Featured Post

Thank You, Axl Rotten (And R.I.P.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

SAW TV Review - Episode 69

Courtesy of Larry Goodman:

Showtime Allstar Wrestling – Episode 69
Airing on November 8, 2008 in Nashville on Comcast 74
Taped on September 21, 2008 at the SAW Mill in Millersville, Tn

This week’s show opened with Marc Anthony addressing the heavens in battle gear from the driver’s seat of a World War II tank. “White Rabbit” playing the background.

As I peer across this field, in which a battle will soon rage, I see to the east the silhouette of a man, a man darker than this world has ever seen…They’re going to stand their ground. My son, stand yours firmly. For tonight, I shall join you in this battle. I shall join you on this field. Tonight, the king returns.

Anthony barked like the tortured soul that he is.

Right to the entrance of Raven being treated like the second coming by Michael St. John and Reno Riggins on commentary. Someone has gone way overboard with the fog machine again.

1 – RAVEN vs. HAMMERJACK (with Rick Santel)

Ravens opened with punches and serious mudhole stomping, and he’s bristling with energy. Hammerjack took over while the camera was panning the crowd. Santel gave Hammerjack a chair, but he coughed it up to Raven, who used it to execute his signature drop toehold chair spot. Raven signaled to the crowd before planting Hammerjack with the Evenflow.

WINNER: Raven in 2:24 with the Evenflow DDT, as Santel runs his record to 0-3 as Paul Adams’ surrogate.

SAW International Champion Jerry Lynn returns in two weeks.

2 – CHRISJEN HAYME (with Shawn Shultz) vs. DREW HASKINS

Haskins controlled the action with a nice display of basic mat-based wrestling, but when he went to the air with a springboard crossbody, Hayme turned it into a gutbuster. Hayme did a number on the midsection of Haskins, and made it clear he didn’t need any instruction from Shultz. Hayme applied a leg scissors, which gave MSJ an opening for his 60s reference of the week, Mario Milano. Reno said Debbie Combs also had a great leg scissors. Shultz told Hayme to bring Haskins over to the ropes. While ref Jesse Fields inexplicably turned his back on the action, Haskins ducked. Shultz clocked Hayme. Hayme took a Nestea plunge and was pinned.

WINNER: Haskins in 5:36 after a major malfunction between Shultz and Hayme. It was fine for the purposes of the story. Hayme has had some bad matches trying to carry less experienced opponents, but not here. Haskins’ is developing into a fundamentally sound wrestler, and he did nice job selling the lack of air supply.

Shultz got in Hayme’s face and warned him not to walk away, and Hayme blew him off.

MSJ and Riggins introduced a sneak pack at Paul Adams training regimen as he prepared for his match with Arrick Andrews.

Oh my goodness, comedy has come to SAW.

Adams was in the gym looking completely ridiculous again in a sleeveless “It’s All About Paul” t-shirt, electric blue shorts and dress shoes. He started his workout with “The Annihilator 2000” treadmill. It was one of those cheap apartment gym jobs. The more Adams talked trash, the faster the thing went. He ended up taking a bump and getting dumped like a package on a conveyor belt. The next shot showed Adams nursing the bruise on his arm. ‘You can edit that out, right?” The camera guy reassured Adams they would make him look real good. Adams tried the lat bar. After 4 reps, Adams was midair. Next was the chest press. “Alright Arrick Andrews, you saw that display of physicality over there. Look at me. I’m huge.” Adams said he wasn’t a cold-hearted individual.

If you call me up and you ask nicely, I might actually be willing to let you off the hook on that match next week…You look at this further display of masculinity by the Paulverizer and you let me know.

Adams claimed he was doing reps of 250. “That’s almost 300. I think I’ve got one more in me.” The camera strayed over to the weight plates to show that Adams was only lifting 20 pounds. Brimming with overconfidence, Adams said he was going to do reps on the Stairmaster and give Andrews a few more minutes to think it over. The final shot showed Adams on the floor beneath the Stairmaster calling for help.

Cut to Hammerjack massaging his aching neck. Santel was on the phone trying to coax Dillinger into showing up for his match. Santel apologized for screwing up last week as Paul Adams’ sub. Dillinger hung up on him. “Hey Hammer, you ready for Boogie tonight? You got ‘em, baby,” said Santel. “You want me to take Boogie? After what you let happen to me just now?” Santel said it was an accident. Hammerjack said Santel was killing him.

3 – SAW Tag Team Title Match: Champions TRIBAL NATION (Indian Outlaw & Lennox Lightfoot) vs. HIGH SOCIETY (Sean Casey & Chris Michaels with Tiana)

Outlaw overpowered Michaels. Riggins brought up what great shape Outlaw was getting in. Lightfoot made a blind tag and hit a springboard plancha. Nation did their gorilla press drop on Michaels. Casey pulled the ropes down to dump Outlaw. Casey had a pronounced limp as he went after Outlaw on the floor. Michaels worked Outlaw over. Casey was in for all of 30 seconds. Meahwhile, MSJ was drooling over Tiana. He said she had the looks to be a vice presidential candidate, and he would elect her by acclamation. Outlaw hulked up a bit and made a diving tag. Michaels took exaggerated flying bumps for Lightfoot’s tomahawk chops. Lightfoot broke out the war dance, the prelude to the Four Winds Tomahawk Chop, and Casey nailed him with a foreign object. New champions. MSJ called it a major upset.

WINNERS: And new SAW Tag Team Champions, High Society in 9:25. Not much of a match. They had to work around Casey. Whatever was going on with his knee, he was in no shape to wrestle. Crowd wasn’t feeling it much either. They did nothing to build for a hot tag. The highlight was Michaels bumping like Harley Race for those chops.

We saw High Society backstage looking worse for wear. Michaels said he had a concussion. Casey said he blew out his ACL. In unison – “IT DOESN’T MATTER.” They gloated about winnng the titles and did their catch phrase.

4 – HAMMERJACK (with Rick Santel) vs. “Boogie Woogie Boy” GARY VALIANT (with Miss Boogie)

Boogie’s first official match since his return. Hammerjack blindsided Valiant before the bell. Boogie smashed Hammerjack’s head into six different turnbuckles –called the six corner Boogie Woogie Bop by MSJ. But Hammerjack gave Valiant a hiptoss over the ropes spot with Boogie’s back catching the edge of the apron on the way down. Major deathbed selling by Boogie ensued with the crowd chanting for a comeback. The commentators hinted that ring rust might be hampering Boogie. Santel applied the towel choke. They cut to some true heavyweight females chanting for Boogie. After a delivering a trio of kneedrops, Hammerjack got caught trying to pin Boogie using the ropes. Boogie barely escaped from a piledriver. Riggins said he had never seen Boogie take a beating like this, which was hilarious, since it’s a routine occurrence. Valiant rolled out from under Hammerjack’s middle rope elbow drop. Both men slow to rise. Hammerjack initiated another terrible ref bump involving Kurt Herron. Valiant started towards Santel. Hammerjack clubbed Valiant from behind. Santel pulled out a bag of powder. Valiant mule kicked Hammerjack in the groin and knocked the powder into Santel’s face. Boogie Blaster. 1~2~3.

WINNER: Valiant in 8:44 after yet another screw up by Santel. This was a great story match. Boogie knows drama. The wrestling was nothing special, but it didn’t need to be. The finish (minus the ref bump) was a beauty. Santel looked like Frosty the Snowman.

Anthony interrupted Valiant’s postmatch interview by charging to ringside and shoving a chair into Boogie’s gut. Anthony tossed Valiant in the ring, leveled him with a lariat and hit a top rope elbow drop. With that, Miss Boogie jumped on Anthony’s back. Anthony rammed Miss Boogies into the turnbuckles and left her in a heap. Valiant came back with the Boogie Blaster on Anthony. He scrambled over to check on Miss Boogie. Finding her out cold, Valiant rose up with fire in his eyes…and caught a flying chair to the face from Anthony. Down went Boogie. Anthony knelt over Boogie’s body and called out to Ronnie Gossett. The crowd popped as Raven entered the ring. Raven gave Anthony a chair and scraped Valiant off the mat. Anthony crowned Boogie with a chair shot. Anthony dropped to his knees and wrapped an arm around Raven’s leg. Raven stroked Anthony’s hair. Raven sat Boogie up with his bloody head facing the camera and did his pose. Fade to black.

Closing Thoughts: This makes my list of favorite episodes of SAW. The great things about this show were so awesome that the lousy part didn’t leave much of an impression. Anthony's opening vignette was another killer performance. I thought of Terry Funk. It was brilliant foreshadowing of his forthcoming alliance with Raven. This was the best possible use of Raven – allowing the strength of his character to override his in ring limitations. Between the carnage of Boogie and Miss Boogie both being laid out (the shot Miss Boogie took from Anthony looked devastating), and the twisted father and son scene, the closing segment contained some compelling images. In this case, and it often isn’t, the execution was every bit as good as the story. The double barrel A-Team comedy stories - Santel’s ineptitude as a manager and the Adams training video were both outstanding. Like a pro wrestling version of Michael Scott, Adams is willing to look like a complete idiot for laughs. No two ways about it, the tag title match was bad. The promotion must have wanted to get the belts off of Tribal Nation in the worst way. True, High The Indians were essentially beaten by a one-man team. Casey could barely get in and out of the ring, much less wrestle. I haven’t said enough about the tremendous job Timmy Thompson does production-wise working with a budget that is next to nothing. If there’s an indie wrestling show short of TNA and WWE that looks as good as SAW, I want to see it. If there’s one consistent production weakness, it’s the number two camera, which lacks the clarity and color saturation of the hard cam. When the major pieces come together –story, execution and production – as they did during most of this episode, SAW can’t be beat as a modern version of old school southern wrestling.