WWE Wrestling’s Highest Flyers
Written by: Tom Hopkins
The Main Characters
–These are the wrestlers who fly off the top turnbuckle, or sail over the top rope. These are the wrestlers who seem to defy gravity and they are all profiled here: from Rey Misterio to Ricky Steamboat.
Since this is a very wide ranging collection we have matches from all over the world from all different sorts of years. The collection does span 1984-2010, though most of the matches are from 1995 on, thanks to the dawn of the Cruiserweight era in WCW and the lucha style of some early ECW matches.
This one is more of a rolling feature, with the documentary being spliced in with the matches. So they’ll talk about a wrestler and then show a match of his (or hers).
Wow, I’m surprised the running time is that short for Disc One. I guess the running time is 8-hours instead of the usual 9 so the short Disc One would explain that shortage. Anyway, we start with a 2-minute highlight reel of some high-flyers before we begin. Josh Matthews is hosting this shindig and he’s going to find the 20 best high-flyers in wrestling history (or at least the wrestling history of the tape catalogs that the WWE owns). The first aerial maneuvers were done by guys like Antonio Rocco (the dropkick!) before it was elevated in the 70’s into the 80’s. The first guy that is profiled is Ricky Steamboat himself. Ricky was definitely the 80’s version of a high-flyer. It seems that these aren’t match introductions or even about the wrestlers but just highlight videos of them. It would have been nice to at least have people talk about the wrestler but for time reasons (and since some of these guys have WHOLE DVD’s devoted to them) I can see why they didn’t.
–Ricky Steamboat vs. Brian Pillman–
This is their bout from the 1992 Halloween Havoc (10/25). Pillman would be highlighted later on in the collection. I feel like I’ve reviewed this one before but it seems I haven’t based on the database of matches I keep. We start with chops before Pillman tries sending Steamboat to the outside. He skins the cat and rolls up Pillman. Pillman kicks out at two and Steamboat is sent into the corner. He plays possum and then takes control with an armbar. Pillman escapes as the Philly fans tell Brian he sucks and his hometown (Cincinnati) sucks as well. Pillman pretends to bust his knee but that just lures Steamboat into a false sense of security and Pillman takes advantage. Pillman gets a headscissors takeover and tries a hiptoss which Steamboat counters with a backslide for two. Pillman sets up Steamboat on the top rope and tries a superplex but Steamboat counters by tossing off Pillman. He tries an axe-handle from the top but gets caught with a Pillman dropkick on the way down. He covers for two and Pillman decides to ignore the former champ and argue with the referee. This allows Steamboat to get a back suplex. Pillman recovers first and locks on a sleeper. Steamboat breaks by charging the corner. Pillman heads up stairs but is tossed off. Pillman begs off and then just bails so Steamboat follows and fires away with chops. Pillman knees Steamboat on the way into the ring as Jim Ross (the announcer here) tells someone he made a good point. Who could this phantom color guy be that was cut out of here? None other than Jesse Ventura, of course. I guess the WWE and him are not on speaking terms as of the moment this DVD was made. Pillman hits a crossbody off the top for two and Ricky comes right back with a backbreaker. Steamboat sunset flips Pillman off the top for two. Pillman counters and then Steamboat counters him to get the pinfall at 10:31. This was a decent match, though I felt it was a little too back and forth and didn’t really tell much of a story. The moves all hit and nothing was out of place so that’s good enough for me for ***.
We take a look at Evan “Air” Borne, one of the newer guys I never really saw any matches of. I think I may have caught a few on a random DVD or Classics.com matches and from the clips here it looks like this guy could fly.
–Evan Bourne vs. Zack Ryder–
Nothing screams superstar like having a Superstars match on here. The episode of Superstars in question here is from June 11th, 2009. The announcers (Matthews and Striker) talk about how Bourne just defeated the great Tony Atlas. Yeah, I’d celebrate beating up an old, washed up, wrestler, too. We start with a high-flying arm drag from Bourne. A high-flying hammerlock is next. Striker talks about the 11 different languages he speaks, including Ebonics. Well, that’s worth the price of the DVD right there. Bourne is seated on the top rope and rolls through a toss off attempt before covering for two. Bourne is backed into the corner and Ryder talks smack so he’s just slapped right across the face. Bourne is backdropped onto the apron and tries something but it looks like someone missed a cue. Bourne tries a backslide but that only gets two. Bourne heads upstairs but Ryder catches him and trips him up with Bourne falling on the ropes. This scintillating match MUST take a commercial break and we return with Ryder hitting a suplex for two. Bourne is bodyscissored by Ryder and then hit with an inverted suplex for two. Ryder goes back to a submission and the announcers are all aflutter with his tactics. Of course, Bourne’s been the face in peril since the vaunted three-minute mark. Ryder misses a dropkick which allows Bourne to headscissor Ryder down. Ryder does what can be called a standing version of the Fame-Asser for two. Ryder seats Bourne on top but Bourne hits him off and gets the Shooting Star Press to finish this at 9:17. Um, this was not the match to showcase Bourne. It was really boring, had no flow, and just had that one big spot at the end. I wasn’t impressed – these guys just don’t know how to tell a story in the ring and it just came off as a series of moves. *1/4.
Josh is with Evan Bourne right now and he’s got a camera attached to him so we fans at home can see what Evan sees when he hits the Shooting Star Press. One of the originators of the high-flying stuff was Jimmy Snuka, who is up next on here. He’s best known for his famous leap off the top of the cage onto Don Muraco and that cemented his legacy of a high-flyer right there, which of course wasn’t even mentioned.
–Jimmy Snuka vs. Samoan #3–
This is an epic Madison Square Garden encounter from February 20th, 1984. I know the WWE DVD people don’t want a lot of repeats on their disc but this would be a good time to put that Steel Cage match on here. Anyway, Samoan #3 is Samu (called Samula by Gorilla) and he starts early with a Pearl Harbor job. Snuka hits a high cross-body for two before going to a front face-lock. Gorilla and Patterson wonder aloud if Samula’s announced name of Samu could possibly be a nickname. Well, seeing as the first four letters are EXACTLY THE SAME, it may be a good bet. Samu goes to work with a nerve pinch as Gorilla and Pat mention Hulk’s big win over Paul Orndorff and a big 6-man match with Slaughter working heel with the Japanese team of Fuji & Saito. And people were surprised when he jumped to the Iraqi side? It seems he’s been going against the US for quite a while now. I just have to say that nothing says great High Flyers like a 5-minute nerve pinch. Jimmy does a some leapfrogs and then ducks a crossbody before hitting one of his own, though it is called a flying headbutt so what do I know. Samu is suplexed down and it’s time for Jimmy to fly. The Superfly Crossbody finishes this at 8:43. This was nothing more than a jobber match that lasted long thanks to the endless nerve pinch. Who the hell is picking out matches for this thing? *.
Matthews talks about the big splash off the cage now, claiming Snuka was 20-feet off the air at the height of the leap, but that’s only if you count how high the ring is raised off the ground. We transition from Snuka to the WCW Cruiserweights of the mid-90’s. A lot of people credit the Cruiserweights with keeping WCW on top during the early days of the Monday Night Wars.
–Juventud Guerrera, Hector Garza & Lizmark Jr. vs. La Parka, Psychosis & Wilano IV (w/Sonny Onoo)–
This was a highlight from Bash at the Beach held on July 13th, 1997. Iron Mike Tenay joins on commentary so he can tell us what some of these moves are. This is lucha rules, so there’re no tags and pretty much anything goes. Lizmark and Parka start this off with some mat wrestling as Heenan gets in a great shot on Schiavone (and you would be a wimp-o). Garza comes in with a top-rope armdrag and Wilano ends up out side. Wilano tries getting back in but is dropkicked right back out and takes a tilt-a-whirl backdrop. Parka comes in and he’s monkey flipped to he outside and Garza follows with a headscissors. Sonny Onoo accidentally kicks his own guy (Parka) but smooths it over with money. Psychosis misses a splash in the corner and he falls hard on his back. A contrived spot leads to Juvie hitting a springboard legdrop on all three. The heels are dropkicked to the outside and all the faces hit stereo planchas. Juvie tries a springboard splash in the ring but gets hit with a Psychosis dropkick. Psychosis does a powerbomb sunset flip from the top that almost killed Juvie but it only gets two. Juvie rolls up Psychosis for two and then the other faces hit moonsaults for two. The heels collide and they take a star. Parka drops Juvie onto one of his own partners to break. Everyone misses a top-rope move until Wilano IV hits a belly to belly. He goes up but Juvie catches him and it’s a double super-plex but then Parka and Psychosis pick them up only to get headscissored to the outside. Wilano is dumped and Lizmark catches him with a top rope splash. Parka follows with a corkscrew plancha and then Juvie one-ups them by doing a springboard off Garza’s back. Garza then backdrops Psychosis to the outside then comes out with a top-rope corkscrew onto everyone. Parka V runs out and shows how useless he is by taking a standing backflip from Garza to end this at 10:08. This was really something. It was more like an art than a wrestling match. The spots were really good and they all hit, but the fans weren’t popping for some reason. This was really good. ***3/4.
–Shelton Benjamin vs. Shawn Michaels–
==Taken from Best of Raw 15th Anniversary DVD Review==
This was from May 2nd, 2004 and was part of a Gold-Rush tournament to become the number one contender for the WWE Title. Michaels and Benjamin work a mat-wrestling based match to start, with neither men able to out-do the other. Michaels shoulderblocks Benjamin down then hiptosses him, only to have Benjamin kick out and armdrag HBK. Michaels gets a quick roll-up for two then a quick forearm. Benjamin tries a roll-up but Shawn holds onto the top rope. Shelton is back up and clotheslines HBK to the outside as we hit the commercial cut. When we get back Michaels is hammering the back of Benjamin on the top rope. Michaels tries for a belly to back suplex from the top but Benjamin rolls over and slams on top of Michaels on the way down. Shelton attacks with a Samoan Drop and a flying forearm, and an inverted backbreaker for two. Michaels comes back with a flying forearm of his own and both men are now knocked out. Both men nip and exchange roll-up pins for two. Michaels chops down Benjamin but Benjamin sends Michaels to the corner and hits a splash. He tries for some maneuver only to have Michaels back drop him away. Michaels tries for Sweet Chin Music but Shelton counters with a spinning heel kick for two. Shelton props Michaels onto the top rope but Michaels shoves Shelton down and hits a flying elbow drop. Michaels is bleeding from the mouth now but he gets up and tunes up the band. Michaels again has it blocked and Shelton responds with a roundhouse kick for two. Shelton comes back with a flying clothesline from the top rope for two. Michaels sends Shelton over the top rope but Shelton lands on the apron. He springboards off the top rope but flies right into Sweet Chin Music and Michaels is able to pick up the victory at 11:43. This was quite a decent match once we got back from the commercial. ***.
Up next is Ultimo Dragon. I always found it funny that when he first debuted in WCW he was called the ULTIMATE Dragon by the announce team because that’s what they thought the translation of Ultimo was. Of course, it really translates into Last or final and it makes more sense when you learn that Ultimo Dragon was actually the last person that Bruce Lee (the Dragon) trained. According to the video, he invented the Asai Moonsault.
–Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Ultimo Dragon(c) (w/Sonny Onoo) for the J-Crown Title–
This is from WCW World War 3, held on November 24th, 1996. This is for the 8 J-Crown titles. EIGHT! It looks like Rey has a bit of Spider-Man theme going on with his mask tonight. Ultimo, rocking the pink outfit tonight, goes to work on the arm and leg early. A bodyslam and an elbow gets two. Ultimo does some wimpy chops which leads to a flippity sequence. Ultimo fires away with kicks and then springboard dropkicks Rey off the apron to the outside. Ultimo tries to suplex Rey in but Rey reverses, only to have Ultimo reverse that into a German Suplex for two. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker (over the shoulders) connects and Ultimo keeps on the back with a single-leg crab. Ultimo powerbombs Rey and then holds on and drops him backwards onto the top rope. That only gets a two for the Dragon. A spinebuster leads to an airplane spin, but that just makes Dragon dizzy, too. A release fisherman’s suplex gets two. A brainbuster also gets two. Rey reverses a suplex into a small package for two. He can’t keep up momentum and Ultimo responds with kicks to the head. Ultimo wraps Rey in a single-leg-bar before breaking and Tombstoning Rey for two. Ultimo misses a dropkick and Rey bails outside but Ultimo is there with a baseball slide kick and then skinning the cat before going out again. He sends Rey into the barricade and then Tombstones him on the outside! Ultimo follows with a springboard splash! That was pretty cool. Ultimo seats Rey upstairs and headsicssors him off the top for two. A running sit-down powerbomb gets two. Ultimo misses a charge and Rey hits a spinning heel kick. He tries a split-legged moonsault that doesn’t hit completely for two. Rey springboard dropkicks Ultimo to the outside and Rey follows with a second-rope springboard senton. Rey rolls Ultimo in and follows with a springboard sunset flip for two. Rey blocks a hurricanrana by sitting down and getting a two. Ultimo gets a Northern Lights Suplex that Rey took on his freaking neck and covers for two. Rey counters a backslide for two. Rey tries a springboard ‘rana but Ultimo catches him and does a slingshot powerbomb for the pinfall at 13:43. It was a bit slow at the started but it really built up and these guys were going move for move at the end. I liked the story of Rey really taking all Ultimo had and pushing him to his limit. ****.
The Mexican part of our program continues with a profile on Eddie Guerrero. It mixes up his WCW and WWE days rather well.
–Eddie Guerrero(c) vs. Dean Malenko for the ECW TV Title–
This is from an episode of Hardcore TV dating back to July 21st, 1995. These two had a great feud in ECW back in 1995. The two engage in some mat-wrestling to start with their stand-offs getting a nice pop from the fans. There is a nice test of strength spot featuring a nice Eddie bridge. Eddie connects with a nice springboard splash from the apron and then they really kick it into high gear, exchanging headscissors takedowns. Eddie gets the best of the battle with a dropkick that sends Dean to the outside. Dean gets back in and Eddie immediately dropkicks the knee and goes to work with an STF. Malenko makes the ropes to get a break and then nails a charging Guerrero with a knee to the gut. That’s one way to stop it. Malenko hits a nice gutbuster for two. He goes to an abdominal stretch which actually makes sense here since the gutbuster set it up. Malenko tries a knee again but Eddie rolls through it and schoolboys Malenko for two. Eddie hits a pump-handle backbreaker for two. He puts Malenko in the Gory Special, which again works the back. Malenko manages to get a roll-up for two and Eddie shows his dissatisfaction by rubbing the sole of his show onto Dean’s face. He follows with a Frog Splash for two. Malenko evades a charge in the corner and hits a crossbody off the top for two. Eddie escapes a suplex and gets one of his own for two. Eddie heads upstairs only to get caught by the Shooter. Eddie manages to sunset flip Dean off the top for two. Eddie tries a side suplex but Dean adjusts his weight mid-air and falls on top for two. A big powerbomb gets two for Malenko. Malenko follows with a brainbuster for two. Eddie comes back with a hurricanrana for two. Eddie heads upstairs but Malenko pops up and hoists him on his shoulders. Eddie gets to the ropes and headscissors Malenko out. Eddie falls out, too, and he battles Malenko from the apron. Eddie hits a missile dropkick to the back and hits a German suplex for two. A Fisherman’s suplex also gets two. Malenko comes back with a Tiger Bomb for two. They have a pinfall-reversal sequence that ends with Malenko getting the final three-count to win the title at 15:36. These two have crazy chemistry together and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a bad match out of the two of them. There was some great things going on here, from the feeling out process in the beginning to the working of the back and gut in the middle to the big spots at the end. This was a really good match. I wish the psychology stuff would’ve played a part in the end and I wasn’t terribly crazy about the ending but this was a fantastic bout regardless of my minor complaints. ****1/4.
—Disc Two (2:15:18)—
Josh talks about distance equaling rate times time in relation to Jericho and his moonsault. He also references that people may not remember him in his high-flying days, so luckily we have a little highlight video of him showcasing a lot of his WCW and ECW work.
–Chris Jericho(c) vs. Ultimo Dragon for the WCW Cruiserweight Title–
==Taken from WWE Classics.com May 2010 (Jericho Month) Review==
These two battled at WCW’s Bash at the Beach on July 13th, 1997. Jericho goes behind Dragon but Dragon breaks by getting to the ropes. Dragon trips up Jericho and grabs a side headlock. Jericho headscissors out of that and Dragon kips out of that. Jericho tries a monkey flip but Dragon lands on his feet. Dragon tries the same and Jericho lands on his feet, too. They both try arm-drags and heel kicks and a dropkick but each is blocked and they have a cruiserweight stand-off. Jericho chops Dragon in the corner but Dragon comes back with some rapid-fire kicks. Ross would call it educated kicks I guess. Dragon boots Jericho in the back before going for a nerve hold. That doesn’t make sense because Dragon isn’t a 500-pound tub of lard. Dragon doesn’t keep it on for long and tries for a rana but Jericho catches him and he’s powerbombed twice. That’s a cool spot. Jericho follows with a senton splash for two. Jericho suplexes Dragon and covers for two. Dragon is sent to the corner and flips out of a charging Jericho but Jericho actually flips out of that into a moonsault for two. Jericho hits a Tiger Driver powerbomb for two. Jericho tries a superplex but Dragon blocks. Jericho tries a dropkick off the top to Dragon (also on the top) but Dragon falls off. The announcers play it off nicely saying he did that to “block the dropkick.” Jericho follows with a springboard bulldog to the outside. Jericho brings Dragon back in and bodyslams him. Jericho tries an elbow off the second rope only to get caught by the raised boots of the Dragon. Dragon seats Jericho on the top but Jericho snapmares him over. Dragon heads up again and this time he’s tossed to the outside. Jericho leaps with an axe handle and Dragon blocks that with a dropkick to the gut. Dragon tries a suplex on the outside but Jericho counters into a snap suplex of his own. Jericho tries another second-turnbuckle springboard that misses. Dragon charges (almost doing a 619) which Jericho ducks out of. Dragon eventually connects with an Asai moonsault that leaves both guys out for a while. We return to the ring with Dragon hitting a rana for a pinfall attempt that Jericho breaks by grabbing the ropes. Jericho tries a Majestral roll-up that is countered into one of Dragon’s own that gets two until Jericho grabs the rope. The two tussle and fall to the outside. Jericho chops Dragon but is taken down with an enzuigiri. We get back in the ring where Jericho hits his Lionsault for two. Jericho bodyslams Dragon. Jericho tries another Lionsault but Dragon is up quickly and dropkicks Jericho in the gut. Dragon tries a tiger suplex which Jericho blocks so Dragon puts on the Dragon Sleeper. Jericho blocks with a knee to the face. Dragon kicks Jericho down and hits a moonsault for two. Jericho tries a Tiger Driver again but Dragon rolls through it. Jericho rolls through that and sunset flips Dragon for the pinfall at 12:54. This was a good match. It only had a couple of missed spots (Dragon falling was the most obvious) but I thought it kept up a nice pace for the duration of it and kept things interesting. ***.
There’s a VERY brief look at 1-2-3 Kid’s stuff, including some work as X-Pac. I guess they don’t really want to acknowledge him outside of his matches, just in case he decides to off himself in the near-future.
–1-2-3 Kid vs. Hakushi–
==Taken from Summerslam Anthology Vol. II Review==
I can’t remember why these two were feuding but Hakushi entered Summerslam fresh off of losing to Barry Horowitz. Based on that I can’t see how Hakushi would win here. McMahon notes that Hakushi walked to the ring with the fans booing him but they sounded more apathetic than anything. Both men miss a spinning heel kick early on leading to a little stand-off. Hakushi takes control with a chop to the throat. There’s a great moment where Vince accidentally calls the event Summer-slime and he has to repeat his verbal spot. That’ll take a few stars off the commentary. Hakushi almost blows a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but he does connect with the handspring elbow. He gets a good pop for that move. Hakushi even executes a Broncobuster! Hakushi throws kicks very slowly before hitting a Vaderbomb in the corner for two. Hakushi hits a nice spinning kick that dumps the Kid. Hakushi follows with the Space Flying Tiger Drop! Hakushi brings Kid back to the ring and connects with a flying shoulderblock off the top for two. He misses a flying splash and he ends up dropkicked to the outside. The Kid hits a springboard splash from the corner to the outside and follows with a slingshot legdrop into the ring for two. Kid connects with a frog splash off the top for two. Kid tries a spinning heel kick but he’s caught and slammed down. Hakushi covers and gets the pinfall at 9:26. This was a decent opener and Hakushi through his highspots managed to get over with the crowd. This was way too slow between the high-spots however and it really hurt the pacing of the match. ***.
The Sky-Cam returns with John Morrison! He’s wearing the Sky-Cam sans shirt and he even hypes his DVD. He shows how he executes Starship Pain, probably one of the worst names I’ve heard. Morrison says it’s name is based on a poem he wrote. We do get his highlight video without any sidebars!
–John Morrison vs. Tyson Kidd (w/Hart Dynasty)–
These two battled it out under the bright lights of the Superstars on July 30th, 2009. Not only that, they opened the show! Natalya and DH Smith are at ringside for Kidd and according to the commentary, Morrison has a title match on SmackDown this week. Morrison mocks Kidd’s hair before the match starts. Feeling out process to start, with both battling over an armbar. Kidd begs off after Morrison gets the better of him and he draws some heel heat for that. Those tactics will always work. Morrison armdrags Kidd down and works the arm before Kidd makes the ropes. He stalls and gets some heat for it. Kidd comes back with some boots to Morrison before taking him down with a side headlock. Morrison breaks and Tyson is flapjacked down and legdrops Kidd for two. Kidd escapes to the apron and Morrison tries a shoulder through the ropes to the ribs but Tyson stops it with a knee to the face. Then he hits a neckbreaker on the apron, with Morrison’s neck falling on the edge of the apron! That was a vicious move. Tyson covers for two inside the ring and then goes to work with a headlock. Morrison comes back with a Crucifix for two to which Kidd says, no way and tosses Morrison to the outside. Smith is able to sneak in a cheapshot as we go to commercial? Ok, I get going to break for the main event of Raw or something, but for a Superstars match? Morrison breaks a side-headlock with a back suplex and follows with a Pele kick. A big heel kick gets two for Morrison. Morrison clotheslines Kidd to the outside and heads upstairs but DH Smith stands in his way.
The referee tells Morrison to get to the ring and then he ejects the rest of the Hart Dynasty to the back. Kidd turns around and is caught with a corkscrew plancha. Morrison brings him in and covers for two. Kidd counters with an enzuigiri for two. Kidd manages a roll-up for two which is countered into a roll-up for Morrison for two. Kidd gets Morrison to his knees and connects with a seated dropkick for two. Kidd tries a sunset flip from the apron but Morrison gets up and lays out Kidd with a running knee to the face. Starship Pain ends this at 9:50. I thought this would be a garbage 4-minute TV match but man these two brought it. Everything after the commercial break was great and both guys hit their moves cleanly. There wasn’t much of a story other than you hit your big move I hit mine but it was very enjoyable and that was one finish. ***1/2.
When you talk about high-flying and death-defying and tag teams there are three that immediately come to mind: The Hardy Boyz., the Dudley Boyz and Edge & Christian. These three teams put on some of the most spectacular matches people have ever seen. WWE have a nice recap video of some high-flying tag teams including: Youngblood & Steamboat, the Fantastics, Killer Bees, MNM, Rock ‘N’ Roll Express, The Rockers, Edge & Christian and The Hardy Boyz. No love for the Dudleys?
–Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz(c) for the WWE Tag Team Titles in a Triangle Ladder Match–
This one stole the show at Wrestlemania 2000 (April 2nd). E&C start with the Hardy’s before the Dudley’s even make the room and let the spots begin. Christian dropkicks Matt to the outside and follows ad Edge and D-Von take a turn in the ring. Edge hits a spinning heel kick and they’re outside, allowing Bubba and Jeff to get in the ring. Bubba smacks Jeff around but Jeff hits a corkscrew out of the corner. Bubba’s full-nelson sit-down slam follows and now everyone’s outside. Christian sets up the first ladder as the fans call for tables. We have lots of punching going on as ladders a set up. The Dudley’s both have ladders tossed into them and the Hardy’s hit Poetry in Motion on Bubba but E&C miss their try at it on D-Von. D-Von is slammed onto the ladder by Matt and then follows with an elbow drop onto said ladder. Jeff tries a 450 on Bubba (on a ladder) but misses and that’s worth at least 5 pain pills right there. Jeff actually hit his leg on that one. Bubba hits a senton onto the ladder onto Jeff and they are both out. Edge drives the ladder down off the top into Matt only to get slammed down by D-Von. D-Von drapes the ladder over him and hits a splash on the way down. Bubba makes it up first, puts the ladder on his head and spins, taking out everyone in his path. He holds the ladder triumphantly only to get it dropkicked into him by E&C. D-Von is dropped face-first into the ladder in the corner by E&C and they set up a ladder near the apron. Christian hits a crossbody off the ladder onto Matt and Bubba. Jeff tries heading up but he’s speared off by Edge who leapt from the top rope. Edge starts his climb up but Matt has recovered and he takes Edge off with a Razor’s Edge sit-down slam. Matt heads up only to get caught and tossed off by D-Von. D-Von heads up but Christian catches him and tosses a ladder into him. He tries to climb up so Bubba sets up a ladder next to him and gets a kidney shot. Bubba manages a neckbreaker off the top of the ladder to Christian and both of them are out. The Hardy’s are up and they toss Christian. Matt and Jeff hit a combo leg-drop/splash off the top of the ladders to Bubba. Jeff is tossed right out (landing on his back) by Christian. D-Von is then suplexed off the top of the ladder by E&C. Meanwhile, Matt sends Bubba into the steps on the outside and he sets up the ladders inside. E&C scale up the two ladders as the Hardy’s climb up next to them. Jeff neckbreakers Christian off while Edge legsweeps Matt off. Now everyone’s in the ring and the fans want tables.
Everyone tries climbing up the ladders and Christian and Jeff take the crazy bump of the night by falling off the ladder onto the outside. The Dudley’s fall off and on their way down Matt and Edge crotch themselves and fall to the outside. The Dudley’s are left in the ring. Christian gets in but he’s sandwiched by the Dudley’s between two ladders. Edge makes his way in and takes a 3D. The Dudley’s find some tables and bring those into the ring. The Dudley’s set up two ladders side by side and then put a ladder on top of the ladders to form a platform of sorts. All this set-up allowed the Hardy’s to make it back into the ring and divert the Dudley’s attention. Tables are set up on the mat and on the outside. Bubba is on the outside with Matt and he powerbombs Matt through a table as D-Von misses a top-rope splash on Jeff, sending himself through the table in the process. Jeff tries his running rail splash on Bubba but gets a ladder tossed into him. Well, that’s one way to counter. Bubba gets an even bigger ladder and sets it up near the ring entrance. Bubba sets up Jeff on the table but Christian involves himself and nails Bubba with the ring bell. Jeff disposes of Christian and then hits a swanton off the top of this huge ladder on Bubba through the table. Those two are now dead for this match. Matt hits the Twist of Fate on D-Von as Christian and Matt climb up opposite sides of the ladder. Edge is now up, too and he climbs up. Edge tosses Matt off through a table and the two unhook the belts to win the Tag Titles at 22:28. The match is still fun and enjoyable but it doesn’t stand up nearly as well as their TLC match from Summerslam. It’s pretty obvious how much standing around everyone was doing leading up to the big spots. It just seems so much more contrived watching it 10-years later, especially considering how much they’ve improved upon this. It isn’t like the Ramon/Michaels match which used the ladder as part of the match and it still stands up, it’s just a bunch of spots that we’ve all seen done since and done better. It’s still a great popcorn match, but it’s not anywhere as good as what they’d do. For the time it was groundbreaking, now it’s just “meh.” ***1/2.
We highlight now a high-flyer of ECW’s latter days: Super Crazy and
–Tajiri (w/Mikey Whipwreck & Sinister Minister) vs. Little Guido (w/FBI) vs. Super Crazy–
Nothing screams ECW like WWE’s version of it at the One Night Stand event held on June 12th, 2005. I’ll give the WWE credit, they really went for the feel of ECW with their lighting of the event and calling everyone by their ECW names (Little Guido instead of Nunzio for example). This is Three-Way Dance rules, which means that you eliminate on guy to go to one-on-one and the whoever wins that one wins. Super Crazy hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker before getting knocked out of the ring so Guido and Tajiri and can work. Guido tries a cross-armbar on Tajiri but Crazy breaks it up. He nails Guido with a seated dropkick before dumping Tajiri. He plans a high-spot but Mamaluke trips him up at ringside and Guido this the Sicilian Slice (legdrop off the second rope). Guido and Crazy brawl out to the fans and Crazy proves he is in fact crazy by hitting a moonsault off the upper balcony onto the FBI. Crazy makes it back to the ring where Tajiri catches him with the Tarantula. Crazy does the standing ten-punches in the corner with the fans counting in Spanish. I always like that the fans did that. The FBI interfere and beat the piss out of Crazy. They try a double-team on Tajiri but Guiro takes the mist to the face and then he kicks the hell out of the rest of the FBI. Whipwreck gets involved sand hits the Whippersnapper off the second rope to end Guido’s night at 4:08. That leaves Crazy and Tajiri and let the spots begin. Crazy hits a springboard moonsault for two and then a first, second and third turnbuckle moonsault. He hits the first two but Whipwreck interferes. So Crazy fends him off, ducks a buzzsaw kick and hits that moonsault for the pinfall at 6:13. This was a bit on the short side, but the big spot made the fans happy, although the match didn’t really do much outside of doing those spots. It knew what it was as a match (not a technical masterpiece) and went out and entertained. **1/2.
We get highlights of Brian Pillman now (focusing on his early WCW days as well as some of his Stampede highlights.
–Brian Pillman vs. Alex Wright –
This opened WCW’s Great American Bash on June 18th, 1995. Alex Wright was the Wunderkid and was over for a time in 1995, at least he was in the matches I’ve seen on WCW Saturday Night. They have a handshake to start and Heenan immediately goes off on both of them. “You don’t need friends, you need wins.” Both guys take their turns flipping out of armbars with Pillman coming out on top of that with a headscissors. Wright is headsicssored down again and gets up and dropkicked right down again. Wright comes back with a dropkick of his own. A Wright headscissor take-down looks a bit flubbed but they make do with it anyway. Pillman is shouldered in the gut but it looks like that was blown, too. Wright misses an enzuigiri and Pillman takes advantage with a crossbow. Pillman’s shoulders are down though so he has to break the hold. Pillman tries another dropkick but this time Wright swipes him away and hooks on a Boston Crab. He breaks and goes for a surfboard but blows that. There’ve been a lot of miscues so far. Wright gets a couple of roll-ups for two so Pillman decides to stop that with a big slap to the chest. He continues with a back elbow to break a hammerlock and the fans like these heelish maneuvers. Wright breaks a hammerlock by sending Pillman out with his own momentum. Wrights lets Pillman back into the ring but Pillman just pulls Wright out and chops away. Wright fires back in the ring with European Uppercuts and a face-plant. He tries a splash but it finds only Pillman’s knees. Pillman hits a wicked gutbuster for two and then drops Wright gut first over the top rope. Pillman tries to suplex Wright in from the apron but Wright reverses and Pillman is suplexed out. Wright follows with a plancha (though the camera didn’t really catch it). Wright hits a missile dropkick off the top in the ring for two. Pillman pulls Wright out by his tights and Pillman gets his own highspot – a tope suicida. He drapes Wright on the barricade and tries a splash but there’s no one home. Wright brings Pillman in and heads upstairs but misses a high crossbody and both are out. Stereo dropkicks are cancelled out so Pillman seats Wright on the top turnbuckle. A superplex is blocked and Pillman is pancaked off. A high cross-body off the top gets two for Wright. Wright tries sending Pillman to the ropes but he keeps falling down. So Wright heads up and tries another crossbody but Pillman blocks with a dropkick to the face! That was impressive. Pillman heads up but he’s knocked off and he crotches himself (Heenan: “it’ll be hard to go home and explain those bruises.”). Wright’s German Suplex gets two. Pillman tries a sunset flip but Wright sits down and gets the pinfall at 15:23. There was a lot of things going wrong here to start it off but man, the last 8 minutes were just awesome, spot-filled, goodnesss. If the first few minutes didn’t look so awkward this would’ve broken four stars easily. ***1/4.
We stay with a WCW stand-out: The Great Muta. He was best known for his moonsault.
–The Great Muta vs. Sting–
This is from a little event called the Japan Supershow and was held on March 21st, 1991. It was a big WCW card in Japan, basically. Muta starts early with a Pearl Harbor (though I doubt it’s in good taste to say that since this takes place in Japan) and connects with a handspring elbow. He tries for the moonsault but Sting rolls out of the way. Muta lands on his feet and dumps Sting and follows with a slingshot plancha. Sting takes control in the ring. He military press slams Muta to the outside and follows with his own plancha (but his is hands-free!). Sting monkey flips Muta in the ring before going back to a mat-based attack. Sting hits a bulldog and dumps Muta. He drops him on the barricade and brings him back in to try on the Scorpion Deathlock. Muta immediately makes the ropes and kicks Sting into the corner. Muta tries the handspring elbow again but Sting ducks out of the way this time. Sting tries the Stinger Splash but Muta’s ducked out of the way. Muta hits a backbreaker and tries the moonsault but Sting lifts the knees the counter. Muta tries another moonsault but this time Sting dropkicks him and Muta is crotched. Sting hits a belly to back suplex off the top for two. Sting misses a top-rope elbow drop. He recovers with a backslide for two and a cradle for two. Sting goes back to the Scorpion Deathlock but Sting doesn’t quite have it on. Muta makes the ropes and then evades a Stinger Splash with some green mist to the face. A crossbody off the top puts this away at 11:31. Sting, ever the sportsman, locks Muta in the Scorpion Deathlock after the match. This was nothing special between the two. They just all went for their big moves to varying success until the end. **1/4.
Mister Monday Night, Rob Van Dam, gets a little video, complete with his WWE and ECW highlights.
–Rob Van Dam(c) vs. Jerry Lynn for the WWE Hardcore Title–
And what better way to showcase Mr. Monday Night than by showing a Sunday Night Heat match from August 5th, 2001. No, we’re not going to show any of his ECW matches, we’ll show a Heat match against a guy he always beat in ECW. In some ways the match-selection here was mind-boggling. The fans start an EC-DUB chant early on. RVD misses a moonsault off the ropes but lands on his feet. Lynn dodges some kicks from RVD and the two square off. Lynn hits a guillotine legdrop in the corner that sends RVD to the outside and then follows with a running senton off the apron. Lynn covers (in this falls count anywhere, Hardcore Rules match) for two. He sends RVD to the audience with a spinning heel kick and then a springboard splash off the barricade follows. Lynn grabs a chair and slams it into RVD’s back. Lynn rolls RVD back in but is kicked down upon his return and bodyslammed down onto the chair. RVD tries Rolling Thunder but it finds the chair. Lynn sunset flips RVD out of the corner for two and we have a bunch of reversals to follow. Lynn hits a big German Suplex for two. Lynn goes behind Van Dam but RVD low-blows him. RVD puts the chair on Lynn and tries the split-legged moonsault but Lynn raises the chair to counter. RVD hits his walk-over enzuigiri and heads upstairs. Lynn catches him and crotches him. He sets the chair up and tries a superplex onto the chair but RVD shoves him off and connects with the Frog Splash. That’s enough to end things at 6:14. This was a good match, don’t get me wrong, but was this the ONLY option we had for an RVD match? I’m sure there’re TONS of ECW matches featuring better high-spots than this. **1/2.
—Disc Three (2:47:13)—
We start the beginning of the end of the collection with Shawn Michaels, a guy who probably influenced most of the younger wrestlers on here. His high-flying days spanned his whole career, from his tag team matches to his singles career. I like this match they picked here, as Shawn was at his over-selling best and it is a lost classic from a time most people didn’t watch.
–Shawn Michaels(c) vs. Vader for the WWE Title–
==Taken from Summerslam Anthology Vol. II Review==
This was the main event of Summerslam 1996 (August 18th). Vader nearly kills Michaels early with a clothesline but Shawn plays it smart by tripping up Vader and booting him in the face. Vader tries tossing Michaels to the outside but Michaels frees himself and Vader tumbles out himself. Shawn follows with a baseball slide and a very nice tope con hilo. Michaels follows in the ring with an axehandle off the top. He gets on Vader’s shoulder and when Vader tries to dump him Shawn holds onto the ropes and Vader goes over the top to the outside. Michaels skins the cat and leaps onto Vader’s shoulders again but Vader catches him and powerbombs him. That was an awesome bump by Shawn. Vader brings Shawn into the ring and really lays into him in the corner. Vader continues working over Shawn and even shrugs off the little offense Shawn gets. There’s a cool spot where Vader misses a splash in the corner but he just turns around and clotheslines Shawn right down. Shawn tries skinning the cat but Vader catches him and pulls him in before casually slamming him down. Vader tries a sit-down splash at one point but Shawn blocks by raising his knees. That must not have felt good. Shawn heads upstairs and tries for an elbow drop but Vader was supposed to move and didn’t. Shawn gets pissed, kicks him in the face and yells at him while he’s down. Shawn bodypresses Vader and they end up outside. Vader does Snake Eyes over the steel barricade and makes the count back in to win the match at 13:54. Of course the DQ win means that he doesn’t win the title. Cornette gets on the mic and says they came here to win the title so the match must continue. Michaels is being escorted to the back by Tim White and Pat Patterson but decides he wants to finish this thing with Vader.
The referee announces that the match will continue and no sooner does he say that than Vader is out there attacking Shawn. Cornette even gets a racquet shot in on Shawn. Vader avalanches Shawn in the ring and hits a belly to belly suplex for two. Vader tries a Vader bomb only to have Shawn punch out of it. Shawn responds with a flying forearm and a kip-up. Shawn heads upstairs and nails a flying elbow drop. He tunes up the band but Cornette holds his leg. The racquet ends up in the ring and Shawn uses it in plain view of the ref and he’s DQ’ed at 16:03. Vader brings a chair into the ring and a pile of referee’s storm the ring to restore order. Cornette again wants the match restarted and once again it is. Michaels heads upstairs and hits another elbow drop. He tunes up the band again and nails Sweet Chin Music. The fans think that’s it but Vader kicks out at two. I guess that was to repay him for not getting the title. He was supposed to win but Shawn felt Vader didn’t deserve it and bitched enough to McMahon backstage and thus the finish was changed. Vader shoves Shawn into the ref (who is bumped) and Vader is powerbombed. Vader covers but there is no ref. So one of the ones was were at ringside before runs out and counts and Michaels kicks out at two. Vader is ready to try the Vader-bomb in the corner but Cornette tells him to do a moonsault. Shawn rolls out of the way of that and hits a moonsault off his own on the standing Vader and that’s enough for the pinfall at 18:58. If this match had a real finish and not so much overbooking this could be considered one of the best Summerslam Main Events ever. As it stands we have a great match but overbooking really hurt the ebb and flow of it after the first “finish.” There were some really cool big-man vs. little-man stuff in this match and when they did wrestle they were going non-stop. ****.
We take a look at Flash Funk next. Many will remember him as 2 Cold Scorpio from his days in ECW, but they went with his WWE name for the highlights reel intro. He seemed to bulk up a bit between his ECW and WWE days.
–2 Cold Scorpio(c) vs. Sabu for the ECW TV Title–
This is a good match choice, too. This was a featured match on the February 17th, 1996 Cyberslam card. Sabu grabs a chair early and lays it into Scorpio’s back. A springboard splash off the chair into the chair follows for Sabu. Scorpio ends up the apron so Sabu dropkicks him off and sends him into the first row. Sabu sets up the chair and leaps off the chair, over the rope, somersaulting into the first row and onto Scorpio. Sabu covers him in the ring for two. Sabu tries a powerbomb but Scorpio escapes and hits one of his own. Scorpio follows with a top-rope legdrop although instead of covering he grabs a chair from the outside. He unfolds the chair and then bulldogs Sabu onto the seat portion of the chair. Scorpio tries a second one but this time Sabu has an answer and it is Scorpio’s face that eats chair. Sabu goes high-flying with a springboard shoulder block off the chair. He follows with a senton off the apron and a chair shot to the head. Sabu gets a springboard heel kick in the ring for two. Scorpio responds with a crescent kick and a splash in the corner. Sabu battles back with a victory roll for two. Sabu slows things down with a Camel Clutch. Scorpio manages to break and kicks Sabu right in the balls. Scorpio does it a second time and then finds a pizza pan at ringside. Scorpio suplexes Sabu into the ring and puts him in a surfboard. Sabu ignores all this pain and hits a springboard somersault legdrop for two. Man, these two have nothing going on between spots. Scorpio hits a moonsault that may or may not have hit Sabu’s knees for two. An Arabian Facebuster gets two for Sabu. Sabu is felled with a chair shot and Scorpio adds to the punishment with a Tombstone Slam. Scorpio hits a splash from the corner for two. Scorpio then crotches Sabu using the middle rope and we stand around some more. Scorpio misses a splash off the top but Sabu is too injured to take control. He goes up but is thrown off with a sunset flip for two. Scorpio heads upstairs but he’s cut off by Sabu. Sabu does a victory roll off the top for two. Scorpio misses a dropkick and is then backdropped to the outside. Sabu follows with a tope suicida and brings Scorpio back in. A lariat clothesline in the ring gets two. Sabu tries locking in an armbar but Scorpio easily breaks. Scorpio tries to toss Sabu to the outside but Sabu holds on and both fall out.
Sabu tries a springboard moonsault onto the outside but Scorpio can’t really catch him and Sabu hits barricade. Sabu sets up a table in the first row and sets Scorpio on it. He tries a springboard senton onto him but Scorpio manages to move and Sabu takes a wicked bump through that table. Scorpio brings Sabu into the ring as Styles talks about ECW being better than where the big boys play. Scorpio covers but Sabu’s foot makes the ropes. Everyone is just gassed here. Sabu counters a powerbomb with a rana for two. Sabu gets a springboard moonsault off the second rope for two. Sabu misses a top rope moonsault which allows Scorpio to powerbomb Sabu and hit the Tumbleweed (moonsault into a legdrop) for two. This one is going long now and I think they’re trying to a time limit draw. Whatever it is, both guys are gassed. Scorpio grabs the chair and takes Sabu down with a cool front legsweep thing. He lays the chair on Sabu and hits a legdrop off the top for two. Scorpio sets himself up on the top but Sabu tosses a chair in his face and rana’s him off for two. Yeah, it’s a time-limit job, the timekeeper just announced the time. Scorpio hits the 450 Splash but the idiot DOESN’T COVER. Could you be more obvious? Scorpio tries a dive off the top with a chair but fails. Sabu hits a legdrop off the second rope onto the chair and then a slingshot somersault legdrop from the apron for two. Time runs out at 30:00 (which was actually 30:00, correct timekeeping is EXTREME!). This is not the group you go Broadway with. I thought there were some AWESOME high-flying stuff here and it made it a worthy addition to the DVD but between those high-spots there was nothing in terms of transitions and it really lowered the level and quality of the match. As a spot-fest it was okay, but as a wrestling match it certainly lacked. Taking that into account it was enjoyable and fun to sit through, but it was 20 minutes too long. **1/2.
Josh is with Kofi Kingston and he’s here to showcase his Boom Drop (just a top-rope legdrop). We see highlights of his big spot at the Money in the Bank on Drew McIntyre and the Sky-Cam shows Kofi doing the move off the ladder. And here’s Kofi!
–Kofi Kingston vs. Christian for the Intercontinental Title–
This is the most recent match on the collection, coming from the May 14th, 2010 episode of SmackDown. It seems that the IC title they are vying for is vacant, and I have no idea why. This was the final match of a small tournament to crown a new winner. Christian lands a shoulderblock early for a one-count. Kofi comes back with a legsweep for one. Christian monkey flips Kofi out of the corner but Kofi landed on his feet. Kofi monkey flips Christian who ends up outside. Kofi tries a slingshot plancha that misses but Christian’s springboard shoulderblock from the inside second rope doesn’t. We take our commercial break early (2-minutes into the match?) and return with Christian in control. Kofi is kicked to the corner but blocks a charge with a big boot (which prompts Striker to ask in the Buffalo arena, “what would Scott Norwood think of that kick?”). Kofi lands a flying clothesline but is dropped down after Christian catches his leapfrog attempt and covered for two. Christian tries a missile dropkick but Kofi catches him and rolls him up for two. Kofi hits a nice top rope crossbody for two. Kofi lands one of his set moves (a legdrop over the gut) before he starts Booming it up. Kofi walks into an Unprettier for two. Kofi blocks a Killswitch and pulls out some sort of flipping Russian Legsweep that is turned into a cover for two. Christian blocks a charge in the corner and lands a top rope elbow to the standing Kofi. He tries for the Killswitch again but fails. Kofi lands a spinning axe kick and that’s enough to end Christian’s night and enough for Kofi to win the IC title at 8:44. This had some nice spots but was just going spot for spot there. There were points where both guys looked confused as to what to do but for a TV match it wasn’t bad. **1/4.
The WWE Light Heavyweight Title is profiled now, and even Josh suggests it was done in response to WCW’s Cruiserweight title. Taka was probably the biggest star of those late 90’s Light Heavyweights.
–Taka Michinoku(c) vs. Pantera for the WWE Light Heavyweight Title–
This one took place at No Way Out of Texas, held on February 15th, 1998. Sunny gives Taka a kiss before the match to make him the envy of every guy in the audience. Brian Christopher, son of Jerry Lawler, makes his way to ringside as the match starts. Taka hits a spinning heel kick early but his chops have no effect. Taka is dumped to the outside and Pantera connects with a nice somersault plancha. Pantera misses a clothesline in the ring and ends up outside where Taka flies out with a springboard crossbody. Taka gets a seated dropkick on Pantera in the ring. Pantera ends up on the top turnbuckle with Taka on the apron and Pantera hits a nice headscissors/rana that sends Taka to the ground. Pantera follows with a tope that sends Taka back first into the barricade. Pantera follows in the ring with a butterfly backbreaker and a Camel Clutch. Taka makes the ropes to break but Pantera keeps on the back, using a surfboard to inflict more damage. Pantera eventually breaks when his shoulders are on the mat and the ref starts counting. Taka tries forearming Pantera out but he’s backdropped to the outside and Pantera nails him with a tope con hilo. Pantera grapevines the legs and turns Taka over into a pinning combination for two. Pantera keeps on the back (the Psychology of it!) and finishes it off with a top-rope hurricanrana. Pantera hits a moonsault for two. Pantera tries a second one that misses. Taka gets a top-rope kneedrop to Pantera’s back and he tries for the Michinoku Driver. Taka’s back gives out and Pantera rolls him up for two. Pantera tries a rana but he’s powerbombed down. Taka hits a missile dropkick and the Michinoku Driver ends this at 10:11. Brian Christopher jaws at Taka from ringside so Taka takes him out with a splash off the top. This was a Cruiserweight match with psychology! It was actually really well done despite the crowd apathy. ***1/2
Well, we’ve had nothing but men so far, so let’s look at one of the highest flying women the WWE’s ever seen: Lita. Lita was definitely a high-flyer but her neck injury really halted a lot of that. Her debut around 2000 and those early years she was awesome, though.
–Trish Stratus(c) vs. Lita for the WWE Women’s Title–
==Taken from WWE Divas Classics.com Review==
This is from the December 6th, 2004 Raw. Trish has a mask on (due to a broken nose suffered at the hands of Lita) and it seems she’s the heel here. Lita is over here, so she must not have cheated on Matt yet. They lock up and tumble to the outside as a result. Trish sells the nose as they get back into the ring. Trish boots Lita in the gut and sends her into the corner. Trish telegraphs a back drop so Lita boots her in the face. Lita tries a roundhouse but Trish ducks out of it in her matrix move, so Lita wisely trips her and covers for two. Lita backdrops Trish to the outside and follows with a tope. Lita did one of the sickest landings I’ve ever seen, falling right on her neck. Lita gets into the ring first and tries pulling Trish in but Trish takes off the mask and whacks Lita with it. Looks like her nose wasn’t broken at all! Trish sends Lita face-first into the corner and chokes her while seated on the top rope. Lita snapmares her off and puts Trish in a sleeper. Trish backs into the corner to break, snapmares Lita over and does a seated full nelson. Trish heads upstairs but Lita catches her and superplexes her off. Trish is up first and Chick Kicks Lita for two. Trish tries for the punches in the corner but Lita powerbombs out of that. Lita climbs to the top but Trish is able to catch her on her shoulders. Lita rolls through for two and tries for the Twist of Fate but Trish DDT’s her to counter and pins her (with the ropes) for two. Trish tries the Stratusfaction but Lita catches her in a Twist of Fate. Lita doesn’t cover but instead goes to the top and hits a moonsault for the pinfall and the title at 7:13. That was actually the main event of the show that night and it was a good one. Lita’s fall was one of the scariest falls you may see and it’s amazing she didn’t break her neck (again). After that the match slowed a bit but it picked up near the end. Trish was definitely on top of her game here. ***.
We have a highlight video of Sabu (including a scene with the original Tazmaniac, before he became Taz, or Tazz), the last real ECW guy featured on the DVD.
–Rob Van Dam(c) vs. Sabu for the ECW TV Title–
This was one of the featured bouts at the 2000 ECW Guilty As Charged PPV’s, taking place on January 9th. It’s weird to hear RVD’s entrance music (I’m guess it was Pantera’s Walk here) be replaced with Generic Rock Song #23. The two slug away early leading to Sabu trying to dropkick RVD’s knee but RVD counting with a legdrop. Sabu hits the move anyway and sends RVD outside. Sabu throws a chair into RVD before hitting an Air Sabu legdrop. We return in the ring and Sabu just launches RVD to the outside and into the guardrail. RVD is sent into the audience and Sabu follows with his double springboard crossbody onto RVD. The highspots continues with RVD hitting a corkscrew guillotine legdrop from the apron onto Sabu who was draped on the barricade. RVD follows with a somersault plancha. RVD ends up on the apron so Sabu does a sunset flip Powerbomb to the outside, but don’t get too excited, RVD fell on top of Sabu’s legs and it didn’t hit too cleanly. Sabu had a table set up across the barricades and he sets RVD up on it. He lands a splash from the top turnbuckle that sends both of them through the table, but he looked to hit the guardrail awkwardly, too. Sabu makes some repairs to his knee (he was literally taping it up in the middle of the ring) before covering RVD for two. RVD and Sabu spar with chairs which Sabu wins when he tosses the chair into RVD’s face. He slows things down with a Camel Clutch. He breaks and the ref ends up getting bumped. Sabu hits the triple jump moonsault but there’s no ref! So Sabu gets a Triple Jump Legdrop. He covers and the ref recovers to count two. Sabu heads upstairs with a chair but RVD is right there with a running spin kick to knock him off. Van Dam scored with a Van Daminator and heads upstairs but Sabu crotches him. Sabu tries to rana RVD off but RVD holds on. Sabu falls and RVD lands the split-legged moonsault for two. That was the planned spot but still the dumb ECW fans were telling RVD he messed up. RVD wants the chair but Alfonzo (manager to both) won’t give it to him. So RVD hits the Van Daminator on him. Sabu knocks RVD down and tries the triple jump moonsault but RVD blocks with the chair. The Five-Star Frog Splash ends this at 14:37. This actually wasn’t a terrible match. Usually I can’t stand ECW matches that go spot for spot but this one didn’t seem to drag as poorly as others, possibly because of the inclusion of the Alfonzo storyline. There was no psychology evident, but matches like these usually don’t. ***1/2.
I guess we have only two left. Maybe the top two? First up is Jeff Hardy, who has always been a crazy daredevil.
–Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga in a Steel Cage Match–
==Taken from WWE Massacre on 34th Street Classics.com Review==
This comes from the January 7th, 2008 Raw and it mentions something about Raw Roulette, and I have no idea what that is. I never saw Umaga work so this is as good a time as any I suppose. Jeff was the IC champ at this point but he would be challenging Orton for the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble that year. Orton makes his way to ringside as well. Umaga powers Hardy down early, though Hardy hits a seated dropkick that gets one. Hardy tries a headbutt but Umaga’s Samoan and that doesn’t work. Umaga kicks him down. Umaga tries sending Hardy into the cage but Hardy leaps onto the ropes and tries to make an escape but Umaga slams him back into the ring. We take a break and return with Umaga working the death grip. Hardy eventually escapes but he gets backdropped into the steel cage in a cool spot. Umaga avalanches Hardy while he’s stuck between the cage and ropes and he covers for two. Orton wants Hardy done and he tosses chairs into the ring. Umaga lays out Hardy with said chair and covers for two. Umaga scales the ropes only to get crotched and Hardy props up a chair and does his little poetry in motion. Hardy is quickly felled by Umaga but Hardy ducks a butt splash attempt in the corner. Hardy tosses the chair at Umaga in the corner before DDT’ing Umaga’s head on a chair. Hardy covers but he only gets two. Hardy tries escaping through the cage but Orton smashes it into his head to stop that attempt. Jeff connects with the Twist of Fate on Umaga. Hardy can’t escape over the top because Orton is there waiting for him so Hardy hits the Whisper in the Wind off the top of the cage for the pinfall at 11:34. That was underwhelming. There were a few good spots but the overall tone of the match was confusing. Was it Umaga’s power, Orton’s interference or Jeff’ pluckiness that was being showcased. It was a match without a real defined tone to it, and that hurt the enjoyment of it for me. **1/2.
We end with the one and only Rey Misterio Jr.
–Eddie Guerrero(c) vs. Rey Misterio for the WCW Cruiserweight Title–
==Taken from WWE Decades Classics.com Review==
This one is comes to us from Halloween Havoc and it took place on October 26th, 1997. Rey is wearing some ridiculous looking outfit and he looks so small compared to his more buff self now. Eddie gets some decent heel heat on his way to the ring. I hope this is a good spot fest. Dusty, Schiavone and Heenan mention the added stipulation that if Rey loses, he loses his mask as well. The fans erupt in an “Eddie Sucks” chant right from the get-go. A quebrada leads to an armdrag for Rey and Eddie is sent to the outside. Rey flips onto the apron but Eddie grabs him by the leg and slams him to the mat. He then just crushes Rey’s head into the steel steps. Rey comes back with a dropkick in the ring but flips into a belly to back suplex. Eddie hits a brainbuster for two. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker also gets two. Eddie tries pinning the arms and shoulders down but Rey somehow turns this into a springboard DDT. Rey dumps Eddie and he tries a high-risk move and again ends on the apron. Eddie is one step ahead again and dropkicks Rey to the outside. Eddie puts Rey in a Camel Clutch and then rips part of the mask off! A Gory special follows but Rey armdrags out of it. He misses a dropkick and ends up sitting up so Eddie nails a seated dropkick. A backbreaker over the shoulder follows and Eddie goes back to work on Rey’s spine. Rey gets hung up in a Tree of Woe and Eddie delivers a baseball slide into Rey. He tries for one from across the ring but ends up crotching himself on the post when Rey lifts himself up. Eddie recovers outside but Rey connects with a crossbody off the top. Rey rana’s Eddie into a two-count in the ring but is laid out with a clothesline. Rey tries a 619 move but Eddie catches him. Rey headscissors him to the outside and follows with a springboard senton into a headscissor take-over. Rey follows with a corkscrew moonsault in the ring for two. Rey’s split-legged moonsault finds nothing but knees and Eddie just plants Rey into the mat with a powerbomb for two. Eddie charges Rey back-first into the corner and charges but it sent into the turnbuckles. A spinning kick follows. Rey tries his springboard rana but Eddie manages to catch him and hit a backbreaker. Eddie tries for the Frog Splash but Eddie manages to roll through when Rey moves out of the way. Eddie sets up Rey on the top and looks like he’s going for a Razor’s Edge but Rey rana’s through that and holds onto Eddie for the pinfall and the title at 13:51. Eddie attacks Rey from behind and tosses him to the outside. This was just an amazing spot-tacular match and again we have a contender for match of the month. This had everything – amazing, innovative, spots and an actual story (Eddie controlling, working the back, and losing to Rey who took advantage of an Eddie mistake). I think Rey should’ve sold the back a bit more but other than that this was just amazing. ****3/4.
I thought we’d have a little segment on each wrestler instead of a highlight video but then the running time would probably mushroom out of control. Still, we got 20 full matches on here and most of them were pretty damn good. We had a TON of them in the *** range with even a few cracking the **** barrier. One thing you may notice about this collection is that there aren’t a lot of repeats and I think the WWE has really been cognizant of that as of late. I do think that some of the matches were head-scratchers. I know that the WWE didn’t want repeats but this would’ve been a great time to put on Snuka/Muraco or Pillman/Liger. I just don’t know if some of these would be like definitive high-flying moments for the people involved. Whatever the reasoning for not including some of these wrestler’s more high profile matches, we have to look at the positives: 20 Full Matches, some really rare ones (Japan Supershow? The Hardcore TV match? BOTH awesome) and almost all were above *** stars (17 out of all the matches, including extras). Was it the best representation of high-flyers? Probably not, but what we got was good enough for my liking.
1) Ultimo Dragon (w/Sonny Onoo) vs. Psychosis (13:32)
This one comes to us from WCW Uncensored held on March 16th, 1997. This was actually the opener to the show. Ultimo is in red this time (having bypassed the manly hot pink that was in his closet) while Psychosis is still in black. We get the usual Lucha opening to start with both guys feeling each other out. The fans are so impressed with this that they sit in awe silently. Ultimo flips out of a back drop attempt and fires away with kicks. He grabs a single leg-lock on Psychosis but Psychosis breaks and follows with a dropkick. Ultimo is sent to the corner but he just does a handstand and waits for Psychosis to run towards him. An enzuigiri sends Psychosis down and into position for a Camel Clutch. Psychosis reverses it into one of his own. He bodyslams him and connects with a top-rope legdrop that hit the Dragon right in the face for two. Psychosis follows with a second rope elbow drop for two. Dragon comes back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two before going to work with a sleeper. Psychosis breaks with a jaw-breaker but now he’s seated down and Dragon puts it right back on. Psychosis gets a sleeper of his own and Dragon back suplexes out of it. Psychosis nails a spinning leg kick off the top that sends Dragon to the outside. A big shoulderblock plancha hits for Psychosis. He’s not done yet and gets a slingshot legdrop from the ring onto Dragon. Dragon took another very rough shot thanks to the legdrop. Ultimo fires back with a handspring elbow on the barricade and an Asai Moonsault. Onoo distracts Psychosis on the way in and nails him with a back heel kick. Ultimo hits a moonsault in the ring for two. Psychosis tries a powerbomb which Ultimo rolls through but Psychosis rolls through that for two. Dragon’s La Majestral roll-up gets two. Psychosis is seated upstairs but he elbows out of danger. He tries a suplex but Ultimo counters into what would’ve been an inverted suplex except it looks blown and both guy’s fall hard. Ultimo heads upstairs but is caught and rana’d off. Psychosis does an arrogant pin so Dragon rolls through for two. Psychosis tries a rana again but Ultimo counters with a running powerbomb. A Tornado DDT from the top rope sets up the Tiger Suplex which ends this at 13:14. It looked like Psychosis was totally phoning this one in. He was blowing moves left and right and looked out of place working with Dragon here. I did like what Dragon was going but Psychosis was just not doing his part. **.
2) Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (6:50)
This is a more current match, taking place on the April 18th, 2008 SmackDown. Chavo doesn’t even get an introduction here (on the DVD at least). Chavo’s also got someone in his corner, like a bodyguard or something. It’s someone I’ve never seen before. They lock-up to start and do some mat-wrestling that doesn’t really lead anywhere. I guess the guy’s name in Chavo’s corner is Bam Neely. We got a bunch of rest-holds here until Jamie breaks a headlock with a side suplex. A Northern Lights Suplex for Noble gets two. He gets tripped up coming off the ropes and Chavo harkens Eddie’s spirit with the Three Amigos, though the third Amigo is blocked into a swinging neckbreaker for two. Chavo pounds out of a Sharpshooter and after stunning Jamie on the top rope he ends with a Frog Splash at 5:53. Just your average TV match with not much else going on. *1/2.
3) Sky-Cam with Jamie Noble (0:59)
Josh is with Noble, wearing the Sky-Cam and demonstrates how to do a moonsault. I think Jamie was retired by this time but cays he still has some gas in the tank to do this one.
4) Flight Turbulence (1:07)
This is a compilation of some hard falls, either blown ones (Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania) to scripted ones that still hurt (Foley at King of the Ring 1998) that ends with a message of Please Don’t Try This At home.
1) The Hardy Boyz vs. Ka En Tai (5:12)
This was a Sunday Night Heat match from very early in the Hardy’s WWE career, dating back to September 27th, 1998. In fact, the Hardy’s aren’t even given an entrance. Teioh and Funaki are the representatives for Ka en Tai tonight. They mention that this is the Hardy’s Heat debut. We have a big brawl to start and the Hardys begin with the spots early. Matt hits a slingshot plancha on Teioh. Jeff is already the face in peril (I’m shocked, too) and Teioh hits a high crossbody off the top for two. I should point out that if you think the Hardy’s dress badly now – you can’t believe how bad these plaid tights are with their names written on their asses. It’s pretty bad. It’s got tassels, too. Jeff fights off Funaki with a double dropkick and then do stereo monkey flips that end with Funaki landing on top of each other. Jeff tries a springboard senton off Matt’s back to the outside but he misses Funaki completely and lands hard on his back. Heel miscommunication allows Funaki to be bodyslammed and the Hardy’s finish him off at 3:30 with a combination legdrop/splash off the top rope. This was your standard Sunday Night Heat match, there are spots here you don’t normally see on Heat. *.
1) Juventud Guerrera(c) vs. Billy Kidman for the WCW Cruiserweight Title (15:48)
This one took place at World War III on November 22nd, 1998. The crowd is just dead as the match starts, but it is late 1998 WCW so it’s understandable. Juvie tries to slide under Kidman but Kidman actually catches him. That doesn’t lead anywhere but it was a good idea. Juvie manages a Rocker Drop on a standing Kidman but then hot dogs it to the crowd. Kidman misses a charge in the corner and is headscissored down. Juvie runs into a short powerbomb slam and Kidman follows with a springboard legdrop from the apron for two. Kidman sends Juvie to the corner and lariats him down on the rebound. Kidman tries a superplex but Juvie tornadoes out of it and onto the apron and then stuns Kidman on the top rope. Juvie comes off the top but is caught with a standing dropkick from Kidman for two. Juvie is dumped and Kidman joins him on the outside with a slingshot plancha. Juvie tries a hurricanrana off the top rope onto Kidman on the apron but he didn’t hit it as smoothly as he would’ve liked. Juvie gets a brainbuster in the ring for two and gets a springboard missile dropkick to send Kidman to the outside. Juvie follows him with a springboard crossbody. He rolls Kidman in and hits a slingshot legdrop for two. Juvie sends Kidman into one of the other rings He tries a double springboard dropkick but slipped the last time and ended up dropkicking Kidman’s knee instead of in the chest. He still covers for two. Kidman comes back with a dropkick and a side-suplex for two. He misses a splash in the corner so Juvie takes control with an atomic drop. Juvie goes up top but is crotched down. Kidman brings Juvie into the front ring with a headscissors. He then goes up to the top rope of the other ring and leaps onto Juvie with a crossbody for two. Kidman is backdropped onto the top rope of the other ring and Juvie manages a springboard from one ring to the other and a hurricanrana off the top. Juvie tries a Juvie Driver but it’s countered. Juvie just counters it into the Juvie Driver anyway. Juvie tries a 450 but Kidman moves out of the way. Juvie actually lands on his feet and rana’s Kidman down for two. Juvie tries powerbombing Kidman (but you can’t powerbomb Kidman!) but Kidman turns it into an X-Factor. Kidman heads upstairs but Juvie crotches him. Juvie tries a top-rope rana but Rey sneaks in and holds onto Kidman’s pants. Juvie falls to the mat and the Shooting Star Press ends this at 15:25. This had some nice spots but there was way too much standing around for my liking. ***.
This is the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 offering WWE usually puts out. It sounds great but there was an issue with the video. WWE was going to the widescreen stuff and that’s great. I’ve actually gotten used to seeing clips going from widescreen to the fullscreen with the bars on the side. If it increases the video quality of the newer stuff without detracting from the old stuff, then fine.
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
We have the usual fold-open DVD case with the three discs with a little folder. However, the little folder is EMPTY! There are no liner notes here! How can I easily tell what matches are on here? Furthermore, the match listing on the chapter pages are in such a small print it is hard to see! I would be mad but if this is for environmental reasons I guess I can’t complain TOO loudly. The photos on here are pretty awesome, though.
The usual WWE promos start off this collection (WWE Classics on Demand [still not on Time Warner Cable], WWE Home Video, Chris Jericho’s Most Excellent DVD, the most recent John Cena DVD, Knucklehead [2:21] and the updated Don’t Try This At Home spot now featuring Edge). The main program was the main feature here and I liked it so I call this collection worth a look. The extras were just small matches featuring some high-flyers profiled in the main program with the main highlight being that early Hardy’s match. Overall there were 17 total matches clocking in at *** or higher, with a few cracking ****. On the basis of that I’m going to call this a recommendation, but be prepared to wonder why other matches weren’t included instead of the ones here.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 There’s at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, don’t even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever