandest Title, the ECW Championship. For this show we get three different announce teams. Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler are calling for the RAW Brand, Michael Cole and John “Bradshaw” Layfield calling for the blue brand, SmackDown and we have Tazz and Joey Styles calling for ECW. The theme song for the show is “The Enemy” by the band Godsmack. So let’s get the show started and enter the arena for “The Biggest Party of the Summer!”
We get a Degeneration-X themed open that has the re-formed faction running amok on the McMahon Family. At this point I guess it is more of a tag-team, because it is just Shawn Michaels and Triple H. It shows the World Heavyweight Champion, King Booker, next and he is joined by his Queen, Sharmell. This is the build for his feud with the animal that is Batista. This is a rematch of a real shoot fight that took place a few months prior at the commercial taping for this SummerSlam. We will dissect that more as we get to the actual match. The final piece of the open is between John Cena and Edge. This story is really centered around the griminess of The Rated R Superstar, Edge. Edge even broke into Cena’s parents house and slapped his dad. Nice.
Michael Cole welcomes us into the sold-out arena and this is when I notice that WWE doesn’t have the rights to the Godsmack song anymore. Instead, we hear “Cobra Style” by The TeddyBears. Cole goes around the horn and introduces the announce teams that we discussed earlier. It’s not long after that the crowd erupts as the man from the 619, Rey Mysterio, enters the arena. Before the next man enters we get a clip of how we got here. Rey of course was a friend of the late Eddie Guerrero, who had passed the previous November from a Heart Condition. This feud with Eddie’s nephew Chavo Guerrero is centered around that. We see some highlights of the careers of Eddie and Rey, mainly where they intersected, and this is nicely put together. Chavo is accusing Rey of leaching off the career of his late Uncle, and so is Eddie’s widow Vickie. Chavo Guerrero’s relationship with Eddie is highlighted next, and again this is a nice homage package to the late Latino Heat.
Rey wastes no time getting the early start and attacks Chavo before the bell can sound. The punches lead to an Irish whip and Rey flattens Chavo with the back elbow to the jaw. Chavo uses the double leg takedown to gain an edge and hits Mysterio with a European uppercut. Rey is whipped to the ropes but saves face with the springboard moonsault. Chavo catches him and it looks like a snake-eyes is coming next. Rey counters out of it by arm dragging Chavo, and this sends Guerrero through the ropes. Mysterio sends Guerrero tumbling with the baseball slide but when he slingshots off the top rope for the crossbody to the out side, Chavo avoids it by sliding into the ring. Guerrero attempts the same slingshot maneuver and his doesn’t miss. Chavo returns Rey to the ring and stomps him into the corner. When he applies the boot choke, Guerrero gets some serious heat from the fans and it takes the ref to pull him off. After two European uppercuts from Chavo, Rey reverses a punch and takes Guerrero off his feet with a couple of quick ankle kicks. The hurricanrana is attempted by Rey but Chavo reverses it by flap-jacking Mysterio into the top turnbuckle. After a side suplex, Chavo does an Eddie Guerrero shimmy that really gets some heat from the crowd. As Chavo continues to stomp away at Rey we hear the fans start a “Eddie” chant.
After a tussle in the corner Mysterio comes off the second rope and uses the hurricanrana to plant Chavo in perfect 619 positioning. The crowd explodes when the finish is hit and Rey is on the apron for his follow-up move, the springboard seated senton. Chavo catches him instead, and it looks as though he is going to powerbomb Mysterio to the outside. This doesn’t happen and Rey instead hurricanranas Chavo over the ropes. This sends both men crashing to the floor as the ref starts his ten count. Chavo nails a few punches and returns Rey to the ring. This is when we see Vickie Guerrero with the run-in and she is confronting Chavo on the outside. She stops him from returning to the ring and then slaps Chavo in the face. This is when Mysterio comes flying through the ropes and hits Chavo with a suicide dive. Rey returns Chavo to the ring and now Vickie is trying to stop Rey from continuing the match. This distraction allows Chavo to land some punches and suplex Rey back into the ring from the apron. Chavo channels Eddie Guerrero next and attempts the Three Amigos. After he successfully completes two suplexs Rey slides away and shoves Chavo into the ropes. When Chavo bounces back Mysterio lands a beautiful hurricanrana and the crowd are again on their feet. It is now Rey who is channeling Eddie and his version of the Tree Amigos goes off unhitched. At this point in the match Vickie is really losing her shit on the outside as she wants the match to end. Rey takes to the tope rope and this is when Vickie Guerrero really interferes. She pulls the top rope down and this sends Mysterio crashing to the mat. This interference allows Chavo to hit Rey Mysterio with a brainbuster, and Chavo follows it up by heading to the top rope. Chavo takes to the skies and lands a frogsplash that Eddie would be proud of. The ref counts the three and that’s all folks. This is a great opening match and told a great story. Even though I may think using Eddie’s death in story may be a little fucked, I was a fan of the match and the Eddie Guerrero homages throughout. Match Time-6:40
We see King Booker and Queen Sharmell in the locker room and they are speaking of how they’re the “Greatest Couple in Sports Entertainment”. They are using accents that are similar to what we hear “Woken” Matt Hardy use today. The “Royal Family” is interrupted by Edge and Lita and they claim to be the better couple. Edge lays into Booker with some insults before he turns on the crowd saying “He plans to slap John Cena just like he did his father…just like the Yankees are slapping the Red Sox out of the playoffs as we speak.” This of course gets some nice heat from the Boston fans. This would in fact turn out to be true and the New York Yankees would win the World Series. I’m just going to say it, I hate this King Booker gimmick and it just doesn’t seem to fit in my opinion.
Joey Styles and Tazz are on the microphones and are set the call the next match that has the ECW Championship on the line in an Extreme Rulez match. We see a package that shows highlights from a ladder match to see who gets the contract to be the number one contender. Think of a one-vs-one Money in the Bank match. Sabu defeated Rob Van Dam in this match and gained the Title Shot. The challenger, “The Suicidal, Homicidal, Genocidal, Death Defying”, Sabu enters first and is carrying his favorite weapon, the chair. The ECW World Champion enters the arena next and this is a mean looking version of The Big Show. The bell sounds and Sabu is quick to throw his chair at the head of The Big Show. After a chairshot to the midsection and back of Show, Sabu hits an early Arabian Facebuster. This is a leg drop where Sabu puts the chair between him and his opponent. He goes for the quick cover but The Big Show just tosses him off. Sabu sets the chair up but when he hits the ropes Show grabs his foot and send him face first into said chair. Big Show then just stomps onto the chair and crushes it before he throws it from the ring. Show starts to work Sabu with various slow Big Show type attacks. Punches, Head-butts, etc.. He then slams Sabu to the mat with a scoopslam and picks him up into the bear hug.
The hug goes on for some time before Sabu bites Big Shows face and this allows him to escape the hold. Sabu attempts to springboard next but The Big Show catches him. Show then tosses him over his head and this sends Sabu rolling out of the ring. The way he tosses Sabu here really shows how much strength this giant really has. The Big Show lifts Sabu onto the apron by his hair, but Sabu is quick to snapmare the neck of Big Show onto the top rope. Sabu looks under the ring and is quick to throw a chair into the top of Show’s head. The sound this makes is quite brutal. He then brings the chair into the ring and throws it into the face of Big Show one more time. Sabu then takes to the top rope with it and jumps off kicking the chair into The Big Show’s face again. This leaves both men stunned but after a moment Sabu goes for the cover. Before the one is really counted, Big Show again tosses Sabu off from him. Sabu again leaves the ring and this time he comes back with a table. After the table is leaned in the corner Sabu returns his attention to Show. But The Big Show grabs him by the throat and just when you think the chokeslam is coming Sabu pokes him in the eyes. Sabu is fast to the top rope and leaps off to hit the big man with a bulldog. Sabu again sets a chair up and runs, leaps off from it and bulldogs The Big Show threw the table. I expected an “OH MY GOD” from Joey Styles here and was disappointed when he didn’t deliver it. This breaks the crowd into “ECW” chants as both men are slow to return to their feet. Sabu is first up and goes right to the top rope. Show is right there behind him this time and picks him up to drive him to the mat with the electric chair drop. At this point we can notice a small cut on the large melon of The Big Show. He drags Sabu’s limp body to the corner and hits Sabu with a Vader Bomb. This is when Joey Styles satisfies my desires with an “OH MY GOD”. Sabu rolls from the ring and Show goes out the other side of it and throws the ring steps in. Big Show also puts a table into the ring before he himself enters it. At this point Sabu is laying on the mat and looks to be in real shoulder pain. Show then sets the table up across the ring steps but this allows Sabu to come running and DDT him through his own set-up. Once again we hear an “OH MY GOD” from Styles and this feels like a real ECW affair.
Sabu again leaves the ring and returns with yet another table. He sets it up but this backfires and Sabu is viciously chokeslamed through it. The Big Show makes the cover and gets the three to retain his ECW World Championship. This was a good match and it really felt like you were watching an ECW show. Now why couldn’t they do this well when they revived the Brand for the short lived WWECW crapfest. If you ever were a fan of the ECW of old, this is a match that can satisfy that fandom. On a side note, it is rumored that Kurt Angle wanted to be a part of this Title Match because he had lost the Title to RVD on August 13th. Kurt also suffered a groin injury in that match and it would also be his last match with the WWE until he returned 11 years later. Match Time-8:30
We are rejoined with Jerry Lawler and JR as they introduces us to the Hard Rock Café in Times Square, New York. The reason being this is where the three finalists for the Diva Search are located. We see the winner announced to be Layla and she gets a WWE Contract and a quarter million dollars. Obviously the money is the main prize here, as her WWE career didn’t really pan out. We see Trish Stratus and some other Divas welcome her into the locker room and are being very condescending, mostly taking shots at her over a magazine cover. Trish then tells her the reasons she cant call herself a WWE Diva. Lame but the highlight here is a bunch of half-dressed Divas. The clips finishes with the Diva’s initiating Layla into the group. This is done by taking her into the showers, hosing her down and spanking her ass…..
The RAW announcers introduce the clip for the next match. It features the Legend, Hulk Hogan facing off against the man who calls himself the Legend Killer, Randy Orton. The package begins with highlights of the career of the Hulkster. Brooke Hogan, Hulk’s daughter, is a part of this storyline and Orton is putting the moves on her. This leads to Orton’s respectful challenge turning sour. The clip shows Orton hitting various legends, from Mae Young to Jake The Snake, with the RKO. This is a well put together package, and the best one up until this point. Randy Orton is the first to enter and he is getting some nice heat from the fans. He hits the corner for his normal pose as the flash bulbs light him up. The “Hogan” chants start and continue into the greatest theme song there is, “Real American.” “When it comes crashin down” the Hulkamaniacs explode into a mighty pop as The Hulkster enters the arena. Hulk takes his time posing as he makes his way to the ring and rightfully so because it allows the theme song to play through, JR mentions here that Hulk Hogan is wrestling with a partially torn MCL. This is the reason he missed the go-home edition of RAW on August 14. Figure-Four weekly reported that there was a major drug test scheduled at that RAW and they found it convenient that Hogan happened to miss that day. Take that as you will, but Hogan did in fact have the injury and would leave the WWE after this SummerSlam to have surgery.
Hogan hits the ring and tears the shirt off in his normal fashion. He finishes his pose cadence before Orton returns to the ring. The crowd are in a frenzy here and Hogan poses for so long that the theme song repeats. That’s what I’m talking about, Brother! The bell finally sounds and the “Hogan” chants are in full force here. The collar and elbow follows and Hogan is quick to shove Orton to the mat. When Hulk poses on Orton next the building is shaking from the frenzy that is the fans. Again they go to the collar and elbow and this time Orton comes out ahead with a side headlock. Hulkster escapes by shoving Orton into the ropes and when he comes back at Hogan, Orton is flattened by a shoulder block. Randy Orton’s reactions to being outdone by Hogan early are good stuff and he really sells the shocked look. Another collar and elbow and once again another side headlock from Orton. Hulkster uses the “Lets Go Hogan” chants from the Hulkamaniacs to power free from the hold and take Orton down with an overhead wristlock. Orton lands a punch to the midsection and he goes right back on the offensive with a series of blows. A forearm to the face of Hogan takes him to the mat and Randy Orton really turns up the heat by giving the fans one of his smug looks.
Orton continues to stomp away at the back of Hogan and when the ref counts to five, Orton switches to forearms to the lower back. Next Orton tries to bounce the face of the Hulkster off the turnbuckle, but he is stopped when Hogan grabs the tope ropes. This leads to Orton’s face being bounced off of it and Hogan landing two big right hands. Hogan puts him in the corner and starts the Ten Count. The best part is before Hogan starts, he does the D-X “Crotch Chop” into the face of Orton. The crowd counts along with each punch but instead of a tenth punch Hogan bites the forehead of Orton. Good stuff here. Hogan then pokes Orton in the eyes before he flattens him with a clothesline off the ropes. Hogan wrenches on the face of Orton next while asking “How bad do you want to take out Brooke Hogan, Huh?” He rakes the back of Orton and it seems as if Hogan is playing the Heel role now out of anger. That is, if the fans weren’t so behind him. He mounts Orton next and when the ref counts his punches to five and stops him, Hogan threatens to punch the official. Orton is whipped to the ropes next and Hogan is charging up the punch with the windmill spin. It is avoided though because Orton grabs the ropes and slides from the ring. He then pulls the feet of the Hulkster out from under him and smashes the knee into the apron. He returns to the ring after he works the injured knee with some elbows. When Orton returns to the ring, he keeps his focus on the knee and drapes it over the bottom rope. He then jumps onto it a few times and it is starting to look like Orton may fulfill his dreams of “Killing Hulkamania.” The crowd doesn’t think so and start the “Hogan” chants again.
Orton returns Hogan to his feet just to chop the knee out and this is getting some serious heat from the fans. Orton takes to the skies and attempts the crossbody from the top rope. Hogan manages to duck it and this sends Orton crashing to the canvas. Orton has two punches countered when they eventually return to their feet and after Hogan nails Orton with three rights of his own, the fans know what is coming up next. Hogan whips Orton into the ropes but when he lifts his foot for the big boot Orton slides under it. Orton then hops to his feet and nails the Hulkster in the chest with an explosive dropkick. The Viper now waits in anticipation to strike Hogan and it takes a moment for Hogan to regain his footing. The Viper strikes and catches Hogan with the RKO. Orton goes for the cover and the ref counts the three but afterwards the ref sees Hogan’s foot on the bottom rope. Orton is celebrating the win, but official is yet to ring the bell. This is when ring announcer Lillian Garcia says the ref noticed the foot late and the match will continue. After Orton berates the ref he turns his attention back to Hogan. When the kneeling Hogan no-sells the first punch the crowd explodes because they know he is about to “Hulk-Up”. They are correct because the next punch gets Hogan shaking and he returns to his feet to complete the “Hulk-Up”. The three right hands are next and the finger point follows. Hogan flattens Orton with the boot and he takes a moment before he drops the leg to send the crowd into a frenzy with the “I cant hear you” taunt. After the leg is dropped Hogan makes the cover and gets the three count. The crowd is shaking and going crazy because Hulkamania is still alive. For how limited the Hulkster was, Orton did a good job of carrying him through the match. Worth the watch especially considering this would be Hogan’s last match in the WWE until his return in February of 2014. Match Time-10:56
JR sends us into an interview with a competitor in the next match which is, as JR puts it, “An animalistic ‘I Quit’ match”. Mick Foley is joined by Melina who is asking him if he is ready for his match. Melina Perez has held the WWE Women’s Championship three times, and Diva version twice, over her career in the WWE and was also a manager for some champions, including Johnny Nitro. He assures her he is but says in a worried tone ” I’ve know Ric Flair a long time and I’ve never seen a look in his eyes like the one he gave me Tuesday night at ECW.” This is a reference to when Flair choked the bloodied Foley out with a belt the week prior. Melina gets Foley riled up and this is a really great vignette we’ve got here. Mick was always great on the mic and doesn’t disappoint here.
Lillian Garcia is back in the ring and she introduces us to the stipulations, “I Quit” Match, and then the competitors. We hear the car crash that accompanies the theme of Mick Foley, and the crowd pops nice for the man as he makes his way to the ring. Trashcan in hand, of course. The crowd pops just as loudly for the “WOO” of Ric Flair’s theme. As the orange robed Flair makes his way to the ring, JR tells us of the feud between these two twelve years prior in WCW. As soon as Flair hits the ring and removes the robe, Foley attacks him. The bell sounds as Flair is pounded into the corner by Foley’s right hands. Foley then charges and drives his knee into Flair’s jaw. Pretty snug knee, too, I might add. He does the same move again but this time he places the trashcan between his knee and the head of Flair. When Foley does the “Bang Bang” taunt next the crowd unleashes a nice pop. Foley then places the sock onto his hand and locks Flair into the Mr. Socko. He takes Ric to the ground with it, but I am forced to wonder how can a man say “I Quit” with a sock in his mouth. Foley then takes to the mic and says “You say those little words or this is gonna get a whole helluva lot worse.” Ric says nothing, so Mic tells him “You’re gonna suffer” and hands the microphone back to the official. Foley grabs some barbwire and wraps it around the Mr. Socko’d hand. But when he goes to strike the kneeling Flair, Flair comes to life and grabs Foley by the giblets. Ric rises to his feet and delivers a series of jabs to Foley. He follows this up with a low blow kick and some more quick jabs, this time in the corner. He then removes the barb-wired sock from Foley’s hand and puts it onto his own. He then rips the shirt of Mick and delivers some famous Flair chops to the chest only this time his hand is wrapped in barbwire. After Ric delivers around five of these Foley rolls from the ring to regain himself.
Mick throws a garbage can at Flair but he ducks it and comes off the apron to hit Foley with the double axe handle. Mick is then whipped into the ring stairs but he hits Flair with a right hand and tries to go on the offensive. He does so by grabbing some plywood from under the ring that conveniently has barbwire attached to it. Foley gets a running start and rams the board into the face of Flair. This does quite the number on Flair’s face and the blood is starting to pour. Foley returns Flair to the ring and continues to work the forehead with a piece of barbwire. He is really putting it to Flair’s forehead here. Foley continues the brutality, and again rams the barbwired plywood into Flair’s face. At this point Flair’s iconic white hair is pretty red. Foley then jumps on Flair to drop an elbow, but does so by putting the board between them. Mick gets the mic from the official and tells Ric to “say it”. Flair responds with a “kiss my ass”. This answer leads to Foley beating him in the head with the microphone. The crowd return to a frenzy when Foley grabs the canvas sack and pours the metallic thumbtacks onto the canvas. After some struggle, Foley is able to pick Flair up and slam his bare back onto the tacks. Flair lands squarely on them and his back and arms are very glittery from this. Foley again asks Flair to quit. This time Flair doesn’t have a response just the moans of a man in serious pain. Foley tells him “He’s going to suffer” and resumes the beating. Foley leaves the ring for more weaponry and before we can see what he has the crowd explodes. When we see Mick Foley again he has his favorite weapon, the barbwire baseball bat.
Foley comes up behind Flair, who is leaning on the ropes, and starts to run the bat across Flair’s face in a cheese grating motion. Flair finally slows Foley with a low blow kick but Flair is definitely in agony here. This dude is 57 years old, has thumbtacks pushed into his body and is bleeding like a stuck pig. Props to you Mr. Flair. He manages to throw Foley into the ring post, shoulder first, but this takes all Flair has and he falls to the mat. When Ric returns to his feet his is accompanied by Foleys’ bat. Flair swings for the fences and nails Mick in the lower back with it. He continues to hit Mick with it until he is brought to his knees. Flair releases the bat and starts to pound Mick with right hands. Flair grabs the mic for the first time and in a sadistic voice say “You son of a bitch, you quit or I’ll kill you right here.” When Foley doesn’t oblige him Ric delivers a low blow with the microphone. Foley soon finds himself on the apron and this sets Ric up to charge him and use the baseball bat to send him crashing to the floor. Foley really flies off the apron, and when he hits the ground there is a trashcan there to break his fall. A trainer and some officials hit ringside and begin to check on the downed Foley. Not long after, Foley’s manager, Melina, joins them.
The trainer tells the official “he’s done” and not long after the official signals for the bell to sound. It rings and this angers Flair, who takes to the mic to let us know this. Flair says ” This isn’t a lay down on your ass match it’s an “I quit” match.” Flair then leaves the ring to throw Foley back into it. Flair joins him and when Mick rolls over its right into the thumbtacks. Flair grabs the bat and it is his turn to cheese-grate a forehead. This gives Foley a crimson mask of his own and Flair continues to stomp him. Flair grabs the mic again but instead of asking him to say “I Quit” he says “Foley I’m going to tear your eye out of your head.” He then acts as if he is trying to and is using the barbwire to achieve this effect. It works because it comes across in a pretty sadistic manner. Melina looks on in tears and this really drives the point home. Flair continues to hamburger Foley’s forehead and this is when Melina finally throws the white towel in. The crowd boos as the ref signals the bell and Melina pleads with him to stop. Flair again takes to the mic and says ” She doesn’t quit for him. He quits.” He then leaves the ring and returns with the bat. Melina is guarding the downed Foley and Ric is threating to strike her with the bat. This is when we hear Foley say those two little words “I Quit”. If I was given one word to describe this match it would be brutal. These two legends really put it to each other here and if blood and brutality is your thing, this is for you. Match Time-13:14
We see The McMahons, Vince and Shane, in the back and they are speaking about the undefeated Umaga. Vince says that Umaga is a resource they plan to use tonight and Armando Alejandro Estrada assures them that the “Samoan Bulldozer” can be counted on.
When we return to the arena we are joined by the SmackDown team of JBL and Michael Cole. They introduce us to the next match and the World Heavyweight Champion makes his way out. Queen Sharmell proclaims “Here Ye, Here Ye” and goes onto introduce King Booker. Sharmell is annoying as hell here, as she says “All Hail King Booker” repeatedly during their slow walk to the ring. To put the icing on the cake she says it about twenty more times when she enters the ring. The crowd must have been saving their pop, because when the challenger, Batista, enters they unleash a nice roar. The animal that is Batista hits the corners and poses before the ref raises the Strap high and the bell sounds. Before the next match starts lets discuss the shoot fight these two had at a taping for the commercials for this PPV. It is rumored that Booker T was irritated at Batista for not shaking hands with everyone after the taping ended. The veteran Booker said something and apparently Batista challenged him to a fight. Most accounts of this event say Booker whooped that ass. Fit Finlay is really the only other person who said different and claimed Booker lost the bout because he had a blackened eye. The only ones who know are Booker and Batista because it is said they entered a room to handle their business alone. Either way they appear to have ironed it out by this point so lets head back to the mat.
After the first collar and elbow ends with a face shove by Batista, they are quick to go right back into another one. This one ends with Batista pushed into the corner and the ref separating the two. Before Booker backs too far away, he catches Batista with a bitch slap. This enrages the Animal and he shoves the champion to the mat. Booker returns to his feet, and after a kick to the midsection, has Batista in a side headlock. Batista shoves Booker into the ropes to escape and when their shoulders collide in the middle of the ring, neither man really budges. Booker tries for a spin kick, but Batista catches his foot and picks him up to slam the champ to the mat. Batista makes the first cover and this gets a two. Now it looks like Booker needs a break because he rolls from the ring. Sharmell starts to lead him up the ramp by his hand but Batista is quick to stop them and throw Booker back into the ring. Booker is quick to his feet and catches Batista with a kick to the face.
After a few chops, Booker goes for the spin kick again. It is ducked again and this time Batista drives Booker to the mat with a spinebuster. Batista does his “Thumbs up, Thumbs down” taunt and he goes for the Batista Bomb. Booker manages to wiggle free and again tries to exit the ring. He only makes it onto the apron before Batista grabs him, and this backfires because Booker catches him with a stun gun over the top rope. He is quick to return to the ring and drop Batista, neck first, onto the top rope. After some stomping, Booker uses a snapmare to apply a headlock. Batista rises to his feet but Booker drives him into the corner with a series of leaping knees to the face. After some more chops, Booker whips the Animal to the opposite corner but Batista bounces right out and catches Booker with the belly-to-belly toss. Batista goes for another cover but Booker gets his shoulder up at two.
Batista is now attempting to go for a leg lock, but Booker escapes with some boots to the face. This is when Sharmell gets on the apron and distracts the official. This allows King Booker to break his scepter over the head of the Animal. Booker tries for a cover, but Batista isn’t done yet and kicks out. The King starts to work the once before injured elbow of Batista with a wristlock. He transitions this into a sleeper and is clubbing away at Batista’s chest while doing so. Batista eventually rises to his feet and uses a snapmare to escape the hold. Booker is quick to his feet and catches Batista with the superkick. This leaves Batista leaning on the ropes and when Booker goes for the Axe Kick but Batista moves and this causes Booker’s leg to get caught on the top rope. Batista is still dazed and this allows Booker to attempt a clothesline. Batista ducks it, and this opens up a spot for Batista to atomic drop Booker onto the top rope. Batista then clotheslines him off from it and back into the ring. A sidewalk slam is next and this leads to a Batista cover. Booker kicks it out, and its not over yet.
Booker again slides from the ring, and when Batista follows, Sharmell gets in his face. The ref is warning her of her actions and this allows Booker to drop toe hold Batista into the ring steps. King Booker returns Batista to the ring and he takes to the top rope. When Batista rises to his feet, Booker goes sky-high to nail him with a missile dropkick. Booker hooks the leg but Batista is still kicking out. Booker hits a quick Russian leg sweep and goes right for another cover. This time Batista is able to get the shoulder up and stop the count at two. Booker sets up a Scissor Kick but Batista is able to avoid it and drive Booker to the mat with a jackhammer. Batista hooks the leg, but it’s now Booker’s turn to kick out. Booker gets whipped to the corner and met there with a clothesline, but when Batista tries it again, Booker ducks it and catches Batista with a neckbreaker. He goes for the cover but the Animal kicks it out. Booker preys on the slow rising Batista and goes for a knock-out punch. Batista avoids it and catches the champ with a full nelson slam. Batista does his “Thumbs up, Thumbs down” taunt here and this sends the fans into a frenzy. Batista sets up the Batista Bomb but Sharmell comes into the ring and jumps on them to stop it. This causes the official to signal for the bell. The bells sounds but Booker tries to continue fighting. This leads to him getting a Batista Bomb even though he retains the Title. Overall a decent showing here, but the finish sucked. This is one that you could skip over on limited time. Match Time-10:26
We see a quick clip of Shawn Michaels and Triple H in a locker room and we can only see in through a cracked door. The two are talking with someone and telling them that Mr. McMahon was saying that Umaga was the “biggest and baddest monster in the business”. This is obviously a ploy to get whomever is in there with them on their side. The leave the room questioning if it worked as the door slams behind them. I cant recall at this point but it must be Kane, right?
We see the build-up clip and it shows Michaels and Triple H pulling their normal sophomoric pranks on the McMahons. They even channeled D-X of old and dressed up as Shane and Vince. Classic stuff here. It really tells the story in a short time and this is the best put together package on the whole card in my eyes. Degeneration-X enters first and this is such a great entrance. With the same cuts of the old entrance and one of my top 5 favorite themes, “Break it Down”. They “crotch chop” in the center of the ring as the pyro “X” explodes behind them and this was a great piece of nostalgia for me. The crowd is worked into a frenzy by this and the audience is full of D-X signs that are very reminiscent of the Attitude Era. Triple H takes to the mic and gets the crowd fired up with the always classic “Are you ready?” They don’t pop for him enough the first time, and when he asks it again, they explode. Shane comes shuffling out next to what is yet another great theme song “Here Comes the Money.” Vince soon joins him on the entrance ramp, and maybe I am just a sucker for Attitude Era themes, because I love Vince’s “No Chance in Hell” theme too. They make it halfway down the ramp before they turn around and welcome the Spirit Squad into the arena with a Vana White-like arm movement. The acrobats come charging the ring and get their asses kicked. When this happens, Vince sends another group out and this time it is real Superstars. This troupe is made up of Finlay, William Regal and Kennedy. Shawn and Triple H handle them at first but Finlay enters with the Shillelagh and goes to work on Hunter first. Finlay then levels HBK with a clothesline but it doesn’t take long for D-X to overcome and clear out the ring. Triple H holds Kennedy at one spot here and Michaels smokes him with a superkick. They call the McMahons down but before they make their way down we hear The Big Show’s theme come on and the mammoth man makes his way out. This distraction allows the first three henchman to pull Triple H from the ring and assault him. This leaves Michaels one-on-one with The Big Show. Michaels is tossed around by Show as the McMahons applaud their actions. Michaels gets a chokeslam then Show leaves the ring to help beat up The Game. Show dismantles a the ECW announce table and chokeslams Triple H through it.
We see the McMahon’s start to head towards the ring after they taunt the fans with a D-X style “Crotch Chop”. They hit the ring and admire the damage that their lackeys have caused. Shane goes to the apron and the ref sounds the bell. Vince starts to work on Shawn and starts with a scoopslam. He is quick to let Shane come in and have his turn with HBK. Shane dances around as he waits for Michaels to return to his feet. When he does, Shane hits him with his feet shuffling, hopping punch sequence. Vince re-enters and puts Shawn in the corner so that he can choke him. The ref separates the two and is warning Vince for his actions. This allows Shane to choke Shawn with the tag rope. The “Triple H” chants start as Shane tags back in and they hit Shawn with a double back elbow. This is when we see Triple H start to stir in the table rubble. Shane takes notice of this and slides out of the ring to stomp Triple H. Shane returns to the ring and hits Michaels with a series of backbreakers. He tags his dad back in and they hit Shawn with a double vertical suplex. They then shake hands and hold it to drop a double elbow on Shawn. Shane notices that Triple H is leaning on the apron now and sends him flying into JR with a baseball slide. The McMahons channel the 80’s next and hit Shawn with Demolition’s finisher, Decapitation. They channel the Hart Foundation next and use their finish, Hart Attack. Shane even does the Brett Hart taunt here and it is excellent. They steal a page from the Legion of Doom next and hit Shawn with one of the best tag finishes of all-time, The Doomsday Device. Vince then leaves the ring and tells Shane to make a cover. Shane does so and the fans explodes when Shawn Michaels kicks out. Shane goes for two more quick covers and HBK kicks out of both.
This is when Shawn starts to rally behind some punches but Vince is quick to enter and slow the attack. They whip Shawn into the ropes and attempt to hit the double clothesline. Shawn ducks it and lays them both down with a flying clothesline of his own. Triple H slowly is climbing back to the ring at this point and makes it to the apron. Shawn makes the tag and Hunter goes from dead to explosive. He flattens the McMahons with punches, taking turns knocking them back down each time they rise. He hits Shane with the neckbreaker and pounds Vince into the corner. He whips Shane into the ropes and when he returns, he slams Shane to the mat with his signature spinebuster. Triple H then suplexes Vince to the mat and the crowd erupts when Shawn comes off the top rope to drive the elbow into the chest of Mr. McMahon. Shane returns to his feet and Shawn goes toppling over the top rope with him following a clothesline. In the ring Triple H is stalking Vince as he slowly rises to his feet. This is when we see Alejandro enter with the undefeated Umaga. Umaga stops on the ramp to deliver a vicious kick to the chest of Michaels before he enters the ring. He then grab Triple H by the hair and hits him with the Samoan Spike. Basically a huge chop to the chest from behind. He then goes to give the move to Shawn but the fire pyro explodes and Kane enters to stop him. The two brawl up the ramp and into the back. Back in the ring though Vince rolls over and tries to cover Triple H. The fans erupt when Hunter narrowly escapes the three count. This pisses McMahon off and he nails the ref with a right hand. Shane joins them in the ring and places Triple H in the corner laying a trashcan over him. Shane heads up to the opposite corner tries to go Coast-to-Coast. Shawn quickly re-enters the ring and catches the leaping Shane-O-Mac with the Sweet Chin Music. Vince gets the Chin Music next and Triple H follows it up with the Pedigree. The ref comes back to life and counts the three as Hunter makes the cover. Great match we have here folks. All kind of crazy stuff going on AND The McMahon’s losing. What more could a fan ask for. Match Time-13:01
And finally, we get our segue into the Main Event. The package shows how Edge’s WWE Championship run began. He won the very first Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania 21 and cashed it on John Cena at the New Year’s Revolution PPV after his bloody Elimination Chamber match. Edge would be successful with his cash-in and win the Title that night. He would lose the Title, but win it back in a Triple Threat match with Cena and RVD. Finally we see Edge enter the home of the Cena Family and slap John’s Father. This is another well put together package but still not as good as the last one.
Edge continues the punches and elbows for a bit and send Cena back to the mat with a standing dropkick. Cena rolls to the apron next, and when he rises, Edge hits him in the back of the head with a forearm. This sends Cena flying off the apron and into the security wall. Once again Edge tells the ref to hurry up with the count. Once again he enters at the count of eight and Edge is quick to attack him when he does so. Edge goes for another pin attempt but Cena isn’t out of it yet and kicks out. Cena lands a punch next and whips Edge into the ropes, but Edge comes back hot and nails the prime heel kick. Another cover and another kick out by Cena. The two exchange some punches and the crowd pops when Cena comes out ahead. After a whip to the corner Cena catches Edge with a nice fisherman’s suplex but is slow to hook the leg for the cover attempt. The delay allows for Edge to kick-out and for the match to continue.
Edge reverses an Irish whip and when Cena comes back at him Edge grabs his hair to assist in throwing him over the top rope. Cena catches some serious air here and takes a pretty solid bump to the floor. Cena is quick to return and try to regain momentum with some right hands. This works for a moment, and he hits the ropes to attempt a high crossbody. Edge hits the mat to avoid it and Cena tumbles hard to the canvas. Edge flattens Cena with a clothesline and goes for a lazy cover that avails a near fall only. Edge drives his knee into the back off Cena and applies pressure with a chinlock. When Cena falls to the mat, Edge switches to a sleeper hold and it appears as Cena may be in trouble. Cena eventually muscles to his feet and escapes the hold. He catches Edge with a few left hands but Edge sneaks in a big boot that knocks the air out of Cena and the fans. Edge falls on him for the cover but Cena still is able to get the shoulder up. Edge takes to the top rope but Cena meets him there with a left hand. This knocks Edge onto the top turnbuckle and gives Cena the opportunity to join him up there. Cena attempts a powerplexs, but Edge is able to stop him from getting him over. Edge then hits Cena with a headbutt that sends him falling to the mat. Edge waits in prey as Cena regains his footing. As soon as Cena is on his feet Edge comes soaring with a diving clothesline. When Edge makes the cover Cena is still able to get the shoulder up to stop the count. The “Lets go Cena” chants are in full force now as Edge is stretching Cena with a cobra clutch. Cena uses his brute strength to stand up with Edge on his back. He then jumps backwards and both men hit the mat hard. They both lay prone as the ref starts the count.
Both men make it to their feet at the six, and Cena catches Edge with the blockbuster. This leaves both men on the mat again as the official restarts his count. The refs attention is on Cena when they return to their feet and Lita tries to slide Edge a chair. He quickly throws it from the ring just before Cena crushes him with a clothesline. He hits Edge with a pair of shoulder blocks and Edge hops back up from both. This may not have been the best of decisions as Cena hits him with a sidewalk slam next. The crowd chants the “You Can’t See Me” as Cena does the hand motion and hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle. The crowd are on their toes as Cena picks Edge up for the FU. Edge slides free of it and catches Cena with the impaler DDT. Edge tries for the cover and somehow, someway, Cena manages to get the shoulder up. Edge takes to the top turnbuckle but Cena again meets him up there. Cena is on the second rope when he scoops Edge up for a FU. Edge again wiggles free from it and picks Cena up into an electric chair position. Cena transitions this into a victory roll, but Edge narrowly kicks it free. Edge hits the crossbody from the second rope but Cena rolls through it and stands right up, lifting Edge with him. He tosses Edge onto his shoulder for another attempted FU but once again Edge escapes, this time with a backslide.
Lita is on the apron now and when Edge shoves Cena towards her she puts her hands up as to claim innocence. Edge charges Cena, but he moves and instead Edge knocks Lita off the apron. Cena rolls Edge up from behind and the fans count along with the ref as he starts the count. The are forced to stop at two, though, when Edge kicks out. Both men return to their feet, but knock each other right back to the mat with a double clothesline. The ref’s count makes it to seven before they are back on their feet. Cena is quick to try to scoopslam Edge but he wiggles free and pulls Cena to the mat by the back of his head. Both men are again laid out as the ref starts to count again. Edge finally covers, but Cena kicks it out. Edge heads to the corner and is waiting to strike Cena as soon as he is on his feet. The Spear is reversed with a drop toe hold, and as soon as Edge hits the mat, Cena locks in the STF. Lita is about to enter the ring but Edge convinces her not to. He soon finds the bottom rope and the ref is forced to break the hold. This is when Lita discreetly passes Edge a pair of Brass Knuckles. She then runs to the other side of the ring and begins to distract the ref. Cena lifts Edge for a FU but Lita comes in and jumps on top of Edge, who is in FU position. Cena tosses her off first but this allows Edge to escape and smoke Cena in the back of the skull with the brass knucks. The ref is of course distracted by Lita, and misses the illegal blow. Edge tucks the knuckles into his tights and makes the cover. This time it is successful and Edge gets the three to retain the WWE Championship. This was a good match and shows just how great of a heel Edge was. It’s worth the time to watch this one. Match Time-15:42
Well that does it for this edition of the Chairshot Classic. This was a mediocre SummerSlam and as far as the ones I have reviewed u to this point this one would be right in the middle. My three must watch matches are probably 1-Flair/Foley, 2-Chavo/Rey, 3-D-X/McMahon. This could go a lot of ways as I didn’t think any of the matches completely sucked. Lets see what Dave Meltzer thought of the event. As I always do, I gather these star ratings from www.profightdb.com and like to give credit were its due. I apparently agree with Dave on this one as his three highest matches were, Edge/Cena-3.75, Foley/Flair-3.5 and D-X/McMahon-3.25. He didn’t see a dud either but Booker/Batista wasn’t far off receiving only a half star.
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Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #16 – ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
Breaking up the 2018 time travel with a much deeper dive! Harry goes back to some prime ECW with Guilty As Charged 1999!
Greetings, salutations and welcome back. Harry here once again with another edition of ‘What I Watched’. As the calendar year turns to 1999 on my watch-through of all things ‘big three’ wrestling, I covered Starrcade 1998 in an earlier edition of WIW. I figured since this is probably the last year where all three major companies are relevant (at least at the start), it could be fun to compare and contrast how I feel about the respective PPVs when compared to some of the independent wrestling I’ve been covering recently. Or even going back to the PROGRESS or Impact Wrestling shows that I’ve covered before. I am fully aware there are going to be some bad shows in 1999. But there is also a lot to talk about in a drastically changing industry. Let’s do this, shall we?
ECW is in flux as talent losses haven’t yet gotten to what they would become but names like Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Bam Bam Bigelow and others are no longer with the company. To make matters worse, the ECW-FMW relationship is falling apart now as well as a Chris Candido and Sunny (sorry, Tammy Lynn Sytch) no-show of a scheduled FMW appearance. Paul Heyman himself is the first person we see telling us the card is going to change…how much does it change? The WayBack Machine takes us to January 10th, 1999 in Kissimmee, FL as it’s time for ECW to be Guilty as Charged!
What I Watched #16
ECW Guilty as Charged 1999
Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL
Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)
Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)
- Match 1: Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney win 3 team tag elimination match, eliminating Little Guido/Tracy Smothers @ 10:44 (Danny Doring/Roadkill eliminated @ 8:15)
- Match 2: Yoshihiro Tajiri pins Super Crazy, dragon suplex @ 11:37
- Match 3: Psycho Sid Vicious pins John Kronus, powerbomb @ 1:31
- Match 4: Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley def. New Jack/Spike Dudley, both Dudleyz pin Spike @ 10:05
- Match 5: ECW TV Title- Rob Van Dam pins Lance Storm, bridged German suplex @ 17:46
- Match 6: Justin Credible pins Tommy Dreamer, That’s Incredible on ladder @ 18:44
- Match 7: ECW Heavyweight Title- Taz defeats Shane Douglas © by KO, Tazmission @ 22:15
Three Team Tag Elimination Match
Started as a straight up 2 vs. 2, but within the first two minutes, Ballz and Axl (Axl making his return to the company after the passing of his grandmother) join the frey and it becomes your traditional ECW three team brawl. Nothing really stands out here but the overall work is good enough for what the match is supposed to be. The elimination of Doring and Roadkill is well done, as a FBI double-team fishermanbuster looks really cool and gets a decisive win for what was to be the original match. They do give the win to Axl and Ballz here, which I get given the fact they are a popular act, but I personally think that Guido and Tracy were a better team during the time frame. (**½)
Super Crazy vs. Tajiri
Yes, it’s the feud that never ends. But this is where it begins. Both men were relative newcomers to the American wrestling scene with both having had limited exposure on WWF TV (both were in the Light Heavyweight title tournament). This is a good match but not a great match and honestly, I think timing is the issue here. Eleven minutes may seem like a lot but knowing what these two would be capable of down the road once there is more of a fan and time investment into their matches, it ends up being a good starting point but probably not the blow away match that ECW was expecting to deliver here. (***)
John Kronus vs. Mystery Opponent
So, ECW fans are notorious for their belief that the “big oaf” style of the WWF and WCW wouldn’t work in ECW. Obviously, they are wrong. Guys like Big Dick Dudley and 911 became massive fan favorites due to their look, not anything they could do in a wrestling ring. You can add another name to that list, as Psycho Sid makes his ECW debut here (following an introduction by the ‘Judge’ Jeff Jones) and absolutely kicks Kronus’ ass in less than two minutes. Sid was never anything special in the ring but he is one of the more charismatic big men in wrestling history so the cult-like following is easy to understand. Too short to rate, but fun for what it was. (X)
Dudleyz vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley
Sixteen year old Harry getting into ECW was a huge Joel Gertner fan. Thirty seven year old Harry going back and watching these shows is an even bigger fan of Joel Gertner. Granted, his shtick is incredibly juvenile but sometimes, you just want to laugh…
The match is your standard ECW garbage brawl. Most New Jack matches definitely have a similarity to them that does not hold up well for re-watching. I will openly admit to being a Spike Dudley mark and he does well taking an ass whooping from Bubba Ray. The Dudleyz definitely have their moments in ECW (the best is still to come in my opinion) but this isn’t one of their best performances. I will give props to New Jack for taking 3D on the ramp, even if it doesn’t come across the cleanest. About what you’d expect, but nothing more. (**)
TV Title- Rob Van Dam © vs. Lance Storm
Rob Van Dam vs. Masato Tanaka was the originally scheduled match and I think it could have been fun. However, Tanaka apparently has visa issues which prevent him from being able to get into the US for the show and thus ECW has to pivot quickly. I do have to give credit to Lance Storm for his pre-match promo here. For someone who is not known as one of the better talkers in wrestling history, he does a really good job explaining the situation with the 3 way that was supposed to happen (Storm vs. Spike vs. Jerry Lynn (cracked pelvis)) and then calling out Rob Van Dam since his opponent wasn’t there either. Storm has a really good closing line for the promo too: “I’m not the ‘Whole F’n Show’, but I am the best damn part of it’. That is one of the lines that sticks with you and you remember it.
The match itself is very good but not great. It is better than anything else on the show, so perhaps I’m rating it on a slight curve for that. Van Dam’s selling is sporadic but to be fair, Van Dam’s selling is always sporadic. The biggest thing for me is that despite that, they still keep an impressive pace and the match is by and large clean. There is a super weak chair shot by Storm (which the crowd gives him a good ration of shit over), but they do manage to turn that crowd around for the finishing sequence. A little surprised by the choice of finish, but I imagine that has something to do with telling the idea that Storm got caught and wasn’t soundly defeated like most of Van Dam’s prior opponents had been. (***½)
Stairway to Hell- Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer
The problem for Credible in ECW is that Paul wanted you to believe that Justin was this huge deal but truthfully, the booking never actually treated him as such. Yeah, he won…A LOT…but more often than not, it was almost treated as an afterthought. He very rarely won the big matches on his own and while I get that as a heel, you want to give him that sense of dickishness, as a wrestling fan eventually you have to make it look like the dude could stand up on his own. Dreamer has long been a favorite of mine, even if he has overstayed his welcome in the ring on occasion. You know going in that win or lose, Tommy will bust his ass to give you as good a match as he is capable of.
As for this match, it never reaches that next level that you expect a gimmicked semi main event of a PPV to reach. It’s not actively bad or anything (in fact, probably up there for Credible’s best match in ECW to date) but with the stipulation and the gaga around it, it feels like there was so much more it could have been. The finish comes off really flat as well as it renders the whole point of the stipulation useless and only serves to put more heat on Credible by way of Funk. (**½)
Heavyweight Title- Shane Douglas © vs. Taz
So, I’ll be a little nicer to this match then some other reviewers I’ve seen for a couple reasons. It completely accomplishes the goal that Heyman set out for it. Taz comes out of the match looking like a world beater. Douglas comes out of the match as the face of the company who “went out on his shield” as the old phrase goes. Sabu looks like a lunatic and a viable threat to take the title at any time he damn well pleases. Candido comes off as a huge dick and sticks the final knife in Douglas’ back for the end scene. So the story telling is magnificent.
The match itself? At least a good five to seven minutes too long for that story. I get wanting that epic storytelling to fold out but when you guys are down and low on ideas, it might not be the worst idea to take it home. The other issue is that by trying to serve so many masters, Heyman causes the main event to end up being epically overbooked. Granted, that is an ECW trademark but for what was to be the crowning moment for Taz, I don’t think the 73rd Airborne needed to be a part of it. Sabu could have just as easily returned post match to set up a run with Taz. Or Candido could have turned on Douglas post match to give him a direction going forward since Taz would be occupied with Sabu. I’m not saying it completely takes away the moment but it does make it mean less than it could or should have in the overall scheme of things. (**)
THE FINAL REACTION
- Best Match/Moment: Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm, although I do think their match at the first ECW PPV ‘Barely Legal’ (which I imagine I’ll eventually do) is better
- Worst Match/Moment: The main event. What could have been an awesome moment for the ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and the biggest ass kicker in the company is ruined with a boring crowd brawl (to the home viewer) and a couple of run-ins that either end up actively taking away from it.
- Overall Show Score: 5.5/10
- MVP: Joey Styles is the best thing about this show with his one man performance. There is a reason he was such a major influence on what I did as an announcer.
It’s not a bad show. It’s just not a particulary good one either. And while ECW would put out worse, it only barely outdoes Starrcade 98 to avoid the worst show of the return thus far.
So, where do we go from here? January of 1999 had no chill. The very next Sunday would see the first WCW outing of 1999, called Souled Out. The Sunday after that would be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. I’m going to hit both of those but as a fair warning, I’ll probably try to mix an Independent show from 2018 in the middle of them. Hope to see you guys at Souled Out. And feel free to check out my archives by clicking on my name at the top of this review. Thanks for reading, everyone.
What I Watched #10b: All IN 2018
Harry decided to abridge his All In write up and bring us the blast from the past while he’s on vacation! With only a few weeks until All Out, reminiscing could be fun!
Greetings, salutations and what nots. At the time you are reading this, I will be away from home on vacation with my amazing girlfriend. In the interest of not want to lose everyone’s attention in the downtime, I decided to go back to one of my earlier reviews and reformat it to match the current style while giving people who may have not been interested due to the length of the previous review a chance to see what they may have missed as well as share my thoughts on a show that had quite the buzz when it happened.
I mention in my review of AAW’s Destination Chicago 2018 (full review available in my archive by clicking my name at the top of this review) that everyone was in Chicago for this particular show. Obviously, though it was presented as part of a deal with ROH (and to some extent New Japan), this ends up being what many consider the launching point for AEW. So join me once again as the WayBack Machine takes us to suburban Chicago on September 1st 2018 and we revisit ‘All In’ here on ‘What I Watched’.
What I Watched #10-B
ROH/NJPW/Friends ‘All In’ 2018
Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, IL
Runtime: 4:45:24 (45:27 on YouTube for the preshow, 3:57:57 on Fite.TV/HonorClub/NJPW World/traditional PPV for the main show)
Commentary By: Excalibur (PBP), Don Callis (Color), Ian Riccaboni (PBP/Color)
- Match #1: Zero Hour- Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky def. Jay/Mark Briscoe, Kazarian pins Mark with a powerslam counter to the Doomsday Device @ 12:35
- Match #2: Zero Hour- Flip Gordon wins the ‘Over the Budget Battle Royal’ @ 17:11, last eliminating Bully Ray
- Match #3: Matt Cross pins Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Shooting Star Press @ 10:07
- Match #4: Christopher Daniels pins Stephen Amell, Best Moonsault Ever @ 11:45
- Match #5: Tessa Blanchard wins four way, pinning Chelsea Green with the Buzzsaw DDT @ 12:43 of a match that also involved Britt Baker and Madison Rayne
- Match #6: NWA World Heavyweight Title- Cody Rhodes pins Nick Aldis ©, sitdown on sunset flip attempt @ 22:03
- Match #7: Adam Page pins Joey Janela, Rite of Passage off a ladder through a table @ 20:09
- Match #8: ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © pins Flip Gordon, Lethal Injection @ 14:25
- Match #9: Kenny Omega pins Pentagon Jr., One Winged Angel @ 17:48
- Match #10: Kazuchika Okada pins Marty Scurll, Rainmaker #2 @ 26:06
- Match #11: Kota Ibushi/Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson def. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio Jr., Matt pins Bandido after the Meltzer Driver @ 11:44
Zero Hour- SCU (Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky) vs. The Briscoes (Jay/Mark)
*Hell of a way to kick things off and the exact kind of match that you want to put out to people in order to get those on the fence to order the show. I don’t know about the $50 price tag that the PPV had, but this would have been enough for me to sign up for Honor Club for $10 to watch the show at least. I’m curious if ROH ever followed up on SCU pinning the ROH tag champions here. I’d imagine so even though the end is near for Kazarian, Scorpio and Daniels in ROH with AEW looming on the horizon. (***½)
Over the Budget Battle Royal
*It was fun for what it was. Maybe a little overcrowded, but there are several people who have got to make a name for themselves off this match. Marko Stunt is all over Game Changer Wrestling (and got a run in AEW as part of Jurassic Express) and Jordynne Grace, who got herself a deal with Impact, being two to spring immediately. I don’t rate battle royals but it was entertaining, which is all you can ask for sometimes. (X)
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Matt Cross
*Good little opener here for the main show. My misgivings on the rope hanging piledriver aside (MJF calls it the Heatseeker), they worked together well without throwing too much against the wall and burning out the crowd for later. I had hoped Cross would get a chance with AEW but we know that doesn’t happen, unfortunately. MJF does become one of the biggest creations AEW has up until this point, but no-one is really sure where his status lies with the company at present. Strong start to open the show and really happy for a genuinely good dude in Matt Cross to have gotten this opportunity. (***)
Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell (special guest referee: Jerry Lynn)
*When this show first happened, I heard a myriad of opinions on this match. Some thought it was really good, others thought it stunk. I fall somewhere in the middle here. Amell, for an actor, put in a pretty good performance here. I’m not saying he should do this full time or anything, but it’s not like he embarrassed himself either. Daniels had his own hiccups here as well though. So the blame doesn’t fall solely on Stephen. Overall, I’d call it above average given who Daniels’ opponent was. But I know first hand that Daniels is capable of much, much more. (**½)
Britt Baker (bay bay) vs. Madison Rayne vs. Chelsea Green vs. Tessa Blanchard
*Not sure if it was just me but the finish looks a little suspect. Tessa getting the win did make sense though at the time (I’d imagine this result changes with benefit of hindsight). As for the match, they worked hard and it by and large came together well. It definitely lost its way a bit towards the end, so I have to dock it a bit for that. All in all, I’d say good effort from the ladies involved and I’d even put it just slightly above the Daniels and Amell match it just followed. (***)
NWA World Heavyweight Title- Nick Aldis © vs. Cody (Don’t Call Him Rhodes)
*A very good match but a couple of little things keep it from the next level for me. First, the blatantly missed superkick. I’m not really as upset about that one as some people may be because I get it, shit happens in the moment. The blade job however, I can’t forgive. It was terribly obvious. I get the intent behind it to help Cody fight from underneath. I have no issues with blood in general (hell, I watch death matches). But if you can’t do the blade job more realistically there, it shouldn’t have been done. It doesn’t really factor into the match in the grand scheme of things. Also while I personally don’t mind the methodical pace, I do know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I dug the match as a whole though. And props to Brandi for eating it on that flying elbow drop. (****)
‘Chicago Street Fight’- Adam Page vs. Joey Janela
*This match won’t be for everyone. Some people like the old school ECW brawl and some people don’t. I do when it’s well executed but there seemed to be quite a bit of downtime in this one. Honestly, to me…Penelope Ford came out of this match looking like the biggest star of the three. All in all, I’d say good for what it was but nothing I’d probably want to go back and re-watch either. The finish was dope though. Janela is a crazy person for taking it. (***)
ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © vs. Flip Gordon
*Let’s not kid ourselves. There was no way that they were going to change the ROH title on a non-ROH show. As much as they enjoyed having the belt defended, this defense was a lock for Lethal regardless of the opponent. Flip getting the match itself is the story here and his performance justifies it. I’d call it good but again, it’s nothing that you’ll want to re-watch again, despite the impressive agility of Gordon and the sheer nostalgia of Lethal busting out the ‘Black Machismo’ shtick again. (***½)
Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr.
*Your mileage may vary for sure on this one. Everyone heaped a ton of praise on it and while it is very good, it does not raise to the level of excellence for me. The ridiculously spotty selling and the absolute disrespect to some of the most protected moves in wrestling cause me to take an issue. I do think they worked really well together and the styles meshed a lot better than I thought they might. But there was nowhere near the emotion here that came through clear as day on the Cody and Aldis match earlier. From a pure work rate aspect, it’s the best on the show so far. But personally, I prefer Cody and Aldis to Omega and Pentagon Jr. (****)
Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurll
*A little long. But they told a pretty strong story throughout.At the time of this writing, I had made it no secret that I was not sold on Kazuchika Okada as a draw in the US. Clearly, I was wrong. He had the entire crowd in the palm of his and Scurll’s hands for basically the entirety of this contest and it was one that I think both raised Scurll’s standing in the world of wrestling and confirmed what many people already feel about Okada. That being said, it’s a better match if you chop off five to eight minutes from it. (***½)
Young Bucks/Kota Ibushi vs. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio
*Clearly much shorter than it was probably supposed to be, they packed a ton of action into these almost twelve minutes. I’d have been curious to see what was possible with a full run time but with Rey already gone (he had just resigned with the WWE), there would be no chance to run this back. I think it was a good way to send everyone home happy and get all the marquee moments in, but overall it just ends up being a spotfest fluff match rather than anything that’ll be strongly remembered as standing out down the road. (***½)
THE FINAL REACTION
There is a lot to get through here. As you guys saw above, the totality of both Zero Hour and All In run almost five hours. While not all of that is well spent, there is more than enough to sink your teeth into here, even if you wouldn’t classify yourself as a traditional ‘Independent Wrestling’ fan. There are a couple of real good spotfests if you liked the ECW/WCW luchador/cruiserweight style. There’s a tremendous call-back to the old NWA days with how Nick Aldis vs. Cody plays out. There is a interesting take on the old ‘hardcore’ styles that both ECW and the WWF used to enjoy presenting in Janela vs the ‘Hangman’. You even get the chance to see the celebrities that get trotted out for the big shows in places like the WWE and Impact Wrestling. Does it all work? No. But a good majority of it does. As I said, it’s almost five hours. But by and large, it’s five hours well spent. Call it an 8.5 and while there is room for improvement (as with everything), a very strong start for Cody and the Bucks as promoters.
Best Match/Moment: I’ll go moment here and go with the obvious of Cody getting to hold the same NWA title his father did in what was an NWA stronghold town. It’s cool to see the torch passed like this.
Worst Match/Moment: The fact that the main event with arguably six of the best wrestlers in the world at the time ends up getting the second shortest amount of time.
Overall Show Score: 8.5/10
MVP: I’m going to give this one to Cody, both for the role he played as a producer/agent for the show as well as the performance in the match with Aldis as well. A good night for young Mr. Runnels.
And that wraps up the first of the ‘retro’ look backs at previous ‘What I Watched’ reviews. When I return, I will be coming back with ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999, the first pay-per-view of the last year of the 1900s. Following that, I know the WWF’s Royal Rumble 1999 is on the list. I’d imagine I’ll get to WCW’s Souled Out 1999 and when I do return to the Indies, promotions like IWA-MS, CHIKARA, Freelance, BEYOND, WWR and so many others are within my potentially planned scope. Hope to see you down the road and may you all enjoy quality time with those you care. See you next time and thanks for reading, everyone.
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