Survivor Series Countdown: 1998

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 98 – Live from St. Louis, Missouri. Original airdate Nov. 15 / 1998 – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. – We didn’t get Heat until 1999 up here, so don’t ask me what happened on the pre-game show.– The setup for the show is as follows: Mr. McMahon screwed Steve Austin out of the WWF title at Breakdown, then decided to make the Undertaker v. Kane match at Judgment Day into a title match for the vacant belt. The brothers responded by breaking Vince’s ankle. While in the hospital, Vince was visited by Mick Foley, who debuted Mr. Socko to a less-than-enthusiastic audience in Mr. McMahon, but Vince was nonetheless grateful for the show of loyalty by Mick, and showed his appreciation for the dimwitted corporate suck-up by giving him his very own belt – the “Hardcore title”. Both Socko and the Hardcore title would endure long past the initial one-shot jokes they were intended as. Back to Judgment Day: Steve Austin was the ref, and called it a no-contest, necessitating a tournament for the title and costing Austin his job for about 24 hours. Meanwhile, McMahon’s estranged son Shane made the transition from Heat commentator to on-air personality, finally telling off his father after years of neglect and giving Austin a new 5-year contract as a way of rebelling, in what was a fabulous little bit of soap opera. Vince flipped out and disowned Shane, busting him down to referee and then taking out his frustration on the Rock, who was becoming alarmingly popular and thus a threat to him. He formed the Corporation with Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock and essentially declared that Austin would win that tournament only over Vince’s dead body, and thus new favorite son Mankind expected an easy road to his first WWF title courtesy Mr. McMahon. The Brackets, round one: – Mankind v. A Mystery Opponent – Al Snow v. Jeff Jarrett – X-Pac v. Stephen Regal – Steve Austin v. Big Bossman – The Rock v. HHH – Ken Shamrock v. Goldust – Kane – Bye – Undertaker – Bye – Vince McMahon personally comes out to read a prepared speech, hyping Mankind’s hand-picked mystery opponent. The fans in attendance expected Shawn Michaels, but the actual answer would surprise and shock everyone, and prove to be a stern challenge for the hardcore legend. Indeed, making his return to the WWF after a nearly career-ending shoulder injury was the man who would push Mick Foley to limits he didn’t even know existed, and then drag him back kicking and screaming. The man, the myth, the legend… – Opening match: Dwayne Gill v. Mankind. Yes, the man who would soon take wrestling by storm as Gillberg made his debut in the Attitude era here, and put up a valiant fight, lasting a grueling 30 seconds before falling victim to a well-placed double-arm DDT and rolling cradle to allow a visibly shaken and exhausted Mankind to advance to the second round. Why this didn’t get consideration for Match of the Year instead of that Hell in a Cell thing earlier, I’ll never know. DUD – Jeff Jarrett v. Al Snow. This is Debra’s WWF PPV debut, before the puppies or the hairstyle adjustment or heat. Snow nails Jarrett with a somersault off the stairs, but Jarrett hotshots him back in the ring. Snow catches a quick clothesline but misses a guillotine legdrop. They exchange pinfall attempts until snow reverses a spinebuster into a DDT for two. They knock heads, while Debra steals Head and gives it to Jarrett. Snow gets Jarrett’s guitar to count, but ends up getting Head back and nails JJ with it for the pin at 3:39 to advance. Dumb finish. *1/2 – Big Bossman v. Steve Austin. Brawl outside to start. Austin gets the Thesz press, but Bossman lowblows him. Austin fights back after a couple of minutes of crappy Bossman offense. Fight outside leads to Bossman hitting Austin with the nightstick to basically throw the match at 3:17 in order to administer a beating to Austin and soften him up. Another dumb finish in a series of them tonight. ½* – X-Pac v. Stephen Regal. Quick spin-kick from X-Pac and a backdrop suplex gets two. Lightning legdrop gets two. He tries the broncobuster but misses, and Regal stretches him. Regal rolls through a sunset flip and slingshots him across the ring. Suplex gets two, then back to the submission stuff, thus boring the sportz entertainment crowd. X-Pac counters and comes back, but misses ANOTHER broncobuster. Regal hits a nice double-arm superplex for two. Regal keeps stretching him, but X-Pac fights back and FINALLY hits a broncobuster. He goes up and gets crotched, and they fight on the floor for the double-countout at 8:08. Y’know, they REALLY should have only given this 5 minutes if that was the ending, or else they should have them go to the draw since it was only another 2 minutes away. A DCOR is the worst of both worlds, but then Vinnie Roo was in charge back then, so what can you expect? ** This gives Austin a bye. – Ken Shamrock v. Goldust. Ken was in full ass-kicking RoboShamrock mode as Intercontinental champ at this point, and that four month stretch is the only time I’ve ever liked him as a wrestler. They trade some stuff to start. Shamrock hits some knee strikes and controls with restholds. Goldust was just absolutely useless from about here until his departure in 1999. Now he’s useless AND boring, to boot. Shamrock punches out of a powerbomb, but gets bulldogged. The ref blocks Shattered Dreams, allowing Shamrock to get a rana, belly to belly and anklelock for the submission at 5:56. Business as usual for Ken. ¼* – The Rock v. Big Bossman. Rock’s scheduled opponent, HHH, is still recovering from knee surgery, so we get Bossman, who runs in, gets cradled, and gets knocked out of the tournament for a second time in a 4 second “match”. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  Notice how Rock wrestled a member of the Corporation and mysteriously got an easy path through the first round?  Neat foreshadowing there, actually.) Quarterfinals: – Undertaker v. Kane – The Rock v. Ken Shamrock – Mankind v. Al Snow – Steve Austin – Bye – Quarterfinal #1: Undertaker v. Kane. Dave Meltzer once published a history of the relationship between these two that was so funny I nearly choked on my lunch while reading it. For those, like myself, who need a refresher on who hated who at this point, Undertaker was the heel, he had Paul Bearer as his manager, and Kane was the face. But Undertaker was AGAINST Vince McMahon, while Kane was WITH Vince McMahon, albeit unwillingly. Confusing and non-sensical storylines have ATTITUDE…get it? Man, if Vince ever tried to answer the simple question “Are Kane and Undertaker brothers?” to the press, the stock would drop another 3 points, I’d bet. Once Russo started floating the whole “Undertaker is a guy who’s too far into his character” nonsense during the Higher Power period, that pretty much left Kane in no man’s land as far as character development goes (because I mean, if you admit that Undertaker is just playing a character, then the odds are pretty good that he doesn’t have a hideously scarred half-brother who is the illegitimate child of his former manager and may or may not have played a part in killing their parents, who may or may not actually be dead depending on whether you believe the Undertaker is a person or a character, or maybe Kane is also a guy who’s too far into his character and THINKS he’s hideously scarred…oh, fuck it, my head hurts already…) and really it ended up being easier for the rubes to digest if JR just started assuring everyone that Kane is Undertaker’s little brother and left the rest to the imagination of the viewer, much like the Bible’s internal inconsistencies require too much thought for the church to justify to sceptics, so they just say “God is everywhere” and leave the rest up to faith. I’m off track, so let’s start again. – Undertaker v. Kane. Kane is good, Undertaker is bad. There, much better. Kane clotheslines him out of the ring and they “brawl”. Undertaker half-assing a match is truly a painful experience. Back in, and UT dominates with punches. He works the knee. Kane eventually starts shrugging him off and fights back. Flying clothesline gets two and they slug it out. Kane chokeslams him, then goes after Paul Bearer, which proves to be exceedingly stupid because he turns around and walks into a tombstone for the pin at 7:14 to send Undertaker to the semi-finals. DUD – Mankind v. Al Snow. This is probably the closest Al has gotten to winning the World title, and the closest he’ll ever get. Mick still has his tuxedo on, in order to impress Mr. McMahon. Snow dominates to start and they fight on the floor. Mick catches Snow coming off the railing, and drops him on a chair. Back in, Snow hits an enzuigiri and takes a swing with Head, but misses. Mick reclaims Socko from the Head (don’t ask, it’s Russo) but gets caught with a Rydien bomb for two. Mick comes back with the double-arm DDT and the Mandible Sock to finish at 3:52 and advance to the semi-finals. *1/4 – The Rock v. Ken Shamrock. They slug it out to start as Shamrock gets suplex for two. They brawl outside and Rock debuts the EVIAN SPEW OF DOOM, but Shamrock sends him to the steps. Back in, Shamrock gets a Russian legsweep for two. Big Bossman joins us at ringside as Shamrock holds a chinlock. Shamrock snaps off a rana (sold amazingly poorly by Rocky) and hooks the anklelock, completely freaking out the crowd in the process. Rock makes the ropes. Double knockout follows. Rock gets two and comes back. Floatover DDT sets up the People’s Elbow for two. Shamrock counters Rock Bottom with a belly to belly. Bossman tosses in the nightstick and Rock intercepts, then puts Shamrock’s lights out with it in one motion. Nice sequence, if totally unnecessary. Rock gets the pin at 8:18 to advance to the semi-finals. Would a clean finish have killed them? **1/2 (2011 Scott sez:  Another suspicious win over the Corporation for Rock)WWF Women’s title match: Jacqueline v. Sable. Jackie won the resurrected title by beating Sable a couple of weeks prior to this, and astonishingly no one cared about this incarnation of the title, either. Shane-O-Mac is reffing here, to emphasize how lowly and demoted he is. Sable gets a quick TKO for two, but Marc Mero pulls her out at two. She powerbombs him on the floor. Jackie gets the advantage, but Sable blocks a tornado DDT and powerbombs her for the pin and the title at 3:12. And thus a monster is born. ¾* Semi-finals: – Mankind v. Steve Austin – The Undertaker v. The Rock – Semi-final #1: Mankind v. Steve Austin. This match was probably the single best 15 minutes of Vince Russo’s entire tenure. Austin kick’s Mankind’s ass to start, tearing off the tuxedo jacket and leaving Mick in a ragged dress shirt, tie, and pants, a look (and a shirt) that he would retain until only last month. Vince is wheeled to ringside to ensure Austin gets screwed over. Mick escapes the Stunner and runs away. Austin follows and they brawl down the aisle. Back to the ring, where Mick takes over. Austin fights back and stomps a mudhole in him (but neglects to walk it dry), but goes outside and gets rammed into the post. Mick grabs a chair and DDTs Austin on it for two. Piledriver attempt is reversed and the Stunner…gets two, because Vince is “miraculously” able to leap out of his wheelchair and punk out the ref. Disowned son and lowly referee Shane McMahon comes in as Austin hits another Stunner…and it also gets two, because Shane shocks the hell out of everyone by stopping to flip the double-bird to Austin. Austin is so shocked he doesn’t notice the Stooges coming in to administer a beatdown and a chairshot, and that allows Mankind to get the pin (with Shane’s blessing this time) at 10:23 to advance to the finals. And the Master Plan is thus a success. Good brawl + Good soap opera = Sports Entertainment 101. ***1/2 – The Undertaker v. The Rock. Slugfest to start. They fight outside, giving UT the advantage. UT does his plodding offense but gets backdropped to the floor. They fight into the crowd. UT retains control, boring the crowd. Back in, another slugfest. Rock comes back with a Samoan drop as Bossman joins us at ringside to fulfill the run-in allowance for the match. Rock gets a DDT and a low blow, but Bossman prevents the People’s Elbow. Undertaker takes a shot at Bossman (because he doesn’t like Vince, although it would turn out that he was really working with him all along, which is pretty much every major storyline from 1998-1999 in a nutshell) and goes for a chokeslam on Rocky. Kane runs in before he can do so, chokeslams Rocky himself, and thus gets his brother disqualified, which is quite possibly the lamest ending ever devised by a booker, because it does absolutely zilch to make the winner look good. And the match was awful, of course. ½* – WWF World tag team title: The New Age Outlaws v. Mark Henry & D-Lo Brown v. The Headbangers. There was some boring backstory here that didn’t result in anyone involved actually getting over. Road Dogg takes a running powerbomb early on and gets beat on for a LONG while. Match drags on and on as D-Lo desperately tries to hold it together to no avail. Dogg mercifully gets the hot tag to Billy Gunn, but he promptly gets powerbombed by D-Lo. The fameasser gets two, and we get an ugly series of saves-and-finishers that looks ridiculous because everyone is so out of position that the referee literally has to STOP counting and wait for the next guy to make the save. Just awful. Gunn finally gets a piledriver on Mosh to end the hurting at 10:08 and retain. JR lets us know that he too thought the match sucked donkey dick, although in a more diplomatic fashion. That’s why I’ll never be a commentator: I’d get fired for excessive honesty the first time I declared a match to be a steaming turdburger with a side of turd fries and a glass of Turd Coke™, with baked turd pie (and a scoop of turd cream) for dessert. ¼* Still, if the right people happen to be reading this, I’m available and I work cheap… – WWF World title tournament final: Mankind v. The Rock. Slow start. Rock gains control but Mick goes to a chinlock. It was fascinating reading about this in Mick’s book, because he admitted that he had absolutely no idea what they were going to do and the entire match was called on the fly from that chinlock. It doesn’t make the resulting match any BETTER to know about that sort of thing, but it’s always interesting to read about it. To the floor, where the Rock gets a suplex and goes after Vince, who has joined us at ringside. Rock suplexes Foley into the crowd, where they brawl. Into the ring, back to the chinlock for another planning session. Mick fights out and gives him the Cactus clothesline to the floor, and they brawl again. Mick grabs the stairs but gets bashed with a chair, then takes another shot in the head with it for good measure. It gets a two count for Rock back in the ring. Mick comes back and drops a Cactus elbow on him. More brawling. Mick legdrops Rock on the announce table, which gives him a two count back in the ring. Rock gets a fluke DDT and mounts a comeback. He hits the floor again (oy vey…) and Mick launches himself, but misses and goes through the Spanish table. Back in, the People’s Elbow gets two. Foley comes back with the double-arm DDT and gets the Mandible Sock. Rock counters with Rock Bottom. It gets two. Rock then hooks a completely incongruous Sharpshooter, and of course Mr. McMahon plays his part and tells the timekeeper to “ring the bell”. Gee, where have I seen that before? Rock gets his first WWF title at 17:15, turning heel in the process (although he never really turned face after leaving the Nation, officially) and becoming the Corporate Champion. Quite the swerve there, although the match sucked. *1/2 Still, it was realistically the third match for both guys that night, so you can’t expect too much from them. – We end with a big victory speech from the Rock/Vince/Shane triad as they tell us to watch RAW tomorrow for the full explanation. A confused Mick wonders why the bell rang if he didn’t submit, so they beat him down, turning him face in the process once and for all. Steve Austin sort of makes the save, cleaning house on the Corporation, then giving Mankind a Stunner on general principles. The Rock v. Steve Austin title match on RAW that would result the next night became one of the highest rated segments in wrestling history, and one of the highest rated segments in TSN history, wrestling or otherwise, up here in Canada. The Bottom Line: There were two very violently opposed schools of thought on this show at the time, and still are judging by the sheer volume of requests I get for this one: The “show me wrestling” crowd HATED this one because almost everything on the show sucked from a technical standpoint and most of the matches got 5 minutes or less, and the finishes were generally awful. The “entertain me” crowd LOVED this one because the angles leading up to it all paid off in spectacular fashion and Rocky did the People’s Elbow three times in one night. Being a guy who generally straddles the fence between those viewpoints, the show was a thumbs in the middle for me at the time. However, watching in retrospect now that the Vince-Shane soap opera turned out to be pretty meaningless in the long-run, the show really has nothing left to offer from either a wrestling OR an entertainment standpoint (it no longer MEANS anything to see a Montreal parody or Shane turning heel or Vince screwing Austin over, because it’s all been done over again since then) and so I don’t see any particular reason to recommend the show unless you’re a drooling Rock fanboy who wants to see him win his first World title. And hey, that’s certainly a legitimate reason, and I can completely understand it. But for the rest of you, don’t bother. Recommendation to avoid, unless you LOVE the Rock. (2011 Scott sez:  I’ve since mellowed much more on this show.  it was the pinnacle of Vince Russo’s manic booking style and launched the Rock into the stratosphere once and for all.  A fun and hugely historical show.)

Survivor Series Countdown: 1997

(2011 Scott sez:  This one probably needs a redo, for formatting if nothing else.) The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1997. – Well, hit #200,000 on the Archives came and went, and the winner
was…ME!  No, just kidding, it was Tom Carroll, who is apparently a
sado-masochistic freak because he picked this show, one which I
specifically said I didn’t want to do many times before this.  Well,
hey, I’m not bitter or anything, just because this is the show that
ripped the hearts out of every Canadian wrestling fan in the country.
Well, I suppose it could be worse — I was going to do Slamfest 95 and
"Razor Ramon" for another Coliseum Video rant, but I scanned through
them and they’re boring as shit.  Well, Slamfest has a ****1/2 Kid-Ramon
v. Diesel-Michaels tag title match from late 94, and a pretty good
Owen-Anvil v. Bret-Bulldog match, but the rest is horribly boring.– Live from Montreal, Quebec. – Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. – Opening match:  The Headbangers & The Blackjacks v. The Godwinns,
Billy Gunn & Road Dog Jesse Jammes.
No entrance music, no catchphrase,
no heat…who the hell are these guys that look so much like the New Age
Outlaws?  Roadie does some ultra-cheap heat drawing on the way to the
ring, calling the face team "Steers and Queers" and then coining the
phrase "Buttbangers" for Mosh and Thrashers.  Billy Gunn doesn’t ask
anyone to suck it, but then he probably wouldn’t get any response even
if he did.  Future compatriots Bradshaw and Phineas (Mideon) start in
the early going.  The Outlaws both refuse to tag in.  Henry comes in,
lumbers around for a while, and gets pinned on a rollup by Bradshaw.
Phineas gets routed by Windham, but gets a clothesline on Windham and
pins him.  Pathetic.  Mosh comes in and dominates Phineas, and Billy
Gunn finally tags in, to pretty good heel heat.  Fans chant "faggot" en
francais, but Gunn still manages to reverse a bulldog for the pin.
Phineas comes back against Thrasher and gets dominated by a wristlock,
which he proceeds to confuse with a wristwatch.  Ahem.  See, because
Gorilla Monsoon’s favorite saying is…oh, never mind.  They literally
just stand around for a minute at the time, not really doing anything.
What a mess.  Thrasher goes to the top with a buttdrop for three.  We’re
down the NAO v. Thrasher & Bradshaw.  Bradshaw whoops JJ, but Jammes
gets a fluke pin on a rollup.  The Outlaws double-team Thrasher and get
the win after a bad-looking Gunn legdrop off the top, which misses by a
foot.  Ugh.  What a horrible choice to start.  -**  For point of
reference, it was generally considered a bad idea by the smart community
for Gunn & Jammes to get the win here, showing that Vince is a either a
genius or has someone in his organization with a better eye for future
talent than I. – The Truth Commission & Jackyl v. The Disciples of Apocolypse. Jackyl
decides to do color commentary and allow his guys to wrestle 3 on 4.
Sadly, Jackyl is the BEST WRESTLER IN THE MATCH, and he’s doing the
friggin’ color commentary.  Pier-seven brawl to start.  The Interrogator
gets a quick pin on Chainz with a side slam.  Jackyl makes his one
appearance in the match, hitting a kneedrop on Skull before being pinned
with a sidewalk slam and eliminated.  Recon gets whomped by Crush (to a
big face pop), but makes the comeback against 8-Ball.  The switcheroo
causes him to get pinned after a clothesline, however.  That’s a popular
finisher tonight.  Sniper gets double-teamed by DOA, but a cheap shot
from Interrogator (Kurrgan, in case you didn’t know) allows Sniper to
get the pin with a bulldog.  So that leaves Crush and one of the twins
against Sniper and Interrogator.  Dumb note:  There’s a guy at ringside
with a very accurate looking Sting outfit.  The twin gets pinned with a
side slam from Interrogator.  Crush pins Sniper with a half-assed
tilt-a-whirl, and Interrogator pins Crush about 2 seconds later with his
one move, you guessed it, the side slam.  Better than the first match,
but we’re still not out of the negative stars yet.  Maybe next match…
-* – Steve Blackman, Marc Mero, Vader and Goldust v. Doug Furnas, Phil
LaFon, Davey Boy Smith & Jim Neidhart
.  Huge face pop for the Canadian
team.  Jim notes that the atmosphere is like the Stanley Cup finals,
with the Canadiens taking on the Rangers.  Obviously JR isn’t a big
hockey fan.  Mero and Bulldog start off as the fans chant for Sable.
Vader comes in and destroys Bulldog, but falls prey to his patented
"come off the second rope and get powerslammed" move.  Mero and LaFon go
next and Mero gets caught in the face corner. Blackman comes in and
looks pretty good against LaFon, but then *I* could look good against
LaFon.  Blackman fights out of the ring and gets ambushed by Team Canada
and counted out.  Neidhart and Vader wallop each other next, but a Vader
splash ends the Anvil’s night.  LaFon comes in with some spinning kicks,
sending Vader out of the ring.  Vader comes back and dominates, hitting
a second rope splash for the pin.  Furnas tries his luck but gets
nowhere, as Vader nails him and Mero comes in to clean up.  Merosault
gets two.  Bulldog comes in and beats the crap out of Mero.  Powerslam,
but Mero escapes.  Mero and Furnas have a show of fisticuffsmanship, but
sneaky Furnas gets a wrestling move in there (a rollup) for the pin.
Vader’s back in to beat on Furnas, but Bulldog gets the tag.  Vader goes
for the tag, but Goldust refuses.  He has a broken hand, you see.  This
was the start of TAFKA Goldust.  Furnas hits a lowblow with the ref’s
back turned and gets two.  Vader goes for the tag and Goldust walks.
Furnas hits an awesome overhead belly-to-belly on Vader and gets two.
Rana gets two.  Nice bumping from Vader there.  Vader gets the advantage
and forcibly brings Goldust in, who rolls out and heads for the dressing
room.  Vader fights off Doug Furnas and the Bulldog long enough to hit
the pump splash on Furnas for the pin, but Bulldog nails Vader with the
ring bell while he’s celebrating for the winning pin and a HUGE pop.  Now
THAT’S more like it.  *** – Video package recapping the debut of Kane. – Kane v. Mankind.  Kane destroyed Dude Love to set this up, as Mick
changed back to Mankind to deal with the problem.  In one of the
stupider ideas of the 20th century, the entire match is done under
Kane’s red light. This is Kane’s in-ring debut.  Mick takes the steps
off the head pretty quickly.  Kane absolutely destroys Mick.  Ve-ry
Slow-ly.  Kane puts his head down and gets piledriven.  Mick gets the
Mandible Claw on Paul Bearer, which allows Kane to sit up and shove him
off the apron, through the poor, abused Spanish table.  Mick nails Kane
in the Titanium Testicles and DDTs him on the floor.  He drops the elbow
off the apron.  Kane hops back up and slams Mankind off the apron, to
the floor.  Mankind pulls himself into the ring, crawls to Kane’s feet,
and painfully pulls himself up to his feet…and Kane casually
tombstones him and gets the pin.  Awful match with a couple of good
bumps.  * – Michael Cole interviews Vince McMahon backstage, who promises that the
match will actually happen tonight. – Faarooq, Kama, D-Lo Brown & The Rock v. Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson &
The Legion of Doom.
It’s hard to hear the pre-match interview with the
faces over the "Rocky Sucks" chants.  You know, now might be a good time
to do a reunion of the Nation, with Rocky, Godfather, D-Lo and Mark
Henry all enjoying huge babyface heat right now.  Anyway, Rocky pins
Hawk with Rock Bottom about 30 seconds in.  Ahmed gets beat on in the
Nation corner — and there’s that chant again.  Ahmed escapes the
Dominator and hits the Tiger Driver for the pin on Faarooq.  D-Lo comes
in with the Lowdown as Faarooq lingers at ringside.  Ahmed with a Falcon
Arrow, and Rocky tags in.  Ahmed comes off the ropes and Faarooq hooks
the leg, and Rocky pins him.  Ahmed and Faarooq fight back to the
dressing room.  Shamrock comes in and dominates, trading kicks with
Kama.  Animal and Kama do a boring segment.  Astonishingly, there’s
three future IC champions left in the match.  Fans amuse themselves by
chanting…well, you know what.  It’s about Rocky, at any rate.  Kama
showboats and gets rolled up by Animal for the pin.  D-Lo has a try and
gets killed by Shamrock.  With the ref distracted, however, they do a
double-team ballshot and take control.  And the fans chant their
favorite phrase.  Man, Vince must have been creaming at the heel heat
for Rocky.  D-Lo misses a moonsault by a mile and Shamrock hot tags
Animal.  But the Outlaws come out and piss off Animal, who chases them
and gets counted out.  So Shamrock is 1 on 2 against Rocky and D-Lo.  He
clotheslines Rocky out of the way and anklelocks D-Lo for the
submission, leaving Rock v. Shamrock.  Rock blindsides him with a chair,
but it only gets two.  Hurricane DDT gets 2 1/2.  People’s Elbow gets
ZERO reaction…and a two count. Shamrock reverses the second DDT
attempt into a Northern Lights suplex.  Double KO.  Both up, and
Shamrock hits a rana.  He snaps and applies a Herb Kunze armbar into the
anklelock for the tap-out and the victory.  Ending sequence saved it
from mediocrity and sent both guys on the road to stardom…well, some
more than others.  *** – Michael Cole talks to some dumbass Quebecois in the cheap seats. – Intercontinental title match:  Owen Hart v. Steve Austin.  Of course,
Owen broke Austin’s neck at Summerslam 97, but lost the match and the
title.  Austin forfeited the title, and Owen won the tournament for the
title.  This is the rematch.  Crowd is about 50/50 here, but Austin
quickly adapts the heel role, jawing with the fans.  Crowd chants for
Owen to "break his neck".  Man, that’s cold.  Owen goes for a piledriver
early to a big pop, but Austin reverses.  Owen gets posted and runs, so
they fight to the entrance and back.  Austin tosses him back in and Owen
rolls out again, so they brawl by the announce position.  Owen chokes
out Austin with a cable, yelling "Disqualify me!" so he’d keep the
title.  Slugfest in the ring, which Austin wins.  Stunner and it’s over
just like that.  This was like a RAW match.  1/4*  Team Canada attacks
and gets Stunnered as well. It was obvious Austin should NOT have been
wrestling here. – Well, a pretty lacklustre show all around, with nothing terribly
noteworthy happening and… What do you mean there’s another match left? Oh, yeah, that’s right…*that* match. – WWF World title match:  Bret Hart v. Shawn Michaels.  Everything that
can possibly be said about the events surrounding this match have been
said, so I’ll just talk about the match, which is something no one has
done for a year and a half.  Shawn brings a Canadian flag with him,
which he proceeds to wipe his ass with, pick his nose with, and then
throw on the ground and hump to firmly establish him as the heel.  The
interviews leading up to this match established the template for the
20-minute interview to open RAW.  Bret attacks Shawn before the bell and
they brawl into the crowd, with Bret pounding the hell out of Shawn.
The Stooges and Vince come out to try to talk some sense into them, thus
giving Vince a viable reason to be at ringside.  Michaels rams Bret to
the stairs and chokes him out with a flag, then they brawl back into the
crowd again, and down the aisle to the entranceway.  Michaels takes a
nasty suplex on the concrete, and visibly calls a spot while he
recovers.  Bret tosses him over a barricade and nails him with a fire
extinguisher.  Vince stands ominously in the background, trying to
convince them to go back to the ring.  They do so, and the bell finally
rings to start the match.  Bret chokes Shawn out with the flag of
Quebec, legdrops him, and gives him an inverted atomic drop.  Shawn
comes back with the flying forearm (big boos) and kips up.  He punts
Bret right in the head.  That looked a little stiff.  They fight outside
the ring again and Shawn drops Bret on the steps, then rams the Canadian
flag in Bret’s throat.  The pole, not the flag.  Shawn throws him back
in and hits an axehandle off the top, then applies a front-facelock.
Bret tosses him off to escape as Ross points out the insult involved in
using one’s own move on them.  Shawn takes control with a slam and a
bodypress off the top, reversed for a two count.  Bret kicks at Shawn’s
knee and applies the ringpost figure-four.  Bret continues working on
the leg. Fans chant "Bret sold out" and he applies a standard
figure-four.  Shawn reverses and Bret makes the ropes.  Cross-corner
whip and Bret starts the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM.  Legsweep, suplex,
backbreaker, but Shawn pulls Earl Hebner in the way of the elbow off the
second rope.  *Cue ominous music*  Shawn rakes the eyes, and applies the
Sharpshooter, and, well, you know what happens from there.  ***1/4 The Bottom Line:  You know, I was watching American Justice last night,
and one of the stories for "Bad Cop Week" was the Rodney King beating.
The description of the trial talked about how the jurors had to watch
the tape of the incident over and over, hundreds of times over the
months that the trial dragged on.  In the beginning, one of the jurors
would break down and cry at the violence and brutality displayed in the
video, but after seeing the same thing over and over, frame by frame,
they learned to ignore the emotional nature of the video and view it
objectively in order to make a fair decision.  In fact, by the end of
the trial, the weak juror made a turnaround and had become one of the
strongest supporters of acquittal for the police being tried.  The point?
Sometimes it just hurts less after a while, I guess, no matter how bad
it was to begin with. But maybe that’s just the cynic in me talking. Can’t really recommend the show — If you’ve never seen the match, rent
Wrestling with Shadows instead, which has all the backstage stuff to
boot.

Survivor Series Countdown: 1997

(2011 Scott sez:  This one probably needs a redo, for formatting if nothing else.) The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1997. – Well, hit #200,000 on the Archives came and went, and the winner
was…ME!  No, just kidding, it was Tom Carroll, who is apparently a
sado-masochistic freak because he picked this show, one which I
specifically said I didn’t want to do many times before this.  Well,
hey, I’m not bitter or anything, just because this is the show that
ripped the hearts out of every Canadian wrestling fan in the country.
Well, I suppose it could be worse — I was going to do Slamfest 95 and
"Razor Ramon" for another Coliseum Video rant, but I scanned through
them and they’re boring as shit.  Well, Slamfest has a ****1/2 Kid-Ramon
v. Diesel-Michaels tag title match from late 94, and a pretty good
Owen-Anvil v. Bret-Bulldog match, but the rest is horribly boring.– Live from Montreal, Quebec. – Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. – Opening match:  The Headbangers & The Blackjacks v. The Godwinns,
Billy Gunn & Road Dog Jesse Jammes.
No entrance music, no catchphrase,
no heat…who the hell are these guys that look so much like the New Age
Outlaws?  Roadie does some ultra-cheap heat drawing on the way to the
ring, calling the face team "Steers and Queers" and then coining the
phrase "Buttbangers" for Mosh and Thrashers.  Billy Gunn doesn’t ask
anyone to suck it, but then he probably wouldn’t get any response even
if he did.  Future compatriots Bradshaw and Phineas (Mideon) start in
the early going.  The Outlaws both refuse to tag in.  Henry comes in,
lumbers around for a while, and gets pinned on a rollup by Bradshaw.
Phineas gets routed by Windham, but gets a clothesline on Windham and
pins him.  Pathetic.  Mosh comes in and dominates Phineas, and Billy
Gunn finally tags in, to pretty good heel heat.  Fans chant "faggot" en
francais, but Gunn still manages to reverse a bulldog for the pin.
Phineas comes back against Thrasher and gets dominated by a wristlock,
which he proceeds to confuse with a wristwatch.  Ahem.  See, because
Gorilla Monsoon’s favorite saying is…oh, never mind.  They literally
just stand around for a minute at the time, not really doing anything.
What a mess.  Thrasher goes to the top with a buttdrop for three.  We’re
down the NAO v. Thrasher & Bradshaw.  Bradshaw whoops JJ, but Jammes
gets a fluke pin on a rollup.  The Outlaws double-team Thrasher and get
the win after a bad-looking Gunn legdrop off the top, which misses by a
foot.  Ugh.  What a horrible choice to start.  -**  For point of
reference, it was generally considered a bad idea by the smart community
for Gunn & Jammes to get the win here, showing that Vince is a either a
genius or has someone in his organization with a better eye for future
talent than I. – The Truth Commission & Jackyl v. The Disciples of Apocolypse. Jackyl
decides to do color commentary and allow his guys to wrestle 3 on 4.
Sadly, Jackyl is the BEST WRESTLER IN THE MATCH, and he’s doing the
friggin’ color commentary.  Pier-seven brawl to start.  The Interrogator
gets a quick pin on Chainz with a side slam.  Jackyl makes his one
appearance in the match, hitting a kneedrop on Skull before being pinned
with a sidewalk slam and eliminated.  Recon gets whomped by Crush (to a
big face pop), but makes the comeback against 8-Ball.  The switcheroo
causes him to get pinned after a clothesline, however.  That’s a popular
finisher tonight.  Sniper gets double-teamed by DOA, but a cheap shot
from Interrogator (Kurrgan, in case you didn’t know) allows Sniper to
get the pin with a bulldog.  So that leaves Crush and one of the twins
against Sniper and Interrogator.  Dumb note:  There’s a guy at ringside
with a very accurate looking Sting outfit.  The twin gets pinned with a
side slam from Interrogator.  Crush pins Sniper with a half-assed
tilt-a-whirl, and Interrogator pins Crush about 2 seconds later with his
one move, you guessed it, the side slam.  Better than the first match,
but we’re still not out of the negative stars yet.  Maybe next match…
-* – Steve Blackman, Marc Mero, Vader and Goldust v. Doug Furnas, Phil
LaFon, Davey Boy Smith & Jim Neidhart
.  Huge face pop for the Canadian
team.  Jim notes that the atmosphere is like the Stanley Cup finals,
with the Canadiens taking on the Rangers.  Obviously JR isn’t a big
hockey fan.  Mero and Bulldog start off as the fans chant for Sable.
Vader comes in and destroys Bulldog, but falls prey to his patented
"come off the second rope and get powerslammed" move.  Mero and LaFon go
next and Mero gets caught in the face corner. Blackman comes in and
looks pretty good against LaFon, but then *I* could look good against
LaFon.  Blackman fights out of the ring and gets ambushed by Team Canada
and counted out.  Neidhart and Vader wallop each other next, but a Vader
splash ends the Anvil’s night.  LaFon comes in with some spinning kicks,
sending Vader out of the ring.  Vader comes back and dominates, hitting
a second rope splash for the pin.  Furnas tries his luck but gets
nowhere, as Vader nails him and Mero comes in to clean up.  Merosault
gets two.  Bulldog comes in and beats the crap out of Mero.  Powerslam,
but Mero escapes.  Mero and Furnas have a show of fisticuffsmanship, but
sneaky Furnas gets a wrestling move in there (a rollup) for the pin.
Vader’s back in to beat on Furnas, but Bulldog gets the tag.  Vader goes
for the tag, but Goldust refuses.  He has a broken hand, you see.  This
was the start of TAFKA Goldust.  Furnas hits a lowblow with the ref’s
back turned and gets two.  Vader goes for the tag and Goldust walks.
Furnas hits an awesome overhead belly-to-belly on Vader and gets two.
Rana gets two.  Nice bumping from Vader there.  Vader gets the advantage
and forcibly brings Goldust in, who rolls out and heads for the dressing
room.  Vader fights off Doug Furnas and the Bulldog long enough to hit
the pump splash on Furnas for the pin, but Bulldog nails Vader with the
ring bell while he’s celebrating for the winning pin and a HUGE pop.  Now
THAT’S more like it.  *** – Video package recapping the debut of Kane. – Kane v. Mankind.  Kane destroyed Dude Love to set this up, as Mick
changed back to Mankind to deal with the problem.  In one of the
stupider ideas of the 20th century, the entire match is done under
Kane’s red light. This is Kane’s in-ring debut.  Mick takes the steps
off the head pretty quickly.  Kane absolutely destroys Mick.  Ve-ry
Slow-ly.  Kane puts his head down and gets piledriven.  Mick gets the
Mandible Claw on Paul Bearer, which allows Kane to sit up and shove him
off the apron, through the poor, abused Spanish table.  Mick nails Kane
in the Titanium Testicles and DDTs him on the floor.  He drops the elbow
off the apron.  Kane hops back up and slams Mankind off the apron, to
the floor.  Mankind pulls himself into the ring, crawls to Kane’s feet,
and painfully pulls himself up to his feet…and Kane casually
tombstones him and gets the pin.  Awful match with a couple of good
bumps.  * – Michael Cole interviews Vince McMahon backstage, who promises that the
match will actually happen tonight. – Faarooq, Kama, D-Lo Brown & The Rock v. Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson &
The Legion of Doom.
It’s hard to hear the pre-match interview with the
faces over the "Rocky Sucks" chants.  You know, now might be a good time
to do a reunion of the Nation, with Rocky, Godfather, D-Lo and Mark
Henry all enjoying huge babyface heat right now.  Anyway, Rocky pins
Hawk with Rock Bottom about 30 seconds in.  Ahmed gets beat on in the
Nation corner — and there’s that chant again.  Ahmed escapes the
Dominator and hits the Tiger Driver for the pin on Faarooq.  D-Lo comes
in with the Lowdown as Faarooq lingers at ringside.  Ahmed with a Falcon
Arrow, and Rocky tags in.  Ahmed comes off the ropes and Faarooq hooks
the leg, and Rocky pins him.  Ahmed and Faarooq fight back to the
dressing room.  Shamrock comes in and dominates, trading kicks with
Kama.  Animal and Kama do a boring segment.  Astonishingly, there’s
three future IC champions left in the match.  Fans amuse themselves by
chanting…well, you know what.  It’s about Rocky, at any rate.  Kama
showboats and gets rolled up by Animal for the pin.  D-Lo has a try and
gets killed by Shamrock.  With the ref distracted, however, they do a
double-team ballshot and take control.  And the fans chant their
favorite phrase.  Man, Vince must have been creaming at the heel heat
for Rocky.  D-Lo misses a moonsault by a mile and Shamrock hot tags
Animal.  But the Outlaws come out and piss off Animal, who chases them
and gets counted out.  So Shamrock is 1 on 2 against Rocky and D-Lo.  He
clotheslines Rocky out of the way and anklelocks D-Lo for the
submission, leaving Rock v. Shamrock.  Rock blindsides him with a chair,
but it only gets two.  Hurricane DDT gets 2 1/2.  People’s Elbow gets
ZERO reaction…and a two count. Shamrock reverses the second DDT
attempt into a Northern Lights suplex.  Double KO.  Both up, and
Shamrock hits a rana.  He snaps and applies a Herb Kunze armbar into the
anklelock for the tap-out and the victory.  Ending sequence saved it
from mediocrity and sent both guys on the road to stardom…well, some
more than others.  *** – Michael Cole talks to some dumbass Quebecois in the cheap seats. – Intercontinental title match:  Owen Hart v. Steve Austin.  Of course,
Owen broke Austin’s neck at Summerslam 97, but lost the match and the
title.  Austin forfeited the title, and Owen won the tournament for the
title.  This is the rematch.  Crowd is about 50/50 here, but Austin
quickly adapts the heel role, jawing with the fans.  Crowd chants for
Owen to "break his neck".  Man, that’s cold.  Owen goes for a piledriver
early to a big pop, but Austin reverses.  Owen gets posted and runs, so
they fight to the entrance and back.  Austin tosses him back in and Owen
rolls out again, so they brawl by the announce position.  Owen chokes
out Austin with a cable, yelling "Disqualify me!" so he’d keep the
title.  Slugfest in the ring, which Austin wins.  Stunner and it’s over
just like that.  This was like a RAW match.  1/4*  Team Canada attacks
and gets Stunnered as well. It was obvious Austin should NOT have been
wrestling here. – Well, a pretty lacklustre show all around, with nothing terribly
noteworthy happening and… What do you mean there’s another match left? Oh, yeah, that’s right…*that* match. – WWF World title match:  Bret Hart v. Shawn Michaels.  Everything that
can possibly be said about the events surrounding this match have been
said, so I’ll just talk about the match, which is something no one has
done for a year and a half.  Shawn brings a Canadian flag with him,
which he proceeds to wipe his ass with, pick his nose with, and then
throw on the ground and hump to firmly establish him as the heel.  The
interviews leading up to this match established the template for the
20-minute interview to open RAW.  Bret attacks Shawn before the bell and
they brawl into the crowd, with Bret pounding the hell out of Shawn.
The Stooges and Vince come out to try to talk some sense into them, thus
giving Vince a viable reason to be at ringside.  Michaels rams Bret to
the stairs and chokes him out with a flag, then they brawl back into the
crowd again, and down the aisle to the entranceway.  Michaels takes a
nasty suplex on the concrete, and visibly calls a spot while he
recovers.  Bret tosses him over a barricade and nails him with a fire
extinguisher.  Vince stands ominously in the background, trying to
convince them to go back to the ring.  They do so, and the bell finally
rings to start the match.  Bret chokes Shawn out with the flag of
Quebec, legdrops him, and gives him an inverted atomic drop.  Shawn
comes back with the flying forearm (big boos) and kips up.  He punts
Bret right in the head.  That looked a little stiff.  They fight outside
the ring again and Shawn drops Bret on the steps, then rams the Canadian
flag in Bret’s throat.  The pole, not the flag.  Shawn throws him back
in and hits an axehandle off the top, then applies a front-facelock.
Bret tosses him off to escape as Ross points out the insult involved in
using one’s own move on them.  Shawn takes control with a slam and a
bodypress off the top, reversed for a two count.  Bret kicks at Shawn’s
knee and applies the ringpost figure-four.  Bret continues working on
the leg. Fans chant "Bret sold out" and he applies a standard
figure-four.  Shawn reverses and Bret makes the ropes.  Cross-corner
whip and Bret starts the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM.  Legsweep, suplex,
backbreaker, but Shawn pulls Earl Hebner in the way of the elbow off the
second rope.  *Cue ominous music*  Shawn rakes the eyes, and applies the
Sharpshooter, and, well, you know what happens from there.  ***1/4 The Bottom Line:  You know, I was watching American Justice last night,
and one of the stories for "Bad Cop Week" was the Rodney King beating.
The description of the trial talked about how the jurors had to watch
the tape of the incident over and over, hundreds of times over the
months that the trial dragged on.  In the beginning, one of the jurors
would break down and cry at the violence and brutality displayed in the
video, but after seeing the same thing over and over, frame by frame,
they learned to ignore the emotional nature of the video and view it
objectively in order to make a fair decision.  In fact, by the end of
the trial, the weak juror made a turnaround and had become one of the
strongest supporters of acquittal for the police being tried.  The point?
Sometimes it just hurts less after a while, I guess, no matter how bad
it was to begin with. But maybe that’s just the cynic in me talking. Can’t really recommend the show — If you’ve never seen the match, rent
Wrestling with Shadows instead, which has all the backstage stuff to
boot.

Survivor Series Countdown: 1997

(2011 Scott sez:  This one probably needs a redo, for formatting if nothing else.) The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1997. – Well, hit #200,000 on the Archives came and went, and the winner
was…ME!  No, just kidding, it was Tom Carroll, who is apparently a
sado-masochistic freak because he picked this show, one which I
specifically said I didn’t want to do many times before this.  Well,
hey, I’m not bitter or anything, just because this is the show that
ripped the hearts out of every Canadian wrestling fan in the country.
Well, I suppose it could be worse — I was going to do Slamfest 95 and
"Razor Ramon" for another Coliseum Video rant, but I scanned through
them and they’re boring as shit.  Well, Slamfest has a ****1/2 Kid-Ramon
v. Diesel-Michaels tag title match from late 94, and a pretty good
Owen-Anvil v. Bret-Bulldog match, but the rest is horribly boring.– Live from Montreal, Quebec. – Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. – Opening match:  The Headbangers & The Blackjacks v. The Godwinns,
Billy Gunn & Road Dog Jesse Jammes.
No entrance music, no catchphrase,
no heat…who the hell are these guys that look so much like the New Age
Outlaws?  Roadie does some ultra-cheap heat drawing on the way to the
ring, calling the face team "Steers and Queers" and then coining the
phrase "Buttbangers" for Mosh and Thrashers.  Billy Gunn doesn’t ask
anyone to suck it, but then he probably wouldn’t get any response even
if he did.  Future compatriots Bradshaw and Phineas (Mideon) start in
the early going.  The Outlaws both refuse to tag in.  Henry comes in,
lumbers around for a while, and gets pinned on a rollup by Bradshaw.
Phineas gets routed by Windham, but gets a clothesline on Windham and
pins him.  Pathetic.  Mosh comes in and dominates Phineas, and Billy
Gunn finally tags in, to pretty good heel heat.  Fans chant "faggot" en
francais, but Gunn still manages to reverse a bulldog for the pin.
Phineas comes back against Thrasher and gets dominated by a wristlock,
which he proceeds to confuse with a wristwatch.  Ahem.  See, because
Gorilla Monsoon’s favorite saying is…oh, never mind.  They literally
just stand around for a minute at the time, not really doing anything.
What a mess.  Thrasher goes to the top with a buttdrop for three.  We’re
down the NAO v. Thrasher & Bradshaw.  Bradshaw whoops JJ, but Jammes
gets a fluke pin on a rollup.  The Outlaws double-team Thrasher and get
the win after a bad-looking Gunn legdrop off the top, which misses by a
foot.  Ugh.  What a horrible choice to start.  -**  For point of
reference, it was generally considered a bad idea by the smart community
for Gunn & Jammes to get the win here, showing that Vince is a either a
genius or has someone in his organization with a better eye for future
talent than I. – The Truth Commission & Jackyl v. The Disciples of Apocolypse. Jackyl
decides to do color commentary and allow his guys to wrestle 3 on 4.
Sadly, Jackyl is the BEST WRESTLER IN THE MATCH, and he’s doing the
friggin’ color commentary.  Pier-seven brawl to start.  The Interrogator
gets a quick pin on Chainz with a side slam.  Jackyl makes his one
appearance in the match, hitting a kneedrop on Skull before being pinned
with a sidewalk slam and eliminated.  Recon gets whomped by Crush (to a
big face pop), but makes the comeback against 8-Ball.  The switcheroo
causes him to get pinned after a clothesline, however.  That’s a popular
finisher tonight.  Sniper gets double-teamed by DOA, but a cheap shot
from Interrogator (Kurrgan, in case you didn’t know) allows Sniper to
get the pin with a bulldog.  So that leaves Crush and one of the twins
against Sniper and Interrogator.  Dumb note:  There’s a guy at ringside
with a very accurate looking Sting outfit.  The twin gets pinned with a
side slam from Interrogator.  Crush pins Sniper with a half-assed
tilt-a-whirl, and Interrogator pins Crush about 2 seconds later with his
one move, you guessed it, the side slam.  Better than the first match,
but we’re still not out of the negative stars yet.  Maybe next match…
-* – Steve Blackman, Marc Mero, Vader and Goldust v. Doug Furnas, Phil
LaFon, Davey Boy Smith & Jim Neidhart
.  Huge face pop for the Canadian
team.  Jim notes that the atmosphere is like the Stanley Cup finals,
with the Canadiens taking on the Rangers.  Obviously JR isn’t a big
hockey fan.  Mero and Bulldog start off as the fans chant for Sable.
Vader comes in and destroys Bulldog, but falls prey to his patented
"come off the second rope and get powerslammed" move.  Mero and LaFon go
next and Mero gets caught in the face corner. Blackman comes in and
looks pretty good against LaFon, but then *I* could look good against
LaFon.  Blackman fights out of the ring and gets ambushed by Team Canada
and counted out.  Neidhart and Vader wallop each other next, but a Vader
splash ends the Anvil’s night.  LaFon comes in with some spinning kicks,
sending Vader out of the ring.  Vader comes back and dominates, hitting
a second rope splash for the pin.  Furnas tries his luck but gets
nowhere, as Vader nails him and Mero comes in to clean up.  Merosault
gets two.  Bulldog comes in and beats the crap out of Mero.  Powerslam,
but Mero escapes.  Mero and Furnas have a show of fisticuffsmanship, but
sneaky Furnas gets a wrestling move in there (a rollup) for the pin.
Vader’s back in to beat on Furnas, but Bulldog gets the tag.  Vader goes
for the tag, but Goldust refuses.  He has a broken hand, you see.  This
was the start of TAFKA Goldust.  Furnas hits a lowblow with the ref’s
back turned and gets two.  Vader goes for the tag and Goldust walks.
Furnas hits an awesome overhead belly-to-belly on Vader and gets two.
Rana gets two.  Nice bumping from Vader there.  Vader gets the advantage
and forcibly brings Goldust in, who rolls out and heads for the dressing
room.  Vader fights off Doug Furnas and the Bulldog long enough to hit
the pump splash on Furnas for the pin, but Bulldog nails Vader with the
ring bell while he’s celebrating for the winning pin and a HUGE pop.  Now
THAT’S more like it.  *** – Video package recapping the debut of Kane. – Kane v. Mankind.  Kane destroyed Dude Love to set this up, as Mick
changed back to Mankind to deal with the problem.  In one of the
stupider ideas of the 20th century, the entire match is done under
Kane’s red light. This is Kane’s in-ring debut.  Mick takes the steps
off the head pretty quickly.  Kane absolutely destroys Mick.  Ve-ry
Slow-ly.  Kane puts his head down and gets piledriven.  Mick gets the
Mandible Claw on Paul Bearer, which allows Kane to sit up and shove him
off the apron, through the poor, abused Spanish table.  Mick nails Kane
in the Titanium Testicles and DDTs him on the floor.  He drops the elbow
off the apron.  Kane hops back up and slams Mankind off the apron, to
the floor.  Mankind pulls himself into the ring, crawls to Kane’s feet,
and painfully pulls himself up to his feet…and Kane casually
tombstones him and gets the pin.  Awful match with a couple of good
bumps.  * – Michael Cole interviews Vince McMahon backstage, who promises that the
match will actually happen tonight. – Faarooq, Kama, D-Lo Brown & The Rock v. Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson &
The Legion of Doom.
It’s hard to hear the pre-match interview with the
faces over the "Rocky Sucks" chants.  You know, now might be a good time
to do a reunion of the Nation, with Rocky, Godfather, D-Lo and Mark
Henry all enjoying huge babyface heat right now.  Anyway, Rocky pins
Hawk with Rock Bottom about 30 seconds in.  Ahmed gets beat on in the
Nation corner — and there’s that chant again.  Ahmed escapes the
Dominator and hits the Tiger Driver for the pin on Faarooq.  D-Lo comes
in with the Lowdown as Faarooq lingers at ringside.  Ahmed with a Falcon
Arrow, and Rocky tags in.  Ahmed comes off the ropes and Faarooq hooks
the leg, and Rocky pins him.  Ahmed and Faarooq fight back to the
dressing room.  Shamrock comes in and dominates, trading kicks with
Kama.  Animal and Kama do a boring segment.  Astonishingly, there’s
three future IC champions left in the match.  Fans amuse themselves by
chanting…well, you know what.  It’s about Rocky, at any rate.  Kama
showboats and gets rolled up by Animal for the pin.  D-Lo has a try and
gets killed by Shamrock.  With the ref distracted, however, they do a
double-team ballshot and take control.  And the fans chant their
favorite phrase.  Man, Vince must have been creaming at the heel heat
for Rocky.  D-Lo misses a moonsault by a mile and Shamrock hot tags
Animal.  But the Outlaws come out and piss off Animal, who chases them
and gets counted out.  So Shamrock is 1 on 2 against Rocky and D-Lo.  He
clotheslines Rocky out of the way and anklelocks D-Lo for the
submission, leaving Rock v. Shamrock.  Rock blindsides him with a chair,
but it only gets two.  Hurricane DDT gets 2 1/2.  People’s Elbow gets
ZERO reaction…and a two count. Shamrock reverses the second DDT
attempt into a Northern Lights suplex.  Double KO.  Both up, and
Shamrock hits a rana.  He snaps and applies a Herb Kunze armbar into the
anklelock for the tap-out and the victory.  Ending sequence saved it
from mediocrity and sent both guys on the road to stardom…well, some
more than others.  *** – Michael Cole talks to some dumbass Quebecois in the cheap seats. – Intercontinental title match:  Owen Hart v. Steve Austin.  Of course,
Owen broke Austin’s neck at Summerslam 97, but lost the match and the
title.  Austin forfeited the title, and Owen won the tournament for the
title.  This is the rematch.  Crowd is about 50/50 here, but Austin
quickly adapts the heel role, jawing with the fans.  Crowd chants for
Owen to "break his neck".  Man, that’s cold.  Owen goes for a piledriver
early to a big pop, but Austin reverses.  Owen gets posted and runs, so
they fight to the entrance and back.  Austin tosses him back in and Owen
rolls out again, so they brawl by the announce position.  Owen chokes
out Austin with a cable, yelling "Disqualify me!" so he’d keep the
title.  Slugfest in the ring, which Austin wins.  Stunner and it’s over
just like that.  This was like a RAW match.  1/4*  Team Canada attacks
and gets Stunnered as well. It was obvious Austin should NOT have been
wrestling here. – Well, a pretty lacklustre show all around, with nothing terribly
noteworthy happening and… What do you mean there’s another match left? Oh, yeah, that’s right…*that* match. – WWF World title match:  Bret Hart v. Shawn Michaels.  Everything that
can possibly be said about the events surrounding this match have been
said, so I’ll just talk about the match, which is something no one has
done for a year and a half.  Shawn brings a Canadian flag with him,
which he proceeds to wipe his ass with, pick his nose with, and then
throw on the ground and hump to firmly establish him as the heel.  The
interviews leading up to this match established the template for the
20-minute interview to open RAW.  Bret attacks Shawn before the bell and
they brawl into the crowd, with Bret pounding the hell out of Shawn.
The Stooges and Vince come out to try to talk some sense into them, thus
giving Vince a viable reason to be at ringside.  Michaels rams Bret to
the stairs and chokes him out with a flag, then they brawl back into the
crowd again, and down the aisle to the entranceway.  Michaels takes a
nasty suplex on the concrete, and visibly calls a spot while he
recovers.  Bret tosses him over a barricade and nails him with a fire
extinguisher.  Vince stands ominously in the background, trying to
convince them to go back to the ring.  They do so, and the bell finally
rings to start the match.  Bret chokes Shawn out with the flag of
Quebec, legdrops him, and gives him an inverted atomic drop.  Shawn
comes back with the flying forearm (big boos) and kips up.  He punts
Bret right in the head.  That looked a little stiff.  They fight outside
the ring again and Shawn drops Bret on the steps, then rams the Canadian
flag in Bret’s throat.  The pole, not the flag.  Shawn throws him back
in and hits an axehandle off the top, then applies a front-facelock.
Bret tosses him off to escape as Ross points out the insult involved in
using one’s own move on them.  Shawn takes control with a slam and a
bodypress off the top, reversed for a two count.  Bret kicks at Shawn’s
knee and applies the ringpost figure-four.  Bret continues working on
the leg. Fans chant "Bret sold out" and he applies a standard
figure-four.  Shawn reverses and Bret makes the ropes.  Cross-corner
whip and Bret starts the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM.  Legsweep, suplex,
backbreaker, but Shawn pulls Earl Hebner in the way of the elbow off the
second rope.  *Cue ominous music*  Shawn rakes the eyes, and applies the
Sharpshooter, and, well, you know what happens from there.  ***1/4 The Bottom Line:  You know, I was watching American Justice last night,
and one of the stories for "Bad Cop Week" was the Rodney King beating.
The description of the trial talked about how the jurors had to watch
the tape of the incident over and over, hundreds of times over the
months that the trial dragged on.  In the beginning, one of the jurors
would break down and cry at the violence and brutality displayed in the
video, but after seeing the same thing over and over, frame by frame,
they learned to ignore the emotional nature of the video and view it
objectively in order to make a fair decision.  In fact, by the end of
the trial, the weak juror made a turnaround and had become one of the
strongest supporters of acquittal for the police being tried.  The point?
Sometimes it just hurts less after a while, I guess, no matter how bad
it was to begin with. But maybe that’s just the cynic in me talking. Can’t really recommend the show — If you’ve never seen the match, rent
Wrestling with Shadows instead, which has all the backstage stuff to
boot.

Survivor Series Countdown: 1996

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 96 Live from New York, NY Your hosts are Jim Ross & Vince McMahon.Free-For-All match: Bart Gunn, Jesse Jammes, Aldo Montoya & Bob Holly v. Billy Gunn, Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw, Salvatore Sincere & The Sultan. I only include the pre-game match because it’s the Elephant Graveyard of Dead Gimmicks. Sultan (Today: Rikishi Fatu, Sumo Wrestler) gets rid of Aldo (Today: Justin Credible) with a camel clutch without too much trouble. We take a short break in the action an AWESOME Austin-Hart promo. We return with Bart Gunn (Today: Mike Burton) taking a beating. He rallies to get Sal Sincere (Today: Tom Brandi) on a side slam. Justin Bradshaw (Today: Bradshaw) dominates Bob Holly (Today: Hardcore Holly) and pins him with the lariat. Jesse Jammes (Today: Road Dogg) cradles him in turn and pins him. Sultan comes in and suffers the same fate. Billy Gunn (Today: Mr. Ass) hits a fame-asser on Jammes and gets him, leaving the epic Smoking Gunns battle. It ends quickly as Bart gets the pin off a forearm shot at 10:42. Not bad, if totally rushed and all. **1/4 On with the show for real… Opening match: Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Leif Cassidy & Marty Jannetty v. Doug Furnas, Phil Lafon, Phineas Godwinn & Henry Godwinn. Well, 6 out of 8 isn’t bad. Slow start with Godwinns & Rockers squaring off. I still love Leif Cassidy and I wish Al Snow would channel that character (and specifically his workrate) again. HOG pins Jannetty with a slop drop. Owen dives in and gets HOG in turn with a leg lariat. Davey then gets rid of Phineas quickly with a powerslam. Hey, the dead weight is all gone! Furnas gets dominated by Owen in a cool sequence. Lafon comes in and gets Leif on a wild inverted superplex. Owen takes over on him, however, and it’s another great sequence. Lafon gets the Bulldog on a complex sunset flip, leaving Owen 2-on-1. Bulldog clips Lafon on the way out, however, evening the odds a bit. Owen works on the knee, and the Sharpshooter is broken up by Furnas. Furnas then gets the tag and absolutely destroys Owen with a series of suplexes, ending with a release german suplex, that looked like it could have broke Owen’s neck, for the pin at 20:38. Great opener, and a reminder of how great Owen was. ***3/4 Survivors: Furnas & Lafon. Mankind v. Undertaker. This was the debut of UT’s current biker look, with the black leather suit. Paul Bearer is suspended in a cage for this. UT is wearing bat wings and is lowered from the ceiling, for those who care about that sort of thing. This would be a rematch from the first Buried Alive match, where UT was, well, buried alive by Mankind. Taker goes all UFC to start, working on Mick’s arm to neutralize the mandible claw. UT no-sells the Cactus clothesline and they brawl into the crowd. Back in the ring and Mick controls, but UT bites his hand. Mick gets the claw but UT tosses him to the floor. UT hits the ropewalk for two. Mankind puts him down and goes to the top, but gets caught coming down. Mick counters with the Mandible Claw, however. Taker fights it off and chokeslams him, which was a really cool spot. Taker rolls out to take a breather and Mankind tries a somersault off the apron and misses, as usual. Back in the ring, and Mankind finds an object in his tights and plays Jerry Lawler with it. UT fights him off in the corner, however, and powers him into the tombstone for the pin at 14:49. God damn, no one gets the best out of Mark like Mick. *** UT gets five minutes with Paul as a result, but the Executioner (Terry Gordy) breaks it up and Bearer escapes. Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Crush, Goldust & Jerry Lawler v. Marc Mero, Rocky Maivia, Barry Windham & Jake Roberts. Rocky looks like such a tool. Hey, who’s the blonde chick at ringside with Mero? Rena-something, right? I would be remiss in not mentioning Sunny’s color commentary here as she goes all catty on Rena and squabbles with JR. She also claims to never smoke OR drink. Right, and I’m not the least bit biased or capitalistic. Incredibly boring start, until Rocky comes in and gets walloped. Hey, what’s that stuff he’s doing, where he gets hit and acts like he’s hurt? Oh yeah, it’s SELLING. It’s been so long since he’s done it, I’d forgotten he could. He hot tags Jake, who promptly gets a beating in the enemy corner. Lawler’s mocking of Jake is hilarious, until he takes a DDT and gets pinned. Oops. Windham then goes quietly from a Curtain Call via Goldust. HHH comes comes in and USES THE KNEE. Only took him 14 minutes to work it in. Boring Mero-HHH segment ends with Mero hitting the Merosault for the pin. He gets knocked out of the ring right after and counted out, then Crush heart-punches Jake and pins him. So it’s Rock 2-on-1. They double-team him, but heel miscommunication wackiness allows a quick pin on Crush. Shoulderbreaker gets Goldust at 23:42 for a big face pop. Man, THAT sure didn’t last long after this match. Match was horrible, by the way. 1/2* Survivor: Rocky Maivia. Bret Hart v. Steve Austin. Austin gets all in Bret’s face, and a slugfest erupts. They trade hammerlocks, and Austin gains the advantage with power moves. Bret rallies, but gets caught with a stungun. Austin works the neck, and another slugfest develops. Bret comes back with an inverted atomic drop and a rollup for two. Russian legsweep gets two. Bulldog is countered by Austin, but Bret manages a top rope elbow for two. They fight outside, and Austin rams him into the post. Bret gets pissed and they fight into the crowd. Austin catapults Bret onto the spanish table and pounds him. He drops an elbow from the apron for good measure. Back in the ring, Austin continues punishing the neck. He uses that good ol’ heel standby: The rope-assisted abdominal stretch. Bret breaks and gets a stungun on Austin in a neat bit of irony. Rolling cradle gets two. To the top, but Austin gets a superplex. Bret pulls a Dynamite Kid and cradles Austin on the mat, however, for a two count. Austin manages the Stunner out of nowhere, but takes half a second too long to cover and only gets two. He keeps covering and gets two more two counts. You NEVER see that anymore. I can understand the kickout, since Austin didn’t kick him in the gut and flip him the bird first. Austin tries a Texas Cloverleaf, and I’m thinking Vince must be going nuts trying not to jump up and yell “RING THE BELL” from ringside. Austin sends Bret crashing to the post, but Bret reverses a bow-and-arrow into the Sharpshooter. Austin makes the ropes. Bret gets a sleeper, Austin breaks, and hooks the Million Dollar Dream. Bret walks the ropes and flips over for the pin at 28:34 to end an INCREDIBLE match, possibly the last, best match in North America before the Great Changeover to the Austin era in 1997. ***** Faarooq, “Diesel”, “Razor Ramon” & Vader v. Flash Funk, Savio Vega, Yokozuna & Jimmy Snuka. Yeah, it’s the letdown of letdowns here, as the MYSTERY PARTNER OF DOOM turned out to the Superfly. This would be the debut of the retooled Faarooq and his Nation of Domination, Version 1.0. Vader & Funk start, with Funk pulling out a moonsault to the floor right away. Back in the ring, and “Razor” dominates Savio. Have I mentioned recently how utterly retarded that whole angle was? Yoko is so grotesquely, utterly, FAT here that I’m shocked he didn’t drop dead from walking to the ring. Big Daddy Dentist gets beat up in the face corner, but comes back to powerbomb Savio for the pin during a melee. Snuka gets the superfly splash on “Razor” for the pin, but then a big brawl erupts and everyone is DQ’d at 9:42 for the lamest ending ever in a Survivor Series match. DUD Survivors: None. WWF World title: Shawn Michaels v. Sid. Crowd reaction to Shawn is mixed, to say the least. Sid pounds on Shawn to start, and gets a big face pop. They get into a slugfest, which is pretty dumb on Shawn’s part. A foot race erupts, and Shawn clips Sid back in the ring, drawing big heel heat. The crowd reactions are almost as interesting as the match. Then the crowd actually starts chanting “Let’s Go Sid” during a figure-four. Sid shakes it off and starts overpowering Shawn, who then goes back to the knee and gets mad boos. Shawn does the skin-the-cat move back into the ring, and gets clotheslined by Sid. Heh. They fight outside, and Sid kills him. Back in the ring, more pummelling. Shawn manages to get to the top, but gets caught coming down with a shoulderbreaker from Sid for two. Shawn asks for more, so Sid pastes him a few times. Shawn comes back with a slam, but misses whatever from the top. Sid hits the cobra clutch, getting a two count. HBK escapes and tries the superkick, but Sid simply catches him and chokeslams him to a BIG pop. The psychology here is actually terrific, which is shocking for a Sid match. Powerbomb attempt, but Shawn reverses to a small package for two. Shawn makes the comeback, kips up, and Sid rips his head off. YEAH! Damn, I’m marking out for Sid, what the hell’s wrong with me? Sid grabs the camera from the cameraman at ringside (before y’all e-mail me, YES, I know this was “stolen” from November to Remember the night before) and nails Jose Lothario with it, who proceeds to overact a heart attack. Frighteningly, the crowd CHEERS this. Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music, but decides to check on Jose instead of covering. That costs him the match, as the ref gets bumped when Shawn gets back in, so Sid hits him with the camera to knock him out, then powerbombs and pins him to win his first World title (or major title of any kind for that matter) at 19:59. MAJOR face pop for that. This was quite possibly Sid’s best match ever, to boot. **** Shawn began a quasi-heel turn in the weeks following, which was logical, but then he did a 180 and turned face again at Royal Rumble 97, which surprised the hell out of basically everyone in the know. The Bottom Line: What the hell was I thinking back then? THIS SHOW ROCKS, BABEE! Everyone kept e-mailing me and telling me I was nuts for panning it in my “Guide to Every PPV, Ever” but I thought it was THEM who were off. Man, goes to show what difference three years makes in your thinking sometimes. Highly recommended for great wrestling and big historical value.

Survivor Series Countdown: 1996

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 96 Live from New York, NY Your hosts are Jim Ross & Vince McMahon.Free-For-All match: Bart Gunn, Jesse Jammes, Aldo Montoya & Bob Holly v. Billy Gunn, Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw, Salvatore Sincere & The Sultan. I only include the pre-game match because it’s the Elephant Graveyard of Dead Gimmicks. Sultan (Today: Rikishi Fatu, Sumo Wrestler) gets rid of Aldo (Today: Justin Credible) with a camel clutch without too much trouble. We take a short break in the action an AWESOME Austin-Hart promo. We return with Bart Gunn (Today: Mike Burton) taking a beating. He rallies to get Sal Sincere (Today: Tom Brandi) on a side slam. Justin Bradshaw (Today: Bradshaw) dominates Bob Holly (Today: Hardcore Holly) and pins him with the lariat. Jesse Jammes (Today: Road Dogg) cradles him in turn and pins him. Sultan comes in and suffers the same fate. Billy Gunn (Today: Mr. Ass) hits a fame-asser on Jammes and gets him, leaving the epic Smoking Gunns battle. It ends quickly as Bart gets the pin off a forearm shot at 10:42. Not bad, if totally rushed and all. **1/4 On with the show for real… Opening match: Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Leif Cassidy & Marty Jannetty v. Doug Furnas, Phil Lafon, Phineas Godwinn & Henry Godwinn. Well, 6 out of 8 isn’t bad. Slow start with Godwinns & Rockers squaring off. I still love Leif Cassidy and I wish Al Snow would channel that character (and specifically his workrate) again. HOG pins Jannetty with a slop drop. Owen dives in and gets HOG in turn with a leg lariat. Davey then gets rid of Phineas quickly with a powerslam. Hey, the dead weight is all gone! Furnas gets dominated by Owen in a cool sequence. Lafon comes in and gets Leif on a wild inverted superplex. Owen takes over on him, however, and it’s another great sequence. Lafon gets the Bulldog on a complex sunset flip, leaving Owen 2-on-1. Bulldog clips Lafon on the way out, however, evening the odds a bit. Owen works on the knee, and the Sharpshooter is broken up by Furnas. Furnas then gets the tag and absolutely destroys Owen with a series of suplexes, ending with a release german suplex, that looked like it could have broke Owen’s neck, for the pin at 20:38. Great opener, and a reminder of how great Owen was. ***3/4 Survivors: Furnas & Lafon. Mankind v. Undertaker. This was the debut of UT’s current biker look, with the black leather suit. Paul Bearer is suspended in a cage for this. UT is wearing bat wings and is lowered from the ceiling, for those who care about that sort of thing. This would be a rematch from the first Buried Alive match, where UT was, well, buried alive by Mankind. Taker goes all UFC to start, working on Mick’s arm to neutralize the mandible claw. UT no-sells the Cactus clothesline and they brawl into the crowd. Back in the ring and Mick controls, but UT bites his hand. Mick gets the claw but UT tosses him to the floor. UT hits the ropewalk for two. Mankind puts him down and goes to the top, but gets caught coming down. Mick counters with the Mandible Claw, however. Taker fights it off and chokeslams him, which was a really cool spot. Taker rolls out to take a breather and Mankind tries a somersault off the apron and misses, as usual. Back in the ring, and Mankind finds an object in his tights and plays Jerry Lawler with it. UT fights him off in the corner, however, and powers him into the tombstone for the pin at 14:49. God damn, no one gets the best out of Mark like Mick. *** UT gets five minutes with Paul as a result, but the Executioner (Terry Gordy) breaks it up and Bearer escapes. Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Crush, Goldust & Jerry Lawler v. Marc Mero, Rocky Maivia, Barry Windham & Jake Roberts. Rocky looks like such a tool. Hey, who’s the blonde chick at ringside with Mero? Rena-something, right? I would be remiss in not mentioning Sunny’s color commentary here as she goes all catty on Rena and squabbles with JR. She also claims to never smoke OR drink. Right, and I’m not the least bit biased or capitalistic. Incredibly boring start, until Rocky comes in and gets walloped. Hey, what’s that stuff he’s doing, where he gets hit and acts like he’s hurt? Oh yeah, it’s SELLING. It’s been so long since he’s done it, I’d forgotten he could. He hot tags Jake, who promptly gets a beating in the enemy corner. Lawler’s mocking of Jake is hilarious, until he takes a DDT and gets pinned. Oops. Windham then goes quietly from a Curtain Call via Goldust. HHH comes comes in and USES THE KNEE. Only took him 14 minutes to work it in. Boring Mero-HHH segment ends with Mero hitting the Merosault for the pin. He gets knocked out of the ring right after and counted out, then Crush heart-punches Jake and pins him. So it’s Rock 2-on-1. They double-team him, but heel miscommunication wackiness allows a quick pin on Crush. Shoulderbreaker gets Goldust at 23:42 for a big face pop. Man, THAT sure didn’t last long after this match. Match was horrible, by the way. 1/2* Survivor: Rocky Maivia. Bret Hart v. Steve Austin. Austin gets all in Bret’s face, and a slugfest erupts. They trade hammerlocks, and Austin gains the advantage with power moves. Bret rallies, but gets caught with a stungun. Austin works the neck, and another slugfest develops. Bret comes back with an inverted atomic drop and a rollup for two. Russian legsweep gets two. Bulldog is countered by Austin, but Bret manages a top rope elbow for two. They fight outside, and Austin rams him into the post. Bret gets pissed and they fight into the crowd. Austin catapults Bret onto the spanish table and pounds him. He drops an elbow from the apron for good measure. Back in the ring, Austin continues punishing the neck. He uses that good ol’ heel standby: The rope-assisted abdominal stretch. Bret breaks and gets a stungun on Austin in a neat bit of irony. Rolling cradle gets two. To the top, but Austin gets a superplex. Bret pulls a Dynamite Kid and cradles Austin on the mat, however, for a two count. Austin manages the Stunner out of nowhere, but takes half a second too long to cover and only gets two. He keeps covering and gets two more two counts. You NEVER see that anymore. I can understand the kickout, since Austin didn’t kick him in the gut and flip him the bird first. Austin tries a Texas Cloverleaf, and I’m thinking Vince must be going nuts trying not to jump up and yell “RING THE BELL” from ringside. Austin sends Bret crashing to the post, but Bret reverses a bow-and-arrow into the Sharpshooter. Austin makes the ropes. Bret gets a sleeper, Austin breaks, and hooks the Million Dollar Dream. Bret walks the ropes and flips over for the pin at 28:34 to end an INCREDIBLE match, possibly the last, best match in North America before the Great Changeover to the Austin era in 1997. ***** Faarooq, “Diesel”, “Razor Ramon” & Vader v. Flash Funk, Savio Vega, Yokozuna & Jimmy Snuka. Yeah, it’s the letdown of letdowns here, as the MYSTERY PARTNER OF DOOM turned out to the Superfly. This would be the debut of the retooled Faarooq and his Nation of Domination, Version 1.0. Vader & Funk start, with Funk pulling out a moonsault to the floor right away. Back in the ring, and “Razor” dominates Savio. Have I mentioned recently how utterly retarded that whole angle was? Yoko is so grotesquely, utterly, FAT here that I’m shocked he didn’t drop dead from walking to the ring. Big Daddy Dentist gets beat up in the face corner, but comes back to powerbomb Savio for the pin during a melee. Snuka gets the superfly splash on “Razor” for the pin, but then a big brawl erupts and everyone is DQ’d at 9:42 for the lamest ending ever in a Survivor Series match. DUD Survivors: None. WWF World title: Shawn Michaels v. Sid. Crowd reaction to Shawn is mixed, to say the least. Sid pounds on Shawn to start, and gets a big face pop. They get into a slugfest, which is pretty dumb on Shawn’s part. A foot race erupts, and Shawn clips Sid back in the ring, drawing big heel heat. The crowd reactions are almost as interesting as the match. Then the crowd actually starts chanting “Let’s Go Sid” during a figure-four. Sid shakes it off and starts overpowering Shawn, who then goes back to the knee and gets mad boos. Shawn does the skin-the-cat move back into the ring, and gets clotheslined by Sid. Heh. They fight outside, and Sid kills him. Back in the ring, more pummelling. Shawn manages to get to the top, but gets caught coming down with a shoulderbreaker from Sid for two. Shawn asks for more, so Sid pastes him a few times. Shawn comes back with a slam, but misses whatever from the top. Sid hits the cobra clutch, getting a two count. HBK escapes and tries the superkick, but Sid simply catches him and chokeslams him to a BIG pop. The psychology here is actually terrific, which is shocking for a Sid match. Powerbomb attempt, but Shawn reverses to a small package for two. Shawn makes the comeback, kips up, and Sid rips his head off. YEAH! Damn, I’m marking out for Sid, what the hell’s wrong with me? Sid grabs the camera from the cameraman at ringside (before y’all e-mail me, YES, I know this was “stolen” from November to Remember the night before) and nails Jose Lothario with it, who proceeds to overact a heart attack. Frighteningly, the crowd CHEERS this. Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music, but decides to check on Jose instead of covering. That costs him the match, as the ref gets bumped when Shawn gets back in, so Sid hits him with the camera to knock him out, then powerbombs and pins him to win his first World title (or major title of any kind for that matter) at 19:59. MAJOR face pop for that. This was quite possibly Sid’s best match ever, to boot. **** Shawn began a quasi-heel turn in the weeks following, which was logical, but then he did a 180 and turned face again at Royal Rumble 97, which surprised the hell out of basically everyone in the know. The Bottom Line: What the hell was I thinking back then? THIS SHOW ROCKS, BABEE! Everyone kept e-mailing me and telling me I was nuts for panning it in my “Guide to Every PPV, Ever” but I thought it was THEM who were off. Man, goes to show what difference three years makes in your thinking sometimes. Highly recommended for great wrestling and big historical value.

Survivor Series Countdown: 1996

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 96 Live from New York, NY Your hosts are Jim Ross & Vince McMahon.Free-For-All match: Bart Gunn, Jesse Jammes, Aldo Montoya & Bob Holly v. Billy Gunn, Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw, Salvatore Sincere & The Sultan. I only include the pre-game match because it’s the Elephant Graveyard of Dead Gimmicks. Sultan (Today: Rikishi Fatu, Sumo Wrestler) gets rid of Aldo (Today: Justin Credible) with a camel clutch without too much trouble. We take a short break in the action an AWESOME Austin-Hart promo. We return with Bart Gunn (Today: Mike Burton) taking a beating. He rallies to get Sal Sincere (Today: Tom Brandi) on a side slam. Justin Bradshaw (Today: Bradshaw) dominates Bob Holly (Today: Hardcore Holly) and pins him with the lariat. Jesse Jammes (Today: Road Dogg) cradles him in turn and pins him. Sultan comes in and suffers the same fate. Billy Gunn (Today: Mr. Ass) hits a fame-asser on Jammes and gets him, leaving the epic Smoking Gunns battle. It ends quickly as Bart gets the pin off a forearm shot at 10:42. Not bad, if totally rushed and all. **1/4 On with the show for real… Opening match: Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Leif Cassidy & Marty Jannetty v. Doug Furnas, Phil Lafon, Phineas Godwinn & Henry Godwinn. Well, 6 out of 8 isn’t bad. Slow start with Godwinns & Rockers squaring off. I still love Leif Cassidy and I wish Al Snow would channel that character (and specifically his workrate) again. HOG pins Jannetty with a slop drop. Owen dives in and gets HOG in turn with a leg lariat. Davey then gets rid of Phineas quickly with a powerslam. Hey, the dead weight is all gone! Furnas gets dominated by Owen in a cool sequence. Lafon comes in and gets Leif on a wild inverted superplex. Owen takes over on him, however, and it’s another great sequence. Lafon gets the Bulldog on a complex sunset flip, leaving Owen 2-on-1. Bulldog clips Lafon on the way out, however, evening the odds a bit. Owen works on the knee, and the Sharpshooter is broken up by Furnas. Furnas then gets the tag and absolutely destroys Owen with a series of suplexes, ending with a release german suplex, that looked like it could have broke Owen’s neck, for the pin at 20:38. Great opener, and a reminder of how great Owen was. ***3/4 Survivors: Furnas & Lafon. Mankind v. Undertaker. This was the debut of UT’s current biker look, with the black leather suit. Paul Bearer is suspended in a cage for this. UT is wearing bat wings and is lowered from the ceiling, for those who care about that sort of thing. This would be a rematch from the first Buried Alive match, where UT was, well, buried alive by Mankind. Taker goes all UFC to start, working on Mick’s arm to neutralize the mandible claw. UT no-sells the Cactus clothesline and they brawl into the crowd. Back in the ring and Mick controls, but UT bites his hand. Mick gets the claw but UT tosses him to the floor. UT hits the ropewalk for two. Mankind puts him down and goes to the top, but gets caught coming down. Mick counters with the Mandible Claw, however. Taker fights it off and chokeslams him, which was a really cool spot. Taker rolls out to take a breather and Mankind tries a somersault off the apron and misses, as usual. Back in the ring, and Mankind finds an object in his tights and plays Jerry Lawler with it. UT fights him off in the corner, however, and powers him into the tombstone for the pin at 14:49. God damn, no one gets the best out of Mark like Mick. *** UT gets five minutes with Paul as a result, but the Executioner (Terry Gordy) breaks it up and Bearer escapes. Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Crush, Goldust & Jerry Lawler v. Marc Mero, Rocky Maivia, Barry Windham & Jake Roberts. Rocky looks like such a tool. Hey, who’s the blonde chick at ringside with Mero? Rena-something, right? I would be remiss in not mentioning Sunny’s color commentary here as she goes all catty on Rena and squabbles with JR. She also claims to never smoke OR drink. Right, and I’m not the least bit biased or capitalistic. Incredibly boring start, until Rocky comes in and gets walloped. Hey, what’s that stuff he’s doing, where he gets hit and acts like he’s hurt? Oh yeah, it’s SELLING. It’s been so long since he’s done it, I’d forgotten he could. He hot tags Jake, who promptly gets a beating in the enemy corner. Lawler’s mocking of Jake is hilarious, until he takes a DDT and gets pinned. Oops. Windham then goes quietly from a Curtain Call via Goldust. HHH comes comes in and USES THE KNEE. Only took him 14 minutes to work it in. Boring Mero-HHH segment ends with Mero hitting the Merosault for the pin. He gets knocked out of the ring right after and counted out, then Crush heart-punches Jake and pins him. So it’s Rock 2-on-1. They double-team him, but heel miscommunication wackiness allows a quick pin on Crush. Shoulderbreaker gets Goldust at 23:42 for a big face pop. Man, THAT sure didn’t last long after this match. Match was horrible, by the way. 1/2* Survivor: Rocky Maivia. Bret Hart v. Steve Austin. Austin gets all in Bret’s face, and a slugfest erupts. They trade hammerlocks, and Austin gains the advantage with power moves. Bret rallies, but gets caught with a stungun. Austin works the neck, and another slugfest develops. Bret comes back with an inverted atomic drop and a rollup for two. Russian legsweep gets two. Bulldog is countered by Austin, but Bret manages a top rope elbow for two. They fight outside, and Austin rams him into the post. Bret gets pissed and they fight into the crowd. Austin catapults Bret onto the spanish table and pounds him. He drops an elbow from the apron for good measure. Back in the ring, Austin continues punishing the neck. He uses that good ol’ heel standby: The rope-assisted abdominal stretch. Bret breaks and gets a stungun on Austin in a neat bit of irony. Rolling cradle gets two. To the top, but Austin gets a superplex. Bret pulls a Dynamite Kid and cradles Austin on the mat, however, for a two count. Austin manages the Stunner out of nowhere, but takes half a second too long to cover and only gets two. He keeps covering and gets two more two counts. You NEVER see that anymore. I can understand the kickout, since Austin didn’t kick him in the gut and flip him the bird first. Austin tries a Texas Cloverleaf, and I’m thinking Vince must be going nuts trying not to jump up and yell “RING THE BELL” from ringside. Austin sends Bret crashing to the post, but Bret reverses a bow-and-arrow into the Sharpshooter. Austin makes the ropes. Bret gets a sleeper, Austin breaks, and hooks the Million Dollar Dream. Bret walks the ropes and flips over for the pin at 28:34 to end an INCREDIBLE match, possibly the last, best match in North America before the Great Changeover to the Austin era in 1997. ***** Faarooq, “Diesel”, “Razor Ramon” & Vader v. Flash Funk, Savio Vega, Yokozuna & Jimmy Snuka. Yeah, it’s the letdown of letdowns here, as the MYSTERY PARTNER OF DOOM turned out to the Superfly. This would be the debut of the retooled Faarooq and his Nation of Domination, Version 1.0. Vader & Funk start, with Funk pulling out a moonsault to the floor right away. Back in the ring, and “Razor” dominates Savio. Have I mentioned recently how utterly retarded that whole angle was? Yoko is so grotesquely, utterly, FAT here that I’m shocked he didn’t drop dead from walking to the ring. Big Daddy Dentist gets beat up in the face corner, but comes back to powerbomb Savio for the pin during a melee. Snuka gets the superfly splash on “Razor” for the pin, but then a big brawl erupts and everyone is DQ’d at 9:42 for the lamest ending ever in a Survivor Series match. DUD Survivors: None. WWF World title: Shawn Michaels v. Sid. Crowd reaction to Shawn is mixed, to say the least. Sid pounds on Shawn to start, and gets a big face pop. They get into a slugfest, which is pretty dumb on Shawn’s part. A foot race erupts, and Shawn clips Sid back in the ring, drawing big heel heat. The crowd reactions are almost as interesting as the match. Then the crowd actually starts chanting “Let’s Go Sid” during a figure-four. Sid shakes it off and starts overpowering Shawn, who then goes back to the knee and gets mad boos. Shawn does the skin-the-cat move back into the ring, and gets clotheslined by Sid. Heh. They fight outside, and Sid kills him. Back in the ring, more pummelling. Shawn manages to get to the top, but gets caught coming down with a shoulderbreaker from Sid for two. Shawn asks for more, so Sid pastes him a few times. Shawn comes back with a slam, but misses whatever from the top. Sid hits the cobra clutch, getting a two count. HBK escapes and tries the superkick, but Sid simply catches him and chokeslams him to a BIG pop. The psychology here is actually terrific, which is shocking for a Sid match. Powerbomb attempt, but Shawn reverses to a small package for two. Shawn makes the comeback, kips up, and Sid rips his head off. YEAH! Damn, I’m marking out for Sid, what the hell’s wrong with me? Sid grabs the camera from the cameraman at ringside (before y’all e-mail me, YES, I know this was “stolen” from November to Remember the night before) and nails Jose Lothario with it, who proceeds to overact a heart attack. Frighteningly, the crowd CHEERS this. Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music, but decides to check on Jose instead of covering. That costs him the match, as the ref gets bumped when Shawn gets back in, so Sid hits him with the camera to knock him out, then powerbombs and pins him to win his first World title (or major title of any kind for that matter) at 19:59. MAJOR face pop for that. This was quite possibly Sid’s best match ever, to boot. **** Shawn began a quasi-heel turn in the weeks following, which was logical, but then he did a 180 and turned face again at Royal Rumble 97, which surprised the hell out of basically everyone in the know. The Bottom Line: What the hell was I thinking back then? THIS SHOW ROCKS, BABEE! Everyone kept e-mailing me and telling me I was nuts for panning it in my “Guide to Every PPV, Ever” but I thought it was THEM who were off. Man, goes to show what difference three years makes in your thinking sometimes. Highly recommended for great wrestling and big historical value.

Survivor Series Countdown: 1995

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1995 – This is one of those weird shows, in that Vince was completely self-destructing behind the scenes, but the product was great for some reason. Maybe distraction allows him to focus better or something, who knows. – Live from Washington, DC– Your hosts are Vincent K, Jim Ross, and making his surprise return…Mr. Perfect. By the way, I actually had a few people e-mail and ask me this, so let me clear up a Netcop Joke: Mr. Spiffy is my pet name for Mr. Perfect, because when he joined WCW in 1997 it was obvious he was never going to get over as “Curt Hennig”, so I suggested that they call him the next best thing — Mr. Spiffy. He could then say things like “Now that’s what I call…spiffy!” and have some fun parodying himself by doing skits where he’d be almost, but not quite, perfect at various sports, missing by a few inches each time. Anyway… – Opening match: Marty Jannetty, Hakushi, Barry Horowitz & Bob Holly v. Bodydonna Skip, Rad Radford, Dr. Tom Pritchard & The 1-2-3 Kid. This would be Kid’s debut as a heel, one week after guest-reffing a match between Ramon and Sid, and turning on him. Rad Radford (the late Louie Spicoli) is a “Bodydonna in training” at this point, although ironically it would be PRITCHARD who would shortly be repackaged as “Zip”, Skip’s partner. Jannetty cleans house to start, and he looks thoroughly baked so tags out quickly. Rad gets the better of Hakushi, who then gets beat on in the heel corner. Crowd starts chanting for Barry Horowitz, which is pretty surreal. I still wonder why Vince didn’t just PUSH the guy if he was so over. It’s not rocket science, I mean it’s not like there’s some genetic code that says a guy has to be a jobber his entire career. Holly gets a quick pin on the Doctor with a flying bodypress, and Skip rolls *him* up right after to send him packing. Hakushi and the Kid do a great little sequence, and Radford pins Hakushi after Kid kicks him in the head. Horowitz and the Kid go next, with Barry taking a beating. Radford continues it, but keeps picking him up. And what happens when a heel keeps picking up a jobber, kids? That’s right — he gets pinned while showboating, and this is no exception. Sunny yells at him, pretty much disqualifying him from the Bodydonna Sweepstakes. Skip & Barry have their showdown, but Kid pins Barry after a snap legdrop, leaving Janetty 2-on-1. He does a cool sequence with Skip, pinning him after a top rope powerbomb! That was pretty unheard of at that time in the WWF. Kid comes in and mops up with Jannetty, pinning him after an assist from Sid at 18:36. Minus a bit for the bad ending, but otherwise this was the shiznit, if you will. ***3/4 Survivor: 1-2-3 Kid. – Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe & Lioness Asuka v. Alundra Blayze, Sakie Hasegawa, Kyoko Inoue & Chapparita Asari. I had to get the names from the PWI Almanac because they had fucking Dok Hendrix shilling the crappy Survivor Series Commemorative T-shirt during the ring introductions. At least it’s not that Barry guy. And this would be a total spotfest as the women are basically given 10 minutes to wow the crowd. So Asari goes and pulls out the first ever Sky Twister Press on PPV, which is called “Whatamaneuver” by Vince, then called properly by JR. Blayze pins Asuka with the german suplex soon after. Hasegawa hits a chain of 5 double-underhook suplexes while we’re watching the replay of the Sky Twister Press. See, Vince had absolutely no idea how to deal with any match that exceeded the North American pace, which is why it took so long for him to grasp the whole cruiserweight concept. Aja Kong comes in and kick’s Hasegawa’s ass. Kong can best be described as the female Vader, I guess. The only woman I ever really followed in Japan was Akira Hokuto, so I’m pretty much at JR’s mercy for the backstory on these chicks. Aja nails a NASTY backdrop suplex, dropping Hasegawa right on her head, to get the pin. Asari comes in and tries a cross-body, bouncing right off Aja, then gets splashed and pinned. Inoue comes in and does a little more damage, but tries a sunset flip and gets sat on for the pin. That leaves Alundra 3-on-1. Blayze dominates Watanabe and pins her after a piledriver. Faye & Kong have a heel miscommunication moment and Bertha gets suplexed and pinned by Alundra. So it’s Kong v. Blayze. Alunda hits a missile dropkick and a standing moonsault, but Aja shoves her off the top rope and pins her after a spinning backhand at 10:00. Pretty damn good, given the circumstances. *** Survivor: Aja Kong. This was supposed to start Blayze’s next big program, but she went and dumped the Women’s title in a trash can on Nitro, the night after this if I’m not mistaken. – And since we’re in Washington, we get a visit from the fake Clinton for some hijinks. – Bam Bam Bigelow v. Goldust. Goldust’s entrance takes FOREVER. At this point he was just weird, rather than sexually deviant. Goldust s..l..o..w..l..y wears down the Bammer, then pins him with a bulldog at 8:18. Oh my god, that sucked. 1/4* Honest to god, I had nothing interesting to write between the introductions and the pinfall, it was that boring. – The Undertaker, Henry Godwinn, Fatu & Savio Vega v. King Mabel, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Isaac Yankem & Jerry Lawler. The story here is that, during the crack-induced period when Vince hired Bill Watts to book, Mabel did a big fat legdrop on UT’s face and broke it, necessitating a goofy purple mask that looks like something Kyle Raynor would be wearing today. Needless to say, Taker is PISSED, and is thus more over than ever. Most of the match (11 minutes to be exact) is meaningless filler, as the teams go through the motions of a match and the faces deliberately don’t tag UT in, saving him up for the big finish. Perfect, by the way, tells McMahon that Helmsley prefers to be called “Triple H”, although that name didn’t catch on until two years after this. Undertaker finally gets the hot tag, and obliterates the heel team. Lawler tries to run away, but none of the team will tag him, and the result is a tombstone, to a HUGE pop. Goodbye. Yankem comes in next, tombstone, goodbye. Of course, it would take THREE tombstones for UT to do the same thing when Wrestlemania XIV rolled around. HHH tries, gets chokeslammed from the ring apron into the ring, see ya. Mabel gets the brief advantage but UT sits up, and that’s all Mabel needs to see, deciding to take the smart route and run away to fight another day. Taker’s team gets the win at 14:23, with the entire team surviving. 1/2* – Wild Card match: Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, The British Bulldog & Sid v. Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon & Dean Douglas. If you’re thinking this team looks weird, you’re right. It was set up by Gorilla Monsoon stir things up. We get the one-and-only Shawn v. Shane match pretty early in, and it’s pretty good. Ahmed comes in and kicks ass, but tries to slam Yoko, which is immensely not smart. He gets beat on for a bit, then tags in Shawn, who pins Douglas on a rollup. Owen & Bulldog go next, then Shawn & Razor. JR wonders if they can have a match not involving a ladder. Razor gets the Edge, but Ahmed makes the save. Crowd is torn on who to cheer for. Sid comes in and stinks up the joint. He calls for Shawn’s help on a double-team superkick, but Ramon ducks and Sid takes it. Shawn gives a hilarious “Oh, well…” shrug, and Ramon pins Sid. Sid powerbombs Shawn for being a smart-ass, and I can’t say as I blame him. Razor gets two from it. Shawn then gets pummeled by Yokozuna, including that VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM. Ahmed gets the hot tag and pins Owen quickly with the tiger bomb. Ramon cleans house but takes a spinebuster from Ahmed. Ahmed poses on the second rope, and Ramon comes from behind and Edge’s him off. Sid & Kid wander to ringside and distract Ramon, and he walks into a Bulldog powerslam as a result and gets pinned. So Yoko is 3-on-1. He does well against Shawn, but misses the FAT-ASSED BUTTDROP OF DEATH and Ahmed gets the hot tag. Bodyslam! Davey Boy comes in to break up the pin, because he’s a bad person and all. So Shawn superkicks Yoko and then ties up the Bulldog, allowing Ahmed to get the pin unfettered at 27:23. And now of course the Bulldog wants to celebrate with his teammates. Match wasn’t terrible. **1/4 Survivors: Michaels, Johnson, Bulldog. – WWF World title match: Diesel v. Bret Hart. Hart v. Michaels was already pencilled in for WM12, so it’s not like the result here was a secret of national security or anything. Diesel and Bret both pull off turnbuckle pads to reinforce that it’s no-DQ. Diesel pounds Bret in the corner, so Bret bails. They fight outside for a bit as Bret uncharacteristically runs like a chicken. Back in the ring for a slugfest, which Bret loses. He bails again, so Diesel rams him backfirst into the post. He grabs a chair and nails him for good measure. Back in the ring and he goes for the powerbomb early, but Bret blocks it and comes back. Lots of cheap stuff from Bret, then he starts working on the knees of the champ. Figure-four wears him down further, then Bret grabs a cable in an amazingly dickish move and hogtie’s Diesel’s ankles around the post. He takes the chair and demolishes his knee with it, actually drawing boos. Diesel finally looses himself and slams Bret off the top rope, then chokes him out with the cable. Side slam gets a two count. Nash is doing an amazing job of selling the injury at this point, the best I’ve ever seen him do. He manages Snake Eyes, but Bret reverses a second attempt and comes back. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Bret sends Diesel to the floor, but the pescado misses. Bret crawls onto the apron, and it’s HISTORY TIME! The biggest running gag in WWF’s history begins here, as Diesel shoves Bret off the apron, right through the Spanish announce table. Bret is acting like he’s on his deathbed. Diesel tosses him back in for the kill, but when he goes for the powerbomb Bret simply collapses. The ref wants to stop the match, but Diesel shoves him aside and tries it again…and Bret small packages him out of nowhere for the pin and the title at 24:50. Diesel clearly mouths a very naughty phrase at the camera which rhymes with “Another trucking skit”, then powerbombs Bret twice and takes out a bunch of refs, yelling “I’M BACK!” at the camera. He started pissing off the Undertaker soon after, and got jobbed out, leading to him joining WCW in 1996. Wonder whatever happened to him? This would be Nash’s second-best match ever, only eclipsed by the one he had with Michaels in 1996. ****1/4 The Bottom Line: Can’t lose here. Even if the offices of the WWF were going to hell, the workers were shining, especially the rising Shawn Michaels, the resurgent Bret Hart, and the newly motivated Diesel. Recommended show.

Survivor Series Countdown: 1995

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1995 – This is one of those weird shows, in that Vince was completely self-destructing behind the scenes, but the product was great for some reason. Maybe distraction allows him to focus better or something, who knows. – Live from Washington, DC– Your hosts are Vincent K, Jim Ross, and making his surprise return…Mr. Perfect. By the way, I actually had a few people e-mail and ask me this, so let me clear up a Netcop Joke: Mr. Spiffy is my pet name for Mr. Perfect, because when he joined WCW in 1997 it was obvious he was never going to get over as “Curt Hennig”, so I suggested that they call him the next best thing — Mr. Spiffy. He could then say things like “Now that’s what I call…spiffy!” and have some fun parodying himself by doing skits where he’d be almost, but not quite, perfect at various sports, missing by a few inches each time. Anyway… – Opening match: Marty Jannetty, Hakushi, Barry Horowitz & Bob Holly v. Bodydonna Skip, Rad Radford, Dr. Tom Pritchard & The 1-2-3 Kid. This would be Kid’s debut as a heel, one week after guest-reffing a match between Ramon and Sid, and turning on him. Rad Radford (the late Louie Spicoli) is a “Bodydonna in training” at this point, although ironically it would be PRITCHARD who would shortly be repackaged as “Zip”, Skip’s partner. Jannetty cleans house to start, and he looks thoroughly baked so tags out quickly. Rad gets the better of Hakushi, who then gets beat on in the heel corner. Crowd starts chanting for Barry Horowitz, which is pretty surreal. I still wonder why Vince didn’t just PUSH the guy if he was so over. It’s not rocket science, I mean it’s not like there’s some genetic code that says a guy has to be a jobber his entire career. Holly gets a quick pin on the Doctor with a flying bodypress, and Skip rolls *him* up right after to send him packing. Hakushi and the Kid do a great little sequence, and Radford pins Hakushi after Kid kicks him in the head. Horowitz and the Kid go next, with Barry taking a beating. Radford continues it, but keeps picking him up. And what happens when a heel keeps picking up a jobber, kids? That’s right — he gets pinned while showboating, and this is no exception. Sunny yells at him, pretty much disqualifying him from the Bodydonna Sweepstakes. Skip & Barry have their showdown, but Kid pins Barry after a snap legdrop, leaving Janetty 2-on-1. He does a cool sequence with Skip, pinning him after a top rope powerbomb! That was pretty unheard of at that time in the WWF. Kid comes in and mops up with Jannetty, pinning him after an assist from Sid at 18:36. Minus a bit for the bad ending, but otherwise this was the shiznit, if you will. ***3/4 Survivor: 1-2-3 Kid. – Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe & Lioness Asuka v. Alundra Blayze, Sakie Hasegawa, Kyoko Inoue & Chapparita Asari. I had to get the names from the PWI Almanac because they had fucking Dok Hendrix shilling the crappy Survivor Series Commemorative T-shirt during the ring introductions. At least it’s not that Barry guy. And this would be a total spotfest as the women are basically given 10 minutes to wow the crowd. So Asari goes and pulls out the first ever Sky Twister Press on PPV, which is called “Whatamaneuver” by Vince, then called properly by JR. Blayze pins Asuka with the german suplex soon after. Hasegawa hits a chain of 5 double-underhook suplexes while we’re watching the replay of the Sky Twister Press. See, Vince had absolutely no idea how to deal with any match that exceeded the North American pace, which is why it took so long for him to grasp the whole cruiserweight concept. Aja Kong comes in and kick’s Hasegawa’s ass. Kong can best be described as the female Vader, I guess. The only woman I ever really followed in Japan was Akira Hokuto, so I’m pretty much at JR’s mercy for the backstory on these chicks. Aja nails a NASTY backdrop suplex, dropping Hasegawa right on her head, to get the pin. Asari comes in and tries a cross-body, bouncing right off Aja, then gets splashed and pinned. Inoue comes in and does a little more damage, but tries a sunset flip and gets sat on for the pin. That leaves Alundra 3-on-1. Blayze dominates Watanabe and pins her after a piledriver. Faye & Kong have a heel miscommunication moment and Bertha gets suplexed and pinned by Alundra. So it’s Kong v. Blayze. Alunda hits a missile dropkick and a standing moonsault, but Aja shoves her off the top rope and pins her after a spinning backhand at 10:00. Pretty damn good, given the circumstances. *** Survivor: Aja Kong. This was supposed to start Blayze’s next big program, but she went and dumped the Women’s title in a trash can on Nitro, the night after this if I’m not mistaken. – And since we’re in Washington, we get a visit from the fake Clinton for some hijinks. – Bam Bam Bigelow v. Goldust. Goldust’s entrance takes FOREVER. At this point he was just weird, rather than sexually deviant. Goldust s..l..o..w..l..y wears down the Bammer, then pins him with a bulldog at 8:18. Oh my god, that sucked. 1/4* Honest to god, I had nothing interesting to write between the introductions and the pinfall, it was that boring. – The Undertaker, Henry Godwinn, Fatu & Savio Vega v. King Mabel, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Isaac Yankem & Jerry Lawler. The story here is that, during the crack-induced period when Vince hired Bill Watts to book, Mabel did a big fat legdrop on UT’s face and broke it, necessitating a goofy purple mask that looks like something Kyle Raynor would be wearing today. Needless to say, Taker is PISSED, and is thus more over than ever. Most of the match (11 minutes to be exact) is meaningless filler, as the teams go through the motions of a match and the faces deliberately don’t tag UT in, saving him up for the big finish. Perfect, by the way, tells McMahon that Helmsley prefers to be called “Triple H”, although that name didn’t catch on until two years after this. Undertaker finally gets the hot tag, and obliterates the heel team. Lawler tries to run away, but none of the team will tag him, and the result is a tombstone, to a HUGE pop. Goodbye. Yankem comes in next, tombstone, goodbye. Of course, it would take THREE tombstones for UT to do the same thing when Wrestlemania XIV rolled around. HHH tries, gets chokeslammed from the ring apron into the ring, see ya. Mabel gets the brief advantage but UT sits up, and that’s all Mabel needs to see, deciding to take the smart route and run away to fight another day. Taker’s team gets the win at 14:23, with the entire team surviving. 1/2* – Wild Card match: Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, The British Bulldog & Sid v. Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon & Dean Douglas. If you’re thinking this team looks weird, you’re right. It was set up by Gorilla Monsoon stir things up. We get the one-and-only Shawn v. Shane match pretty early in, and it’s pretty good. Ahmed comes in and kicks ass, but tries to slam Yoko, which is immensely not smart. He gets beat on for a bit, then tags in Shawn, who pins Douglas on a rollup. Owen & Bulldog go next, then Shawn & Razor. JR wonders if they can have a match not involving a ladder. Razor gets the Edge, but Ahmed makes the save. Crowd is torn on who to cheer for. Sid comes in and stinks up the joint. He calls for Shawn’s help on a double-team superkick, but Ramon ducks and Sid takes it. Shawn gives a hilarious “Oh, well…” shrug, and Ramon pins Sid. Sid powerbombs Shawn for being a smart-ass, and I can’t say as I blame him. Razor gets two from it. Shawn then gets pummeled by Yokozuna, including that VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM. Ahmed gets the hot tag and pins Owen quickly with the tiger bomb. Ramon cleans house but takes a spinebuster from Ahmed. Ahmed poses on the second rope, and Ramon comes from behind and Edge’s him off. Sid & Kid wander to ringside and distract Ramon, and he walks into a Bulldog powerslam as a result and gets pinned. So Yoko is 3-on-1. He does well against Shawn, but misses the FAT-ASSED BUTTDROP OF DEATH and Ahmed gets the hot tag. Bodyslam! Davey Boy comes in to break up the pin, because he’s a bad person and all. So Shawn superkicks Yoko and then ties up the Bulldog, allowing Ahmed to get the pin unfettered at 27:23. And now of course the Bulldog wants to celebrate with his teammates. Match wasn’t terrible. **1/4 Survivors: Michaels, Johnson, Bulldog. – WWF World title match: Diesel v. Bret Hart. Hart v. Michaels was already pencilled in for WM12, so it’s not like the result here was a secret of national security or anything. Diesel and Bret both pull off turnbuckle pads to reinforce that it’s no-DQ. Diesel pounds Bret in the corner, so Bret bails. They fight outside for a bit as Bret uncharacteristically runs like a chicken. Back in the ring for a slugfest, which Bret loses. He bails again, so Diesel rams him backfirst into the post. He grabs a chair and nails him for good measure. Back in the ring and he goes for the powerbomb early, but Bret blocks it and comes back. Lots of cheap stuff from Bret, then he starts working on the knees of the champ. Figure-four wears him down further, then Bret grabs a cable in an amazingly dickish move and hogtie’s Diesel’s ankles around the post. He takes the chair and demolishes his knee with it, actually drawing boos. Diesel finally looses himself and slams Bret off the top rope, then chokes him out with the cable. Side slam gets a two count. Nash is doing an amazing job of selling the injury at this point, the best I’ve ever seen him do. He manages Snake Eyes, but Bret reverses a second attempt and comes back. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Bret sends Diesel to the floor, but the pescado misses. Bret crawls onto the apron, and it’s HISTORY TIME! The biggest running gag in WWF’s history begins here, as Diesel shoves Bret off the apron, right through the Spanish announce table. Bret is acting like he’s on his deathbed. Diesel tosses him back in for the kill, but when he goes for the powerbomb Bret simply collapses. The ref wants to stop the match, but Diesel shoves him aside and tries it again…and Bret small packages him out of nowhere for the pin and the title at 24:50. Diesel clearly mouths a very naughty phrase at the camera which rhymes with “Another trucking skit”, then powerbombs Bret twice and takes out a bunch of refs, yelling “I’M BACK!” at the camera. He started pissing off the Undertaker soon after, and got jobbed out, leading to him joining WCW in 1996. Wonder whatever happened to him? This would be Nash’s second-best match ever, only eclipsed by the one he had with Michaels in 1996. ****1/4 The Bottom Line: Can’t lose here. Even if the offices of the WWF were going to hell, the workers were shining, especially the rising Shawn Michaels, the resurgent Bret Hart, and the newly motivated Diesel. Recommended show.

Survivor Series Countdown: 1995

The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1995 – This is one of those weird shows, in that Vince was completely self-destructing behind the scenes, but the product was great for some reason. Maybe distraction allows him to focus better or something, who knows. – Live from Washington, DC– Your hosts are Vincent K, Jim Ross, and making his surprise return…Mr. Perfect. By the way, I actually had a few people e-mail and ask me this, so let me clear up a Netcop Joke: Mr. Spiffy is my pet name for Mr. Perfect, because when he joined WCW in 1997 it was obvious he was never going to get over as “Curt Hennig”, so I suggested that they call him the next best thing — Mr. Spiffy. He could then say things like “Now that’s what I call…spiffy!” and have some fun parodying himself by doing skits where he’d be almost, but not quite, perfect at various sports, missing by a few inches each time. Anyway… – Opening match: Marty Jannetty, Hakushi, Barry Horowitz & Bob Holly v. Bodydonna Skip, Rad Radford, Dr. Tom Pritchard & The 1-2-3 Kid. This would be Kid’s debut as a heel, one week after guest-reffing a match between Ramon and Sid, and turning on him. Rad Radford (the late Louie Spicoli) is a “Bodydonna in training” at this point, although ironically it would be PRITCHARD who would shortly be repackaged as “Zip”, Skip’s partner. Jannetty cleans house to start, and he looks thoroughly baked so tags out quickly. Rad gets the better of Hakushi, who then gets beat on in the heel corner. Crowd starts chanting for Barry Horowitz, which is pretty surreal. I still wonder why Vince didn’t just PUSH the guy if he was so over. It’s not rocket science, I mean it’s not like there’s some genetic code that says a guy has to be a jobber his entire career. Holly gets a quick pin on the Doctor with a flying bodypress, and Skip rolls *him* up right after to send him packing. Hakushi and the Kid do a great little sequence, and Radford pins Hakushi after Kid kicks him in the head. Horowitz and the Kid go next, with Barry taking a beating. Radford continues it, but keeps picking him up. And what happens when a heel keeps picking up a jobber, kids? That’s right — he gets pinned while showboating, and this is no exception. Sunny yells at him, pretty much disqualifying him from the Bodydonna Sweepstakes. Skip & Barry have their showdown, but Kid pins Barry after a snap legdrop, leaving Janetty 2-on-1. He does a cool sequence with Skip, pinning him after a top rope powerbomb! That was pretty unheard of at that time in the WWF. Kid comes in and mops up with Jannetty, pinning him after an assist from Sid at 18:36. Minus a bit for the bad ending, but otherwise this was the shiznit, if you will. ***3/4 Survivor: 1-2-3 Kid. – Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe & Lioness Asuka v. Alundra Blayze, Sakie Hasegawa, Kyoko Inoue & Chapparita Asari. I had to get the names from the PWI Almanac because they had fucking Dok Hendrix shilling the crappy Survivor Series Commemorative T-shirt during the ring introductions. At least it’s not that Barry guy. And this would be a total spotfest as the women are basically given 10 minutes to wow the crowd. So Asari goes and pulls out the first ever Sky Twister Press on PPV, which is called “Whatamaneuver” by Vince, then called properly by JR. Blayze pins Asuka with the german suplex soon after. Hasegawa hits a chain of 5 double-underhook suplexes while we’re watching the replay of the Sky Twister Press. See, Vince had absolutely no idea how to deal with any match that exceeded the North American pace, which is why it took so long for him to grasp the whole cruiserweight concept. Aja Kong comes in and kick’s Hasegawa’s ass. Kong can best be described as the female Vader, I guess. The only woman I ever really followed in Japan was Akira Hokuto, so I’m pretty much at JR’s mercy for the backstory on these chicks. Aja nails a NASTY backdrop suplex, dropping Hasegawa right on her head, to get the pin. Asari comes in and tries a cross-body, bouncing right off Aja, then gets splashed and pinned. Inoue comes in and does a little more damage, but tries a sunset flip and gets sat on for the pin. That leaves Alundra 3-on-1. Blayze dominates Watanabe and pins her after a piledriver. Faye & Kong have a heel miscommunication moment and Bertha gets suplexed and pinned by Alundra. So it’s Kong v. Blayze. Alunda hits a missile dropkick and a standing moonsault, but Aja shoves her off the top rope and pins her after a spinning backhand at 10:00. Pretty damn good, given the circumstances. *** Survivor: Aja Kong. This was supposed to start Blayze’s next big program, but she went and dumped the Women’s title in a trash can on Nitro, the night after this if I’m not mistaken. – And since we’re in Washington, we get a visit from the fake Clinton for some hijinks. – Bam Bam Bigelow v. Goldust. Goldust’s entrance takes FOREVER. At this point he was just weird, rather than sexually deviant. Goldust s..l..o..w..l..y wears down the Bammer, then pins him with a bulldog at 8:18. Oh my god, that sucked. 1/4* Honest to god, I had nothing interesting to write between the introductions and the pinfall, it was that boring. – The Undertaker, Henry Godwinn, Fatu & Savio Vega v. King Mabel, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Isaac Yankem & Jerry Lawler. The story here is that, during the crack-induced period when Vince hired Bill Watts to book, Mabel did a big fat legdrop on UT’s face and broke it, necessitating a goofy purple mask that looks like something Kyle Raynor would be wearing today. Needless to say, Taker is PISSED, and is thus more over than ever. Most of the match (11 minutes to be exact) is meaningless filler, as the teams go through the motions of a match and the faces deliberately don’t tag UT in, saving him up for the big finish. Perfect, by the way, tells McMahon that Helmsley prefers to be called “Triple H”, although that name didn’t catch on until two years after this. Undertaker finally gets the hot tag, and obliterates the heel team. Lawler tries to run away, but none of the team will tag him, and the result is a tombstone, to a HUGE pop. Goodbye. Yankem comes in next, tombstone, goodbye. Of course, it would take THREE tombstones for UT to do the same thing when Wrestlemania XIV rolled around. HHH tries, gets chokeslammed from the ring apron into the ring, see ya. Mabel gets the brief advantage but UT sits up, and that’s all Mabel needs to see, deciding to take the smart route and run away to fight another day. Taker’s team gets the win at 14:23, with the entire team surviving. 1/2* – Wild Card match: Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, The British Bulldog & Sid v. Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon & Dean Douglas. If you’re thinking this team looks weird, you’re right. It was set up by Gorilla Monsoon stir things up. We get the one-and-only Shawn v. Shane match pretty early in, and it’s pretty good. Ahmed comes in and kicks ass, but tries to slam Yoko, which is immensely not smart. He gets beat on for a bit, then tags in Shawn, who pins Douglas on a rollup. Owen & Bulldog go next, then Shawn & Razor. JR wonders if they can have a match not involving a ladder. Razor gets the Edge, but Ahmed makes the save. Crowd is torn on who to cheer for. Sid comes in and stinks up the joint. He calls for Shawn’s help on a double-team superkick, but Ramon ducks and Sid takes it. Shawn gives a hilarious “Oh, well…” shrug, and Ramon pins Sid. Sid powerbombs Shawn for being a smart-ass, and I can’t say as I blame him. Razor gets two from it. Shawn then gets pummeled by Yokozuna, including that VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM. Ahmed gets the hot tag and pins Owen quickly with the tiger bomb. Ramon cleans house but takes a spinebuster from Ahmed. Ahmed poses on the second rope, and Ramon comes from behind and Edge’s him off. Sid & Kid wander to ringside and distract Ramon, and he walks into a Bulldog powerslam as a result and gets pinned. So Yoko is 3-on-1. He does well against Shawn, but misses the FAT-ASSED BUTTDROP OF DEATH and Ahmed gets the hot tag. Bodyslam! Davey Boy comes in to break up the pin, because he’s a bad person and all. So Shawn superkicks Yoko and then ties up the Bulldog, allowing Ahmed to get the pin unfettered at 27:23. And now of course the Bulldog wants to celebrate with his teammates. Match wasn’t terrible. **1/4 Survivors: Michaels, Johnson, Bulldog. – WWF World title match: Diesel v. Bret Hart. Hart v. Michaels was already pencilled in for WM12, so it’s not like the result here was a secret of national security or anything. Diesel and Bret both pull off turnbuckle pads to reinforce that it’s no-DQ. Diesel pounds Bret in the corner, so Bret bails. They fight outside for a bit as Bret uncharacteristically runs like a chicken. Back in the ring for a slugfest, which Bret loses. He bails again, so Diesel rams him backfirst into the post. He grabs a chair and nails him for good measure. Back in the ring and he goes for the powerbomb early, but Bret blocks it and comes back. Lots of cheap stuff from Bret, then he starts working on the knees of the champ. Figure-four wears him down further, then Bret grabs a cable in an amazingly dickish move and hogtie’s Diesel’s ankles around the post. He takes the chair and demolishes his knee with it, actually drawing boos. Diesel finally looses himself and slams Bret off the top rope, then chokes him out with the cable. Side slam gets a two count. Nash is doing an amazing job of selling the injury at this point, the best I’ve ever seen him do. He manages Snake Eyes, but Bret reverses a second attempt and comes back. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Bret sends Diesel to the floor, but the pescado misses. Bret crawls onto the apron, and it’s HISTORY TIME! The biggest running gag in WWF’s history begins here, as Diesel shoves Bret off the apron, right through the Spanish announce table. Bret is acting like he’s on his deathbed. Diesel tosses him back in for the kill, but when he goes for the powerbomb Bret simply collapses. The ref wants to stop the match, but Diesel shoves him aside and tries it again…and Bret small packages him out of nowhere for the pin and the title at 24:50. Diesel clearly mouths a very naughty phrase at the camera which rhymes with “Another trucking skit”, then powerbombs Bret twice and takes out a bunch of refs, yelling “I’M BACK!” at the camera. He started pissing off the Undertaker soon after, and got jobbed out, leading to him joining WCW in 1996. Wonder whatever happened to him? This would be Nash’s second-best match ever, only eclipsed by the one he had with Michaels in 1996. ****1/4 The Bottom Line: Can’t lose here. Even if the offices of the WWF were going to hell, the workers were shining, especially the rising Shawn Michaels, the resurgent Bret Hart, and the newly motivated Diesel. Recommended show.