Just a couple of things before we get under way. Last night in my Nitro Report I mistakenly implied that the Beverly Brothers had held the Tag Team Titles in the WWF. That was not correct.
Solie's reader Chris Riedel sent us this house show report featuring our friend L'Artiste on the card. Thanks Chris!
Indy Report by Chris Riedel
This hall is located on Cleveland's near West Side, an industrial urban neighborhood of working class folks. I would estimate the hall's capacity at around 400. At bell time the hall was very close to full.
L'artiste vs. The Custom Made Man (CMM)
L'artiste walked out of the ring before the match had even begun because of the "USA" chants. He is drawing massive heat. The match starts and CMM works from a headlock into a series of arm wringers. An eye poke by L'artiste changes the momentum. He delivers a power slam and gets a near fall. CMM delivers a clothesline and gets a NF. He then executes a suplex and gets a NF before L'artiste slows things down with a crotch shot. He throws CMM to the floor and delivers a cross body over the top rope to CMM's Hollywood Hunk tag partner. He gets back in the ring and does a flying somersault over the top rope onto CMM and the unpadded floor below. Back in the ring CMM delivers a kick to the head but L'artiste counters with a hurrancanrana and a snap suplex. CMM then gets off a hurrancanrana of his own. At this point, with the ref distracted, L'artiste introduces the pole from his Canadian flag to CMM's back and gets the pin at the 10 minute mark.
Sheik Abdul Hassam (TV Champ) vs. K.C. Stryker
This crowd is extremely loud. The Sheik has over 100 pounds on Stryker. The Sheik delivers a series of power moves (suplexes, etc.) before Stryker reverses momentum and gets the Sheik out on the floor. Stryker swan dives from the top rope onto the Sheik out on the floor below. Back in the ring the Sheik throws Stryker into the ref, grabs a chair which in turn slips from his hands into Stryker's. The ref sees this and calls for the bell, DQ-ing Stryker.
Buzzsaw Brian Ireland vs. Lick Z. Zack The crowd tonight seems to literally want kill the heels. Some of these people are starting to scare me. BTW, I checked with the ring announcer during intermission to verify the spelling of Mr. Zack's name, so don't blame it on me :) Ireland bears a striking resemblence to Chris Benoit. This was a solid match that went back and forth with a real good work rate. Apparently the CWA has a rule that requires everyone to work part of their match on the floor. Mr. Zack takes a very solid bump on the corner post and comes up bleeding. Back in the ring Ireland delivers a spike suplex, but then he misses a swan dive from the top rope. He gets a near fall but Lick rolls through it to get the pin.
Carmen Copperpot vs. Elvis Elliot
After a long series of very solid power moves they end up on the floor (!). Slams, clotheslines, powerbombs from both wrestlers. Ultimately Elvis delivers a moonsault from the top rope for the win.
Theater of Pain (G-Moe and Juggernaut) vs. T.C. Black and Devon Daniels
TOP are local heroes. They are the promoters of CWA and are involved in the local community. They are WAY over with this crowd. The action is fast and furious and it is all over the building including the men's room. This is a very good ECDUB style match. Lots of chair shots and power spots. This is the first match where the crowd rallies the faces instead of just assailing the heels. G-Moe and Juggernaut both end up bleeding. Ultimately a chair shot to Daniels's partner sets up the double team for the Theater of Pain win. I'd give this match 3.5* out of 5 at ANY level.
The Crow (CWA Champ) vs. Mr. Main Event
Mr. Main Event is a Chippendale wannabe, complete with bowtie, and the Crow has a beer gut. As good as the last match was, this one is that bad. But hey, they made it to the floor! Mr. Main Event becomes the new champ via the sleeper at 6:36. Yawn.
Dan Severn vs. Kodiak Scott Stone
Stone is a big boy. According to the ring announcer's notes he's 377 pounds. He looks it. Severn demonstrates some remarkable power in suplexing and body slamming the large man. He eventually gets Stone to tap out to an ankle lock. I got to talk to Severn for about 10 minutes the next night and he was extemely gracious, a true gentleman.
Overall, a pretty entertaining night. I got to see some decent wrestling and I got to spend some time with my friend L'artiste.
RAW was taped previously at the America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, despite the fact that they got some people in the audience to hold up "Happy St. Patrick's Day" signs.
Ken Shamrock comes to the ring for an interview with Kevin Kelly. Kelly wants to know if Shamrock can keep his temper in his coming match against the Rock at WrestleMania. He says he has the discipline to win the IC Title. Maivia shows up to interrupt his rant. He has his cronies in tow (whatever happened to Mark Henry anyway..?) Maivia says that Shamrock couldn't last two minutes with any member of the NOD. In fact he'll put up the title tonight if Shamrock can answer that challange, then he sends D'Lo down to do his dirty work. Shamrock starts to decline but D'Lo jumps him before he can get the words out. The crowd is chanting "Rocky Sucks" as Shamrock starts to recover from the surprise attack. He puts the ankle lock on his opponent with about 30 seconds left of the two minutes but Maivia runs in and smashes him with a chair. The Rock does it a second time (at Shamrock's invitation, actually) and then is prevented by Faarooq from doing it a third time. Shamrock is being helped up as we cut to commercial.
We see video of the action just before the break then a shot of Shamrock in the back refusing medical assistance. Then Sable comes to the ring and calls Luna out. She wants a match tonight (a fight is how she refers to it). Sounds like fun...
The Phoenix Gorilla makes a rather comical appearance. Falling into and out of the ring then joining the broadcasters.
Tom Brandi vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennesee Lee) - Double J's gimmick is, was and always will be one of the worst in all of wrestling - I don't care what anyone says. The only thing worse might just be his former personna. This guy needs to go back to being a face like he was years ago. The only other way out for him, in my opinion is to don a mask and be someone else. I'm not saying he's not a talented wrestler - he just needs to get a personality. Oh yeah, he makes short work of his opponent with a fast figure four.
Kevin Kelly updates us on Shamrock's condition, he has a concussion and has gone to the hospital. The Rock interrupts to say that the WWF needs to find him another opponent for WrestleMania. Cut to a WrestleMania moment - clips of Lawrence Taylor's match against Bam Bam Bigalow then to commercial.
WrestleMania video tribute to Shawn Michaels. All this build up could be wasted if Michaels doesn't get well soon... We are 40 minutes into the broadcast and have seen one short match plus an impromptu brawl so far.
Th Gorilla's back in the ring as we return. Then the Rock & Roll Express come down with Jim Cornette. I just realized that they are using the Rockers old music - kind of funny when you consider that the Rockers were considered an ersatz R&R in the AWA and later in the WWF.
The Headbangers vs. R&R/Jim Cornette - handicap match - R&R are still have great teamwork but lack a certain amount of credibility these days because of their advancing age. Especially against a superb team like the Bangers. They (R&R) lose the match in short order (Cornette never even gets into the ring) - then Bob Holly and Bart Gunn show up to Pearl Harbor the Bangers. Cornette introduces them as the new Midnight Express. Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart, he calls them. He then sics them on R&R saying the latter have allowed other wrestlers to manhandle him. I see the rebirth of an ancient feud. Cut to a replay of Sable's challange then to commercial.
The Gorilla is in the ring again - hardly in the same league as the Nitro Grrrls...oh good - here comes Kane. The idiot Gorilla just stands there - doesn't anybody ever watch this stuff..? Kane creams him, of course. At least he won't be back tonight... Cut to commercial.
Replay yet again of the attack on Shamrock, then Sable's challange once more, then the introduction of the new ME, then the Gorilla gets planted - basically the entire program...minus the two matches. That's the first hour folks.
Owen Hart comes down with a cast on his leg - they show his injury causing move in slow motion (during his match two weeks ago) - and joins the broadcast team for the remainder of the program. He promises to be at WrestleMania.
Chainsaw Charlie vs. Baddass Billy Gunn (w/Road Dog) - the tag Champs bring a dumpster out to the platform - Jesse James runs his mouth as they come to the ring then retains his mic so he can berate Funk throughout the match. Billy seems to have Charlie's number. He beats him inside and outside the ring then hauls him back in and puts two pile-drivers on him. After the second one he goes for a pin then pulls him up. Big mistake of course. Funk mounts a comeback and gets a DDT on Billy. James comes in and gets his clock cleaned then Funk puts a second DDT on Billy, this time onto his Title belt. Cactus Jack shows up. The Road Dog gets hogtied and hauled about seven feet into the air hanging upside down - they mock him from inside the ring and then split - leaving him hanging there. They should have set him swinging... Cut to commercial.
Luna and Goldust are on camera as we return. She accepts the challange but says she will do it in her own time. Dustin is out of character.
Vince McMahon strides to the ring to a veritible chorus of boos. He seems genuinely pleased at his reception. They show a clip of Vince in the world's loudest sportcoat getting berated by Austin on last weeks program. Vince comments then back to a second clip - Austin takes care of the ugly sports coat. Kelly wants to know why Vince didn't hit Austin when invited to... Vince ends up impling that he would have broken Austin's jaw! (dream on promoter boy...) Vince then says, "What would have happened if I had taken Austin down..?" - unbelievable... He then says that Austin as the WWF Champ would be a public relations nightmare but refuses to answer the question asked of him..."Do you want to see Austin as the WWF Champion?" Kelly keeps pressing him and finally he lies and says that he doesn't want to see it happen. A bravado performance sure to earn him a shot of some kind the next time he and Austin meet. Cut too commercial.
Mike Tyson rap record video.
WrestleMania tribute video to Steve Austin. Another 8 minutes wasted... Cut to commercial.
One hour and 45 minutes into the program and there have been three under-ten minute matches so far - this has got to be a new record.
We return to HHH coming down to the ring. He gets in Owen's face trying to bait him into a match. He ends it by shoving him out of his chair. Hart explodes all over him, despite his injury. They end up brawling in and out of the ring. Chyna comes down with a baseball bat and hits Owen on his injured leg. She rolls him into the ring where HHH puts an ankle lock on him. Amazingly, the ref stops the match (?) and awards the European Title to Helmsley! That was too weird... Cut to commercial.
Luna (w/Goldust) vs. Sable (w/Mr. Sable) - oh boy! A cat fight! ...no, instead we get a ring full of referees and Goldust and Mero trying to hold the two of them apart. Geez...they want to fight...let them fight! The men finally get out of the way and there is a brief scuffle then Sable apparently hurt her ankle. Luna is hustled away. Mero is trying to help Sable up when the lights go out. Here comes Kane again - like this is any of his business. As the pyrotechnics blast - Mero bails leaving Sable to Kane and his fat friend. Fortunately the lights go out again and the Undertaker appears in the scaffolding above the platform. A box opens below him showing an effigy of Kane which bursts into flames before we fade to black.
All in all a pretty poor showing...
At least that's the way I see it...
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