Normally in these Reliving The Feud articles, I have highlighted feuds from major promotions and featuring names that are well known and recognized. This one is going to be a little different, and I’m expanding the coverage a little bit.
Recently, there’s has been a fantastic YouTube channel called Bryan Turner’s VHS Rehab. Bryan worked in the Tennessee area and has managed to collect hundreds of tapes from the area that haven’t been widely published. There are plenty of matches and angles that he’s already highlighted and this feud was one that quickly caught my eye. I’ll explain.
While searching the channel, I came across quite a bit that I want to cover, and hopefully over time I will. The first feud that caught my eye, and I’m sure it sounds random, but it was between Chris Michaels and Chase Stevens. Some people may not know who either guy is, so I’ll give some context.
Chris Michaels started off as primarily an enhancement wrestler that would make appearances for WCW, USWA and SMW. Michaels had some success in USWA winning the tag team championships in 1993 and 1994. Michaels would also make appearances for Ohio Valley Wrestling from 2000 to 2002. Following his departure, Michaels had a handful of matches for NWA-TNA from 2002 to 2004. While Michaels didn’t breakout in NWA-TNA, Michaels remained a recognizable and respected veteran on the independents in the Tennessee area by 2006.
Meanwhile, Chase Stevens was a younger competitor who had managed some success in NWA-TNA having won the tag team titles with partner Andy Douglas and was routinely having stellar matches with other TNA tag teams in the early 2000s. However, I have never really watched anything from Stevens in a singles capacity, and seeing that he’s had lengthy matches with a veteran in Chris Michaels, I found myself wanting to check them out.
The feud occurred in the United States Wrestling Organization, which was owned and operated by legendary Tennessee wrestler Tony Falk. The company ran from 2001 to 2013.
Currently (as of August 2022), there are three matches on Bryan Turner’s YouTube page. Lets check out the action.
It would appear that Chris Michaels is the babyface while Chase Stevens is playing the heel role. The crowd is behind Michaels. Stevens wants to shake hands to show respect, but Michaels is hesitant. Before they lockup, there music playing and Shawn Shultz makes his way out to be in Stevens corner. Stevens poses with the championship that he plans on retaining. Michaels goes to the backstage area and brings out Adam Armor to be in his corner. Armor and Schultz are former tag partners.
Michaels starts off with a shoulder block to send Stevens to the floor to regroup. Stevens takes his time returning to the ring. Stevens cleanly backs off of Michaels in the corner and makes sure to note that he didn’t cheat. They trade arm drags and have a standoff. Michaels hip tosses and arm drags Stevens, but Stevens responds with the same sequence and they have a standoff. Michaels gets control on the mat with a head scissors. Stevens pops out and gets a headlock on Michaels. Michaels counters with a hammerlock to regain control of the match. Stevens snapmares free and goes back to a headlock on the mat. Michaels tries to roll free, but Stevens keeps the headlock on Michaels. Stevens shoulder blocks Michaels and runs the ropes, but is met with a hip toss and manages a two count. Michaels arm drags Stevens and keeps arm control on the mat. Michaels yanks down on Stevens arm a few times, but doesn’t get a submission. Stevens counters with a hammerlock, but Michaels elbows free. Michaels goes back to control with a hammerlock. Michaels tries for a cover, but settles for a knee drop to the lower back.
Stevens counters with a head scissors on the mat. Michaels powers out and puts an arm lock on Stevens. Stevens backs Michaels into a corner and decks Michaels with a right hand. Stevens keeps control with a chin lock and delivers a few strikes to the neck. Michaels fires back with right hands, but Stevens responds with strikes. Michaels gets to his feet, but Stevens delivers a flurry. Michaels avoids Stevens in the corner to hit five arm drags and keeps arm control on the mat. Stevens gets out of a rollup and delivers a strike to the back of Michaels head. Stevens elbow drops Michaels leading to a near fall. Stevens keeps a chin lock on Michaels for a few moments, but doesn’t get a submission and jumps down onto Michaels back. Michaels is struggling to reach the ropes or break free from the hold. Stevens hits Michaels over the back and doesn’t stomp on Michaels despite the chance to do so. Stevens drops Michaels with a right hand. Michaels tosses Stevens over the top to the floor.
Stevens pulls Michaels to the floor and delivers an elbow drop on the floor. Michaels hammers away on Stevens with right hands. Stevens and Michaels trade right hands on the floor. Stevens hammers away on Michaels, but misses and hits the ring post. Michaels slams Stevens hand on the apron a few times. Stevens back kicks Michaels followed by a elbow to the head. Stevens doesn’t stomp on Michaels face again. Stevens delivers a strike with his injured hand. Stevens sends Michaels back into the ring and delivers a shoulder ram from the apron. Stevens goes for a sunset flip, and gets a two count. Michaels misses a clothesline, but Stevens nails Michaels with a clothesline for a near fall. Michaels stomps on Stevens hand. Stevens fights back with left hands, but Michaels gets a one count following a strike.
Stevens comes off the ropes and nails Michaels with a nice scissors kick for a near fall. Michaels goes for a backslide, but Stevens kicks out a two and kicks Michaels in the face followed by an elbow strike. Stevens continues to favor his right hand since hitting the post. Stevens gets a two count following a seated dropkick. Michaels rolls to the floor to regroup. Stevens elbows Michaels on the floor and hits a snap suplex on the floor. Stevens sends Michaels back into the ring. Stevens rolls in and goes for the cover, but Michaels kicks out at two. Stevens drives Michaels down with a neckbreaker and both men struggle to get up. Stevens goes for a cover slowly, but Michaels kicks out at two. Michaels hammers away on Stevens to gain some momentum. Stevens drops Michaels throat first over the top rope. Stevens pops his fingers back into place and delivers a knee strike to Michaels back. Stevens drops Michaels over the middle rope from the floor. Stevens plants Michaels with a flatliner for a near fall as Michaels got his hand on the ropes.
Michaels hammers away on Stevens to make a comeback. Michaels is sent into the corner and Stevens connects with a clothesline to stop the momentum. Stevens controls Michaels with a front face lock. Stevens knee lifts Michaels a few times and goes back to a front face lock. Michaels fires back with right hands and blocks a few strikes. Michaels sends Stevens into the ropes and hits a back elbow and a leg lariat for a two count. Stevens tries for a Death Valley Driver, but Michaels counters with the Double Shot for a near fall. Stevens battles back with strikes in the corner and chops. Stevens runs into a boot in the corner, but powerslams Michaels for a near fall. Michaels backdrops Stevens and counters a hurricanrana with a powerbomb for a near fall! Michaels waits in the corner and misses a superkick. Stevens spikes Michaels with a piledriver! Stevens goes for the cover, but Michaels kicks out at two!
They begin to trade strikes in the middle of the ring. Michaels gets the advantage with strikes against the ropes. Stevens has Michaels on his shoulders and drops Michaels over his knee. Michaels comes back with a quick spear and nearly wins the match. Schultz gets in the ring and turns on Stevens hitting Stevens with the championship! The referee didn’t see that. Michaels superkicks Stevens and wins the match and title! (***. The match started slowly since there was plenty of time to fill, but I enjoyed the action once it got going. There was some good storytelling here as well. Stevens not wanting to seemingly kick Michaels in the head as there was mention of a brain injury for Michaels had me thinking that Stevens was going to get turned on by his pals because was ignoring them. Sure enough, that’s what happened. I thought it was an effective double term and may be beneficial for both men to play different roles. This match left me interested in a rematch, too.)
After the match, Stevens is double teamed by both men at ringside. Chris Michaels has a microphone and says he had a game plan. Michaels hears what everyone says and that everyone thought he was done. Michaels proved them all wrong by defeating Stevens. Michaels knows that Stevens would have done the same thing. Michaels says that Stevens has burned all his bridges and has no friends. Michaels says that Stevens is a no good prima donna. Michaels says that Stevens thinks he’s better looking than everyone else. Michaels takes credit for Stevens success. Arrick Andrews & Matt Korbaine run out with chairs to make the save and Michaels says they have major dues to pay for their actions. Michaels never needed Stevens or the fans. Michaels has always done stuff on his own and it’s time he gets what he deserves.
Their rematch would take place at the Tennessee Fairgrounds for their Christmas time special.
Stevens shoulder blocks Michaels at the start and Michaels bails to the floor to regroup early on. Michaels returns to the match and they lockup until Michaels delivers a knee lift to the midsection and a right hand. Stevens head scissors Michaels followed by a dropkick. Stevens clotheslines Michaels over the top to the floor. Stevens takes out Michaels and Schultz with a crossbody to the floor. Stevens decks Schultz on the floor after rolling Michaels into the ring. Michaels kicks Stevens on the knee a few times to gain the advantage. Stevens nails Michaels with a kick to the head and continues with a hip toss and arm drag. Stevens keeps Michaels on the mat with an arm bar. Stevens elbows Michaels on the arm a few times and delivers knee drops to the elbow before going back to an arm lock. Michaels doesn’t give in, though.
Stevens yanks down on Michaels arm a few times and presses down on Michaels shoulder with his boot. Stevens nails Michaels with an elbow drop and yanks down on the arm. Stevens locks in a cross arm bar, and Michaels fights to reach the ropes, which he does. Stevens works over Michaels with right hands. Stevens rams Michaels face first into the corner and continues with right hands. Stevens tries for a head scissors out of the corner, but is stopped by Schultz and Stevens is dropped face first over the top turnbuckle. The referee ejects Schultz from ringside. Michaels can’t believe it. Stevens has been busted wide open from the turnbuckle. Michaels continues to work over Stevens with right hands to open up the cut some more. Michaels mounts Stevens with right hands as the blood continues to flow down Stevens face. Michaels clubs Stevens over the back and elbow strikes to the shoulder. Stevens struggles to his feet and clubs away on Michaels. Michaels decks Stevens into the ropes, and is dropped to the mat. Michaels eye rakes Stevens and delivers a throat thrust leading to a near fall.
Michaels continues to focus his attack on the cut on Stevens forehead. Stevens is sent hard into the corner, but Michaels misses a big splash! Michaels may have hit the ring post himself. Stevens decks Michaels with a few right hands. Michaels has been busted open at this point, as well. Michaels stops Stevens with a knee lift to the midsection. Michaels headbutts Stevens a few times to keep control of the contest. Stevens drops Michaels with a right hand. Stevens kicks Michaels and struggles to hit the ropes. Michaels is on the floor seemingly hiding. Stevens decks Michaels with a right hand and staggers to the apron. Michaels delivers a right hand to Stevens, but is met with a kick to the face. Michaels sends Stevens into several chairs in the crowd! Michaels smashes Stevens over the head with a chair shot. Stevens sends Michaels into the ring post. Michaels decks Stevens into the ring with a right hand. Michaels is kicked by Stevens over the middle rope. Stevens delivers a running strike to keep Michaels over the middle rope. Stevens hits a scissors kick over the middle rope and they are both on the floor.
Michaels stops Stevens with a jawbreaker and delivers a few right hands and stomps. Michaels drops Stevens with another strike and almost wins the match. Michaels chokes Stevens over the ropes. Stevens fights back with several blows to the midsection, but Michaels cuts Stevens off with a right hand. Stevens battles back with a right hand. Stevens right hands Michaels and is decked into the ropes. Stevens decks Michaels with a few right hands. Stevens backdrops Michaels and ducks a clothesline to hit a flying forearm. Stevens kips up and connects with a scissors kick for a near fall! Michaels rams Stevens into the corner face first. Michaels boots Stevens, but runs into a powerslam and Stevens gets a two count. Stevens tries for a piledriver, but Michaels breaks free. Stevens accidentally clotheslines the referee. Michaels hits the Double Shot, but there’s no referee. A second referee comes in, but Stevens kicks out at two. Michaels puts Stevens on the top rope, but Stevens fights back with back elbows. Michaels hits a top rope back suplex and both men are down. Stevens kicks out at two.
Stevens is out on his feet as Michaels taunts Stevens in the corner. Michaels hammers away on Stevens in the corner. Michaels sends Stevens into the corner. Michaels hammers away on Stevens before sending Stevens into the corner. Stevens hits a double leg slam out of the corner leading to a near fall. Stevens heads to the top rope, but misses and lands on Michaels knees. Michaels misses a superkick and takes out the referee. Stevens misses a right hand and Michaels hits a sit out powerbomb. Michaels goes for the cover, but Stevens kicks out at two. Stevens struggles to his feet with help from the ropes. Stevens blocks a superkick, but Michaels breaks free from Stevens to hit a superkick! Michaels slowly goes for the cover, but Stevens kicks out at two. Stevens counters with an inside cradle and pins Michaels to win the title! (***1/2. I enjoyed that a bit more than the first one. There was a noticeably different feel to the match between these two. There was more intensity and the usage of blood by both men added to the drama. The crowd was certainly into the action especially in the closing moments. It felt like Michaels was a lot more comfortable playing a heel role, too. I have not been expecting to enjoy these matches nearly as much as I have been. I’m glad that these rare matches are being released and allow people to see what guys like Michaels and Stevens can do in a non-national TV setting.)
Chris Michaels has a microphone and grabs Stevens by his hair. Stevens is exhausted and can’t even standup. Michaels admits that Stevens as the better man and shoves Stevens to the mat. Schultz doesn’t like that Michaels would say that. Michaels shoves Shultz down and tells Stevens to get up. Stevens gets up in the corner and Michaels repeats that Stevens was the better man. Michaels offers his hand for a handshake. Stevens thinks about it and accepts. Michaels hugs Stevens, but then delivers a low blow. Michaels says that everyone knows that Stevens can’t beat him and declares that was a fluke win for Stevens. Michaels tells Stevens he doesn’t deserve the title and calls Stevens a prima donna.
Backstage, Chase Stevens cuts a promo regarding their rematch in five days. Stevens is going to prepare for the match and he’s going to stay champion no matter what.
Stevens starts off fighting off both Michaels and Schultz before the bell. Stevens sends Schultz to the floor and clotheslines Michaels to the floor. Schultz distracts Stevens, but is sent into the post. Stevens hammers away on Michaels with several strikes. Stevens clubs Michaels over the back after punching Schultz up the aisle. Stevens decks Schultz with a right hand. Stevens continues to work over Schultz and kicks Michaels in the midsection. Schultz tries to ram Stevens onto a chair, but Stevens counters and sends Schultz into a chair face first. Stevens delivers a right hand on the floor. Stevens shoulder rams Michaels and sends Schultz into the door to send Schultz out of the building. Michaels waits by the door and decks Stevens upon his return. Michaels hammers away on Stevens and rams Stevens face first onto a table.
Back in the ring, Stevens fires back with right hands. Michaels decks Stevens into the corner, but Stevens elbows Stevens to the mat. Michaels hammers away on Stevens in the corner to keep the advantage. Michaels chokes Stevens in the corner. Michaels hammers away on Stevens, but Stevens battles back with a few right hands. Stevens drops Michaels with a right hand and comes off the ropes to hit a scissors kick for a near fall. Michaels nails Stevens with a short arm clothesline and taunts the fans. Stevens battles back with a few more strikes and chops to stagger Michaels. Stevens runs into a boot in the corner. Michaels connects with a clothesline and chokes Stevens on the mat. Michaels tries for a cover, but Stevens powers out at two. Michaels hammers away on Stevens some more. Michaels tosses Stevens over the top to the floor.
Michaels sends Stevens face first into a security post. Stevens has been busted wide open. Michaels works over the cut to cut Stevens open more. Michaels has a chain around his right fist, but the referee doesn’t see it. Michaels doesn’t have the chain anymore, but is working over Stevens until Stevens drops Michaels with a right hand. Stevens scoop slams Michaels. Michaels avoids an elbow drop by Stevens. Michaels tries for a cover, but Stevens kicks out at two. Michaels works over Stevens in the corner with right hands. Stevens kicks Michaels away and sends Michaels through the ropes to the floor. Stevens continues with right hands on the floor and a kick to the back. Stevens catapults Michaels face first into the ring post. Michaels has been busted wide open, as well.
Stevens continues with right hands on the floor. Stevens squeezes Michaels forehead to have the blood flowing even more. Stevens stomps on Michaels to keep control in the ring. Stevens decks Michaels with another right hand. Stevens kicks Michaels to the mat and manages a two count. Stevens continues with right hands for a near fall. Michaels struggles to his feet and Stevens delivers a few right hands in the corner. Michaels low blows Stevens in the corner. Michaels tries to get to his feet as Stevens rolls to the floor. Stevens tries to get back in the ring, and the middle rope is kicked by Michaels. Michaels decks Stevens with a right hand. Michaels punches Stevens on the groin. Michaels covers Stevens again, but can’t get a three count. They begin to trade strikes on their knees. Stevens grabs Michaels groin to block a strike. Stevens pummels Michaels with strikes on the mat. Stevens delivers a fist drop coming off the ropes managing a two count.
They begin to trade strikes with both men staggering around. They both drop down to the mat and Stevens struggles to his feet. Stevens gets to his feet while Michaels is unable to and Stevens wins the match to retain the title. (**1/2. There were similar spots that they used in the previous two and that felt a little redundant. It’s a quality match with some good brawling. I just felt like there wasn’t much new to the match that hadn’t been seen in the first two. It’s difficult to keep things fresh when they wrestled lengthy matches previously. The finish was a little flat, but it’s creative enough to allow another match in the future.)
Backstage, Chris Michaels says this is beyond winning matches and winning titles. Michaels promises the next time they meet that Chase Stevens will die. Meanwhile, Stevens says that if Michaels wants another shot he’s going to have to earn it, but for now there are other people who deserve a shot.
This whole feud and matches exceeded my expectations. As I said before, I am familiar with both guys, but not in the roles that they were put in here. Stevens has always been a tag wrestler to me and Michaels was someone I’ve seen in largely enhancement roles. To see them both as regional main event guys was too interesting to pass up.
The first match was a good introduction to the feud and the double turn added interest to the eventual rematch. Michaels played the heel role very well and Stevens came across better as a babyface. It was a slow match, but it was effective in the long term booking of the feud.
Their second match is my favorite match of the three. The intensity was there and the overall action was nicely done throughout. Of the three matches, the second match had the most crowd reaction. I was a little bit surprised by the one month reign for Michaels, but regardless it was the best match of the three.
The final match was full of callbacks to spots in the previous two and kind of the same formula match. It’s not a bad match by any means, but there wasn’t much new to it to make it standout compared to the first two matches.
I enjoyed the feud and it’s matches like these that are helpful in learning about other wrestlers. I wouldn’t have ever known either one of these two guys had meaningful singles matches and it was a lot of fun to check out.
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.