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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWF SummerSlam 1992 (Wembley Stadium)

Eric Ames takes you back to Wembley Stadium for WWF SummerSlam featuring Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith in front of over 80,000 fans!

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Eric Ames takes you back to Wembley Stadium for WWF SummerSlam featuring Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith in front of over 80,000 fans!

Open: Fans outside the stadium were torn between their choice in tonight’s WWF Title match, Ultimate Warrior and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. A massive crowd littered the streets in anticipation of the first pay-per-view from England.

In The Arena: The royal horns sound off to a packed house inside Wembley Stadium, kicking off this major happening. Our commentary team runs down some of the bouts in tonight’s card before we go to the ring.

Match #1: Money Inc. (‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster) w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. The Legion Of Doom (Hawk & Animal) w/Paul Ellering & Rocco

The Road Warriors make their way to the ring on motorcycles to a huge ovation. Hawk & MDM to get us started, Hawk gets the LOD chants going, they lock-up and DiBiase fires away with knife-edge chops. He drives Hawk’s head into the top turnbuckle, Hawk reverses a whip to the ropes for a big right hand, The MDM puts the brakes on and escapes under the bottom rope, taking a walk around ringside. He exchanges words with Hawk, Animal drops down from the apron, clobbers MDM from behind and tosses him back inside.

The MDM with some choice words for Animal now, turns around and Hawk delivers a clothesline, sending DiBiase flipping backwards over the top to the floor. Animal levels him outside with a clothesline of his own, rolls The MDM back in and he quickly squirms to his corner to tag out. Hawk reciprocates the tag, IRS with a shot to the ribs off the tie-up, hammers Animal’s head into the top turnbuckle, Animal reverses the whip across and Schyster hits the turnbuckles hard. Animal grabs him by the tie and plants him after a military press for 1, Hawk tags and comes in off the top with a shot to the arm.

He armwhips Schyster to the canvas, grabs an armbar, IRS goes to the eyes, shoots Hawk into the ropes and slaps on a sleeper hold. He brings Hawk down to the mat, the official checks the arm, Hawk keeps it up on the third try and backs IRS into the corner to break the hold. He whips Schyster across, charges in and scores with a clothesline, ascends to the top rope for another clothesline, but IRS ducks it. Hawk spills to the outside, Schyster baits Animal into the ring to hold the referee, DiBiase drops down to the floor and delivers a slam to Hawk.

He bashes Hawk’s head off the ring apron, sends him back inside and switches out with Schyster without a tag. IRS tags back in anyways, snapmares Hawk over and drops multiple elbows for a count of 2. DiBiase back in, re-introduces Hawk’s head into the top turnbuckle, quick tags back out and Schyster grounds him with a rear chinlock. Animal tries to come in to lend a hand, the official steps in and it allows MDM and IRS to switch out, The MDM maintaining the rear chinlock. It happens again and Schyster comes in to lock in the hold, DiBiase with a legal tag this time, drops a knee across the neck and gains a 2 count.

He attempts to ram Hawk back into the turnbuckle, it’s blocked, IRS getting a tag and preventing Hawk from reaching the corner. He whips Hawk to the ropes for a back elbow, Hawk ducks it and they collide, both guys hitting the mat. The MDM gets a tag, baits Animal back into the ring as Hawk reaches the corner, IRS steps in and chokes Hawk behind the ref’s back. DiBiase hooks Hawk for a vertical suplex, Hawk blocks it and looks to power his way to his corner, finally makes the tag, but Schyster hits the ring to distract the official and he doesn’t see it.

He forces Animal back to the apron as Money Inc. double teams Hawk in their corner, Schyster shoots him into the ropes and both guys score with a clothesline, doubling down. They both crawl to tags, Animal whips DiBiase into the ropes for a shoulder tackle, IRS hits the ring and is laid out by a dropkick, Animal turning back to MDM and pummeling him in the corner. Schyster clobbers him from behind, Money Inc. sends him to the ropes for a double clothesline, Animal avoids it and flattens them both with his own.

All 4 guys i the ring now, Animal sends IRS to the outside after an atomic drop, Hawk sends The MDM to the corner, then shoots Animal in after him with a clothesline. They call for the finish, Animal elevates DiBiase for the Doomsday Device, Schyster slides in from behind and takes him out at the knees to prevent it. Hawk clears IRS out to the apron with a top rope fist, Animal shoots MDM into his partner to knock Schyster down, plants DiBiase with a powerslam and gets the 1-2-3.
Winners: The Legion Of Doom (Animal/Powerslam)

EA’s Take: Good opening contest that really got the crowd excited for the show, I don’t think LOD was ever as over at any time as they were here. Money Inc. had really established themselves as the top heel team in the company and would continue to hold that distinction, while the future for LOD would be put into serious jeopardy following this match. It’s no secret that Hawk was a frequent partyer and would go AWOL after the event with The Berzerker, rumor being that he was out hanging with the London chapter of the Hell’s Angels. Hawk was not happy with Paul Ellering’s ventriloquist act that had been added to the team when Rocco was introduced as their “mascot”. Animal would stick around to finish the team’s booking obligations with the newly repackaged Crush, but would suffer a back injury that would force him to leave the company shortly after. The relationship with Hawk & Animal would become strained and Hawk would head to Japan to add Kensuke Sasaki to the LOD. The originals wouldn’t be seen together again until early 1996, when they’d reunite in WCW.

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is in the interview area with Ric Flair, a disgruntled man. The Nature Boy says he’s not the only one disgruntled about him not having a shot at the WWF Title tonight. Okerlund wonders why Flair’s in his wrestling gear, but Nature Boy claims he’s always ready for any kind of action. Gene questions Flair about who’s corner Mr. Perfect will be in tonight, but Ric doesn’t give him an answer. Sean Mooney is in the locker room with Virgil just moments before his match. Virgil warns Nailz that he saw what happened to Big Boss Man, but he’s been trained on the streets and he is too legit to quit.

Match #2: Nailz vs. Virgil

Nailz grabs Virgil by the throat right at the bell, backs him into the corner and chokes away. Virgil switches out after a succession of right hands, Nailz reverses a whip across, Virgil rebounds out with a clothesline that staggers the big man. He scores with a dropkick to stagger him again, Nailz goes right back to the throat and chokes him some more in the corner. He rips at Virgil’s eyes, whips him to the ropes for a clothesline, Virgil ducks it, Nailz tries a back body drop on the other side, Virgil countering into a sunset flip. Nailz blocks it, Virgil switches his momentum to a schoolboy, but barely gets 1.

Nailz goes right back to choking Virgil on the canvas, throws him over the top to the floor, crawls out from behind and drives Virgil’s head into the ring apron. Nailz sends him back inside, Virgil fires up with lefts and rights that back him Nailz to the corner, the big man reverses a whip across and charges in, but meets double boots to the chin. Virgil rushes out and gets leveled by a clothesline, Nailz shoots him into the ropes, slaps on The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and puts Virgil to sleep.
Winner: Nailz (The Good, The Bad & The Ugly)

After The Bell: Nailz grabs Boss Man’s nightstick, drives the butt of it into his ribs and then chokes the life out of Virgil on the mat, kicking him out of the ring.

EA’s Take: Ugly, ugly stuff. Virgil is no ring general, but Nailz is more like nails on a chalkboard when it comes to in-ring ability. For one reason or another, he’s being built up to a match with Boss Man after ambushing him back in May and stealing the nightstick. Virgil would become the first ‘name’ that Nailz would defeat en route to this encounter.

Backstage: Lord Alfred Hayes is knocking on Macho Man’s door, investigating the whereabouts of Mr. Perfect. He can’t confirm that Perfect is inside with Savage, but he can confirm that the door is locked. Over in the interview area is ‘Mean’ Gene alongside ‘Sensational’ Sherri. Gene remembers how this drama between Shawn Michaels & Rick Martel began, video is played of Michaels attacking Bret Hart during Martel’s IC Title match, causing a disqualification. The Model would return the favor during one of Shawn’s matches, Martel making eyes at Sherri with her doing so in-kind. The Sensational One would later come down during one of The Model’s matches to observe closer. Sherri talks about getting what she wanted with her proposing the stipulation that neither man hit each other in the face. As far as where she stands, she’ll be right by her man.

Match #3: ‘The Model’ Rick Martel vs. Shawn Michaels w/’Sensational’ Sherri

Collar & elbow tie-up to start, The Model with a side headlock, Michaels tries to push him to the ropes, but is unsuccessful. Shawn is finally able to shove Martel away, leapfrogs over, ducks down, leapfrogs again and drops for a monkey flip, but The Model cartwheels out of the way and does some jumping jacks. They lock-up again and Michaels gains a side headlock, Martel pushes him to the ropes, Shawn missing multiple clotheslines, slides between The Model’s legs and scores with a dropkick.

Shawn turns to have some words with Sherri, The Model clobbers him from behind, puts Michaels in the corner and delivers knees to the abdoment. Michaels reverses a whip across, Martel hops to the 2nd rope and springs off the a crossbody, Shawn ducks it, then arm whips The Model to the mat, maintaining a wristlock. Martel works to his feet, Shawn pulls him back down by the hair, angering The Model and he feigns a right hand to the face. Michaels pulls him back to the canvas, Martel kips up, pulls Michaels down and Shawn kips up in turn, faking his own punch to the mouth.

The Model sends him to the ropes by the hair, leapfrogs over, drops down, then uses Shawn’s momentum to toss him over the top to the floor. The Sensational One checks on her man, Martel heads out and taps Sherri on the shoulder, pulling her into a hug that she seemingly enjoys. He turns his attention to Shawn and rolls him back inside, slides in and shoots him to the ropes for a back body drop. He sends Michaels back to the ropes for a clothesline, Shawn ducks it and gets a roll-up with a handful of tights, the official seeing it so he doesn’t count.

Martel switches the momentum with a handful of tights, the ref still sees it and doesn’t make a count, eventually they roll to the ropes and break. Shawn drops a double axe across the back, buries a superkick to the chest and covers for a count of 2, then hammers away at the midsection with lefts in the corner. The Model reverses a whip across, charges in and runs into a boot to the chin, Michaels putting his feet on the ropes with the cover right in front of the referee, getting no count. He argues with the official, Martel grabs a roll-up from behind for a near fall, Shawn gets in his face and they start shoving each other.

Michaels slaps The Model in the face, Sherri gets to the apron yelling at them both, Martel slaps Shawn back and they both rear back for punches, but The Sensational One faints on the apron. Both guys look confused, Shawn goes to check on her and she drops to the floor. Martel comes out and pushes Michaels away, starts giving Sherri CPR, Shawn gets back up in his face and drills him with a right hand. They exchange fists going back up the aisle, Sherri pokes her head up to see what’s going on as the referee’s count reaches 10.
Winner: Double Count-Out

After The Bell: Sherri fixes her hair and plays dead again, officials are out to break Michaels & Martel up, Shawn finally marching back to the ring and carries her up the aisle. The Model comes back down and hammers Michaels with a right hand, picks Sherri back up and and starts carrying her, but here comes Shawn from behind. He starts to carry her off, Martel comes back down with a bucket of water, dumps it over Sherri’s head and “revives” her, leaving her alone out in the arena.

EA’s Take: Interesting dynamic with the heel/heel matchup, we haven’t seen much of this in the year’s prior. Both guys were seeking Sherri’s affection with this being the blow-off to the rivalry. The Model would resume his previous feud with Tatanka, never seeming to wind up on the winning end. Things between Sherri & Shawn would get worse from here when Michaels’ former tag partner Marty Jannetty would return. Jannetty would attack Shawn prior to a match, taking a swing with Michaels’ trademark mirror. Shawn would pull Sherri in front of him to absorb the blow, not returning to television until January 1993 while Michaels would set his sights on the company’s top prize.

Backstage: Sean Mooney is standing by in the locker room with The Nasty Boys & Jimmy Hart. Sags wonders if we saw the mascara running off Sherri’s face, Knobbs questioning why she didn’t melt like the Wicked Witch. Sags talks about the tag title situation not being a laughing matter however, claiming they deserve a shot after defeating Macho Man & Ultimate Warrior. Knobbs can’t believe they don’t get an opportunity and asks Jimmy why, he stutters and brings up Money Inc. before simply easing their minds.

Match #4 for the WWF Tag Team Chamionships: The Beverly Brothers (Beau & Blake) w/The Genius vs. WWF Tag Team Champions The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon)

The Beverlys jump the champions and the bell rings, unload on The Disasters in opposite corners and attempt to shoot them into one another, Earthquake reverses and Typhoon levels Blake with a clothesline. Earthquake flattens Beau with one of his own, the champs squash the challengers with their body weight and order is restored, Typhoon staying in with Blake. He scores with a big elbow, slams Blake and looks for an elbow drop, Blake rolling out of the way and trying a slam of him own.

He gets the big man up in the air, can’t hold the weight and Typhoon falls on top for a count of 2, all 4 guys in the ring again, Quake dumps Beau to the outside, Typhoon splashes Blake in the corner, holds him up and Earthquake charges in for another. Beau distracts Typhoon from the outside, Blake escapes and Quake splashes his own partner. The official works Earthquake back to the apron, The Beverlys take the opening for a double team, Blake elevating Beau into a splash for a 2 count, switching out without a tag.

Blake tags back in, comes off the 2nd rope with a diving headbutt, drops a leg and covers for another 2 before bringing his brother back in. Blake planks Typhoon and Beau drops a seated senton to the lower back, buries kicks to the midsection and chokes him on the ropes. Blake does the same from the apron, switches out behind the referee’s back, Beau comes off the top with a double axe off the tag, then hammers away with heavy rights. Blake chokes Typhoon with the tag rope as the official is distracted, tags in and delivers a 2nd rope double axe, drops a headbutt and covers for 2.

He slaps on a front facelock, Typhoon powers to his feet and starts moving towards his corner, makes the tag, but Beau with a distraction from the apron and the official doesn’t see it. He forces Quake back to the apron, The Beverlys take the opening for more double teaming, Beau switching out again with no tag and driving another double axe from the top. He uses the bottom rope to choke Typhoon, tags out, The Beverlys drive him spine-first into the turnbuckles multiple times, Typhoon rebounds out with a double clothesline on the third try, then crawls towards his corner.

Blake is there to meet him, tries an irish whip to the ropes, Typhoon reverses, Blake attempting a crossbody and gets caught in the air. Beau scales to the top rope and Earthquake looks to come in and help, holding the ref’s attention as Beau hits a missile dropkick to aid his brother. Blake lands on top of Typhoon for a near fall, fires away with rights and kicks, hits the ropes and gets caught by the hair and face-planted into the canvas. He drags himself towards his corner, Beau drops off the apron and comes around ringside, distracting Quake to get him off the apron. The referee goes out to step in between them, back in the ring The Genius tosses Blake his clipboard, clobbering Typhoon in the back with it and making a cover.

The official is still distracted on the outside Beau, Earthquake slides into the ring and drops an elbow to Blake, breaking up the pin attempt. Order is restored and we get tags on both sides, Quake pummels Beau with clubbing shots, hip tosses him across the ring, then plants him with a belly to belly suplex. Earthquake driving shoulders to the ribs in the corner, Blake steps in from behind looking to double team, The Beverlys shoot Quake to the ropes and he knocks them both down with a double shoulder block.

Typhoon steps in and disposes of Blake to the outside, whips Earthquake into a corner splash on Beau, Quake hits a powerslam and calls for the finish. He hits the ropes, Blake steps to the apron and gets knocked back down, Quake scores with the Earthquake Splash and The Disasters retain.
Winners and STILL WWF Tag Team Champions: The Natural Disasters (Earthquake/Earthquake Splash)

After The Bell: The Genius hops to the apron and argues with the official, Earthquake gets ahold of him, pulls him into the ring and the champions press him over their heads, dropping him down to the floor.

EA’s Take: Pretty standard tag team affair here, Typhoon usually was the one taking the beat downs while Quake always got the hot tags in their matches as babyfaces. After unsuccessfully going for the championships at WrestleMania, The Disasters finally defeated Money Inc. for the straps in July and focused on new competition. That came in the form of The Beverly Brothers who had been pushed pretty hard initially, but were losing steam fast and would be mainly used to put over other teams heading into the new year. The Disasters would slowly be phased out after dropping the championships back to Money Inc. in October. Although they would remain a team into the new year, Survivor Series would be their final PPV match as a duo.

Backstage: The Bushwhackers are with Gene Okerlund in the interview area. Butch talks about how much fun they’re having in London and wonders whose corner Mr. Perfect will be in tonight. Gene heard a rumor that The Bushwhackers were invited to a royal dinner at Buckingham Palace, Butch stating they will be served their favorite royal meal and after they may even get to sit on the throne. Lord Alfred Hayes is outside Ultimate Warrior’s dressing room, he believes Perfect is inside and decides not to knock on the door like he did with Savage. He cracks the door open, but someone immediately slams it shut.

WWF SummerSlam 1992 WWE

A look at Wembley Stadium for WWF SummerSlam 1992

Match #5: Repo Man vs. Crush

The bell rings and Repo Man attacks from behind, it has no affect whatsoever, Crush grabs him by the neck and drops him to the mat after a military press. Repo heads to the outside to regroup, Crush follows and flattens him with a shoulder block, rolls him back inside and scores with kicks and fists to the breadbasket. He sends Repo to the ropes, misses a clothesline, Repo Man attempts a crossbody and gets caught in the air, Crush planks him across the top in the corner and hammers away with shots to the back.

Irish whips to the ropes, Crush cracks him with a backbreaker, Repo stops the onslaught by going to the eyes, plants Crush with a back suplex and shoots a look to the crowd. Crush is right back to his feet, Repo Man turns around into a belly to belly suplex, gets split with another backbreaker and Crush goes to the top for a knee drop, but misses. Repo Man with shots to the back that have no affect, sticks a thumb to the eyes, Crush reverses a whip to the ropes for a back body drop, Repo countering with a faceplant for a 2 count. Repo is sent to the outside on the kick-out, climbs back up to the apron and then upstairs, gets caught in mid-air and planted with a powerslam. Crush calls for the finish, applies the Kona Crush and Repo submits.
Winner: Crush (Kona Crush)

EA’s Take: Complete and total squash match here between two former tag team partners, although it was never mentioned on television. After the split of Demolition in 1991, Smash would be repackaged as Repo Man while Crush went back to work for Pacific Northwest Wrestling until May of 1992, re-debuting on WWF television. Crush was now a fan-favorite, the company using his hometown of Hawaii as a big part of the new gimmick becoming more of a surfer-type character. There was never any rivalry here between the two former partners and Crush would move on to “clown” around in a rivalry with a WWF newcomer.

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is in the interview area as we are just moments away from the WWF Championship match, finding out exactly whose corner Mr. Perfect would be in. Okerlund directs us to video of how this bad blood started with Ric Flair & Mr. Perfect getting involved. The Nature Boy would plant the seeds in each man’s heads, telling them that Mr. Perfect would be in the other’s corner. Tensions would boil over between the champion and challenger during a tag team match against The Nasty Boys. Flair & Perfect would again join the party, joining The Nasty Boys in a 4 on 2 beating of Savage & The Warrior.

Match #6 for the WWF Championship: Ultimate Warrior vs. WWF Champion ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage

They meet in the center of the ring and exchange words, Savage extending for a handshake and Warrior accepting, both main maintaining their grip, the pushing and shoving starts and we’re underway. Collar & elbow tie-up to begin, the jostle for position, Macho Man backs the challenger to the ropes and they break clean. They tie-up again, Warrior overpowers the champion and pushes him to the mat, Savage strikes first with a knee to the midsection, then lays The Warrior out with a clothesline. He scores with another to the back of the head, covers for a quick 1, then climbs up top for a double axe handle, The Ultimate One burying a fist to the ribs.

He splits the champion with an atomic drop, hits an inverted version, then levels Savage with a clothesline for a count of 2. The Warrior hits the ropes, knocks Macho down with multiple shoulder blocks, looks to drop an elbow, the champion rolling out of the way and unleashes a flurry of right hands for a 2 count. Macho Man grounds the challenger with a rear chinlock, Warrior works to his feet and escapes after a jawbreaker, then drives Savage’s face into the mat with a faceplant. He shoots Macho to the corner, unloads with heavy punches, whipping across hard into the turnbuckles and stomping away.

The Ultimate One flattens him with a short-arm clothesline for 2, Savage uses the tights to pull The Warrior face-first into the top turnbuckle, measures him and delivers a clothesline, sending the challenger over the top to the floor. The champion heads out and rolls him back in for a 2 count, ascends the turbuckles and scores with a double axe handle, but it has no affect on Warrior. Savage goes back up, hits another double axe handle for a near fall, then goes back to the well again, this time getting caught in the air and cracked by a backbreaker, Warrior getting a near fall of his own. The Ultimate One shoots Macho hard into the turnbuckles multiple times, slapping on a bearhug, then letting go and covering for another 2. He plants Savage with a side slam, gains another 2 count, attempts a slam and Macho counters into a small package that almost gets 3.

The Warrior whips the champion to the ropes for a back body drop, Savage has it scouted, counters with a swinging neckbreaker and again gains 2. He drops the challenger’s neck over the top rope with a hot shot, still only gets a count of 2, sets for a vertical suplex, but his back gives out. The Warrior targets the injury, clubbing away at the lower back, connects with a vertical suplex and the champion kicks out at 2. Macho pulls himself up using the ropes, The Ultimate One rushes in to clothesline him to the outside, Savage ducks it and Warrior spills to the floor. The champion takes to the air with a double axe handle to the back, drives Warrior’s head into the steel steps, then the ring post and sends him back inside, covering for a near fall.

Ric Flair & Mr. Perfect make their way down to ringside, Savage attempts a piledriver back in the ring, Warrior tries to back body drop him over, but Macho hangs on for a sunset flip, getting another 2 count. The challenger drops Savage with a clothesline right after for 2, slams the champion, hits the ropes for the big splash, but Macho gets the knees up. The champion covers for a count of 2, Warrior reverses a whip to the ropes, misses a clothesline, both guys go for one and connect, doubling down. The challenger crawls to a cover for a near fall, Macho covers after the kick-out for one of his own, hits the ropes and Perfect trips him from the outside. Savage has words with The Perfect One, The Warrior takes advantage with a big right hand, elevates the champion in the air with a choke and drops him.

He goes to whip Macho into the corner, doubles back to the opposite corner and the referee gets taken down, The Ultimate One slams Savage to the mat, then heads upstairs for a double axe handle, making a cover, but the official gets there late, only counting to 2. The Warrior argues with the ref, Savage drives a knee into his back, knocking the official all the way to the outside. He spikes the challenger with a piledriver, goes outside to revive the referee, Perfect slides in to pick The Warrior up, then holds him for Flair to deliver a shot with a pair of knucks. The champion finally gets back in with the ref, slams The Ultimate One and scales the corner, connecting with the Top Rope Elbow Drop.

The champion hooks the leg, the referee with a slow count and Warrior barely kicks out at 2. The challenger starts to find some adrenaline, absorbing blows as Flair grabs a chair on the outside. The Warrior explodes back with right hands and multiple clotheslines, hits the ropes for a shoulder tackle, presses Savage over his head and hits the ropes for the splash. Perfect reaches in to trip him and misses, the official is distracted, Flair clocks Warrior in the back with the chair on the other side, Macho comes to and realizes something happened.

He looks to Flair & Perfect on the outside, The Perfect One grabs Savage by the leg, the official heads outside to have words with him and the champion climbs to the top rope, changing his mind and jumping outside at Flair. The Nature Boy catches Macho in the knee with the chair on the way down, the referee gets back inside and makes the count to 10.
Winner: Ultimate Warrior (Count-Out)

After The Bell: Perfect & Flair jump Savage on the outside right after the bell rings, Nature Boy slapping on the Figure Four while Mr. Perfect unloads with punches. Flair grabs the chair again, Warrior makes his way around ringside, rips it out of his hands and chases The Nature Boy off to the dressing room before making his way back. He grabs the championship, climbs back in the ring, picks Savage up and gives him the title, raising his hand in the air.

EA’s Take: Very exciting main event that was completely different from their Career Ending Match at WrestleMania just a year prior. This time the pace was a lot slower and they went longer, numerous near falls with both guys looking strong. The dynamic of adding Flair & Perfect between them to build the tension was done beautifully and most people anticipated that either Savage or Warrior was going to turn on the other. It’s a little strange to not have Nature Boy in a match at this large event, but he still played a big part. Just two short weeks later, Macho would lose the title to Flair on Prime Time Wrestling after help from a “bad guy” newcomer. Savage & Warrior would form a tag team called “The Ultimate Maniacs”, but it would be short-lived as The Warrior would be released from the company after it was discovered he was experimenting with a new performance enhancer called Human Growth Hormone. The company was already under fire in the media for allegations of steroid use, Vince McMahon feeling like he couldn’t take the chance eventhough not much was known about HGH at the time.

Backstage: Gene Okerlund catches up with Ric Flair & Mr. Perfect, The Perfect One stating that there was a deal in place, a deal between himself and The Nature Boy. Plan B is in full effect, Flair shouting that he should have been the man with a title shot tonight, promising Savage that the championship is coming back to him.

Match #7: Kamala w/Harvey Wippleman & Kim Chee vs. The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer

The Deadman makes his way to the squared circle riding on the back of a hearse, the custom-made coffin for Kamala in the back of it. Kamala looks to attack from behind after the bell, Undertaker feels the presence and turns to fire off right hands, backs The Ugandan Giant to the corner and chokes away. Kamala reverses a whip across, charges in for a splash, The Deadman side-steps it, grabs the wrist and climbs the corner, walking across the top rope to deliver a clubbing blow to the back.

Kim Chee hops to the apron to create a distraction, it doesn’t work and Taker goes back to the well, scaling the corner to walk the rope again, Wippleman gets to the apron this time, Kamala taking the opening to pull Undertaker down to the canvas. He clotheslines The Deadman over the top, Taker lands on his feet outside and grabs Wippleman & Kim Chee by their necks, Kamala coming out behind him and delivering double axe handles and knife-edge chops.

He rams Taker ito the steel steps, rolls him back inside and scores with more chops, irish whip to the ropes, Undertaker ducks a clothesline and then plants The Ugandan Giant with a Chokeslam. He shoots Kamala back in for a flying clothesline, powers him up for a Tombstone, Kim Chee hits the ring and hammers The Undertaker in the breadbasket with his safari helmet, forcing the official to call for the bell.
Winner: The Undertaker (Disqualification)

After The Bell: The Deadman grabs Kim Chee by the neck and sends him outside with a right hand, The Ugandan Giant shoves Taker into the corner and squashes him with his body weight, then slams him to the mat and hits a splash. He climbs to the 2nd rope, connects with Air Africa, then ascends to the top and hits it again. Kim Chee directs Kamala to go back up, The Undertaker sits up and The Ugandan Giant is petrified, quickly exiting with his handlers.

EA’s Take: Not a whole lot to see here, this is where the formula of pitting Undertaker against “monsters” really started. From the summer of 1992 through 1993, The Deadman would embark in feuds with Harvey Wippleman’s behemoth charges like The Ugandan Giant. Taking on these massive opponents had become the best way to make it seem Undertaker may actually have some competition. Kamala & Taker would continue to face-off heading into the fall, duking it out at Survivor Series in the first-ever Coffin Match.

Backstage: Sean Mooney is standing in the locker room with The British Bulldog. Davey Boy talks about the pressure of facing his brother-in-law Bret Hart tonight for the Intercontinental Championship. It’s taken him 2 long years to reach this opportunity and although he’s related to the champion, when the bell rings it is all about the title. Stepping in front of 80,000 of his home countrymen is a dream and he plans to send them home happy. ‘Mean’ Gene is with the champion Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart in the interview area. Bret states that he’s proved he can work well under pressure, Bulldog’s comments about not knowing him in the ring irritate him, The Hitman telling him to remember back to when he introduced Davey Boy to his sister in the first place. Hart claims Bulldog wouldn’t be where he is if it weren’t for him, Davey Boy wanted the big fight and now he’s got it.

In The Arena: A bagpipe band plays “Scotland, The Brave” on an elevated stage. ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper comes out to join them, picks up a set of bagpipes and wails away. After the music we go to Sean Mooney in the crowd with Bret Hart’s sister and British Bulldog’s wife, Diana Hart. She knows Bret & Davey have always been competitive and although that may have helped them reach the success they’ve found, she’s afraid they will destroy one another tonight. Diana isn’t concerned about who will win the championship, stating the bond within her family is the most valuable to her.

Match #8 for the WWF Intercontinental Championship: The British Bulldog w/Lennox Lewis vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart

The Hitman with his customaty routine of giving away his shades to a young fan in the front row, heads back inside, champion and challenger go face-to-face and Bulldog shoves his brother-in-law. Collar & elbow tie-up, Davey Boy pushes Hitman away with his power, they lock-up again and the challenger grabs a side headlock. Bret pushes him off to the ropes, ducks down and leapfrogs over, The Bulldog scores with a big shoulder and Hitman is sent all the way to the outside. Back in the squared circle now, the champion with a side headlock takedown off the tie-up, Bulldog with a headscissor to escape, but gets caught in the side headlock again and taken to the mat.

The challenger works to his feet, pushes Bret off to the ropes, elevates him for a military press, The Hitman slips out and uses a quick roll-up for 2, then grabs a small package for another quick 2 count, immediately bringing Bulldog back down with the side headlock. Davey Boy counters out to a hammerlock, Bret gaining his footing to break the hold with a back elbow, then utilizes a wristlock. He wrenches away at the shoulder joint, The Bulldog flips his way out of it, grounding the champion with an armbar.

The Hitman finds his footing and sends Davey Boy to the ropes, leapfrogs over, tries again and gets caught in the air, the challenger taking him down with a double leg and catapults Bret into the top turnbuckle. He goes back to the armbar, lifts Hitman up and then in the air to apply more pressure, Bret sending him back to the ropes and Bulldog surprises him with a crucifix for a near fall. The challenger stays on the shoulder with the armbar, Hart tries to slam his way out of it, but Davey Boy maintains his grip. The champion gets to a vertical base again, shoots Bulldog off to the ropes, drops down and buries a knee to the midsection. The Hitman takes control now, drops a leg and then uses a rear chinlock to wear the challenger down.

Davey Boy battles his way up with elbows, hits the ropes and runs into a big back elbow, Bret splits him with an inverted atomic drop, irish whip to the ropes, The Bulldog attempts another crucifix, but the champion blocks it and drives him into the canvas for 2. He goes back to the rear chinlock, Bulldog powers his way up, sends Bret to the ropes, Hitman with a shoulder knockdown, heads back into the ropes, Davey Boy leapfrogs over, then tosses Hart with a monkey flip. He sends the champion hard into the corner, shoots him back across, charges in and runs into a double boots, Hitman following with a bulldog before heading up top.

The challenger has it scouted, slams The Hitman off the top, climbs upstairs for a diving headbutt, but Bret rolls out of the way. He attempts a slam, The Bulldog slides out behind and pushes Hart towards the ropes, Hitman ducks down and Davey Boy’s momentum sends him spilling to the outside. The champion slingshots out to the floor with a crossbody, rams the challenger’s lower back into the ring post, then rolls him back in. The Hitman with a hard irish whip into the turnbuckles, plants Davey with a side russian leg sweep and covers for a count of 2, Bret unloading a series of uppercuts and a dropkick after.

Hart sends his brother-in-law to the ropes for a back body drop that gets another 2 count, slaps the rear chinlock back on, switching to a snap suplex as the challenger works his way up, Bulldog kicking out at 2. Bret attempts another uppercut, Davey Boy counters into a backslide for a quick near fall, Hart immediately stopping the momentum with a backbreaker, then drops an elbow from the 2nd rope, still unable to put him away. The champion seems to be getting frustrated, slams The Bulldog to the canvas by the hair, snapmares him over and goes back to the well with a rear chinlock. The challenger fights up to his feet, they exchange right hands, Hitman ducks a shot and locks on a sleeper hold, taking Davey Boy back down to the mat.

The Bulldog crawls to the bottom rope to force the break, Hitman doesn’t break clean, whips his brother-in-law to the ropes and slaps the sleeper hold back on, grinding him back to the canvas again. The official checks the challenger’s arm, Davey Boy pulls it together on the third attempt, powers up with Bret on his back, driving him backwards into the turnbuckles, but Hart hangs onto the sleeper. The Bulldog rams him into the buckles again, they exchange fists, Davey Boy reverses a whip to the ropes, lifts The Hitman up with a military press and drops him in the ropes. The challenger whips Bret to the corner and flattens him with a clothesline off the rebound, scores with two more clotheslines and covers for a count of 2.

He presses the champion over his head and slams him for another 2, hits a delayed vertical suplex, but still can’t get the pinfall. He shoots Hitman sternum-first into the turnbuckles for another near fall, calls for the finish, plants the champion with the Running Powerslam, but Bret still kicks out at 2. He pulls himself to his feet using the ropes, Davey Boy pushes him out to the apron, tries to suplex Hart back inside, but The Hitman slips behind him, scoring with a bridged German Suplex for a near fall. Bret looks for a vertical suplex, Davey blocks it, props his brother-in-law on the top turnbuckle, connects with a superplex, but somehow Hitman still kicks out at 2.

Hart reverses a whip to the ropes, ducks a clothesline, both guys are thinking the same thing going for another clothesline, both connecting and doubling down. The Hitman wisely grabs Bulldog’s legs, crosses them and applies the Sharpshooter from the canvas, the challenger scratching and clawing his way to the bottom rope to cause the break. They’re both back up now, Davey reverses a whip to the ropes for a back body drop, Hitman counters with a sunset flip, The Bulldog blocks it, drops down on top, hooks both legs and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: The British Bulldog (Sunset Flip Counter)

After The Bell: The new champion offers a hand to his brother-in-law, Hitman doesn’t accept it and starts to walk away, but instead turns back and accepts, congratulating Bulldog. He raises Davey Boy’s hand in victory, Bret’s sister and Bulldog’s wife, Diana, hops in the ring and embraces them both, then raises both of their arms in the air as the fireworks go off surrounding and above the ring.

EA’s Take: Incredible main event match between two excellent in-ring workers, it really makes the decision to not have the WWF Title be the final match make a lot more sense. It’s hard to argue against this being the best SummerSlam match in the event’s history, I’d certainly rank it as one of the best matches of all-time and The Hitman has been on record to say it’s his favorite. Also, this is only the 2nd ever main event that pitted a babyface against a babyface, the other being Hogan/Warrior at Mania VI. Having the Intercontinental Championship in the main event is a first for the company, it’s status never being any higher. The entire success of this event and it’s record breaking crowd was on the hard work and popularity of The Bulldog and although this would seem to be his launching pad to the top level, it would turn out to do so for Bret. The Hitman really proved over the course of his singles run that he could carry the ball if it was given to him, this contest merely cementing that fact. Hart would lose the IC Title, but he would quickly put the WWF Championship in his crosshairs, winning the winged-eagle strap from Ric Flair in October, then defending it against a man who his career will forever be linked to, Shawn Michaels. Unfortunately for Davey Boy, this is the highest his stock will ever be. Like Ultimate Warrior, Bulldog had been dabbling in Human Growth Hormone. He would drop the IC Title to the aforementioned Michaels on November 8th and be released shortly after, making his way to WCW in early 1993.

EA’s Finisher: From top to bottom this was a pretty entertaining event, it felt more like a WrestleMania than a SummerSlam and will historically go down as one of the best pay-per-views in company history, despite having a couple squash matches. You can see the promise in the younger talent such as Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. However, when you continually lose big names (no matter the circumstances) like Ultimate Warrior, Legion Of Doom and British Bulldog, it’s bound to hurt the product and the transition. Tonight’s shining moment was clearly Bulldog/Hitman, but Savage/Warrior also never gets the credit for being as good as it was. Most people recall their Career Ending Match from WrestleMania VII the year prior, but this one was done much differently and although the ending was inconclusive, the bout did not disappoint. This is definitely worth the watch for those alone and when you add in the atmosphere of what seemed like a soccer match, it all plays out well visually.

Top Three To Watch
1 – Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog
2 – Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage
3 – Rick Martel vs. Shawn Michaels


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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!

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Greetings, salutations and welcome back. Harry here once again with another edition of ‘What I Watched’. As the calendar year turns to 1999 on my watch-through of all things ‘big three’ wrestling, I covered Starrcade 1998 in an earlier edition of WIW. I figured since this is probably the last year where all three major companies are relevant (at least at the start), it could be fun to compare and contrast how I feel about the respective PPVs when compared to some of the independent wrestling I’ve been covering recently. Or even going back to the PROGRESS or Impact Wrestling shows that I’ve covered before. I am fully aware there are going to be some bad shows in 1999. But there is also a lot to talk about in a drastically changing industry. Let’s do this, shall we?

ECW is in flux as talent losses haven’t yet gotten to what they would become but names like Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Bam Bam Bigelow and others are no longer with the company. To make matters worse, the ECW-FMW relationship is falling apart now as well as a Chris Candido and Sunny (sorry, Tammy Lynn Sytch) no-show of a scheduled FMW appearance. Paul Heyman himself is the first person we see telling us the card is going to change…how much does it change? The WayBack Machine takes us to January 10th, 1999 in Kissimmee, FL as it’s time for ECW to be Guilty as Charged!

What I Watched #16

ECW Guilty as Charged 1999

1/10/1999

Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL

Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)

Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)

 

THE RESULTS

  • Match 1: Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney win 3 team tag elimination match, eliminating Little Guido/Tracy Smothers @ 10:44 (Danny Doring/Roadkill eliminated @ 8:15)
  • Match 2: Yoshihiro Tajiri pins Super Crazy, dragon suplex @ 11:37
  • Match 3: Psycho Sid Vicious pins John Kronus, powerbomb @ 1:31
  • Match 4: Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley def. New Jack/Spike Dudley, both Dudleyz pin Spike @ 10:05
  • Match 5: ECW TV Title- Rob Van Dam pins Lance Storm, bridged German suplex @ 17:46
  • Match 6: Justin Credible pins Tommy Dreamer, That’s Incredible on ladder @ 18:44
  • Match 7: ECW Heavyweight Title- Taz defeats Shane Douglas © by KO, Tazmission @ 22:15

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Three Team Tag Elimination Match
Started as a straight up 2 vs. 2, but within the first two minutes, Ballz and Axl (Axl making his return to the company after the passing of his grandmother) join the frey and it becomes your traditional ECW three team brawl. Nothing really stands out here but the overall work is good enough for what the match is supposed to be. The elimination of Doring and Roadkill is well done, as a FBI double-team fishermanbuster looks really cool and gets a decisive win for what was to be the original match. They do give the win to Axl and Ballz here, which I get given the fact they are a popular act, but I personally think  that Guido and Tracy were a better team during the time frame. (**½)

Super Crazy vs. Tajiri

Yes, it’s the feud that never ends. But this is where it begins. Both men were relative newcomers to the American wrestling scene with both having had limited exposure on WWF TV (both were in the Light Heavyweight title tournament). This is a good match but not a great match and honestly, I think timing is the issue here. Eleven minutes may seem like a lot but knowing what these two would be capable of down the road once there is more of a fan and time investment into their matches, it ends up being a good starting point but probably not the blow away match that ECW was expecting to deliver here. (***)

John Kronus vs. Mystery Opponent

So, ECW fans are notorious for their belief that the “big oaf” style of the WWF and WCW wouldn’t work in ECW. Obviously, they are wrong. Guys like Big Dick Dudley and 911 became massive fan favorites due to their look, not anything they could do in a wrestling ring. You can add another name to that list, as Psycho Sid makes his ECW debut here (following an introduction by the ‘Judge’ Jeff Jones) and absolutely kicks Kronus’ ass in less than two minutes. Sid was never anything special in the ring but he is one of the more charismatic big men in wrestling history so the cult-like following is easy to understand. Too short to rate, but fun for what it was. (X)

Dudleyz vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley

Sixteen year old Harry getting into ECW was a huge Joel Gertner fan. Thirty seven year old Harry going back and watching these shows is an even bigger fan of Joel Gertner. Granted, his shtick is incredibly juvenile but sometimes, you just want to laugh…

The match is your standard ECW garbage brawl. Most New Jack matches definitely have a similarity to them that does not hold up well for re-watching. I will openly admit to being a Spike Dudley mark and he does well taking an ass whooping from Bubba Ray. The Dudleyz definitely have their moments in ECW (the best is still to come in my opinion) but this isn’t one of their best performances. I will give props to New Jack for taking 3D on the ramp, even if it doesn’t come across the cleanest. About what you’d expect, but nothing more. (**)

TV Title- Rob Van Dam © vs. Lance Storm

Rob Van Dam vs. Masato Tanaka was the originally scheduled match and I think it could have been fun. However, Tanaka apparently has visa issues which prevent him from being able to get into the US for the show and thus ECW has to pivot quickly. I do have to give credit to Lance Storm for his pre-match promo here. For someone who is not known as one of the better talkers in wrestling history, he does a really good job explaining the situation with the 3 way that was supposed to happen (Storm vs. Spike vs. Jerry Lynn (cracked pelvis)) and then calling out Rob Van Dam since his opponent wasn’t there either. Storm has a really good closing line for the promo too: “I’m not the ‘Whole F’n Show’, but I am the best damn part of it’. That is one of the lines that sticks with you and you remember it.

The match itself is very good but not great. It is better than anything else on the show, so perhaps I’m rating it on a slight curve for that. Van Dam’s selling is sporadic but to be fair, Van Dam’s selling is always sporadic. The biggest thing for me is that despite that, they still keep an impressive pace and the match is by and large clean. There is a super weak chair shot by Storm (which the crowd gives him a good ration of shit over), but they do manage to turn that crowd around for the finishing sequence. A little surprised by the choice of finish, but I imagine that has something to do with telling the idea that Storm got caught and wasn’t soundly defeated like most of Van Dam’s prior opponents had been. (***½)

Stairway to Hell- Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer

The problem for Credible in ECW is that Paul wanted you to believe that Justin was this huge deal but truthfully, the booking never actually treated him as such. Yeah, he won…A LOT…but more often than not, it was almost treated as an afterthought. He very rarely won the big matches on his own and while I get that as a heel, you want to give him that sense of dickishness, as a wrestling fan eventually you have to make it look like the dude could stand up on his own. Dreamer has long been a favorite of mine, even if he has overstayed his welcome in the ring on occasion. You know going in that win or lose, Tommy will bust his ass to give you as good a match as he is capable of. 

As for this match, it never reaches that next level that you expect a gimmicked semi main event of a PPV to reach. It’s not actively bad or anything (in fact, probably up there for Credible’s best match in ECW to date) but with the stipulation and the gaga around it, it feels like there was so much more it could have been. The finish comes off really flat as well as it renders the whole point of the stipulation useless and only serves to put more heat on Credible by way of Funk. (**½)

Heavyweight Title- Shane Douglas © vs. Taz

So, I’ll be a little nicer to this match then some other reviewers I’ve seen for a couple reasons. It completely accomplishes the goal that Heyman set out for it. Taz comes out of the match looking like a world beater. Douglas comes out of the match as the face of the company who “went out on his shield” as the old phrase goes. Sabu looks like a lunatic and a viable threat to take the title at any time he damn well pleases. Candido comes off as a huge dick and sticks the final knife in Douglas’ back for the end scene. So the story telling is magnificent. 

The match itself? At least a good five to seven minutes too long for that story. I get wanting that epic storytelling to fold out but when you guys are down and low on ideas, it might not be the worst idea to take it home. The other issue is that by trying to serve so many masters, Heyman causes the main event to end up being epically overbooked. Granted, that is an ECW trademark but for what was to be the crowning moment for Taz, I don’t think the 73rd Airborne needed to be a part of it. Sabu could have just as easily returned post match to set up a run with Taz. Or Candido could have turned on Douglas post match to give him a direction going forward since Taz would be occupied with Sabu. I’m not saying it completely takes away the moment but it does make it mean less than it could or should have in the overall scheme of things. (**)

 

THE FINAL REACTION

  • Best Match/Moment: Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm, although I do think their match at the first ECW PPV ‘Barely Legal’ (which I imagine I’ll eventually do) is better
  • Worst Match/Moment: The main event. What could have been an awesome moment for the ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and the biggest ass kicker in the company is ruined with a boring crowd brawl (to the home viewer) and a couple of run-ins that either end up actively taking away from it.
  • Overall Show Score: 5.5/10
  • MVP: Joey Styles is the best thing about this show with his one man performance. There is a reason he was such a major influence on what I did as an announcer.

 

THE SIGNOFF

It’s not a bad show. It’s just not a particulary good one either. And while ECW would put out worse, it only barely outdoes Starrcade 98 to avoid the worst show of the return thus far.

So, where do we go from here? January of 1999 had no chill. The very next Sunday would see the first WCW outing of 1999, called Souled Out. The Sunday after that would be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. I’m going to hit both of those but as a fair warning, I’ll probably try to mix an Independent show from 2018 in the middle of them. Hope to see you guys at Souled Out. And feel free to check out my archives by clicking on my name at the top of this review. Thanks for reading, everyone.


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What I Watched #10b: All IN 2018

Harry decided to abridge his All In write up and bring us the blast from the past while he’s on vacation! With only a few weeks until All Out, reminiscing could be fun!

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ALL IN

Greetings, salutations and what nots. At the time you are reading this, I will be away from home on vacation with my amazing girlfriend. In the interest of not want to lose everyone’s attention in the downtime, I decided to go back to one of my earlier reviews and reformat it to match the current style while giving people who may have not been interested due to the length of the previous review a chance to see what they may have missed as well as share my thoughts on a show that had quite the buzz when it happened.

I mention in my review of AAW’s Destination Chicago 2018 (full review available in my archive by clicking my name at the top of this review) that everyone was in Chicago for this particular show. Obviously, though it was presented as part of a deal with ROH (and to some extent New Japan), this ends up being what many consider the launching point for AEW. So join me once again as the WayBack Machine takes us to suburban Chicago on September 1st 2018 and we revisit ‘All In’ here on ‘What I Watched’.

What I Watched #10-B

ROH/NJPW/Friends ‘All In’ 2018

9/1/2018

Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, IL

Runtime: 4:45:24 (45:27 on YouTube for the preshow, 3:57:57 on Fite.TV/HonorClub/NJPW World/traditional PPV for the main show)

Commentary By: Excalibur (PBP), Don Callis (Color), Ian Riccaboni (PBP/Color)

THE RESULTS

  • Match #1: Zero Hour- Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky def. Jay/Mark Briscoe, Kazarian pins Mark with a powerslam counter to the Doomsday Device @ 12:35
  • Match #2: Zero Hour- Flip Gordon wins the ‘Over the Budget Battle Royal’ @ 17:11, last eliminating Bully Ray
  • Match #3: Matt Cross pins Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Shooting Star Press @ 10:07
  • Match #4: Christopher Daniels pins Stephen Amell, Best Moonsault Ever @ 11:45
  • Match #5: Tessa Blanchard wins four way, pinning Chelsea Green with the Buzzsaw DDT @ 12:43 of a match that also involved Britt Baker and Madison Rayne
  • Match #6: NWA World Heavyweight Title- Cody Rhodes pins Nick Aldis ©, sitdown on sunset flip attempt @ 22:03
  • Match #7: Adam Page pins Joey Janela, Rite of Passage off a ladder through a table @ 20:09
  • Match #8: ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © pins Flip Gordon, Lethal Injection @ 14:25
  • Match #9: Kenny Omega pins Pentagon Jr., One Winged Angel @ 17:48
  • Match #10: Kazuchika Okada pins Marty Scurll, Rainmaker #2 @ 26:06
  • Match #11: Kota Ibushi/Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson def. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio Jr., Matt pins Bandido after the Meltzer Driver @ 11:44

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Zero Hour- SCU (Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky) vs. The Briscoes (Jay/Mark)

*Hell of a way to kick things off and the exact kind of match that you want to put out to people in order to get those on the fence to order the show. I don’t know about the $50 price tag that the PPV had, but this would have been enough for me to sign up for Honor Club for $10 to watch the show at least. I’m curious if ROH ever followed up on SCU pinning the ROH tag champions here. I’d imagine so even though the end is near for Kazarian, Scorpio and Daniels in ROH with AEW looming on the horizon. (***½)

Over the Budget Battle Royal

*It was fun for what it was. Maybe a little overcrowded, but there are several people who have got to make a name for themselves off this match. Marko Stunt is all over Game Changer Wrestling (and got a run in AEW as part of Jurassic Express) and Jordynne Grace, who got herself a deal with Impact, being two to spring immediately. I don’t rate battle royals but it was entertaining, which is all you can ask for sometimes. (X)

Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Matt Cross

*Good little opener here for the main show. My misgivings on the rope hanging piledriver aside (MJF calls it the Heatseeker), they worked together well without throwing too much against the wall and burning out the crowd for later. I had hoped Cross would get a chance with AEW but we know that doesn’t happen, unfortunately. MJF does become one of the biggest creations AEW has up until this point, but no-one is really sure where his status lies with the company at present. Strong start to open the show and really happy for a genuinely good dude in Matt Cross to have gotten this opportunity. (***)

Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell (special guest referee: Jerry Lynn)

*When this show first happened, I heard a myriad of opinions on this match. Some thought it was really good, others thought it stunk. I fall somewhere in the middle here. Amell, for an actor, put in a pretty good performance here. I’m not saying he should do this full time or anything, but it’s not like he embarrassed himself either. Daniels had his own hiccups here as well though. So the blame doesn’t fall solely on Stephen. Overall, I’d call it above average given who Daniels’ opponent was. But I know first hand that Daniels is capable of much, much more. (**½)

Britt Baker (bay bay) vs. Madison Rayne vs. Chelsea Green vs. Tessa Blanchard

*Not sure if it was just me but the finish looks a little suspect. Tessa getting the win did make sense though at the time (I’d imagine this result changes with benefit of hindsight). As for the match, they worked hard and it by and large came together well. It definitely lost its way a bit towards the end, so I have to dock it a bit for that. All in all, I’d say good effort from the ladies involved and I’d even put it just slightly above the Daniels and Amell match it just followed. (***)

NWA World Heavyweight Title- Nick Aldis © vs. Cody (Don’t Call Him Rhodes)

*A very good match but a couple of little things keep it from the next level for me. First, the blatantly missed superkick. I’m not really as upset about that one as some people may be because I get it, shit happens in the moment. The blade job however, I can’t forgive. It was terribly obvious. I get the intent behind it to help Cody fight from underneath. I have no issues with blood in general (hell, I watch death matches). But if you can’t do the blade job more realistically there, it shouldn’t have been done. It doesn’t really factor into the match in the grand scheme of things. Also while I personally don’t mind the methodical pace, I do know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I dug the match as a whole though. And props to Brandi for eating it on that flying elbow drop. (****)

‘Chicago Street Fight’- Adam Page vs. Joey Janela

*This match won’t be for everyone. Some people like the old school ECW brawl and some people don’t. I do when it’s well executed but there seemed to be quite a bit of downtime in this one. Honestly, to me…Penelope Ford came out of this match looking like the biggest star of the three. All in all, I’d say good for what it was but nothing I’d probably want to go back and re-watch either. The finish was dope though. Janela is a crazy person for taking it. (***)

ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © vs. Flip Gordon

*Let’s not kid ourselves. There was no way that they were going to change the ROH title on a non-ROH show. As much as they enjoyed having the belt defended, this defense was a lock for Lethal regardless of the opponent. Flip getting the match itself is the story here and his performance justifies it. I’d call it good but again, it’s nothing that you’ll want to re-watch again, despite the impressive agility of Gordon and the sheer nostalgia of Lethal busting out the ‘Black Machismo’ shtick again. (***½)

Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr.

*Your mileage may vary for sure on this one. Everyone heaped a ton of praise on it and while it is very good, it does not raise to the level of excellence for me. The ridiculously spotty selling and the absolute disrespect to some of the most protected moves in wrestling cause me to take an issue. I do think they worked really well together and the styles meshed a lot better than I thought they might. But there was nowhere near the emotion here that came through clear as day on the Cody and Aldis match earlier. From a pure work rate aspect, it’s the best on the show so far. But personally, I prefer Cody and Aldis to Omega and Pentagon Jr. (****)

Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurll

*A little long. But they told a pretty strong story throughout.At the time of this writing, I had made it no secret that I was not sold on Kazuchika Okada as a draw in the US. Clearly, I was wrong. He had the entire crowd in the palm of his and Scurll’s hands for basically the entirety of this contest and it was one that I think both raised Scurll’s standing in the world of wrestling and confirmed what many people already feel about Okada. That being said, it’s a better match if you chop off five to eight minutes from it. (***½)

Young Bucks/Kota Ibushi vs. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio

*Clearly much shorter than it was probably supposed to be, they packed a ton of action into these almost twelve minutes. I’d have been curious to see what was possible with a full run time but with Rey already gone (he had just resigned with the WWE), there would be no chance to run this back. I think it was a good way to send everyone home happy and get all the marquee moments in, but overall it just ends up being a spotfest fluff match rather than anything that’ll be strongly remembered as standing out down the road. (***½)

THE FINAL REACTION

There is a lot to get through here. As you guys saw above, the totality of both Zero Hour and All In run almost five hours. While not all of that is well spent, there is more than enough to sink your teeth into here, even if you wouldn’t classify yourself as a traditional ‘Independent Wrestling’ fan. There are a couple of real good spotfests if you liked the ECW/WCW luchador/cruiserweight style. There’s a tremendous call-back to the old NWA days with how Nick Aldis vs. Cody plays out. There is a interesting take on the old ‘hardcore’ styles that both ECW and the WWF used to enjoy presenting in Janela vs the ‘Hangman’. You even get the chance to see the celebrities that get trotted out for the big shows in places like the WWE and Impact Wrestling. Does it all work? No. But a good majority of it does. As I said, it’s almost five hours. But by and large, it’s five hours well spent. Call it an 8.5 and while there is room for improvement (as with everything), a very strong start for Cody and the Bucks as promoters.

Best Match/Moment: I’ll go moment here and go with the obvious of Cody getting to hold the same NWA title his father did in what was an NWA stronghold town. It’s cool to see the torch passed like this.

Worst Match/Moment: The fact that the main event with arguably six of the best wrestlers in the world at the time ends up getting the second shortest amount of time.

Overall Show Score: 8.5/10

MVP: I’m going to give this one to Cody, both for the role he played as a producer/agent for the show as well as the performance in the match with Aldis as well. A good night for young Mr. Runnels.

THE SIGNOFF

And that wraps up the first of the ‘retro’ look backs at previous ‘What I Watched’ reviews. When I return, I will be coming back with ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999, the first pay-per-view of the last year of the 1900s. Following that, I know the WWF’s Royal Rumble 1999 is on the list. I’d imagine I’ll get to WCW’s Souled Out 1999 and when I do return to the Indies, promotions like IWA-MS, CHIKARA, Freelance, BEYOND, WWR and so many others are within my potentially planned scope. Hope to see you down the road and may you all enjoy quality time with those you care. See you next time and thanks for reading, everyone.


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