Happy Saturday Everyone!
We’ve got some matches from Jakked/Metal this week, which was WWF’s Saturday syndicated show for a while. We’ve mainly got this one today because it features Perry Saturn Vs Mike Bell in quite an infamous bout. Some of the other matches looked fun though so we’ll review them all as it shouldn’t take long.
I’ll list which episode the matches are from if you want to hunt them down.
Broadcasted on the 5th of May 2001
Matches taped in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Essa Rios Vs Al Snow w/ Head
Snow is wearing a Tough Enough shirt here, so I guess the debut season must have been on the horizon. It’s funny how the UFC took that concept and used it to kick their business off to the next level, whilst the WWF never got anywhere near to the same success with it. Interestingly CageMatch.net lists this as an episode of Jakked, but the graphics say it’s an episode of Metal, so I don’t know what to tell you on that one.
They do some nice back and back stuff, with the crowd/fake heat machine seemingly being more into Snow than Rios, although there is a pop when Rios does a nice looking flippy arm drag. Rios misses a dive to the floor following that though, allowing Snow to cut Rios off and work him over, although it’s not really a heat segment because Snow isn’t playing the role of a Heel. Rios is soon fighting back though and goes for a rana, but Snow counters into a sit out Powerbomb for two.
The action continues to be mostly back and forth following that, with both wrestlers getting a chance to hit some big moves. It’s fun action, as they seem to have some solid chemistry together. Rios gets a very impressive front flipping TOPE CON HILO at one stage, which looked incredible and I’m baffled the WWF couldn’t do more with Rios when he could do hot moves like that with seeming ease. Snow eventually manages to fight back with The Snow Plow though and that’s enough for the three count after a game effort from both men.
WINNER: AL SNOW
Thoughts: This was a fun match, as they worked well together and both wrestlers got a chance to show off their move set
European Champ Matt Hardy cuts a promo saying he isn’t a short term Champion. Indeed, he had it all the way into the autumn I believe.
WWF Light Heavyweight Title
Champ: Jerry Lynn Vs Kevin Kruger
Kruger is a local guy who mostly worked indies and as enhancement talent for the WWF. Lynn had only recently joined the WWF following the death of ECW, and he had won the Light Heavyweight belt his first night in against Crash Holly. Kruger gets to hang a bit with Lynn in the early going, with Lynn seemingly showing him some respect for it. However, as soon as Lynn can catch Kruger with a sly kick in the corner he does so, leading to him working some heat on the challenger.
Kruger gets a little bit of offence, but Lynn easily cuts him off with his trademark middle rope leg drop and then follows with a nice Reverse DDT for two. Kruger gets a desperation roll up for a two of his own, although Lynn kicked out pretty easily. Lynn has done a good job working this as he’s been able to showcase some of his trademark offence but he’s given Kruger the odd spot to show that he can be caught if he gets too cocky. The result is never in doubt though and Lynn eventually gets a Tornado DDT to retain.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: JERRY LYNN
Thoughts: This was a good squash that made Lynn look like a dominant Champ whilst still being a cocky Heel who could be caught if he was in there with a better calibre of wrestler
Race Steele and Steve Boz Vs The Radicalz (Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn) w/ Terri
Steele had a development deal at one stage and is mostly remembered for working in Heartland Wrestling. Boz mostly wrestled on the Chicago indie scene and would do WWF jobs once and a while as well. This was during the period in Saturn’s career where he would wear a feather boa and a wacky hat down to the ring; kind of looking like late 80’s goateed Superstar Graham.
Malenko and Saturn give the enhancement talents a bit here, with Boz throwing some nice kicks. Steele has some good height going on so you can see why they offered him a development deal. Saturn ends up ramming Boz into the ring steps outside the ring for the cut off, leading to our heat segment. Boz does a good job selling it all, as he seems like a talented wrestler but he’s barely as tall as Malenko, so I can understand why the WWF had more interest in his partner.
Steele gets to do the hot tag segment, getting clotheslines and a Rough Ryder on Malenko. Saturn decides that he’s had enough of this nonsense though and mows both Steele and Boz down, leading to Malenko locking in the Texas Cloverleaf on Steele for the win.
WINNERS: THE RADICALZ
Thoughts: This was decent stuff for one of the weekend shows, as the enhancement guys were given a little bit to the point that it felt like a proper match until it was time for them to put the stars over. Boz looked decent and I wonder why some of the bigger Indies from this period didn’t give him a chance
Jacqueline Moore Vs Molly Holly
Both of these wrestlers would go on to become members of WWE’s Hall of Fame of course. Molly gets a decent pop for her entrance, and I believe she’d soon start doing a romance storyline with Spike Dudley that ended up being a lot of fun. Both of these women are actually interested in doing some wrestling as they’re not just eye candy, so we get a decent match where they both go at it and aren’t afraid to take some big moves.
Jackie works a brief bit of heat on Molly, leading into Molly making a comeback. However, Jackie ends up catching Molly with a DDT OUTTA NOWHERE and that’s enough for the three count. It’s a shame they ended that one so quickly as I was enjoying it.
WINNER: JACQUELINE MOORE
Thoughts: Too short, but what we did get was fun
Broadcasted on 12th May 2001
Matches taped in Long Island, New York
The Inferno Kid Vs The One Billy Gunn
Kid mostly wrestled in Jersey and also spent some time on a development contract. Kid actually gets a decent chunk of offence here, although his move set appears to consist of little more than punches. Gunn seems to have trouble moving Kid around at points, with the match kind of having a plodding pace. Gunn eventually decides he’s had enough and delivers a Cobra Clutch Slam for the three count. Gunn looks quite annoyed post-match and I don’t blame him as Inferno Kid was a pretty disappointing opponent who couldn’t do more than throw punches.
WINNER: BILLY GUNN
Thoughts: Not much to this one really, although it was competitive enough to not be a squash
Judgment Day 2001 hype, with Lita cutting a promo.
Loki Vs Essa Rios
Loki will perhaps also be known to you as Lo-Ki/Low-Ki/Kaval/Senshi depending on what promotions you have watched over the years. Apparently Paul Heyman had his eye on Loki as a potential ECW recruit in the dying days of the promotion but decided there was no point bringing him in if the company didn’t have much chance of continuing on. Thus Loki had to wait for ROH to form in 2002 for him to really start making a name for himself.
Loki gets a chance to have some offence here, delivering some of his impressive kicks, with Rios selling it all well. Loki even gets a near fall from a Brain Buster at one stage, as you can hear the crowd starting to buzz a bit as they realise that Loki can actually work and isn’t just your standard enhancement talent. Rios makes sure to hit his TOPE CON HILO again, and it still looks fantastic. Rios comes off the top with a Moonsault soon after and that’s three.
WINNER: ESSA RIOS
Thoughts: My main exposure to Rios was on the No Mercy Video Game, but he was pretty good in the ring and this was a fun match as they let Loki get a decent chunk of offence and the crowd got into the match a bit as a result
Mike Bell Vs Perry Saturn w/ Terri
Bell was a regular enhancement talent who would end up becoming reasonably well-known both for this match and also for passing away young. This one is just your standard match to start, with Bell getting a chance to do some stuff in there and not get squashed. However, a hip toss and arm drag go awry, leading to Saturn getting frustrated and flinging Bell to the floor.
Bell tumbles out to the floor in brutal fashion in a really ugly landing, and Saturn then throws him into the ring steps as well just to make it even worse. Saturn got in quite a bit of trouble for this and it’s rumoured he got turned into a mop loving simpleton as a kind of punishment for this.
Saturn seems to calm down a bit and continues to work Bell over, but in a slightly safer way now. Bell, to his credit, keeps trucking and finishes the match, but Saturn doesn’t let him get any further offence and puts Bell away with a super kick and a spinning Fisherman’s Buster. Terri then kicks poor Bell out of the ring following the match, as if the poor sod hadn’t already suffered enough.
WINNER: PERRY SATURN
Thoughts: Saturn was of course highly unprofessional there, and the match went from what looked like it would be an okay little bout to being a brutal squash in short order
Prince Nana Vs The Lethal Weapon Steve Blackman
Nana had stints in ROH both as a wrestler and then a manager. I believe he is actually descended from real African royalty, hence the name. Blackman shows off a bit of personality here, doing some push ups after knocking Nana down and playing to the crowd a bit. Nana gets a little bit of offence and tries some push ups of his own, but he fails in a funny spot and Blackman regains control. Nana got some laughs for his stooging there at least. Nana takes a pretty lousy bump for a flapjack though, and Blackman quickly takes it home with the Dragon Sleeper.
WINNER: STEVE BLACKMAN
Thoughts: This was a reasonably entertaining squash match, with Nana getting to so some comedy before being easily dispatched by Blackman
Broadcasted on the 19th of May 2001
Matches taped in Cincinnati, Ohio
Race Steele Vs The One Billy Gunn
Let’s see if Gunn gets a bit more to work with from Steele in comparison to what Inferno Kid gave him. Steele is much more athletic than Kid, and does a nice up and over at one stage before taking a very nice bump for a Gunn back suplex. Steele gets some offence in, including a nice neck breaker from the second rope for two. Gunn seems far more comfortable in there with Steele and the match has been better as a result.
Gunn eventually no sells some chops and makes a comeback with some chops and punches of his own before a double clothesline leads to the double down. Steele gets to kick out of a Tilt-a-whirl Back Breaker at one stage, but Gunn quickly follows up with the Cobra Clutch Slam and that’s enough for three after a game effort from Steele.
WINNER: BILLY GUNN
Thoughts: This was decent, with Steele getting just enough offence that it wasn’t a squash
Chris Michaels Vs Haku
Michaels is a wrestler from Kentucky who wrestled for OVW amongst others. Haku had actually jumped to the WWF whilst the current WCW Hardcore Champion, but I don’t think they ever bothered doing the unification match with the WWF Hardcore Champ, which is strange because normally the WWF would jump at the chance to show off its superiority to WCW.
Michaels takes some nice bumps for Haku here, as Haku basically clobbers him from pillar to post. Michaels takes an impressive spill to the floor at one side, with Haku hitting him and letting Michaels take his own bump out there. Haku seems to be reasonably safe here, except for one spot where he flings Michaels into the ring post outside the ring and he looks to be a little bit excitable with it. Aside from that, Haku is snug but safe for the most part, which is what you expect from a big scary monster like him.
Haku misses a charge in the corner at one stage and Michaels gets a couple of desperation attacks, with him even managing to bump Haku with a dropkick at one stage. That just seems to wind Haku up though and he quickly fights back with the dreaded Tongan Death Grip for the three count. Haku is unwilling to release the hold post-match, due to being a terrifying savage and all.
Thoughts: This was a good squash match as Michaels did a great job selling and Haku looked impressive whilst on offence
WWF Light Heavyweight Title
Champ: Jerry Lynn Vs Essa Rios
Lynn gets quite a loud “EC-Dub” chant before the match starts, as ECW was still fresh on people’s minds at the time due to it only recently going out of business. Rios shines on Lynn to start with some great high flying moves and it’s entertaining stuff, so much so that I get distracted watching it and forget to recap!
Lynn manages to cut Rios off with a back breaker and then works some heat, even busting out a bow and arrow hold at one stage. Rios sells that well and Lynn’s offence looks good, although he could possibly play to the crowd a bit more. Lynn is doing a good job being a jerk in the heat though, kicking Rios out to the floor at one stage and jawing with the ref.
Rios eventually makes the comeback, getting a very nice wacky arm drag for a pop from the crowd, before getting powerslam for two. Lynn manages to catch Rios with a Tornado DDT soon after though and that’s enough for three.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: JERRY LYNN
Thoughts: Match was too short to be more, but this was good fun. Lynn never really had a chance in the WWF due to his size and promo style, but he was a darn good worker and they could have done far more with him if they’d wanted to
Doug Basham, Chris Harris and Rob Williams Vs X-Factor (X-Pac, Albert and Justin Credible)
Basham ended up going on to become a multiple time Tag Champ in WWE after being the Franchise Player of OVW for many years. Harris would become a star in TNA as part of a tag team with James Storm before going on to bomb massively in WWE as Braden Walker. Williams seemed to mostly work in the south in places like Kentucky. His CageMatch.net profile is pretty sparse in all honesty.
The babyface trio does some standard tag offence on Credible to start, until X-Pac low bridges Harris out of the ring and he gets assaulted on the floor by X-Factor for the cut off. Harris does a good job selling that and the Heels look good on offence for the most part, with X-Pac getting most of it of course, due to him being the leader of the faction.
Basham eventually gets the hot tag and runs wild with dropkicks, looking good in the process thanks to Credible and X-Pac taking some nice bumps for him. Albert ends up rescuing things for his team though as he crushes Harris in the corner and a double Super Kick leads to the three count.
Thoughts: Fun stuff, as they had an abbreviated tag formula match, with the enhancement guys getting a chance to show a bit of what they could do.
Kane cuts a promo ahead of his match with Triple H at the Judgment Day pay per view, where they will do battle in a chain match.
Broadcasted on the 26th of May 2001
Matches taped in San Jose, California
Tony Jones Vs Raven
Jones is probably best known for appearing in Beyond The Mat, when he wrestled Mike Modest in a try out match and Vince McMahon watched about half of it before going off to do something else. I think Raven was still a Heel at this stage but they would kind of half-turn him into a babyface for a bit before the InVasion saw him going back to the Heel side again. Raven works well here and gets some trademark offence in before selling for a bit for Jones. Jones looks okay on offence, but little more than that. Jones’ bumping and feeding isn’t great, but Raven’s offence looks good enough that they are able to get around it. Raven ends ups getting a DDT OUTTA NOWHERE and that’s three.
Thoughts: Jones got just enough that I wouldn’t call it a squash, but it wasn’t much more. Raven looked good, but Jones looked kind of average
WWF Light Heavyweight Title
Champ: Jerry Lynn Vs The Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels
Daniels was already a big name on the indie scene around this time and would go on to become one of the main focuses of the early days of ROH. Lynn actually gets some chants prior to this one, with Daniels getting some boos, even though Daniels is clearly working at the babyface by getting some nice fast paced offence and even pumping his fist at points in classic babyface fashion.
Lynn sells for a bit in the early going but then cuts Daniels off and works him over for a bit, with Daniels doing a good job selling for it. Daniels manages to make the fired up comeback and he looks good doing so, although the crowd still doesn’t seem that interested in cheering for him.
Daniels successfully gets the BME at one stage, but doesn’t go for the pin and instead goes to the bow and arrow, with Lynn managing to slip out of it. Lynn catches Daniels with his middle rope leg drop and then follows up with a big Swinging DDT for the three count, which is enough for the three count.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: JERRY LYNN
Thoughts: By weekend show standards, this was good. Crowd heat wasn’t there for it, but the wrestling was good
Donovan Morgan and Robert Thompson Vs Kai-En-Tai (TAKA Michinoku and Sho Funaki)
Morgan was also an early ROH star, as well as being the founder of Pro Wrestling IRON with Mike Modest. He would eventually get a decent push in Pro Wrestling NOAH over in Japan. Thompson is a local Californian who did most of his wrestling for the APW promotion, which ironically was the promotion that Morgan and Modest left in order to form IRON due to them being unhappy with how the wrestling school was being run.
This was during the period in Kai-En-Tai’s career where they would mime promos and someone would do an exaggerated Kung-Fu movie voice over for them, always ending with Funaki declaring “INDEED” in a humorous manner. This didn’t propel them up the card or anything, but it did at least give them a somewhat recognisable gimmick that meant they could get minor pops when working the weekend shows like this.
The enhancement team are bigger than Kai-En-Tai, so they cut Funaki off and work him over for a bit, which Funaki sells well, although the crowd doesn’t really care. The enhancement team don’t look too bad, with Morgan being the better of the two. Thompson reminds me a bit of The Dark City Fight Club with his attire actually, who were a team from the HD Net era of ROH. Thompson eventually misses a moonsault and it’s hot tag TAKA, who runs wild and looks good doing so. Morgan gets a near fall on TAKA with a powerbomb, but the Michinoku Driver follows after that for the three count.
Thoughts: Decent stuff given the circumstances
I think you have to grade these Jakked/Metal matches on a curve due to the fact that a lot of them would feature enhancement wrestlers who the crowd wouldn’t know, so there weren’t always good reactions or atmosphere. Of the matches we saw, not many were clunkers and a few of them were quite entertaining given the circumstances, so I had fun!