The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems–04.04.19

The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – 04.04.19

With Wrestlemania just days away, there’s some wacky choices here, two of which I’ve personally been waiting to see FOREVER.

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Under Shadow of Darkness

Tito Santana v. Papa Shango (04.04.93)

Yes, it’s the fabled dark match from Wrestlemania IX, which marked Tito’s ninth WM in a row and made him the only person (aside from Hulk) to work all nine Wrestlemanias. This is also notable for being the debut of Jim Ross on commentary for the WWF. Frankly I’m shocked Shango was even still around at this point. Jim starts to call the action and then stops and says “OK, Bruce, I’ll work on that” in response to a comment that Prichard must have made on the headset. Shango tosses Tito, but Santana comes back in with a high cross and Shango rolls through with a handful of tights for two. Tito reverses for his own rollup and gets two, and goes to work on the arm. Shango misses a dropkick and Tito goes back to the arm as Jim coughs on air and questions whether there’s a mute button at the table. This is really pulling back the curtain on this stuff. Shango slams him on the floor while Bruce apparently tells jokes in the headset and JR laughs about it. Back in, Tito with a sunset flip for two, but Shango cuts him off with a clothesline. Tito gets a quick sunset flip, but Shango actually hits a dropkick this time and gets two. Side slam gets two. Shango goes for the shoulderbreaker, but Tito escapes and hits the flying forearm to make the comeback. Kneelift and he slugs away to set up the finish, but Shango sidesteps another forearm (“I’m sure Bruce will tell me EXACTLY what that move is called, because I don’t know!”) and goes up, and the flying elbow misses. And that’s enough for Tito to get the win at 7:40. Heck of a match, actually! 1 for 1.

Luger’s Golden Opportunity (02.22.94)

So this is from WWF Superstars taping, as Vince interviews Jim Cornette, who has the WWF title with him. Vince is pretty sure Luger is winning the title, so Cornette offers to slap Lex in the face if he was here. Which of course brings out Luger, and he steals the belt from Cornette and Vince prompts the ring announcer to introduce Lex as the new WWF champion, which gives us this…

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Which years later, Bruce Prichard pretty much admitted was all done just to screw with the Observer and the Torch, and which led to one of the biggest urban legends in WWF history. 2 for 2.

From Miami to Hollywood (02.20.96)

Next up, another unused segment from a Superstars taping, this time Vince interviewing President Roddy Piper. Piper starts in on his usual crazy rant, but Razor Ramon quickly interrupts and wants to know if Piper is giving him his match with Goldust or what? Piper is waffling so Ramon casts aspersions on his manliness and Piper backhands him. Ramon questions whether Piper would want Goldust babysitting his kids? Ramon whispers what kind of match he wants into Piper’s ear, and Roddy freaks out because no arena in the country would sanction what he wants. He wants some kind of ALLEY FIGHT! Piper is sick of hearing about the whole thing, so he approves the fight, as long as it’s non-title and there’s no rules. You can beat up winos and shove rats down each other’s throats for all he cares. So it’s a MIAMI BACK ALLEY FIGHT at Wrestlemania. Vince points out that Wrestlemania is actually in California, so Piper offers a satellite link from Florida. And then of course Hall had his issues and the whole thing was scrapped and turned into a Hollywood Backlot Brawl between Piper and Goldust instead. Which is fine, this was awkwardly delivered by Piper at best. 2 for 3.

Also this week, the press conferences for the first 3 Wrestlemanias, which I’m not really into recapping, but they each run about 40 minutes if you’re into that kind of thing.

So yeah, short batch this week, but two very notable and important segments that have never seen before, which is pretty awesome!