November 12, 1995
From the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, NJ
Only the final two matches are on this fan-cam recording.
British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart
Lots of stalling to start from Bulldog as he paces around then stops to duck between the ropes and yell at the fans. We finally get a lockup after 90 seconds in and Bret gets shoved into the corner. The crowd boos Bulldog as he stops to flex then Bret takes him down with a side headlock. Bret then uses a reverse rollup for two after an awkward sequence then he grounds Bulldog again and works the arm. Bret uses a crossbody for two then goes back to the arm as the crowd is quiet. Not exactly a riveting start here. Bulldog catches Bret with an overhead press then drops him through the ropes and Bret’s leg gets caught up as he lays on the apron. The ref finally unties Bret after a struggle as Bulldog keeps trying to taunt the crowd and gets a lukewarm reaction. Bulldog now uses a rear chin lock for a while as he broke up the monotony with a hair pull in between. Bret takes Bulldog over with a monkey flip and after that clotheslines him over the top rope. Bulldog takes his time outside so Bret runs off the apron and ends up getting caught and rammed into the post. Bulldog whips Bret into the stairs then takes him back inside and stomps away as the crowd chants “USA.” For the record, neither man is American. Bulldog now softens up the back then goes back to the chin lock as those heard in the crowd are expressing their boredom. Bret escapes but runs into a knee smash then Bulldog covers and gets two as Bret was able to put his leg on the rope. Bulldog leg drops Bret, who rolls outside, then Bulldog heads out and sends him into the guardrail. Bulldog working at a glacial pace tonight. Back inside, Bret fights back but gets whipped into the corner. Bulldog covers for two then goes back to another chin lock. Some “Let’s Go Bret” chants break out but most of the crowd seems bored. Bret fights out and tries a crucifix but Bulldog turns that into a Samoan Drop for a two count. Bulldog hits a delayed vertical suplex for a two count. Bret then cuts Bulldog off the top rope and hits a superplex as both men are down. Bret is up first and hits an inverted atomic drop then a clothesline. Bulldog gets two. Piledriver gets two. Bret comes off the top and Bulldog puts his legs up so Bret lands on his feet and puts on the Sharpshooter until Bulldog is able to reach the ropes. Bret fires away in the corner but Bulldog catches him on a floatover and they struggle until Bret slingshots himself on top of Bulldog for a two count. Bret counters a monkey flip with a cradle but Bulldog ends up reversing and gets the surprise win (19:06) *3/4.
Thoughts: The first like 65% of this match was crap. The last 35% was actually decent and the finish was a surprise. With all the hype for Bulldog getting the title match at the December In Your House and the fact Bret cost Bulldog the title at the last In Your House, it would lead you to believe that with this victory, Bret is winning at the Survivor Series.
Howard Finkel thanks the fans and how they will be at Madison Square Garden on 11/25. The main event will be Undertaker against whoever leaves Survivor Series, Diesel or Bret Hart, as the WWF Champion.
Lumberjack Tag Team Match: Yokozuna & Owen Hart w/ Mr. Fuji vs. Shawn Michaels & Diesel
Finkel does introduce Shawn & Diesel as “Dudes with Attitudes.” Diesel and Yokozuna start off with a staredown that lacks any sort of drama or intensity. We then get a shoving match then Diesel fires away. Owen comes in and gets hip tossed and the faces clear the ring with all of the lumberjacks having to run over and try to get Yokozuna up but all they do is stand over him. However, Yokozuna gets up and paces around then gets to the apron without a single person even trying to get him back inside. You could have counted to 100 before Yokozuna back into the ring. Again, just designing incredibly long timeout spots for Yokozuna, who is not in any sort of shape to compete. The lumberjacks bang the mat and clap to try and engage the crowd then we see Yokozuna catch Diesel with a Samoan Drop. Owen tags and stomps away. Diesel catches Owen with a back elbow smash and after that uses the snake eyes. Shawn tags and fires away. He hits a flying double axe handle for two but ends up running into a spinning heel kick. Shawn is knocked out of the ring but immediately tossed right in as Owen stomps away. Owen stays in control then tags out as Yokozuna participates in a double clothesline spot then stares at Shawn for a long time before eventually using a headbutt. He whips Shawn up and over in the corner as the lumberjacks roll Shawn back inside. Yokozuna takes his time before applying a nerve hold. Shawn escapes but is taken down with a throat thrust. Owen tags in and gets kicked in the face setting up for a back drop as both men are down. The crowd gets behind Shawn but Owen cuts off a tag attempt. Owen drills Shawn with an enziguiri then sends him outside where the heel lumberjacks stomp away until the faces run over and a brawl ensues. Shawn is back in the ring as Diesel is being attacked now. The heels work over Shawn until Owen misses a flying elbow drop. Shawn is able to tag out and Diesel hammers away on Owen. It appears that Helmsley runs in and gets dropped by Diesel. Owen is then hit with a Rocket Launcher but Yokozuna accidentally splashes Owen trying to break up the pin so Shawn sends Yokozuna out with the super kick then covers Owen for the win (12:27) **. After the match, we get a brawl in the ring with the babyface lumberjacks celebrating with Diesel & Shawn.
Thoughts: The match was alright but again, Yokozuna just cannot even work part of a tag match in his condition as long, convoluted rest spots need to be added to all of his matches. Shawn worked well here I thought and the fans were more invested into this than they were the previous match. And you can send home the crowd happy with the faces winning.
Final Thoughts: Can’t speak for the entire show, obviously, but what we saw was nothing special in terms of action although Bulldog winning clean was a surprise. This is available on YouTube if you want to check it out. However, the real drama, once again this month in WWF, is behind the scenes. Again, lets go back to Wade Keller and the “Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter” for news behind the scenes at this show:
“Then Sunday, Nov. 12, on the final house show of the tour, McMahon showed up for the third time in ten days and once again had a meeting with The Clique in a back room, furthering the resentment of the relationship.
Two wrestlers who had been openly outspoken against The Clique were Bam Bam Bigelow and Jean Pierre Lafitte. Bigelow has been openly outspoken against Shawn Michaels in recent months due to Michaels’s criticism of the working ability and work ethic of other wrestlers. Lafitte had a confrontation with Diesel in the ring and backstage in Quebec two months ago that led to a division that still exists today.
Mere personal problems and isolated incidents such as those grew into a much larger problem in the middle of last week to the point where there was talk of a massive walkout among WWF wrestlers while others, as mentioned earlier, talked openly of giving their notice or wanting to give their notice.
The problem was elevated to such unprecedented levels because of the lack of a clear-cut number two authority figure in the company. When Pat Patterson was around, he played the good cop to Vince McMahon’s bad cop role. Sometimes those roles were reversed. Either way, wrestlers felt free to express grievances with Patterson with the belief that while they may not get their way in the end, expressing their concerns would not cause them to be buried. When Bill Watts replaced Patterson, he played a similar role in terms of interaction with wrestlers.
When Watts left, a number of wrestlers were left without someone to go to. The position vacated by Patterson and Watts has yet to be filled. Jerry Brisco is on the road regularly, and Jim Ross, Bruce Prichard, and J.J. Dillon are picking up some of the slack. Pat Patterson still frequents a few shows here and there, but has neither the authority nor the interest at this point in addressing major problems and is, if anything, sitting back with detached bemusement at how things are falling apart without him.
As a result, without a clear-cut number two authority figure, the perception has become that The Clique has collectively become that “number two authority figure” in the WWF. While Michaels, Diesel, Ramon, and Kid have had McMahon’s ear for the last couple years and have contributed ideas (Michaels even helped script the format of Monday Night Raw when he was co-hosting the show and took part in front office production and booking conversations) and have been a major influence in the company, they were never perceived as having influence over other people’s careers.
The perception is now that The Clique are influencing, if not dictating, to Vince who they will and won’t lose to, who is and isn’t worthy of a title reign, who deserves more of a push and less of a push, who is a complainer and who is easy to work with. Short of actually handing out finishes to matches they aren’t involved in, the perception is they have picked up much of the influence previously wielded by Patterson and Watts.
The problem with that situation is wrestlers not in The Clique don’t have an objective person to seek out who has definitive power. The road agents along with Prichard, Ross, Brisco, and Dillon, have authority, but often contradict each other and none have been given the type of explicit endorsement that McMahon gave to Watts in front of the wrestlers just a few weeks before Watts quit. And none were given the type of implied endorsement that McMahon gave The Clique this weekend as he openly catered to their concerns and was seen joking and laughing with them.
So if a wrestler has a grievance with how his career is being handled, he would conceivably have to try to get The Clique to see things his way in order to have that issue addressed. The only other alternative is to go directly to Vince McMahon with a problem that in the past they wouldn’t have considered bothering him with. But since McMahon had been seen spending so much time with The Clique on the road, the perception is McMahon can’t be objective, either.
Not every source from the WWF spoke negatively about The Clique. Some said that while there are indeed some upset with The Clique, it is far from everyone and that many of those who are putting up the stink are those who are the first to leave the arenas and are those who never watch other’s matches and rarely show a concern for the company, and instead focus only on themselves. They said The Clique is made up of many of the hardest workers in the WWF and that their power is derived from what they produce in the ring, not as others have claimed from powerplays and manipulation of McMahon.
Others argued that McMahon would like to stand up to the clique, but feels vulnerable at this time and thus can’t afford to take appropriate action against them because firing them would result in setting him back six months in his effort to rebuild the company.
Some members of WWF management are not thrilled with the power of The Clique either, and some may have even told Vince to take a stand against them when they “threatened to walk out” last week. But instead McMahon flew out and rather than pound his fist to a table, he listened to their arguments. Depending on your perspective, this is either a good or a bad change in his way of conducting business. If anything, his relationship collectively with The Clique is similar to the give and take he had with Hulk Hogan during their peak years together.
The argument against that close relationship is that McMahon cannot possibly be objective in evaluating who is drawing if he is so close to those five wrestlers, especially considering the houses drew so poorly on recent tours. This is supposed to be the strongest part of the year for the WWF yet they have had to cancel shows due to low attendance while other shows maybe should have been cancelled due to low advances. A couple of the cards on the recent swing drew adequately, but most were in the 2,000-4,000 range with loaded line-ups. What’s worse, the latest pay-per-view buyrates have been dismal.
There has also been a loss of confidence in McMahon’s booking ability. In his short stay in the WWF, Bill Watts became a popular leader. While his style was considered overbearing at times, he was seen as a take-control guy who would enforce a work ethic in the WWF and help the quality of house shows. Not one person exposed to his long-term booking ideas thought Watts was out of touch. Watts’s departure was not only a letdown to many wrestlers, in and out of The Clique, but it was seen as another sign of Vince’s inability to relinquish power, despite not showing great booking acumen himself.”
And then there is this piece: “There was a feeling that internal unrest was such that had there not been a week off from Sunday’s Meadowland’s card until Sunday’s pay-per-view that the tense locker room situation would have blown up. As it stands now, smooth sailing is far from a given for an organization that now has been dubbed by some WWF wrestlers “Titanic Sports.”
So, as you can tell, things are tumultuous behind the scenes.
Here is my schedule for the rest of the week:
Tuesday: WWF Monday Night RAW 11/13/95
Wednesday: WWF Superstars 11/18/95
Thursday: WWF Action Zone 11/19/95
Friday: WWF 1995 Survivor Series
Saturday: WWF Monday Night RAW 11/20/95
Sunday: WWF Superstars 11/25/95
Monday: WWF Monday Night RAW 11/27/95