Tuesday, October 28, 2014

AWA Championship Wrestling 7/22/86

Venturing back to the 80’s with some AWA on ESPN. This should be fun … hopefully.

1. Larry Zbyszko vs. Chad "Babyface" Bardo - 3

This looks like it was filmed at a high school gym somwhere. Not sure who this Bardo character is but I’m guessing he’s probably just a local dude they found on the frozen tundra of Minnesota somewhere and offered him a ten bucks and a hot meal if he would get beat up by Zbyszko. Zbyszko takes his time picking apart Bardo with two piledrivers and taps him out with a stump puller. Pretty basic squash.

2. Curt Hennig vs. Don Fargo - 4

Don Fargo is an old outcast from the peak of the territories and looks like he’s been through the wars. He’d be more apt for an appearance in Game of Thrones instead of here taking on Curt Hennig. Not sure what’s so special about this match as Curt’s dad, Larry “The Ax” Hennig is doing guest commentary and Curt is being put over big. Loving Fargo’s selling of everything as he’s so animated and has a lot of good facials. Fargo met his doom after a brutal forearm smash and a big second-rope dropkick. Hennig looked fine but the world needs more Don Fargo.

3. Boris Zhukov vs. Tim Patterson - 2

In the next match, Boris Zhukov attacked right at the bell and just destroyed this poor sap. Zhukov used the hammerlock frequently and worked over Patterson’s shoulder pretty much the whole match. Horrible looking kneedrop ends this mercifully. Another basic squash that went a bit too long and felt really bland

4. Midnight Rockers vs. Rick Renslow & Pete Sanchez - 3

The opponents here for the Rockers are really thick dudes. Rick Renslow looks like a guy you’d find hanging out at a seedy biker bar after hours throwing back Budweisers. Wait, I’ve heard of Pete Sanchez, wasn’t he the guy that wrestled Flair in his first MSG match back in 1976? Michaels had to really work for a powerslam late in the match with Sanchez really didn’t want to go up for. The Rockers looked crisp and definitely made Sanchez & Renslow work for their nights pay.

5. Stan Hansen vs. Jerry Blackwell - 5

The backstory to this one is that Hansen was the champion at the time and this was his last defense before refusing to defend the title the next night in Denver. Blackwell just opened up on Hansen with some big punches to the face and split open Hansen within the first two minutes of the match. Blackwell just seemed content to throw punches and not much else and seemed winded within the first few minutes. Hansen dropped Blackwell with a big boot to the head after he attempted a charge to the corner. Big bearhug from Blackwell slowed this down to a stop. Ref bump followed and Hansen went crazy just killing Blackwell and two referees with a cowboy boot. I was hoping for a match where two big dudes just laid into each other and unfortunately, this was not what happened here.

6. Brad Rheingans vs. Ali Khan - 3

Rheingans, for all of his amateur credits, comes across on TV as one of the most bland and vanilla guys possible. I’ve seen milk cartons with more personality. Khan is nothing but a crazed lunatic. Some decent looking mat work from Rheingans after the first few minutes was nothing but stalling from Khan but thus far not much to really see here. Well, shit, the referee gets knocked down for no apparent reason. I’m not going to even try to figure that out. Match breaks down into chaos and apparently Khan got disqualified. What for? Not sure as it’s never explained.

Overall, an OK episode with the only real notable thing big thing being the Hansen/Blackwell match. The Hennig match was fun just because of Fargo’s invovlement but everything else was pretty bland.

Friday, October 24, 2014

2001: A WCW Odyssey - WCW Thunder 1/10/01

It’s the final stop before the Sin PPV!

1. Kwee Wee & Big Vito vs. Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo - 3

This was set up on Nitro by way of Vito and Kwee Wee interfering in the wacky Minnesota Massacre match and fighting off the Thrillers. Palumbo comes out swinging with some punches in the corner as Tony and Stevie talk about “yak problems” and the vast difference in hair styles between Vito and Kwee Wee on commentary. Palumbo hits, as Tony calls it, a “forklift belly-to-belly” suplex. O’Haire was a top prospect at one time but didn’t show much here. Kwee Wee gets the hot tag and goes absolutely apeshit throwing punches and hitting Thesz presses and DDTs. Reno comes down and beats up Johnny the Bull for no apparent reason. A sick Seanton Bomb finishes this off.

2. Rey Mysterio Jr. & Billy Kidman vs. Lance Storm & Elix Skipper - 4

More of the ongoing Filthy Animals against Team Canada feud. Jim Duggan is doing commentary in a Cosby sweater to help promote the Penalty Box match at Sin that features him as the special referee. Nice double spinebuster early on by Kidman and Mysterio. Storm comes in and squares off with Kidman which culminates in a huge top-rope superplex that was both unexpected and awesome. Storm really is the glue that holds this mess together. A lot of this was Storm against Kidman, which I’m not complaining about. Skipper got a nearfall on a full-nelson dragon suplex. Duggan is really annoying, yelling “penalty box” whenever Storm and Skipper cheat. Lots of craziness at the end with all four guys brawling, Tygress and Major Gunns getting into a “yak fight” according to Stevie Ray, and Mike Awesome and Konnan fight just because. Storm catches Mysterio in the middle of a springboard off the ropes and finishes him off with a half crab.

3. Shane Douglas, Shawn Stasiak, & Mark Jindrak vs. Gen. Rection, Kevin Nash, & Diamond Dallas Page - 4

Nash and DDP are subbing for Lt. Loco and Sgt. A-Wall after they were jumped in the trainers room by the Thrillers and a bottle of ether. Not sure about you but I’d consider Nash and DDP quite the upgrade. Douglas does his typical pre-match promo of bile and filth. Rection, DDP, and Nash storm the ring and we’re off. Douglas barely got in the match until Rection was beaten down and let Stasiak and Jindrak do most of the heaving lifting. Rection fights back and the remainder of the Thrillers run down. Meanwhile, Douglas tries to get the win by using the old chain in the boot trick but is trumped by Rection and gets KO’ed as Rection get the pin. I was hoping for a fun six-man tag but instead we got a match with a bunch of guys on cruise until the end with the big brawl.

4. Don Harris vs. Meng - 2

This started off hot with a big brawl. Meng tried a running big splash, got thwarted, and then hit a ton of big clotheslines in the corner which looked like they gave Don some serious whiplash. We get the switcheroo from the Harris Brothers but that didn’t help as Meng gets the win with the Tongan Death Grip. Wish there was more to this besides brawling but it just felt like something put in to kill time.

5. Lex Luger & Buff Bagwell vs. Kronik - 3

Another match that was set up on Nitro when Bagwell and Luger interfered in Kronik’s match against Goldberg and Sarge. So now we’ve got this match which featured Kronik charging the ring and trading punches with Luger and Bagwell. Luger looks like he'd rather be anywhere else but here. Halfway through, we get a cutaway backstage with Goldberg showing up in his car and running into the arena. Kronik’s punching, especially from Bryan Clark, is really bad. Adams hit a wild gorilla press into a gutbuster. Meanwhile, Goldberg casually jogs into the arena, as if he were out on his morning exercise, and spears Adams leading to a DQ.

6. Sid Vicious vs. Scott Steiner - 2

This is a rematch from Starrcade and Sid spews an incoherent, babbling promo beforehand where he says “there’s only two things I care about and that I’m gonna see that who’s the man that wins the WCW title” or some such nonsense. I should note also that this was Sid’s final singles match before his accident at the pay-per-view (which is the next review in this series). A slugfest starts this off which spills to the outside. Sid gets a couple shots in with a DDT and a big boot. Mystery Man interferes in his ridiculous get up and ruins the fun with some awful shots to Sid’s back. Steiner looked to be on cruise control and nobody bought the fact that even though this was for the title, that they would dare do a title switch four days before the pay-per-view.

Up next, the first PPV of the year … WCW Sin!!

2001: A WCW Odyssey Master List

Monday, October 20, 2014

2001: A WCW Odyssey - WCW Monday Nitro 1/8/01

It’s the first Nitro of 2001 and the final Nitro before the Sin pay-per-view!

1. Shannon Moore vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. - 4

This was originally supposed to be non-title but Chavo decided to put the Cruiserweight Title on the line here against Moore so that way if Moore won, then it would be a Chavo vs. Moore rematch on the PPV. Moore rushed out of the gate with some fiery offense, leading you to believe that he may have a chance, albeit a slim one, to win the title. This was a nifty little match with Chavo playing a good heel. Moore hit a nice springboard fameasser followed by a glorious botch trying to do some high risk move in the corner. The brainbuster at the end from Chavo was all kinds of nasty and pretty much ruined Moore’s night.

2. The Cat vs. Ron Harris - 2

Before the match, Cat just had to run his mouth about the Harris Brothers. This immediately led him to getting double teamed when the match started. Cat’s karate moves didn’t phase Harris at all and amounted to exactly squat. The referee was completely incompetent, allowing the Harris’ to do an illegal switcheroo and double team Cat right in front of him. Quick match, nothing exciting.

3. Lance Storm vs. Billy Kidman - 5

This is yet another continuation of the Filthy Animals vs. Team Canada feud that feels like it’s never ending. For a TV match though, this was good. The action kept up at a decent pace. Storm hit a nice forward roll and then dropped Kidman sternum first on the ropes. Kidman countered a Storm jump off the top rope with a sick dropkick that caught Storm in mid-air and then got a really close nearfall off of a Lo-Down. For some reason, a chair was thrown in 90 seconds in. Not sure why as it didn’t really come into play until the last bit of the match when Storm took a header into it. The finish had Kidman getting the win with the Kid Crusher. Worst part of the match was the brawl on the outside with all of the Animals and Team Canada that seemed to just inexplicably stop since the match in the ring was in the final stretch. Probably the best match I’ve seen from this project thus far.

4. Shane Douglas vs. Sid Vicious - 3

Sid and his jean shorts look really old. First move that Sid did in this match was a clothesline and it was awful, therefore that meant that pretty much the rest of the match that’s all the offense he threw. Douglas did his best to make this watchable but Sid is just so stiff and rigid that there wasn’t much he could do. Douglas got finished off with a powerbome and Sid showed no expression whatsoever though this whole thing while going through the motions.

5. Kronik vs. Goldberg & DeWayne Bruce - 3

I wish someone would actually take the time to explain how Bruce wound up getting involved with Goldberg. Does he have a deep, dark secret on him or something and is therefore forcing him to kill his career by teaming up in bad matches on national television? Anyway, we had a lame brawl on the outside with Goldberg taking one of the worst leg trips into the railing I’ve ever seen. Bruce is just brutal to watch. For all the hype he has for being this hard-ass at the Power Plant, he’s showed absolutely nothing the two matches of his I’ve seen. Kronik nearly got the upset with the High Times move but Goldberg fought back with a series of kicks, a spear, and a jackhammer to win.

6. Minnesota Massacre Match: Kevin Nash & Diamond Dallas Page vs. Mike Sanders, Sean O’Haire, & Chuck Palumbo - 3

This was a mess. Earlier in the show, Commissioner Mike Sanders announced this match and explained the rules, which seemed very complicated and that it would involve “randomly selected opponents” for the Thrillers (himself, O’Haire, and Palumbo). Then, later, a disembodied HAND reached in a suit coat that supposedly belonged to Sanders and swapped out the envelope that had the “randomly selected opponents” with a different one. Finally, to the match, and it turned out the that the MYSTERY HAND made Kevin Nash and DDP the “randomly selected opponents” for the Thrillers. The match itself then started and no one seemed to know what the rules were. On commentary, Schiavone kept saying it was “last man standing” so I guess that works. O’Haire and Palumbo both tried to kick DDP at the same time but collied with each other and fell to the mat in a heap in an unintential moment of hilarity. So much punching from all participants that it wasn’t even funny. DDP hit a Diamond Cutter and Nash hit a powerbomb for the win in what was essentially a handicap match.

7. Scott Steiner vs. Jeff Jarrett - 3

Before the match started there was a LOT of talking. So much, in fact, that when the bell actually rang to start the match there was only five minutes left in the show. They had a match that was decent but in no way memorable. A brawl on the outside culminated in a low blow on Steiner. Then, we get a random run-in from Sid, who seemed to be moving faster than he was in his earlier match, and the Mystery Man in his black and white bumblebee outfit. All four brawled and the show ended.

Not much of a go-home show for the PPV.

Next up: Thunder, the actual last stop before Sin!

2001: A WCW Odyssey Master List

Thursday, October 16, 2014

WWF Wrestlefest '95

This tape is part of the rare and hard to find “500 series” released in by Coliseum Video in 1995 and 1996. This particular series is the rarest of the rare, the holy grail as far as collecting Coliseum Video WWF tapes goes. These ten tapes were mail order only and couldn’t be bought in stores. This is one of the cheaper tapes in the series, that can currently be found for about $70 on Ebay while most of the others will set you back over $150 or more. Let’s see if there are any rare gems on this rare old VHS tape.

1. The Undertaker vs. Jean-Pierre LaFitte - 2

This appears to have been filmed in what looks like the gym at the local YMCA darkened to look like an underground fight club. LaFitte was a well known pirate. He dominated the high seas in the 1700s by attacking American and British ships, peddling knock-off Oakley shades on a street corner in Boston, and then hocking bootleg DVDs in Baltimore. Years later, he made his way to the WWF. If you don’t remember this, don’t feel bad, most people don’t. He was around for about six months and his biggest feud was with Bret Hart over a leather jacket. Welcome to 1995 WWF. Both guys pretty much stuck to the basics here and seemed to be in cruise control. Match wasn’t long, maybe about 6-8 minutes and looked like it was filmed in a gym somewhere. Crowd wasn’t into this at all either, I’ve seen more livelier crowds at funerals. Taker polished off Pierre with a chokeslam and people yawned.

2. Owen Hart, Yokozuna, & Hakushi vs. Bret Hart, Savio Vega, & Razor Ramon - 5

Six of the marquee guys of mid-1995 in this match. Action starts between Yokozuna and Razor as Gorilla Monsoon drones about how Yokozuna was weighed in an airplane hangar in Singapore for this match in West Virginia. What? Some good action between Razor and Owen highlighted by a stiff looking heel kick from Owen. Bret and Hakushi had a nice exchange as well that saw Bret absolutely plant Hakushi with a DDT. Haven’t seen a whole lot of Yokozuna yet, except to come in and just beat down people. He was pretty much working the Andre the Giant role the whole match, coming in as needed to lay a quick beatdown to quell some offense from the opponents. Savio did this horrible looking and telegraphed dive off of Yokozuna in the corner onto Hakushi, who was way out of position. Wait a second, did I just see this match end on a clothesline of all things? Yep, I sure did. This was a fun little match with some pretty good action but nothing worth going out of your way to see.

3. Shawn Michaels vs. Dr. Tom Prichard - 4

Here's a random match from an episode of Superstars that has since fallen somewhere into the ether. Michaels seems to be in complete showboat mode thus far and doesn’t look to be taking anything seriously. Prichard and his entourage consisting of Jim Cornette and Jimmy Del Ray seem to be in no mood for Michaels’ high foolishness. Quite honestly, neither am I. Prichard worked the first bit of the match as a punching bag and foil for Michaels, with Jimmy Del Ray getting the most offense in. No, seriously. The illegal guy in the match, got the most offense in for the heels. Prichard though, after the interference, kept things moving by working over Michaels’ back. Ending seemed rushed with Michaels making a quick comeback and finishing off Prichard with the Sweet Chin Music.

4. Jerry "The King" Lawler vs. Adam Bomb - 5

On paper, this sounded like an interesting match and turned out to be a true study of how to be an effective heel and a one-man show. Lawler ran this whole match by using basic psychology and doing some really good selling of Bomb’s big-man offense. The most offense he got in the whole match was when Bomb took a big fall to the outside and Lawler shoved his head into the steps. Lawler was so good in this match that I forgot he had an opponent and it seemed like he was just wrestling himself. Even the end with Lawler getting the pin by putting his feet on the ropes fit it perfectly with the flow of everything.

5. Bob Holly & Alundra Blayze vs. Hakushi & Bull Nakano - 3

Let's pause a moment before we even go to the match. The host of this tape, Stephanie Wiand introduces this match and calls this a “Sadie Hawkins mixer” in the most cheesy way possible. What the hell did she even mean by that? Anyway, the women start this one off highlighted by Bull flinging Alundra across the ring by her hair numerous times. Holly and Hakushi managed to screw up a simple Irish Whip. Nicely done, gentlemen. Monsoon calls this “a main event in any arena across the entire world”. Well, OK. Not sure I’d plunk down a twenty to see this match top the card. Action breaks down and Holly and Alundra do a double dive spot. Blayze hoists up Bull in a German suplex to get the pin. The women were pretty much the shining stars of this match, otherwise, this was not good at all.

6. Bret Hart vs. Jimmy Del Ray - 4

Bret Hart and Jimmy Del Ray looked like it could have been from the same Supertars taping that the Shawn Michaels/Tom Prichard match from earlier was, maybe even the same episode. Bret controlled the majority of the match with an assortment of technical stuff. Really liked the takedown he had after catching a spinning kick from Del Ray. Del Ray tried a moonsault, I give him a 9 for form but a zero for landing it as he missed completely. Bret’s comeback with the leg sweep, the elbow, and everything else led to him quickly polishing off Del Ray. Basic TV match here, nothing more, nothing less.

7. British Bulldog & Lex Luger vs. Jeff Jarrett & The Roadie - 3

The commentators keep referring to Roadie as “Road Dogg”. They must’ve been able to see into the future. This match has been going nowhere fast, watching Jarrett strut, Luger work a hammerlock, and Roadie doing the most action of anyone thus far. Bulldog seemed to be an afterthought except for pretty much the beginning and getting a hot … well, lukewarm tag to clear the ring as Stan Lane put it on commentary “like a lawn mower”. Again, nothing here worth checking out a second time. A colossal mess of a brawl led to Luger and Bulldog getting the win in a match that accomplished absolutely nothing.

8. Men on a Mission vs. Smoking Gunns - 4

The Smoking Gunns rush the ring and this starts out with more fire in the first 30 seconds that anything else on this tape combined. Not sure when this match was filmed but it appears to be before Mabel won King of the Ring. If there’s one thing that I love about wrestling, it’s seeing big dudes like Mabel, Vader, and Yokozuna just completely wreck shop and ruin peoples lives, and that’s exactly what Mabel did. Mabel did some sort of back suplex looking move that looked completely nasty and had to destroy Bart Gunn’s back and probably made his night absolutely miserable. Billy got a hot tag after what seemed like an eternity (seriously, I've seen epic ten-part documentary films from Ken Burns that were shorter than Bart's face in peril segment) and managed to get a pin with a small package.

9. Jeff Jarrett vs. Razor Ramon - 4

Finally, the last match on the tape and it's for the Intercontinental Title. Has there ever been a title change on a match filmed exclusively for Coliseum Video? I doubt it. First five minutes of this was stalling from Jarrett and Roadie with Razor cutting a promo. Finally, the action starts and the pace stays pretty quick. Crowd is pretty hot from the get-go as well. That shark cage Roadie is in doesn’t look sturdy at all. There’s a ref bump and Roadie sends down a mystery object on a rope from the cage that Razor tries to use and is unsucessful. A vicious Razor’s Edge on Jarrett led to a lame double count-out finish as Jarrett scurries away and Roadie gets a post-match beatdown. I’m guessing this same match was done around the circuit numerous time with the same finish.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

WWE SmackDown! 15th Anniversary Celebration 10/10/14

WWE SmackDown! 15th Anniversary Celebration - 10/10/14

1. Adam Rose vs. Kane - 1
2. AJ Lee vs. Alicia Fox - 1
3. Seth Rollins vs. Kofi Kingston -
4. Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler - 3
5. Team Teddy (Usos, Los Matadores, Mark Henry, Sheamus, Jack Swagger, and El Torito) vs. Team Johnny (Cesaro, Heath Slater, Titus O’Neil, Goldust, Stardust, Bo Dallas, Damien Mizdow, and Mini Gator) - 3

So the show starts with a video package highlighting the craziness of fifteen years of SmackDown! I have a soft spot for it (especially the 1999 season because we tackled ranking it in its entirety here) even if recent NHO returning staffer Adam hasn't watch a full episode since WWE went to HD programming.

Opener could have been fun but they only gave it about a min. Rose's posse looks like a walking PSA on identifying potential rape risks on campus. Divas match only got 90 sec. or so. Alicia busted out a swank tilt-a-whirl backbacker. Fox is easily the most underutilized woman talent they've had on the payroll in a decade maybe ever. Rollins' pants are tighter than Foley picking a motel for an overnight stop. Seth's offense a little stompy for my tastes. Kofi would have made an excellent member of the Age of the Fall, or go more subversive and do Emmanuel Newtown as the angry young man from the neighborhood's only black family who turned to hardcore punk music as an outlet for his hostility. It was about as one-sided as a squash as they go -- 3 min. of Seth dominating Kofi which isn't an objectionable use of either guy at the moment. Before his athleticism starts declining with age I believe Kofi deserves at least one bigger run given he's been one of the more active, consistent regular workers on the roster for over a decade.

Dolph and Rusev make a good pairing and this may have been their first singles bout but I'd definitely like to see more as Ziggler's penchant to bump like a madman complimented Rusev's physical style well. Wow the apron is busier on this sixteen-man tag than the corner of the locker room Axl Rotten designated pill handout at an ECW show. 2-3 of these guys tops will end up on the actual WrestleMania card next year. But don't worry Titus you can work the Saturday afternoon match at the Fan Axxess event with guest ring introductions by local radio personality Riley Ballz. Would you have still bought a ticc\ket to the this event if you knew Damien Mizdow was working the main event? Think Heath Slater must have been watching some Eric Embry on his iPhone on the flight there. Is it too soon for a Sheamus three-disc DVD set? That'd be a lot of clobbering. Since he does the White Noise named after a bad supernatural thriller maybe he should do a secondary move after its sequel White Noise: The Light. He could steal T-Hawk's Night Ride END but I doubt he's got time to be hip to current DragonGate doing so many personal appearances signing merch at Payless Shoe stores.

I wonder if it was like after they finished filming the Lord of the Rings films and the cast got matching tattoos if all the crew got #SmackDown15 ink after the show.

NHO Road Report: HWA Cyberclash 7.0 - Middletown, OH - 7/5/2014

Over the Independence Day weekend, my friend Tim and I decided to go check out some live HWA wrestling over in Middletown, Ohio. The building isn’t big, as it used to be a Ponderosa restaurant way back when, but there was a good turnout of may 50-60 people. I like the fact that it’s a small, intimate, unique venue where there isn’t a bad seat in the place. The parking, however, left a lot to be desired as there was a line already when we got there about 6:45, which meant the lot was already full and we had to park over at a paint store the next block over. We got some seats in the third row, right in front of the hard camera, sat back, and prepared to enjoy some local indy wrestling.

1. American Kickboxer #2 vs. Devon Nos vs. Sid Fabulous - 3

Kickboxer and Sid Fabulous used to be a tag team a few years ago and had a good run as a mid-card team doing a male dancer gimmick. Eventually, the two went their separate ways with Kid Fabulous morphing into the second coming of the American Kickboxer. I’m not entirely sure how Devon Nos fits into this whole thing but apparently he’s friends with both guys. Kickboxer and Sid, who is still doing the aforementioned male dancer gimmick, had a brawl to start that you could tell was a little heated. Aside from that, this felt pretty much like a standard three way match where two guys would wrestle and the other would wait until it was time to join the fray. Take that, rinse and repeat for about 5-7 minutes and you’ve got the basic idea here. This was short, got the crowd motivated, and was a good choice to open up things with.

2. Kongo Kong vs. Brian Dewey - 3

Dewey is a local who wrestles for a bunch of other companies in the area and was a fill-in here for Mustafa Aziz, who was Kong’s original opponent. Kong came out with a scrawny heel manager with a really growly voice, which doesn’t fit the stereotype at all. If I were him, I’d maybe lay off the Marlboro’s a little bit. Anyway, if you haven’t seen Kong before, he’s a very large human with a fro, tribal face paint, Rikishi-esque gear, and a generally mean attitude. Dewey’s night was absolutely ruined by Kong who just destroyed him with an assortment of hard hitting big man offense, including a giant top rope splash that not only shook the ring but the Richter scale as well.

3. Heidi Lovelace vs. Amber Rodriguez vs. Cherry Bomb - 3

Another three way match, this time with the ladies. Lovelace is the only person in this match I’ve heard of but I’ve never seen her actually wrestle before. Cherry could easily pass for Sara Del Ray from a distance if you weren’t paying close enough attention. Lovelace felt like the glue that held this together. Another basic three way match in the same formula of the opening match. Rodriguez showed a bit of dimension to her characted shaking her “ghetto booty” quite a bit and being a complete ditz and claiming victory after the referee counted three on a rope break. These three stuck to the basics pretty well, things moved at a reasonable pace, and wasn’t entirely inoffensive.

4. Dean Jablonski & Pepper Parks vs. Black Wallstreet - 4

HWA originals Jablonski and Parks, who were accompanied by local indy manager Brock Guffman, took on Chet Lennox and "Human Terminator" Solo who are collectively known as Black Wallstreet. Parks has grown a beard and has bulked up a good bit since I last saw him. Jablonski looks like a marine drill sergeant. I could easily see him shouting at young recruits in boot camp. The opponents I’ve never heard of. Solo comes across and a sort of plain, generic looking dude and I completely forgot his name five minutes in. Lennox did most of the work for his team and Solo came in for a few power spots. Again, nothing too notable but a solid match. It was nice to see Jablonski and Parks coming back home to team together one more time, even if it was for one night only.

5. Dru Skillz vs. Shark Boy - 4

Shark Boy was up next against one-half of the Soul Shooters Dru Skillz. He's still doing the Stone Cold character from about six years ago in TNA when he was teaming with Curry Man. Skillz is a mean looking dude who seemed to enjoy punking out some of the little children in the crowd during the match. I enjoyed the crowd participation as it helped the match a lot. Shark Boy would have an armbar applied, bite the fingers, and the referee would turn to the crowd to ask if Shark Boy really bit the fingers. Skillz would taunt the crowd and everyone shouted back “What?” continuously. That’s probably the only time I can think of recently where that chant wasn’t completely annoying. A fun little match that was enjoyable for Shark Boy’s antics and the participation.

6. 11-Person Battle Royal - 4

Kicking off the second half of the show was an 11-person battle royal. I have no idea who was all in the match but a few of the people I recognized were Necro Butcher, “Hebrew Hammer” Joseph Schwartz, Jerry Andrews, and “Honey Badger” Brendan James. The thing here was that the winner would become the number one contender to the HWA Heritage Title. Necro was in up until the end of the match and spent pretty much the whole match just wearing people out. He destroyed some hapless mystery man in the corner with a steady diet of Kobashi-esque chops. Honey Badger is a local wrestler from Rockstar Pro Wrestling and his contribution to this match was a hard, hellacious bump on the floor. Schwartz is a good comedy wrestler when he’s in singles competition but got lost in the shuffle here. It should be noted as well that he was working on a Saturday, the Sabbath, which is the Jewish day of rest. Necro and Andrews were the last two in and had a good exchange on the apron teasing eliminations. Andrews eventually won and I was not happy.

7. B.J. Whitmer vs. Jeff Holloway - 5

The HWA Heritage Title was on the line next as champion Jeff Holloway defended against B.J. Whitmer. This was probably the most technically sound match of the night. Whitmer always seems to show up on HWA shows, maybe it’s his way of giving back to the place he got his start. Holloway seems to be a good hand in the ring but needs to add a bit of dimension to his persona and he felt a bit plain. Despite the low turnout, Whitmer seemed motivated to put on a good match regardless and as I mentioned, they put on a good, technical match. The work was solid, not outstanding or noteworth, but very solid. I was surprised to see Holloway get the win and this sets up a title match between Holloway and Andrews who I believe are a regular tag team, but I could be wrong on that.

8. Brian Beech vs. Apollo Starr - 3

IThis was set up earlier in the night when Starr and Dru Skillz interrupted Cody Hawk’s return speech to HWA. Beech is one of Cody Hawk’s guys and has been working indy shows in the southwest Ohio area forever. He’s also subbing for Cliff Compton who I was really looking forward to seeing live. Not long ago, I went to a CZW show in Indianapolis and I remember Starr working a pre-show match there. He’s improved a good bit since then I would say. Never was really a big fan of Beech but he put on a good showing. Both guys brawled their way through this and again, nothing special here, but a good effort.

9. Chance Prophet vs. Dustin Rayz - 5

This was the  main event of the evening and was  for the HWA Heavyweight Title. My enjoyability of a Chance Prophet match is mostly dependent on who he is matched up against. The last time I saw him live, he was matched up with a giant, bulky, immobile dude who hasn’t been seen since. This time, he was matched up against Dustin Rayz, a guy who is a pretty decent hand in the ring and wrestles quite often in this area. This was the first shot at the HWA Title I think Rayz has ever had and this turned out to be a nice little match. The crowd brawl at the beginning didn’t seem like a crutch to cover up one or the other being lazy, it felt like it had some meaning to it, which was nice for a change.  The work was mostly solid and both guys put forth a good effort and showed they can go when given the main event spot. Rayz capitalized on his opportunity and won the title with a vicious pedigree style piledriver that looked to have messed up Prophet something awful. This was a better match than I had envisioned but felt a little constrained by time. Rayz winning the title was a shock to me but a surprise title change was a nice way to close out the show.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2001: A WCW Odyssey - WCW Thunder 1/3/01

The first WCW TV show of 2001 and right off the bat Tony Schiavone welcomes us to "2001, a wrestling odyssey". How appropriate.

1. Shane Helms vs. Jamie Knoble - 2

Helms is the number one contender for the Cruiserweight title after beating Shannon Moore on Nitro two weeks ago. Stevie Ray calls a wacky submission hold Helms hooked a “possible submission hold” on commentary. Noble took pretty much all of Helms offense including both a Vertebreaker and the Nightmare on Helms Street. This was essentially a three minute squash match to get Helms over, nothing more, nothing less. Afterwards, a run-in by a litany of dudes including Evan Karagias, Shannon Moore, and Chavo Guerrero which amounted to absolutely nothing.

2. Cpl. Cajun & Sgt. A-Wall vs. Sean O'Haire & Chuck Palumbo - 2

This match feels so non-descript its not even funny. Lots of punching, kicking, and clubbing blows. The Misfits are working in t-shirts. I can’t stand it when people work matches in t-shirts. It feels so low rent and and lazy. End of this was complete chaos with Stasiak and Jindrak outside beating up on A-Wall and O’Haire and Palumbo double teaming Cpl. Cajun with Gen. Rection doing absolutely nothing to help him teammates. Ugh.

3. Chair on a Pole Match: Crowbar vs. Meng - 3

Yes, you read that right, it’s chair on a pole match. It’s never explained how to win, I guess it’s by pinfall or submission? Crowbar grabs the chair 90 seconds in. I guess he pressed the easy button from Staples. Then, we get a brawl on the floor which featured Crowbar trying a Vader Bomb off the guardrail and then Daffney and Paisley getting into a scrap. Meng wins with the Tongan Death Grip and Schiavone goes absolutely crazy on commentary. Not a whole lot to see here.

4. Mark Jindrak vs. Goldberg - 3

Well, I think we all know how this will turn out. Tony on commentary plugs a Goldberg t-shirt and remarks “I’m sure Jindrak would rather be there”. Yeah, I’m sure Jindrak would want to buy the shirt of the guy who’s about to beat the hell out of him. Goldberg runs over Jindrak in about two minutes. Pretty sure Goldberg’s entrance took longer than this match.

5. The Cat vs. Reno - 2

Only five matches in to the first episode and I’m already sick of hearing the lame music for the Natural Born Thrillers. Did I just hear Stevie Ray call a small package a brainbuster? Reno took a rough looking face plant into the buckle and ate a kick from Cat to polish this one off. Another very non-descript match with zero crowd reaction.

6. Mike Awesome vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan - 4

This was set up when Duggan beat up Elix Skipper in a bus earlier in the night. Let’s not question the logic behind that. This has been the most entertaining thing on the show by far. I enjoyed every second of watching these guys just wail on each other. No bullshit, no major interference during the match, just two big dudes pounding each other non-stop for five minutes or so. This was lots of fun.

7. Buff Bagwell vs. “Sarge” DeWayne Bruce - 2

Longtime WCW fans will recognize Bruce as Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker of the tag team The State Patrol from early to mid-90s WCW. Never really cared much for Bagwell and this felt like they were on auto-pilot until Bagwell hit a completely random double arm DDT. We then get a random cut scene where Kronik attacks Goldberg, shoves him in a box, and makes some hapless bystander haul him out in a forklift. Cut back to the ring where the bell randomly rings and Bagwell and Luger beat up Bruce and break his arm with a chair.

8. Jeff Jarrett vs. Sid Vicious - 2

This was set up earlier in the night by Ric Flair who said the winner of the match gets the third spot in the Sin main event. Sid got some offense early on, which was mostly a really tepid brawl outside the ring. Jarrett controls with a sleeperhold, Sid then gets a comeback which involves a clothesline, a big boot, and a kick to the gut before interference from the Mystery Man and the match is thrown out. Ok, great, that accomplished exactly nothing.

Pretty mediocre show overall with a lot of guys that seemed like they were just going through the motions. The Duggan/Awesome match was a fun five minute brawl but that was the highlight. This review came across pretty much just like the show, very bland.

Next up in this series ... Monday Nitro 1/8/01

2001: A WCW Odyssey Master List

2001: A WCW Odyssey

(Author's Note: It's good to be back! - Adam)

Reading the WCW Highway to Hell thread over at Pro Wrestling Only inspired me to revisit something I did last year, and that's watch the whole year of WCW in 2001. I've got all of the Nitro and Thunder episodes and all the pay-per-view shows ready to go. So, over the course of the next few months, I'll be looking back at WCW 2001 in chronological order and then sharing my thoughts overall at the end of the project. Hopefully, this isn't too painful.

Listed below are the dates of each show individually, I'll be updating this master page with the link to each show as the project progresses so you can track everything.

1/3/01 - Thunder
1/8/01 - Nitro
1/10/01 - Thunder
1/14/01 - Sin PPV
1/15/01 - Nitro
1/17/01 - Thunder
1/22/01 - Nitro
1/24/01 - Thunder
1/29/01 - Nitro
1/31/01 - Thunder

2/5/01 - Nitro
2/7/01 - Thunder
2/12/01 - Nitro
2/14/01 - Thunder
2/18/01 - SuperBrawl Revenge PPV
2/19/01 - Nitro
2/21/01 - Thunder
2/26/01 - Nitro
2/28/01 - Thunder

3/5/01 - Nitro
3/7/01 - Thunder
3/12/01 - Nitro
3/14/01 - Thunder
3/18/01 - Greed PPV
3/19/01 - Nitro
3/21/01 - Thunder (Final Episode)
3/26/01 - Nitro (Final Episode and Final WCW Event)