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Accident Prone

Review A Debut Gimmick Match

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4 hours ago, Accident Prone said:

Yeah, they're two different match ups technically. The 'Armageddon Rules' match is a LSM but you have to pin your opponent before the ten count starts. It was a weird old match and, I think, the only one they ever did (at least televised, that is).

These are similar rules to the Macho Man vs Crush match at WMX. Think it was advertised as Falls Count Anywhere, but once pinned you had 1 minute to get back to the ring. 

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They've fucked up the first go at many gimmick match rules before landing on what works. The Coffin Match at Survivors 92 for instance, retconned to "the first Casket Match" simply had the caveat of "loser goes in the box" before they went with "casket match" for Yokozuna vs Undertaker at Rumble 94, with the rules designed to avoid anyone having to do an actual pinfall job and actually being more of a special match rather than just a stip. Even though a "casket" is still a coffin, isn't it?

Imagine if the first one had ended with a schoolboy or something and the fully conscious loser had to be persuaded by the ref to hop in the box and get nailed in?

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28 minutes ago, air_raid said:

EvenÔĽŅ ÔĽŅthoughÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅ a "casket" is still a coffin, isn't it?ÔĽŅ

A coffin is 6 sides with a bottom and lid, a casket is 4 sides with a bottom and lid. 

Caskets are more widely used in the US, coffins in the UK. 

Edited by Tommy!

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The Duchess Of Queensbury Match

First of all, I'll point out that WWE have mis-spelled the Duchess' title as 'Queensberry'. I will hereafter refer to her by the correct spelling of 'Queensbury'.

Now, we need some background.

The dukedom of Queensbury was created in early February, 1684, for William Douglas (who was also the 1st Marquess of Queensbury, and, confusingly, the 3rd Earl of Queensbury). The elevation to the title of duke looks to have been the last one performed in the reign of Charles II, coming a year before his death but a month after one of his illegitimate sons was made Duke of St Albans.

Queensbury's elevation appears to have been political in nature, coming at about halfway through his term as Lord High Treasurer of Scotland. It's a Scottish peerage, and in the Order of Precedence (in which dukedoms are ranked according to how long the title has been in continuous usage) Queensbury comes 4th in Scotland (discounting royal dukedoms). In the overall order, however, it ends up slightly higher because in 1810, the marquessate and dukedom split, with the title of Duke of Queensbury being incorporated into the titles of the Dukes of Buccleuch (2nd in the Scottish Order of Precedence - again, discounting royal dukedoms).

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These are the current arms of the Duke of Queensbury, who is still also the Duke of Buccleuch. I should point out that there have been more Dukes of Queensbury than Buccleuch despite Buccleuch having been around longer. A couple of the early Queensbury dukes died without issue, and the 4th Duke was a cousin of the 3rd because of this. The 4th Duke also died without issue, so the dukedom went to the nearest male heir, the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch, who was his second cousin once removed.

What this means is that your Queensbury title is 2 numbers higher than your Buccleuch title. It also meant that the Buccleuchs got this place, which was built by the 1st Duke of Queensbury:

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Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway. It's a bloody magnificent place and has an incredible art collection.

But what's this got to do with the Duchess of Queensbury match at Backlash 2001? I'm getting to that.

The incorporation of the Queensbury titles into those of Buccleuch, along with properties like Drumlanrig, are important context for the match. That place above is the sort of place the Duchess of Queensbury would have been living in 2001. If she wasn't at Drumlanrig, chances are she'll have been at Bowhill House:

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That's in Selkirk. Or she might have been at their English seat, Boughton House in Northamptonshire:

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(This is presumably where William Regal is most likely to have made contact with Her Grace. His only UK PPV appearance prior to the Duchess of Queensbury match was Rebellion 2000 in Sheffield. Having lost the European Title to Crash Holly on that show, Regal presumably stayed at Boughton to recuperate.) 

There's also Dalkeith Palace near Edinburgh but they don't tend to live in that one.

But who was the Duchess of Queensbury in 2001?

I know you're thinking, well, that's obvious, it's this fraud from the PPV:

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I'm here to tell you she is an impostor!

The actual Duchess of Queensbury in April 2001 was the wife of the 9th Duke of Buccleuch (11th of Queensbury) - it's harder to refer to duchesses by their number because sometimes dukes get married more than once, sometimes they don't at all, so the numbers of the duchesses don't always match up with their husbands. Primogeniture, innit.

Anyway, Walter Francis John Montagu Douglas Scott, or John Scott as he was also known - Johnny Dalkeith if you were mates - was duke from 1973 until his death in 2007 - during his lifetime the Buccleuchs had the largest private landed estate in the UK, 280,000 acres. So Regal picked his duchess well.

The 9th/11th Duke married Jane McNeill in 1953 at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh. Jane did quite well here as John had been apparently picked as a possible husband for Princess Margaret. This means we were so close to having Vanessa Kirby at Backlash 2001.

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We weren't really, but how nice to break this all up with a picture of Vanessa Kirby.

Jane McNeill was born to a British family in Shanghai in 1929, where her father practiced as a barrister. She moved to Scotland with her mother in 1937 but did return to China. In her early years she was a model for Norman Hartnell (who held the Royal Warrant for Dressmaker to both the Queen Mother and The Queen). So decidedly not the crone you saw at Backlash.

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As you can see, she's actually closer to Kirby than whoever William Regal found for that Jericho match.

She became Lady Dalkeith when she married John, and became Duchess of Buccleuch (and therefore Duchess of Queensbury) in 1973. When her husband died she would have become a dowager duchess until her own death in 2011. But in April 2001, she was still Duchess of Queensbury, and aged 71.

Most of the photos of her online are from the wedding, where she's looking extra glamorous, but here's a BBC shot of the Duchess at her husband's funeral in 2007.

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It is from this evidence I can confirm that the Duchess of Queensbury at Backlash 2001 is not the real Duchess of Queensbury.

The real crime here is not an obscure gimmick match in the midcard of the PPV After The Best One Ever. It's impersonating a member of the Scottish Peerage. This woman had no authority to add or remove stipulations to wrestling matches of any kind, and we can only assume that when William Regal stayed at Boughton in late 2000, Their Graces were not in residence, and Regal was duped by a fake duchess!

I mean, the fact she appears to be dressed like a High Georgian prostitute rather than, y'know, a former model in her early 70s, should have been a clue, but we can't blame Regal for that. After all, this is how he thinks women dress:

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So some nobody dressed up like she's in an 18th century period drama would have easily fooled him into thinking she was a genuine duchess. And there was never a Duke of Blackpool so he can't be blamed for not being familiar with the nobility (presumably he was never on any of the World Of Sports that the Queen Mum watched).

Keeping this heinous identity theft in the forefront of our mind, I should probably get to the actual match, or rather, the backstage segment immediately beforehand.

The fake Duchess of Queensbury is complaining about the catering arrangements (which a real duchess wouldn't do - even if she hated it she'd be polite) and Coach comes up to interview her. He addresses her as 'Your Majesty', which is completely wrong as this is a term of address reserved for the Sovereign. 'Your Grace' would have been correct. He follows up with 'Your Highness', which is also wrong. 

She also speaks with an American accent which probably should have been a red flag that she's not the genuine article. I don't want to focus on the ridiculous costume but I mean, come on Regal, have a clue.

Regal forcefully gets rid of Coach in a very entertaining way and then addresses the Duchess as 'Your Ladyship' (closer, but also wrong). Regal is brilliant in the segment though.

Regal's old music plays and out he comes. He's fantastic, is Regal. Doesn't get enough love for this run in the early 2000s.

He introduces the impostor Duchess, who comes out holding a sceptre for some reason. Duchesses don't do sceptres. Heyman also calls her 'Your Majesty', whereas JR has actually been closest to everyone with 'ma'am', which is still wrong but at a push would have been alright. Heyman claims she's legitimate royalty - I mean, she's not, but her husband was the nephew of the Duchess of Gloucester so that's close-ish I suppose.

Jericho comes out and says the Duchess looks like a man, and Regal is appalled. He also says the Duchess is ugly. Jericho's promo material in 2001 hasn't aged well - remember all those promos with Stephanie where he basically slutshames her for months on end? 

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They start with a wrist lock which Jericho counters into chops. I always really liked their match at WrestleMania X-Seven but have never got round to seeing this one for some reason. Jericho hits a chop off the top and they brawl on the outside, which was the style at the time. Jericho misses a Missile Dropkick and Regal hits a suplex for 2. Double knees and a wave to the crowd.

The whole idea here, I should have mentioned, is that nobody except William Regal knows the rules to the match, which puts Jericho at a major disadvantage. Regal is able to get away with this because he's the Commissioner. Even at this stage in the match, nobody has any idea what the rules are or how you win. Not even the referee, I assume. Heyman says he just has to wing it.

Jericho hits a Frankensteiner to get control of the match again. He hits some HARD chops then a bulldog, and connects with the Lionsault, but the bell rings!

The Duchess gets Finkel to announce that the time limit for Round 1 has expired! The pin doesn't count! 

Round 1 had about a five minute time limit. Seems sensible.

Regal slingshots Jericho into the ropes then hits a lovely German Suplex/throw variation before trying to pop on the Regal Stretch. Jericho reaches the ropes, so Regal has to break the hold - so, as Heyman points out, we now know that rope breaks are a thing in the match.

Jericho connects with the Walls, Regal taps, Jericho's music plays, but wait! Finkel's back, and according to the Duchess you can't win by submission! 

(Just thinking back a little bit, it's a bit strange that Regal applied the Stretch if he couldn't win with it. It's almost like this match doesn't really have much logic to it).

Back on the outside Regal hits Jericho with the sceptre. DQ! But no! There's no DQ in the match!

(Again, it's odd that Regal broke up the submission earlier if he couldn't be DQ'ed for it. It's almost like they're making these rules up on the fly.)

As a tactic for making Jericho more of an underdog by stacking everything, including the rules of the match, against him, it's not a bad idea. It does make you wonder how he'll actually win, or if he can.

JR says that the Duchess is "no more a duchess than you, Paul, are a queen". JR IS ONTO HER! Someone tell the Duke of Buccleuch!

Regal hits his double underhook suplex but now they're both down.

In a neat touch, Jericho almost goes for the Walls again, remembers he can't win by submission,  so stamps on Regal's balls instead because he knows he can't be disqualified.

Regal rolls out and ends up in the Duchess' crotch which gives him reason to do his 'aghast' facials.

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Jericho then grabs the Duchess and puts her in the Walls because this was the time period when attacking a woman got you a babyface pop, until Regal smacks him with a chair a few times and gets the win. So forget all that 'stacking the odds' stuff I mentioned before, the heel wins, huzzah for the aristocracy.

Sadly we don't then get a backstage segment where it's revealed the Duchess is a fraud - which would have worked even in storyline terms, because it would have been Regal making stuff up to get one over on Jericho. JR had planted the seeds on commentary. They could have done a thing where Regal paid her off, she takes off her wig and starts talking like she's from Chicago or something. Instead, in kayfabe, this lady was a legit duchess. As we established above, this is egregious and cannot be tolerated.

The match was fine.

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Edited by HarmonicGenerator

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Splendid review! If that sort of background and complex historical significance were portrayed across in the opening montage for the match, I'm sure this would have been a bell-to-bell classic due to the inherently more emotionally invested red hot crowd.

It's one of those matches that I have soft spot for, as Backlash 2001 was one of the wrestling videos I owned/was gifted so it got tons of re-watches. It's why I have a soft spot for certain shows and matches (that I've not rewatched in years) and why I used to consider Breakdown '98 as one of my favourite shows before I saw how truly terrible it actually was. I remember really enjoying that DOQ match, but I doubt I'd manage to get through with it today without sneering cynically.

Here's a few more WWE firsts if you still need that dollop of inspiration;

3 Stages Of Hell - No Way Out 2001 (Austin vs HHH)

4 Way Dance - Final Four (Bret vs Vader vs 'Taker vs Austin)

Triple threat -  June 23, 1997 Raw (Owen vs Golddust vs HHH)

Money In The Bank - WrestleMania 21 (Edge vs Kane vs Shelton vs Christian vs Jericho vs [REDACTED])

 

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Can I review the final four match between Bret/Austin/Taker/Vader? I'm currently rewatching the Raw's and PPV's from October 96 onwards and have gotten to IYH 13 being the next show up so I'll be watching it at some point in the next week anyway, so I may as well do a review of it whilst I'm at it. 

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Final Four, while a great match, was also a bit cackhanded for rules. No jobs, lads!

22 hours ago, Accident Prone said:

 

Triple threat -  June 23, 1997 Raw (Owen vs Golddust vs HHH)

 

 

This pre-dates that one and is far more interesting.

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That's fantastic! Never knew that even existed. Stuff like that being unearthed is why I'm so optimistic that those house show ladder matches that Shawn had with the 90's mid-card somehow make a non-fancam appearance.

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20 minutes ago, Accident Prone said:

That's fantastic! Never knew that even existed. Stuff like that being unearthed is why I'm so optimistic that those house show ladder matches that Shawn had with the 90's mid-card somehow make a non-fancam appearance.

The triple threat above is slightly different in that it was the dark match main of the Toronto taping of Raw so they had the full camera crew and setup to capture it properly. Virtually "Coliseum exclusive" style, short of a commentary track.

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On 12/28/2018 at 7:14 PM, Tommy! said:

A coffin is 6 sides with a bottom and lid, a casket is 4 sides with a bottom and lid. 

Caskets are more widely used in the US, coffins in the UK. 

Is a Coffin match TNA's version of the casket one?

 

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1 hour ago, Sheffbag said:

Is a Coffin match TNA's version of the casket one?

 

TNA cornered the market with the LAST RITES~ I think you'll find. 

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I might as well keep this thread and the ladder match theme going, so I'll reserve the first ever tag ladder match; The Hardyz vs E & C, No Mercy '99. One of my all-time favourite matches.

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The first ever Tag Team ladder match in WWE - The Hardy Boyz vs Edge & Christian

The prize? $100,000 and the services of Terri Runnels.

Oh fuck, the Hardys are announced as The Brood as they have Gangrel and the sweet fiery entrance. Remember the pre-Gangrel days of Matt & Jeff, when they had Micheal Hayes as their manager and he was wearing their gear? He pre-dated the cringey divorced dad look that Jericho is currently championing by almost two decades.


Anyway, the match.


Matt almost dies straight away. Not from an insane bump, but from getting tangled in the ropes on an irish whip. Not off to the best of starts. There's lot of empty seats, making me question if the crowd saw this as the popcorn match. Are the teams over enough to hold their attention from the start? There wasn't too much of reaction for the entrances but we'll see how they fare for the next twenty minutes.


The first big pop comes from the classic 'eject the manager spot' as Gangrel is sent to the back and it flows seamlessly into Jeff being fucked over the top rope by a BIIIIIIIG BACK BODY DROP! He then takes a ladder straight to the face courtesy of an Edge dropkick.

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(Everyone knows all the big spots from this match so i'll try and capture all the stuff which gets forgotten or glossed over).


Right, quick bit of background before carrying on with the match, Jerry Lawler interviewed Terri Runnels earlier in the night, and she helpfully demonstrated how to climb a ladder. Jerry took this as ample opportunity to have a look up her skirt, although there was no clever "Nice Beaver" punchline. The joke was that he looked up her skirt. So strap in as Jerry tries to bring everybody down to his level. Repeatedly throughout the match.

"I still think the $100,00 is less important to these guys than Terri Runnels...If you'd have seen what I saw, up that ladder"...

Jerry Lawler being a creepy fucking perv as usual, so Jim Ross does his best to cut him off only to utter, "...Christian climbing up the ladder, to get that money, but he gets jerked off by Jeff Hardy...".


The lads are working hard, establishing the tornado tag dynamic, but the crowd is barley responsive. Polite at best but not really feeling it. The ladder match had seen better days at this  point, having recently suffered through Austin vs The McMahons. The first big reaction comes when Christian darts Jeff with a ladder and then dropkicks him whilst he is trapped.

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Lawler - "I've got a feeling we're gonna see it all in this match Jr. These four guys are going to do everything in their power to get that money...and Terri..." 


The match starts to capture this special essence when Christian reverse DDTs Jeff off the second rung of the ladder. It's a very tame bump by 2018 standards but in 1999 this was the peak of innovation. The crowd roars in appreciation. The lads start exchanging moves off the ladder, each one to the crowds approval. It culminates in Jeff flying in with a dropkick to send Edge flying.

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It's here where the roofcam is first introduced in this match, and it'll become a staple of every ladder match to come afterwards.

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It also gives Jerry a chance to chat some more about Terri's tuppence;
"Did you see that shot from the camera in the roof? Still not as good as the shot I had earlier. Shall I describe it to you, JR?".


Dirty, dirty bastard. 


What I love too, is that the guys aren't being told by the refs to stay down whilst the replays are on. Therefore, everything is fast paced without feeling rushed. The guys are setting up spots in the dead time and it works tremendously. It's blink and you'll miss it and it feels natural.


Jeff then hits that famous leapfrog legdrop for the first time and everyone goes apeshit. King squeals, the crowd give a massive applause and JR & King round it off with a great exchange; 
JR: "Leapfrog the ladder, for God's Sake!!!"
Jerry: "Have you ever?!"
JR: "I HAVE NEVER!" 


Edge interrupts a potential win and throws a ladder right in Matt's face. The crowd has really started to fill up now, probably hearing all the noise whilst they were grabbing their hotdogs and Jeff Jarrett merch. Again, here's what I mean about the replays; they're showing off a spectacular spot with Jeff sent spiralling off the ladder, whilst at the same time there is a slingshot happening in the ring. It feels real and I really miss that from today's WWE.

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10 minutes ago, the crowd has a passing interest at best in what was going on. But now, they're cheering on both teams. There's a palpable atmosphere and people are screaming for their new faves. The madness continues.

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The noise hits new heights when Matt has his bollocks destroyed by a pair of ladder assisted dropkicks. JR's commentary is brilliant, he's really selling the athleticism and ingenuity of the two teams. King keeps trying to shoehorn in his chance encounter with Terri's bush;

"When she was on that ladder...and I looked up...Oh, the stakes are high, JR".

Edge hits a Downward Spiral off a ladder. Matt hits a neckbreaker in retaliation. Christian tops it all off by hiptossing Jeff off the top. Incredible.

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They then perform that ladder see-saw spot that would fuck up Joey Matthews seven years later. Obviously, this was the first time it's ever been done and it's the best it's ever looked too. The arena loses it's collective shit and there's not an empty seat in the house now. A massive standing ovation then follows a spot where all four men fall from the ladders.


"These four men look like they've been ejected from a car crash" - JR

They all climb again and the smoothest of finishing sequences follows.

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Well until Jeff can't undo the bag so he has to just throw his weight out from under him making for an even bigger finish.

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"TEE EYE TEE! THE TERRI INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT! THE HARDYS WIN TERRI'S SERVICES!" Fucking hell King. It's no wonder the crowd took a cautious look at this match considering the amount the erection Jerry had raging for Terri. It's weird to think that this star making performance had that seedy undercurrent.


Matt and Jeff quickly head to the back to have a weird, champagne soaked moment with Terri and E &C stick around in the ring for a well deserved standing ovation.


Well it still holds up and it's probably the best tag team ladder match in WWE history...at least the best one that only has two teams, as soon most tag ladder matches would include a minimum of three teams. It sure beats Eddie/Tajiri vs WGTT and the Hardy's later battle with WGTT. That's it, isn't it? There was the weird rematch on RAW in 2000 (the night after their cage match, no less) and DIY vs AOP was pretty damn good, especially with the post match included. In fact, that's probably neck and neck with the original, I'd have to re-watch it to be sure.

But yeah, still a belter of a match and set the standard really fucking high. 

Edited by Accident Prone

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