|Tales from the Eastside Directory||-Freedom
-Some writing notes before we get to the show: First off, I've been misusing CRZ's term 'Death suplex'. I always thought it meant a suplex onto the ropes, but it turns out that's his name for a Back suplex. So I've dropped that term and I apologize for bastardizing it like I did. Also, I know there's a difference between a clothesline and a lariat (a lariat is normally charging), but I type lariat instead of clothesline because it's easier. I'm not trying to be a puro nerd, I'm just being lazy. Finally, I'm going to steal from Joe Gagne (who stole from the DVDVR Playboyz, who stole David Foster Wallace anyway) and start using footnotes. Now, I know you're all terribly interested with me talking about my writing, but I'm going to stop boring you and get on with the show.
-Also, my standards for a big show are higher than they are for TV shows, so I'm stricter with the ratings. A match that would get a 90 on TV wouldn't get a 90 here, for example.
-Fair warning: This is an extremely long review, but stick around because it's worth it. It'll be more fun than an erotic evening with Yone Genjin and Chyna, I promise!
-Open with Dan Wilson welcoming fans to the NCW Arena, and introducing senior official Andrew Thomas (carrying a patriotic red, white & blue pinwheel). As usual, commentary is handled by Wilson and Steven Prazak.
-Future Shock vs. The Rage. The Rage have new T-Shirts bearing their team name on them. Future Shock start things off with a pearl harbor attack on the outside. The Rage are rolled back in the ring, they try a double lariat but Future Shock duck and throw them into the ropes, so The Rage come back the other way with a pair of dropkicks! Future Shock roll out to regroup while Scott Cage and Mike Pittman soak up the cheers- and encourage the crowd's "Future Suck" chant.
Pittman and Jay Freeze go nose-to-nose. Freeze with a shove, Pittman with one of his own. Collar-and-elbow tieup, Freeze muscles Pittman into the corner and slaps him. Freeze tries a short clothesline, Pittman ducks and throws Freeze into the corner, then gives him a receipt for the slap with one of his own. Freeze decides he wants to reason with Pittman and he extends the Hand of Friendship. Pittman mulls it over and decides to accept. Well, he's a complete idiot. Of course Freeze attacks, hitting a clubbing forearm. Irish whip by Freeze, trying a lariat but Pittman ducks and comes back the other way with a tilt-a-whirl headscissor. Armdrag to an armbar by Pittman. Tag to Cage, double whip into the ropes and The Rage hit a double hiptoss. Cover by Cage and he gets a two count. Whip by Cage and he hits a lariat. Right hand, another whip, Freeze reverses, trying a chop by Cage reverses and does the do-si-do reversal. Freeze trying a lariat but it's ducked, trying another one, Cage ducks again but gets caught with a forearm from Brandon P as he hits the ropes. P with a shoulderblock through the ropes, flipping over Cage to enter the ring. Future Shock create an odd double team, P monkey flipping Freeze into a kip up lariat to Cage. Prazak echoes my sentiments on that one: "An awful lot of work for a simple clothesline." P pulls Cage to his feet, but Cage fights back with a trio of right hands. Cage tries a spinning heel kick but P drops down to avoid it, then hits a running gutshot. Whip, Cage reverses and hits a dropkick. Tag to Pittman, and The Rage hit a double whip and double flapjack. Pittman covers for two. Pittman with a forearm to P and he tries a whip, P reverses and drops down, so Pittman runs off the ropes with a Red Star Press to the prone P! Pittman covers for another two count. Whip, P reverses and Freeze lowers the bridge on Pittman, causing him to spill out to the floor.
Freeze whips Pittman into the guardrail hard. Pittman gets rolled back in the ring and P folds him inside-out with a lariat. Tag to Freeze and Pittman is whipped into the side slam/inverted DDT combo. Cover by Freeze for a two count. Pittman with a pair of shots to the midsection but Freeze knocks him right back down with a short lariat. Freeze with a right and a chop, Pittman fires back with a gutshot and two open hand slaps. Pittman attempts a whip into the corner, Freeze reverses to an armwringer, Pittman tries reversing to a whip the other way but Freeze reverses THAT into a pumphandle neckbreaker! Freeze covers, hooking the leg- only two. Tag to P. Right, P with a whip, going for a lariat, Pittman ducks but runs right into a back elbow. Freeze is tagged back in and he chokes Pittman on the ropes. Now Freeze goes over to mix things up with Cage, drawing him in the ring and the referee's attention away while P chokes Pittman some more. Backbreaker by Freeze, tag to P and he covers for two. P with two forearms and a slap, then whipping Pittman into a dropkick. Scoop slam by P, tag to Freeze, P with a tumbling run legdrop to Pittman while Freeze slingshots in with a senton at the same time! Freeze covers, but can again get only two. Pittman gets his head slammed into a turnbuckle, corner whip by Freeze, Pittman nips up to avoid the charge and he's able to catch Freeze with a schoolboy, one, two, no. Freeze throws a lariat but Pittman ducks and hits a neckbreaker. Both men down, and Pittman is able to make the tag to Cage! Cage with a right hand for Freeze, right for P, right for Freeze, and one more right hand for P. Whip, Freeze reverses and hits a quick powerslam, but he's too beat up to cover. Freeze traps Cage's leg (so he can't crawl over for the tag) and tags in P. Stomp by P, whip, leg lariat. Tag back to Freeze, and Future Shock hit a double suplex. Freeze covers, but it's not enough and Cage kicks out. Chops from Freeze, whip and he goes for the Heel Telegraphed Backdrop, Cage counters with a sunset flip attempt, Freeze fighting but he eventually goes over, one, two, no.
Freeze with a lariat to halt Cage's momentum. Tag to P, Freeze holds Cage open for a kick. Right by P, whip, telegraphs the backdrop so Cage kicks him in the face. Cage trying another kick, P catches it so Cage hits an enzugiri with his other leg! Both guys down, P tags in Freeze while Cage makes the hot tag to Pittman. Pittman with a lariat to Freeze, right to P and a right to Freeze. Pittman whips P into the ropes, P holds on makes sure to flip Pittman off as well. Pittman charges, P backdrops him onto the apron and Pittman pulls the ropes to slingshot P to the floor! Freeze grabs the ropes and slingshots Pittman back into the ring but Pittman is able to land on his feet. Freeze trying a lariat, Pittman ducks and whips Freeze into a hiptoss- and the doubleteam Wheelbarrow suplex neckbreaker! That's enough for Pittman to get the pin (10:02, 81). The Rage call their finisher the "Nagasateru Neckbreaker", I'll try to remember that.
Good match, maybe the best yet in Wildside from these teams. Future Shock have really improved; I remember when I first started watching, Freeze was really bad, but he's quite improved now and did a good job carrying the offense here. In a way, matches with these four, G-Rated, Derrick Driver and Jeremy V are kind of like young lion matches in NJPW. They're not as basic, but they're not complex either. They are matches to help the young guys improve and learn the fundamentals. It's fun to watch these guys improve, and all of them except for Derrick Driver have lots of potential. For an example of the effectiveness of the Wildside Young Lion system, look at Slim J, who's moving up the card and being put in a high-profile feud with Jeremy Lopez for the Jr. title.
-Carlton Kass vs. Magnum for the NWA Tri-States Heavyweight title (1). I don't think these two have ever worked Wildside before. Kass, the challenger, enters to "Simply the Best" by Tina Turner. Kass warms up before the match, but he ends up tripping over his own feet. Then he takes the belt and shines it. Then he flexes. I guess this is all supposed to be funny?
Magnum with a waistlock, standing switch by Kass, Magnum reverses back to his waistlock and runs Kass into the corner, following through into a waistlock roll-up for two. Kass kicks out by shooting Magnum into the buckle, then quickly scooping him into a schoolboy for two. Kass with a side headlock, to a wristlock and whip into the ropes, Magnum hits a shoulderblock. Magnum goes for a spinning legdrop (the rotation makes it hurt more, see) but Kass moves out of the way. Magnum with a couple of rights and a kneelift in the corner. Whip to the opposite corner, Kass reverses and hits a cartwheel into an eyepoke. This Kass, he's a regular Tsubo Genjin out there! Corner whip by Kass, Magnum nips up and goes for a bodyscissors sunset flip but Kass catches him and falls backwards, pancaking him to the mat. Double legdrop by Kass. Kass splits Magnum's legs, pelvic thrust and he hooks a double leg grapevine with double chickenwing. Interesting submission move, so of course Kass breaks it in about ten seconds. Going for a Vertical suplex, Magnum blocks it but he's eventually suplexed back-first onto the turnbuckle. Magnum gets to his feet on the apron and he's dropkicked to the floor. Magnum gets back up on the apron, Kass with a right and a shoulderblock through the ropes, another shoulderblock and...umm, I guess Magnum was supposed to legdrop him and send him to the floor, but they screw up their timing and both guys just tumble outside. This is getting ugly.
Double sledge to the back by Magnum, tossing Kass back in and climbing to the apron, then getting knocked back to the floor by a sliding dropkick (with lots of light) from Kass. Magnum drapes Kass on the apron and hits a pair of forearms across the chest, then a stomp. Kass laid under the bottom rope, Magnum grabs his legs and jumps to the floor. What the hell? I think that was supposed to slingshot Kass into the bottom rope throat-first or something but it looked really, really bad. Back in the ring, Magnum with a right hand, whip and backdrop. Magnum poses and hits a sitout scoop slam (you could be calling that a Michinoku Driver II if you were feeling cheritable) and that gets two. Kass gets his head slammed into the turnbuckle and he's worked over with rights. Whip by Magnum, Kass ducks a lariat and hits a neckbreaker. Kass with a right, Magnum with one of his own, Kass, Magnum, Kass misses with this goofy discus punch thing (even Prazak and Wilson are audibly embarrassed here). Magnum with a right, then some slaps and a chop. Corner whip, Kass reverses and tries an avalanche but Magnum gets the boot up. Magnum goes for Diamond Dust but it's countered into an Iconoclasm, cover by Kass for two. Kass with a waistlock on the apron and he cinches Magnum up, only to get shoved off into Diamond Dust which is enough for the pin (7:18, 50). Ugh, this was a train wreck. Unfunny comedy by Kass, bad selling, sloppy execution. Magnum looked like an alright worker who was just having a really off night, but Kass just looked bad. This should've been a dark match.
-Slim J (with his Probation Officer) vs. Jeremy V. J tries a pearl harbor attack to start, but V sees him coming and lays in the knife-edge chops. Corner whip, J blocks an attempted avalanche but gets hit with a high backdrop. J gets thrown to a corner and V hits an avalanche. Whip, V armdrags J and holds on to an armbar. J gets to his feet and throws forearms to break the armbar. Irish whip and J gets a Japanese (maybe it's Mexican? It's the bridging-back version) armdrag, holding on to that into an armbar. V gets to his feet, J throws him to the ropes, V ducks a lariat and drops down as J comes the other way, then catches J as he comes back with a crossbody into a cover- that gets a two count. J whipped to the corner but he manages to springboard to the top rope, then fly off with the 3'6 Mafia Kick onto V! Snapmare by J, dropkick to the back of the head and he covers for two. Right hand by J, whip, V reverses but gets caught by a tilt-a-whirl headscissor from J that dumps V right on his head. Cover by J and another two count. Pair of right hands, whip by J and he hits V with a dropkick. Wilson: "Somebody gotsta know the location of Slim J's hos!". Imagine Dan Wilson, who is about as white as Conan O'Brien, saying that. You'll laugh. Another cover, another two count by J. Scoop slam by J and he does the 'Smack My Bitch Up' pose. Going for a standing moonsault legdrop (!), but V rolls out of the way and nails J with a dropkick to the face! V comes off the ropes with a legdrop, then he covers, getting a two count.
Irish whip, J reverses, V tries to hook a backslide but J counters, looks to be attempting a Gorry Special but J counters that and gets a double underhook- Butterfly suplex hold! J keeps his shoulders from staying pinned to the mat and flips onto V for two, forces V's shoulders down for another two count, V bridges up but J flips V right back down for one more two count. V bridges up again, J pulls V right from the bridge into an atomic drop for two. Whew. Nice sequence there. J kindly asks referee Speedy Nelson to look the other way so he can split V's legs and stomp him in the groin. Wilson: "Unfortunately, it's not too hard to get old Speedy distracted". J with a legdrop, right into a cover for two. Measured right and two more right hands from J. Whip and J goes for the Heel Telegraphed Backdrop, which is obviously countered- in this case, V takes J over with a sunset flip for two. J quickly goes back on offense with a gutshot, then comes off the ropes with a corkscrew neckbreaker that gets two. V dragged into position and J stomps him, then goes to the mount- I counted seven right hands in all.
Another right hand from J and he whips V into the ropes, V reverses, J holds onto the ropes and backdrops V outside. V is able to land on the apron and he goes to climb the turnbuckle, but J catches him and punches him off. V takes J to the opposite buckle and tries right hands, but J gets an armwringer and he turns V into a short lariat. V falls to the floor and J follows him out. Pair of right hands by J, V comes back with five rights of his own but gets backdropped on the ramp. J going back in the ring, climbing the turnbuckles- oh my god, DIVING HEADBUTT BY SLIM J TO JEREMY V ON THE RAMPWAY! That was insane. J flew at least ten feet. The production team cleverly sneaks in a shill for the FF '02 video right after J did the sucidal headbutt. Both men down- Security checks J to make sure he's okay. V and J slowly make it to their feet, right hand by V, J responds with one of his own and he rolls V back into the ring. V surprises J with a victory roll, but he only gets two. J quickly makes it to his feet and he levels V with a nasty high kick! J goes for a jumping enzugiri, but V ducks. V then KILLS J with a double-underhook Michinoku Driver II! Wilson: "(quietly) I think he broke his neck..." V hooks a leg, one, two, NO! The crowd is thoroughly shocked. J drags V into position and climbs up top- moonsault! Cover, one, two, J again somehow kicks out! V gets J up for a Crucifix Powerbomb (that's apparently his move), but J drops out and gets V on his shoulders, then drills him with a sick cradle powerbomb (2)! J covers, one, two, three (12:18, 82)!
Very good match. You all must think I'm Slim J's boyfriend or something with the way I hype him, but he really deserves it. He was again the star of the show here, with his usual rudo tactics and crisp moves. Jeremy V has been wrestling for a little while, but this is the first time he's really impressed me. He can take some sick bumps and he's improved quite a bit since his debut.
-Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe. New singlets for both guys, Jay's is a cool-looking red and black while Mark's isn't that different from the old Briscoe singlet. For those keeping score, as of this show, Jay and Mark were one-and-one in their unofficial series; Jay won the CZW Best of the Best '01 match while Mark won the JCW Jersey J-Cup qualifier. Lets get to it...
Handshake between the brothers. Collar-and-elbow tieup, neither man budges so we get a mutual break. Another collar-and-elbow, Jay muscles Mark into the corner but Mark fights and they tussle along the ropes, before going back to center ring where Jay armdrags out. Mark feigns coming off the ropes, and then Jay does the same. Criss-cross, with Jay dropping down then getting a drop toehold. Jay with a floatover on the downed Mark, to a bodyscissors sunset flip for two, Jay breaking his own cover to lock on a Can Opener (3). Mark tries to reverse with a headscissors but Jay won't let him, so Mark has to settle for a rope break. Both guys are back to their feet. Knucklelock, Mark gets overpowered so he gets a drop toehold, then a front chancery to a hammerlock. Jay to his feet and he reverses the hammerlock, Mark reverses back. Jay once again reverses, Mark back to his hammerlock but Jay ducks out and grabs a side headlock. Mark reversses to one of his own, but Jay quickly chains from a waistlock to a headlock to a wristlock. Mark flips out and armwringers to a hammerlock, Jay flips out of that and goes back to the wristlock, he chain wrestles but it's always back to the wristlock. Mark flips out once but he can't break it, however another flip out and Mark is able to get back to his wristlock. Mark with an elbowdrop to the arm, driving it down while still maintaining the wristlock. Trying it again, but Jay flips out, drop toehold and then a front chancery by Jay. Mark breaks the chancery with a single-leg trip into a stepover toehold. Mark converts to a spinning toehold but Jay quickly counters with an inside cradle for two, then stepping over into an STF right after Mark's kickout! Mark quickly makes the ropes. Collar-and-elbow, wristlock by Jay, trying for a snapmare but Mark fights and manages a side headlock. Mark cleverly grapevines Jay's leg so he can't be taken over with the snapmare, then gets a side headlock takeover to put Jay on the mat. Jay refuses to let his shoulders fall and counters into a headscissors. Jay really wrenches it in, but Mark's not going to submit to such a basic hold this early. Mark tries to break the hold, but only gets as far as a headstand when Jay drives his head to the mat Piledriver-style. Mark tries a break again for the same result. Jay tries a third head drive, but Mark ducks out and puts on a side headlock. Jay gets to his feet and counters to a waistlock, standing switch by Mark and he goes back to the side headlock. Jay ducks out to a hammerlock, but Mark counters with a fireman's carry takeover to a wristlock. Jay chain wrestles out of that (from a full-nelson to a hammerlock to a ground headscissor). Again Mark refuses to submit to the headscissor, so Jay goes back to the hold that pretty much started the matwork: a hammerlock. Mark predictably reverses to one of his own, so Jay takes a walk while in the hammerlock and uses the momentum to have Mark fall through the ropes to the floor. Mark quickly makes his way back in and gets a single-leg takedown to a reverse Indian Deathlock. Mark snapping back to increase the pressure, but Jay catches him and puts him in a facelock while still being in the Deathlock! Mark counters out to La Majistral, one, Jay counters by scissoring Mark's leg and turning it into a Cross STF! Mark inches to the ropes, noticably slower than when Jay had the STF on earlier.
Mark is getting flustered and he shoves Jay. Collar-and-elbow, Mark with a single-leg takedown and he elbowdrops Jay's knee. Legbar by Mark, and I think he's found his body part. Mark goes from the legbar to a Trailer Hitch (4), really stretching Jay's leg now. Jay scootches with his shoulder and he's able to make the ropes. Jay gets to his feet and checks his knee to make sure it's alright, then shoves Mark. Mark with a gutshot, side headlock, Jay shoves him off the ropes and gets an armwringer. Mark shoves Jay into the ropes but Jay comes back with a shoulderblock. Mark kips up, Jay comes off the ropes and Mark leapfrogs him. Jay comes the other way and gets armdragged by Mark. Another armdrag, this time Mark holds on for the armbar. Jay with a textbook headscissor reversal, but Mark is able to kip up out of it. Both guys take a quick breather, and Mark looks frustrated. Jay with a gutshot and forearm, whip into the ropes is reversed by Mark, Jay with a monkey flip but Mark is able to land on his feet- and he immediately gets rocked with a lariat from Jay. Snap suplex by Jay. Whip, Mark reverses and gets a backdrop. Whip by Mark, this time it's Jay doing the reversing, Jay drops down a little, Mark skips over him and slides through his legs coming back. Gutshot by Mark and a whip, he drops down so Jay drops into an uppercut. Mark gets tossed into the corner and Jay stings him with a pair of chops. Mark thrown to another corner, Jay tries a whip to the opposite corner, Mark reverses and charges in with a high dropkick. Jay is slumped over, so Mark follows up with a baseball slide dropkick. Mark keeps up the offense with a Gutwrench suplex. Mark runs off the ropes with a double stomp, comes the other way with another, then comes back one more time with his signature kneedrop. Mark covers, but it's too early and Jay kicks out at two.
Mark works a reverse chinlock, Jay makes it to his feet and hits two elbows to the midsection to break. Mark thrown off into the ropes, he ducks a lariat and grabs a waistlock. Jay throws some back elbows to break, but when he turns out he's met with a Northern Lights suplex hold! Jay gets his shoulders up at two. Jay is taken to the corner and Mark hits him with two open-hand chops. Corner whip, Mark charges in but Jay meets him with a back elbow. Floatover DDT by Jay spikes Mark right on his head. Jay gets Mark up- gourdbuster! Right hand by Jay, whip but Mark surprises him coming back with a spinning heel kick. Jay fires back with a big forearm smash, then a Fisherman's Neckbreaker! Jay to a cover, getting two. Chop by Jay and he whips Mark into the corner, then charges in with a back elbow. Jay hangs Mark into the Tree of Woe and gives him a pair of bootscrapes, then he gets a running start into a sliding bootscrape! Clubbing forearm by Jay, whip, Mark with the armwringer reversal and a bootscrape, then latching on an Octopus hold! Mark with a side Russian legsweep while the hold is still on, taking Jay to the mat and stretching him in the Octagon Special. Jay grabs one of the legs locked around his head and unhooks it to break the hold, then puts on a side headlock. Wristlock by Jay, Mark counters to a hammerlock and then a side headlock. Jay shoves him off, but Mark comes back with a shoulderblock. Mark throws Jay off the ropes, Jay drops down anticipating Mark coming back so Mark just holds on and then drops into a ground side headlock! Jay with a Back suplex, but Mark won't let go of the headlock. Jay is able to shoot Mark face-first into the turnbuckle, then he drops him with another hard Back suplex. The story is obvious now, Jay working over his brother's neck to set up the J-Driller.
Clubbing forearm by Jay, Mark is whipped into the ropes and hit with a dropkick. Jay with a knee in the back and a chinlock, continuing to work the neck. Mark gets to his feet, Jay gets a side headlock and throws Mark off. Mark ducks a lariat but when he comes back the other way he's caught with a tilt-a-whirl face-first powerbomb! Jay covers, hooking the leg and getting a two count. Mark with two forearms, Jay with one of hiw own and a whip, but he telegraphs the backdrop and Mark goes up and over with the sunset flip for two. Jay tries to halt Mark's momentum with a lariat but Mark ducks and throws a pair of chops, Whip, armwringer reversal by Jay and he folds Mark with a NASTY lariat! Referee Andrew Thomas checks Mark, who says he can still continue. Jay to the second rope and he flies off with a legdrop right across the neck. Cover, but only two. Right by Jay, corner whip, Mark nips up and presses off Jay's back. Two more chops and he takes Jay to the corner. Setting up for a Superplex, but Jay is able to hold on and counter to an avalanche-style gourdbuster! Mark's down and out so Jay exploits it, doing a head test (like an arm test, but dropping the head instead of the arm). Head falls once, head falls twice, but Mark's head doesn't fall thrice and he surprises Jay with a kick to the head. Jay staggers back into the ropes and gets tied up, leaving him in perfect position for a Shining Wizard from Mark! Mark goes up top, maybe for the Five Star Moonsault, but Jay stumbles back into the ropes and crotches Mark. Jay grabs his brother off the top rope and sets him up- MUSCLE BUSTER! Jay leans back to hook the leg, one, two, NO! Pretty much everyone is in disbelief, and the crowd are all on their feet now.
Jay tries a right, Mark blocks it, Mark with one of his own. Jay fights back with a forearm, Mark with a chop, Jay with two chops of his own, Mark with the same. Jay chops Mark, corner whip, Mark nips up but Jay didn't charge in so he grabs Mark in a waistlock and drops him on his neck with a German suplex! Jay holds on for a second, then a third! Mark quickly rolls outside, knowing that if he stayed in the ring he'd be pinned. Mark waits out the ten count until eight before getting back on the apron. Jay gets Mark up for a Vertical suplex, then drops him in a Michinoku Driver II! Jay covers, but AGAIN Mark kicks out! Jay tries another suplex, but Mark drops behind and gets a Dragon Suplex hold! One, two, NO! He hooks another full nelson, but Jay runs grab the top rope to prevent being taken over. Jay turns around for a lariat, but Mark ducks and launches him with a devestating Uranage! Mark going to the apron now and waiting for Jay to make it to his feet, so he can hit a springboard dropkick. Cover by Mark, one, two, impossibly late kickout by Jay! Mark tries a powerbomb, Jay blocks twice but Mark lays into him with clubbing forearms. Mark is able to get Jay up, but Jay drops back and hits a trio of hard forearms. Mark with forearms of his own and a corner whip, Jay stops himself and turns out with a lariat but Mark ducks, traps the arm, and folds Jay with the Cutthroat Suplex! Mark briefly hesitates but covers, one, two, FOOT ON THE ROPE! The crowd- and Mark- can't believe it. Mark wastes no time and goes for a second Cutthroat Suplex, but Jay drops out, spins Mark into a gutshot and hits the J-Driller! One, two, KICKOUT! The crowd goes insane, Mark kicking out at the absolute last moment. Jay with ANOTHER J-Driller, collapsing Mark right on his neck, cover, one, two three (20:03, 93)! Standing ovation for the Briscoes. Jay and Mark hug, then raise each other's hand. Todd Sexton and Tony Stradlin are out to ruin this moment, attacking the Briscoes. The announcers are seriously pissed off. Wilson: "What the hell is this bullshit?" The Lost Boys (with chairs) run out and TNT quickly make an exit. The Briscoes and the Lost Boys stare each other down, but nothing comes of it.
Incredible match. This is so far ahead of the BotB 1 match that it's unbelievable. There was no finisher killing here; Jay didn't kick out of the Cutthroat Suplex, Mark's kickout of the J-Driller was too late to be believed. There was a ton of story here, right from the opening matwork. The counter wrestling established how well the brothers know each other, and built up Mark's frustration at not being able to get a breakthrough on his brother. Mark attacks the knee, but Jay is always one step ahead. Jay is able to lock on the two major holds in the opening portion, the STF and Cross STF. Mark is left to fight a defensive battle for the majority of the match, after getting the better of his brother briefly. All of Mark's big moves- the Dragon suplex, the Octopus/Octagon Special, even the Cutthroat Suplex, are essentially counters. Meanwhile, Jay had a big enough moveset to keep the neck work interesting.
The selling here shows the improvement the Briscoes have made; it's miles ahead of the CZW match. These two weren't busting out apron dive 'ranas after bouts of vicious headdropping. Really, you'd have to be really strict to criticize the selling here. My favourite part had to be when Jay hit the rolling German suplexes on Mark, and Mark rolled to the outside to get his bearings, wait out the ten count and to avoid being pinned. It's a small but important touch.
This is, as of right now, a definite Match of the Year contender. I'd say American Dragon vs. Low-Ki from the 3/30 ROH show is better, but this is ahead of the top matches I've seen so far (Aikyama vs. Nagata, Doug Williams vs. Eddy Guerrero). I haven't seen either of the Gotch-ISM vs. Tenzan & Chono tags or Kojima vs. Tenryu yet, but even if they're better than this match that takes nothing away from the accomplishment of the Briscoes. -Kevin Harden and Jeff G. Bailey vs. That Guy in a handicap match. Bailey comes out in wrestling tights and a "666" shirt. Andrew Thomas gets aggressive in forcing Wilson to hold the ropes open for Bailey. Bailey takes the mic and talks about how much he's humiliated Guy and stripped him of his dignity; this was supposed to be the ultimate humiliation, but Guy no-showed. Bailey says that he'll give Guy one more chance, booking this match again for the next TV taping. Bailey has Thomas make the official ten count, and makes Wilson announce himself and Harden as the winners by forfeit. This really had no place on a big show, so it's good that the match didn't happen here. Bailey was good as always on the mic but this feud had no legs by this point and Dustin/Guy would turn heel and align with Bailey at the next TV taping anyway.
-Tony Mamaluke, Terry Knightonelli and Guido Maritato vs. G-Rated and Onyx. I've decided to start spelling Kid Kool's name right; I was spelling it as "Kidcool" up until now. I thought that was the proper spelling but a visit to Jenn Sigman's excellent Wildside Tribute page shows me I'm wrong. Mamaluke and Maritato give a double Italian Salute to the camera, then the FBI huddle- so Onyx slaps Guido on the ass to get his attention. Now the FBI are playing a three-way game of rock paper scissors to see who will start, and it looks like Mamaluke wins.
Mamaluke with an Italian Salute for Kid Xtasy, then another for Onyx and Kool. Xtasy encourages rhythmic clapping from the crowd. Collar-and-elbow tieup, Mamaluke shoves Xtasy off into the corner. Mamaluke taunts Xtasy and goes for a double sledge, but Xtasy ducks and poses. Mamaluke hits him from behind with a clubbing forearm and executes an Italian whip (5). Xtasy ducks a lariat and a chop, Mamaluke catches him for a side slam but Xtasy counters with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Xtasy tags in Kool while Mamaluke rolls outside before tagging in Maritato. "O-Nix" chant from the crowd. Onyx wants to be tagged in; Maritato pantomimes that Onyx is a chicken, then he goes into a rather elaborate pantomime to say Onyx can't even lace his boots. Kool and Maritato go nose-to-nose, and Maritato hits a disrespectful slap. Drop toehold by Maritato, then he schools Kool with several shoot-style floatovers, then some mocking slaps to the back. More floatovers from Maritato and he gets a waistlock, but Kool reverses to one of his own. Now Kool tries a rear chinlock, but Maritato has no problem countering out to a rear naked choke. Kool won't submit, so Maritato converts to a side headlock. Elbows from Kool and he reverses to a headlock of his own. Maritato thrown off the ropes, he drops down then leapfrogs Kool on the way back. Maritato going for a hiptoss, blocked, he tries a lariat but Kool ducks and goes for a hiptoss. Maritato with an Italian Salute and he reverses into a backslide for a two count. Maritato trying a single-arm legsweep, Kool jumps to avoid it but Maritato hits a chop to the midsection and then a snapmare for another two count. Now it's Kool trying the single-arm legsweep, Maritato evades it but he gets caught with a chop to the midsection and a more conventional legsweep. Kool covers for two, Maritato kicking out and backing off to the corner.
The crowd works up another "O-Nix" chant. Onyx is happy to oblige and enter the ring, but he's not legal. Maritato works over Kool with kneestrkes, clubbing forearms and chops. To the corner, where Maritato hits an open-hand chop, then spits on his hand and gives Kool a fresh one. Whip to the opposite corner by Maritato, Kool is able to nip-up to the second turnbuckle and backflip off, then surprise Maritato with a 'rana for a quick two count. Whip by Kool, he drops down so Maritato skips over him, Kool trying for a monkey flip on the way back but Maritato has it scouted and he hits a low elbowdrop, then a sliding dropkick to the face. Cover by Maritato gets two. Wilson mentions that Maritato was trained by Billy Robinson, cool. Maritato mockingly grabs Kool's arm and extends it for a tag to Onyx, before pulling it back. Maritato with a full nelson on Kool and he tags in Knightonelli. Knightonelli with a right, but Kool ducks and Knightonelli has to pull back from hitting his fellow FBI member. Kool is able to run to his corner and tag in Onyx. Onyx ducks a lariat from Knightonelli, Knightonelli ducks a lariat from Onyx but gets hit with an uppercut. Knightonelli goes to the eyes and tries a corner whip, but Onyx reverses. Onyx whips Knightonelli hard to the opposite corner, then one more hard corner whip that sends Knightonelli out to the floor. Maritato is in and he charges Onyx, Onyx gets him up for a military press but Maritato tries countering to a sunset flip- Onyx counters that by sitting down and squashing Maritato. Mamaluke is in to try his luck with Onyx, and he gets military pressed out to the floor and onto Knightonelli and Maritato! Onyx drops to all fours and Xtasy springboards off of him into a tope that barely clears the ropes but still manages to hit the FBI. Kool also springboard off of Onyx into a tope, and his is much better looking.
Maritato rolls back into the ring and points to his head (because he's smart) and Onyx responds with an Italian Salute! Maritato says he wants a test of strength, and he flexes to show us just how strong he is. Maritato and Onyx lock knuckles, Guido gets forced to his knees so he shoulderblocks Onyx to break the knucklelock. Elbow by Maritato and he throws Onyx to the corner for some choppery. Onyx reverses and throws Maritato into the corner, laying in a pair of chops of his own. Going for a third, but Maritato ducks and throws Onyx back in the corner. HE wants a chop but Onyx ducks and he does get that third chop after all. Tag to Kool and he gets a right before being whipped into the corner. Kool springboard to the second rope, but he slips and leaps off with a severely undercooked plancha that is easily countered into the Fujiwara Armbar by Maritato. Maritato keeps hold of the arm and tags in Mamaluke. Mamaluke stomps Kool's shoulder and throws him shoulder-first into the post. Mamaluke with the Italian Monster pose and he perches Kool on the top rope, but Kool throws a back elbow to send Mamaluke down. Kool flips off the top with a BEAUTIFUL Moonsault senton (or a 540 Moonsault if you like), but Mamaluke moves and Kool crashes to the canvas! Tag to Maritato who covers for two. Clubbing forearm, then five stomps from the Sicilian Shooter. He gets Kool in a side headlock and tags Mamaluke back in. Jawbreaker by Mamaluke sends Kool recoiling back to where he can almost make a tag, so Mamaluke drags him back into the unfriendly corner.
Kid Xtasy has seen enough and he's in with a lariat for Mamaluke, lariat for Maritato and a dropkick for Mamaluke. Irish whip to Maritato, Maritato holds on to the ropes and backdrops Xtasy to the apron when he charges. Xtasy with a shoulderblock through the ropes, trying a springboard Tornado DDT but Maritato calmly swats him away. Cross Armbreaker locked on by Maritato, Xtasy struggles and writhes but he's able to make the ropes eventually. Kneedrop by Maritato and he tags in Mamaluke, who tags in Knightonelli. Double whip by Mamaluke and Maritato, they give Xtasy a double flapjack right into a front powerslam by Knightonelli! Whip into the ropes and Knightonelli gets a high backdrop. Knightonelli runs off the ropes with a double axehandle to the downed Xtasy. Xtasy pulled up by his hair and put in a full nelson, tag to Maritato. Maritato grabs Xtasy's legs and pulls on them while Knightonelli is racking him with the full nelson in a particularly brutal doubleteam. Now Maritato keeps hold of the legs and turns Xtasy into an Italian Crab! He breaks before being forced to, not wanting a submission but just wanting to stretch the youngster. Open-hand slap by Maritato, corner whip, Xtasy reverses but his avalanche attempt is met with a knee from Maritato. Xtasy is doubled over, so Maritato leaps off the second rope with the Sicilian Slice (flying Rocker Dropper)! Maritato covers for a close two count, Onyx breaking up the pin. Maritato tags in Mamaluke, who hits Xtasy with a double sledge. Kool tries to come in for the tag to occupy the ref, allowing Knightonelli to make a "clap hands in the air" fake tag. Three forearms from Knightonelli, then Mamaluke makes with the ground pounding. Whip and Knightonelli armdrags to an armbar, then he really stretches Xtasy with a reverse Cross Armbreaker! Xtasy slowly makes the ropes. Scoop slam by Knightonelli and he ascends the ropes. Flying Elbow...MISSES! Xtasy makes it to his feet and gets the tag to Onyx. Onyx with a lariat for Knightonelli, lariat for Mamaluke and a powerslam for Maritato. Onyx throws Mamaluke with a release Vertical, then tags Xtasy back in (so soon?). Xtasy with a whip and dropkick for Maritato, then the same for Mamaluke. Kool is in and G-Rated give Mamaluke a double whip to a double armwringer, from there to a double Back suplex setup and dropped with a double forward Russian legsweep! There's a mouthful. Maritato is on the recieving end of a 3D-style facebuster. Knightonelli and Mamaluke dump Onyx through the ropes to the floor, then do the same to Kool. Mamaluke and Maritato get Xtasy alone in the corner, Mamaluke seating him on the second rope- there's a second rope side Italian legsweep (Mamaluke)/running powerbomb (Maritato) combo! Mamaluke covers for the pin (16:02, 80) but he's not done with Xtasy yet. He keeps attacking Xtasy, so Kool comes in to defend his partner. Mamaluke quickly takes care of Kool with forearms, then gives him a half-hour gourdbuster. Maritato thinks that G-Rated have had enough, but Mamaluke doesn't listen and he puts Kool in a chinlock. Now Maritato is getting up in Mamaluke's face and telling him to stop, there's a shoving match and Knightonelli intervenes with an inverted facelock Ace Crusher to Maritato! The FBI make with a stompdown on their former partner and Mamaluke puts on a blatant choke. Onyx is back out for the save, chasing off Knightonelli and Mamaluke (6). Onyx and Maritato share a handshake, then hug.
Pretty good stuff here. It wasn't without flaws, as G-Rated's inexperience was obvious at some spots (the blown second rope plancha by Kool, Xtasy's flubbed springboard Tornado DDT) and their offense wasn't really credible enough for Maritato to sell most of the time. Still, the Kool/Maritato matwork was good, the comedy stuff was entertaining without overwhelming the match, and the ending made sense as Xtasy came in too early after being worked over and was easy prey for the FBI's finisher. An entertaining match all around. -Caprice Coleman (with Sweet Dreams) vs. Cru Jones (with Destiny) for the Wildside Television title. I believe this is Jones' first defense, but I'll have to check on that. Due to the match stipulation, Destiny has to be handcuffed to Dreams; Slim J's Probation Officer does the honour of binding them together. Prazak is worried that if Slim J's probation officer is out here, then Slim J is roaming society unsupervised...
Jones psychs himself up by running in place and blowing his whistle, and he draws a "One Bad Homo" chant. Jones jaws with the fans, so Coleman takes the opportunity to slap him on the ass. Jones reminds a fan via pantomime that he did indeed once get five touchdowns in one game. Now Jones is getting up in Coleman's face and talking trash; Coleman is offended by Jones' foul breath and he offers him a stick of gum. Jones doesn't appreciate the offer and he punches away. Whip, Coleman reverses, Jones shoulderblocks Coleman down. Whip, Coleman drops down then leapfrogs Jones as he comes back the other way. Armdrag by Coleman, then a Japanese armdrag. Dropkick and Jones bails from the ring. Jones gets dragged back into the ring over the top rope in a headlock. Right hand and Coleman whips Jones into the ropes but telegraphs the backdrop, so Jones hits a Vertical suplex on Coleman.
Jones whips Coleman into the corner and goes for an avalanche, but Coleman moves. Coleman starts up a shuffle and throws eight right hands. Jones tries to backdrop Coleman over the ropes, but Coleman holds on to the ropes and lifts himself back up, then headscissors Jones out of the ring! Coleman lifts himself using the ropes again and goes back into the ring, now up to the top floor- high plancha to the outside onto Jones! Coleman tries to whip Jones into the post, Jones reverses, Coleman manages to avoid hitting the post and he springboards onto the apron. Coleman going for a baseball slide dropkick, but Jones sidesteps and Coleman hits the floor at full speed. Jones slams Coleman's head to the apron and rolls him in, then hits a slingshot elbowdrop. Coleman gets hung up on the second rope and Jones nails him with a crotchkick. Jones makes the international 'screw you' gesture to Sweet Dreams. Coleman is slumped down in the corner and Jones hits him with a Vaderbomb headbutt to the groin. Jones with a whip and he goes for a tilt-a-whirl slam, Coleman reverses out to an inverted facelock, Jones reverses to one of his own and hits the Final Cut (7). Rather lax cover by Jones gets two. Another whip and Jones tries a press slam, but Coleman counters in mid-air to a 'rana! Right to a pin and Coleman gets a two count. Coleman trying a whip, Jones reverses the other way and hits an inverted atomic drop. Jones with an odd taunt, smacking his own ass. Whip, Jones drops down and catches Coleman as he comes the other way with a lariat. Lazy elbowdrop by Jones. I bet the always unpredictable Cru Jones busts out the lazy legdrop next! Sure enough, Jones hits a legdrop into a lazy cover and it gets two as well.
Whip attempted by Jones but Coleman reverses into an armwringer, then hits his flippy-flippy Axe Kick. Tumbling senton by Coleman, then he hits a quebrada. Cover by Coleman gets two. Whip, reverse, Jones tries for a Northern Lights suplex but Coleman blocks using clubbing forearms. Jones goes behind and grabs a waistlock, then he throws Coleman with a German suplex! Sweet Dreams and Destiny have wandered into the ring but they're not interfering with the action (yet). Jones hits a Michinoku Driver II, cover, two count. Jones charging at Dreams and Dreams backdrops him, and Coleman flies off the top rope with a legdrop. Cover and Jones gets the shoulder up in time. Destiny throws some brass knuckles to Jones, and Jones hits Coleman with the Power of the Punch. Leg hooked, one, two, Coleman kicks out! Must be the blowoff if we're kicking out of foreign object shots. Jones with a whip and he tries a lariat, but Coleman ducks and hits a neckbreaker. Jones and Coleman are down, and now Destiny and Sweet Dreams are ascending the ropes- Destiny hits a legdrop onto Coleman while Dreams hits one on Jones! Looks like they were both supposed to hit Jones but the move was blown. These shananigans lead Prazak to proclaim wrestling as "weird". Referee Speedy Nelson puts on a count, Jones makes it to his feet and goes to pull Coleman up by the hair, but he's caught with an Ace Crusher! That's the Thermal Shock even without the press slam, apparently. Inside cradle by Coleman, one, two, three (9:26, 74). We have a new TV champion, and not a moment too soon. Coleman isn't an incredible worker or anything, but he's a far better choice to hold the belt than Cru Jones.
Nothing horrible here, but nothing that good either. Jones' generic heel offense really gets on my nerves; I could call the entire 'lazy cover' sequence even before he did it. There were some good sequences here, but the goofiness with Dreams and Destiny dragged things down.
-Jimmy Rave vs. Jeremy Lopez vs. Rocky Reynolds for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight title. This is single elimination. Lopez refuses to put his Wildside Junior title away when the ref asks him to. Lopez is ICHIBAN! so he gets transcription from me: "Oh, shut the hell up and let me talk! I just wanna remind everybody that this belt ::points to his Wildside Jr. heavyweight title:: is NOT on the line! That's for another time and another day! And that belt ::points to the NWA World Jr. Heavyweight title:: is gonna be mine in fifteen minutes!" Prazak: "He knows the time limit? Wow. That must be the gypsy blood running through the veins of Jeremy Lopez."
Lopez bails right away to jaw with the fans. Three-way staredown, looks like we're setting up for a three-way knucklelock but Rave has different plans. Right for Lopez, elbow for Reynolds and he dumps Lopez from the ring. Gutshot and whip by Reynolds, Rave with a go-behind. Forearm by Rave and he drops Reynolds on the ropes with a Front suplex. Rave goes outside and pulls Reynolds to the floor. Lopez tries charging outside with a baseball slide dropkick, but Rave sidesteps and Lopez crashes into the rail. Rave's back in the ring and so is Lopez. Lopez gets tossed into the corner and stomped, then again he's dumped from the ring. Rave going to the top rope- rolling senton to the outside onto Lopez and Reynolds! It's been all Rave so far. Rave rolls Lopez back into the ring and chops him, whip, Lopez reverses and gets a gutshot, then comes off the opposite ropes with a running boot to the mush. Lopez keeps up the offense with a nice looking Ace Crusher. Lopez stretches Rave with a Mexican Surfboard, while Reynolds goes up top and flies off with a Senton Atomico onto Rave while he's in the hold! Reynolds with an uppercut for Lopez, then he whips him into a charging lariat. Reynolds with a muscular pose, so Lopez takes advantage and gets an inside cradle for two. Reynolds tries a lariat on Lopez, but he ducks and Reynolds quickly gets taken over with a German suplex by Rave! Rave ducks a forearm from Lopez and hooks a full nelson, but Lopez counters out into the Elevated DDT! Rave tries rolling outside but Lopez catches him and covers, one, two, Reynolds breaks it up. Reynolds with an Olympic Slam to Lopez and he covers, the pin attempt being broken up at two when Rave pulls Reynolds off. Rave tries whipping Reynolds to the corner, Reynolds reverses, Rave with a nip up but Reynolds catches him and throws him face first to the floor!
Lopez whips Reynolds into the opposite corner and nails him with a runnining forearm smash, then he seats him on the second rope- double-underhook Tornado DDT by Lopez! Cover, one, two, Rave with the save. Rave whips Lopez into the corner, Lopez springboard up to the second rope but Rave meets him up there and brings him down with a second rope sunset flip! Rave gets a two count, the cover broken up by Reynolds. Side Russian legsweep by Reynolds to Rave, then he slingshots in from the apron with an Arabian moonsault for a two count, Lopez breaking up that pin with a sliding dropkick. Lopez drops Reynolds with a brainbuster and he crawls over for the cover, which is (say it with me) broken up at two by Rave. Chop by Rave to Lopez, corner whip, reversed, Rave with the nip up but Lopez catches him...and turns him into an Air Raid Crash! Rave's been having bad luck using the nip up in this match, hasn't he? Lopez covers for two, with Reynolds making the obvious save. Reynolds with a Fisherman's suplex to Lopez for two, Rave breaking up the pin. Rave with a whip, Reynolds reverses and tries a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, Lopez reverses that with a spinning headscissor to the Crippler Crossface! Reynolds is nowhere near the ropes so Lopez has to make the save. Whip by Lopez, he tries a lariat but Rave ducks, Rave tries a lariat but Lopez ducks and rolls through to the rolling elbow. Lopez going for his Jr. Heavyweight title belt now, fighting with Thomas over it but he eventually tries a swing at Rave (who's in the corner) but Rave ducks and spins Lopez into the Gravity Killer! Rave covers and hooks the leg, but you guessed it, Reynolds breaks up the pin. Reynolds with La Majistral on Rave for two. Rave gets his swank headscissor cradle on Reynolds for two. Rave gets Reynolds up into a Northern Lights Bomb for the pin and the title (7:20, 77). Lopez tries to break up the pin, but he's too late. Andrew Thomas is hesitant to call for the bell, a little unsure that was the finish. Energetic spotfest, certainly entertaining, but no real substance. It was like a TNA X Division match that way. Reynolds made a good showing for himself and Lopez and Rave were their usual good selves, minus the matwork. I have no problem with spotfests, as they have their place on a show and as long as they don't dominate the card it's fine.
-For some reason, referee Speedy Nelson gets a special intro.
-Todd Sexton and Tony Stradlin vs. The Lost Boys for the Wildside Tag Team titles. The Lost Boys' fifth defense. As the Lost Boys enter the ring, Gabriel mockingly shows his title belt to Stradlin. Azrael and Sexton stare each other down; Gabriel and Stradlin do likewise. Azrael and Sexton start us off. They circle, trying to feel each other out. Collar-and-elbow tieup, Azrael with a forearm to break. Collar-and-elbow again, this time it's Sexton with a forearm. Collar-and-elbow a third time, the two tussle to the corners but neither man is able to gain an advantage. Azrael throws a kick that Sexton dodges, allowing Sexton to get a waistlock takedown. Sexton to a front chancery, Azrael counters to one of his own but Sexton quickly ducks out of that and locks on an armbar. Azrael makes it to his feet and breaks the armbar with a pair of forearm shots to the kidneys. Whip by Azrael, Sexton ducks a lariat and then ducks a chop the other way. Sexton slides through Azrael's legs and gets an armdrag. Sexton going for the Superkick early, but Azrael catches it and hits a Dragon Screw legwhip! Azrael with a kick to the knee, and Sexton backs off into the corner. He teases tagging in Stradlin, but decides against it. Azrael with a kick to Sexton's leg, and Sexton responds in kind. Azrael tries a lariat, Sexton ducks, Sexton with a gutshot and he tries a roundhouse which Azrael ducks. Azrael with a kick to the leg, kick to the head, then a hard kick to the back. Azrael's not done; he runs off the ropes with a hard kick to Sexton's back.
Sexton's had enough and he tags in Stradlin. Stradlin doesn't want Azrael, he wants the man that injured him and kept him out of action for months- Gabriel. Azrael obliges and tags out to his partner. Gabriel swipes at Stradlin and feigns a right before they make contact. Collar-and-elbow, Stradlin with a tight waistlock. Gabriel counters with a drop toehold and he pounds on Stradlin from the back mount. Stradlin catches one of Gabriel's flailing punches and turns it into a ground headlock, Gabriel with a headscissor counter that Stradlin is able to turn into a front chancery. Stradlin keeps the facelock on as Gabriel gets to his feet. Stradlin trying to chain to a drop toehold, but Gabriel counters to a stepover headscissor cradle for a quick two count. Collar-and-elbow, Gabriel with a waistlock to a side headlock, Stradlin with a pair of elbows to break and he throws Gabriel into the ropes, adds a whip to send him the other way but gets caught with a shoulderblock. Gabriel looks to come off the ropes, Stradlin drops down, so Gabriel takes advantage with a three-quarter nelson for a one count. Stradlin coming off the ropes now, he ducks a lariat and hits a shoulderblock. Again Stradlin comes off the ropes, Gabriel drops down, Stradlin tries to roll him up with La Majistral but Gabriel counters to a fireman's carry, which Stradlin drops out of to hit a single-arm legsweep. Cover by Stradlin for barely a one count. Now it's Gabriel with a single-arm legsweep, and he too can barely get a one count. Stradlin throws a kick, Gabriel catches it and spins Stradlin into a kick of his own. Stradlin over to his corner, where Gabriel gives him an open-hand slap. Stradlin responds with a hard lunging chop. Stradlin takes Gabriel to the opposite corner and throws another chop. Corner whip, no Stradlin decides to try and whip him back the other way, Gabriel stops himself by putting a foot up and he ducks a short lariat from Stradlin. Whip, Stradlin with the armwringer reversal, Gabriel steps over Stradlin and comes off the ropes with a double-arm chop. Cover by Gabriel gets two. Wristlock by Gabriel and he tags in Azrael.
Stradlin quickly bolts to his corner and slumps over, then tags in Sexton. Azrael charges him, so Sexton puts up a boot to block. Sexton with hard clubbing forearms. Corner whip, Azrael reverses and follows with a running front flip dropkick! Azrael to the mount and he pounds away, while Sexton covers up to try and shield himself from the blows. Whip by Azrael, gutshot, kick to the face and then a springboard Gamengiri to the back of Sexton's head! I think Azrael has been watching some Low-Ki tapes. Azrael covers for a two count. Tag to Gabriel. Double whip by the Lost Boys, double gutshot and they hit sandwich sliding dropkicks to Sexton's head. Gabriel covers and Sexton kicks out at two. Gabriel drags Sexton to the corner, corner whip, Sexton reverses but Gabriel is able to springboard up and backflip off the top turnbuckle! Sexton catches him and slingshots him overhead, Gabriel again lands on his feet on the second rope but Sexton's able to catch him and drop him with a nasty roll-through powerbomb! Sexton with a sitout Cobra Clutch slam, then he laces Gabriel's knuckles to pin his shoulders to the mat for two. Sexton works the knucklelock pin for another two count. Sexton gets Gabriel in an elevated spinebuster position and tags in Stradlin, and TNT do a springboard clothesline Hart Attack! Stradlin covers, and when Gabriel kicks out at two Stradlin drapes him over the second rope and chokes away. Irish whip by Stradlin, Gabriel ducks a lariat and Azrael makes a blind tag as Gabriel hits the ropes. Stradlin goes to leapfrog Gabriel, but Azrael is right behind Stradlin to catch him as he lands. Azrael going for a Back suplex, Stradlin flips out and shoves Azrael into Gabriel on the apron! I should note that these guys are doing everything really, really fast.
Whip by Stradlin, Azrael reverses, Stradlin ducks a lariat but gets caught with a hiptoss attempt. Azrael turning the hiptoss setup into a powerbomb, but Stradlin rolls backwards into a sunset flip, Azrael rolls through on that and tries a kick to the face, Stradlin bridges back to avoid that. Kip up by Stradlin, Azrael trying the kick to the face again but Stradlin ducks, he also ducks a lariat and grabs a waistlock on Azrael. Trying for a waistlock roll up, but Azrael grabs the ropes to stop himself and turns into a brutal kick to the face! Great sequence. Azrael winds up for another hard kick, so Stradlin covers up. Azrael nevertheless hits a sliding dropkick to Stradlin, then covers for two. Stomp by Azrael and he tags in Gabriel. Whip by Gabriel, Stradlin ducks a lariat but gets caught with a forearm smash as he comes the other way. Gabriel covers, hooking the leg, but Stradlin kicks out. Gabriel with a kick to the face (popular move in this match) and he tags in Azrael. Rights by Azrael, whip into the ropes and he hits a gutshot and kick to the face, then hammers Stradlin with his step-up (Shining Black) enzuigiri! Another cover by Azrael gets two. Tag to Gabriel; notice how the Lost Boys are using sound strategy, quick tags in and out and constant covers? Very nice. Anyway, Gabriel sets up Stradlin for his cross-corner Arabian Moonsault (the move Gabriel hit on Stradlin nearly a year ago to injure his shoulder and keep Stradlin out for months)! Stradlin is able to move before Gabriel can attempt the move, so Gabriel runs to the other side of the ring and hits a springboard dropkick to send Stradlin off the apron to the floor. Gabriel drops Stradlin throat-first onto the guardrail, then rolls him back in the ring for another cover and another two count. Chop by Gabriel, whip, reversal by Stradlin and Sexton nails Gabriel with a clubbing forearm as he hits the ropes. Gabriel responds with a right hand.
Gabriel ducks a lariat from Stradlin but still gets whipped into the ropes, Gabriel slides through Stradlin's legs but Stradlin catches him as he does it and feeds him to Sexton on the outside. Sexton with clubbing forearms, trying a whip into the apron but Gabriel stops himself. Gabriel throws a kick, but Sexton catches it and spins Gabriel to under the bottom rope, where Stradlin meets him with a snap kick to the face! Sexton then spins Gabriel the other way, so he's draped under the bottom rope facing the floor, and gives him a Gamebreaker from their onto the wooden floor! Another awesome, fast sequence that managed to avoid looking choreographed. Stradlin tags in Sexton and he covers Gabriel, getting a two count. Jawbreaker by Sexton and a picturesque dropkick to follow up, then another cover for two. Tag to Stradlin, TNT with a double whip and double back elbow, then Sexton gets Stradlin in Wheelbarrow suplex position and drops him in a senton on Gabriel. I always thought that doubleteam was goofy. Stradlin covers for another two count. Armbar by Stradlin, really wrenching it in and stretching Gabriel. Gabriel slowly gets to a vertical base and counters to a wristlock, Stradlin rolls and kips up to break and he armwringers Gabriel. Kick to the ribs by Stradlin, then he goes behind into a side Russian legsweep. Cover by Stradlin for yet another two count. Stradlin gets Gabriel on the ropes and hits a pair of chops, then whips him into a dropkick. Gabriel rolls outside to collect himself, but Sexton is right there to continue the beating. He stomps Gabriel and tosses him into the guardrail, then boot chokes him against the guardrail. Sexton rolls Gabriel back in and Stradlin covers, but yet again Gabriel is able to kick out. Tag to Sexton, and now you'll notice TNT using the Lost Boys strategy from earlier against them. Stradlin with a rolling neck snap to Gabriel, Sexton looks for a Wheelbarrow suplex to follow up but he can't hold Gabriel and has to settle for a Back suplex instead. Cover by Sexton, Azrael breaks up the pin. Whip, Sexton with the Heel Telegraphed Backdrop and Gabriel tries for the sunset flip, Sexton holds on so Gabriel pantses him (eww) and completes the flip for two. Todd Sexton's bare ass is #18 on the list of things I never wanted to see. Sexton with a hard lariat to send Gabriel back down and he covers once again, getting one more two count. Gabriel gets his head slammed into the turnbuckle. Sexton trying to cinch Gabriel up on the second rope, Sexton with a right that Gabriel blocks. Gabriel blocks another right and throws one of his own, then he reverses positions and cinches Sexton up on the second rope. Gabriel going for a Tornado DDT, Sexton hangs on and tries to counter to a Northern Lights suplex, he's able to lift Gabriel but the Archangel manages to counter into a high DDT that spikes Sexton right on his head! Both men are down, Sexton tags in Stradlin while Gabriel makes the tag to Azrael!
Azrael with a right for Stradlin, right for Sexton, right for Stradlin, and one more for Sexton. He gives Stradlin a free shot in one corner and tries to charge Sexton in the opposite corner, but Stradlin runs up behind him and leaps onto his shoulders for a Victory Roll. Azrael counters, turning Stradlin around into a Death Valley Driver! Cover by Azrael but Sexton makes the save. Sexton with a whip, Azrael reverses and he positions Sexton right into the Fallen Arcadia! Azrael charges Stradlin in the corner, Stradlin gets the boot up but he's nailed with the Lost Boys assisted roundhouse kick. Stradlin is draped face-first in the corner now, so Gabriel whips Azrael into a run-up-the-back enzuigiri! Stradlin staggers back right into the Time Warp, Azrael crawls to cover, one, two, Sexton makes it in time to break up the pin. Azrael tosses Sexton through the ropes and out of the ring. Azrael gets Stradlin on his shoulders and Gabriel goes up top- looks like they're going for a Doomsday Tornado DDT, but Stradlin throws Gabriel off and then gives Azrael a reverse 'rana! Stradlin covers, hooking the leg and getting a close two count. Sexton's back in, double whip by TNT, Stradlin with a gutshot and he drops to all fours, allowing Sexton to springboard off his back into a spinning DDT on Azrael! That was the move the Lost Boys used to win their match with TNT at the Wildside Second Anniversary show, will it work here? Stradlin covers, one, two, Gabriel breaks it up. TNT put Gabriel in the Tree of Woe and go to the opposite corner, Stradlin tries whipping Sexton into a baseball slide dropkick but Gabriel pulls himself up to evade it- but he can't evade a leaping spinning heel kick from Stradlin! Stradlin going up to meet Gabriel on the top rope, but Azrael sprints in from out of nowhere with a second rope sunset flip to Stradlin! Azrael holds on to the pin and gets two. Stradlin and Azrael brawl to the floor while Gabriel sets Sexton up for a Tornado DDT. Sexton throws Gabriel off but Gabriel lands on his feet, trying the Tornado DDT again (he's persistant, gotta give him that) but Sexton counters into a Northern Lights suplex that launches Gabriel OVER THE ROPES AND TO THE FLOOR! Amazing. Stradlin with a clubbing forearm for Gabriel and he throws him into the guardrail. Sexton walks to the other side of the ring, then he sprints into a tope con hilo, sailing over the corner and onto the Lost Boys!
Gabriel rolls back into the ring, Stradlin follows and climbs the ropes, but he's met up there by Azrael. Now Gabriel's climbing the ropes and...oh no. AVALANCHE-STYLE EXCOMMUNICATOR TO STRADLIN! Merciful Buddha on a crutch! Gabriel slowly covers, one, two, Sexton pulls out Speedy Nelson because there's no way Stradlin was kicking out of that. Sexton with a clubbing forearm for Gabriel and he tries a whip, reversal by Gabriel into a fireman's carry, Sexton tries countering out to a DDT but he has to stop to duck a lariat from Azrael. The Lost Boys with a double armwringer on Sexton, turned to a double powerbomb backbreaker (8)! Azrael covers Sexton for a very close two count. Tag to Gabriel (wow, they're trying to remember who's legal!) and he seats Sexton up top. Gabriel going for a 'rana (the first half of the Unholy Roller), but Sexton makes with an unbelievably fast counter and folds Gabriel with a Superbomb! Sexton with a low legdrop to Azrael for good measure. Azrael pulled up by his hair and Sexton puts him in an inverted Tarantula. Stradlin, meanwhile, springboards across the ring with a dropkick to Azrael! With Azrael down and out, TNT turn their attentions to Gabriel. They set him up for the Powder Keg (9), but Gabriel rolls through to a sunset flip for two, Sexton breaking up the pin attempt by pushing Gabriel off and making him collide with Azrael on the apron. Now TNT have Gabriel set up for a far more deadly doubleteam...SPIKE CRADLE PILEDRIVER! No one has gotten up from this move since TNT debuted it. Stradlin covers Gabriel, one, two, KICK OUT! The crowd is on their feet! Gabriel is quite dead. TNT going for a second Spike Cradle Piledriver, but Azrael has finally recovered and he's able to shove Stradlin off the top rope while Gabriel backdrops Sexton (guess he wasn't as dead as I thought). Azrael leaps off the top with a Frog Splash to Sexton, but his knee buckled on the landing. Azrael somehow manages to drape himself over Sexton, one, two, Stradlin pulls him off! Stradlin with a forearm for referee Nelson as well, then TNT grab the Tag Team title belts and whip the Lost Boys with them! No bell rings, but the official decision was a lame DQ on TNT here (23:02, 88). TNT aren't letting up with the belt whipping, but now the Briscoe Brothers are out to repay the Lost Boys favour from earlier and chase off TNT. "Bris-Coes" chant from the crowd. Another staredown between the Briscoes and the Lost Boys, but again nothing comes of it. Azrael's knee is still banged up so he needs to be helped backstage by his partner and a trainer.
This was really two matches in one, with several layers of story in both. The first match made up the first ten to fifteen minutes of this match, with the Lost Boys and TNT doing straight tag wrestling. It started out on the mat, where they essentially went to a stalemate. Then the Lost Boys isolated Stradlin, even trying to injure him again with the same move that separated his shoulder before (Gabriel's Arabian Moonsault). It took both intervention from Sexton and a big move (the Gamebreaker on the floor) to turn the tide. TNT used the Lost Boys own strategy against them, drawing heat on Gabriel. Once Gabriel was able to get in some offense and tag in Azrael, the match moved into phase two, which was spottier but still good.
They didn't lose their story once the match went into high gear, playing off of their previous matches (the TNT assisted spinning DDT that the Lost Boys used to win the Second Anniversary show match), but there wasn't nearly as much story as there was in the first match. These four did a great job of selling the big moves, however, not just popping up to move on to the next spot. Even better, they managed to pull off all of the spots without them looking choreographed, which is a big problem with many Lost Boys matches. The only really choreographed spot in the whole match was the Azrael backflip/Sexton slingshot to roll-through powerbomb one, and that was done well enough that you can forgive it for looking rehearsed. If this match was just nothing but the big spots, it would've been entertaining but not nearly as good. What's important is that they did fifteen minutes of build to draw the crowd into it, and to more importantly make it a wrestling match, not a stuntman contest.
There were problems, the usual business about legal men that only I care about (but credit where credit's due, for a long time they stuck with the legal men being involved into falls until nearly the end). Gabriel kicking out of the Spike Cradle Piledriver was a little unnecessary, it should've been broken up by a rope break or Azrael interference. Obviously, the biggest problem was the finish, as going twenty three minutes only to end in a DQ is not the way to go.
A lot of people talked about how the Spanish Announce Team vs. Devine Storm and Brian XL match in CZW (6/01, from the "Take One" show) was revolutionary, but I'll argue that this is far better and more important. That match was good, but they were total spotfests with some obligatory flashy (albeit well done) matwork to start off. Since that match, only really XL and Quiet Storm have made strides to improve, while Chris Devine and the Maximos have regressed. Having seen some matches involving TNT and the Lost Boys from after this show, I can safely say they're maintaining the level of work exhibited here. This is a must-see match even if you're not a Wildside fan.
-Iceberg vs. Adam Jacobs vs. Rick Michaels vs. Rainman vs. AJ Styles vs. Tank vs. Scotty Wrenn in a WarGames Gauntlet Cage Match for the Wildside Heavyweight title. Original plans called for Blackout, Adam Jacobs and Iceberg vs. Styles, Tank, Wrenn and Michaels in a traditional WarGames match while Young vs. Jason Cross for the Heavyweight title would be the other main event. However, Cross retired (apparently due to the advice of his girlfriend) and had to vacate the title, throwing plans into disarray and leading to this match. Wildside TV shows in the weeks leading up to this show had shown the NWA Elite three (Jacobs, Rainman, Iceberg) together as a unit while the faces were constantly fighting with each other. Dan Wilson goes over the rules of the match: The seven men all randomly drew numbers backstage, the men who drew #1 and #2 come out first, the loser leaves while #3 enters as the next participant, and so on until there's a survivor. The survivor wins the Wildside Heavyweight title. Andrew Thomas is your inside referee while Speedy Nelson is the troubleshooter outside the cage (and the man with the key, although that never comes into play). I'm not going to rate the matches individually, just the match itself as a whole at the end. With all that out of the way... Iceberg (with Jeff G. Bailey) vs. Scotty Wrenn. The two big men go nose-to-nose, and then they nod. Collar-and-elbow tieup, Wrenn muscles Iceberg into the corner but Iceberg is able to reverse and break cleanly. Collar-and-elbow, Wrenn again muscles Iceberg into the corner and this time he adds an open-hand slap. A third collar-and-elbow, Wrenn to the side headlock (wrestling?!), Iceberg throws him off into the ropes. Iceberg trying a lariat, Wrenn ducks then springboards off the ropes with a back elbow. Iceberg is staggered, so Wrenn comes off the ropes with a Thesz Press, then five rights from there. Iceberg to the corner, Wrenn with three kicks to the midsection then a pair of high kicks to the head. Wrenn charging for an avalanche, but Iceberg moves. Back suplex by Iceberg, cover, Wrenn gets the shoulder up at two. Pair of left hands by Iceberg, Irish whip and he drops Wrenn with a side slam. Iceberg idly leans back for the cover and gets two. Another left by Iceberg, then a scoop slam. Big running legdrop by Iceberg, keeping the leg across Wrenn's throat for a cover but Wrenn is able to get the shoulder up. Slap by Iceberg, then he pulls Wrenn to his feet and gives him another. Wrenn starts fighting back with a pair of rights, he comes off the ropes with a lariat but Iceberg snares him with the Psycho Slam! Cover by Iceberg, but Wrenn is able to kick out of his own finisher. Iceberg paces while Wrenn goes to the corner to pull himself up. Iceberg charges for an avalanche, and that's countered quickly with a Psycho Slam by Wrenn! Wrenn covers, getting a close two count. Clubbing forearm by Wrenn, whip into the ropes, trying a lariat but Iceberg ducks. Now Wrenn's trying the Psycho Slam again, but Iceberg simply shifts his weight and falls on top of Wrenn to get the pin (4:49). Nothing much here, not actively horrible but nothing good either. Wrenn picks a fight with referee Thomas after the match. Iceberg (with Jeff G. Bailey) vs. Tank. Wrenn and Tank brush shoulders as Wrenn is making his exit; this is enough to set Wrenn off (he's a ticking time bomb, you know) and he attacks Tank. Clubbing forearms by Wrenn and he tosses Tank into the side of the cage, then throws him into the guardrail. Tank is rolled in and Iceberg wastes no time, immediately striking Tank with several measured left hands. Bailey hands Iceberg the potato peeler through the cage and I have the feeling we're going to see us some blood. Iceberg with a one-armed chinlock and he stabs Tank with the peeler. Another stab and Tank has added some colour. Iceberg carves the peeler into Tank's forehead, then puts him in a headlock along the ropes for another stab. Tank lays low in the corner to recover while Bailey gets the peeler back from Iceberg. Corner whip by Iceberg, trying an avalanche but Tank moves. Big boot by Tank to keep Iceberg down while he reaches into his Bag of Fun. Tank pulls out...a wooden stake! Well, that's different. Tank with three stabs to Iceberg's forehead, causing the behemoth to bleed. Tank carves up Iceberg's forehead and then stabs it again. Iceberg has really tapped a vein here, blood running all down his face. Iceberg is on his knees, so Tank hits a trio of hard kicks to the chest. Iceberg is down and in a bad way, so Tank capitalizes with a Cross Armbreaker! Interesting strategy, certainly more interesting than all the stabbing and bleeding. Iceberg cries out in pain but he refuses to submit. Tank with a stomp, then a chinlock and stab. Tank carves up Iceberg's forehead some more while the ring is now stained with Iceberg's blood. Tank with several forearms against the ropes, whip and he spears Iceberg into the cage! Pair of right hands from Tank, corner whip and he hits the avalanche, but when he tries to follow up with a bulldog out of the corner Iceberg throws him off. Iceberg with an avalanche to Tank, laying him out. Tank is flat on his back, so Iceberg gets a running start and hits the Ground Zero Splash! Iceberg covers, one, two, shoulder up! Tank's maybe the first guy to kick out of that but I'm not entirely sure. Tank with a right hand, then he takes Iceberg to the corner for a ten punch countalong. He gets to nine before Iceberg brings him down hard with a spinebuster. Iceberg to the second rope, and he flattens Tank with a Giant Press! That's enough to put Tank away (7:19). Match was a little better than it reads, but not much. They had a far better cage match at Hardcore Hell, but then again they had better build and more time there. This wasn't as bad as it could've been but it did get tedious early on with all the stabbing and carving and such. Bring out the next opponent!
Iceberg (with Jeff G. Bailey) vs. David Young. Iceberg is slumped over in the corner, trying to catch a breather. Young's not about to let him have that opportunity, attacking with four right hands. Young off the ropes with a lariat, but Iceberg won't go down. Another lariat, and Iceberg is starting to budge. "Da-Vid Young" chant from the crowd. Young now unwisely tries a scoop slam, so Iceberg shifts his weight and squashes Young. Young gets tossed into the cage, then tossed into the opposite wall. Javelin into the cage wall by Iceberg. Thomas checks Young, who says he can continue despite the fact that he's bleeding. Iceberg, meanwhile, is exhausted, having wrestled over fifteen minutes already (no small feat for a 600 lb man). Young slowly crawls, trying to get to his feet, but Iceberg puts a stop to that with a measured left. Another measured left to Young, who is kneeling. Trying a third measured left, but Young blocks and throws three right hands. Corner whip by Young, Iceberg reverses and plows into him with an avalanche. Young is doubled over, so Iceberg takes advantage with a sliding dropkick that hits Young low. Bodyslam and Iceberg goes to the top floor. Yes, he's going for the E.L.E. A six hundred pound Rolling Senton...MISSES! Young sloooowly crawls over for the cover, one, two, no. Iceberg has blood all over him now, not just his face but his clothes. Gutshot by Young, Iceberg catches it and Young snaps off an enzugiri. Iceberg is on his knees, so Young comes off the ropes with a Shining enzugiri! Lariat by Young but Iceberg fails to topple. Two more, Iceberg is on jelly legs but he's STILL not falling over. Young tries a fourth lariat, which Iceberg counters into a shockingly fast spear! Iceberg falls on top after the impact, but he still can only get a two count. Both men are down, Iceberg makes it to his feet first. Whip by Iceberg, Young ducks a lariat. Young gets under Iceberg, then drops him with a bodyslam! The crowd is (justifably) impressed. That may have took a lot out of Young also, but he's still in better shape than his opponent. Young signals to the crowd and he goes up top. Moonsault attempted, but Iceberg moves out of the way! Iceberg points to the top and starts climbing- is HE going for a moonsault? Young joins Iceberg up top, then spins him off with an AVALANCHE-STYLE SPINEBUSTER! Wow. Young drapes an arm over Iceberg, one, two, three (8:28)! David Young is the first man to pin Iceberg! Bailey is shocked on the outside, agape and staring in disbelief. Young may have won the match, but he's still not in great shape. Shockingly good match, it'd rate somewhere around a 76-78 if I was rating it. Much better than their title match from a month or two ago. It was slow, but it told a story (Young is able to hold out and beat the tired Iceberg with a big move). It really meant something when Young got the pin, and the crowd was more into this than anything else in WarGames. It might not look great on paper, but it's definitely worth a viewing (in context, of course). Thomas checks Young, who says he can go on to the next match.
David Young vs. Rick Michaels. Michaels charges Young while he's resting in the corner and hits him with a pair of hard lefts. Michaels with a fist scrape on Young's open cut, but Young fires back with four rights to turn the tide. Whip by Young, Michaels ducks a lariat, ducks a chop the other way. Trying to catch Young with the Double Shot, but Young counters into the Spinebuster! Slow cover by Young, one, two, NO! Michaels barely shoots the shoulder up. Young going up for the Moonsault, but Michaels climbs to the second rope and brings him down with a side Russian legsweep. There's the Double Shot, and Michaels ends David Young's night early (2:44). This was like the finishing sequence of a fifteen minute match, and it served its purpose (to let Young put up a fight but establish how the match with Iceberg took too much out of him). Time for entrant #5.
Rick Michaels vs. Rainman (with Jeff G. Bailey). Michaels ducks a lariat from Rainman and throws three lefts, then whips Rainman into a hiptoss. Armdrag by Michaels, another, then he hits Rainman with a dropkick. Whip, reversal by Rainman, going for a backdrop but Michaels skips over him. Michaels sliding through Rainman's legs on the way back, so Rainman turns and pastes him with a high kick! Rainman pulls a pair of barbed wire brass knuckles out of his pocket. Big knuckles-assisted right hand by Rainman and Michaels bleeds. Heavily. Another right by Rainman and we get a good look at Michaels, who is bleeding a gusher. Blood all over his face, blood running down his chest and legs. I think Rick Michaels just tipped over the Muta scale! Michaels crawls to the corner to wring the blood out of his hair. Rainman with a right, then five stomps. Another right, whip by Rainman and he hits Michaels with a spinning heel kick. Cover by Rainman, Michaels kicks out at two. Rainman to the mount- five barbed wire right hands, each one tearing deeper into Michaels' cut. Three more rights by Michaels, and the he runs him head-first into the cage. Cover by Rainman, Michaels gets a foot on the bottom rope to break the count. Michaels pulls himself up using the ropes, Rainman runs and tries a crossbody but Michaels ducks and Rainman crashes into the cage! Now Michaels has the barbed wire knux, and while things are quite bloody now, I think they're about to get a whole lot bloodier. Michaels with a big running left, then he digs the barbed wire into Rainman's forehead. Michaels headlocks Rainman into the corner, and up close to the camera so we can all get a good look at him digging the barbed wire DEEP into Rainman's forehead. Eww. Michaels grabs Thomas and uses his shirt to help clean up some of the blood on his face. Michaels back to focusing on Rainman and he covers, getting two. Whip by Michaels and a high knee, but he can't keep up the offense as the blood loss is too much and he collapses in the corner. Michaels pulls himself together and hits a jawbreaker, but he's still woozy. There's a great (albeit disgusting) visual as Michaels is on his knees in the center of the ring, his body covered in still-flowing blood while he's in a pool of his own blood already. Michaels digs his fingers into Rainman's open wound, then he scrapes Rainman's head into the steel mesh, making sure to hit all four walls. Michaels now tying the barbed wire into the mesh, and he scrapes Rainman's head into that too. Double arm raise by Michaels and he laces up the knux for one more big left hand. Cover by Michaels gets two, Rainman quickly breaking things up with a low blow. DDT by Rainman. Stomp by Rainman and he boot chokes Michaels. Whip, Rainman going for the Spine Splitta, but Michaels blocks and counters to the Double Shot! Rainman falls on Michaels, preventing him from covering right away. Michaels rolls Rainman off of him and covers, one, two, kickout! Michaels doesn't take time to register any disbelief, taking Rainman up top and going for a Superplex. Bailey, however, throws some powder through the mesh to blind Michaels and Rainman takes advantage with an avalanche-style Spine Splitta! Michaels is done (11:15) and they need to get that man some medical help ASAP. Prazak speculates that it was salt that Bailey threw, and I don't even wanna think about that considering the size of Michaels' wound. Michaels grabs a towel to sop up some of the blood, and two trainers have to help him out. Match was dramatic but not necessarily good, defnitely not as good as Iceberg/Young. Still, all of the bloodmarks out there have to see this. Even casual fans too, just to say they've seen it. This is sicker than the Mutoh/Hase bladejob, sicker than any of Honma's bloodfests as well. The only thing I've seen that's sicker is Jun Kasai after the "Fans Bring the Weapons" match in CZW where his arm was cut up so bad you can see the bone, and I don't think anything is going to top that anyway.
Rainman (with Jeff G. Bailey) vs. Adam Jacobs. Bailey meets Jacobs as he makes his entrance, and the two seem to have a disagreement. Bailey with the mic. "Adam, look, you gotta do the right thing. Just like Jason did for you when he laid down in the TV tournament. Rainman is gonna be the next Heavyweight champion. Go on and lay down, it's for the Elite. It's not a big deal...it's not a big deal..." Jacobs protests, but eventually sighs and relents. Jacobs enters the ring and lays down, Rainman slowly crawls over, one, two, Jacobs reverses to a schoolboy and gets the flash pin (0:25)! Rainman is furious and Thomas has to hold him back. Bailey is, as you'd expect, quite angry. Jacobs to Bailey: "Go fuck yourself!" The crowd seranades Rainman with the "Na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye" song as he exits. Jacobs shoves Thomas for good measure, just to drive home the point. Good angle, didn't take up too much time and Jacobs immediately gets over as a face. Time for the seventh and final entrant, and the Wildside Heavyweight title match!
Adam Jacobs vs. AJ Styles for the NWA Wildside Heavyweight title. Styles wears his NWA:TNA X title belt to the ring. Staredown, Styles and Jacobs go nose-to-nose but both men back off. Jacobs slides at Styles, feigning a lunge for a tieup. Collar-and-Elbow tieup, both men struggle to their knees and neither tries a hold. Styles eventually is able to force Jacobs into the corner, then he breaks clean. Collar-and-elbow, Jacobs with a waistlock, standing switch, Jacobs with an armbar and he floats over to a front chancery. Styles counters out to a ground hammerlock, converting to an armbar and turning Jacobs over to pin his shoulders to the mat for a two count. Side headlock takeover by Styles, Jacobs with the headscissors counter. Styles nips up, now it's Jacobs with the side headlock takeover and Styles with the headscissors. Respect standoff between Styles and Jacobs, as you'd expect. Collar-and-elbow, Styles with a wristlock and whip, he drops down and then leapfrogs Jacobs when he comes the other way. Styles comes off the ropes, Jacobs leapfrogs him and hits a gutshot. Whip, Styles reverses, Jacobs reverses that and he whips Styles into the corner, but Styles slides to avoid hitting the buckle. Armdrag by Jacobs, armdrag by Styles, both men go for an armdrag and counter at the same time, there's a second standoff and the crowd dutifully applauds.
Jacobs with a pair of uppercuts and he slams Styles' head into the cage. Styles with a right and he does the same to Jacobs. Whip by Styles and he hits a running forearm smash. Chop by Styles, whip into the ropes and he tries a spinning heel kick but Jacobs ducks. Jacobs trying a Superkick but Styles catches it and tries a lariat. Jacobs ducks the lariat and grabs a waistlock, standing switch by Styles but Jacobs counters out to a wristlock and knee strike. Jacobs with a nice swinging neckbreaker and then an elbow. Whip, Styles with the armwringer reversal and he goes to javelin Jacobs into the cage but Jacobs drops out. Jacobs gives Styles a faceful of cage, then a side of gutshot. Hard kick to the face by Jacobs, then a Superkick finds the mark. Cover, Jacobs hooks the leg, but only two. Jacobs ascending the turnbuckles, but Styles climbs up and meets him with a pair of clubbing forearms. Corner whip by Styles and he hits a backflip dropkick, then a rotating lariat to knock Jacobs out. Cover, Jacobs kicks out at two. Bodyslam by Styles and he goes to the top, Jacobs gets to his feet and joins Styles on the top turnbuckle. The two jockey for position, Styles winning and hitting some clubbing forearms. Styles going for a Back Superplex, but Jacobs grabs the cage to prevent being dropped. Jacobs now climbing out of the cage, Styles facelocks him over the top and he's trying to Superplex him from up there (!). Jacobs doesn't let himself get pulled over, instead dropping to the floor and taking Styles with him! Jacobs throwing right hands while on the floor, then he slams Styles' head into the rail. Gutshot and Jacobs tries a hiptoss on the floor, Styles flips out (10) to counter. Jacobs trying the flip out as well but Styles counters it to a powerbomb on the wooden floor! Jacobs gets thrown into the rail and left to hang there so Styles can hit a pair of stiff kicks, then a nasty running forearm smash to finish things off.
Both men re-enter the cage and it's Styles on the offensive now. Chop, whip into the ropes and he wants a press slam. Jacobs tries countering with a 'rana, Styles attempts to turn that into the Styles Clash but Jacobs pulls himself up. Styles runs Jacobs back-first into the cage powerbomb-style, but Jacobs still holds on and gets a 'rana that sends Styles flying into the cage! Forward Russian legsweep by Jacobs, into a cover, but Styles kicks out at two. Snap suplex by Jacobs, another cover, another two count. Jacobs to the top floor, going for one of his big moves, the Frog Splash, but Styles moves and it's an empty pool! Brainbuster by Styles, cover, Jacobs with a late kickout. Whip by Styles, reversed and Styles hits the ropes so hard he flips upside down into the cage! Jacobs charging Styles, but Styles is able to pull himself up using the ropes and catch Jacobs with a headscissor that sends him into the cage! Really swank Vertical suplex into a neckbreaker by Styles, and once again his cover gets a two count. Corner whip by Styles is reversed, and Jacobs takes the time to get his bearings. Jacobs climbing to the top, Styles follows. Styles throwing forearms, but Jacobs is able to overtake Styles and send him crashing to the mat with a top rope Superplex! Both guys are down, Jacobs drapes an arm over Styles for a close two count. Could be considered a two count on both men as Jacobs shoulders were down as well. Uppercut by Jacobs and he throws Styles into the ropes, trying a lariat but Styles ducks. Styles coming off the ropes with a Quebrada, Jacobs ducks but Styles lands on his feet behind Jacobs and folds him with a Dragon Suplex! Styles hooks the leg and covers, but only two. Styles once again going up top, he tries the Spiral Tap (11) but Jacobs rolls safely out of the way. Quick cover by Jacobs, but Styles still has enough energy to kick out. Jacobs with a right hand and whip, catching Styles on the way back and running him back-first into the cage! Styles falls into a Tree of Woe in the ropes on the apron, so Jacobs follows up with a baseball slide dropkick. Styles taken to the corner and Jacobs shoulderblocks him twice, corner whip, he tries to follow up with an avalanche but Styles smoothly blocks and cinches him on the second rope. Styles with a 'rana to send Jacobs off the ropes and into the Tree of Woe. Styles sprints into a forearm smash, then he cinches Jacobs up again. He tries to scoop Jacobs over the cage, but Jacobs fights back with a pair of right hands and a knee. Styles still maintains control, going for the avalanche-style Styles Clash, but Jacobs is able to counter in mid-air to a 'rana! Cover by Jacobs, one, two, three! NEW HERO (14:13)! Total time for WarGames is (53:35, 82).
Let's deal with Styles/Jacobs first, then the match as a whole. Pretty good match, ranking around an 80 or so, but it paled in comparison to the Briscoes match. The opening matwork was fine, smoothly done, but it had the flaw that Styles' matwork often has in that it felt kind of hollow. They put together some really nice sequences, but the flow seemed off. The problem is, both of these guys, while they have their strengths, need someone to carry them. Styles has the athleticism and Jacobs knows the basics, plus he's very charismatic and good at drawing a crowd in, but neither is in the position to carry yet. Notice how there was no extended selling here, as the momentum kept switching.
Jacobs outworked Styles here, as while Styles wasn't bad, he was in shitty TNA mode. Unlike most people, I don't gush over the TNA X Division and think its matches are overly spotty. Styles regularly lowers himself in such matches, getting lazy and doing little more than firing off spots. Styles wasn't that bad here, but he showed flashes of TNAness (such as busting out the Spiral Tap). Jacobs seemed a little nervous and uneasy working as a face, but he eventually got over it and it never lead to any real awkwardness.
Enough criticism, though, as these guys did quite a bit right. The crowd being spent hurt things, but the finish was suitably dramatic and was pulled off well. They did a good job playing off of moves from earlier in the match, such as Jacobs having the Superkick blocked once before hitting it again, and all of the 'ranas that happened. The counter wrestling was smooth. Despite my TNA comparisons above this was better than most TNA X Division matches just because they did some building work. Overall, a far from perfect match- and far from Match of the Night honours as well- but still solid.
Now onto the WarGames match as a whole. The first two matches didn't have much to them, although the second wasn't entirely awful. Young/Iceberg was the strongest match overall, smartly booked and perfectly executed. Michaels/Young was more good storytelling, but obviously it was too short to be a good match. I don't think I'll ever forget Rainman/Michaels, and that has to be worth something, right? You haven't seen a manly bladejob until you've seen Rick Michaels here, let me tell you (as if I didn't hammer that point home enough in the match description). Rainman/Jacobs was an effective angle, getting Jacobs an instant huge face reaction. Sadly he hasn't really slid into the role of top face as well as he could've, but he's definitely over. The main event successfully elevated Jacobs and was a pretty decent match to boot.
WarGames did everything it set out to accomplish, and for nearly an hour it told a good story. If I could change anything it would be to drop Wrenn/Iceberg and give more time to Michaels/Young, but that would've screwed with the story anyway. If you're into Southern-style work you'll love this, and others will likely enjoy it as well.
But we're not done here...
-Jacobs cradles his newly won title and hugs it. He drapes the belt over his shoulder and faces Styles, then the two hug, obviously emotional. Styles leaves and Jacobs claps before taking a bow for the appreciative crowd. Suddenly, "The Way I Am" by Eminem starts playing. Out walks John Phoenix, who was Jacobs' old partner in Suicidal Tendencies. Phoenix raises Jacobs' arm, then leads some applause. High five between the old partners, and Jacobs climbs the turnbuckle...only to get slammed off by Phoenix! Vicious lariat by Phoenix and a stompdown. "Cut that damn music!" Jeff G. Bailey is out to join us. Bailey claims that he made Jacobs, saying he was the "runt of the litter" and the NWA Elite carried him. Phoenix flies off the top rope with a legdrop onto Jacobs. Bailey tells everyone in the crowd that Phoenix is the man that trained Jason Cross, and that he's going to destroy Jacobs. Phoenix with the mic: "Jeff G. Bailey always an ace up his sleeve, and you better bet your ass that JOHN PHOENIX is the ace that will make all the difference! (...) Now I sat at home and watched Jason Cross quit like the pussy he is- the pussy I've always known him to be! I thought you were better than that Adam, but you proved you weren't when you turned your back on Jeff G. Bailey and the NWA Elite!" Phoenix says that Jacobs is no better than Cross because of the way he quit the NWA Elite. "So to hell with Jason Cross, to hell with Suicidal Tendencies, and to hell with you, Adam Jacobs!" Phoenix with more stomping (Bailey in the background: "You're nothin, Adam Jacobs!") Phoenix says he's here to bring respect to the Jeff G. Bailey and the NWA Elite, but he's not able to finish that thought as AJ Styles is back out. Styles throws Bailey into the cage. Phoenix tries to whip Styles into the ropes, but Styles catches him with a high backdrop. Phoenix bails as Styles goes to help Jacobs up. Jacobs and Styles stare down Bailey and Jacobs, and that's it! Four and a half hours later, you better have gotten your money's worth!
-Overall, this was an absolutely tremendous show and a definite contender for Show of the Year. Only one bad match on the show in Kass/Magnum, and everything else was "decent" at worst. One of the best matches of the year in Briscoe/Briscoe, a landmark match in TNT/Lost Boys, an exciting main event, the elevation of new talent...what else could you want?
This is also a "pure wrestling" show in a way the WWE or TNA would never produce. No promos, no backstage vignettes, only two angles (the Dustin forfeit and the Jacobs face turn/Phoenix return), both of which were executed quickly. Actually, an interview or two wouldn't have hurt, but let's not nitpick. It was truly refreshing, especially in the US, to see a show where the wrestling is the complete focus. It's also a good introduction to Wildside if you're a newcomer.
I'm not sure, ROH 3/30 and NJPW 5/2 may be better (I liked Chono/Misawa, dammit!), but it's close. Regardless of it's ranking, this is an easy recommendation.
It took me a week and a half total to write this, so I hope you enjoyed it. Feedback, as always, is appreciated.