Rock Star Gary reflects on NWA Clash of the Champions IX: New York Knockout

Live from Troy, NY

Airdate: November 15, 1989

Attendance:  4,000

Hosted by Jim Ross & Gordon Solie

New York Knockout? Are we referring to these bunch of termagants? Seriously, Flair and Funk battle in an “I Quit” match to settle their feud. Also, the Midnight Express square off against the Dynamic Dudes. In a rematch, Pillman seeks to dethrone Luger for the US title. If that’s not enough, the Steiners face the Skyscrapers. What are you waiting for? Read on!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on NWA Halloween Havoc ’89: Settling the Score

Live from Philadelphia, PA

Airdate: October 28, 1989

Attendance:  7,300

Hosted by Jim Ross & Bob Caudle

Put Flair, Funk, Sting, and Muta in a cage. Mix in electricity, Gary Hart, and a Philly crowd. Will the recipe be a masterpiece? Or a disaster? Read on!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on NWA Great American Bash ’89: Glory Days

Live from Baltimore, MD

Airdate: July 23, 1989

Attendance:  14,500

Hosted by Jim Ross & Bob Caudle

Thus far, 1989 has been great. Can the NWA continue the trend with this show? Read on!

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WCW Wednesday: Part XXXV – the Pilot Episode Edition!

Back on September 4, 1995, WCW began what became a five and one-half year trek into weekly prime time television that would significantly impact the competition between them and the WWF. While I won’t detail the entire history of the series, I present to you the pilot episode of WCW Monday Nitro.

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WCW Wednesday: Part XXXI – the Flare for the Old Edition!

On June 16, 1993, WCW invaded the Scope in Norfolk, VA for the twenty-third edition of the Clash of Champions. The focus of this show was to create storylines for the upcoming Beach Blast PPV. To the fans in attendance, the highlight of the show was the in-ring return of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

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WCW Worldwide: January 16, 1993

I’ve finally managed to get Worldwide back in the rotation – and not a moment too soon! Z-Man! Johnny Gunn! Nothing but the biggest names on the planet!

TONY SCHIAVONE and JESSE VENTURA welcome us to an actual arena in Alabama. Tony’s displaying a quality part on the mid-right side of his head, with the kind of precision that lets you know, yes, this is the 90’s. PAUL ORNDORFF saunters on camera, and he starts screaming about Rick Rude’s injury. He apparently knows exactly what needs to be done. And what needs doing? Whether it’s Milwaukee, or Philadelphia, he’s going to have a match with Steeng. What of Atlanta? St. Louis? Murfreesboro? Does “Steeng” not work those territories?

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1993 WCW Disney tapings

As you may already know Eric Bischoff prides himself more as
a television producer than a wrestling promoter. The seeds of such thought were
planted back in the summer of 1993 during his first year as Executive Producer/Vice-President
of WCW.

Instead of the darker, papered crowd atmosphere in Macon, GA
or Dothan, AL Bischoff wanted to put bright lights, glitz, and glamour on WCW’s
television programming. For instance, from January to April of 1993 WCW
Worldwide was taped 9 times in seven different locations. The programs, while
entertaining, looked bland and boring compared to the higher production values
of WCW’s competitor, the World Wrestling Federation.
From July 7-10, WCW taped FOUR months of WCW Worldwide in
front of a papered (mostly tourist) crowd at the Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando,
FL.
Here is a list of the current champions heading into the
Disney tapings:
WCW World Heavyweight champion: Big Van Vader
NWA Champion: Barry Windham
US Heavyweight champion: held up after a controversial match
between “Ravishing” Rick Rude and Dustin Rhodes
World TV champion: “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
WCW World tag team champions: The Hollywood Blonds
(“Stunning” Steve Austin and “Flyin’” Brian Pillman)
Let’s break down the highlights day by day:
Day 1 (7/7/1993):
For the August 28th episode Arn Anderson and Paul
Roma were taped as WCW World Tag Team champions in spite of the fact they had
not yet won the titles. Their title victory would take place on August 18 at
the Clash of the Champions as Lord Steven Regal had to be substituted for Pillman
due to an ankle injury.
Additionally, for the September 4th episode “Nature
Boy” Ric Flair was involved in a match as the NWA champion against Big Sky. In
actuality, he won the belt at the Beach Blast PPV over Windham on July 18.  This would not sit well with the NWA.
For the September 11th episode Ricky “The Dragon”
Steamboat was featured as the World TV champion against Denny Brown although he
was not yet the champion. He won the belt at the August 18 Clash.
Day 2 (7/8/1993):
During the September 18th episode Dustin Rhodes
was featured as the US Heavyweight champion in a tag match with Sting against Orndorff
and Chris Benoit. Rhodes actually won the belt against Rude on August 30 in
Atlanta, GA.
On the September 25th episode Regal defended the
World TV title against Keith Cole.  He defeated
Steamboat for the belt on September 19 in Houston, TX.
Also featured on that show were the WCW World tag team
champions the Nasty Boys. They won the titles from Anderson and Roma on
September 19 in Houston, TX.
On the October 2nd episode the Hollywood Blonds
were featured in a tag match but did not bring their title belts to the ring.
On the October 9th episode Rude was featured as
the new World Heavyweight Champion (formerly NWA champion) in a match against
David Dee.
The importance of this match derives from the withdrawal of
WCW from the NWA in September. The NWA felt that these tapings were a breach of
kayfabe. WCW withdrew their affiliation from the NWA making the belt worthless
in the process.
Day 3 (7/9/1993):
However, in an attempt to legitimize Rude’s championship,
WCW renamed the title the International World champion on its October 30th
episode. Rude would defeat Brady Boone on this show.
For the November 6th show Regal successfully
defended his not-yet-his TV title against Johnny B. Badd.
Day 4 (7/10/1993):
Also on the November 6th episode Rude won a
non-title match against Frankie Rose. While describing the match Tony Schiavone
recognized Rude’s title as a World title rather than just a “Gold Belt.”
On the November 13th episode despite being the
current TV champion Orndorff won a match while not showcasing the title since
Regal would be champion by this point. Furthermore Steamboat won a match but
did not possess a belt in spite of winning and losing the belt between the times
this match took place and when it would finally air.
For the November 20th episode the Nasty Boys were
featured again as WCW World tag team champions.
So, in spite of three PPV and two Clash of the Champions
broadcasts, WCW gave away months of booking plans within this 4-day span.
Although I cannot locate the specific instance, it has been documented that Sid
Vicious was taped as WCW World Heavyweight Champion. This video was supposed to
air after Starrcade ’93; however, on September 19 Sid and Arn Anderson were
involved in an infamous late night brawl overseas involving safety scissors.
Subsequently Sid was fired after several wrestlers threatened to quit. Flair
was inserted in Sid’s place.
While money was saved in the process of filming these shows WCW
had two problems on their hands. The first problem was fulfilling the title
changes. The Regal substitution on August 18 stands out as a glaring example of
what can go wrong. The second problem was the wrestlers’ attitudes after the
tapings. Since title plans were already put into place during the tapings, the wrestlers
who would not hold titles held grudges instead and their work ethic in matches
suffered. At the very least WCW would learn from this mistake and not tape wrestlers with titles for Worldwide in the future.
WCW lost $23 million in 1993 not because of the Disney
tapings but due to overestimated revenue. Having seen the extremely low
attendance figures for the house shows I can safely say that WCW lost money
whenever they stepped into a gym or an arena.  Amazingly, they even cancelled a show at the
Omni on July 3 dubbed “The Great American Bash.”

Wrestling in 1993 was no longer a mainstream product. The
positive mainstream attention wouldn’t resurface until 1996; however, the
negative stigma was due to the WWF steroid trials. With such a black mark on
the industry it was difficult for WCW to make a profit. The Disney tapings only
served to facilitate further losses. 
Be sure to visit http://www.rockstargary.com to check out more info on me!

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – October 6, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Vince McMahon
tells viewers that Brian Pillman passed away the previous afternoon and
wrestlers gather near the entrance to hear the ring bell tolled ten times in
his memory.
McMahon, Jim Ross,
and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Kansas
City, Missouri
.
Michael Cole
interviews D-Generation X, who at this time are just dubbed as “The Kliq.”  DX gives Cole a wedgie as European Champion
Shawn Michaels gloats about winning Hell in a Cell last night at Badd
Blood.  Michaels wants to see some
footage from last night, but the truck plays footage of the Madison Square
Garden incident instead.  McMahon is not
happy about this and sells it well with his facial expressions.  We go to commercial before Michaels can
finish ranting at McMahon.  A great
segment for the smarks, but a good chunk of the audience was lost during it.

When we return
from commercial, Michaels is still yelling at McMahon when the Hart Foundation
comes out.  WWF Champion Bret Hart says
that Michaels is a disgrace to professional wrestling and he says Michaels and
Triple H are queer and he makes more money than all of the forces of the
Kliq.  He puts over the WWF title, how
his possession of it trumps anything that Michaels can say, and that he drove
Diesel and Razor Ramon out of the company and he will do the same to Michaels
and Triple H.  He challenges Triple H to
a match on tonight’s show.  Michaels
responds by saying that Bret is only main eventing Survivor Series because he
is wrestling him and that Diesel and Razor left the company to expand the Kliq
and let them control the wrestling business. 
This segment solidifies Bret as the face in this feud as the crowd
immediately takes his side.
The announce crew
recaps the Badd Blood tag team championship match
.
Opening Non-Title
Lumberjack Match:  The Headbangers defeat
The Godwinns (WWF Tag Team Champions w/Uncle Cletus) when Mosh pins Phineas
with a schoolboy at 4:15:
In a funny spot, the
Headbangers take advantage of the lumberjack stipulation by flying over the top
rope and body surfing among the wrestlers surrounding the ring.  By the way, the lumberjacks are composed of
the Disciples of Apocalypse, Rockabilly, the Sultan, Flash Funk, the New
Blackjacks, the Legion of Doom, the Truth Commission, Los Boricuas, and the
Nation of Domination.  This match works a
faster pace than the contest at Badd Blood and is much better by
comparison.  The referee gets bumped when
Mosh tries to splash Phineas in the corner and everyone pours into the ring to
fight.  The ring clears just as the
referee revives, though, and the Headbangers pick up a measure of revenge for
Badd Blood.  Rating:  **
Ross and Lawler hype the house show circuit.
Jesus of Los Boricuas says that he is going to easily defeat Marc Mero
tonight
.
Marc Mero (w/Sable) beats Jesus with the TKO at 2:21:
This was Mero’s return from a
knee injury that he suffered in the early months of 1997.  He has shed the “Wildman” gimmick and is
coming back with a “new attitude,” which is code for a heel turn.  Mero’s offense has changed into a more
grounded, striking style, but that is not as appealing as his old aerial
attack.  This is a short squash to
re-establish Mero, but its only highlight is the TKO, which is his new
finishing maneuver.
Jim Cornette gives his views on the wrestling business, where he runs
down the New World Order, especially Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, and
Eric Bischoff.  He puts over Mick Foley,
Arn Anderson, and Ric Flair and other hardworking talents.  This is a brutally honest rant, but I have
never been a fan of segments like this because they make the company doing them
look petty and second rate.
The British Bulldog (w/The Hart Foundation) defeats Rocky Maivia (w/The
Nation of Domination) with a running powerslam at 3:44:
This is a “proxy revenge” match
from the previous night, where Owen Hart beat Faarooq in the Intercontinental
championship tournament final.  This
match is somewhat notable because it features the debut of the People’s Elbow,
although Maivia isn’t throwing his elbow pad into the crowd.  Just your standard back-and-forth match, with
the Bulldog earning a surprisingly clean victory considering the factions
presence at ringside.  Rating: 
**
After the match, Faarooq goes after the Bulldog, which causes the
factions to brawl with each other until WWF officials and Commissioner
Slaughter intervene.
The announcers recap the Intercontinental tournament final between Owen
Hart and Faarooq from last night’s Badd Blood pay-per-view
.
McMahon interviews Steve Austin to get his decision about his
future.  Austin says he cost Faarooq the
Intercontinental title last night because he felt like it.  Austin says he didn’t go to a doctor, so he
has no medical clearance.  McMahon then
presents him with a release form, but Austin says he is not going to sign
without preconditions because he has leverage. 
What he wants in return for signing is for McMahon to give him a match
with Owen Hart for the Intercontinental title. 
McMahon agrees and offers a handshake, but Austin says no until he has
it in writing.  Faarooq comes on the
Titantron and cuts a great promo about what suffering and toughness really is,
sort of like the black version of Dusty Rhodes “hard times” promo.  Austin just says “bring it on.”  To hell with fighting Owen Hart, I want to
see Austin-Faarooq after that promo exchange. 
After finishing his promo, Austin pushes McMahon and then grabs Lawler’s
crown and kicks it into the crowd.
Call 1-900-737-4WWF to hear more of what Jim Cornette has to say!
Hawk promises that Owen Hart is going to be the shortest
Intercontinental champion in WWF history, but that’s not possible because Dean
Douglas was only champion for about twenty minutes.
Owen Hart tells the crowd that he cannot wait to face Steve Austin
again
.
Intercontinental Championship Match: 
Owen Hart (Champion) beats Hawk when Henry Godwinn hits Hawk with a
horse shoe at 3:20:
The crowd’s love of the Hart
Foundation does not apply to Owen, since he is the foil of the hottest act in
the company.  The Godwinns come down to
ringside as Hawk sloppily bumps around for Owen and hardly sells the
enziguri.  The Godwinns try to cost Hawk
the match by hitting him in the back with a slop bucket, but he kicks out and
Animal comes down and brawls with the Godwinns as the match continues in the
ring.  Hawk hits the flying clothesline,
which has to set up twice because of a planned distraction by Uncle
Cletus, but interference shortly thereafter costs him the match.  Rating:  *½
McMahon does his infamous interview with Melanie Pillman, which is completely
distasteful as he questions her about her husband’s drug use and how she plans
on supporting her family.  This is
probably the lowest point in RAW history, which says something considering the
Katie Vick incident.
A video tribute is aired for Brian Pillman.
Ross and Lawler talk about how much they miss Brian Pillman.
The next match is supposed to feature Sniper & Recon against the
Hardy Boys, but Kane comes out with Paul Bearer and destroys the Hardy’s.  Bearer gets on the mic and says that he had
to bring in Kane because the Undertaker would not take him back.  He warns the Undertaker to prepare for his
worst nightmare.  This push that they gave to Kane was genius since it disguised his shortcomings and made him appear like a total wrecking machine that was an equal to the Undertaker.
Non-Title Match:  Triple H
(w/Chyna) defeats Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF Champion) by count out at 7:49 shown:
This is the first time that
Hunter Hearst Helmsley is billed as “Triple H” during his entrance, but that
name change goes a long way towards making him a serious contender.  As Bret dominates the action, Shawn Michaels
wanders out and picks his nose with the Canadian flag.  This brings the Hart Foundation to ringside
and Helmsley stops the five moves of doom with a foot to the face when Bret
tries the second rope elbow drop.  Ross subtly buries Bret by calling him “too predictable” in the ring.  Bret gets Helmsley in the Sharpshooter, but
Chyna helps Helmsley get to the ropes and then stops Bret from applying the
ring post figure-four.  When Bret
confronts her, Michaels blasts Bret with Sweet Chin Music and that enables
Helmsley to score the upset.  Rating: 
**
The Final Report Card:  This match was like a smart fan’s dream as
the WWF bashed WCW throughout the evening and made several insider
references.  The tasteless segment with
Melanie Pillman aside, this was a great episode that continued Steve Austin’s
search for revenge against Owen Hart, built a possible feud for Austin with
Faarooq and the Nation after he moved on from the Owen issue, set up the build
for Bret-Shawn at Survivor Series, and continues the tag team feud between the
Godwinns and the Legion of Doom.  This
was also the highest rating for RAW since mid-August, which can probably be
chalked up to fans wanting to see how the company would respond to Brian
Pillman’s death.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.0 (vs. 3.9 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

What the World Was Watching: In Your House – Badd Blood

by Logan Scisco

Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are doing the announcing duties and they are
live in St. Louis, Missouri
.

Opening Handicap Contest:  Rocky Maivia, Kama Mustafa & D-Lo Brown
defeat The Legion of Doom when Maivia pins Hawk after a Rock Bottom at 12:19:
This was originally booked as a six man tag, but Ken
Shamrock does not have medical clearance to compete.  Ahmed Johnson was also not available to be
plugged in because he was back in the WWF dog house for injuring people.  Looking back, the second version of the
Nation was rather successful as Faarooq went on to have a good career with
Bradshaw in the APA, the Rock rose to main event status, Kama enjoyed success
as the Godfather, and D-Lo won the European and Intercontinental
championships.  After enjoying some brief
moments of success, the Nation use their numbers to put Animal in peril and a
false tag spot allows D-Lo to hit his Lo Down for two.  The crowd really gets into the hot tag
sequence, but Faarooq breaks up a Doomsday Device attempt on Maivia and Maivia
hits the Rock Bottom, which at this time was not considered an immediate
finisher, for the victory.  This had its
slow spots in the middle, but it came on strong at the end and it really made all
five participants look strong.  Excellent
and sensible booking.  Rating: 
***
Dok Hendrix and
Sunny hype the Superstar line and try to get us to call to talk to the winners
and losers of tonight’s matches
.
McMahon reiterates
the news from the Free for All that Brian Pillman was found dead in his hotel
room in Bloomington, Minnesota and a substitute match has been booked.  The mark in me at the time thought that
Marlena snapped and killed Pillman.
Mini Tag
Match:  Max Mini & Nova beat
Tarantula & Mosaic after Mini pins Tarantula with a La Magistral cradle at
6:40:
I’m not sure if this is the best way to honor Pillman’s
memory, but I suppose the options were limited. 
There are several funny miscommunication spots between Tarantula and
Mosaic in the early going, but this has lots of blown spots, most of which are
Nova’s fault, that go a small way in exposing the business.  Lawler gets a kick out of seeing Tarantula
gorilla press drop Mini on the U.S. announce table, but he gets irritated that
McMahon will not let him tell “little people” jokes.  The botches continue until Mini grows
completely frustrated with how the match is going and just rolls up Tarantula
for the three count.  This had no flow to
it whatsoever.  Rating:  DUD
Call 815-734-1161
to get your Austin 3:16 t-shirt for $25 (plus shipping & handling)!
Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties for our next match
.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  The Godwinns
(w/Uncle Cletus) defeat The Headbangers (Champions) to win the titles when
Phineas pins Mosh after a powerbomb at 12:18:
Surprisingly, McMahon recalls Sunny’s past issues with
the Godwinns.  Storyline continuity:  it’s a beautiful thing.  The Headbangers nearly break Phineas’s neck
on double hiptoss attempt and they surprisingly dominate the early going with a
coordinated aerial attack.  The match
struggles to establish momentum, even as Thrasher gets a few hope spots after
he is put in peril.  The crowd goes mild
for the hot tag and the finish fits really well into the past encounters
between these teams because Phineas counters the Mosh Pit, which pinned him at
WrestleMania XIII.  The Headbangers lackluster run as tag team champions is over and the Godwinns pound them down
after the finish until the referee forces them to leave under threat of
reversing the decision.  Rating: 
*
A Steve Austin
video package is shown
.
Michael Cole
interviews Owen Hart, who says that Steve Austin is going to do nothing but
hand him the Intercontinental title after he beats Faarooq tonight.  He threatens a lawsuit if Austin gets anywhere
near him during the title match.
Ross holds a small
ceremony for St. Louis wrestling legends, which include Gene Kiniski, Jack
Brisco, Dory Funk, Jr., Harley Race, Terry Funk, Lou Thesz, and Sam Muchnick.  In Jim Cornette’s 1997 timeline shoot
interview he talks about how he had to fight hard to persuade Vince to do this,
as Kevin Dunn felt that no one would care about these guys.  The crowd reaction proves that Cornette was
right and Dunn was wrong, which is not unusual because Dunn was the same guy several weeks before this that tried to convince Vince not to bring back Cactus Jack at Madison Square Garden since no one would know about that character.
Hendrix interviews
Faarooq and the Nation and Faarooq says he’ll beat Owen Hart tonight and Steve
Austin is nothing special to him.
McMahon says that
foul play is not suspected in Brian Pillman’s death, but a drug overdose might
be to blame.  I’m shocked that McMahon
would emphasize this, but he does clarify that drug abuse is a problem in all
sports.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Finals:  Owen
Hart pins Faarooq to win the title when Steve Austin hits Faarooq with the
Intercontinental title belt at 7:16:
So here are the finals of a lackluster tournament to
crown a new Intercontinental champion after Steve Austin had to forfeit the
title.  Owen got here by defeating
Goldust and Brian Pillman whereas Faarooq got here by Ken Shamrock getting
injured and defeating Ahmed Johnson. 
This is Faarooq’s second time in an Intercontinental title tournament
final in two years, as he lost to Marc Mero in a tournament final the previous
year.  Steve Austin is at ringside for
the bout as he is to present his Intercontinental title to the winner.  He rings the bell to start the match and then
takes McMahon’s headset and gives his views on the match.  He soon moves to give commentary with the
Spanish and French announce teams.  In
light of Austin’s antics it is tough to focus on the match, but it is a
TV-style match with Owen and Faarooq running through their usual spots.  After Faarooq hits a spinebuster Jim Neidhart
wanders out and distracts the referee and Austin takes advantage to hit Faarooq
with the title and cost him the match. 
The announce crew is puzzled by this development, but it is clear that
Austin wants to face Owen and regain his title. 
Rating:  **
The Hart
Foundation’s beatdown on Vader and the Patriot on RAW is shown.
The Disciples of
Apocalypse beat Los Boricuas when Crush pins Jose after a tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker at 9:10:
The DOA have really fizzled out after they were arguably
the most over of the factions created after the original Nation of Domination’s
demise.  The Boricuas run a nice spot
where every member gives Chainz a clothesline against the corner, but most of
this is just a sloppy brawl that the crowd sleeps through.  In the end, it comes down to Crush and Jose
and Crush’s singles experience comes in handy to give his team the win.  Rating:  ½*
Cole interviews
WWF Champion Bret Hart and the British Bulldog. 
Bret says that he and the Bulldog are going to set an example that they
are better than any American tag team combination.  The Bulldog echoes those same sentiments.
McMahon emphasizes
that for this flag match a team can win by either capturing their flag or
securing a pinfall or submission.  That
was probably Bret’s call since he told McMahon that a match where everyone was
just running for flags would be a disaster, sort of like cage matches with
escape rules.
Hendrix interviews
Vader and the Patriot and Patriot yells about how much he hates the Harts and
how he has Vader’s back.  Vader says
Bret’s claim that he is the “best there is, best there was, and best there ever
will be” is “bullshit.”
Flag Match:  Bret “the Hitman” Hart & The British
Bulldog beat Vader & The Patriot when Bret pins the Patriot with a rollup
at 21:14:
Vader and the Patriot lay waste to Bret and the Bulldog
before the bell, but since they are good sports they wait until their opponents
get back into the ring to go after the American flag.  The referee struggles to keep order as
everyone does whatever they want and prevent the other side from going after
their respective flag.  This makes for a
rather dull contest except for a few spots, such as the Patriot nearly
capturing the American flag when everyone piles up in the American team’s
corner and everyone, save for the Bulldog, trying to apply their version of the
Sharpshooter.  Bret KO’s Vader with the
ring bell, but that doesn’t produce an immediate finish as he continues to beat
on Vader inside of the ring.  The crowd
gets impatient as the Patriot gets a hot tag and plants Bret with Uncle Slam,
but the Bulldog breaks it up and then stiffs a fan that tries to run into the
ring.  Vader then hits Bret with a Vader
Bomb, but all hell breaks loose again and Bret and the Patriot end up alone and
Bret counters a Patriot rollup with the help of the tights to get the victory.  The stipulation killed this match, but I
doubt Bret and the Bulldog were psychologically ready for it in light of
Pillman’s death.  This would also be the
last pay-per-view outing for the Patriot, who suffered a torn bicep shortly
after this and was out of the company shortly thereafter.  Rating:  **
The announcers
discuss the Hell in a Cell.
Hendrix interviews
D-Generation X.  European Champion Shawn
Michaels says that he can survive Hell in a Cell because he is the most
tenacious man in the WWF and the number one guy in this business.  Hunter Hearst Helmsley tries to push his way
into the promo, but is cut off.
A video package
hypes the Shawn Michaels-Undertaker feud
.
Non-Title Hell in
a Cell Match:  “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn
Michaels (European Champion) pins The Undertaker when Kane Tombstones the
Undertaker at 29:57:
The winner of this match faces the WWF champion at
Survivor Series.  Commissioner Slaughter and referees look under the ring to make sure no one is
hiding there.  When the cage comes down
and the Undertaker makes his entrance, Michaels has second thoughts and wants
to leave, but there’s no chance of that and the Undertaker beats him from
pillar to post.  The male fans in the
audience roar when the Undertaker smashes Michaels back into the ring post and
then into the corner of the Cell repeatedly. 
Michaels rebounds by knocking the Undertaker into the cage and using the
ring steps and a chair to maintain the advantage and “build momentum.”  That only gets two, though, and Michaels gets
backdropped onto a cameraman, who he proceeds to beat up in a ruse to get the
Cell open so he can escape.  This is a
great spot, since it plays into Michaels hot headedness in big matches, and
McMahon does his part by sending his apologies and best wishes out to the cameraman’s
family in anticipation of a lawsuit.  The
crowd gets back into the match when they end up outside of the Cell and a
slingshot into it allows Michaels to cut himself open.  They battle on top of the Cell for a short
while, a spot which always makes me nervous because I fear that the Cell will
collapse under their weight at any moment, and the Undertaker has Michaels in a
gorilla press, but just slams him instead of tossing him off, which does not
really fit this feud.  Michaels leaves
that big bump for Mick Foley, but does fall off the side of the Cell and
through the Spanish announce table as Tito Santana looks on with his mouth
agape.  They go back into the Cell, with
Michaels a bloody mess, and the Undertaker smashes a chair over Michaels head,
but when he signals for the Tombstone the lights go out and Kane emerges with
Paul Bearer.  Kane, in a piece of booking
provided by Jim Cornette, walks down and rips off the Cell door, deck the
referee, and Tombstones the Undertaker, enabling Michaels to crawl over and get
a cowardly victory.  A shocking, violent,
and fitting ending to this feud and it begins the build for Undertaker-Kane at
WrestleMania XIV.  I’m on the fence about
giving this five stars, but it told a great story, Michaels blade job and bumping
were great, and the Kane interference was warranted and added to the
match.  Rating:  *****
The Final Report Card:  The single selling point of this show was
Hell in a Cell and that match delivered, but it took an agonizing two and a
half hours to get to that match.  Yes,
the opener is good, although other reviewers disagree on that point, but the
rest falls into average territory.  I’ll
give this one a neutral rating because the main event delivers, but you really
don’t need to seek out this show.  Just
watch Hell in a Cell to see the origins of that match and go watch something
else.
Attendance: 
21,151
Buyrate: 
0.60

Show Evaluation:  Neutral

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – September 29, 1997

by Logan Scisco
Michael Cole
narrates a video package about Steve Austin’s rampage of Stone Cold Stunners.
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are in Albany, New
York.
McMahon interviews
D-Generation X.  Rick Rude makes a sales
pitch to McMahon based on what Steve Austin did last week.  Shawn Michaels gloats about beating down the
Undertaker last week.  Hunter Hearst
Helmsley, who Shawn refers to as “Triple H,” which is the first time I recall
hearing that in Helmsley’s career, talks about getting impatient to get his big
break.  Helmsley’s voice just does not
jive with this group or rhetoric and it is tough to take him seriously.  Commissioner Slaughter arrives and orders
Helmsley to fight the Undertaker.  The
Hart Foundation appear at the top of the ramp and Bret says that D-Generation X
have committed crimes that they will pay for tonight.  A somewhat dry segment, but this promo is
where Michaels and Helmsley debuted their sophomoric personas that would be a
big part of DX.

The announcers
talk more about One Night Only and the end of the European championship match
is shown
.
Opening
Contest:  Vader beats The British Bulldog
by disqualification when the Hart Foundation interferes at 5:22 shown:
Ross points out that Vader beat Ken Shamrock last night
in Japan, but really makes no sense in recent storylines since Shamrock was
taken out of the Intercontinental title tournament because he was not medically
cleared to compete.  However, the
semi-final that he would have been a part of is tonight.  Anyway, this contest is meant to preview the
tag team flag match at Badd Blood.  You
might be asking what flag match, since it has received little build the last
couple of weeks, but that will feature the Patriot and Vader against the
Bulldog and Bret Hart.  The match has
some weird booking, as the Bulldog gets some impressive power spots which would
usually elicit a face reaction and Vader appears like a big bully.  Vader hits the Vader Bomb, but the Hart Foundation
charges the right and attacks him before the referee can count the Bulldog down
and that finishes this standard TV match. 
Rating:  **¼
After the match,
Bret Hart puts Vader in a ring post figure-four, but the Patriot runs out for a
brief save until he is also mauled by the Hart Foundation.  The Harts make sure to attack him with
Canadian flags to call attention to the flag match stipulation
.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your VHS copy of One Night Only for $19.95 (plus $6 shipping and
handling)! 
A video package
hypes Faarooq.  Since it focuses on his
football background I’m sure that Jim Ross had something to do with this.  The problem with this video package is that
it makes you a fan of Faarooq, who is supposed to be a heel.
Intercontinental
Championship Tournament Semi-Finals: 
Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) defeats Ahmed Johnson (w/The Legion
of Doom & Ken Shamrock) by disqualification at 2:26:
Just when you thought this feud was over it came back
like the villain in a horror film.  This
isn’t much of a match as Faarooq gets in some offense, Ahmed responds, and then
when the referee tries to prevent Ahmed from bashing Faarooq with the ring
steps, Ahmed slaps him and that draws a disqualification.  Faarooq advances to the finals to face Owen
Hart at Badd Blood.  This has been a
terrible tournament.
After the match,
Ahmed’s faction brawls with the Nation and the faces win
.
Dok Hendrix hypes
the Nassau Coliseum house show, which features Bret Hart defending the WWF
title against the Undertaker, the Legion of Doom facing Shawn Michaels &
Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and Steve Austin & Dude Love facing The British
Bulldog & Owen Hart in a Long Island street fight.  This is a great card that sounds better than
Badd Blood
.
The latest edition
of Brian Pillman’s XXX Files sees him in bed with Marlena and he says he will
not face Dude Love unless the WWF puts some structure in place to keep Goldust
away from him.  He proposes handcuffing
Goldust to the ring post to prevent unwanted interference.
Dude Love comes
out to do guest commentary for the next match
.
Goldust defeats
The Sultan (w/The Iron Sheik) with a bulldog at 5:41:
McMahon tells us that Goldust and Marlena are renewing
their wedding vows next week on RAW and Dude Love tells the audience that if he
beats Brian Pillman at Badd Blood that Goldust will get a no disqualification
match with Pillman right after.  They
adopt the Randy Savage strategy in this one, with the Sultan taking 90% of the
offense until Goldust hits two moves to win. 
This was only five minutes, but it felt like fifteen.  Rating:  ½*
Steve Austin is
shown arriving to the arena
.
Austin comes out
and McMahon tells Austin that if he does not care about his safety then he
doesn’t either.  Austin says he doesn’t
care if he’s fired and McMahon responds by giving him three options:  provide a medical clearance for next week, a
return to action if he absolves the WWF of liability if he gets injured, or he
can be fired.  Austin says he’ll think
about it in his own “diplomatic” way.
WWF Tag Team
Championship Match:  Jesus & Jose
defeat The Headbangers (Champions) by disqualification when the Godwinns
interfere at 7:11 shown:
Before the match, Ross goes into a hilarious rant about
how Commissioner Slaughter has no brains because of his decision to let Steve
Austin present the Intercontinental title to the winner of the Owen
Hart-Faarooq match at Badd Blood.  The
Headbangers lackluster tag team title reign continues here as the crowd refuses
to react to anything in the match.  The
heat segment on Thrasher lasts so long that I think the Boricuas honestly run
out of moves to do.   Jesus appears to
have the match won for his team with a super hurricanrana on Mosh, but the
Godwinns run in to make sure the Headbangers retain the titles so they can face
them for the belts at Badd Blood.  We are
somewhat accustomed to champions looking weak in the current era, but the
Headbangers had to be the most poorly booked tag team champions in WWF history
up to this point.  Rating:  *½
Call 1-900-737-4WWF
to find out if Goldust is suspicious of Marlena’s time with Brian Pillman and
if she’s really not enjoying herself.
McMahon interviews
Owen Hart, who comes out in an “Owen 3:16” shirt that reads “I just broke your
neck” on the back.  He also has a
SWAT-style security detail with him. 
Owen says that he’s confident that he’ll beat Faarooq at Badd Blood, but
Steve Austin’s latest antics are scaring him. 
Owen tries to persuade McMahon to fire Austin next week, but as Owen
celebrates to leave, one of the security guards takes off their helmet to
reveal Austin and he gives Owen a Stone Cold Stunner before fleeing through the
crowd.  In a nice touch, the crowd blocks
the other SWAT guys from pursuing Austin.
Call 815-734-1161
to get your VHS copy of One Night Only for $19.95 (plus $6 shipping and
handling)!
Backstage, Jim
Neidhart is shown guarding Owen Hart, who is on a stretcher nursing his neck
.
Footage of
contractors building the Hell in a Cell is shown.
The Undertaker
defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Shawn Michaels & Chyna) by
disqualification when Rick Rude interferes at 1:51:
During the Undertaker’s entrance he is attacked by Bret
Hart and the British Bulldog and they, in turn, are attacked by Vader and the
Patriot.  As the Hart Foundation is
repelled, Michaels and Helmsley put the boots to the Undertaker for a couple of
minutes before the Undertaker and Helmsley end up in the ring to start this
match.  The Undertaker makes short work
of Helmsley, but before he can hit a Tombstone, Rick Rude hits him with a
briefcase and draws the disqualification.
After the bell,
D-Generation X beat down the Undertaker and Michaels hits him with Sweet Chin
Music.  DX puts the Undertaker in a body
bag, but the Undertaker sits up and tears his way out and forces DX to
flee.  Michaels tries to run backstage,
but a red light keeps him from doing so, so he climbs the Titantron as the
Undertaker gives Helmsley a Tombstone on the stage as we close the show.  A nice go home segment for this feud.
The Final Report Card:  This show had some good moments, with the
closing segment putting over the main event and Austin being his usual badass
self.  However, the matches were just
atrocious this week and were a chore to sit through.  Bulldog-Vader was solid, but after that the
ring work went into a rut and never recovered. 
I’ll give this a neutral rating as the non-wrestling segments
effectively advanced the major angles, but I got the feeling that much of the
show put more emphasis on hyping the RAW after Bad Blood than the actual
pay-per-view.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.7 (vs. 4.0 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Neutral