Matches involving Randy Orton, Perry Saturn, AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar!
Randy Orton vs. Billy Gunn
Date: May 1st, 2001
Reason Reviewed: Orton is about a year and a half away from getting onto the main roster and he’s competing against a veteran in Billy Gunn. Gunn is a solid hand in the ring and I anticipate there being some quality action.
Randy Orton cuts a heel promo on the crowd saying that the Philadelphia 76ers are going to beat the Indiana Pacers. Gunn slides into the ring and Orton quickly goes after him with strikes in the corner. Gunn comes back with a drop toe hold and a few arm drags followed by a slam for a two count. Gunn nails Orton with a back elbow shot and Orton slides to the floor to regroup. Gunn rams Orton face first onto the ring steps and continues to hammer away on Orton in the corner. Orton drops Gunn with a wheelbarrow face buster for a near fall. Orton mounts Gunn with a few shots. Orton chokes Gunn over the middle rope for a few moments before ramming Gunn face first into the corner. Orton delivers a few shots to Gunn’s back and connects with a quick clothesline for a near fall. Gunn counters a backdrop attempt whiplashing Orton to the canvas. Gunn hammers away on Orton and continues with a backdrop. Gunn plants Orton with a power slam but only manages a near fall. Gunn drops Orton with a short arm clothesline and hit a cobra clutch slam for the win. (*1/2. Orton’s offense was very basic but Gunn brought a good energy and kept the crowd into it. Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate Billy Gunn.)
Brock Lesnar vs. Spike Dudley
Date: March 11th, 2002
Reason Reviewed: Lesnar is a beast of a human and with Spike being significantly smaller, I’d imagine there is going to be moments here where Lesnar comes across like an absolute beast. I always enjoy seeing Spike get destroyed. His matches with Mike Awesome in ECW come to mind. Lesnar would debut on RAW shortly after this appearance.
Spike taunts Lesnar by flexing, which is comical. Spike wants to shake hands and is met with a clothesline instead. Lesnar lifts Spike up and drops Spike throat first across the top rope. Lesnar slaps Spike around delivers a few strike to the upper back of Dudley. Lesnar delivers a backbreaker a few times. Lesnar chokes Dudley in the corner and stalks towards the referee. Brock sends Spike across the ring and blocks a big boot but misses a clothesline. Dudley delivers a flurry of right hands and tries to send Lesnar across the ring. Lesnar counters and sends Dudley chest first into the corner. Spike holds on Lesnar’s leg but is beaten down again. Lesnar scoop slams Spike and comes off the ropes but misses an elbow drop, which he got a lot of air on. Spike hammers away on Lesnar and goes for a sunset flip. Lesnar counters by picking Spike up for a press slam, but Spike countered with another rollup attempt. Lesnar doesn’t go down and instead power bombs Spike. Dudley rolls to the floor wiped out. Spike crawls back into the ring and is sent into the corner. Spike comes out with a head butt to the gut and a few dropkicks. Lesnar places Spike on the top turnbuckle and goes to the middle rope. Spike eye rakes Lesnar and hits a double stomp! Spike attempts the Acid Drop but Lesnar shoves him off and soon hits the F5 for the win! (**. Lesnar looked good here and Spike did a great job of making him look like a star. It’s rare for a developmental guy to get a win over the WWF star, but clearly they had big plans for Lesnar in just a few weeks.)
AJ Styles vs. Rico
Date: January 22nd, 2002
Reason Reviewed: Man, if only AJ Styles would have taken the developmental contract he was offered in 2002. This is the first of a few dark matches that AJ had and of course I have to check them out.
Styles goes behind Rico and takes him down to the mat quickly. Rico gets control of the left arm but Styles flips out of it and takes Rico down again. Rico elbows Styles to break the hold and attempts a clothesline but Styles ducks. Rico hammers away on Styles attempting a German suplex but Styles lands on his feet. Rico runs over Styles with a knee strike to the chest. Rico delivers several kicks in the corner to drop Styles to the mat for a near fall. Rico locks in a sleeper hold but Styles quickly gets to his feet and elbows out of it. Styles boots Rico and attempts a super kick but Rico counters with a spin kick. Rico has the cover but Styles kicks out at two. Rico boot scrapes Styles and drives AJ down with a back suplex. Rico goes to the top rope and misses a moonsault attempt. Styles hammers away on Rico followed by a standing hurricanrana and a dropkick for a two count. Styles spikes Rico with a brain buster but Rico kicks out at two. Styles delivers a clothesline in the corner and elbows Rico. Styles comes off the top hitting a springboard cross body, but Rico was too far away so it looked bad. Styles backdrops Rico over the top to the floor. Styles leaps off the top and takes Rico out with a shooting star press dive! Styles gets crotched throat first across the top rope and Rico hit an overhead suplex for the win. (**. That was a weak finish, but it was a great showcase for AJ Styles.)
Orlando Jordan vs. Rico
Date: January 28th, 2002
Reason Reviewed: Orlando Jordan may be the most forgotten about WWE United States Champion of all time. I’m not saying he necessarily really good, but in 2005 he was relatively big deal. Oh yeah, and that TNA thing he did. I’m curious to see how OJ performed here.
Rico gets out of a side headlock to put Jordan in one as they just counter basic holds at the start. Rico takes Jordan down with a fireman’s carry but doesn’t followup on that. Jordan ducks a clothesline and trips Rico. Jordan controls Rico with a wrist lock and lifts Rico into the air a few times. Rico uses his feet to kick Jordan and drops him to the mat with a trip. Rico delivers a few shots in the corner and is hip tossed out of the corner. Jordan keeps control of Rico’s arm. Rico chops Jordan against the ropes but runs into a back elbow. Rico crotches Jordan over the top rope and knocks him off before stomping him in the corner. Rico nails Jordan with a running big boot in the corner. Rico nails Jordan with a springboard kick in the corner but Jordan kicks out on the cover attempt. Rico drops Jordan with a clothesline for a near fall. Rico controls Jordan with a head lock but Jordan quickly fights out only to be met with a knee lift. Rico kicks Jordan in the chest for a near fall. Rico connects with a short arm kick to the chest for another near fall. Rico drives Jordan down with a back suplex before heading to the top and misses a moonsault attempt. Jordan plants Rico with a face buster and a clothesline. Jordan comes off the ropes to hit a shoulder block for a near fall. Rico goes for a backdrop but Jordan lands on his feet and dropkicks Rico several times for a near fall. Jordan power slams Rico and plays to the crowd. Jordan heads to the top rope and hits a cross body but Rico rolls through to win the match. (*1/4. For an eight minute match or so, this felt like it was taking forever to get through. I’ve never been a huge Orlando Jordan fan and this match just dragged on with very little excitement attached to it. Rico has the same formula match going for himself too I’m noticing.)
Perry Saturn vs. Billy Kidman
Date: September 8th, 1997
Reason Reviewed: I’ve always liked Saturn and Kidman is a quality wrestler. Plus, this is a WCW dark match, which is kind of neat.
Saturn shoulder blocks Kidman and hits an overhead belly to belly suplex. Saturn stomps on Kidman some more but Kidman comes back with a head scissors and dropkicks. Kidman sends Saturn over the top with a clothesline to the floor. Kidman takes Saturn out with a slingshot cross body to the floor. Kidman slingshots into the ring from the apron hitting a head scissors for a two count. Kidman connects with a face buster and heads to the top rope. Kidman leaps off but is met with a dropkick in midair. Saturn beats on Kidman with a few strikes before planting Kidman with a DDT. Saturn goes for the cover but Kidman kicks out at two. Saturn arm drags Kidman and has an arm bar on Kidman but doesn’t get a submission. Saturn gets a rollup for a two cunt and super kicks Kidman. Saturn heads to the top rope but misses a leg drop attempt. Kidman ducks a right hand and clotheslines Saturn a few times. Kidman dropkicks Saturn followed by a side slam. Kidman goes to the top and hit the Shooting Star Press but Saturn kicked out at two! Kidman plants Saturn with a bulldog out of the corner for another near fall. Kidman tries the move a second time but Saturn counters with a back suplex. Saturn drives Kidman down with an arm breaker and locks in a submission to win the match. (**1/2. A quick match but they got a lot of stuff in there and both men looked really good. This was a tryout for Saturn and he obviously got signed. Kidman already had a deal with the company. They jelled really well together and would have several more matches in WCW a few years later.)
On the next edition of Before The Camera Rolls the following matches will be covered.
Kurt Angle vs. Meat (Shawn Stasiak)
Prototype (John Cena) vs. Scott Vick
Prototype (John Cena) vs. Shelton Benjamin
Billy & Chuck vs. Shelton Benjamin & Randy Orton
Kanyon vs. Shark Boy
Thanks for reading.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.