Flair pinning Hogan in 1991 with brass knuckles


What's up with this? In Flair's first run of non-televised matches against Hogan, he would pin Hogan with brass knuckles, be announced as the new WWF champion, only to have the decision be reversed. Here's handheld video of it happening in their second-ever match: https://youtu.be/QJA_BYb_eFI?t=16m40s  Just seems strange that Hogan, who was always protected, would be pinned by the little new guy from down south. Even if it wasn't televised, it was still seen by several live audiences. We've seen all kinds of hokey finishes in house show/dark match main-events, but Hulk Hogan being pinned to lose the title by a complete newcomer only to be awarded the title back on a technicality has to be the strangest right? So was this done to elevate Flair in the eyes of the live-show attendees? To gauge audience response? Did Hulk lose a bet? What gives?

​Well, clearly they were dead serious about pushing Flair as a big deal when he came in.  Yeah, the houses kind of sucked for the rematches and they lost interest quickly, but Flair had those matches going over Hogan and Piper even put him over, so it's clear there were plans.  I checked the WON for that week and despite a hilariously wordy review of the match from Dave, there's nothing about why they chose that finish, so it's probably just what they picked to build for the rematch, with Hogan trusting Flair enough to do a fake job for him.  Dave gave the match ***1/2 in case anyone is wondering.  ​

A Look Back At: The 1991 PWI 500 Rankings

For the past twenty-five years Pro Wrestling Illustrated has accepted the challenge of ranking 500 of the best wrestlers during each of those years. Sometimes there have been questionable rankings and times when they actually forgot to include wrestlers.
I’ve decided to take a look at each publication of the PWI 500 and see the interesting listing, dispute their rankings and show the progression of wrestlers through the years.
I’m not going to list all 500 guys, but instead point out interesting rankings and see the progression or decline throughout the years. For a full listing of 1991 PWI 500, click HERE.
The issue started in 1991 and has been a staple for the publication ever since. Lets take a look at the top 10 for 1991. 
Hulkamania running wild on the PWI 500!

Hulkamania running wild on the PWI 500!
1.) Hulk Hogan
2.) Lex Luger
3.) Ric Flair
4.) Randy Savage
5.) Sting
6.) Scott Steiner
7.) Ricky Steamboat
8.) Steve Williams
9.) Arn Anderson
10.) Rick Steiner
It’s quite clear as to why Hogan was number one. He had a big year by winning the Rumble, beating Slaughter at Mania VII and was able to successfully end his feud with Earthquake. Also, we can’t forget that he had numerous matches with Ric Flair at the tail end of the year. Sure, he lost the WWF World Championship at This Tuesday in Texas but a week later regained it by defeating the Undertaker at Survivor Series. Oh, by the way, they forgot to include the Undertaker and Terry Gordy. Yeah, that’s a head scratcher, I know. Anyway, Hogan at number one is perfectly fine. He had a strong year in comparison to the remaining top ten.
Luger is a close second, but a victim of Flair leaving WCW in the summer. Had Luger won the WCW World Championship at Great American Bash in June over Flair instead of Barry Windham, I think Luger gets over the hump and takes number one. Luger was a double champion holding the WCW United States and WCW World Championships after the win at the Bash. Luger continued his reign as champion leading into 1992 successfully defending against Ron Simmons at Halloween Havoc.
Flair didn’t seem to have an overly huge year. Sure, he was champion and never lost the WCW World Champion, but something just seems to be missing. He didn’t get traction going in the WWF until ’92, but I suppose their not being many top stars made it an easy pick for Flair to be in the top 5.
Not sure why or how Randy Savage was ranked number four as he was “retired” following his loss to the Ultimate Warrior at Mania VII. He wouldn’t return to action until the fall. Seems a bit high and that’s coming from a Macho Man fanatic.
Interestingly enough, Rick Steiner is ranked lower than his brother Scott Steiner despite Rick getting several WCW World Championship matches against Lex Luger, of course he was unsuccessful in those attempts. Scott was unsuccessful going after the WCW Television Championship that was held by Steve Austin. The most memorable moment for the Steiner Brothers was their classic match at Superbrawl against Lex Luger and Sting, which they won.
It’s shocking that Ricky Steamboat was in the top ten of the list. He was in the WWF for most of 1991 and literally had matches with the Barbarian and other mid card talents. Being ranked at number seven seems extremely high considering the other talent listed, which we will get to. Steamboat returned to WCW in November and won the WCW World Tag Team Championships with Dustin Rhodes, but it’s no way plausible to have the Dragon this high, at least not in 1991.
Moving out of the top 10…
Would you trust Jake Roberts?

Would you trust Jake Roberts?
11.) Ultimate Warrior
21.) Bret Hart
23.) Jake Roberts
28.) Jeff Jarrett
29.) Ron Simmons
Despite leaving the WWF in August, Warrior still had a big year. Sure, he lost the WWF World Championship to Sgt. Slaughter at the Rumble, but he beat Randy Savage at Mania, was successful in a feud against the Undertaker and teamed with Hogan to victory at SummerSlam. That seems more top ten worthy than Steamboat.
The rise of Bret Hart started in 1991 and gets a top 25 ranking. A fine place for the tag team wrestler who got his biggest victory against Mr. Perfect at SummerSlam 1991 to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. 1991 was a very strong year for the Hitman. He might have been a top 15 ranked wrestler.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts started off getting quite a bit of sympathy when he was nearly blinded for life by Rick Martel and beat Martel at Mania VII in a blindfold match. By the summer, Roberts was the most hated man ruining the Savage/Elizabeth wedding at SummerSlam and embarked in a truly personal and awesome feud with Savage to close out 1991. That period could be Jake’s best work.
Jeff Jarrett had a busy year in USWA where he won the USWA Heavyweight Championship four times and the USWA Tag Team Championships four times. Sure, his father Jerry Jarrett ran the company, but regardless Jeff had a stellar year full with success.
In the beginning of 1991 Simmons was the WCW World Tag Team Champions with Butch Reed, but they lost the belts in February and Simmons won a cage match against Reed at Superbrawl in May. Simmons continued to rise up the card and got a WCW World Championship match at Halloween Havoc against Lex Luger but came up short in a best two out of three falls match. Bigger things are ahead for Simmons.
The top guy for the GWF, the Patriot.

The top guy for the GWF, the Patriot.
31.) Steve Austin
33.) Big Van Vader
37.) Shawn Michaels
55.) The Patriot
58.) Bam-Bam Bigelow
Austin didn’t waste anytime upon his arrival in WCW to capture gold when he beat Bobby Eaton for the WCW Television Championship on June 3rd. He’d hold the belt for nearly a year. He also joined the top heel faction in WCW known as the Dangerous Alliance. Austin was a huge part of WCW from the get go.
Vader found success in 1991 overseas as he wasn’t used all that much in WCW. He was the CWA Heavyweight Champion for more than half of 1991 before losing the strap to Rambo. At the end of the year he would win the CWA Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship but was forced to give up the championship upon signing a full-time contract with WCW and a contract with NJPW.
One half of the Rockers, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty should be close in the rankings but shockingly Jannetty was ranked at #57. By the end of 1991, the Rockers would be split up as Michaels literally tossed Jannetty through a plate glass window.
The Patriot was a breakout star for the promotion GWF, or the Global Wrestling Federation. Upon his arrival, the fan favorite won the GWF Television Championship on June 29th and within two months won the GWF Heavyweight Championship in August. Patriot would hold the Heavyweight Championship for the remainder of the year.
Bigelow had a successful 1991 working mainly in Japan and teaming with Vader, though the team wouldn’t win any gold until the following year.
The Diamond Stud. Does he look familiar?

The Diamond Stud. Does he look familiar?
76.) Diamond Stud
79.) Roddy Piper
107.) Chris Benoit
131.) Dustin Rhodes
171.) Shane Douglas
Kind of surprising that Stud would be ranked so high considering he lost quite a bit of steam when he lost to guys like Ron Simmons, Tom Zenk and was on the losing side of the Chambers of Horrors match at Halloween Havoc. Probably didn’t help that Rick Rude joined the company and had almost the same exact gimmick as Stud. A bigger year is in store for Stud in 1992 with a chance of scenery.
One of the biggest stars in the WWF had a busy 1991, but that wouldn’t be reflected by his ranking. He spent some of the year hurt due to his hip but helped Virgil in his feud with Ted DiBiase. More importantly, Piper was involved in a heated feud with Ric Flair upon his debut in the WWF that would continue on and off for the next seven years.
The young crippler Chris Benoit was under the radar to the mainstream fans as he was tearing it up overseas having classic matches with Jushin Liger in Japan. It would be a few years before Benoit made a splash in the States.
Dustin Rhodes had a great 1991 as he didn’t lose a match on pay per view or at a Clash of the Champions. Fought Steve Austin to a draw at Havoc for the WCW Television Championship but managed to win gold in November with Ricky Steamboat when they defeated the WCW World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson and Larry Zbyszko. Dustin is one of the few guys who have a successful career and put on good matches like his father, Dusty.
Shane Douglas seemingly got his ranking based on what he had done previously to 1991. For the most part, the most impressive thing Douglas did was last nearly 27 minutes in the Royal Rumble.
Tazmaniac would go through a makeover over the years.

Tazmaniac would go through a makeover over the years.
246.) Virgil
250.) Dean Malenko
253.) Lightning Kid
267.) Tazmaniac
367.) OZ
For a guy who won at WrestleMania against his former employer Ted DiBiase by count-out and then won the WWF Million Dollar Championship at SummerSlam, a ranking of 246 seems a bit too low for Virgil. Sure, he isn’t a spectacular wrestler, but considering Shane Douglas lasted all of 27 minutes in the Rumble and then vanished and got a ranking of 171, Virgil is made out to look like an All-Star in comparison. I’m pretty sure that’s the last time I’d ever say that about Virgil.
Who would have ever thought that Dean Malenko would be ranked lower than Virgil. Malenko, much like Benoit, found great success in Japan and wouldn’t venture over to the States for a few more years.
The highly entertaining Lightning Kid had a strong second year of competing by winning the GWF Lightweight Championship on two occasions and having several memorable matches with Jerry Lynn throughout the year.
Tazmaniac held the IWCCW Lightweight Championship for six months in 1991 and was one of the most hated men in the Northeast area.
The one of many gimmicks for Kevin Nash, OZ came in at 367. OZ was successful for a period of time before losing to Ron Simmons at the Great American Bash. The character wouldn’t make it to 1992.
GI Bro when Booker brought the gimmick back for a moment in 2000.

GI Bro when Booker brought the gimmick back for a moment in 2000.
390.) GI Bro
392.) Jerry Lynn
403.) Chris Candido
409.) Brian Christopher
500.) Zeus
GI Bro would be better known as Booker T. In 1991 he worked for lesser known promotions but a short time into his career, he was beating veterans on a regular basis. It took him only eight weeks to make his television debut.
As noted before, Lynn was busy working in the GWF and putting on classic matches with the Lightning Kid. Lynn would win the GWF Lightweight Championship in December of 1991.
Candido had a good run with the USWA where he teamed with Eric Embry and faired well against veteran wrestlers. Another guy who would rise up the ranks throughout the years.
Brian Christopher was a top fan favorite for the USWA but would really breakout in 1992.
I’m not aware of what Zeus did wrestling wise in 1991, but it’s a notable name to be ranked as number 500.
Did you disagree with any of the rankings for the PWI 500 in 1991? Who would have been your number one? Where would you have ranked the Undertaker had he not been forgotten by the writers when this was published? Do you miss kayfabe magazines? 
Leave your thoughts below!

For more wrestling columns and reviews, head over to WRESTLING RECAPS

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday in Texas 1991

Hey, Scott. Question for the blog…

I was watching the Tuesday in Texas PPV. Survivor Series 1991 was the first PPV I ever ordered. I was maybe 13 at the time. I was a fairly new fan, and wasn't aware of their PPV rotation yet, but I knew that WWF only did PPV once every 3 or 4 months. I remember they had been teasing that Survivor Series would be Macho Man's reinstatement, so he could replace Sid Justice in the main event. But right from the opening, they say (in the form of Jack Tunney) that not only will Savage not be appearing in the match, but Jake will be out as well. This was basically the hottest feud on the card at the time, and now it's not happening? But they will indeed be having a match "this Tuesday night, in Texas." Ok, that was kind

​ ​

of weird. Then we get a screwjob finish in the title match with Hogan and Taker, only to be teased for their rematch, "this Tuesday night in Texas." And they don't even announce that the show will be available on PPV until much later in night.

So my question is, what was the point of that? Just to simply milk more money from the PPV buys? I remember it was much shorter, and I would assume didn't cost as much to order. Was this their first try at what would later become In Your House? And I've also heard that after the lame finish to Team Piper vs Team Flair at Survivor Series, that the two had a singles match un-televised before the Tuesday in Texas PPV went to air. Why not put that on the actual PPV, instead of giving us Bulldog vs Warlord?

Thanks!

​Yeah, this was a pretty big experiment at the time, trying to see if something like what became TNA's weekly PPV idea would fly. They basically did the show on a shoestring budget with no advertising just to see if they COULD milk another few million dollars out of the top programs.  And the answer proved to be "yes, sort of" because it kind of annoyed the cable companies and they abandoned the concept until In Your House.  
As for the Flair-Piper match, I'm assuming they didn't want to kill the house show business that the match was doing at the time, especially on a show that was only 90 minutes and didn't have any advertising anyway.  That being said, a three-match show with Hogan-UT, Savage-Roberts and Flair-Piper would have been pretty killer, so it might have been a better idea to just run it there.  ​

Jake and Earthquake 1991

Unless my mind is bad, I don't remember any blow off match for the earthquake killing Damien angle in 1991.Was there ever suppose to be, or was it just suppose to be a catalyst for Jake going off the deep end and turning heel?

And while we're on 1991 how is that time period booked if Flair never comes in and Warrior never leaves? Is there any chance of Jake getting a run with the belt? Always seemed to me that that would have been the perfect time to do it.

​Would YOU have trusted Jake Roberts with a World title at that point?  That's a lot of "if" for 91, but I think they would have just kept the belt on Hulk through the Sid feud.  
As for the Earthquake feud, they did the house show run after Wrestlemania and then I think WWF just kind of changed their mind and wanted to do the Natural Disasters deal instead.  ​

The Lapsed Fan: Halloween Havoc 1991

Scott,
Here again with a plug for this week's THE LAPSED FAN.  Again, thank you so much plugging the show! JP
the lapsed fan Another week elapsed, another Lapsed Fan here at WZ, and this time it's Jack and JP's first look at a WCW pay-per-view. The co-chairmen break down the 1991 Halloween Havoc, and the unforgettable, for better or worse (who are we kidding? Worse) "Chamber of Horrors" match. The panel dissect the show as only they can, pointing out and meditating on a number of fascinating tidbits, including:- The original move pegged the "Attitude Adjustment"
– The story behind Paul E.'s sudden exodus from WCW and dramatic return on this show to form "The Dangerous Alliance."
– Which of the show's competitors JP had Galoob figures of
– Prescient insight into Alexandra York's laptop and presumptions on how it led her charges, including "The Computerized Man of the 90s," Terrence Taylor, to, well, losses
– The match where, to win, you had to put your opponent in an electric chair and flip the lethal switch, subjecting the audience to a live death that the announcers somehow covered with a detached nonchalance. Unlike anything you've ever seen, thank God. All that and so, so much more on the latest Lasped Fan, exclusively at WrestleZone. Check it out here for an evening of terrifying destruction:www.wrestlezone.com/news/489179-the-lapsed-fan-episode-7 Subscribe to us on iTunes:itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/lapsed-fan-wrestling-podcast/id886288819?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4 And follow us on Twitter: @thelapsedfan

10 Surprising Revelations From The 1991 Summerslam Payroll Sheet

Thought this was interesting and would spark some convo on the blog. The Summerslam 91 paysheet was released due to Warrior's lawsuit regarding the dvd WWE produced about him. 

As soon as I heard about this one I thought "Ah, Mookieghana must have done it", but it's someone else working off of a document provided by him.  Still, WOW.  I'm such a nerd for this sort of thing and it's awesome to be able to get some hard numbers even if it's decades out of date.  Great stuff.  

Royal Rumble 1991 poster on wwe.com

Hey Scott

Loving your work dude, keep it up as always, hope my clicks help the DVD fund, I dont have Kindle so cant contribute like that, but hey!

So, I was on wwe.com the other day looking at their Royal Runble coverage, one image really stuck out for me: 30 Best Rumblers
http://wwe-royal-rumble-uk.aiprx.com/shows/royalrumble/the-30-best-rumblers-ever

To my alarm, the main image, the 1991 poster shows 22 superstars front and centre, 6 of which are now dead! I know we're talking 23 years ago but man, that isnt a great image to showcase your Rumble coverage – of the 11 over half are dead – Perfect, Von Erich, Hawk, Earthquake, Bossman and Savage.

Got me thinking, which Rumble has suffered the most losses, and I have found that 1990 (Savage, Brown, Andre, Bravo, Earthquake, Rude, Hercules and Perfect) and 1991 (Bravo, Von Erich, Hercules, Bulldog, Hawk, Crush, Earthquake and Perfect, plus Savage who no showed) tie with 8 losses per Rumble. 1991 has 9 if you include Savage who no showed the match.

In fact, every Rumble from 1988 – 2008 has at least one past away participant.

Not sure I have a massive point to make, just thought it was interesting!

I did a death count for Dungeon of Death and one of the Rumble shows ended up ranking as #1 for the most dead participants, either 90 or 91.  It was a really bad era for people dying in general because steroids and recreational drugs were totally out of control and business was down, so the answer was MORE STEROIDS.  

Summerslam 1991

So rewatching some old ppvs and it made me wonder why Vince went Hogan/Warrior vs Slaughtr and his crew at the 91 Summerslam after Wrestlemania 7 struggled with Hogan vs Slaughter in the main event? 

I'm guessing that Vince was kind of preoccupied with other stuff for most of 1991 and this was the easiest route to go.  

Random Summerslam 1991 Questions

Hey Scott,


I was watching Summerslam '91 last night (I know, I'm a glutton for punishment) and have a pair of nagging questions.

1.  What was the original goal with Sid supposed to be in the WWF?  He joined Hogan in the ring after the main event, posing with him to the cheers of the crowd in a moment that seemed designed to give him the Hulk seal of approval as a mega babyface.  Just another case of Hogan not willing to let anyone get over in the long run?

2.  Who were the wedding party for the Macho/Elizabeth wedding?  Now days a best man and maid of honor in a kayfabe wedding would surely be fellow WWE SUPERSTARS, but apart from Randy and Liz, I didn't recognize a single person in the ring.  On commentary it sounded as if Piper was going to identify them for a moment, but then he got distracted and never did.  Can you (or any blog readers) help?

Thanks!

1.  The original goal is what we got — Hulk Hogan v. heel Sid at Wrestlemania.  It was planned that way all along.
2.  No help from me, sorry.  

SummerFest Countdown: 1991

  The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for WWF Summerslam 1991 (Oh god, a new format rant.)  – Live from Madison Square Garden – Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan & Roddy Piper. If ever there was an announce team that’s a trainwreck waiting to happen, it’s this one. Ricky Steamboat, Kerry Von Erich & British Bulldog v. Paul Roma, Hercules & Warlord This is Steamboat’s last WWF PPV appearance, before jumping to WCW and eventually retiring there. (Although he of course briefly un-retired a few years ago.)  This was also during the really fucking stupid period where they had him breathing fire and just referred to him as “The Dragon” so that people would think he’s a real dragon or something. I’m sure the next step would have been Vince selling home fire-breathing kits to the children in the audience, but sadly he left before we got a chance to find out just how big of a lawsuit that would have been. Von Erich was also on the tail end of his WWF career at this point. Steamboat starts with Roma and gets pounded down and dropkicked, but Roma celebrates like he suddenly ceased being a total jobber and walks into an armdrag, as Steamboat starts working the arm. Quick story about Roma to illustrate what a dork he is – during the period in the late 90s where he was attempting a boxing career to make up for being blackballed out of wrestling (and considering the people who have come back to wrestling, think about what a cock you have to be to get exiled from our so-called sport), he would get his manager to e-mail me and try to convince me to say nicer things about him in my WCW rants. I think that’s why I still take such glee at slagging his every stupid career choice today. Sure, some people say that you can’t really blame the total implosion of the Four Horsemen franchise on his involvement, because it wasn’t his choice, but I say those people aren’t trying hard enough.  (High five!  Anyone?) Roma misses a charge, and tags out to Herc, who also gets armdragged a bunch. Over to Kerry, who slugs on Hercules in the corner. Warlord comes in for the face off against Bulldog and loses the power match, and a Bulldog suplex gets two. Back to Steamboat, who quickly makes a dumb move and gets caught in the corner. He comes back with a rollup on Roma, but Warlord clotheslines him and Roma adds a suplex for two. See, there he goes again, always taking credit for other people’s previous efforts. Roma gets a backbreaker and Herc comes in to work the back with a press slam. Warlord adds a slam and Roma adds a nice leapfrog onto the back. Steamboat’s comeback is cut short by a stun gun from Hercules, and Warlord keeps pounding the back. He goes up, and it’s Stupid Raised Foot Comeback Spot time, which sets up the hot tag to Tornado. Sunset flip gets two and it’s BONZO GONZO. In the chaos, Steamboat goes up and guess who gets pinned? (Steamboat/Von Erich/Bulldog d. Roma/Hercules/Warlord, Steamboat bodypress – pin Roma, 10:42, ***) This was the standard “warm up the crowd” opener, and Steamboat getting the living shit kicked out of him for 10 minutes is always a safe bet to build sympathy and disguise the weakness in, uh, everyone else in the match. So for those playing at home, yes, Ricky Steamboat CAN carry five other people in one match, and thus may qualify as Superman. (I wish Grant Morrison could reboot him too, and bring him back to my TV again as a young man.)  Intercontinental title: Mr. Perfect v. Bret Hart. Bret hiptosses him out of the ring to start, and grabs a headlock. Crucifix gets two and he maintains a headlock with some well-timed hair-pulling. Crossbody gets two, as does a sunset flip, and he goes back to the headlock. Hennig tries some cheating to turn the tide, but Bret takes him down and stomps him. They trade slams in a nice counter wrestling sequence. Hennig bails off a punch and regroups, but Bret pulls him back in, ripping the tights in the process. A cheapshot puts Perfect in control, however, and a pair of kicks puts Bret on the floor. Hennig steps on his back to get back into the ring, a nice touch. Bret fights back to the apron, so Hennig snaps him into the railing for the Pillman bump. Back in, Bret rolls him up out of the corner for a one-count. Perfect pounds him down again and sends him into the corner for two. Necksnap and rollup get two. Dropkick puts Bret on the floor, and they brawl out there. They fight up to the top and Bret down first, with Perfect falling on top of him for two in a weird spot. Still not sure what happened there. Perfect hairtosses him and grabs a sleeper, but Bret fights out easily. Bret tries another crucifix, but Perfect is onto him now and counters with a samoan drop for two. He sends Bret to the corner for two. Perfectplex gets two, and Bret comes back. Atomic drop both ways and Bret returns the hairtoss, so Perfect takes a great sliding bump into the post. Suplex gets two. Small package gets two. Russian legsweep gets two. Backbreaker and elbow get two. A desperate Perfect rolls him up for two in a hot near-fall, but Bret kicks him out of the ring. Bret starts kicking the crap out of the leg to set up for the Sharpshooter, and Perfect is flipping around like a gymnast to sell it. Bret goes after Coach and gets crotched as a result, and Perfect starts going low in desperation. A legdrop is caught by Bret, however, and he turns it into the Sharpshooter, with Earl Hebner ringing the bell, ringing the fucking bell, very early. (Bret Hart d. Curt Hennig, Sharpshooter — submission, 18:05, ****1/4) Still holds up, except for the botched finish. This was all about Mr. Perfect bringing Bret up to his level and turning him into a legitimate star.  (Yup.  A great match with great drama, although many people now prefer the King of the Ring 93 match instead.  To each their own, both are awesome anyway.)  The Natural Disasters v. The Sheepfuckers Andre the Giant is managing the Whackers, looking on death’s door in the process. This momentous grudge match was set up by Tugboat suddenly realizing what a goober he was and turning on the Bushwhackers for a real career. (Ironically, Quake had put Tugboat out of action one year previous to this, knocking him out of his main event payoff at Summerslam 90.  So he’s not only stupid and clumsy, but very forgiving.)  Butch bites him to start and the Whackers quickly overwhelm the heels with double-teaming. Quake clobbers Butch, however, and the Disasters take over. Quake drops the big fat elbow and Typhoon powers Butch into the corner, and trades off with Quake for a bearhug. Typhoon comes back in with an elbow for two. Hot tag Luke and they take out Quake with a battering ram, but Luke goes splat when left alone with the heels, and that’s all she wrote. (Natural Disasters d. Bushwhackers, Earthquake assdrop — pin Luke Williams, 6:28, *) This was a squash sundae with squash nuts on top and a light coating of chocolate squash sauce. LOD saves Andre from a potential beatdown, which sets up the big program for the fall that led indirectly to the creation of Money Inc. Weird how stuff works, no? – And then, wrestling history trivialized to comedy by those who had no clue just what had been dropped in their laps, as Bobby Heenan knocks on Hulk Hogan’s door…carrying the NWA World title belt. To this day I can’t believe how many ways they flushed this angle down the crapper. I know it doesn’t sound like SUCH a big deal these days, but back then I knew people who were almost ready to start writing up their last will and testament because it was clearly the first sign of the apocalypse and the world would be ending soon.  (And of course the crack WWF legal team lost yet another lawsuit over this, which again makes me wonder how Vince ever escaped the steroid trials without getting a life sentence.  How completely incompetent did the government’s prosecution team have to be to not be able to convict VINCE MCMAHON of steroid distribution?!?)  Million Dollar Title: Ted Dibiase v. Virgil Hard to believe now, but this was quite the hot feud in 1991. (Just ask Virgil next time you see him at a convention!)  Sadly, Dibiase was the only one who could actually carry Virgil to anything watchable. Virgil slugs away to start and clotheslines Dibiase a few times, and another one to put him on the floor. Virgil tries to follow with a pescado, but Dibiase casually sidesteps him and sends him into the stairs. Back in for a clothesline, and the fistdrop gets two. Virgil catches him with his own version of the Million Dollar Dream, which I’m shocked they didn’t call “I Have A Dream” or something equally offensive, and Sherri runs in and waffles him with her loaded purse to break it up. A DQ appears imminent, but instead Sherri goes back to the dressing room and THE MATCH…MUST…CONTINUE! Virgil recovers first and rams Dibiase into the turnbuckles, and slugs away in the corner. Kind of limited in the offense department there. The ref is bumped on the old double whip and Virgil is out, so Dibiase lays the badmouth on Virgil’s mentor, Roddy Piper, and then hits Virgil with a pair of suplexes and a piledriver. Piper’s commentary, as he tries to will Virgil to come back, actually makes the match something pretty special, one of the few times you can say that about him. Dibiase pulls off the turnbuckle and goes for the kill, but Virgil has one last bit of energy and Dibiase eats the steel, and that’s enough for Virgil to roll over and get the pin. (Virgil d. Ted Dibiase, turnbuckle — pin, 10:53, **1/2) The story here was that Virg was 100% out of his league and Dibiase could beat him any time he wanted, but you’ll notice that he still went over, clean as a sheet (well, mostly), because Dibiase went out there and did the job like a pro instead of needing the Russo formula of someone else helping Virgil to win. As a match it was nothing, but the drama and story told were great.  (You’ll note that Dibiase doing ONE job extended Virgil’s career by something like 8 years.  That’s some impressive fuel economy.)  Jailhouse Match: The Mountie v. Big Bossman The loser spends the night in jail, and Mountie does a brilliant pre-match promo where he insults the New York police and basically sets up all the ironic abuse that was to come later. Mountie was a wonderfully obnoxious midcard heel, but he just never clicked as a singles worker. And he was given EVERYTHING, too. He had the great gimmick concept, a unique look, a unique weapon to carry around, a catchphrase, a catchy theme song, Jimmy Hart managing him and tons of promo time. But for whatever reason, people just didn’t buy him at that level. (COUGH ALBERTO DEL RIO COUGH) Bossman slugs him down to cut off the trashtalk, and gets a splash for two. He does the sliding punch, but Mountie goes to the eyes, only to walk into a spinebuster. Bossman goes to a neckvice, but stops to chase Jimmy and meets the stairs as a result. Back in, Bossman misses a charge and Mountie drops an elbow for two. Mountie hauls him out to the floor and they fight back into the ring. Mountie gets a piledriver, but stops to gloat about how he is the Mountie (see what I mean about the catchphrase?) and Bossman comes back with another sliding punch. Bossman slam gets two. Mountie trips him and tries another piledriver, but Bossman reverses to the Alabama slam to finish. (Big Bossman d. Mountie, whiplash slam — pin, 8:38, **) This was your basic Superstars main event, slow and not very interesting. However, it’s all just leading up to the big joke anyways, as Mountie is hauled off in handcuffs, yelling like a baby the whole way. – Intermission time, so we get promos from Ted Dibiase, Bret Hart, The Natural Disasters, Big Bossman, Mountie (being dragged into the jail), The Nasty Boys, Mountie again (getting photographed), the Legion of Doom, Mountie a third time (getting fingerprinted), Sgt. Slaughter, and finally Sid. WWF Tag titles: The Nasty Boys v. The Legion of Doom Big brawl to start and the Nasties get tossed. This is no DQ or countout. Animal powerbombs Knobs for two early on, but Sags saves. Hawk hits him with an enzuigiri and follows with a shoulderblock for two, but Knobs saves. Hawk slugs away on both guys, but Sags sprays him in the eyes with what I presume is mace, but maybe it’s Axe body spray, who knows. (This is clearly preposterous.  Not only that Axe wasn’t invented back then, but that Sags would know how to use deodorant.)  Sags follows with a drink tray and Hawk is face in peril. Back in the ring, the Nasties get a double elbow and work him over in the corner. Hawk bails, so Sags rams him in the stairs and Knobs follows with a double axehandle from the apron. Back in, they work him over in the corner and Knobs gets two. Stinger splash by Knobs sets up the SHITTY ELBOW OF DOOM from Sags, which gets two. Knobs jumps on Hawk’s upraised foot, and it’s hot tag Animal. Punches abound. Powerslam gets two on Knobs. It’s BONZO GONZO and the Nasties beat down Animal with the motorcycle helmet, which gets two for Knobs. Hawk steals the helmet, pounds both Nasties with it, and the Doomsday Device is academic. (LOD d. Nasty Boys, Animal Doomsday Device — pin Sags, 7:41, *) Way too short, and it never felt like the challengers were in any jeopardy. Really, given the buildup it should have been more like the ECW-style tag matches that the Nasties would have in WCW, or at least a Texas Tornado match, instead of the more low-key affair that it was. – Back in jail, the Mountie still isn’t dealing with it very well. IRS v. Greg Valentine. They trade headlocks to start, and Hammer overpowers him, following with a clothesline to the floor. Back in, sunset flip gets two for Valentine. IRS bails again, but catches him with a cheapshot on the way in, and gets the abdominal stretch. Lariat and elbow get two. IRS goes up, but gets slammed off, and Greg works the knee and sets up the figure-four. IRS makes the ropes and Valentine tries again, but it’s reversed to an inside cradle for the pin. (IRS d. Greg Valentine, inside cradle — pin, 7:05, *1/2) Again, nothing you wouldn’t normally see on Saturday morning syndicated TV or anything. Hulk Hogan & Ultimate Warrior v. Sgt. Slaughter, Gen. Adnan & Col. Mustafa. It’s too bad that Iron Sheik didn’t become truly entertaining until well after retirement, because “Colonel Mustafa” is a pretty boring-ass gimmick. Truly, my dream is to someday stage a political debate between Ultimate Warrior and Iron Sheik, hosted on YouTube of course, and then watch the money roll in. Never mind getting Warrior to wrestle again, the key to making money off him is to properly exploit his insanity. Plus it’ll be great when Sheik threatens to humble him by fucking him up the ass, and Warrior responds that queering don’t make the world work. And then Hogan can try to run in and break things up, but Verne Gagne will pay Sheik $25,000 to break his legs. I’ll make MILLIONS! Slaughter pounds on Hogan to start, but gets whipped into the corner. Hogan and Warrior pinball him, and Warrior comes in with an atomic drop, setting up Hogan’s big boot. Dig that tag team continuity. Hogan whips him into the post for two. Warrior sends Slaughter into Hogan’s boot for two. Corner clothesline and Hulk chokes away, so Sid Justice gets his ref on. Hogan gets caught in the mid-east corner and Adnan uses the fingernails on him. So that’s where Hogan got it from. Mustafa with the gut wrench and camel clutch, and Gorilla is all “Where have we seen this before?”, but Warrior breaks it up before he can actually acknowledge a previous gimmick. (It has since been clarified that Mustafa was in fact connected with Iron Sheik a few times on WWF TV before this, although I would again like to stress that I don’t remember it happening at the time.)  Slaughter gets a backbreaker for two. Hogan stops to give Sid some attitude, so Sarge clobbers him from behind and goes up, only to be foiled by Warrior. Man, when you’re getting outsmarted by that guy, you’re in trouble. Warrior comes in with clotheslines, but gets pounded down by Slaughter. The heels work him over in the corner, but Warrior reverses a suplex on Mustafa. Slaughter chokes him down, but Warrior bounces back with a clothesline and makes the hot tag to Hulk, then chases the other heels to the dressing room and doesn’t return for another 8 months. That’s some parking garage. Hulk up, yada yada blah blah blah. (Hogan & Warrior d. Slaughter, Adnan & Mustafa, Hogan legdrop — pin Slaughter, 12:38, **) C’mon, who really bought anyone on the heel side as a threat to either of the faces? The reasons for Warrior’s departure here differ depending on whose DVD you’re watching, but suffice it to say it was very political and money was involved. However, fake main event aside, the real draw was the (fake) wedding of Randy Savage & Elizabeth, as they renew their (real) vows in a desperate (failed) attempt to save their marriage. This leads to the reception, where Jake Roberts and the Undertaker play Wedding Crashers and attack Savage with a snake to set up the fall’s hottest program. The Pulse: Wrestling-wise, it was a mid-level Summerslam, with only one classic match, but the booking was excellent most of the way and it’s a very watchable show overall. Recommended.  (Yup.  I actually owned the original Coliseum video that I bought from a video store previously viewed, and during a period in 92 when we moved into a new house and we were waiting for cable to get hooked up I probably watched this show 20 times because I only had it, Batman, and Wayne’s World on VHS to choose from.  And I never really got sick of it.  Now of course my ridiculous 2000+ disc DVD collection has multiplied past the point where I could even watch all of them in one lifetime, not to mention the duplicates on Blu-Ray and everything I can choose from on Netflix, but everything starts somewhere.)

July PPV Countdown: The Great American Bash 1991

(2012 Scott sez:  You may have heard about this show before.  I was toying with the idea of a redo, but I’m a week away from vacation as it is and I don’t want to completely kill my will to live before I make it through the work week.)  The Netcop Retro Rant for WCW Great American Bash 1991 A word before we get started: Many times over the past few years on RSPW, I and many others have read newer posters state that such-and-such a PPV is the “Worst one ever!” I assure you, whatever a given is, it is not the Worst PPV Ever. nWo Souled Out was extremely bad, but it had a **** ladder match. WWF King of the Ring 1995 was pretty wretched, and certainly the worst WWF PPV, but there was at least one match over **. No, the title of the “The Worst PPV Ever” has always fallen on, and shall always fall on, WCW’s Great American Bash 1991, aka the Flair Protest Show. There is no comparison to anything else, it is, without a doubt, the biggest and most insulting waste of three hours ever to be called a wrestling program. Let this be a lesson to future generations of posters: Don’t watch this show, even to see how bad it could be. It’s just not worth it, no matter how cool your friends say you’ll be. Take up smoking instead. On with the rant. (Sadly, this show’s badness was EASILY eclipsed by Heroes of Wrestling after I wrote this.  EASILY.  I’d probably slot ECW December to Dismember at #2 as well now.)  Live from Baltimore, Maryland, where wrestlers can’t even shave in the morning for fear of the Maryland State Athletic Commission stopping their morning routine due to blood. Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross, with the debuting Eric Bischoff doing interviews. Opening match: PN News & Beautiful Bobby Eaton v. Stunning Steve Austin & Terry Taylor (scaffold match). And they waste no time in tanking the whole fucking show. Who could actually be STUPID enough to start a major PPV with a SCAFFOLD match? The whole dynamic of these things is that all four guys end up crawling around trying not to fall off and kill themselves. That tends to limit the action. I have no idea why it was even signed. (Because Austin and Eaton were sort of feuding over the TV title, and the other guys had nothing better to do, and SCIENCE.) It’s also “capture the flag” rules, meaning no cool 20 foot falls to the mat. I can’t even describe properly how BORING this match is. Crowd is just dead, and I mean DEAD, by the end of this mess. Bobby Eaton grabs the flag and goes back to his corner, and there’s ZERO reaction from the fans, since they’re probably waiting for someone to fall off to end it. Quite possibly the worst opening match in PPV history. -**** I mean it, it was THAT bad. (In all fairness, the Chamber of Horrors match might have been THE worst.  But this was right up there.)  Eric Bischoff interviews Paul E and Arn Anderson. Arn is the ONE guy I would NOT want to be around at that time. The Diamond Studd (w/DDP) v. Tom Zenk. Scott Hall looks very roided up and thick here. (Not that I would want to cast aspersions on the moral fiber of Scott Hall.)  Zenk has good energy for, oh, 5 seconds, and then the Studd puts it in under-drive with the usual kicks and punches. Hey, yo, survey says…this match bites. Crowd drops off like flies. Sooooooooo sloooooooooow. Zenk drags DDP into the ring and beats him up, which enables Studd to get a belly-to-back suplex for the pin. 1/2* This crowd is just merciless tonight in their Flair protest, basically not popping for *anything*.  (I’d say the shitty matches have a lot to do with the state of the crowd as well.)  Oh, well, at least it’s not Kevin Nash. Oz v. Ron Simmons. Oh, fuck, it’s Kevin Nash. Oz has Kane’s pyro to bring him out. (They’d already cut the budget on Oz’s entrance to almost nothing after his debut at Superbrawl failed to turn Nash into a giant star.)  This is just after Simmons’ singles push started. He gets one of the few actual pops of the night. Crowd doesn’t bother popping for anything in the match, however, and with good reason. The match is a big, steaming bowl of fresh suck, with lightly seasoned suck sauce, and a side of suck salad. (With suck dressing on the side.)  Lumber, lumber, kick, punch, yawn. Simmons manages to get a reaction by clotheslining Big Sexy the Giant Killer out of the ring. Simmons with three shoulderblocks for the pin. DUD. WCW’s Top 10 this week: 1. Lex Luger 2. Barry Windham 3. Sting 4. Steve Austin 5. Bobby Eaton 6. Arn Anderson 7. El Gigante 8. Diamond Studd 9. Ron Simmons 10. Johnny B. Badd (Sadly I wasn’t doing the WCW Top 10 disclaimer gag at this point because it might have provided me with some entertainment while writing this.)  Robert Gibson v. Ricky Morton. If you’ll recall from Clash XV, Morton turned on Gibson and joined the York Foundation. Morton hasn’t even bothered to change his RnR Express tights or grow an evil goatee. (Or, most importantly, cut his damn hair.  Thankfully Bobby Roode paid attention to that lesson when he turned heel.)  This was WCW’s pathetic attempt to push Morton as a singles wrestler 6 years too late. Crowd is actually pretty pumped for this to start. Morton kills it, of course, by stalling nonstop for the first few minutes. Then he spends the next 20 minutes working on Gibson’s knee. Good psychology, but it’s boring as shit and that’s the LAST thing this DOA crowd needs right now. It’s so weird watching Fonzie ref down the middle now. I think everyone was expecting a more Rock N Roll Express type of match and we get this shit instead, a point which JR makes, although in a more diplomatic sense. I guess it wasn’t a technically unsound match or anything, but literally 90% of it is Morton working on the knee. I’m so bored I’m nearly dropping off by the end. Gibson mounts an ill-advised comeback because as he’s crawling back into the ring after a sort-of brawl on the rampway, Morton tags him with the laptop and pins him. Yay. *  (At least they didn’t have Gibson go over.)  The Young Pistols and Dustin Rhodes v. The Freebirds and Bradstreet (six-man elimination). Wanna know how bad the tag situation in 1991 was? (HOW BAD WAS IT?) The ‘Birds have both the US and Six-Man tag titles.  (Oh.  I was hoping for a Match Game joke answer there.)  Brad Armstrong is 5000% better than both Hayes and Garvin combined, so of course we never get to see him here. Instead most of what he does is running around outside and pissing off the faces with his Ultra-Rudo act, which I dig more than anything that WCW produced in this time period. The Freebirds waste copious amounts of time trying to get the crowd to do ANYTHING. No dice. Hayes & Garvin of course proceed to ruin another perfectly good match by somehow managing to drag another team down to their level of crap. (Story of their career.)  Match goes almost to the finish with no eliminations, then suddenly Steve Armstrong, Michael Hayes, Tracy Smothers and Jim Garvin all go in rapid-fire succession, leaving Dustin against Bradstreet. Guess who wins that one. Hint: It was with several atomic elbows and a bulldog. *1/4 Note: We’re now about halfway into the show and my highest rating is *1/4. And that’s just because of Brad Armstrong’s performance. And this was supposed to be the show that started a new era for WCW?  (Well, I mean, it DID, but it wasn’t a very GOOD era…) The Yellow Dog v. Johnny B. Badd. Johnny’s initial push continues here. The Yellow Dog is Brian Pillman in the usual dipshit Dusty angle. (He lost a loser-leaves-town TAG match, for some reason, and came back as the mysterious Yellow Dog, and then proceeded to get his ass kicked by Barry Windham all over again.  It was quite the time for him.)  Johnny was playing it totally gay here. This was basically his first PPV appearance, keep in mind. (Second.)  Nothing match, full of armdrags and the occasional Pillman dropkick. Teddy Long runs in for no good reason and tries to attack Pillman, thus earning a DQ. (Yes, a DQ in this half-assed midcard match.)  The crowd is out of it, as usual tonight. * Pillman was not just half-assing it, he was half-assing the half of an ass he brought with him. Can you blame him, though? Lumberjack match: Black Blood v. Big Josh. Blood is Billy Jack Haynes. (What a fucking nutcase he turned out to be, even by the low standards of pro wrestling’s nutcases.  He makes Jesse Ventura’s conspiracy theory show look like 60 Minutes.  The short version is that he believes Daniel Benoit to actually have been Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son.  Plus he was nearly killed because he was “accidentally” acting as a cocaine mule and decided to steal some for himself.)  This was not a smart idea on WCW’s part, I’ll say that much. (Put this match on in Portland 5 years earlier and it’s literally a main event anywhere in the state.)  Kick and punch and the usual screwy stuff involved with a lumberjack match. And still Black Blood tries to rise above the convoluted booking and actually makes a match out of it. I guess no one told him about Flair. A big brawl ensues, and Dustin Rhodes whacks Black Blood with an axe handle, allowing Josh to get the pin. *3/4 I just can’t give it ** in good conscience. It actually got the crowd going. (Black Blood was an interesting character concept, as I guess he was intended to be a kind of medieval torture master, but Haynes quickly got injured and never returned.)  One Man Gang v. El Gigante. Well, that didn’t last long. Kevin Sullivan gives a long, rambling interview that kills the crowd again. Gigante carries four midgets to the ring. Stupid, stupid, stupid. El Gigante is the worst “mainstream” wrestler, ever. Period. (Great Khali would argue that point.)  One Man Gang beats on him with a cast iron wrench for 5 minutes and he can’t even sell *that* without screwing it up. (He beats on him with A CAST IRON WRENCH and the crowd is BORED with it.  This is how bad this show is!)  The crowd is having a collective nap. I’m surprised they haven’t walked out yet. Gigante can’t wrestle, talk, sell or act. (Apparently he did some poetry before he died that was pretty good, though.)  His whole thing is that he’s really, really tall. OMG actually carries a match (not out of negative stars…oh, lord, no…) and loses it after having his own powder kicked in his face. –** (Because if a CAST IRON WRENCH doesn’t work, lord knows POWDER will.)  Russian Chain Match: Nikita Koloff v. Sting. This was a super-hot feud at the time, so maybe it’ll wake up the crowd. Nikita, however, didn’t do anything worthwhile in his entire 91-92 WCW stint, so don’t count on anything good here. Sting’s entrance finally gets a big pop out of the crowd. As a sidenote, I have yet to watch a Russian chain/Indian strap/Dog Collar style match that really made me say “Wow, I never realized how good that style of match could be.” This is no exception. (John Cena v. Umaga was terrific, but that was a case of working despite the gimmick, rather than because of it.)  The gimmick overwhelms the wrestling, which is basically kicking and punching with the chain, and not very convincingly. Plus, having seen dozens of Sting matches, I can safely say when he’s dogging it, and he’s definitely got it in low gear here. (I’m pretty sure that Flair’s departure had something to do with his bad mood.) You know when WCW is hammering the point of it being a brawl, because there’s always ballshots galore. Four of them in this case. The referee is very lenient with the whole “breaking of momentum” thing, in this case letting them fight extensively in between touching corners. They touch 3, and then Sting Stinger splashes Koloff into the fourth, giving Koloff the win. (That’s exceptionally retarded for a variety of reasons.)  Bad matches happen to good wrestlers, I guess. * WCW World title match: Barry Windham v. Lex Luger. At this point, I feel the need to break into a bit of an essay about this match. I think that those who refer to the Bret Hart fiasco as the sleaziest event in modern wrestling history are overlooking this match. This match was not only a lousy match, but Barry Windham was not even a contender to the title at the time. (They were sure trying hard to get Flair to drop it to him before leaving, though.)  The promised match had been Ric Flair v. Lex Luger, a match which had literally been building for more than a year, and maybe even for three years depending on your point of view on the matter. It was to be Ric Flair dropping the WCW World title, finally, to Lex Luger, after years of being chased by Luger and screwing him out of the title with every means of cheating known to man. Everyone knew it, in much the same way everyone knew Lex Luger was walking out of Detroit as the champion the night he faced Hulk Hogan for the title. But Flair’s contract was almost up in 1991, and they wanted him to job the title to Lex Luger and ride into the sunset as a manager. Or ride into the sunset as a babyface. Or whatever he wanted, just for less pay. But dropping the title to Luger was absolute. Flair refused, and Jim Herd, instead of reasoning with him and offering him big money to do a single job before going to the WWF or wherever, simply fired Flair outright and took the WCW World title back, leaving Flair still the NWA World champion and thus shattering the lineage of the longest lasting World title in history, beyond repair. (Well…it was a bit more complicated than that, but not in any way that makes either guy look better.  After firing Flair, Herd had a change of heart and offered him DOUBLE his original contract to come back, but Flair figured he had the bargaining power and stuck with his plan to jump to the WWF with the belt that didn’t belong to him.  Plus Herd didn’t want Flair to “ride into the sunset”, he wanted to cut his hair and change his look because he didn’t see him as a marketable, so he lowballed him on the new contract and basically told him outright that he’d be doing jobs for midcarders.)   So what did the fans get for their hard-earned money on PPV? Lex Luger v. Barry Windham for the vacant title, in a match where 99% of the audience knew in advance Luger was going to win, if only because he had to. They made the ridiculous decision to push Windham, who had been wrestling exclusively in tag matches with Arn Anderson for 8 months previous, as the #2 contender to the title and somehow deserving a title shot. (You’d think even Nikita Koloff would have made a better challenger.)  As one final slap in the face to the fans, WCW didn’t even have another copy of the World title ready in case someone did what Flair did. They took the old Western States title, slapped a piece of metal over the “Western States” part and wrote “World Champion” or something on it. (That alone propelled this to instantly legendary status.)  It was the most self-parodying and bush league move ever seen from a federation that would grow to make an art form out of fucking up. As Luger and Windham made their entrances and the cage was lowered, the fans now suddenly came alive. Not out of excitement for this garbage, but in defiance of the sudden erasing of their champion, by loudly chanting “WE WANT FLAIR!” at every opportunity. It was the most energy shown by the crowd the entire night. Jim Ross and Tony Sciavone doggedly ignored the howls of protest from the fans, but sleep with the dogs and wake up with the fleas, WCW. You brought it upon yourselves. Ask Vince about it. (Although Vince’s act of treachery against Bret Hart made him a billionaire, so really that’s not a good lesson to take, I guess.)  Barry and Lex went out and half-assed a match that was half-assed to begin with, in sympathy for Flair, although Luger seems to try harder because we all know he doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself. The announcers try to build Windham as a babyface, but WE WANT FLAIR! Kind of hard to build him up as a fan favorite when they’re chanting for the biggest heel in the business. The match goes on with no real flow or psychology, and then Harley Race and Mr. Hughes come out as one last way to ruin the whole experience. Race yells at Luger that “now is the time” and Luger suddenly regains all his energy and pins Windham after a single piledriver to win the World title. Luger has now turned heel, for no real reason, after being built as a babyface for months. The fact that Harley Race would involve himself in this speaks volumes. (Yeah, well he also involved himself in that stupid TV special where they revealed the secret of stunt grannies and planted signs, so obviously his moral fiber isn’t what it used to be even by that point.)  Luger carries the belt back to the dressing room to continuous chants for Flair with no real enthusiasm. What a joke. What a sad, pathetic joke and the worst possible way to start off the “new era” of WCW, without Flair. By 1993, the fans would be so loudly and passionately screaming for the man they *really* paid to see that WCW would have no choice but to sign him again. WE WANT FLAIR! (At this point we’re kind of over Flair.)  Paul E. Dangerously & Arn Anderson v. Missy Hyatt & Rick Steiner. Speaking of sad, pathetic jokes, we’ve got about 3 minutes of airtime left at this point and another cage match to go. Everyone comes out and the Hardliners kidnap Missy Hyatt, thus depriving the fans of seeing her beat up Paul E., which was the whole point of having this crappy mixed match to begin with. (Baltimore regulations forbade man-on-woman violence, so that’s why.)  Anderson and Steiner half-ass it for a minute or so, and then Paul E. foolishly tags in, gets clotheslined by Rick, and pinned. And that’s it. End of show. The Bottom Line: It was the worst of times. WCW somehow managed to scrape even more off the bottom of the barrel, sinking lower than 1990’s Black Scorpion fiasco by turfing out their #1 guy and putting on the single worst show in the history of wrestling PPVs. There wasn’t a single redeeming factor about this show, not one match you could point to and say “This is the reason to watch this show.” It was just bad in every possible manner from start to finish. About the best match was the World title one, and when your hottest match tops out around **1/2 it’s time to take a serious look at where your federation is going and who’s running the show. (They did, and apparently Ted Turner had Herd enough.)  Do I recommend watching the show? Yes. Without a doubt. Because that way, the next time someone reviews a show by any federation and calls it the worst PPV ever, you can say “Fuck that, I’ve seen WCW Great American Bash 1991” and that should be enough to shut up just about anyone. Later.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1991

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1991 (2012 Scott sez:  I find this rant a tad embarrassing at times, actually.)  Live from Miami, Florida, bastion of Americana and/or old people. Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper. This show is, of course, in the thick of the Gulf War and the Sgt. Slaughter storyline, and hence the crowd is in full xenophobic form. Opening match: The Rockers v. The New Orient Express. This is the PPV debut of Paul Diamond as the masked Kato, thus reuniting the awesome Badd Company too late to do any good. Rockers start out with a double pescado and then Jannetty and Diamond show off a wrestling sequence. Michaels tags in and wallops on Tanaka for a while, but he goes for the sleeper, which never leads to anything good this early in the match. Sure enough, Kato comes in and nails Michaels, turning the tide. Then a terrific, luchaesque sequence erupts as the four guys do a complex bit with a double whip, dosee-do, and double atomic drop. The Orients escape and the Rockers follow with stereo topes. Great stuff. Some putz yells “boring” as Shawn takes a 5 second rest with a headlock. Shawn goes for the TEN PUNCHES OF DOOM on Kato but Tanaka pulls him down from the outside and clotheslines him on the top rope, then whacks him with the cane for good measure. Big heat for that. Shawn assumes the Ricky Morton role. Neat sequence as Shawn does a Flair flip and then gets kicked by Tanaka on the outside and flips back into the ring. he works in the triple somersault clothesline sell, of course. Marty gets the hot tag and gets several two counts on Kato. Tanaka kicks Marty in the face to give Kato a backslide two-count. Kato slingshots Jannetty into a Tanaka chop, then in a spectacular ending, Kato slingshots Jannetty again, but Shawn hits Tanaka in the gut to bend him over and Jannetty goes with the momentum and sunset flips Tanaka for the pin. Has to be seen to be appreciated. **** (2012 Scott sez:  I think I may have even UNDER-rated this one, as I think it was on another Shawn Michaels DVD later and I had it about ****1/4 on second viewing.)  Macho Man wants a title shot, so he sends Sherri out to announce that Sgt. Slaughter has agreed to give him a title shot when he wins the title. But to cover their bases, she calls out Ultimate Warrior to challenge him to a title match in case *he* wins. She proceeds to seduce him (with Terri Runnels-level acting) (2012 Scott sez:  Terri wasn’t a particularly convincing actress on RAW, you see.)  and beg for a Macho Man title match. The thought of Sherri on her knees almost makes me vomit my Rolo. (2012 Scott sez:  What is with me and Rolo in 1999?  I don’t even particularly like caramel-based chocolates anymore.)  Warrior yells “Noooooooooooo” to her request, and Savage flips out in the back. This becomes important later. Big Bossman v. The Barbarian. This would be the middle of Bossman’s peak period in the WWF, as he systemically hunted down and destroyed all the Heenan family members (over comments made by Rick Rude about his mother) en route to an Intercontinental title match against Curt Hennig at Wrestlemania VII. (2012 Scott sez:  This was actually a tremendous storyline that I’m shocked had never been done before.  Up until then, the Heenan Family had been used as a plot device to create new challengers for Hogan and then cycle them out again, but here they were kind of a gauntlet for Bossman to run through on the way to Mr. Perfect.  Sadly, Rick Rude had exited the building in 1990, robbing us of the true payoff.)  This is a nothing match with a foregone conclusion that is about 7 minutes too long. Barbarian controls most of the match with his shitty offense and bearhugs, but inevitably makes the mistake of holding Bossman’s foot, triggering the enzuigiri. Barbarian with a cradle out of nowhere for two. Bossman with a stungun for two. Double knockout. This is actually picking up. Barbarian hits the top rope clothesline for two, but Bossman has his foot on the rope. Bossman slam, but Barbarian grabs the ropes at two. Eye poke and piledriver, sold with zeal by Bossman. Barbarian goes for a cross-body off the top (!) but Bossman rolls through for the pin. This didn’t suck! **1/2 (2012 Scott sez:  Also better than I gave it credit for here.  Bossman was in a great groove at that point.)  Comments from rubes about Warrior. Why, there’s little kids painted like him, he *must* be over. Sgt. Slobber offers some words of wisdom for the Ultimate Puke. The Ulimate Puke responds. WWF title match: The Ultimate Puke v. Sgt. Slobber(2012 Scott sez:  I don’t generally do “funny” nicknames for guys anymore, because it’s STUPID.)  Big-time heel heat for Sarge. Warrior cleans house on Sarge and Adnan to start and then rips up the Iraqi flag for some cheap heat. Slaughter gets to eat the flag for good measure. Warrior absolutely kicks Slaughter’s ass from one side of the ring to the other until Sherri comes down and the storyline kicks in. Warrior chases her down the aisle and Savage clobbers him from behind and smashes a light standard on his head. Warrior resolutely crawls back down the aisle while the fans chant “USA” extremely loudly. Slaughter keeps stopping the count. I’ve gotta say those pointy boots look really cheesy. The heel heat here is amazing. (2012 Scott sez:  Man, if only they had someone not totally past his prime to do the Slaughter role, because it was gigantic heel heat and would have gotten someone over for life.  Off-the-wall suggestion:  Kerry Von Erich, who came in at the same time as Slaughter.  All-American Boy turned Iraqi traitor?  That’s MONEY.  Kerry v. Hogan at Wrestlemania?  C’mon, that’s MONEY.  Yeah I know, drugs and suicide and stuff, but we’re talking a perfect world here.)  The BEARHUG OF DOOM kills the crowd pretty quick. Slaughter drops some elbows and applies the CAMEL CLUTCH OF HIDEOUS FESTERING DEATH but Warrior is in the ropes. Warrior with the supermaniac comeback and the SHITTY CLOTHESLINES OF DOOM, followed by the shoulderblock, but heeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Sherri. Crowd is going bonkos. Warrior smacks Sherri around and tosses her out into Macho’s arms, but Slaughter knees Warrior in the back and drapes him on the ropes. Savage nails the prone Warrior with the TIN-FOIL COVERED SCEPTRE OF DOOM and Slaughter drops an elbow for the pin and the WWF title. The announcers are in shock and the audience chants “Bullshit” as the Warrior retreats to the dressing room. Watching this match in 1991, I was in absolute disbelief that they’d actually put the title on Slaughter. Looking back, Vince should have put the belt on him sooner and then had Warrior regain it here. They could have done the money match, Hogan-Warrior II, at WM7. *  (2012 Scott sez:  At the time, this match made me legitimately ANGRY while watching it, which shows what a tremendous job of being an asshole Randy Savage could do.  The first run-in was annoying, but the second one was the one where you just wanted Warrior to kick his ass right into retirement.) Dusty and Dustin Rhodes v. Ted Dibiase & Virgil. After 4 years of waiting, this was the match where it finally happened. This was Dustin’s PPV debut, just before he and his father retreated back to WCW a few weeks later. Dibiase slapped Dustin around (who was sitting in the front row watching his dad wrestle) on an episode of SNME to set this up. Virgil gets beat up by Dustin here to start, and Dibiase bitches him out about it. Dibiase tags in and takes Dustin to school. Dusty gets in and we get tag team bionic elbows. Dusty has ditched the polka dots by this point. Dustin comes in and blows out his knee on a missed charge. The heels work on the knee, but Virgil accidentally clotheslines Dibiase and he flips out and tosses his bodyguard out of the ring. Dusty gets the hot tag in the meantime and quickly gets rolled up by Dibiase for the pin. The Rhodes’ were clearly on the JOB Squad by that point. ** Dibiase gets on the mic and kisses off the Rhodes, then tells off Virgil and orders him to retrieve his million dollar belt. In a great moment, Dibiase tries to blackmail Virgil into subservience…and turns his back on him. Oops. KA-POW! The crowd (and Roddy Piper) goes apeshit. Thus endeth the long relationship… (2012 Scott sez:  Somehow I don’t foresee quite the same reaction if Ricardo ever turns on ADR.)  Assorted comments from the Rumble entrants, and of course the Orange Goblin. I’d do a transcript of Tugboat’s ridiculous bit, but it wouldn’t be fair to subject people to that. Let’s just say it’s really bad. Royal Rumble: Bret Hart gets #1, in order to showcase him in preparation for his singles push. Dino Bravo gets #2 and we’re underway. Hey, there’s Shane McMahon again! Not much notable here. Greg Valentine is #3, and he goes right after ex-partner Bravo, to the shock of Jimmy Hart. Valentine ends up dumping Bravo in short order. (2012 Scott sez:  Interesting to note that this was the first Rumble where the “every man for himself” thing truly came into play.)  Bret Hart plays possum while this is going on, and ambushes Greg when he turns around. Paul Roma is #4, and a three-way breaks out. Kerry Von Erich is #5 and he cleans house on the heels. Rick Martel is #6 and there’s still nothing terribly notable going on. Martel and Roma seem to have an issue here for some reason. Saba Simba (Luckily Roddy Piper doesn’t yell out “Hey, it’s Tony Atlas” this time) is #7 and he takes out pretty much everyone in sight. If you’ve never heard of Simba, there’s a reason. Everyone pairs off. Butch is #8 as Simba tosses Martel…but Martel hangs onto the top rope and Simba’s momentum carries HIM out. Jake Roberts is #9 and he goes after Martel, of course. This was during the infamous “blindfold match” period, another one I forgot about when compiling Netcop Busts. Martel teases falling out of the ring several times, drawing a great reaction from the crowd. Hercules is #10 and he hooks up with Roma immediately so they can work as a team. Tito Santana is #11 as Roma misses a cross-body and eliminates himself. Santana and Martel of course are at each other. (2012 Scott sez:  That was really one of the great long-running feuds with absolutely no real money payoff.  They just kept referencing it over and over but didn’t do anything other than an SNME match long after Martel had already been repackaged.)  Undertaker (still with Brother Love) is #12 and he casually dumps Hart right away. Undertaker no-sells everything as the crowd watches his every move in fascination. I think that was the sign that Vince had something special here. Jimmy Snuka is #13 as UT tosses Butch. DBS is #14. Damn, there’s a lot of guys in there right now. Smash gets #15, but the heat is gone by this point so the crowd doesn’t care about him anymore. They need to clear out some deadwood — it’s getting too hard to follow. Martel teases another elimination, but gets back again…but not before pulling Roberts out. Road Warrior Hawk is #16, and everyone gangs up on him right away. Here’s one for the X-Files: Shane Douglas is #17, post-Dynamic Dudes but pre-credibility. (2012 Scott sez:  Shane Douglas had credibility at some point?  Bet he’s watching RAW these days trying to think of a way to get a paycheck out of Johnny Ace.) UT tosses Snuka and Kerry Von Erich. Did you know that Douglas was actually a de facto Rocker in late 1990 during Shawn Michaels’ first big knee injury? He teamed with Marty Jannetty as the “New” Rockers until Shawn came back. Irony can be so ironic sometimes. The buzzer sounds for #18, but no one comes out. I forget if this was explained. I think it was supposed to be Randy Savage. Anyway, Animal is #19, and he does come out. The LOD double-clotheslines Undertaker out, and then Martel clotheslines Hawk out. Martel is teetering again, but rolls back in. We’re down a manageable number again. Crush is #20, and the Demos go after Bulldog. Martel is hanging by a thread again. Some dipshit in a khaki shirt keeps walking past the main camera, presumably to be cool. Here’s a quarter to buy a hint, guy. Hacksaw Duggan is #21 and gets a big pop. Martel teases another elimination. Earthquake is #22 and sends Animal packing. There’s 11 guys in there right now, way too much. Mr. Perfect is #23, and he takes his time getting down. He dumps Duggan once he’s in, however. He gets beat up by a variety of people, showcasing his selling. The Orange Goblin is #24, knocking out Smash right away. Crowd is nuts for Hogan. Haku is #25 as Valentine is finally eliminated after 45 minutes. Douglas is still in there, oddly enough, although he’s not doing too well. Neidhart is #26, to a big pop. Earthquake tosses Santana like yesterday’s garbage. Luke is #27, and coincidentally he gets knocked out 2.7 seconds after he gets in. Well, it’s easy money, I guess. (2012 Scott sez:  They play that one a lot on Royal Rumble video packages.)  More near-eliminations with Martel. Brian Knobs is #28 and no one cares. Everyone gangs up on him, however, for some reason. Tugboat and the Warlord are the only ones left in the draw so it must have been Randy Savage who missed his chance at #18 because of the Warrior thing earlier. Knobs dumps Hercules. Warlord is #29. Crush does the 10 PUNCHES OF DOOM on Hulk and gets dumped over the top for his troubles. That was a pretty dumb thing to do. (2012 Scott sez:  NEVER GO TO THE TOP ROPE IN A ROYAL RUMBLE!  It’s, like, the first rule!) Hulk clotheslines the Warlord out soon after. Tugboat is #30, as Douglas gets tossed. Our suspects are Hogan, Neidhart, Tugboat, Hennig, Haku, Knobs, Martel, Bulldog and Earthquake. Not a very impressive field, to be sure. Hennig is really taking a licking. Tugboat and Hogan end up fighting in the corner, and Tugboat actually dumps Hogan, but he lands on the apron, then comes back in and knocks Tugboat out. Bulldog dropkicks Hennig out. Martel bids adieu to Jim Neidhart. Bulldog backdrops Haku out. Martel makes Dumb Mistake #1 by going to the top, and Bulldog crotches him and knocks him out after a record 53 minutes  (2012 Scott sez:  See, WHAT DID I JUST SAY?). The final four: Bulldog, Earthquake, Knobs and Hulk. There goes Bulldog. Why is Knobs in there this close to the end? (2012 Scott sez:  Gee, I wonder why, brother.)  They proceed to squash Hulk. Earthquake hits the FAT-ASSED BUTT SPLASH OF DEATH, but Hulk makes the comeback. Big Boot sends Knobs over the top, the three punches and big boot put Earthquake down. But Hogan falls back on the slam attempt and Quake drops some elbows. Powerslam, but Hulk makes comeback #2 and hulks up. Big boot, and this time the bodyslam works. A clothesline later and Hulk wins the Rumble for the second year in a row. An okay, but unspectacular, Rumble. *** Not enough star power to really draw interest of the casual viewer.  (2012 Scott sez:  Nice to see Hogan finally getting his PPV win over Earthquake.)  The Bottom Line: It had to be done, honest. After basically butt-fucking the fans with a spiked dildo in the form of the title change earlier, the WWF had to do something to send the fans home happy, and this was as good as anything. The WWF was in a serious funk at this point, however, creatively and monetarily, and it shows with blasé shows like this. Fear not, however, The Man was on his way. (2012 Scott sez:  Sid?  Oh, wait, the other big signing of 1991, right.)  Neutral feelings on this one.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1991

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1991 (2012 Scott sez:  I find this rant a tad embarrassing at times, actually.)  Live from Miami, Florida, bastion of Americana and/or old people. Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper. This show is, of course, in the thick of the Gulf War and the Sgt. Slaughter storyline, and hence the crowd is in full xenophobic form. Opening match: The Rockers v. The New Orient Express. This is the PPV debut of Paul Diamond as the masked Kato, thus reuniting the awesome Badd Company too late to do any good. Rockers start out with a double pescado and then Jannetty and Diamond show off a wrestling sequence. Michaels tags in and wallops on Tanaka for a while, but he goes for the sleeper, which never leads to anything good this early in the match. Sure enough, Kato comes in and nails Michaels, turning the tide. Then a terrific, luchaesque sequence erupts as the four guys do a complex bit with a double whip, dosee-do, and double atomic drop. The Orients escape and the Rockers follow with stereo topes. Great stuff. Some putz yells “boring” as Shawn takes a 5 second rest with a headlock. Shawn goes for the TEN PUNCHES OF DOOM on Kato but Tanaka pulls him down from the outside and clotheslines him on the top rope, then whacks him with the cane for good measure. Big heat for that. Shawn assumes the Ricky Morton role. Neat sequence as Shawn does a Flair flip and then gets kicked by Tanaka on the outside and flips back into the ring. he works in the triple somersault clothesline sell, of course. Marty gets the hot tag and gets several two counts on Kato. Tanaka kicks Marty in the face to give Kato a backslide two-count. Kato slingshots Jannetty into a Tanaka chop, then in a spectacular ending, Kato slingshots Jannetty again, but Shawn hits Tanaka in the gut to bend him over and Jannetty goes with the momentum and sunset flips Tanaka for the pin. Has to be seen to be appreciated. **** (2012 Scott sez:  I think I may have even UNDER-rated this one, as I think it was on another Shawn Michaels DVD later and I had it about ****1/4 on second viewing.)  Macho Man wants a title shot, so he sends Sherri out to announce that Sgt. Slaughter has agreed to give him a title shot when he wins the title. But to cover their bases, she calls out Ultimate Warrior to challenge him to a title match in case *he* wins. She proceeds to seduce him (with Terri Runnels-level acting) (2012 Scott sez:  Terri wasn’t a particularly convincing actress on RAW, you see.)  and beg for a Macho Man title match. The thought of Sherri on her knees almost makes me vomit my Rolo. (2012 Scott sez:  What is with me and Rolo in 1999?  I don’t even particularly like caramel-based chocolates anymore.)  Warrior yells “Noooooooooooo” to her request, and Savage flips out in the back. This becomes important later. Big Bossman v. The Barbarian. This would be the middle of Bossman’s peak period in the WWF, as he systemically hunted down and destroyed all the Heenan family members (over comments made by Rick Rude about his mother) en route to an Intercontinental title match against Curt Hennig at Wrestlemania VII. (2012 Scott sez:  This was actually a tremendous storyline that I’m shocked had never been done before.  Up until then, the Heenan Family had been used as a plot device to create new challengers for Hogan and then cycle them out again, but here they were kind of a gauntlet for Bossman to run through on the way to Mr. Perfect.  Sadly, Rick Rude had exited the building in 1990, robbing us of the true payoff.)  This is a nothing match with a foregone conclusion that is about 7 minutes too long. Barbarian controls most of the match with his shitty offense and bearhugs, but inevitably makes the mistake of holding Bossman’s foot, triggering the enzuigiri. Barbarian with a cradle out of nowhere for two. Bossman with a stungun for two. Double knockout. This is actually picking up. Barbarian hits the top rope clothesline for two, but Bossman has his foot on the rope. Bossman slam, but Barbarian grabs the ropes at two. Eye poke and piledriver, sold with zeal by Bossman. Barbarian goes for a cross-body off the top (!) but Bossman rolls through for the pin. This didn’t suck! **1/2 (2012 Scott sez:  Also better than I gave it credit for here.  Bossman was in a great groove at that point.)  Comments from rubes about Warrior. Why, there’s little kids painted like him, he *must* be over. Sgt. Slobber offers some words of wisdom for the Ultimate Puke. The Ulimate Puke responds. WWF title match: The Ultimate Puke v. Sgt. Slobber(2012 Scott sez:  I don’t generally do “funny” nicknames for guys anymore, because it’s STUPID.)  Big-time heel heat for Sarge. Warrior cleans house on Sarge and Adnan to start and then rips up the Iraqi flag for some cheap heat. Slaughter gets to eat the flag for good measure. Warrior absolutely kicks Slaughter’s ass from one side of the ring to the other until Sherri comes down and the storyline kicks in. Warrior chases her down the aisle and Savage clobbers him from behind and smashes a light standard on his head. Warrior resolutely crawls back down the aisle while the fans chant “USA” extremely loudly. Slaughter keeps stopping the count. I’ve gotta say those pointy boots look really cheesy. The heel heat here is amazing. (2012 Scott sez:  Man, if only they had someone not totally past his prime to do the Slaughter role, because it was gigantic heel heat and would have gotten someone over for life.  Off-the-wall suggestion:  Kerry Von Erich, who came in at the same time as Slaughter.  All-American Boy turned Iraqi traitor?  That’s MONEY.  Kerry v. Hogan at Wrestlemania?  C’mon, that’s MONEY.  Yeah I know, drugs and suicide and stuff, but we’re talking a perfect world here.)  The BEARHUG OF DOOM kills the crowd pretty quick. Slaughter drops some elbows and applies the CAMEL CLUTCH OF HIDEOUS FESTERING DEATH but Warrior is in the ropes. Warrior with the supermaniac comeback and the SHITTY CLOTHESLINES OF DOOM, followed by the shoulderblock, but heeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Sherri. Crowd is going bonkos. Warrior smacks Sherri around and tosses her out into Macho’s arms, but Slaughter knees Warrior in the back and drapes him on the ropes. Savage nails the prone Warrior with the TIN-FOIL COVERED SCEPTRE OF DOOM and Slaughter drops an elbow for the pin and the WWF title. The announcers are in shock and the audience chants “Bullshit” as the Warrior retreats to the dressing room. Watching this match in 1991, I was in absolute disbelief that they’d actually put the title on Slaughter. Looking back, Vince should have put the belt on him sooner and then had Warrior regain it here. They could have done the money match, Hogan-Warrior II, at WM7. *  (2012 Scott sez:  At the time, this match made me legitimately ANGRY while watching it, which shows what a tremendous job of being an asshole Randy Savage could do.  The first run-in was annoying, but the second one was the one where you just wanted Warrior to kick his ass right into retirement.) Dusty and Dustin Rhodes v. Ted Dibiase & Virgil. After 4 years of waiting, this was the match where it finally happened. This was Dustin’s PPV debut, just before he and his father retreated back to WCW a few weeks later. Dibiase slapped Dustin around (who was sitting in the front row watching his dad wrestle) on an episode of SNME to set this up. Virgil gets beat up by Dustin here to start, and Dibiase bitches him out about it. Dibiase tags in and takes Dustin to school. Dusty gets in and we get tag team bionic elbows. Dusty has ditched the polka dots by this point. Dustin comes in and blows out his knee on a missed charge. The heels work on the knee, but Virgil accidentally clotheslines Dibiase and he flips out and tosses his bodyguard out of the ring. Dusty gets the hot tag in the meantime and quickly gets rolled up by Dibiase for the pin. The Rhodes’ were clearly on the JOB Squad by that point. ** Dibiase gets on the mic and kisses off the Rhodes, then tells off Virgil and orders him to retrieve his million dollar belt. In a great moment, Dibiase tries to blackmail Virgil into subservience…and turns his back on him. Oops. KA-POW! The crowd (and Roddy Piper) goes apeshit. Thus endeth the long relationship… (2012 Scott sez:  Somehow I don’t foresee quite the same reaction if Ricardo ever turns on ADR.)  Assorted comments from the Rumble entrants, and of course the Orange Goblin. I’d do a transcript of Tugboat’s ridiculous bit, but it wouldn’t be fair to subject people to that. Let’s just say it’s really bad. Royal Rumble: Bret Hart gets #1, in order to showcase him in preparation for his singles push. Dino Bravo gets #2 and we’re underway. Hey, there’s Shane McMahon again! Not much notable here. Greg Valentine is #3, and he goes right after ex-partner Bravo, to the shock of Jimmy Hart. Valentine ends up dumping Bravo in short order. (2012 Scott sez:  Interesting to note that this was the first Rumble where the “every man for himself” thing truly came into play.)  Bret Hart plays possum while this is going on, and ambushes Greg when he turns around. Paul Roma is #4, and a three-way breaks out. Kerry Von Erich is #5 and he cleans house on the heels. Rick Martel is #6 and there’s still nothing terribly notable going on. Martel and Roma seem to have an issue here for some reason. Saba Simba (Luckily Roddy Piper doesn’t yell out “Hey, it’s Tony Atlas” this time) is #7 and he takes out pretty much everyone in sight. If you’ve never heard of Simba, there’s a reason. Everyone pairs off. Butch is #8 as Simba tosses Martel…but Martel hangs onto the top rope and Simba’s momentum carries HIM out. Jake Roberts is #9 and he goes after Martel, of course. This was during the infamous “blindfold match” period, another one I forgot about when compiling Netcop Busts. Martel teases falling out of the ring several times, drawing a great reaction from the crowd. Hercules is #10 and he hooks up with Roma immediately so they can work as a team. Tito Santana is #11 as Roma misses a cross-body and eliminates himself. Santana and Martel of course are at each other. (2012 Scott sez:  That was really one of the great long-running feuds with absolutely no real money payoff.  They just kept referencing it over and over but didn’t do anything other than an SNME match long after Martel had already been repackaged.)  Undertaker (still with Brother Love) is #12 and he casually dumps Hart right away. Undertaker no-sells everything as the crowd watches his every move in fascination. I think that was the sign that Vince had something special here. Jimmy Snuka is #13 as UT tosses Butch. DBS is #14. Damn, there’s a lot of guys in there right now. Smash gets #15, but the heat is gone by this point so the crowd doesn’t care about him anymore. They need to clear out some deadwood — it’s getting too hard to follow. Martel teases another elimination, but gets back again…but not before pulling Roberts out. Road Warrior Hawk is #16, and everyone gangs up on him right away. Here’s one for the X-Files: Shane Douglas is #17, post-Dynamic Dudes but pre-credibility. (2012 Scott sez:  Shane Douglas had credibility at some point?  Bet he’s watching RAW these days trying to think of a way to get a paycheck out of Johnny Ace.) UT tosses Snuka and Kerry Von Erich. Did you know that Douglas was actually a de facto Rocker in late 1990 during Shawn Michaels’ first big knee injury? He teamed with Marty Jannetty as the “New” Rockers until Shawn came back. Irony can be so ironic sometimes. The buzzer sounds for #18, but no one comes out. I forget if this was explained. I think it was supposed to be Randy Savage. Anyway, Animal is #19, and he does come out. The LOD double-clotheslines Undertaker out, and then Martel clotheslines Hawk out. Martel is teetering again, but rolls back in. We’re down a manageable number again. Crush is #20, and the Demos go after Bulldog. Martel is hanging by a thread again. Some dipshit in a khaki shirt keeps walking past the main camera, presumably to be cool. Here’s a quarter to buy a hint, guy. Hacksaw Duggan is #21 and gets a big pop. Martel teases another elimination. Earthquake is #22 and sends Animal packing. There’s 11 guys in there right now, way too much. Mr. Perfect is #23, and he takes his time getting down. He dumps Duggan once he’s in, however. He gets beat up by a variety of people, showcasing his selling. The Orange Goblin is #24, knocking out Smash right away. Crowd is nuts for Hogan. Haku is #25 as Valentine is finally eliminated after 45 minutes. Douglas is still in there, oddly enough, although he’s not doing too well. Neidhart is #26, to a big pop. Earthquake tosses Santana like yesterday’s garbage. Luke is #27, and coincidentally he gets knocked out 2.7 seconds after he gets in. Well, it’s easy money, I guess. (2012 Scott sez:  They play that one a lot on Royal Rumble video packages.)  More near-eliminations with Martel. Brian Knobs is #28 and no one cares. Everyone gangs up on him, however, for some reason. Tugboat and the Warlord are the only ones left in the draw so it must have been Randy Savage who missed his chance at #18 because of the Warrior thing earlier. Knobs dumps Hercules. Warlord is #29. Crush does the 10 PUNCHES OF DOOM on Hulk and gets dumped over the top for his troubles. That was a pretty dumb thing to do. (2012 Scott sez:  NEVER GO TO THE TOP ROPE IN A ROYAL RUMBLE!  It’s, like, the first rule!) Hulk clotheslines the Warlord out soon after. Tugboat is #30, as Douglas gets tossed. Our suspects are Hogan, Neidhart, Tugboat, Hennig, Haku, Knobs, Martel, Bulldog and Earthquake. Not a very impressive field, to be sure. Hennig is really taking a licking. Tugboat and Hogan end up fighting in the corner, and Tugboat actually dumps Hogan, but he lands on the apron, then comes back in and knocks Tugboat out. Bulldog dropkicks Hennig out. Martel bids adieu to Jim Neidhart. Bulldog backdrops Haku out. Martel makes Dumb Mistake #1 by going to the top, and Bulldog crotches him and knocks him out after a record 53 minutes  (2012 Scott sez:  See, WHAT DID I JUST SAY?). The final four: Bulldog, Earthquake, Knobs and Hulk. There goes Bulldog. Why is Knobs in there this close to the end? (2012 Scott sez:  Gee, I wonder why, brother.)  They proceed to squash Hulk. Earthquake hits the FAT-ASSED BUTT SPLASH OF DEATH, but Hulk makes the comeback. Big Boot sends Knobs over the top, the three punches and big boot put Earthquake down. But Hogan falls back on the slam attempt and Quake drops some elbows. Powerslam, but Hulk makes comeback #2 and hulks up. Big boot, and this time the bodyslam works. A clothesline later and Hulk wins the Rumble for the second year in a row. An okay, but unspectacular, Rumble. *** Not enough star power to really draw interest of the casual viewer.  (2012 Scott sez:  Nice to see Hogan finally getting his PPV win over Earthquake.)  The Bottom Line: It had to be done, honest. After basically butt-fucking the fans with a spiked dildo in the form of the title change earlier, the WWF had to do something to send the fans home happy, and this was as good as anything. The WWF was in a serious funk at this point, however, creatively and monetarily, and it shows with blasé shows like this. Fear not, however, The Man was on his way. (2012 Scott sez:  Sid?  Oh, wait, the other big signing of 1991, right.)  Neutral feelings on this one.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1991

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1991 (2012 Scott sez:  I find this rant a tad embarrassing at times, actually.)  Live from Miami, Florida, bastion of Americana and/or old people. Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper. This show is, of course, in the thick of the Gulf War and the Sgt. Slaughter storyline, and hence the crowd is in full xenophobic form. Opening match: The Rockers v. The New Orient Express. This is the PPV debut of Paul Diamond as the masked Kato, thus reuniting the awesome Badd Company too late to do any good. Rockers start out with a double pescado and then Jannetty and Diamond show off a wrestling sequence. Michaels tags in and wallops on Tanaka for a while, but he goes for the sleeper, which never leads to anything good this early in the match. Sure enough, Kato comes in and nails Michaels, turning the tide. Then a terrific, luchaesque sequence erupts as the four guys do a complex bit with a double whip, dosee-do, and double atomic drop. The Orients escape and the Rockers follow with stereo topes. Great stuff. Some putz yells “boring” as Shawn takes a 5 second rest with a headlock. Shawn goes for the TEN PUNCHES OF DOOM on Kato but Tanaka pulls him down from the outside and clotheslines him on the top rope, then whacks him with the cane for good measure. Big heat for that. Shawn assumes the Ricky Morton role. Neat sequence as Shawn does a Flair flip and then gets kicked by Tanaka on the outside and flips back into the ring. he works in the triple somersault clothesline sell, of course. Marty gets the hot tag and gets several two counts on Kato. Tanaka kicks Marty in the face to give Kato a backslide two-count. Kato slingshots Jannetty into a Tanaka chop, then in a spectacular ending, Kato slingshots Jannetty again, but Shawn hits Tanaka in the gut to bend him over and Jannetty goes with the momentum and sunset flips Tanaka for the pin. Has to be seen to be appreciated. **** (2012 Scott sez:  I think I may have even UNDER-rated this one, as I think it was on another Shawn Michaels DVD later and I had it about ****1/4 on second viewing.)  Macho Man wants a title shot, so he sends Sherri out to announce that Sgt. Slaughter has agreed to give him a title shot when he wins the title. But to cover their bases, she calls out Ultimate Warrior to challenge him to a title match in case *he* wins. She proceeds to seduce him (with Terri Runnels-level acting) (2012 Scott sez:  Terri wasn’t a particularly convincing actress on RAW, you see.)  and beg for a Macho Man title match. The thought of Sherri on her knees almost makes me vomit my Rolo. (2012 Scott sez:  What is with me and Rolo in 1999?  I don’t even particularly like caramel-based chocolates anymore.)  Warrior yells “Noooooooooooo” to her request, and Savage flips out in the back. This becomes important later. Big Bossman v. The Barbarian. This would be the middle of Bossman’s peak period in the WWF, as he systemically hunted down and destroyed all the Heenan family members (over comments made by Rick Rude about his mother) en route to an Intercontinental title match against Curt Hennig at Wrestlemania VII. (2012 Scott sez:  This was actually a tremendous storyline that I’m shocked had never been done before.  Up until then, the Heenan Family had been used as a plot device to create new challengers for Hogan and then cycle them out again, but here they were kind of a gauntlet for Bossman to run through on the way to Mr. Perfect.  Sadly, Rick Rude had exited the building in 1990, robbing us of the true payoff.)  This is a nothing match with a foregone conclusion that is about 7 minutes too long. Barbarian controls most of the match with his shitty offense and bearhugs, but inevitably makes the mistake of holding Bossman’s foot, triggering the enzuigiri. Barbarian with a cradle out of nowhere for two. Bossman with a stungun for two. Double knockout. This is actually picking up. Barbarian hits the top rope clothesline for two, but Bossman has his foot on the rope. Bossman slam, but Barbarian grabs the ropes at two. Eye poke and piledriver, sold with zeal by Bossman. Barbarian goes for a cross-body off the top (!) but Bossman rolls through for the pin. This didn’t suck! **1/2 (2012 Scott sez:  Also better than I gave it credit for here.  Bossman was in a great groove at that point.)  Comments from rubes about Warrior. Why, there’s little kids painted like him, he *must* be over. Sgt. Slobber offers some words of wisdom for the Ultimate Puke. The Ulimate Puke responds. WWF title match: The Ultimate Puke v. Sgt. Slobber(2012 Scott sez:  I don’t generally do “funny” nicknames for guys anymore, because it’s STUPID.)  Big-time heel heat for Sarge. Warrior cleans house on Sarge and Adnan to start and then rips up the Iraqi flag for some cheap heat. Slaughter gets to eat the flag for good measure. Warrior absolutely kicks Slaughter’s ass from one side of the ring to the other until Sherri comes down and the storyline kicks in. Warrior chases her down the aisle and Savage clobbers him from behind and smashes a light standard on his head. Warrior resolutely crawls back down the aisle while the fans chant “USA” extremely loudly. Slaughter keeps stopping the count. I’ve gotta say those pointy boots look really cheesy. The heel heat here is amazing. (2012 Scott sez:  Man, if only they had someone not totally past his prime to do the Slaughter role, because it was gigantic heel heat and would have gotten someone over for life.  Off-the-wall suggestion:  Kerry Von Erich, who came in at the same time as Slaughter.  All-American Boy turned Iraqi traitor?  That’s MONEY.  Kerry v. Hogan at Wrestlemania?  C’mon, that’s MONEY.  Yeah I know, drugs and suicide and stuff, but we’re talking a perfect world here.)  The BEARHUG OF DOOM kills the crowd pretty quick. Slaughter drops some elbows and applies the CAMEL CLUTCH OF HIDEOUS FESTERING DEATH but Warrior is in the ropes. Warrior with the supermaniac comeback and the SHITTY CLOTHESLINES OF DOOM, followed by the shoulderblock, but heeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Sherri. Crowd is going bonkos. Warrior smacks Sherri around and tosses her out into Macho’s arms, but Slaughter knees Warrior in the back and drapes him on the ropes. Savage nails the prone Warrior with the TIN-FOIL COVERED SCEPTRE OF DOOM and Slaughter drops an elbow for the pin and the WWF title. The announcers are in shock and the audience chants “Bullshit” as the Warrior retreats to the dressing room. Watching this match in 1991, I was in absolute disbelief that they’d actually put the title on Slaughter. Looking back, Vince should have put the belt on him sooner and then had Warrior regain it here. They could have done the money match, Hogan-Warrior II, at WM7. *  (2012 Scott sez:  At the time, this match made me legitimately ANGRY while watching it, which shows what a tremendous job of being an asshole Randy Savage could do.  The first run-in was annoying, but the second one was the one where you just wanted Warrior to kick his ass right into retirement.) Dusty and Dustin Rhodes v. Ted Dibiase & Virgil. After 4 years of waiting, this was the match where it finally happened. This was Dustin’s PPV debut, just before he and his father retreated back to WCW a few weeks later. Dibiase slapped Dustin around (who was sitting in the front row watching his dad wrestle) on an episode of SNME to set this up. Virgil gets beat up by Dustin here to start, and Dibiase bitches him out about it. Dibiase tags in and takes Dustin to school. Dusty gets in and we get tag team bionic elbows. Dusty has ditched the polka dots by this point. Dustin comes in and blows out his knee on a missed charge. The heels work on the knee, but Virgil accidentally clotheslines Dibiase and he flips out and tosses his bodyguard out of the ring. Dusty gets the hot tag in the meantime and quickly gets rolled up by Dibiase for the pin. The Rhodes’ were clearly on the JOB Squad by that point. ** Dibiase gets on the mic and kisses off the Rhodes, then tells off Virgil and orders him to retrieve his million dollar belt. In a great moment, Dibiase tries to blackmail Virgil into subservience…and turns his back on him. Oops. KA-POW! The crowd (and Roddy Piper) goes apeshit. Thus endeth the long relationship… (2012 Scott sez:  Somehow I don’t foresee quite the same reaction if Ricardo ever turns on ADR.)  Assorted comments from the Rumble entrants, and of course the Orange Goblin. I’d do a transcript of Tugboat’s ridiculous bit, but it wouldn’t be fair to subject people to that. Let’s just say it’s really bad. Royal Rumble: Bret Hart gets #1, in order to showcase him in preparation for his singles push. Dino Bravo gets #2 and we’re underway. Hey, there’s Shane McMahon again! Not much notable here. Greg Valentine is #3, and he goes right after ex-partner Bravo, to the shock of Jimmy Hart. Valentine ends up dumping Bravo in short order. (2012 Scott sez:  Interesting to note that this was the first Rumble where the “every man for himself” thing truly came into play.)  Bret Hart plays possum while this is going on, and ambushes Greg when he turns around. Paul Roma is #4, and a three-way breaks out. Kerry Von Erich is #5 and he cleans house on the heels. Rick Martel is #6 and there’s still nothing terribly notable going on. Martel and Roma seem to have an issue here for some reason. Saba Simba (Luckily Roddy Piper doesn’t yell out “Hey, it’s Tony Atlas” this time) is #7 and he takes out pretty much everyone in sight. If you’ve never heard of Simba, there’s a reason. Everyone pairs off. Butch is #8 as Simba tosses Martel…but Martel hangs onto the top rope and Simba’s momentum carries HIM out. Jake Roberts is #9 and he goes after Martel, of course. This was during the infamous “blindfold match” period, another one I forgot about when compiling Netcop Busts. Martel teases falling out of the ring several times, drawing a great reaction from the crowd. Hercules is #10 and he hooks up with Roma immediately so they can work as a team. Tito Santana is #11 as Roma misses a cross-body and eliminates himself. Santana and Martel of course are at each other. (2012 Scott sez:  That was really one of the great long-running feuds with absolutely no real money payoff.  They just kept referencing it over and over but didn’t do anything other than an SNME match long after Martel had already been repackaged.)  Undertaker (still with Brother Love) is #12 and he casually dumps Hart right away. Undertaker no-sells everything as the crowd watches his every move in fascination. I think that was the sign that Vince had something special here. Jimmy Snuka is #13 as UT tosses Butch. DBS is #14. Damn, there’s a lot of guys in there right now. Smash gets #15, but the heat is gone by this point so the crowd doesn’t care about him anymore. They need to clear out some deadwood — it’s getting too hard to follow. Martel teases another elimination, but gets back again…but not before pulling Roberts out. Road Warrior Hawk is #16, and everyone gangs up on him right away. Here’s one for the X-Files: Shane Douglas is #17, post-Dynamic Dudes but pre-credibility. (2012 Scott sez:  Shane Douglas had credibility at some point?  Bet he’s watching RAW these days trying to think of a way to get a paycheck out of Johnny Ace.) UT tosses Snuka and Kerry Von Erich. Did you know that Douglas was actually a de facto Rocker in late 1990 during Shawn Michaels’ first big knee injury? He teamed with Marty Jannetty as the “New” Rockers until Shawn came back. Irony can be so ironic sometimes. The buzzer sounds for #18, but no one comes out. I forget if this was explained. I think it was supposed to be Randy Savage. Anyway, Animal is #19, and he does come out. The LOD double-clotheslines Undertaker out, and then Martel clotheslines Hawk out. Martel is teetering again, but rolls back in. We’re down a manageable number again. Crush is #20, and the Demos go after Bulldog. Martel is hanging by a thread again. Some dipshit in a khaki shirt keeps walking past the main camera, presumably to be cool. Here’s a quarter to buy a hint, guy. Hacksaw Duggan is #21 and gets a big pop. Martel teases another elimination. Earthquake is #22 and sends Animal packing. There’s 11 guys in there right now, way too much. Mr. Perfect is #23, and he takes his time getting down. He dumps Duggan once he’s in, however. He gets beat up by a variety of people, showcasing his selling. The Orange Goblin is #24, knocking out Smash right away. Crowd is nuts for Hogan. Haku is #25 as Valentine is finally eliminated after 45 minutes. Douglas is still in there, oddly enough, although he’s not doing too well. Neidhart is #26, to a big pop. Earthquake tosses Santana like yesterday’s garbage. Luke is #27, and coincidentally he gets knocked out 2.7 seconds after he gets in. Well, it’s easy money, I guess. (2012 Scott sez:  They play that one a lot on Royal Rumble video packages.)  More near-eliminations with Martel. Brian Knobs is #28 and no one cares. Everyone gangs up on him, however, for some reason. Tugboat and the Warlord are the only ones left in the draw so it must have been Randy Savage who missed his chance at #18 because of the Warrior thing earlier. Knobs dumps Hercules. Warlord is #29. Crush does the 10 PUNCHES OF DOOM on Hulk and gets dumped over the top for his troubles. That was a pretty dumb thing to do. (2012 Scott sez:  NEVER GO TO THE TOP ROPE IN A ROYAL RUMBLE!  It’s, like, the first rule!) Hulk clotheslines the Warlord out soon after. Tugboat is #30, as Douglas gets tossed. Our suspects are Hogan, Neidhart, Tugboat, Hennig, Haku, Knobs, Martel, Bulldog and Earthquake. Not a very impressive field, to be sure. Hennig is really taking a licking. Tugboat and Hogan end up fighting in the corner, and Tugboat actually dumps Hogan, but he lands on the apron, then comes back in and knocks Tugboat out. Bulldog dropkicks Hennig out. Martel bids adieu to Jim Neidhart. Bulldog backdrops Haku out. Martel makes Dumb Mistake #1 by going to the top, and Bulldog crotches him and knocks him out after a record 53 minutes  (2012 Scott sez:  See, WHAT DID I JUST SAY?). The final four: Bulldog, Earthquake, Knobs and Hulk. There goes Bulldog. Why is Knobs in there this close to the end? (2012 Scott sez:  Gee, I wonder why, brother.)  They proceed to squash Hulk. Earthquake hits the FAT-ASSED BUTT SPLASH OF DEATH, but Hulk makes the comeback. Big Boot sends Knobs over the top, the three punches and big boot put Earthquake down. But Hogan falls back on the slam attempt and Quake drops some elbows. Powerslam, but Hulk makes comeback #2 and hulks up. Big boot, and this time the bodyslam works. A clothesline later and Hulk wins the Rumble for the second year in a row. An okay, but unspectacular, Rumble. *** Not enough star power to really draw interest of the casual viewer.  (2012 Scott sez:  Nice to see Hogan finally getting his PPV win over Earthquake.)  The Bottom Line: It had to be done, honest. After basically butt-fucking the fans with a spiked dildo in the form of the title change earlier, the WWF had to do something to send the fans home happy, and this was as good as anything. The WWF was in a serious funk at this point, however, creatively and monetarily, and it shows with blasé shows like this. Fear not, however, The Man was on his way. (2012 Scott sez:  Sid?  Oh, wait, the other big signing of 1991, right.)  Neutral feelings on this one.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1991

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1991 (2012 Scott sez:  I find this rant a tad embarrassing at times, actually.)  Live from Miami, Florida, bastion of Americana and/or old people. Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper. This show is, of course, in the thick of the Gulf War and the Sgt. Slaughter storyline, and hence the crowd is in full xenophobic form. Opening match: The Rockers v. The New Orient Express. This is the PPV debut of Paul Diamond as the masked Kato, thus reuniting the awesome Badd Company too late to do any good. Rockers start out with a double pescado and then Jannetty and Diamond show off a wrestling sequence. Michaels tags in and wallops on Tanaka for a while, but he goes for the sleeper, which never leads to anything good this early in the match. Sure enough, Kato comes in and nails Michaels, turning the tide. Then a terrific, luchaesque sequence erupts as the four guys do a complex bit with a double whip, dosee-do, and double atomic drop. The Orients escape and the Rockers follow with stereo topes. Great stuff. Some putz yells “boring” as Shawn takes a 5 second rest with a headlock. Shawn goes for the TEN PUNCHES OF DOOM on Kato but Tanaka pulls him down from the outside and clotheslines him on the top rope, then whacks him with the cane for good measure. Big heat for that. Shawn assumes the Ricky Morton role. Neat sequence as Shawn does a Flair flip and then gets kicked by Tanaka on the outside and flips back into the ring. he works in the triple somersault clothesline sell, of course. Marty gets the hot tag and gets several two counts on Kato. Tanaka kicks Marty in the face to give Kato a backslide two-count. Kato slingshots Jannetty into a Tanaka chop, then in a spectacular ending, Kato slingshots Jannetty again, but Shawn hits Tanaka in the gut to bend him over and Jannetty goes with the momentum and sunset flips Tanaka for the pin. Has to be seen to be appreciated. **** (2012 Scott sez:  I think I may have even UNDER-rated this one, as I think it was on another Shawn Michaels DVD later and I had it about ****1/4 on second viewing.)  Macho Man wants a title shot, so he sends Sherri out to announce that Sgt. Slaughter has agreed to give him a title shot when he wins the title. But to cover their bases, she calls out Ultimate Warrior to challenge him to a title match in case *he* wins. She proceeds to seduce him (with Terri Runnels-level acting) (2012 Scott sez:  Terri wasn’t a particularly convincing actress on RAW, you see.)  and beg for a Macho Man title match. The thought of Sherri on her knees almost makes me vomit my Rolo. (2012 Scott sez:  What is with me and Rolo in 1999?  I don’t even particularly like caramel-based chocolates anymore.)  Warrior yells “Noooooooooooo” to her request, and Savage flips out in the back. This becomes important later. Big Bossman v. The Barbarian. This would be the middle of Bossman’s peak period in the WWF, as he systemically hunted down and destroyed all the Heenan family members (over comments made by Rick Rude about his mother) en route to an Intercontinental title match against Curt Hennig at Wrestlemania VII. (2012 Scott sez:  This was actually a tremendous storyline that I’m shocked had never been done before.  Up until then, the Heenan Family had been used as a plot device to create new challengers for Hogan and then cycle them out again, but here they were kind of a gauntlet for Bossman to run through on the way to Mr. Perfect.  Sadly, Rick Rude had exited the building in 1990, robbing us of the true payoff.)  This is a nothing match with a foregone conclusion that is about 7 minutes too long. Barbarian controls most of the match with his shitty offense and bearhugs, but inevitably makes the mistake of holding Bossman’s foot, triggering the enzuigiri. Barbarian with a cradle out of nowhere for two. Bossman with a stungun for two. Double knockout. This is actually picking up. Barbarian hits the top rope clothesline for two, but Bossman has his foot on the rope. Bossman slam, but Barbarian grabs the ropes at two. Eye poke and piledriver, sold with zeal by Bossman. Barbarian goes for a cross-body off the top (!) but Bossman rolls through for the pin. This didn’t suck! **1/2 (2012 Scott sez:  Also better than I gave it credit for here.  Bossman was in a great groove at that point.)  Comments from rubes about Warrior. Why, there’s little kids painted like him, he *must* be over. Sgt. Slobber offers some words of wisdom for the Ultimate Puke. The Ulimate Puke responds. WWF title match: The Ultimate Puke v. Sgt. Slobber(2012 Scott sez:  I don’t generally do “funny” nicknames for guys anymore, because it’s STUPID.)  Big-time heel heat for Sarge. Warrior cleans house on Sarge and Adnan to start and then rips up the Iraqi flag for some cheap heat. Slaughter gets to eat the flag for good measure. Warrior absolutely kicks Slaughter’s ass from one side of the ring to the other until Sherri comes down and the storyline kicks in. Warrior chases her down the aisle and Savage clobbers him from behind and smashes a light standard on his head. Warrior resolutely crawls back down the aisle while the fans chant “USA” extremely loudly. Slaughter keeps stopping the count. I’ve gotta say those pointy boots look really cheesy. The heel heat here is amazing. (2012 Scott sez:  Man, if only they had someone not totally past his prime to do the Slaughter role, because it was gigantic heel heat and would have gotten someone over for life.  Off-the-wall suggestion:  Kerry Von Erich, who came in at the same time as Slaughter.  All-American Boy turned Iraqi traitor?  That’s MONEY.  Kerry v. Hogan at Wrestlemania?  C’mon, that’s MONEY.  Yeah I know, drugs and suicide and stuff, but we’re talking a perfect world here.)  The BEARHUG OF DOOM kills the crowd pretty quick. Slaughter drops some elbows and applies the CAMEL CLUTCH OF HIDEOUS FESTERING DEATH but Warrior is in the ropes. Warrior with the supermaniac comeback and the SHITTY CLOTHESLINES OF DOOM, followed by the shoulderblock, but heeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Sherri. Crowd is going bonkos. Warrior smacks Sherri around and tosses her out into Macho’s arms, but Slaughter knees Warrior in the back and drapes him on the ropes. Savage nails the prone Warrior with the TIN-FOIL COVERED SCEPTRE OF DOOM and Slaughter drops an elbow for the pin and the WWF title. The announcers are in shock and the audience chants “Bullshit” as the Warrior retreats to the dressing room. Watching this match in 1991, I was in absolute disbelief that they’d actually put the title on Slaughter. Looking back, Vince should have put the belt on him sooner and then had Warrior regain it here. They could have done the money match, Hogan-Warrior II, at WM7. *  (2012 Scott sez:  At the time, this match made me legitimately ANGRY while watching it, which shows what a tremendous job of being an asshole Randy Savage could do.  The first run-in was annoying, but the second one was the one where you just wanted Warrior to kick his ass right into retirement.) Dusty and Dustin Rhodes v. Ted Dibiase & Virgil. After 4 years of waiting, this was the match where it finally happened. This was Dustin’s PPV debut, just before he and his father retreated back to WCW a few weeks later. Dibiase slapped Dustin around (who was sitting in the front row watching his dad wrestle) on an episode of SNME to set this up. Virgil gets beat up by Dustin here to start, and Dibiase bitches him out about it. Dibiase tags in and takes Dustin to school. Dusty gets in and we get tag team bionic elbows. Dusty has ditched the polka dots by this point. Dustin comes in and blows out his knee on a missed charge. The heels work on the knee, but Virgil accidentally clotheslines Dibiase and he flips out and tosses his bodyguard out of the ring. Dusty gets the hot tag in the meantime and quickly gets rolled up by Dibiase for the pin. The Rhodes’ were clearly on the JOB Squad by that point. ** Dibiase gets on the mic and kisses off the Rhodes, then tells off Virgil and orders him to retrieve his million dollar belt. In a great moment, Dibiase tries to blackmail Virgil into subservience…and turns his back on him. Oops. KA-POW! The crowd (and Roddy Piper) goes apeshit. Thus endeth the long relationship… (2012 Scott sez:  Somehow I don’t foresee quite the same reaction if Ricardo ever turns on ADR.)  Assorted comments from the Rumble entrants, and of course the Orange Goblin. I’d do a transcript of Tugboat’s ridiculous bit, but it wouldn’t be fair to subject people to that. Let’s just say it’s really bad. Royal Rumble: Bret Hart gets #1, in order to showcase him in preparation for his singles push. Dino Bravo gets #2 and we’re underway. Hey, there’s Shane McMahon again! Not much notable here. Greg Valentine is #3, and he goes right after ex-partner Bravo, to the shock of Jimmy Hart. Valentine ends up dumping Bravo in short order. (2012 Scott sez:  Interesting to note that this was the first Rumble where the “every man for himself” thing truly came into play.)  Bret Hart plays possum while this is going on, and ambushes Greg when he turns around. Paul Roma is #4, and a three-way breaks out. Kerry Von Erich is #5 and he cleans house on the heels. Rick Martel is #6 and there’s still nothing terribly notable going on. Martel and Roma seem to have an issue here for some reason. Saba Simba (Luckily Roddy Piper doesn’t yell out “Hey, it’s Tony Atlas” this time) is #7 and he takes out pretty much everyone in sight. If you’ve never heard of Simba, there’s a reason. Everyone pairs off. Butch is #8 as Simba tosses Martel…but Martel hangs onto the top rope and Simba’s momentum carries HIM out. Jake Roberts is #9 and he goes after Martel, of course. This was during the infamous “blindfold match” period, another one I forgot about when compiling Netcop Busts. Martel teases falling out of the ring several times, drawing a great reaction from the crowd. Hercules is #10 and he hooks up with Roma immediately so they can work as a team. Tito Santana is #11 as Roma misses a cross-body and eliminates himself. Santana and Martel of course are at each other. (2012 Scott sez:  That was really one of the great long-running feuds with absolutely no real money payoff.  They just kept referencing it over and over but didn’t do anything other than an SNME match long after Martel had already been repackaged.)  Undertaker (still with Brother Love) is #12 and he casually dumps Hart right away. Undertaker no-sells everything as the crowd watches his every move in fascination. I think that was the sign that Vince had something special here. Jimmy Snuka is #13 as UT tosses Butch. DBS is #14. Damn, there’s a lot of guys in there right now. Smash gets #15, but the heat is gone by this point so the crowd doesn’t care about him anymore. They need to clear out some deadwood — it’s getting too hard to follow. Martel teases another elimination, but gets back again…but not before pulling Roberts out. Road Warrior Hawk is #16, and everyone gangs up on him right away. Here’s one for the X-Files: Shane Douglas is #17, post-Dynamic Dudes but pre-credibility. (2012 Scott sez:  Shane Douglas had credibility at some point?  Bet he’s watching RAW these days trying to think of a way to get a paycheck out of Johnny Ace.) UT tosses Snuka and Kerry Von Erich. Did you know that Douglas was actually a de facto Rocker in late 1990 during Shawn Michaels’ first big knee injury? He teamed with Marty Jannetty as the “New” Rockers until Shawn came back. Irony can be so ironic sometimes. The buzzer sounds for #18, but no one comes out. I forget if this was explained. I think it was supposed to be Randy Savage. Anyway, Animal is #19, and he does come out. The LOD double-clotheslines Undertaker out, and then Martel clotheslines Hawk out. Martel is teetering again, but rolls back in. We’re down a manageable number again. Crush is #20, and the Demos go after Bulldog. Martel is hanging by a thread again. Some dipshit in a khaki shirt keeps walking past the main camera, presumably to be cool. Here’s a quarter to buy a hint, guy. Hacksaw Duggan is #21 and gets a big pop. Martel teases another elimination. Earthquake is #22 and sends Animal packing. There’s 11 guys in there right now, way too much. Mr. Perfect is #23, and he takes his time getting down. He dumps Duggan once he’s in, however. He gets beat up by a variety of people, showcasing his selling. The Orange Goblin is #24, knocking out Smash right away. Crowd is nuts for Hogan. Haku is #25 as Valentine is finally eliminated after 45 minutes. Douglas is still in there, oddly enough, although he’s not doing too well. Neidhart is #26, to a big pop. Earthquake tosses Santana like yesterday’s garbage. Luke is #27, and coincidentally he gets knocked out 2.7 seconds after he gets in. Well, it’s easy money, I guess. (2012 Scott sez:  They play that one a lot on Royal Rumble video packages.)  More near-eliminations with Martel. Brian Knobs is #28 and no one cares. Everyone gangs up on him, however, for some reason. Tugboat and the Warlord are the only ones left in the draw so it must have been Randy Savage who missed his chance at #18 because of the Warrior thing earlier. Knobs dumps Hercules. Warlord is #29. Crush does the 10 PUNCHES OF DOOM on Hulk and gets dumped over the top for his troubles. That was a pretty dumb thing to do. (2012 Scott sez:  NEVER GO TO THE TOP ROPE IN A ROYAL RUMBLE!  It’s, like, the first rule!) Hulk clotheslines the Warlord out soon after. Tugboat is #30, as Douglas gets tossed. Our suspects are Hogan, Neidhart, Tugboat, Hennig, Haku, Knobs, Martel, Bulldog and Earthquake. Not a very impressive field, to be sure. Hennig is really taking a licking. Tugboat and Hogan end up fighting in the corner, and Tugboat actually dumps Hogan, but he lands on the apron, then comes back in and knocks Tugboat out. Bulldog dropkicks Hennig out. Martel bids adieu to Jim Neidhart. Bulldog backdrops Haku out. Martel makes Dumb Mistake #1 by going to the top, and Bulldog crotches him and knocks him out after a record 53 minutes  (2012 Scott sez:  See, WHAT DID I JUST SAY?). The final four: Bulldog, Earthquake, Knobs and Hulk. There goes Bulldog. Why is Knobs in there this close to the end? (2012 Scott sez:  Gee, I wonder why, brother.)  They proceed to squash Hulk. Earthquake hits the FAT-ASSED BUTT SPLASH OF DEATH, but Hulk makes the comeback. Big Boot sends Knobs over the top, the three punches and big boot put Earthquake down. But Hogan falls back on the slam attempt and Quake drops some elbows. Powerslam, but Hulk makes comeback #2 and hulks up. Big boot, and this time the bodyslam works. A clothesline later and Hulk wins the Rumble for the second year in a row. An okay, but unspectacular, Rumble. *** Not enough star power to really draw interest of the casual viewer.  (2012 Scott sez:  Nice to see Hogan finally getting his PPV win over Earthquake.)  The Bottom Line: It had to be done, honest. After basically butt-fucking the fans with a spiked dildo in the form of the title change earlier, the WWF had to do something to send the fans home happy, and this was as good as anything. The WWF was in a serious funk at this point, however, creatively and monetarily, and it shows with blasé shows like this. Fear not, however, The Man was on his way. (2012 Scott sez:  Sid?  Oh, wait, the other big signing of 1991, right.)  Neutral feelings on this one.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1991

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1991 (2012 Scott sez:  I find this rant a tad embarrassing at times, actually.)  Live from Miami, Florida, bastion of Americana and/or old people. Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper. This show is, of course, in the thick of the Gulf War and the Sgt. Slaughter storyline, and hence the crowd is in full xenophobic form. Opening match: The Rockers v. The New Orient Express. This is the PPV debut of Paul Diamond as the masked Kato, thus reuniting the awesome Badd Company too late to do any good. Rockers start out with a double pescado and then Jannetty and Diamond show off a wrestling sequence. Michaels tags in and wallops on Tanaka for a while, but he goes for the sleeper, which never leads to anything good this early in the match. Sure enough, Kato comes in and nails Michaels, turning the tide. Then a terrific, luchaesque sequence erupts as the four guys do a complex bit with a double whip, dosee-do, and double atomic drop. The Orients escape and the Rockers follow with stereo topes. Great stuff. Some putz yells “boring” as Shawn takes a 5 second rest with a headlock. Shawn goes for the TEN PUNCHES OF DOOM on Kato but Tanaka pulls him down from the outside and clotheslines him on the top rope, then whacks him with the cane for good measure. Big heat for that. Shawn assumes the Ricky Morton role. Neat sequence as Shawn does a Flair flip and then gets kicked by Tanaka on the outside and flips back into the ring. he works in the triple somersault clothesline sell, of course. Marty gets the hot tag and gets several two counts on Kato. Tanaka kicks Marty in the face to give Kato a backslide two-count. Kato slingshots Jannetty into a Tanaka chop, then in a spectacular ending, Kato slingshots Jannetty again, but Shawn hits Tanaka in the gut to bend him over and Jannetty goes with the momentum and sunset flips Tanaka for the pin. Has to be seen to be appreciated. **** (2012 Scott sez:  I think I may have even UNDER-rated this one, as I think it was on another Shawn Michaels DVD later and I had it about ****1/4 on second viewing.)  Macho Man wants a title shot, so he sends Sherri out to announce that Sgt. Slaughter has agreed to give him a title shot when he wins the title. But to cover their bases, she calls out Ultimate Warrior to challenge him to a title match in case *he* wins. She proceeds to seduce him (with Terri Runnels-level acting) (2012 Scott sez:  Terri wasn’t a particularly convincing actress on RAW, you see.)  and beg for a Macho Man title match. The thought of Sherri on her knees almost makes me vomit my Rolo. (2012 Scott sez:  What is with me and Rolo in 1999?  I don’t even particularly like caramel-based chocolates anymore.)  Warrior yells “Noooooooooooo” to her request, and Savage flips out in the back. This becomes important later. Big Bossman v. The Barbarian. This would be the middle of Bossman’s peak period in the WWF, as he systemically hunted down and destroyed all the Heenan family members (over comments made by Rick Rude about his mother) en route to an Intercontinental title match against Curt Hennig at Wrestlemania VII. (2012 Scott sez:  This was actually a tremendous storyline that I’m shocked had never been done before.  Up until then, the Heenan Family had been used as a plot device to create new challengers for Hogan and then cycle them out again, but here they were kind of a gauntlet for Bossman to run through on the way to Mr. Perfect.  Sadly, Rick Rude had exited the building in 1990, robbing us of the true payoff.)  This is a nothing match with a foregone conclusion that is about 7 minutes too long. Barbarian controls most of the match with his shitty offense and bearhugs, but inevitably makes the mistake of holding Bossman’s foot, triggering the enzuigiri. Barbarian with a cradle out of nowhere for two. Bossman with a stungun for two. Double knockout. This is actually picking up. Barbarian hits the top rope clothesline for two, but Bossman has his foot on the rope. Bossman slam, but Barbarian grabs the ropes at two. Eye poke and piledriver, sold with zeal by Bossman. Barbarian goes for a cross-body off the top (!) but Bossman rolls through for the pin. This didn’t suck! **1/2 (2012 Scott sez:  Also better than I gave it credit for here.  Bossman was in a great groove at that point.)  Comments from rubes about Warrior. Why, there’s little kids painted like him, he *must* be over. Sgt. Slobber offers some words of wisdom for the Ultimate Puke. The Ulimate Puke responds. WWF title match: The Ultimate Puke v. Sgt. Slobber(2012 Scott sez:  I don’t generally do “funny” nicknames for guys anymore, because it’s STUPID.)  Big-time heel heat for Sarge. Warrior cleans house on Sarge and Adnan to start and then rips up the Iraqi flag for some cheap heat. Slaughter gets to eat the flag for good measure. Warrior absolutely kicks Slaughter’s ass from one side of the ring to the other until Sherri comes down and the storyline kicks in. Warrior chases her down the aisle and Savage clobbers him from behind and smashes a light standard on his head. Warrior resolutely crawls back down the aisle while the fans chant “USA” extremely loudly. Slaughter keeps stopping the count. I’ve gotta say those pointy boots look really cheesy. The heel heat here is amazing. (2012 Scott sez:  Man, if only they had someone not totally past his prime to do the Slaughter role, because it was gigantic heel heat and would have gotten someone over for life.  Off-the-wall suggestion:  Kerry Von Erich, who came in at the same time as Slaughter.  All-American Boy turned Iraqi traitor?  That’s MONEY.  Kerry v. Hogan at Wrestlemania?  C’mon, that’s MONEY.  Yeah I know, drugs and suicide and stuff, but we’re talking a perfect world here.)  The BEARHUG OF DOOM kills the crowd pretty quick. Slaughter drops some elbows and applies the CAMEL CLUTCH OF HIDEOUS FESTERING DEATH but Warrior is in the ropes. Warrior with the supermaniac comeback and the SHITTY CLOTHESLINES OF DOOM, followed by the shoulderblock, but heeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Sherri. Crowd is going bonkos. Warrior smacks Sherri around and tosses her out into Macho’s arms, but Slaughter knees Warrior in the back and drapes him on the ropes. Savage nails the prone Warrior with the TIN-FOIL COVERED SCEPTRE OF DOOM and Slaughter drops an elbow for the pin and the WWF title. The announcers are in shock and the audience chants “Bullshit” as the Warrior retreats to the dressing room. Watching this match in 1991, I was in absolute disbelief that they’d actually put the title on Slaughter. Looking back, Vince should have put the belt on him sooner and then had Warrior regain it here. They could have done the money match, Hogan-Warrior II, at WM7. *  (2012 Scott sez:  At the time, this match made me legitimately ANGRY while watching it, which shows what a tremendous job of being an asshole Randy Savage could do.  The first run-in was annoying, but the second one was the one where you just wanted Warrior to kick his ass right into retirement.) Dusty and Dustin Rhodes v. Ted Dibiase & Virgil. After 4 years of waiting, this was the match where it finally happened. This was Dustin’s PPV debut, just before he and his father retreated back to WCW a few weeks later. Dibiase slapped Dustin around (who was sitting in the front row watching his dad wrestle) on an episode of SNME to set this up. Virgil gets beat up by Dustin here to start, and Dibiase bitches him out about it. Dibiase tags in and takes Dustin to school. Dusty gets in and we get tag team bionic elbows. Dusty has ditched the polka dots by this point. Dustin comes in and blows out his knee on a missed charge. The heels work on the knee, but Virgil accidentally clotheslines Dibiase and he flips out and tosses his bodyguard out of the ring. Dusty gets the hot tag in the meantime and quickly gets rolled up by Dibiase for the pin. The Rhodes’ were clearly on the JOB Squad by that point. ** Dibiase gets on the mic and kisses off the Rhodes, then tells off Virgil and orders him to retrieve his million dollar belt. In a great moment, Dibiase tries to blackmail Virgil into subservience…and turns his back on him. Oops. KA-POW! The crowd (and Roddy Piper) goes apeshit. Thus endeth the long relationship… (2012 Scott sez:  Somehow I don’t foresee quite the same reaction if Ricardo ever turns on ADR.)  Assorted comments from the Rumble entrants, and of course the Orange Goblin. I’d do a transcript of Tugboat’s ridiculous bit, but it wouldn’t be fair to subject people to that. Let’s just say it’s really bad. Royal Rumble: Bret Hart gets #1, in order to showcase him in preparation for his singles push. Dino Bravo gets #2 and we’re underway. Hey, there’s Shane McMahon again! Not much notable here. Greg Valentine is #3, and he goes right after ex-partner Bravo, to the shock of Jimmy Hart. Valentine ends up dumping Bravo in short order. (2012 Scott sez:  Interesting to note that this was the first Rumble where the “every man for himself” thing truly came into play.)  Bret Hart plays possum while this is going on, and ambushes Greg when he turns around. Paul Roma is #4, and a three-way breaks out. Kerry Von Erich is #5 and he cleans house on the heels. Rick Martel is #6 and there’s still nothing terribly notable going on. Martel and Roma seem to have an issue here for some reason. Saba Simba (Luckily Roddy Piper doesn’t yell out “Hey, it’s Tony Atlas” this time) is #7 and he takes out pretty much everyone in sight. If you’ve never heard of Simba, there’s a reason. Everyone pairs off. Butch is #8 as Simba tosses Martel…but Martel hangs onto the top rope and Simba’s momentum carries HIM out. Jake Roberts is #9 and he goes after Martel, of course. This was during the infamous “blindfold match” period, another one I forgot about when compiling Netcop Busts. Martel teases falling out of the ring several times, drawing a great reaction from the crowd. Hercules is #10 and he hooks up with Roma immediately so they can work as a team. Tito Santana is #11 as Roma misses a cross-body and eliminates himself. Santana and Martel of course are at each other. (2012 Scott sez:  That was really one of the great long-running feuds with absolutely no real money payoff.  They just kept referencing it over and over but didn’t do anything other than an SNME match long after Martel had already been repackaged.)  Undertaker (still with Brother Love) is #12 and he casually dumps Hart right away. Undertaker no-sells everything as the crowd watches his every move in fascination. I think that was the sign that Vince had something special here. Jimmy Snuka is #13 as UT tosses Butch. DBS is #14. Damn, there’s a lot of guys in there right now. Smash gets #15, but the heat is gone by this point so the crowd doesn’t care about him anymore. They need to clear out some deadwood — it’s getting too hard to follow. Martel teases another elimination, but gets back again…but not before pulling Roberts out. Road Warrior Hawk is #16, and everyone gangs up on him right away. Here’s one for the X-Files: Shane Douglas is #17, post-Dynamic Dudes but pre-credibility. (2012 Scott sez:  Shane Douglas had credibility at some point?  Bet he’s watching RAW these days trying to think of a way to get a paycheck out of Johnny Ace.) UT tosses Snuka and Kerry Von Erich. Did you know that Douglas was actually a de facto Rocker in late 1990 during Shawn Michaels’ first big knee injury? He teamed with Marty Jannetty as the “New” Rockers until Shawn came back. Irony can be so ironic sometimes. The buzzer sounds for #18, but no one comes out. I forget if this was explained. I think it was supposed to be Randy Savage. Anyway, Animal is #19, and he does come out. The LOD double-clotheslines Undertaker out, and then Martel clotheslines Hawk out. Martel is teetering again, but rolls back in. We’re down a manageable number again. Crush is #20, and the Demos go after Bulldog. Martel is hanging by a thread again. Some dipshit in a khaki shirt keeps walking past the main camera, presumably to be cool. Here’s a quarter to buy a hint, guy. Hacksaw Duggan is #21 and gets a big pop. Martel teases another elimination. Earthquake is #22 and sends Animal packing. There’s 11 guys in there right now, way too much. Mr. Perfect is #23, and he takes his time getting down. He dumps Duggan once he’s in, however. He gets beat up by a variety of people, showcasing his selling. The Orange Goblin is #24, knocking out Smash right away. Crowd is nuts for Hogan. Haku is #25 as Valentine is finally eliminated after 45 minutes. Douglas is still in there, oddly enough, although he’s not doing too well. Neidhart is #26, to a big pop. Earthquake tosses Santana like yesterday’s garbage. Luke is #27, and coincidentally he gets knocked out 2.7 seconds after he gets in. Well, it’s easy money, I guess. (2012 Scott sez:  They play that one a lot on Royal Rumble video packages.)  More near-eliminations with Martel. Brian Knobs is #28 and no one cares. Everyone gangs up on him, however, for some reason. Tugboat and the Warlord are the only ones left in the draw so it must have been Randy Savage who missed his chance at #18 because of the Warrior thing earlier. Knobs dumps Hercules. Warlord is #29. Crush does the 10 PUNCHES OF DOOM on Hulk and gets dumped over the top for his troubles. That was a pretty dumb thing to do. (2012 Scott sez:  NEVER GO TO THE TOP ROPE IN A ROYAL RUMBLE!  It’s, like, the first rule!) Hulk clotheslines the Warlord out soon after. Tugboat is #30, as Douglas gets tossed. Our suspects are Hogan, Neidhart, Tugboat, Hennig, Haku, Knobs, Martel, Bulldog and Earthquake. Not a very impressive field, to be sure. Hennig is really taking a licking. Tugboat and Hogan end up fighting in the corner, and Tugboat actually dumps Hogan, but he lands on the apron, then comes back in and knocks Tugboat out. Bulldog dropkicks Hennig out. Martel bids adieu to Jim Neidhart. Bulldog backdrops Haku out. Martel makes Dumb Mistake #1 by going to the top, and Bulldog crotches him and knocks him out after a record 53 minutes  (2012 Scott sez:  See, WHAT DID I JUST SAY?). The final four: Bulldog, Earthquake, Knobs and Hulk. There goes Bulldog. Why is Knobs in there this close to the end? (2012 Scott sez:  Gee, I wonder why, brother.)  They proceed to squash Hulk. Earthquake hits the FAT-ASSED BUTT SPLASH OF DEATH, but Hulk makes the comeback. Big Boot sends Knobs over the top, the three punches and big boot put Earthquake down. But Hogan falls back on the slam attempt and Quake drops some elbows. Powerslam, but Hulk makes comeback #2 and hulks up. Big boot, and this time the bodyslam works. A clothesline later and Hulk wins the Rumble for the second year in a row. An okay, but unspectacular, Rumble. *** Not enough star power to really draw interest of the casual viewer.  (2012 Scott sez:  Nice to see Hogan finally getting his PPV win over Earthquake.)  The Bottom Line: It had to be done, honest. After basically butt-fucking the fans with a spiked dildo in the form of the title change earlier, the WWF had to do something to send the fans home happy, and this was as good as anything. The WWF was in a serious funk at this point, however, creatively and monetarily, and it shows with blasé shows like this. Fear not, however, The Man was on his way. (2012 Scott sez:  Sid?  Oh, wait, the other big signing of 1991, right.)  Neutral feelings on this one.

Starrcade Countdown: 1991

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 91 • Live from Norfolk, Virginia. • Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross.The Lethal Lottery: • Opening match: Michael Hayes & Tracy Smothers v. Marcus Bagwell & Jimmy Garvin. The first inherent flaw with this idea comes out right away: Bagwell was a raw rookie at this point and not ready to start improvising tag matches. (2011 Scott sez:  The Freebirds were on opposing sides of the opening tag match and I thought this wasn’t a worked draw?  What the FUCK, 1999 Scott?) Smothers manages to hold it together well enough with Jimmy Garvin until the inevitable Freebird v. Freebird bit. That turns into a strutting contest until the other partners get tagged in again. The Birds end up arguing, allowing Bagwell to hook the fisherman’s suplex on Smothers for the pin. Passable. *1/2 • Stunning Steve Austin & Ravishing Rick Rude v. Van Hamster & Big Josh. This is like a Worldwide nightmare. Luckily Austin and Van Hamhock wrestled each other about a million times for the TV title, so they’re able to do their usual match to keep it reasonably cohesive. They opt for the WWF formula, with Van Hamburger playing Ricky Morton for a few minutes before making a hot tag to Josh. Cute bit as Rude’s abs are MADE OF STEEL and can’t be affected by Josh’s punches. Josh takes over the Morton role as the Dangerous Alliance goes like clockwork. Big, long, chinlock. Van Hamlet gets the hot tag but chaos reigns and Rude gives the Rude Awakening to Van Hammock for the pin. ½*  (2011 Scott sez:  You can’t say I didn’t commit to the bit.)  Dustin Rhodes & Richard Morton v. El Gigante & Larry Zbyszko. Larry goes for his dreaded finisher, the SEVEN MINUTE STALL OF DOOM, right away. I’m betting Gigante doesn’t get too involved here. Nope, Larry tags him in right away, go fig. Dustin tries a dropkick and drop toehold, neither of which work. Larry keeps shouting words of “encouragement” from the apron, which makes you think he’s just asking for a beating. Larry tags in and does a nice little sequence with Dustin, which makes sense because they just did a ***** match at the Clash previous to this. Sure enough, Larry offers one piece of advice too many and the Giant Idiot tosses him across the ring, into a double-dropkick for a Rhodes pin. Morton wasn’t even in the match. ** • Bill Kazmaier & Jushin Liger v. Diamond Dallas Page & Mike Graham. Graham and Liger start, thankfully. Graham looks to have no idea how to sell Liger’s stuff. So we get DDP against Kazmaier, keeping in mind that Page was utterly and completely horrible at this point in his career. They trade some stuff and then we get DDP against Liger. Oh, this should be fun. Doesn’t last long, like everything else in this match. This thing is not going anywhere, which is the basic problem—there’s no flow to the match. It’s not a bad series of spots, but that’s all it is. Liger and Graham try to build an actual match, but DDP and Kazmaier aren’t up to the challenge. Liger with a somersault plancha and moonsault on Graham, and a pier-six erupts. Kazmaier presses Liger onto DDP for the pin. Not bad. **1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  Mike Graham was a major drain on the fledgling light heavyweight division at that time, because the dipshits running WCW basically demoted him from road agent back to wrestler again and stuck him in there with guys like Pillman, assuming that anyone under 250 pounds could do all that high-flying stuff.  Not so.)   Lex Luger & Arn Anderson v. Tom Zenk & Terry Taylor. Zenk and Taylor play the de facto babyfaces. Taylor and Luger start out with a really nice sequence of stuff, with Taylor back in full face mode. Zenk comes in and gets tripped up by Race, then hammered by the heels. Everyone is ON here. Anderson runs through his usual stuff to great effect, until Zenk hot tags Taylor. Taylor is a house of fire on Luger for a two count, then a bodypress for two. Backslide for two. Hot crowd for this. Doctorbomb for two, but Anderson saves. Taylor goes for the five-arm, but Arn hits him from behind and Luger gets the piledriver for the pin. Best match of the night. **** • Ricky Steamboat & Todd Champion v. Cactus Jack & Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. Abdullah wants to be Cactus Jack’s partner, so he beats the snot out of Parker in the dressing room. Poor Buddy starts crawling to the ring while the Butcher waddles out to the ring. He gets sent back, and makes sure to hammer Buddy Lee with the kendo stick on the way by. Meanwhile, Cactus is busy taking on Steamboat and Champion by himself. They do a pretty nice few minutes, including a plancha from Steamboat, and an enzuigiri. Our designated victim, Buddy Lee Parker, is still crawling on hands and knees towards the ring. Pretty funny. Jack tosses Champion and gives him the elbow. It’s a double bang-banger, the most dangerous type. Parker has made it to the empty ring and is almost to his own corner. Jack fights off Champion, and makes the tag to Parker! Parker gets in…and gets pinned by Steamboat about three seconds later. Oh, well, give him an “E” for effort. **  (2011 Scott sez:  I bet Mick Foley came up with that stuff himself.  If not, kudos to whoever did.)  Sting & Abdullah the Butcher v. Brian Pillman & Bobby Eaton. Abdullah goes berserk on his own partner before the other team even gets to the ring. Pillman makes the save and the Butcher tosses him around the ringside area like a ragdoll. We finally get into the ring and a chinlock results. Sting and Eaton are not working well together. Cactus Jack eventually comes in and accidentally hits the Butcher with his own kendo stick, allowing Sting the chance to hit Bobby with a flying bodypress for the pin. A total mess. DUD • Abdullah and the WWF World champion brawl back to the dressing room.  (2011 Scott sez:  Well there you go, this was written late-1998, then.)  Rick Steiner & The Nightstalker v. Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes. Nightstalker is better known as Wrath. (2011 Scott sez:  Not anymore.  Now he’s just known as Bryan Clark, if anyone remembers at all.)  Jim Ross notes that all four men played collegiate football. I was waiting for the “Nightstalker got kicked out of FSU for carrying that huge axe around” story, but nothing comes. Steiner tosses both of the big men around with various suplexes until Nightstalker tags himself in and fucks up a couple of moves. He was really bad at this point. Steiner comes in with a bulldog on Hughes, but he’s not the legal man, and Vader splashes Nightstalker for the pin. ¼* • Superbrawl II promo. • Scott Steiner & Firebreaker Chip v. Johnny B. Badd & Arachnaman. The Badd Fag-O-Meter is at 6 tonight, because of the lack of boa, kisses and Badd Blaster. (2011 Scott sez:  Not one of my more tasteful running jokes, to be sure.)  Arachnaman is Brad Armstrong, in failed gimmick #91938. (2011 Scott sez:  And 8 years before the first Spider-Man movie might have gotten him over, too.)  Badd dominates Chip to start, but it’s not long before Steiner comes in to a big pop. He beats on Archnaman like his bee-otch. Then it’s Badd’s turn to get beat on. Someone’s getting the spotlight here, that’s for sure. Chip (who looks like a roided Ken Shamrock) (2011 Scott sez:  That’s a bit redundant, isn’t it?)  slows it down with a chinlock. Thankfully Scott is in quickly again to wallop on Badd some more. Badd exists merely to sell Steiner’s offense in this match. Does Arachnaman use WebTV? (2011 Scott sez:  That shaking you hear was that joke landing with a “thud”.  See, kids, there used to be this computer system where you plugged it into your TV and could check your e-mail and surf a few websites.  It died a worse death than that joke did.  I should have just went with the “World Wide Web” line, in retrospect.)  More chinlocks when Chip is in. Chip plays Ricky Morton before making a blind tag to Steiner, who finishes Arachnaman with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for the pin. Good stuff mixed in there. **1/2 • Ron Simmons & Thomas Rich v. Steve Armstrong & PN News. This is the last tag match. News and Armstrong play heels. This is, I believe, the last appearance of PN News. Ron controls things, Rich begs to be tagged in and gets beat on, so begs to tag out again. Nothing of note going on wrestling-wise. Fans chant “We want Ron” when Rich is in. I don’t blame them. Rich keeps refusing to tag Simmons. Finally he tags Simmons after 10 minutes of punishment. Simmons comes in and finishes Armstrong about 10 seconds later with the spinebuster. ¼* Battlebowl: • So to review, we’ve got Jimmy Garvin, Marcus Bagwell, Dustin Rhodes, Richard Morton, Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, Ricky Steamboat, Todd Champion, Big Van Vader, Mr. Hughes, Scott Steiner, Firebreaker Chip, Ron Simmons, Thomas Rich, Sting, Abdullah the Butcher, Bill Kazmaier and Jushin Liger. This is a two-ring battle royale: When you’re knocked out of the first ring, you move to the second. Winner of the first ring meets the winner of the second for the Battlebowl ring. The usual battle royale chaos, with the caveat that you have to throw your opponent into the second ring to eliminate them, which allows lots of fighting on the ramp. Steamboat is getting the beats put on him in a big way. It goes quite a while before Rich has the honor of being the first guy tossed into the other ring. Bagwell joins him shortly. Now we go quicker, with Morton, Liger and Chip ending up in ring 2. Liger and Morton put on a show in the other ring to the delight of the fans. They eliminate each other in short order, however. Steamboat and Anderson fight all over the place, ending up in ring 2. Rich is gone. Garvin and Champion move to ring 2. The heavy hitters are left in ring 1. Steiner and Austin move to ring 2, and Garvin is knocked out of it. Kazmaier and the Butcher knock themselves into ring 2. Luger dumps Rhodes into ring 2, leaving Luger, Sting and Rude in ring 1. Sting and Rude fight right into ring 2, leaving Luger against Vader for ring 1. Vader purees Luger as Chip is eliminated. Luger suddenly comes back and clothesline Vader into ring 2, to win the first segment of Battlebowl. Todd Champion and Bill Kazmaier are both bounced. Rhodes dropkicks Anderson out. Austin backdrops Rhodes out. Mr Hughes and Ron Simmons knock each other out. Steamboat sends Vader packing, as well as Scott Steiner. That leaves Sting, Steamboat, Rude and Austin. The faces clean up on the heels, with Austin being the sacrificial lamb for Rude’s inevitable mistake, knocking Austin out. Steamboat pulls Rude out, who proceeds to pull Steamboat out, giving the win to Sting. Rude lays out Sting before he leaves. • Battlebowl final: Sting v. Lex Luger. Sting is dead and Luger hammers him. Race wants Lex to end it quickly, but Lex is Evil so he wants to punish Sting. He tosses Sting to the rampway and then dumps him down to the STEEL railing. Sting comes back and rams Lex to the railing around the ring several times, then tosses him back in. Superman comeback. Luger won’t go out, however. Race comes in to interfere and gets punted. Stinger splash misses, and Sting is almost out. Luger tosses Sting, but he holds on and comes back with his Sting stuff. Sting clotheslines Luger over the top to win Battlebowl. I don’t rate battle royales, but this was pretty good. It set up the title match between Sting and Luger at Superbrawl II pretty nicely, too. • The Bottom Line. Like many Dusty Rhodes idea, this was a neat idea in theory, but not so much in practice. With more improv-friendly wrestlers (like today’s WCW midcard), this could have worked, but as it was, it ranks more as a curiosity than a good show. Still, check it out if you’ve never seen it before. Not recommended otherwise, however.

Starrcade Countdown: 1991

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 91 • Live from Norfolk, Virginia. • Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross.The Lethal Lottery: • Opening match: Michael Hayes & Tracy Smothers v. Marcus Bagwell & Jimmy Garvin. The first inherent flaw with this idea comes out right away: Bagwell was a raw rookie at this point and not ready to start improvising tag matches. (2011 Scott sez:  The Freebirds were on opposing sides of the opening tag match and I thought this wasn’t a worked draw?  What the FUCK, 1999 Scott?) Smothers manages to hold it together well enough with Jimmy Garvin until the inevitable Freebird v. Freebird bit. That turns into a strutting contest until the other partners get tagged in again. The Birds end up arguing, allowing Bagwell to hook the fisherman’s suplex on Smothers for the pin. Passable. *1/2 • Stunning Steve Austin & Ravishing Rick Rude v. Van Hamster & Big Josh. This is like a Worldwide nightmare. Luckily Austin and Van Hamhock wrestled each other about a million times for the TV title, so they’re able to do their usual match to keep it reasonably cohesive. They opt for the WWF formula, with Van Hamburger playing Ricky Morton for a few minutes before making a hot tag to Josh. Cute bit as Rude’s abs are MADE OF STEEL and can’t be affected by Josh’s punches. Josh takes over the Morton role as the Dangerous Alliance goes like clockwork. Big, long, chinlock. Van Hamlet gets the hot tag but chaos reigns and Rude gives the Rude Awakening to Van Hammock for the pin. ½*  (2011 Scott sez:  You can’t say I didn’t commit to the bit.)  Dustin Rhodes & Richard Morton v. El Gigante & Larry Zbyszko. Larry goes for his dreaded finisher, the SEVEN MINUTE STALL OF DOOM, right away. I’m betting Gigante doesn’t get too involved here. Nope, Larry tags him in right away, go fig. Dustin tries a dropkick and drop toehold, neither of which work. Larry keeps shouting words of “encouragement” from the apron, which makes you think he’s just asking for a beating. Larry tags in and does a nice little sequence with Dustin, which makes sense because they just did a ***** match at the Clash previous to this. Sure enough, Larry offers one piece of advice too many and the Giant Idiot tosses him across the ring, into a double-dropkick for a Rhodes pin. Morton wasn’t even in the match. ** • Bill Kazmaier & Jushin Liger v. Diamond Dallas Page & Mike Graham. Graham and Liger start, thankfully. Graham looks to have no idea how to sell Liger’s stuff. So we get DDP against Kazmaier, keeping in mind that Page was utterly and completely horrible at this point in his career. They trade some stuff and then we get DDP against Liger. Oh, this should be fun. Doesn’t last long, like everything else in this match. This thing is not going anywhere, which is the basic problem—there’s no flow to the match. It’s not a bad series of spots, but that’s all it is. Liger and Graham try to build an actual match, but DDP and Kazmaier aren’t up to the challenge. Liger with a somersault plancha and moonsault on Graham, and a pier-six erupts. Kazmaier presses Liger onto DDP for the pin. Not bad. **1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  Mike Graham was a major drain on the fledgling light heavyweight division at that time, because the dipshits running WCW basically demoted him from road agent back to wrestler again and stuck him in there with guys like Pillman, assuming that anyone under 250 pounds could do all that high-flying stuff.  Not so.)   Lex Luger & Arn Anderson v. Tom Zenk & Terry Taylor. Zenk and Taylor play the de facto babyfaces. Taylor and Luger start out with a really nice sequence of stuff, with Taylor back in full face mode. Zenk comes in and gets tripped up by Race, then hammered by the heels. Everyone is ON here. Anderson runs through his usual stuff to great effect, until Zenk hot tags Taylor. Taylor is a house of fire on Luger for a two count, then a bodypress for two. Backslide for two. Hot crowd for this. Doctorbomb for two, but Anderson saves. Taylor goes for the five-arm, but Arn hits him from behind and Luger gets the piledriver for the pin. Best match of the night. **** • Ricky Steamboat & Todd Champion v. Cactus Jack & Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. Abdullah wants to be Cactus Jack’s partner, so he beats the snot out of Parker in the dressing room. Poor Buddy starts crawling to the ring while the Butcher waddles out to the ring. He gets sent back, and makes sure to hammer Buddy Lee with the kendo stick on the way by. Meanwhile, Cactus is busy taking on Steamboat and Champion by himself. They do a pretty nice few minutes, including a plancha from Steamboat, and an enzuigiri. Our designated victim, Buddy Lee Parker, is still crawling on hands and knees towards the ring. Pretty funny. Jack tosses Champion and gives him the elbow. It’s a double bang-banger, the most dangerous type. Parker has made it to the empty ring and is almost to his own corner. Jack fights off Champion, and makes the tag to Parker! Parker gets in…and gets pinned by Steamboat about three seconds later. Oh, well, give him an “E” for effort. **  (2011 Scott sez:  I bet Mick Foley came up with that stuff himself.  If not, kudos to whoever did.)  Sting & Abdullah the Butcher v. Brian Pillman & Bobby Eaton. Abdullah goes berserk on his own partner before the other team even gets to the ring. Pillman makes the save and the Butcher tosses him around the ringside area like a ragdoll. We finally get into the ring and a chinlock results. Sting and Eaton are not working well together. Cactus Jack eventually comes in and accidentally hits the Butcher with his own kendo stick, allowing Sting the chance to hit Bobby with a flying bodypress for the pin. A total mess. DUD • Abdullah and the WWF World champion brawl back to the dressing room.  (2011 Scott sez:  Well there you go, this was written late-1998, then.)  Rick Steiner & The Nightstalker v. Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes. Nightstalker is better known as Wrath. (2011 Scott sez:  Not anymore.  Now he’s just known as Bryan Clark, if anyone remembers at all.)  Jim Ross notes that all four men played collegiate football. I was waiting for the “Nightstalker got kicked out of FSU for carrying that huge axe around” story, but nothing comes. Steiner tosses both of the big men around with various suplexes until Nightstalker tags himself in and fucks up a couple of moves. He was really bad at this point. Steiner comes in with a bulldog on Hughes, but he’s not the legal man, and Vader splashes Nightstalker for the pin. ¼* • Superbrawl II promo. • Scott Steiner & Firebreaker Chip v. Johnny B. Badd & Arachnaman. The Badd Fag-O-Meter is at 6 tonight, because of the lack of boa, kisses and Badd Blaster. (2011 Scott sez:  Not one of my more tasteful running jokes, to be sure.)  Arachnaman is Brad Armstrong, in failed gimmick #91938. (2011 Scott sez:  And 8 years before the first Spider-Man movie might have gotten him over, too.)  Badd dominates Chip to start, but it’s not long before Steiner comes in to a big pop. He beats on Archnaman like his bee-otch. Then it’s Badd’s turn to get beat on. Someone’s getting the spotlight here, that’s for sure. Chip (who looks like a roided Ken Shamrock) (2011 Scott sez:  That’s a bit redundant, isn’t it?)  slows it down with a chinlock. Thankfully Scott is in quickly again to wallop on Badd some more. Badd exists merely to sell Steiner’s offense in this match. Does Arachnaman use WebTV? (2011 Scott sez:  That shaking you hear was that joke landing with a “thud”.  See, kids, there used to be this computer system where you plugged it into your TV and could check your e-mail and surf a few websites.  It died a worse death than that joke did.  I should have just went with the “World Wide Web” line, in retrospect.)  More chinlocks when Chip is in. Chip plays Ricky Morton before making a blind tag to Steiner, who finishes Arachnaman with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for the pin. Good stuff mixed in there. **1/2 • Ron Simmons & Thomas Rich v. Steve Armstrong & PN News. This is the last tag match. News and Armstrong play heels. This is, I believe, the last appearance of PN News. Ron controls things, Rich begs to be tagged in and gets beat on, so begs to tag out again. Nothing of note going on wrestling-wise. Fans chant “We want Ron” when Rich is in. I don’t blame them. Rich keeps refusing to tag Simmons. Finally he tags Simmons after 10 minutes of punishment. Simmons comes in and finishes Armstrong about 10 seconds later with the spinebuster. ¼* Battlebowl: • So to review, we’ve got Jimmy Garvin, Marcus Bagwell, Dustin Rhodes, Richard Morton, Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, Ricky Steamboat, Todd Champion, Big Van Vader, Mr. Hughes, Scott Steiner, Firebreaker Chip, Ron Simmons, Thomas Rich, Sting, Abdullah the Butcher, Bill Kazmaier and Jushin Liger. This is a two-ring battle royale: When you’re knocked out of the first ring, you move to the second. Winner of the first ring meets the winner of the second for the Battlebowl ring. The usual battle royale chaos, with the caveat that you have to throw your opponent into the second ring to eliminate them, which allows lots of fighting on the ramp. Steamboat is getting the beats put on him in a big way. It goes quite a while before Rich has the honor of being the first guy tossed into the other ring. Bagwell joins him shortly. Now we go quicker, with Morton, Liger and Chip ending up in ring 2. Liger and Morton put on a show in the other ring to the delight of the fans. They eliminate each other in short order, however. Steamboat and Anderson fight all over the place, ending up in ring 2. Rich is gone. Garvin and Champion move to ring 2. The heavy hitters are left in ring 1. Steiner and Austin move to ring 2, and Garvin is knocked out of it. Kazmaier and the Butcher knock themselves into ring 2. Luger dumps Rhodes into ring 2, leaving Luger, Sting and Rude in ring 1. Sting and Rude fight right into ring 2, leaving Luger against Vader for ring 1. Vader purees Luger as Chip is eliminated. Luger suddenly comes back and clothesline Vader into ring 2, to win the first segment of Battlebowl. Todd Champion and Bill Kazmaier are both bounced. Rhodes dropkicks Anderson out. Austin backdrops Rhodes out. Mr Hughes and Ron Simmons knock each other out. Steamboat sends Vader packing, as well as Scott Steiner. That leaves Sting, Steamboat, Rude and Austin. The faces clean up on the heels, with Austin being the sacrificial lamb for Rude’s inevitable mistake, knocking Austin out. Steamboat pulls Rude out, who proceeds to pull Steamboat out, giving the win to Sting. Rude lays out Sting before he leaves. • Battlebowl final: Sting v. Lex Luger. Sting is dead and Luger hammers him. Race wants Lex to end it quickly, but Lex is Evil so he wants to punish Sting. He tosses Sting to the rampway and then dumps him down to the STEEL railing. Sting comes back and rams Lex to the railing around the ring several times, then tosses him back in. Superman comeback. Luger won’t go out, however. Race comes in to interfere and gets punted. Stinger splash misses, and Sting is almost out. Luger tosses Sting, but he holds on and comes back with his Sting stuff. Sting clotheslines Luger over the top to win Battlebowl. I don’t rate battle royales, but this was pretty good. It set up the title match between Sting and Luger at Superbrawl II pretty nicely, too. • The Bottom Line. Like many Dusty Rhodes idea, this was a neat idea in theory, but not so much in practice. With more improv-friendly wrestlers (like today’s WCW midcard), this could have worked, but as it was, it ranks more as a curiosity than a good show. Still, check it out if you’ve never seen it before. Not recommended otherwise, however.

Starrcade Countdown: 1991

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 91 • Live from Norfolk, Virginia. • Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross.The Lethal Lottery: • Opening match: Michael Hayes & Tracy Smothers v. Marcus Bagwell & Jimmy Garvin. The first inherent flaw with this idea comes out right away: Bagwell was a raw rookie at this point and not ready to start improvising tag matches. (2011 Scott sez:  The Freebirds were on opposing sides of the opening tag match and I thought this wasn’t a worked draw?  What the FUCK, 1999 Scott?) Smothers manages to hold it together well enough with Jimmy Garvin until the inevitable Freebird v. Freebird bit. That turns into a strutting contest until the other partners get tagged in again. The Birds end up arguing, allowing Bagwell to hook the fisherman’s suplex on Smothers for the pin. Passable. *1/2 • Stunning Steve Austin & Ravishing Rick Rude v. Van Hamster & Big Josh. This is like a Worldwide nightmare. Luckily Austin and Van Hamhock wrestled each other about a million times for the TV title, so they’re able to do their usual match to keep it reasonably cohesive. They opt for the WWF formula, with Van Hamburger playing Ricky Morton for a few minutes before making a hot tag to Josh. Cute bit as Rude’s abs are MADE OF STEEL and can’t be affected by Josh’s punches. Josh takes over the Morton role as the Dangerous Alliance goes like clockwork. Big, long, chinlock. Van Hamlet gets the hot tag but chaos reigns and Rude gives the Rude Awakening to Van Hammock for the pin. ½*  (2011 Scott sez:  You can’t say I didn’t commit to the bit.)  Dustin Rhodes & Richard Morton v. El Gigante & Larry Zbyszko. Larry goes for his dreaded finisher, the SEVEN MINUTE STALL OF DOOM, right away. I’m betting Gigante doesn’t get too involved here. Nope, Larry tags him in right away, go fig. Dustin tries a dropkick and drop toehold, neither of which work. Larry keeps shouting words of “encouragement” from the apron, which makes you think he’s just asking for a beating. Larry tags in and does a nice little sequence with Dustin, which makes sense because they just did a ***** match at the Clash previous to this. Sure enough, Larry offers one piece of advice too many and the Giant Idiot tosses him across the ring, into a double-dropkick for a Rhodes pin. Morton wasn’t even in the match. ** • Bill Kazmaier & Jushin Liger v. Diamond Dallas Page & Mike Graham. Graham and Liger start, thankfully. Graham looks to have no idea how to sell Liger’s stuff. So we get DDP against Kazmaier, keeping in mind that Page was utterly and completely horrible at this point in his career. They trade some stuff and then we get DDP against Liger. Oh, this should be fun. Doesn’t last long, like everything else in this match. This thing is not going anywhere, which is the basic problem—there’s no flow to the match. It’s not a bad series of spots, but that’s all it is. Liger and Graham try to build an actual match, but DDP and Kazmaier aren’t up to the challenge. Liger with a somersault plancha and moonsault on Graham, and a pier-six erupts. Kazmaier presses Liger onto DDP for the pin. Not bad. **1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  Mike Graham was a major drain on the fledgling light heavyweight division at that time, because the dipshits running WCW basically demoted him from road agent back to wrestler again and stuck him in there with guys like Pillman, assuming that anyone under 250 pounds could do all that high-flying stuff.  Not so.)   Lex Luger & Arn Anderson v. Tom Zenk & Terry Taylor. Zenk and Taylor play the de facto babyfaces. Taylor and Luger start out with a really nice sequence of stuff, with Taylor back in full face mode. Zenk comes in and gets tripped up by Race, then hammered by the heels. Everyone is ON here. Anderson runs through his usual stuff to great effect, until Zenk hot tags Taylor. Taylor is a house of fire on Luger for a two count, then a bodypress for two. Backslide for two. Hot crowd for this. Doctorbomb for two, but Anderson saves. Taylor goes for the five-arm, but Arn hits him from behind and Luger gets the piledriver for the pin. Best match of the night. **** • Ricky Steamboat & Todd Champion v. Cactus Jack & Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. Abdullah wants to be Cactus Jack’s partner, so he beats the snot out of Parker in the dressing room. Poor Buddy starts crawling to the ring while the Butcher waddles out to the ring. He gets sent back, and makes sure to hammer Buddy Lee with the kendo stick on the way by. Meanwhile, Cactus is busy taking on Steamboat and Champion by himself. They do a pretty nice few minutes, including a plancha from Steamboat, and an enzuigiri. Our designated victim, Buddy Lee Parker, is still crawling on hands and knees towards the ring. Pretty funny. Jack tosses Champion and gives him the elbow. It’s a double bang-banger, the most dangerous type. Parker has made it to the empty ring and is almost to his own corner. Jack fights off Champion, and makes the tag to Parker! Parker gets in…and gets pinned by Steamboat about three seconds later. Oh, well, give him an “E” for effort. **  (2011 Scott sez:  I bet Mick Foley came up with that stuff himself.  If not, kudos to whoever did.)  Sting & Abdullah the Butcher v. Brian Pillman & Bobby Eaton. Abdullah goes berserk on his own partner before the other team even gets to the ring. Pillman makes the save and the Butcher tosses him around the ringside area like a ragdoll. We finally get into the ring and a chinlock results. Sting and Eaton are not working well together. Cactus Jack eventually comes in and accidentally hits the Butcher with his own kendo stick, allowing Sting the chance to hit Bobby with a flying bodypress for the pin. A total mess. DUD • Abdullah and the WWF World champion brawl back to the dressing room.  (2011 Scott sez:  Well there you go, this was written late-1998, then.)  Rick Steiner & The Nightstalker v. Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes. Nightstalker is better known as Wrath. (2011 Scott sez:  Not anymore.  Now he’s just known as Bryan Clark, if anyone remembers at all.)  Jim Ross notes that all four men played collegiate football. I was waiting for the “Nightstalker got kicked out of FSU for carrying that huge axe around” story, but nothing comes. Steiner tosses both of the big men around with various suplexes until Nightstalker tags himself in and fucks up a couple of moves. He was really bad at this point. Steiner comes in with a bulldog on Hughes, but he’s not the legal man, and Vader splashes Nightstalker for the pin. ¼* • Superbrawl II promo. • Scott Steiner & Firebreaker Chip v. Johnny B. Badd & Arachnaman. The Badd Fag-O-Meter is at 6 tonight, because of the lack of boa, kisses and Badd Blaster. (2011 Scott sez:  Not one of my more tasteful running jokes, to be sure.)  Arachnaman is Brad Armstrong, in failed gimmick #91938. (2011 Scott sez:  And 8 years before the first Spider-Man movie might have gotten him over, too.)  Badd dominates Chip to start, but it’s not long before Steiner comes in to a big pop. He beats on Archnaman like his bee-otch. Then it’s Badd’s turn to get beat on. Someone’s getting the spotlight here, that’s for sure. Chip (who looks like a roided Ken Shamrock) (2011 Scott sez:  That’s a bit redundant, isn’t it?)  slows it down with a chinlock. Thankfully Scott is in quickly again to wallop on Badd some more. Badd exists merely to sell Steiner’s offense in this match. Does Arachnaman use WebTV? (2011 Scott sez:  That shaking you hear was that joke landing with a “thud”.  See, kids, there used to be this computer system where you plugged it into your TV and could check your e-mail and surf a few websites.  It died a worse death than that joke did.  I should have just went with the “World Wide Web” line, in retrospect.)  More chinlocks when Chip is in. Chip plays Ricky Morton before making a blind tag to Steiner, who finishes Arachnaman with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for the pin. Good stuff mixed in there. **1/2 • Ron Simmons & Thomas Rich v. Steve Armstrong & PN News. This is the last tag match. News and Armstrong play heels. This is, I believe, the last appearance of PN News. Ron controls things, Rich begs to be tagged in and gets beat on, so begs to tag out again. Nothing of note going on wrestling-wise. Fans chant “We want Ron” when Rich is in. I don’t blame them. Rich keeps refusing to tag Simmons. Finally he tags Simmons after 10 minutes of punishment. Simmons comes in and finishes Armstrong about 10 seconds later with the spinebuster. ¼* Battlebowl: • So to review, we’ve got Jimmy Garvin, Marcus Bagwell, Dustin Rhodes, Richard Morton, Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, Ricky Steamboat, Todd Champion, Big Van Vader, Mr. Hughes, Scott Steiner, Firebreaker Chip, Ron Simmons, Thomas Rich, Sting, Abdullah the Butcher, Bill Kazmaier and Jushin Liger. This is a two-ring battle royale: When you’re knocked out of the first ring, you move to the second. Winner of the first ring meets the winner of the second for the Battlebowl ring. The usual battle royale chaos, with the caveat that you have to throw your opponent into the second ring to eliminate them, which allows lots of fighting on the ramp. Steamboat is getting the beats put on him in a big way. It goes quite a while before Rich has the honor of being the first guy tossed into the other ring. Bagwell joins him shortly. Now we go quicker, with Morton, Liger and Chip ending up in ring 2. Liger and Morton put on a show in the other ring to the delight of the fans. They eliminate each other in short order, however. Steamboat and Anderson fight all over the place, ending up in ring 2. Rich is gone. Garvin and Champion move to ring 2. The heavy hitters are left in ring 1. Steiner and Austin move to ring 2, and Garvin is knocked out of it. Kazmaier and the Butcher knock themselves into ring 2. Luger dumps Rhodes into ring 2, leaving Luger, Sting and Rude in ring 1. Sting and Rude fight right into ring 2, leaving Luger against Vader for ring 1. Vader purees Luger as Chip is eliminated. Luger suddenly comes back and clothesline Vader into ring 2, to win the first segment of Battlebowl. Todd Champion and Bill Kazmaier are both bounced. Rhodes dropkicks Anderson out. Austin backdrops Rhodes out. Mr Hughes and Ron Simmons knock each other out. Steamboat sends Vader packing, as well as Scott Steiner. That leaves Sting, Steamboat, Rude and Austin. The faces clean up on the heels, with Austin being the sacrificial lamb for Rude’s inevitable mistake, knocking Austin out. Steamboat pulls Rude out, who proceeds to pull Steamboat out, giving the win to Sting. Rude lays out Sting before he leaves. • Battlebowl final: Sting v. Lex Luger. Sting is dead and Luger hammers him. Race wants Lex to end it quickly, but Lex is Evil so he wants to punish Sting. He tosses Sting to the rampway and then dumps him down to the STEEL railing. Sting comes back and rams Lex to the railing around the ring several times, then tosses him back in. Superman comeback. Luger won’t go out, however. Race comes in to interfere and gets punted. Stinger splash misses, and Sting is almost out. Luger tosses Sting, but he holds on and comes back with his Sting stuff. Sting clotheslines Luger over the top to win Battlebowl. I don’t rate battle royales, but this was pretty good. It set up the title match between Sting and Luger at Superbrawl II pretty nicely, too. • The Bottom Line. Like many Dusty Rhodes idea, this was a neat idea in theory, but not so much in practice. With more improv-friendly wrestlers (like today’s WCW midcard), this could have worked, but as it was, it ranks more as a curiosity than a good show. Still, check it out if you’ve never seen it before. Not recommended otherwise, however.

Starrcade Countdown: 1991

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 91 • Live from Norfolk, Virginia. • Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross.The Lethal Lottery: • Opening match: Michael Hayes & Tracy Smothers v. Marcus Bagwell & Jimmy Garvin. The first inherent flaw with this idea comes out right away: Bagwell was a raw rookie at this point and not ready to start improvising tag matches. (2011 Scott sez:  The Freebirds were on opposing sides of the opening tag match and I thought this wasn’t a worked draw?  What the FUCK, 1999 Scott?) Smothers manages to hold it together well enough with Jimmy Garvin until the inevitable Freebird v. Freebird bit. That turns into a strutting contest until the other partners get tagged in again. The Birds end up arguing, allowing Bagwell to hook the fisherman’s suplex on Smothers for the pin. Passable. *1/2 • Stunning Steve Austin & Ravishing Rick Rude v. Van Hamster & Big Josh. This is like a Worldwide nightmare. Luckily Austin and Van Hamhock wrestled each other about a million times for the TV title, so they’re able to do their usual match to keep it reasonably cohesive. They opt for the WWF formula, with Van Hamburger playing Ricky Morton for a few minutes before making a hot tag to Josh. Cute bit as Rude’s abs are MADE OF STEEL and can’t be affected by Josh’s punches. Josh takes over the Morton role as the Dangerous Alliance goes like clockwork. Big, long, chinlock. Van Hamlet gets the hot tag but chaos reigns and Rude gives the Rude Awakening to Van Hammock for the pin. ½*  (2011 Scott sez:  You can’t say I didn’t commit to the bit.)  Dustin Rhodes & Richard Morton v. El Gigante & Larry Zbyszko. Larry goes for his dreaded finisher, the SEVEN MINUTE STALL OF DOOM, right away. I’m betting Gigante doesn’t get too involved here. Nope, Larry tags him in right away, go fig. Dustin tries a dropkick and drop toehold, neither of which work. Larry keeps shouting words of “encouragement” from the apron, which makes you think he’s just asking for a beating. Larry tags in and does a nice little sequence with Dustin, which makes sense because they just did a ***** match at the Clash previous to this. Sure enough, Larry offers one piece of advice too many and the Giant Idiot tosses him across the ring, into a double-dropkick for a Rhodes pin. Morton wasn’t even in the match. ** • Bill Kazmaier & Jushin Liger v. Diamond Dallas Page & Mike Graham. Graham and Liger start, thankfully. Graham looks to have no idea how to sell Liger’s stuff. So we get DDP against Kazmaier, keeping in mind that Page was utterly and completely horrible at this point in his career. They trade some stuff and then we get DDP against Liger. Oh, this should be fun. Doesn’t last long, like everything else in this match. This thing is not going anywhere, which is the basic problem—there’s no flow to the match. It’s not a bad series of spots, but that’s all it is. Liger and Graham try to build an actual match, but DDP and Kazmaier aren’t up to the challenge. Liger with a somersault plancha and moonsault on Graham, and a pier-six erupts. Kazmaier presses Liger onto DDP for the pin. Not bad. **1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  Mike Graham was a major drain on the fledgling light heavyweight division at that time, because the dipshits running WCW basically demoted him from road agent back to wrestler again and stuck him in there with guys like Pillman, assuming that anyone under 250 pounds could do all that high-flying stuff.  Not so.)   Lex Luger & Arn Anderson v. Tom Zenk & Terry Taylor. Zenk and Taylor play the de facto babyfaces. Taylor and Luger start out with a really nice sequence of stuff, with Taylor back in full face mode. Zenk comes in and gets tripped up by Race, then hammered by the heels. Everyone is ON here. Anderson runs through his usual stuff to great effect, until Zenk hot tags Taylor. Taylor is a house of fire on Luger for a two count, then a bodypress for two. Backslide for two. Hot crowd for this. Doctorbomb for two, but Anderson saves. Taylor goes for the five-arm, but Arn hits him from behind and Luger gets the piledriver for the pin. Best match of the night. **** • Ricky Steamboat & Todd Champion v. Cactus Jack & Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. Abdullah wants to be Cactus Jack’s partner, so he beats the snot out of Parker in the dressing room. Poor Buddy starts crawling to the ring while the Butcher waddles out to the ring. He gets sent back, and makes sure to hammer Buddy Lee with the kendo stick on the way by. Meanwhile, Cactus is busy taking on Steamboat and Champion by himself. They do a pretty nice few minutes, including a plancha from Steamboat, and an enzuigiri. Our designated victim, Buddy Lee Parker, is still crawling on hands and knees towards the ring. Pretty funny. Jack tosses Champion and gives him the elbow. It’s a double bang-banger, the most dangerous type. Parker has made it to the empty ring and is almost to his own corner. Jack fights off Champion, and makes the tag to Parker! Parker gets in…and gets pinned by Steamboat about three seconds later. Oh, well, give him an “E” for effort. **  (2011 Scott sez:  I bet Mick Foley came up with that stuff himself.  If not, kudos to whoever did.)  Sting & Abdullah the Butcher v. Brian Pillman & Bobby Eaton. Abdullah goes berserk on his own partner before the other team even gets to the ring. Pillman makes the save and the Butcher tosses him around the ringside area like a ragdoll. We finally get into the ring and a chinlock results. Sting and Eaton are not working well together. Cactus Jack eventually comes in and accidentally hits the Butcher with his own kendo stick, allowing Sting the chance to hit Bobby with a flying bodypress for the pin. A total mess. DUD • Abdullah and the WWF World champion brawl back to the dressing room.  (2011 Scott sez:  Well there you go, this was written late-1998, then.)  Rick Steiner & The Nightstalker v. Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes. Nightstalker is better known as Wrath. (2011 Scott sez:  Not anymore.  Now he’s just known as Bryan Clark, if anyone remembers at all.)  Jim Ross notes that all four men played collegiate football. I was waiting for the “Nightstalker got kicked out of FSU for carrying that huge axe around” story, but nothing comes. Steiner tosses both of the big men around with various suplexes until Nightstalker tags himself in and fucks up a couple of moves. He was really bad at this point. Steiner comes in with a bulldog on Hughes, but he’s not the legal man, and Vader splashes Nightstalker for the pin. ¼* • Superbrawl II promo. • Scott Steiner & Firebreaker Chip v. Johnny B. Badd & Arachnaman. The Badd Fag-O-Meter is at 6 tonight, because of the lack of boa, kisses and Badd Blaster. (2011 Scott sez:  Not one of my more tasteful running jokes, to be sure.)  Arachnaman is Brad Armstrong, in failed gimmick #91938. (2011 Scott sez:  And 8 years before the first Spider-Man movie might have gotten him over, too.)  Badd dominates Chip to start, but it’s not long before Steiner comes in to a big pop. He beats on Archnaman like his bee-otch. Then it’s Badd’s turn to get beat on. Someone’s getting the spotlight here, that’s for sure. Chip (who looks like a roided Ken Shamrock) (2011 Scott sez:  That’s a bit redundant, isn’t it?)  slows it down with a chinlock. Thankfully Scott is in quickly again to wallop on Badd some more. Badd exists merely to sell Steiner’s offense in this match. Does Arachnaman use WebTV? (2011 Scott sez:  That shaking you hear was that joke landing with a “thud”.  See, kids, there used to be this computer system where you plugged it into your TV and could check your e-mail and surf a few websites.  It died a worse death than that joke did.  I should have just went with the “World Wide Web” line, in retrospect.)  More chinlocks when Chip is in. Chip plays Ricky Morton before making a blind tag to Steiner, who finishes Arachnaman with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for the pin. Good stuff mixed in there. **1/2 • Ron Simmons & Thomas Rich v. Steve Armstrong & PN News. This is the last tag match. News and Armstrong play heels. This is, I believe, the last appearance of PN News. Ron controls things, Rich begs to be tagged in and gets beat on, so begs to tag out again. Nothing of note going on wrestling-wise. Fans chant “We want Ron” when Rich is in. I don’t blame them. Rich keeps refusing to tag Simmons. Finally he tags Simmons after 10 minutes of punishment. Simmons comes in and finishes Armstrong about 10 seconds later with the spinebuster. ¼* Battlebowl: • So to review, we’ve got Jimmy Garvin, Marcus Bagwell, Dustin Rhodes, Richard Morton, Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, Ricky Steamboat, Todd Champion, Big Van Vader, Mr. Hughes, Scott Steiner, Firebreaker Chip, Ron Simmons, Thomas Rich, Sting, Abdullah the Butcher, Bill Kazmaier and Jushin Liger. This is a two-ring battle royale: When you’re knocked out of the first ring, you move to the second. Winner of the first ring meets the winner of the second for the Battlebowl ring. The usual battle royale chaos, with the caveat that you have to throw your opponent into the second ring to eliminate them, which allows lots of fighting on the ramp. Steamboat is getting the beats put on him in a big way. It goes quite a while before Rich has the honor of being the first guy tossed into the other ring. Bagwell joins him shortly. Now we go quicker, with Morton, Liger and Chip ending up in ring 2. Liger and Morton put on a show in the other ring to the delight of the fans. They eliminate each other in short order, however. Steamboat and Anderson fight all over the place, ending up in ring 2. Rich is gone. Garvin and Champion move to ring 2. The heavy hitters are left in ring 1. Steiner and Austin move to ring 2, and Garvin is knocked out of it. Kazmaier and the Butcher knock themselves into ring 2. Luger dumps Rhodes into ring 2, leaving Luger, Sting and Rude in ring 1. Sting and Rude fight right into ring 2, leaving Luger against Vader for ring 1. Vader purees Luger as Chip is eliminated. Luger suddenly comes back and clothesline Vader into ring 2, to win the first segment of Battlebowl. Todd Champion and Bill Kazmaier are both bounced. Rhodes dropkicks Anderson out. Austin backdrops Rhodes out. Mr Hughes and Ron Simmons knock each other out. Steamboat sends Vader packing, as well as Scott Steiner. That leaves Sting, Steamboat, Rude and Austin. The faces clean up on the heels, with Austin being the sacrificial lamb for Rude’s inevitable mistake, knocking Austin out. Steamboat pulls Rude out, who proceeds to pull Steamboat out, giving the win to Sting. Rude lays out Sting before he leaves. • Battlebowl final: Sting v. Lex Luger. Sting is dead and Luger hammers him. Race wants Lex to end it quickly, but Lex is Evil so he wants to punish Sting. He tosses Sting to the rampway and then dumps him down to the STEEL railing. Sting comes back and rams Lex to the railing around the ring several times, then tosses him back in. Superman comeback. Luger won’t go out, however. Race comes in to interfere and gets punted. Stinger splash misses, and Sting is almost out. Luger tosses Sting, but he holds on and comes back with his Sting stuff. Sting clotheslines Luger over the top to win Battlebowl. I don’t rate battle royales, but this was pretty good. It set up the title match between Sting and Luger at Superbrawl II pretty nicely, too. • The Bottom Line. Like many Dusty Rhodes idea, this was a neat idea in theory, but not so much in practice. With more improv-friendly wrestlers (like today’s WCW midcard), this could have worked, but as it was, it ranks more as a curiosity than a good show. Still, check it out if you’ve never seen it before. Not recommended otherwise, however.