Wrestler of the Day – September 13: Brian Lee

Today we’ve got a big power wrestler that used to be undead: Brian Lee.

Like so many others, Lee got his start in Memphis. We’ll pick things up in his rookie year on March 5, 1989.

Jim McPherson/Brian Lee vs. Dutch Mantel/Master of Pain

Mantel is better known today as Zeb Colter and Master of Pain is better known as, ahem, the Undertaker. Lee locks up with Dutch to start and it’s quickly off to the Master. A right hand has no effect on Master so it’s off to Jim for some meaningless kicks to the ribs. Master kicks Lee in the face and brings Dutch back in for a thumb to the eye. Back to the Master who no sells a dropkick and hammers away in the corner. A powerslam doesn’t get a cover as it’s back to Dutch for some choking with a tag rope. We’re running out of time so Master plants Jim with a Boss Man Slam for the pin.

Rating: D. This was a squash that was running against the clock. As usual it’s always cool to see people who are going to become big deals in the future when they’re just starting out. Everyone has to learn at some point and Undertaker had a lot of the traits going for him that would make him famous later.

Brian would get a tryout match for WCW at Clash of the Champions XIII.

Brian Lee vs. Z-Man

Lee is a tall but not very thick guy who would become a bigger deal later in his career in ECW under the same name and then the WWF as Chainz. This is his tryout match here as the Clash of the Champions continues to be a place to put a bunch of new guys on TV. He runs Z-Man over with a hard shoulder block but walks into a hiptoss to speed things up for a few seconds. It’s only a few seconds though as Z-Man misses a cross body and crashes to the mat. We hit the chinlock on Z-Man but he easily fights up, slams Lee and gets the pin off a missile dropkick.

Rating: D. This was another short match in a series of them tonight and the formula didn’t work all that well here. Z-Man’s comeback and pin came within a span of fifteen seconds so there wasn’t any time to get into it. It’s not a terrible match but it didn’t have the time to go anywhere and what we got wasn’t much to see.

Time for a cup of coffee in Puerto Rico. From WWC in 1991.

California Studs vs. Invader #4/Jerry Mercado

The Studs are Lee and the Dirty White Boy Tony Anthony before he was dirty, though he has the white part down. Lee and the much smaller Invader get things going before it’s off to Mercado. Brian shrugs off a wristlock and nails a clothesline followed by a double back elbow from the Studs. It’s quickly back to Lee for a big boot before Anthony plants Mercado with a powerslam. Brian’s top rope knee gets the fast pin.

Rating: D. Another dull match here and the Dirty White Boy didn’t help anything out. I would have thought one of the 984 Invaders would have been a bit bigger deal than a jobber to a team like the Dirty White Boy and the eventual fake Undertaker. Nothing to see here, but Brian needs to stop using so many basic holds. He’s 6’9 and wrestles like he’s about a foot shorter.

It was off to Smoky Mountain where Lee would have some of his greatest success. We’ll start on June 6, 1992.

Brian Lee vs. Barry Horowitz

Brian is SMW Champion but this is non-title. Barry hides in the corner to start but a big hiptoss and dropkick put Horowitz down. We hit the headlock for a bit on Horowitz but he fights up with some right hands and a side slam. Barry gets crotched on top and powerslammed down for two. In a kind of lame finish, Lee picks him up for a Razor’s Edge but drops to his knees for a backbreaker and the pin.

Rating: D+. That finish is the kind of stuff I’m talking about with Lee. Instead of launching him across the ring or straight down, the backbreaker didn’t look all that devastating. Lifting Barry up like that was a nice power display, but the actual move didn’t look all that great. Still though, at least it’s a power move.

Still in SMW at some point in 1993.

Brian Lee vs. Kevin Sullivan

This is part of along feud where Sullivan has sent a series of men to try and take Lee out before finally just doing the job himself. This is a Singapore Spike match where there is a box on each corner and only one holds a spike to use as a weapon. Brian’s partner Tim Horner and Sullivan’s minion the Nightstalker are handcuffed to posts. Lee hammers away to start and the fight is quickly on the floor. Sullivan sends him face first into a table and nails him with a chair but can’t get into a box.

Lee is thrown to the floor but comes back in with a chair to the back. Two boxes are checked and empty so they head back outside to brawl some more. Sullivan hits him in the ribs with a hammer to almost no effect. Back in and Sullivan stabs him with pliers before checking the other two boxes. There’s no spike so Lee makes his comeback with right hands and a cross body which takes out the referee. Nightstalker gets on the apron with the spike in his hand but hits Sullivan by mistake, allowing Brian to roll him up for the pin.

Rating: C-. This was a decent brawl and the story helped things a bit. It’s always a plus when you give me a reason to care why the face is in trouble but wants to fight anyway as it makes him seem like a hero and the villain look like a coward for resorting to cheating. Lee is getting better as he’s starting to find himself in the ring.

Brian would make a one off appearance in the WWF at Summerslam 1994 as the Fake Undertaker.

Undertaker vs. Undertaker

We’ll call them real and fake to tell them apart. The fake one is played by ECW’s Primetime Brian Lee who wrestled in the WWF as Chainz. For the real entrance, we have druids, a casket containing the Urn and then the real guy. The entrances alone take about 10 minutes. Real is a few inches taller and blocks a right hand before pounding on Fake a bit. A big boot and uppercut send Fake to the floor, allowing Real to suplex him back in for no cover.

Fake is thrown to the floor again but Real follows him out this time. Back in and Fake hits a Stunner across the top rope to take over. This is VERY slow so far and the idea isn’t interesting at all. Real blocks Fake’s Old School but Fake sits up. The Real’s Old School connects but Fake clotheslines Real down. The crowd is SILENT for this nonsense which Vince writes off as being in shock.

Real misses a charge and falls to the floor where Fake sends him into the steps. Back in and Real wins a slugout but walks into a good chokeslam for no cover. Fake Tombstones him down but takes too long to cover, allowing for the sit up. A second Tombstone is countered into the Real one, followed by two more for the pin.

Rating: F. Well that happened. Seriously, what else do you want me to say about this? It went on for ten minutes, they were aspiring to hit a snail’s pace and the Chicago crowd, as in one of the most insane groups of fans you’ll ever see, was quieter than a cemetery watching this mess. Taker would literally spend the next year feuding with DiBiase and company.

Brian would head back to Memphis and the USWA for a short stretch, including this match in July 1995.

Brian Lee vs. Sid Vicious

The winner gets a title shot at some point in the future. Sid takes him into the corner and actually offers a clean break. A slam sends Brian to the floor and we get an inset interview from Sid, talking about how easy a road he has to the title. Back in and Brian’s lacket sends in a foreign object to knock Sid down to the mat. Some big shots in the corner don’t have much effect as Sid nails a clothesline, only to get knocked back down for two. A big boot and weak looking chokeslam put Sid down for no cover. Instead Sid pops up and chokeslams Lee followed by the powerbomb, but Billy Jack Haynes comes in for the DQ.

Rating: D. That big boot and chokeslam combination looked pretty bad but there’s only so much you can do in there against a guy like Sid. These giant vs. giant matches rarely work and this wasn’t much better than the majority of them. The bad looking moves bring it down a further notch though.

Lee would go to ECW and be part of the Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven feud. Here he is facing Dreamer in a pretty famous scaffold match at High Incident 1996.

Brian Lee vs. Tommy Dreamer

There’s a scaffold above the ring and a three stacks of three tables each in the ring. You win by knocking someone off the scaffold and through said tables. Instead of going near that they head to the back of the building and casually walk around without trying to hurt each other. Dreamer finally rams him into a wall a few times before nailing Brian in the head with a trashcan. A hard chair shot to Tommy’s back has Lee in control and he rams Dreamer face first into some kind of block. Dreamer is busted open. Now they’re in the crowd with Tommy fighting back, only to get hit in the head with a cooler.

Dreamer gets crotched on the barricade as they finally make it to ringside. A powerslam drives Tommy onto the concrete but he comes back with a pie to the head. Both guys climb the scaffolding, finding that much safer than a tasty dessert. Lee slams him face first into the scaffold but Dreamer hits him low. We get a very scary DDT on the scaffold has Lee in trouble but Tommy can’t throw him through the tables. Lee fights back with right hands and kicks Dreamer low to almost knock him off. Tommy gets in a low blow of his own and punches away until Lee goes through the tables.

Rating: D-. I didn’t completely hate it but this was barely wrestling. I will give them this though: at least the scaffolding had enough room to let them get their footing. The Living Dangerously mess with New Jack and Grimes had them basically standing on a bar with nothing to help them out. I almost didn’t rate it but it’s almost too famous not to.

One more ECW match at Cyberslam 1997.

Raven/Brian Lee vs. Terry Funk/Tommy Dreamer

Raven is world champion. If Funk beats Raven, he gets a shot at the title at Barely Legal. Lee is a hired gun here. This is during the Dreamer can’t beat Raven angle which I would have ended at Barely Legal, but instead they went with Funk who is the guy that was from the NWA and therefore what they were against, but hey who cares about that right? Beulah, who is dating Tommy at this point, is here being her sexy self.

We get big match intros because we need to have them for what is I guess the main event. Raven comes in and lays down to let Dreamer beat him for the first time in his life so that Funk can’t get the pin to get the title shot. Dreamer, ever the moron, hits him instead. Raven pops up and says “Hey Dreamer why didn’t you pin me?” That was funny for some reason.

Off to Funk so Raven runs and hides. Dreamer comes in again as this is stupid so far. Powerslam by Lee and he brings in Raven. Dreamer gets a DDT and tags in Funk immediately to let him try to get a win. Back off to Lee as this has been pretty basic so far. Raven won’t fight Funk so the fans chant bull. Raven and Dreamer go to the floor and the others join them. An ECW match turning into a brawl? NO WAY!!!

They’re in the crowd already and I have a feeling I’ll be able to read a novel or so while this is going on. Funk and Raven wind up back in the ring and Raven hits him low. Dreamer and Lee are on the floor having the real fight since Funk is old and Raven is probably stoned. He grabs the mic and yells at Funk for awhile while everyone looks at Dreamer and Lee who are off camera.

This creates an obvious problem of Raven vs. Funk is more or less the occasional punch and Raven yelling while the fans are all looking away at the violence on the floor. Funk grabs the mic and I’d suggest a censor button on standby. He kicks Raven’s leg out a few times and it’s the spinning toe hold. Raven screams that he quits but there’s no referee. The referee finally comes in and Lee hits Funk with a trashcan.

Lee hammers on everyone with the trashcan. Dreamer tries to protect Funk so Funk keeps getting up. Funk can’t stand up and is bleeding from the ear. Oh I have a bad feeling where this might be going. Yep the doctors are here to check on Terry and he still wants to fight. Is this supposed to be impressive or something? Terry is put on a stretcher after a few attempts and is taken to the back.

And now it’s time to make this the big angle of the show as here’s Stevie Richards who is all ticked off at Raven which I guess explains him being in the triple threat at Barely Legal. Raven wants to be kicked but Lee picks Richards off and chokeslams him. Lori Fullington, Sandman’s ex-wife comes out and is mad at Raven also. Take a DDT boy. Down she goes also.

Dreamer, ever the genius, comes out with Sandman’s son Tyler who was brainwashed by Raven at one point. Here’s a beatdown for Dreamer as well. Sandman comes out with his son on his shoulders and it’s some big emotional moment or whatever. Sandman fights both guys off and pins Raven just because. Now there’s your triple threat and Dreamer is left out in the cold. Yep that’s how they set up their first PPV people.

Rating: F+. Dude, seriously? Another big brawl, an injury angle to an old man, an ex-wife and son being brought out and a guy that hasn’t been seen the entire night is now #1 contender. Stevie is in the same spot now for getting chokeslammed and I guess beating Balls Mahoney earlier. And people wonder why non-ECW fans complain aboutnot being able to understand this company. I had no idea why they were in that match until I saw this show. Not like that’s important information to say at Barely Legal or anything right?

It was off to the WWF after this where Lee was named Chainz and put in charge of the biker group known as the Disciples of Apocalypse. We’ll start at Summerslam 1997.

Los Boricuas vs. Disciples of Apocalypse

This is the Puerto Rican gang vs. the bikers as GANG WARZ continue. Vince calls this an eight man tag because he doesn’t care enough about any of these guys. These guys feuded FOREVER and I don’t remember the bikers ever winning a match in the feud. Savio Vega and Crush are the respective leaders and the rest are pretty interchangeable other than Chainz being the only other biker with hair.

It’s a brawl to start of course and the bikers clear the ring. Skull starts with Jose and the big man throws him around with ease. Off to 8 Ball who hits a spinning sidewalk slam before bringing in Crush. Miguel comes in but walks into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for no cover. Back to Skull and 8 Ball (identical twins) to crush Miguel in the corner until Savio cheats to take over. All four Boricuas pound on Skull in the corner until the Nation of Domination (now with Ahmed Johnson) comes down to ringside, basically stopping the match cold.

Jesus hits a Fameasser on Skull to set up another four on one beatdown. We hit a chinlock but 8 Ball breaks it up to prevent further boredom. Skull finally gets over for the tag and everything breaks down. Chainz is sent to the floor and punches Ahmed who responds with a sitout powerbomb on the concrete, giving Miguel an easy pin in the ring.

Rating: D-. Oh man this was dull to sit through. Los Boricuas just weren’t interesting at all and other than Savio they easily could have been interchanged with one another. The bikers weren’t much better but at least you could remember which was which. I guess the idea here was to appeal to a wider fanbase but it didn’t do anything for me.

And the rematch from In Your House XVIII.

Los Boricuas vs. Disciples of Apocalypse

Los Boricuas are Miguel Perez, Jose Estrada, Jesus Castillo and Savio Vega while the Disciples are Crush, Chainz, Skull and 8-Ball. Skull starts with Jose with the much bigger Disciple taking over to start. 8-Ball and Skull (identical twins) hit a double big boot to take Jose down and it’s off to Miguel who walks into a powerslam for two.

Chainz and Savio come in with the biker scoring with a quick belly to belly for two before it’s off to Jesus who is slammed down just as easily. Everything nearly breaks down on the floor before Jesus takes over on Crush back inside. All four of the Boricuas come in for three running clotheslines and a spinwheel kick from Savio to Crush before Miguel hooks a chinlock.

The referee goes to the floor to stop another brawl, allowing the remaining Boricuas to triple team Crush again. A missile dropkick gets two for Jesus and we hit ANOTHER chinlock. Crush finally fights up and everything breaks down with Crush hitting a quick big boot but there’s no referee. Jesus gets a close two off a DDT but Chainz pins Miguel off a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.

Rating: F+. This show is really getting bad about having dull matches. As has been the case since the beginning of this feud, no one cares about these teams or anyone on them. None of the guys on the team save for arguably their leaders do anything that sets them apart. I was having trouble remembering which Boricua was which. That’s a bad sign in an eight minute match.

Here’s a tag match from Raw on February 8, 1998.

Farrooq/Rocky Maivia vs. Chainz/Ken Shamrock

Each team has three people with them which was to set up the War of Attrition match on Sunday which was rather stupid for a name since it was one fall to a finish. Lawler is on commentary here. Rocky is IC Champion and the fans think he sucks. Rock grabs a mic and says the fans want to know his opinion on human genetic cloning.

This was a thing he was doing around this time: giving his opinion on major issues. For instance, he doesn’t care about global hunger as long as his yard is mowed. Funny as all goodness of course. Here he’s in favor, but only with people that deserve to be cloned. In other words, just him.

Farrooq vs. Chainz to start us off here but it’s off to Shamrock very quickly. Rock wants in surprisingly enough and Shamrock kicks his hips with ease. Back to Farrooq again as they’re tagging very quickly here. Rocky and Farrooq switch AGAIN before I finish typing that sentence. Chainz comes in and gets his head handed to him by the majority of the Nation. Powerslam by Farrooq gets two.

Rock hammers Chainz down and hits what would become the People’s Elbow. He didn’t have the whole thing down yet. Back to the former Ron Simmons who works on the back for awhile. Shamrock and Rock come in and it’s all the Sham version here. Somehow we get Farrooq in the ankle lock but Rock pops Ken in the head with a chair to end this pretty quickly.

Rating: D+. Pretty fast match here which wasn’t bad but I’ve seen worse. The problem here was that they went WAY too fast with the tagging and it kept them from getting anything going. The war match was just ok if I remember. Rock vs. Shamrock would happen at Mania which was a Dusty Finish. Not bad here but just filler to get us to the PPV with this angle.

And a singles match from Raw on June 8, 1998.

Darren Drozdov vs. Chainz

We get a video of how Droz got the name Puke. I’ll let you visualize that yourselves. Droz is NOT a member of the LOD. He just hangs out with them and feuds with the people they’re feuding and is in their tag matches. Ok then. Chainz takes over and it’s official: Mankind vs. Taker is Hell in a Cell. Chainz misses a middle rope elbow and Droz does the same with a corner splash, allowing Chainz to win with a Death Valley Driver. Too short to rate but it was nothing of note at all.

Lee would hit the indies for awhile after this but would return in TNA in 2002. Here he as at Weekly PPV #12 where Lee was one of two men remaining in a battle royal, earning him a Tag Team Title shot.

Tag Titles: James Storm/Chris Harris vs. Brian Lee/Ron Haris

Ron chokeslams James on the stage to start things off as a handicap match. Also here’s Jeff Jarrett to beat up BG James and take the focus off the title match. Lee kicks Chris in the face as AMW (are they even called that yet?) is in big trouble. Chris comes back for a bit but gets clotheslined down for two. West points out the problem here: too many people named James and Harris.

Storm finally gets back in and cleans house, only to get caught in a chokeslam/belly to back suplex combo for no cover. Ron pulls out a table for no apparent reason and lays Storm out on top of it. Lee loads up Chris in a chokeslam but gets rolled up (and into the ropes) to give AMW the pin and the titles.

Rating: D. This was barely even a match with Chris getting beaten down for a few minutes and Storm being on the floor most of the time. The table thing was stupid and the ending was even worse as both guys were in the ropes for the fall and the referee counted it anyway. Nothing to see here, but at least the right team won.

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