The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems–The 90s!

The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – The 90s!

Eh, back to these for fun. And we’ll pick things up in 1992…

GWF Light heavyweight title, 2/3 falls: The Lightning Kid v. Jerry Lynn (01.06.92)

The stip is that Kid has to win with his “Lightning Strike” finisher for a fall to count, and Lynn has to win with a sleeper. Lynn is looking very young here, almost like Marty Jannetty but without the creepy incestual overtones.

…Allegedly. Man, remember the good times when the worst thing that people said about Jannetty is that he was a drug addict who got fired all the time?

They trade wristlocks and Kid does his cool “flip off the top rope” reversal, then they do a test of strength and Lynn puts Kid on the floor with a monkey flip. Back in, Kid offers the down position and they do some amateur moves, and then Lynn offers the same position and Kid just kicks him in the ribs. That also works. Kid puts Lynn on the floor with a headscissors and follows with a PAINFUL looking leg lariat from the top rope that bounces Lynn’s head off the mats outside. Back in, Kid goes up for his legdrop, but misses, and Lynn puts him in the sleeper to win the first fall at 6:19.

We take a break and return with Lynn trying a crucifix, but you can only win with your finisher so that’s nothing. Kid comes back and they slug it out, but Lynn backdrops him to the floor and follows with a baseball slide as young Waltman gives no fucks and just bumps like all the concussions mean nothing to him. Back in, Lynn with a backbreaker, but Kid reverses another one to a tombstone for the pin at 9:42. I guess that’s his “Lightning Strike”.

Third fall and Kid misses a blind charge and bumps out of the corner off that, allowing Lynn to make the comeback and get another sleeper. Kid fights him up to the top rope and tries a superplex, but Lynn falls on top and again he can’t win with that. Lynn argues with the ref over that and the ref is bumped, allowing Scotty Anthony (Raven) to run in and hit Lynn with a foreign object, but he gets chased off and Lynn finishes Kid with the sleeper at 12:50 to win the title. Great stuff for 1992. 1 for 1.

Jimmy Snuka v. Shawn Michaels (01.31.92)

From MSG, very early in Shawn’s heel run. Like, before “Sexy Boy” even. He appears to be using the Narcissist’s music, in fact. Snuka attacks to start and Shawn bumps to the floor. Back in, Shawn gets a cheapshot and that just annoys Snuka, who works a headlock on him. Shawn escapes with a wristlock, so Snuka puts him down with chops and Shawn runs away. Back in, Snuka works an armbar while Gorilla puts over “the two high-flyers” in the ring. Hate to break it to Gorilla, but Snuka hadn’t flown outside of an airplane in 3 years. Finally Shawn tosses him to take over and goes to work on the ribs. Back in, Shawn with a back elbow for two. And we hit the chinlock. Snuka fights out and Shawn goes to work on the back instead and goes up, but Snuka nails him on the way down and makes the comeback. He gets a cross-body out of the corner, but Shawn counters and puts him on the floor again. Suplex back into the ring gets two. Shawn with the superkick and teardrop suplex to finish clean at 12:26. Snuka phoned this one in like his alibi. 1 for 2.

Undertaker v. Unabomb (08.04.95)

From Smoky Mountain Wrestling’s “Superbowl of Wrestling” in Knoxville, as unfortunately the company was nearing the end later in the year. Taker slugs away on him and walks the ropes, and we cut to Unabomb taking over with a clothesline to the floor. Another cut to young Kane stomping him out of the ring, where Al Snow gets some shots in. Another cut to Taker accidentally punching the ringpost, and back into the ring as Unabomb gets a guillotine legdrop and drops an elbow for two. Cut to Taker hitting a clothesline out of the corner, but Unabomb powerbombs him. They were SO clearly trying to make him Sid Vicious 2.0 that I’m shocked it didn’t work. Taker no-sells the move and comes back with a chokeslam, then finishes with the tombstone at 5:44 shown. Crowd was super-hot for the whole match, even with poor Jacobs trying to work like Sid Vicious. 2 for 3. Jacobs of course was on WWF TV as Isaac Yankem soon after, and the promotion folded in December.

Terry Funk & Dory Funk Jr. v. Bruce Hart & Brian Pillman (12.15.95)

This is from the quasi-reunion show run at the Stampede Corral to celebrate Stu Hart’s 80th birthday. Pillman chases Dory out of the ring to start, but Dory hits him with forearms in the corner and Terry tosses him. Makhan Singh is lurking at ringside for the Funks and sends Pillman into the post, but Pillman makes a comeback and the Funks bail and get beat up by Bad Company on the floor. Back in, Bruce drops a knee for two on Terry, and Terry of course gets tied up in the ropes and double-teamed. Terry goes low on Pillman to turn the tide, and tosses him for a trip into the ringside table. Suplex onto the table and poor Ed Whalen just doesn’t know what to do with this. Back in, Dory gets two off that. Butterfly suplex gets two. Vertical suplex gets two, and Terry comes in with a DDT for two as Bruce saves. Double-suplex on Pillman gets two and Bruce breaks it up again. Pillman gets clobbered in the Funk corner and they toss him and run him into the railing, but Pillman comes back and tries a piledriver on Terry outside. That goes badly for him and Terry grabs some poor dude’s camera equipment and beats on him with that. Whalen is just not having any of this. Back in, Dory with an elbow on Pillman for two and Terry chokes him out with the wrist tape while Bruce goes after Makhan again and sends him into the post. Back in, Pillman fires back with headbutts on Terry and they both go down as a result. Pillman finally makes the hot tag to Bruce and they immediately head to the floor again for a crazy brawl into the audience as Whalen keeps calling for them to just call the match. Bruce pounds on Terry , who has a chair wrapped around his head, and back in the ring Pillman beats on Terry’s bloody forehead in the corner. Whalen is OVER IT. Pillman gives him a piledriver for two and a DDT for two, but Terry comes back with a backdrop suplex and brings Dory back in again. Bruce hits him with the lariat for two and it’s BONZO GONZO, with Bruce goes up with a flying splash on Dory for two. Meanwhile, Terry lays out Pillman with a chair outside and then nails Bruce with it for a DQ at 19:00. The whole thing played out like a giant rib on Whalen, who would have pulled the plug approximately 5:00 into it had he been producing. Bad Company puts Terry through another table for good measure to get revenge, and possibly as one last middle finger to Whalen. 3 for 4.

Steve Austin v. Bret Hart (09.14.96)

This is from the South African tournament in 96. The crowd goes apeshit for Bret’s entrance while Owen is hilarious on commentary, taking credit for his popularity and noting that Bret “winked” at him on the way to the ring. “How can you tell that, he’s wearing glasses!” demands JR. “I can tell, I’m his brother,” Owen deadpans. Austin works a headlock to start while Owen continues to take credit for everything Bret does (“He learned all his reversals from myself. And our father.”) as Bret takes Austin down with a hammerlock and works the arm. Austin escapes with a back elbow, but Bret goes back to the arm again, frustrating Austin. They do the test of strength and Austin takes the shortcut, and they do a nice pinfall reversal sequence before Bret elbows him down and tries the Sharpshooter. Austin quickly makes the ropes and bails, and back in he gets a low blow to take over. Owen of course offers up a plausible explanation for why it wasn’t. Austin sends him into the corner for the turnbuckle bump, and that gets two. Austin pounds away with elbows on the apron and drops him on the railing, then pulls up the mats, but Bret backdrops out of a piledriver attempt. Back in, Bret with a sleeper, but Austin escapes with a jawbreaker. Bret makes the comeback with the backbreaker for two and Russian legsweep for two. Bret reverses a suplex into a rollup for two, then dumps Austin and follows with a pescado. Back in, Austin sends him into the turnbuckles again for two. They head up and Bret counters a superplex attempt with a top rope elbow, but Austin pokes him in the eye and sets up for the Stunner. Bret counters with a small package for the pin at 19:52. Not quite up to the level of their Survivor Series match, but still a hell of a match. 4 for 5.

And we’ll stop there for now and pick it up with yet another Terry Funk retirement match next time!