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  1. The second Elimination Chambers match. Again for the WWE title. Again with Trip as the champ going in. Should tell you everything you need to know. On paper, doesn't look as good as the first match. In execution, was much better as a whole until the finish. Shawn vs Jericho as the Wargames workhorse opener. These guy know how to begin. Damn, Shawn was quite back in shape and style there. When Randy Orton gets in, he gets crickets. He's still a young guy with potential pushed to the main event scene because of the name and look. And he's already kinda bland. Kevin Nash gets the Kane spot. Except Nash in 2003 was still better at it than Kane the previous year. There's something badass about Nash demeanor + charisma, even with age and a shot body, he looks imposing. So it works well. Some blood and Jericho or Michaels, whoever gets there first. HHH's cell opens and... Shawn superkicks him. Cool spot. HHH remains hidden until the end. Why not, he's the Game. Nash gets out of the way before Goldy gets in. Good idea. Goldy would have killed him for ending the streak or something. So Nash jobs to the superkick of his best friend instead, although Jericho is getting the pin. The Goldy segment is the best stuff here and puts him over like crazy. Insane spear putting Jericho through the UNBREAKABLE glass (although Goldy has to give an added omphhh to his effort, which actually made it look even more painfull). Goldy clears the space. It's pretty great, really. Then HHH doesn't want to get out. Flair holding the door from the outside was neat. Goldy breaking the UNBREAKABLE GLASS with his feet and hands was kinda goofy really but also quite badass. Better this than a car window. And so he kicks HHH's ass, who's sporting Yoshiaki Yastu's pants. And then... oh man. It's 2003. The sledghammer. Damn. From nowhere. HHH wins, effectively killing the crowd. Totally anticlimatic shit finish to an otherwise excellently booked match. Evolution beating like there are some kind of lame Horsemen. Mmkay. You know, heels never won Wargames, Trip. Shawn & Jericho were clearly the workhorses (again). Goldy's segment was the best. Orton was there, like he always has been and always will, apparently. Yet, better than the first one despite a whole lot of no-heat for a long time because it's 2003. But while the finish of 2002 was terrific, this one sucked the life out of the crowd.
  2. I saw a few Steven Regal matches pop up as I was doing my Eddie Guerrero post. A 1996 Nitro match. I wanted to watch it but I'd wisely limited my little project to 1997. Here I found another cache of bouts all featuring Lord Steven Regal from WCW. Most if not all are from Nitro and all are on the 'tube. Let's see what we've: vs Chris Benoit (01/01/96) - Very good aggressive match. Looked like more potatoes than Idaho. Regal got dumped on the German suplex, it was great! Unique finish too. vs Eddie Guerrero (01/08/96) - Technical but very punishing match. That is to say Regal punished Eddie - European uppercuts, knee lifts, palm strikes and an arm trap dragon sleeper to name few. Eddie doesn't quit. Despite Regal's size he took the head scissor moves and the like very well. This was a really good bout. vs Dean Malenko (08/19/96) - Great under 10 minute technical wizard duel. I think this match was the best of the 3 Cruiserweight musketeer matches because they wrestled a faster pace. But speed isn't everything so perhaps it was the story of them both being evenly matched. Regal had size and strikes but Malenko was had a slight advantage from a technical standpoint. vs Chris Benoit (12/02/96) - Even stiffer and more violent than their January match. Hard way blood from shoot headbutts a couple minutes in forces the TV cameras to no longer show close-ups and even the fixed camera has to pull way back. It's a little too far back in my opinion but we can still see everything. like a clear version of a handheld match. They do not let up. It's only 6+ minutes but its pretty awesome. vs Dean Malenko (12/23/96) - Another technical battle. Regal seems to have an advantage most of the match but Dean uses his quickness to exploit openings. Then goes apeshit with elbows in the corner. We get a time limit draw (bull shit) in the end because they need plenty time for some NWO crap no doubt...however what they did was sweet. Psychosis vs. Lord Steven Regal (01/18/97 WCW Saturday Night) - Pretty much all Psychosis on offense and Regal does the reverse vertical suplex/brain buster and finishes the man off with the Regal Stretch. vs Rey Mysterio Jr. (02/10/97) - Good match but a little distracted by Regal taunting the group of fans the whole match. It did make Rey's hope spots seem more plausible as you could say Regal was not paying attention like he should.. perhaps taking Mysterio lightly. Actually I choose to believe that it was all intentional and we get a neat story out of this. Time limit draw for an under 10 minute match again. Maybe its to keep Regal's heat but he seems to be doing just fine on his own. vs Chris Jericho (03/31/97): Fucking idiots chanting U-S-A gets old watching these matches. I usually mute WCW matches since I hate 3 man commentary and WCW's especially. But I've been tempted to listen here & there especially for Tenay or Zbyszko's remarks. I guess Regal was getting heat though. Anyhow Jericho steam rolls Regal and gets the upset win. Regal then goes to town on Chris. vs Rey Mysterio (04/07/97): Competitive match but Regal refused to break the hold and gets DQ'd. Prince Iaukea (remember him?) comes out to make the save (he just beat Regal for the TV title) but gets stretched too. We're at the point in WCW where cruiserweight wrestling gets no time on TV. vs Chris Benoit (04/28/97) - Short match and in their usual style. Lots of work from the Greco Roman knuckle lock. They do the shoot headbutt spot again and no blood this time but the producers had them pull the camera back again just in case. Wimps! We get outside interference and is a DQ. vs Hector Garza (06/30/97) - Fun with Garza getting a ton of offense. I'm not sure if the top rope tornillo to the outside was a botch on Regal's part or it was more of a tope head butt thing. He should have just done a big cross body attack or double ax handle smash instead. Edit: OK sorry for my ignorance! Looks like it IS supposed to be a tornillo plan ha move but guessing Regal had no clue how to prepare for it. I watched a Nitro match with Garza vs Villano IV and it was very similar but watched some other clips and Garza hits it beautifully as a cross body move. vs Ultimo Dragon (07/22/97): Quick but rather fiercely fought match. Dragon was really laying in his kicks. Nice little match... again very short but really enjoyable for what it was. vs Alex Wright (09/15/97): Whoa! They actually had some time to work a match. Good wrist lock stuff, very carnival, and a nice clean finish. Fun stuff! w/ Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero & Dean Malenko (11/03/97): Odd tag teams but we get the great action you want in a very small dose. Its more of a Rey showcase than anything but good fun. As with most things WCW, it peters out by the end. Still, Regal and his opponents were able to work with the time given. The best stuff is from '96 with the Three Amigos. I highly recommend checking those out. Personally I liked the Malenko matches best. The time limit draw with Rey is very worthwhile too. Thanks for reading and stay safe!
  3. I've been in a bit of a rut regarding wrestling. My momentum was lost once the weather got nice and I've been skateboarding more. My brain has switched over to "skate mode" but if you're like me it gets stuck on one thing and its tough to get unstuck sometimes. I find that watching old WWF, WCW or TNA helps. I don't know if it's the low expectations or just the familiarity but it seems to work pretty well. I put in my copy of Rise and Fall of WCW and started digging the Eddie Guerrero matches and what do you know!? I had my Eddie Guerrero set sitting out too. Its gotten super warm lately so skating is out of question until it cools down. Many of the PPV matches are on DVD and the TV matches are online. But a few of 'em are online as well. So I thought I would do a post on these bouts. All are probably in the Match Discussion Archives/Yearbooks. I probably don't have enough content to add to what those folks said but WTF. I'll say this, I'm watching these as an Eddie collection rather than in relation to what's going on that year. And we're talking about 1997. So if your looking to watch some classic Eddie, look no further! Alex Wright vs. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Nitro • January 06, 1997) - Good, almost 10 minute long match. Haven't seen an Alex Wright match in forever but he was really good. Reminds me of Jimmy Rave in a way - technically proficient and unselfish in the ring. I enjoyed this. It got overshadowed with Syxx being a ringside with a ladder (teasing the PPV match below) and the announcers ignored it (per usual) but this was a very nice technical TV match. Syxx vs. Eddie Guerrero (nWo Souled Out, Ladder Match • January 25, 1997) - Very good solid Ladder match. WCW never gave two shits about the smaller guys so this was not going to be the best it could have been. Nonetheless, it had some great work and Waltman may have been better than Eddie here. Or let's say he was a nice change of pace to the NJ Jrs. in WCW style. I really liked this match. Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (WCW Saturday Night, • February 8, 1997) - A fantastic technical sprint to main event the show. Matches like this is why I tried to catch Saturday Night and Worldwide on the weekends. OK it goes to a draw but this was great! They didn't quite reach their top shelf moves but in away that's what was so refreshing. It was fought like a Jr. heavyweight match from 10 years earlier... simple but effective - and fast. Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho (WCW SuperBrawl • February 23, 1997) - Great match! Maybe the first big match between Eddie and Jericho? Chris still had his black and yellow WAR pants. This was Eddie facing a younger version of himself. Lots of good grappling, excellent suplexes & slams and surprisingly not a lot of acrobatics. Or well not a lot of dives...no Lionsault or Frog Splash for instance. But Eddie laid out a match to really make Jericho look fantastic. Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (WCW Uncensored, No DQ • March 16, 1997) - A very good to great match. It was really technical with a nice little bit of Eddie attacking Dean's leg in creative ways. It didn't do much but Eddie did go for Malenko's clover leaf so you say he didn't totally give up on it. I think it was more 'move theft' though as Dean-o did the Frog Splash. This was a longer developed match and of course the finish was bullshit but it's a No DQ match so I suppose it works AND the baby face won. Still its shit like this that makes me glad I never bought a WCW pay per view! Wish we got a good finish still... Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (WCW Nitro • June 30, 1997) - I think Dean is a fantastic under 10 minute worker especially with Eddie. They just have so many spots and sequences in their arsenal that these shorter matches wrestle themselves. Does that make sense? Of course there's some outside influence to set up the finish but ah well. Eddie Guerrero vs. Hector Guerrero (WCW Nitro • July 27, 1997) - Fast but fun match between brothers. Hector pulled out a couple old school moves that I'd like to see make a come back. Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho (WCW Nitro • August 11, 1997) - Fun and exciting 5 minute match. Clean finish too...but WTF gives with having this be 5 minutes long? I'm mad about this 20+ years later Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho (WCW Fall Brawl • September 14, 1997) - Oh man, I think this might be a better match than their first PPV bout. The pacing was more deliberate and the structure seemed more coherent. That's an obtuse way of saying that this bout told a better story. Eddie was pretty much a heel and wrestled that type of style when given the chance. So this was more of an American style but they still incorporated their Japanese and Mexican maneuvers. And everything just flowed from one thing to the next..plus a clean finish. I'm really tempted to call it a classic for that reason. I'll temper my enthusiasm and call it a Near classic. Eddie Guerrero vs. Ultimo Dragon (WCW Nitro • September 15, 1997) - Sprint paced under 10 minute with a work-the-arm match that Dragon hard-sold which led to the finish. Great under 10 minute match. They have some others online but this looks like the longest/most developed from what I've seen. Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio (Halloween Havoc, Mask vs Title October 26, 1997) - Yes, this lives up to the hype. The spots are just amazing even 20+ years later. I really appreciated the consistent back-work Guerrero did as well as Mysterio's creative escapes from those attacks. Everything was just so crisp and made sense with the story they were telling. I have no problem saying this is a classic Jr. match. Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Nitro • November 10, 1997) - The TV version of the Halloween Havoc match. Shorter but still very thrilling. It was very good stuff. I always wish we got more Eddie in Japan but WCW really did have something special with their roster. Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Nitro • November 17, 1997) - Almost 10 minutes long and excellent stream of consciousness wrestling. Again Dean & Eddie can do these flawless fast TV matches and its a shame that doesn't translate into the PPV shows. Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (WCW Starrcade • December 28, 1997) - A very good to great match but a step down from what Eddie was doing with other guys..and even Dean on TV. Much of their best stuff is speedy sequences and a feeling of an ongoing fight with counters or reversals. Here I think they had to fill time for the PPV and were slowing down in between moves and taking rest holds to sequence stuff out on the fly to buy time. It felt like something you'd see in WWF or the WCW heavyweights do. Looking at Wikipedia and I guess this was a highly purchased show but critically it stunk with this bout being the only one of value. That tells me that they asked these guys to go longer (second longest match which is NOT what you want) either because the card was bloated or per the Wikipedia page Nash no showed which was announced immediately after the match. Not the way to end this post but! is a pretty good summary of how WCW would decline. Their TV matches feel like PPV matches and vice versa. It's really weird. This has been a blast. Thanks for reading!
  4. The Jericho Appreciation Society (Chris Jericho, Matt Menard, Angelp Parker, Daniel Garcia & Jake Hager) vs The Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley & Bryan Danielson), Eddie Kingston, Santana & Ortiz --- ANARCHY IN THE ARENA A wild, hate-filled spectacle with forks, sunglasses, a jib camera, and a turnbuckle being among a few weapons used. “Wild Thing” blared throughout the first few minutes until Jericho smashed a soundboard. Garcia’s piledriver onto the steps looked gnarly. Mox channeled his inner-L.A. Park by chucking a full cooler at Jericho’s head. Most everyone was willing to let the juices flow, and there was insane energy to all of it. Danielson fish hooking Hager with a turnbuckle is the kind of unhinged, creative violence you’ve come to expect from the G.O.A.T. Santana and Ortiz wiped out Parker and Menard with stereo dives off ladders. Kingston being so obsessed with getting revenge on Jericho that he was willing to dump gasoline on his partner to burn the former was perfect, the sort of palpable hatred this kind of match relies on. This match is an example of being better than the sum of its parts. It just so happens that stellar performances from a few of the all-time greats, and one of the best prospects in wrestling buoyed this thing. Everyone held up their end, even Jericho (who’s a coward for not bleeding, by the way), but Bryan, Kingston, Mox, and Garcia were on another level. Jericho put Danielson in the Walls of Jericho as Hager choked him with the dismantled ring ropes, and the feud must continue. Few matches this year, if any, have captured the sense of pageantry and wonder of a blood-feud like this did.
  5. Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho - Wrestlemania XIX I feel like I have to be missing something with this match. It is just so underwhelming given the praise heaped on it. It just does not do much for me. I get the fan trying to prove he had surpassed his idol at his craft story and there were a few nods here and there to that. I never felt like Jericho was proving himself to Michaels. Michaels' main motivation in this match seemed to be have a good time at his first Wrestlemania back and prove he have a great non-gimmick match. Besides me, I think that was everybody's conclusion and this was a significant step in his full-time return. I think it would have been better they had a more light-hearted affair like a Midnight/RnRs match where Michaels gets to have his fun early and Jericho clowns and bumps. Jericho gets vicious and violent during his heat on the back. Then they hit the finish. The match they had just lacked any sort of hook. It was seemingly totally bereft of any story or struggle. The early part of the match was the most blase and lame matwork you will ever see. Lawler sucked a big one on commentary. He basically claimed mat wrestling was passe and an anachronism in 2003 to open an match. Jericho and Michaels were doing their best to prove him right. Jericho takes over with a spin kick and then misses a move so Michaels can get the figure-4, but this all abandoned once they go to the outside where Jericho catches HBK into a Boston Crab. Jericho's heat segment was definitely the best part of the match. He worked the back over well and was pretty cocky. Then they do my least favorite transition, the I stand up and hit you with three strikes. Jericho steals HBK's moves (Flying Burriot/Kip Up), who is then like fuck you with Kip Ups galore. They run through a nearfall sequence. Hilariously, a bridge out spot has been their biggest pop of the night so far. Jericho runs through his finish sequence. Literally no transitions. Just Im going to do my shitty version of a bulldog on you now. Being a heel and having a submission finish in the WWE is so silly. Michaels makes it to the ropes twice in this match, some finish. Jericho punctuates his sequence with his own Sweet Chin Music. Shawn says my turn and hits a reverse crossbody. I did like that Shawn had to earn his top rope elbow, which was a nice moment. Sweet Chin Music outta nowhere (Jericho was bitching and moaning that no one submits to the Boston Crab) and that should have been the finish. They go the cradle route to put it over as an OMG CLASSIC~!, because classics end in cradles! Jericho punting Michaels' in the balls after the match was the best part of this by far. I think this is one of the most overrated matches in the 2000s. No flow. No story. Two just guys doing their moves. Their 2008 series smokes this. I am open to arguments on why this is great because I am genuinely curious why this is so well-regarded. I feel like there is something I am just not getting.
  6. Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho - WCW Fall Brawl 1996 You can tell how much Jericho wanted to be a great wrestler. Just how bad he wanted it is really admirable and looking back I can't help but at least root for him to succeed. That being said, I am shocked he did not cripple himself or someone else in this timeframe. He just would totally overly extend his capabilities in these matches in the ridiculously stupid highspots he would do and his general sloppiness. The falling springboard back elbow to the floor where he basically took a flat back bump on the apron was just ridiculous. Dusty was just hilarious, "Jericho is a tremendous athlete...silence...I think he just broke his back.". He goes from raving Dusty to Oh My God that stupid muthafucker almost killed himself in a heartbeat. I have always wanted to watch this match due to the names attached. It seems that besides the Eddy Guerrero match at Fall Brawl 1997 that Jericho just did not really have the framework to have a great match in WCW. Benoit did not really put it together until 1998, but boy, once he did he was great. He was really hit and miss up until that point. This match is just a standard spotfest. Benoit's spots always look great and he just tears into Jericho. Jericho's spots look better than normal because Benoit was better at selling and bumping than Jericho at this point. Up until the Swandive Headbutt, I thought this was a fun little spotfest and look at what these two could. Then after the headbutt they just ran out of gas. There was aimless walking then quick roll ups and then a surfboard. They totally had no fucking clue what to do next. Then it is like light bulb goes off we are in WCW, why don't we do a tombstone reversal. Hey, I am all for it. Jericho instead of covering goes for the Lionsault. For some reason, that little skip Jericho does over his opponent cracked me up. Jericho's nearfall is a top rope frankensteiner, but Benoit wins with a super back suplex. Jericho really did have no concept of psychology until WWF. Wow! Benoit in 1998 would have been mature enough to extract a lot more out of Jericho in a bout like this, but in 1996 Benoit is just as spotty (better spots and safer) so it is just a clusterfuck.
  7. WWE Intercontinental Champion Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho - Royal Rumble 2001 Ladder Match I have never seen this match before, but is always one that has intrigued me. They have greatly improved from Fall Brawl 1996. The beginning of the match was well-executed with Benoit constantly one step ahead of Jericho and always throwing him shoulder first into objects. I liked Jericho's pluckiness and Benoit' sterness in the early going. After a bit, it turned into a great violent carwreck of a match. Comparing this match to Harper/Ziggler shows why I think Harper/Ziggler should be rewarded because of the great story they told based on face/heel dynamics. This match was totally bereft of face/heel dynamics. If you watched this match on mute (mostly due to commentary, there was only one Y2J chant), I think you would be hard pressed to tell which one was the face and heel. I liked that Jericho needed to use the ladder as an equalizer because he was in rough shape and that Benoit is such a force of nature. They both took some really nasty bumps. The chair shot to Benoit on his tope is really disturbing to watch. I appreciate them saving the slow climbs until the very end. They escalated nicely to the finish run. In the the finish run, they messed up the order of things. At first they did a good job with the different ways they tried to eliminate each other. Then they went to the Walls of Jericho on the ladder, which was a really cool spot and got the biggest pop, but they did not use that as a finish. I thought Jericho got up way too quickly from the Crossface. I hate when they do ladder spots not in the center of the ring, but the missed diving headbutt was a Holy Shit spot. The actual finish spot was pretty tame compared to the other ones even if it was more dangerous and barely got a reaction. I think you go Crossface, but Benoit wants to really finish Jericho so he misses diving headbutt. They both milk it. Jericho climbs first then Benoit, Walls spot, huge pop. Benoit is thrown off and Jericho wins. It was an entertaining violent spotfest, but lacks substance. It will be hard to remember any spots except the Walls on the ladder and the chair shot on the tope. It is an entertaining 20 minutes or so, but nothing classic. ***
  8. John Cena defends the WWE Heavyweight Title I'm starting to think that there is some revisionist history (damn, I hate that phrase, but it's apt here) going on here. For years, the story was that the fans turned on Cena because of his new cookie cutter army gimmick but here he is, still in his Chain Gang gimmick. They even call Cena's fans the chain gang. Its the same schtick that he had months prior to big plaudits. So that's not true, at least not here, who knows weekly because I was like super young to remember this era of wrestling. Anyway, this was pretty neat. And I attribute it to Cena's great showing here. He was explosive and showed tons of urgency in his opening barrage of offence. Cena isn't the most varied wrestler, offensively, but he could get the most out of what he can. His short running clothesline was used greatly as a momentum changer, he had some..not stiff but impactful back-elbows which did a ton of damage. Loved his selling too. He made Jericho look really good here, slowing down whenever Jericho hit his big spots in the match, the struggle he had for getting out of the simplistic of holds went a long way. Jericho was perfectly functional as an opponent, as he usually was, and was good, albeit a bit unremarkable in that sense. He didn't stand out above Cena, he just was the foil for Cena's comebacks, which isn't a bad spot to be in. Reminds me of 80s WWF title challengers. The crowd was super into this match. People may say "they were anti Cena", they weren't. It was very 50/50. No boos for Cena, nor Jericho. It was loud let's go Cena chants, let's Go Jericho chants. Shout out to the finish as well. That was so good. Quick and perfect. ***1/2
  9. Kazuchika Okada defends the IWGP Heavyweight title. Pretty good stuff from Jericho here in between the aggressive attacks, heel stuff and generally trying to stay one step ahead of Okada story wise. I like Okada in general but this was a nothing performance. Aside from the gloating at the start, he contributed nothing to the match. Good finish with Okada outmaneuvering the "brawler" Jericho with a simple wrestling move. The pacing was pretty lethargic though and large parts fell flat. Not bad but hugely disappointing. ***
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