Larry Goodman sent this in:
While Showtime All-Star Wrestling’s ?Unfinished Business? wasn?t bad by any standard, it lacked the magic of their first two events at the Nashville Fairgrounds Sports Arena.
Once again, SAW put close to 1000 people in the building, but they never quite reached the the feverish intensity of the peak moments at the previous shows.
SAW’s first Fairgrounds event in October came across far better live than it did on television. The November event struck a balance between the two. Last night, it felt like SAW sacrificed the live experience for the sake of television. Hopefully, that doesn?t come back to bite them at the box office when they return on March 13 – their shortest turnaround time between Fairgrounds dates.
It opened strong and closed even stronger, and there was an entertaining tag title switch in between, but they did stuff that burned out the crowd. The midcard became a blur of pure TV matches. And they did way too much of a good thing (see Anthony/Hammerjack classic on episode 120) with the pull apart brawls. This show had three of them. The pacing was better than the previous shows. They taped enough material for three television episodes in two and 1/2 hours. But 12 matches is too much, especially doing nine before intermission.
In a dose of high drama, Chase Stevens emerged as the new SAW International Champion, ending the year long reign of Kid Kash in a match he wasn’t supposed to have any part in….or so we had been lead to believe.
Ring announcer Dan Masters opened the evening’s festivities by directing the crowd’s attention to the big screen for a warm welcome by Leah of Grumpy’s Bail Bonds fame.
Two dark matches took place prior to the advertised bell time.
(1) Ryan Genesis beat Big Bully Douglas in 3:53. Not to jinx the guy as a worker, but Genesis strongly resembled Van Hammer only not as tall. Bully controlled the match with semi-ruthless aggression. Genesis hit a loose approximation of a DDT for a double down. Finish saw Genesis counter Bully’s TKO with one of his own. Nothing to write home about.
(2) Kevin White (with Su Yung) beat Cody Melton in 5 minutes. White played cowardly heel and let Yung do his dirty work for him, a role she performs in stellar fashion. Melton blocked a superkick to spark a comeback. No water in the pool for his frogsplash. White pinned Melton with an RKO.
The television taping started right on the dot at 8.
Reno Riggins and Dutch Mantell (complete with 10 gallon hat and serape) did a stand up in the interview area for one of the TV episodes. They started to interview Arrick Andrews about his upcoming title match, but they immediately interrupted by rude-to-the-bone SAW International Champion Kid Kash. He told Reno to buzz off because he wanted to talk to the boy. Kash told Andrews he wasn?t man enough to face a champion that had taken the title around the globe and beaten them all. Kash said he had one word of advice, which turned out to be a punch in the face. Five refs came running out. It turned into a massive pull apart. It took two more waves of SAW personnel (including Hot Rod Biggs and Commissioner Freddie Morton) to finally get them separated. Kash was like a mad dog. A very heated segment.
(3) Brian Christopher beat Sigmon in 4:15. Solid pop for Christopher but nothing off the charts. Sigmon jumped him to gain a short lived advantage. Sigmon got a near fall off a standing dropkick. Christopher roared back with big Lawler style punches and an enzuigiri. Sigmon tried to bring Chistopher off the ropes and you just knew that wasn?t happening. Christopher donned the googles to pin Sigmon with the Hip Hop Drop.
(4) Chase Stevens beat David Young (with Paul Adams) in 3:30. Stevens hit a shadow lariat early. Young took over after distraction by Adams. Crowd chanted for a Stevens comeback. They got it and a great finisher, as Stevens busted out a Canadian (Natural?) Destroyer.
Natalie Van Eron attempted a redo with Andrews. That brought Kash out again. He told Van Eron she was a credit to her profession, but he couldn?t stand women in a man’s sport. Kash attacked Andrews. Security pulled them apart. Fans chanted ?let them fight?. It got pretty hot but not like the first time.
(5) PG-13 (Wolfie D & J.C. Ice) defeated Derrick King Enterprises (Derrick King & JT Stahr with Sista O?Feelyah & Drew Haskins to win the SAW Tag Team Championship in 14:27. Fun match. Wolfie stayed a step ahead of JT. Ice tagged in and it built to a major DKE collision followed by a meeting of the heel minds. Ice cleared the ring of everyone including Wolfie with his Kung Fu fighting stance. Crowd popped huge for it. DKE got heat on Ice. He hit a jumping DDT and went through King’s legs to make the hot tag. Stahr took a sky high back drop from Wolfie. One by one, all four crashed and burned on top rope moves. PG-13 did the combo move they used to beat the champions at Buffalo Billiards, but King kicked out. PG-13 stacked up DKE with double bulldogs, but Haskins pulled the ref out. While PG-13 was busy with Haskins and O?Feelyah, DKE grabbed the hubcaps. PG-13 saw them coming and capped their domes for the three count. Crowd loved the finish.
(6) Tracy Taylor pinned Sue Yung in 3:58 to retain the SAW Women’s Championship. Taylor worked on Yung’s arm. Yung smacked her on the break. Taylor issued a receipt. Yung used the tights to send Taylor head first into the turnbuckles and unleashed her wildcat offense. Taylor pretty much hit her finisher out of nowhere. It was OK, just not much to it.
(7) Hammerjack vs. Marc Anthony ended as a no contest in around 4 minutes. After the awesome affair they had the last time and the great build up on TV, this was disappointing to say the least. Hammer met Anthony in the aisle and they brawled at ringside. Anthony gave Hammer a wicked looking shot into the rail. They went inside the ring, and Hammer was beating him to death. Anthony took a nose dive. Back on the outside, Anthony tossed the ringsteps at Hammer. He skedaddled and the steps came apart on impact. Nice visual. Anthony left ref Jess Fields in a crumpled heap. Hammer took out ref number two, and that was all she wrote.
They had another wild pull apart brawl. Crowd did the ?let them fight? chant. Anthony ran back out and dove on top of Hammer. He also decked a security guard, who sold it like he was knocked out cold. It was a powerful stuff as a stand alone segment, but three pull aparts in one night?? There was no way the crowd could be up for it like they should have.
(8) Andy Douglas beat Jesse Emerson in 4:56. The advertised match with Stevens didn?t take place for reasons that would become obvious. Paul Adams was conspicuous by his absence at ringside. Douglas dominated in all his arrogant glory, using his signature moves like the guillotine leg drop and the Harley Race high knee. Emerson sparked a comeback with a swinging neckbreaker, but the crowd wasn?t buying him as a threat.. Emerson got a near fall with a side Russian legsweep before Douglas finished him with the Natural Disaster.
(9) Vordell Walker beat Drew Haskins (with Sista O?Feelyah) via DQ in 10:32. Try as they might, these guys couldn?t get on the same page. Walker wasn?t giving much credence to Haskins? offense. Walker took a bump over the top on an Irish whip – tough to suspend disbelief on that one given the power disparity. Back inside, Walker popped up after taking a German suplex and hit an overhead belly to belly suplex. Walker hit a Michinoku driver. Walker fell for O?Feelyah’s feminine wiles. Haskins capitalized with a low blow and a roll up but Walker kicked out. Moments later, Walker hit the wind up uranage. DKE attacked Walker. PG-13 hit the ring with their hubcaps to make the save. Worst match either one has had in SAW in forever.
Intermission with Dutch Mantell, Flash Flanagan and Tracy Taylor at the gimmick tables.
(10) Micah Taylor beat Sigmon in 6:37. Taylor’s hairdo is split down the middle – half bleached blonde and half pitch black. Match was fine. Crowd could not have cared less as in utterly lifeless. Taylor won it with a top rope leg lariat.
(11) Flash Flanagan beat ?OMG? Rick Santel via DQ in 5:49. The advertised hardcore stipulation was mysteriously dropped. Flanagan had the kendo stick but never used it. The shaved head has been replaced by a buzz cut. Santel exudes star presence, mixing element of Flair and Rude into something all his own. Really good match while it lasted. Crowd reaction was less than ideal, probably the by product of too many matches. As the ref was taking the kendo stick from Flanagan, Santel pulled him out of the ring. Flanagan rallied, hitting a top rope shoulder block and pounding Santel from the mount. Flanagan used an airplane spin that left both men woozy. Santel took over with a hammerlock divorce court. Santel worked the shoulder, then used Nature’s Greatest Elbow for a near fall. Santel tried to go up top, but Flanagan cut him off and hit a superplex. Both men down with Flanagan selling the shoulder. Flanagan made the one armed comeback and hit the springboard legdrop. Young interfered just before the three count. Flat finish. Crowd wasn?t primed for it. In any case, Young left Flanagan laying with one hell of a spinebuster.
The main event was gold. Kash came out first. Does that guy ever get heat. Riggins came out and said the match wasn?t happening and Kash knew why. Kash freely admitted that he beat the hell out Andrews 15 minutes ago. Riggins said he was going to break his promise and get in the ring (a moment in making for over a year on SAW TV). Reno reminded Kash that he and Steven Dunn ran roughshod in this building. Reno said somebody wanted a piece of Kash’s ass. Stevens appeared at ringside. Reno took off his shirt revealing a ref shirt underneath.
(12) Chase Stevens beat Kid Kash to win the SAW International Championship in 14:33 with Reno Riggins as special referee. This was great stuff. Two guys with big league star quality going at it with intensity. Stevens opened with a gorilla press. Kash ate a dropkick and bailed. Crowd was into this. Stevens suplexed Kash back inside and worked an armbar. There was a great moment when Kash and Reno were nose-to-nose on their knees. Stevens used an elevated armbar. But Stevens ankle gave way on an up and over. Smelling blood in the water, Kash swarmed all over it. Kash applied the figure four, and the crowd really came alive. Kash cheated. Reno kicked Kash’s hands to break his grip on the ropes. Stevens was in agony. He unlaced his boot to relieve the pressure. Kash jumped out of the ring and leaned over the rail to get in the face of a female fan that had been giving him hell all night long. Kash did moonsaults to Stevens? leg. Kash pulled the boot off and wanted to use it on Stevens, but Reno took it away. Kash made the big mistake and got in Reno’s face. Reno shoved him and Stevens rolled him for the three count.
Post-match scene was beautifully done. Kash was crazy with rage. Stevens was toast. He couldn?t stand up. Never got to put the belt on or anything. Security had to carry him to the back.
NOTES: Jerry Jarrett was present for the first half of the show. Pro Wrestling Illustrated flew in a photographer to cover the event…Michael Graham and Dutch Mantell did live commentary for some of the matches. I?m guessing an hour’s worth?Mantell conducted a wrestling seminar in the afternoon. He also worked a show in Ripley, Ms Friday night promoted by Rodney Grimes that drew 1000…The SAW episode that aired last night in Nashville contained old matches taped at the SAW Mill?Neither Walker or Masters will be at the Fairgrounds on March 13. Both are booked for the Oates family retirement match in Ellaville, Ga?A petition was being circulated to prevent Mayor Karl Dean from closing the Fairgrounds at the end of the year. The leader of the petition drive said a lawsuit had been filed to block the closure??Unfinished Business? was a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. Fans were encouraged to text donations throughout the evening.