This installment features AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar, Stevie Richards and Matt Cappotelli.
Match: AJ Styles vs. Rick Michaels
Date: July 9th, 2001
Reason Reviewed: The obvious statement would be because it’s AJ Styles. However, Rick Michaels was his trainer and they had some good matches dating back to NWA Wildside. So, I’m intrigued to see how they worked together here.
Michaels gets control with a side headlock to start the match. Styles fights out of the hold but is met with a kick to the gut. Michaels knocks Styles down and connects with an arm drag and dropkick. Styles gets control of Michaels with a headlock but that doesn’t last long. Styles comes off the ropes with a shoulder block and hip tosses Michaels. Styles continues with an arm drag and a dropkick for a two count. Michaels cuts off Styles with a knee lift to the midsection. Michaels decks Styles with a left hand and attempts a side slam but Styles counters with a rollup for a two count. Michaels drives Styles down to the mat with a back suplex. Michaels works over Styles in the corner with strikes. Styles comes back with a dropkick in the corner but is lifted into the air and dropped across Michael’s knee. Michaels follows up with a super kick. Michaels scoop slams Styles and heads to the top rope. Michaels leaps off but Styles gets his boot up. Styles runs over Michaels with a clothesline. Styles plants Michaels with the Styles Clash and goes to the top. Styles hits a shooting star press for the win. (**1/2. That was a rather solid match and both guys looked more than capable in there. Nicely done dark match.)
Match: Kidman vs. Funaki
Date: November 5th, 2001
Reason Reviewed: It’s one of the rare occasions of regular WWF talent competing in a dark match. Kidman was one of my favorites in WCW and Funaki is capable of surprising people with a quality match.
Kidman works over Funaki with right hands at the start but gets arm dragged by Funaki. Kidman stops Funaki with more right hands. Funaki knee lifts Kidman against the ropes. Funaki backdrops Kidman and sends Kidman into the corner. Funaki misses a spear in the corner and hits the ring post. Kidman sends Funaki into the ring post a second time. Kidman covers Funaki but only manages a near fall. Kidman controls Funaki with a chin lock. Funaki nearly wins with a sunset flip but Kidman comes back with a dropkick. Kidman slams Funaki and hits a slingshot leg drop onto Funaki for a two count. Kidman uses the ropes for leverage to keep Funaki on the mat with a sleeper hold. Funaki drives Kidman down to the mat with a back suplex. Funaki battles back with right hands and a head scissors. Funaki bulldogs Kidman out of the corner for a two count. Kidman plants Funaki with a sit out spine buster but Funaki plants Kidman with a DDT moments later. Kidman finishes Funaki off with a twisting DDT, which I don’t believe Kidman ever used on TV. (***. They worked well together and hit several good moves and it kept my interest. The crowd didn’t really care for the match, but I was entertained.)
Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Rico
Date: December 3rd, 2001
Reason Reviewed: It’s Lesnar and I’m curious to see if Rico could get something good out of him.
Lesnar picks Rico up and puts him on the top turnbuckle. Rico is ready to strike but Lesnar just looks at him before slowly backing away. Lesnar tosses Rico away on a headlock attempt and just looks at him again. Rico tries to come off the ropes and is met with a shoulder block. Lesnar decks Rico with a clothesline. Lesnar rubs Rico’s face into the canvas and chokes him over the middle rope. Lesnar works over Rico with a forearm shot but Rico goes for a sunset flip. Lesnar counters with an overhead belly to belly suplex causing Rico to roll to the floor. Lesnar follows and rams Rico back first into the apron. Lesnar works over Rico with overhand strikes to the back and stomps Rico in the corner. Rico ducks a wild right hand and hammers away on Brock in the corner. Lesnar sends Rico chest first into the corner and delivers a knee strike for a two count. Lesnar pulls Rico up at the count of two and the crowd boos him for that. Lesnar connects with a backbreaker and keeps Rico on the mat with a chin lock. Rico battles to his feet but is met with a knee strike. Rico nearly wins with a rollup, but is met with a clothesline from Brock. Lesnar sends Rico hard into the corner. Rico manages to get his boot up to stop a charging Lesnar. Lesnar nails Rico with a clothesline in the corner and a running power slam for the win. (*. This was just complete domination for Lesnar. WWF must have been huge on him early on.)
Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Funaki
Date: March 12th, 2002
Reason Reviewed: I’m not sure how much offense Funaki is going to get if Rico got zero. So, this might be some Brock Lesnar just kicking some ass and having fun.
Lesnar looks quite excited to destroy Funaki. Funaki goes to the ropes quickly to prevent Lesnar from destroying him within ten-seconds of the match starting. Lesnar backs Funaki into a corner but doesn’t do anything and is pulled away by the referee. Funaki avoids a right hand and punches Lesnar, but that doesn’t do anything. Lesnar stalks towards Funaki and he runs around the ring. Back in the ring, Lesnar tosses Funaki with an overhead belly to belly suplex. Lesnar stomps on Funaki several times. Lesnar drives Funaki down with a backbreaker several times. Lesnar switches to a press slam and tosses Funaki to the canvas. Lesnar rolls Funaki into the ring and works over Funaki in the corner with strikes. Lesnar splashes Funaki in the corner and taunts the fans. Lesnar sends Funaki into the corner but misses a splash. Funaki dropkicks the knee of Lesnar but is met with a back elbow. Funaki tries to come back with right hands. Lesnar knee lifts Funaki and Funaki delivers a kick to the head. Funaki heads to the top looking for a cross body but is caught and Lesnar finishes Funaki off with the F5. (*1/2. Well, at least Funaki got about fifteen-seconds of offense. The crowd popped for the F5. Lesnar certainly has a star feeling to him during his dark matches.)
Match: Stevie Richards vs. Matt Cappotelli
Date: May 9th, 2005
Reason Reviewed: It’s a rare WWE match for Matt Cappotelli, who won Tough Enough. O’m expecting Richards to carry him to a solid match.
Richards gets control with a side headlock and shoulder block. Richards comes off the ropes and is hip tossed. Cappotelli drop toe holds Richards and gets a two count with a rollup. Cappotelli goes for a few pins but Richards kicks out. Stevie kicks Cappotelli in the corner and sends Matt into the corner. Cappotelli shoulder rams Richards and goes to the top. Richards super kicks the leg of Cappotelli to cause him to crash into the ring. Richards works over Cappotelli with strikes in the corner followed by a boot. Richards chokes Cappotelli in the corner and sends Matt into the corner back first. Richards plays to the crowd, who have been cheering him rather loudly. They trade strikes in the corner with Richards getting the better of the exchange. Richards dropkicks Cappotelli to the floor and plays to the crowd. Cappotelli fights back with right hands but Richards stops him with a backbreaker and gut buster for a two count. Richards keeps control of Cappotelli with an abdominal stretch using the ropes for leverage. The referee sees that and Matt breaks free with a hip toss. Richards kicks Cappotelli in the midsection and delivers a few knee strikes. Richards goes for a suplex but Cappotelli counters with a snap suplex. Richards gets to his feet first but is met with strikes. Richards begins to trade strikes until Cappotelli gets the advantage. Cappotelli backdrops Richards and plays to the crowd. Cappotelli hits a leg lariat coming off the ropes but Richards kicks out at two. Cappotelli starts to get fired up and gets sent into the corner. Richards grabs a handful of tights and pins Cappotelli. (**. It was okay but nothing all that great. It was rather basic, which was to be expected. Richards was getting a great response because the show took place in Pennsylvania.)
That wraps up this installment. Be on the lookout for the last installment of Before The Camera Rolls!
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.