Mike Reviews: WrestleMania VIII

Mike Reviews: WWF WrestleMania VIII

Seeing as we’re in WrestleMania week I thought I’d take a moment to post a review of a classic Mania event from 1992. This show kind of sums up 1992 WWF, with both the good and the bad on full display and a couple of notably great matches, as well as one of the biggest stinkers in Mania Main Event history.

So without further ado, let’s set the way back machine to 1992 for WrestleMania VIII

Read more

A Look Back At: The 1992 PWI 500 Rankings

Dec1992PWI
Last week, I took a look at the first ever Pro Wrestling Illustrated 500 ranking list. The journey of revisiting that history continues here as I look at the 1992 installment of the list. I should note that I’m considering the January to December timeframe in the first installment. I looked up the apparent timeframe that is from August of the previous year to July 31st of the actual year. That being said, I’ll try to maintain my opinions strictly by that timeframe. It seemed as if the 1991 version was covering most of the year, anyway.
For a complete list of the PWI 500 check it out HERE

That being said, here we go. The notable names from the 1992 PWI 500 with the grading period of August 1st 1991 to July 31st 1992. 
Stinger reaches #1!

Stinger reaches #1!
The Top Ten:
1.) Sting
2.) Randy Savage
3.) Ric Flair
4.) Rick Rude
5.) Bret Hart
6.) Ricky Steamboat
7.) Jerry Lawler
8.) Scott Steiner
9.) Ultimate Warrior
10.) Steve Austin
At first I wasn’t so convinced that Sting was the number one guy during the timeframe, but you’ve got to remember that Savage was “retired” from mid March until late 1991. Sure, Savage had a strong comeback winning a feud with Jake Roberts and the WWF World Championship at WrestleMania VIII, but Sting held his own feuding with Rick Rude for most of the period and winning the WCW World Championship at Superbrawl in February ’92. I could see the Nature Boy having a better claim for the number one spot than Savage. 
Flair left WCW in the summer of ’91, but upon his debut with the WWF he feuded with Roddy Piper and had huge matches with Hulk Hogan on the house show market. Also, Flair just so happened to have won perhaps the greatest Royal Rumble ever and as a result became the WWF World Champion. Flair had a rather strong presence during the evaluation period. 
Rude seems a bit high on the list as he didn’t enter WCW until October but didn’t waste time winning gold as he won the WCW United States Championship in November. He also was successful in a feud with Ricky Steamboat winning a high profile match at Superbrawl. He was the leader of the Dangerous Alliance that lost War Games at Wrestle War. 
Bret Hart starts to get recognized as an elite wrestler with two WWF Intercontinental Championship wins. He first won it at SummerSlam against Mr. Perfect and after losing it to the Mountie at a house show in January ’92, regained it from family friend Roddy Piper at WrestleMania VIII in perhaps Piper’s last truly great match. Hart was also involved in a house show feud with Shawn Michaels at the time. 
After an underwhelming run in the WWF, Ricky Steamboat returned to top ten level wrestling winning the WCW World Tag Team Championships with Dustin Rhodes in November and defeating WCW United States Champion Rick Rude in a non-title thirty minute Ironman match at Beach Blast in June. Also, Steamboat was arguably still at the top of his game in the ring. 
Jerry Lawler continued to dominate the USWA along with partner Jeff Jarrett. Scott Steiner comes in at number eight after regaining the WCW World Tag Team Championships on May 3rd defeating the Dangerous Alliance after a long chase. They soon lost the belts to Steve Williams and Terry Gordy on July 5th to end the evaluation period on a sour note. 
Kind of confusing that the Ultimate Warrior came in at number nine considering he returned to action at WrestleMania VIII and was only feuding with a midcard talent in Papa Shango. Doesn’t seem worthy of a top ten wrestler let a lot top 50, honestly. 
Lastly, Steve Austin makes a splash in the top ten as a member of the Dangerous Alliance. Austin had been dominating the upper mid card scene as he continually held the WCW Television Championship during the grading period. 
A change of attitude did good things for Michaels.

A change of attitude did good things for Michaels.
12.) Hulk Hogan
15.) Big Van Vader
16.) Shawn Michaels
20.) Ron Simmons
21.) The Undertaker 
Hogan falls out of the top ten due to lack of competing. He lost and regained the belt in late 1991 against the Undertaker, lost the Royal Rumble, and defeated Sid Justice by disqualification at WrestleMania VIII in his last match for nearly a year. 
Vader’s ranking may seem a little high, but remember he stayed strong in Japan and upon his return to WCW in July he defeated Sting to win the WCW World Championship. Vader is a strong force in the PWI 500 for at least a couple more years. 
After a shocking betrayal of his longtime friend, Shawn Michaels rose to number sixteen. He won his first ever Mania match against Tito Santana and continually challenged for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, though he would lose to Bret Hart each time. 
During the evaluation, Simmons unsuccessfully challenged Lex Luger for the WCW World Championship at Halloween Havoc. Proceeded to be a mid card contender feuding with Cactus Jack for several months and winning the feud. At the time of the release, it was evident that Simmons was going to become a main event player for WCW. 
Taker held the WWF World Championship for a short period in 1991 as a heel. By February, he turned into a good dead man and pinned Jake Roberts at WrestleMania by kicking out of the DDT. Didn’t feud with top talent afterward as he was involved with the Berzerker afterward.
Ted DiBiase with IRS and Jimmy Hart.

Ted DiBiase with IRS and Jimmy Hart.
22.) Ted DiBiase
23.) Big Bossman
26.) Jeff Jarrett
29.) Cactus Jack
36.) Dustin Rhodes 
At the tail end of 1991, DiBiase was the WWF Million $ Dollar Champion, which would soon be forgotten about. Entering 1992, DiBiase became a tag team wrestler and won the WWF World Tag Team Championships in February with IRS by beating the Legion of Doom. Successfully retained the titles by count-out against the Natural Disasters at Mania. Lost the belts in July to the Natural Disasters. Adapted well to his new role. 
In early 1991, Bossman looked to be primed for a WWF Intercontinental Championship run but the push faded away and for the most part Bossman was lost in the shuffle. Was on the winning side of a eight man tag at Mania, but was soon beaten down by former inmate Nailz. His ranking is rather high considering he didn’t achieve much during the time. 
Much like Lawler, Jarrett was busy winning a feud against the Moondogs. Cactus Jack had a breakout time period having a classic brawl with WCW World Champion Sting at Beach Blast 1992, despite coming out on the losing end. May have been the moment fans took Jack seriously as a contender. 
Nearly a one hundred spot jump for Dustin Rhodes, who won the WCW World Tag Team Championships with Steamboat. Rhodes is clearly at the top of the heap for WCW and the following year is when he really breaks out. Underrated in the ring even in 1992. 
Brian Christopher knew how to win gold.

Brian Christopher knew how to win gold.
44.) Owen Hart
47.) Brian Christopher
53.) Razor Ramon
55.) Repo Man
69.) Papa Shango 
Obviously Owen Hart is a top wrestler but he was only teaming with Koko B. Ware at the time and they hadn’t done anything of note to warrant a top 50 spot for Owen.
Last year, Brian Christopher was ranked at 409 and jumped all the way up to number forty-seven. A change of attitude may have helped as he won many titles in the southern area but did so cheating. Was considered to be a top prospect out of the South. 
If the grading timeframe is correct, it’s amazing that Razor Ramon was even ranked. As the Diamond Studd he had a less than memorable run with WCW and while he was with the WWF, his character hadn’t even made it to television until August. 
The former Demolition Smash went the route of a comedic character with the Repo Man. Repo didn’t have any major wins but had a brief feud with the British Bulldog on television. I’ll let you guess who won that one.
The voodoo master Papa Shango debuts at number sixty-nine. Due in large part to the exposure of his feud with the Ultimate Warrior. Shango never won a match against the Warrior but faired okay against other mid card talents. 
Brian Lee pinning rival DWB.

Brian Lee pinning rival DWB.
76.) Crush
77.) Marcus Alexander Bagwell
79.) Sabu
93.) Tatanka
96.) Brian Lee 
Crush hadn’t made a splash on television yet, but his newfound singles push as a baby face was going well on the house show market. Probably should have been ranked where Repo Man was. 
The rookie Marcus Alexander Bagwell breaks into the top 100. Bagwell didn’t have much of a direction but was being touted as a promising star for WCW and typically held his own against top heels but would come out on the losing end most times. 
The lunatic Sabu goes from 389 last year to number 79 in one of the biggest jumps of the year. Most notably won the FMW Tag Team Championships with Hulk Hogan’s nephew, Horace Boulder. 
Tatanka made his WWF debut in late 1991 and remained undefeated throughout the grading period and only gets ranked at 93. I can see a few people he should have been ranked above but I’ll just be repeating myself. 
Brian Lee is the top baby face for Smoky Mountain Wrestling and was their first Heavyweight Champion beating Paul Orndorff in the finals in May. Continued to be considered a future star in the business. 
Van Hammer

Van Hammer
108.) Paul Orndorff
204.) Van Hammer
256.) The Sandman
395.) Tommy Dreamer
422.) Chris Candido 
Orndorff hadn’t been seen on a national level in years, but was quite successful in Smoky Mountain Wrestling as one of the top heels in the company. He proved that he had plenty still to offer to the wrestling world. 
Hammer made his debut for WCW in 1991 and was involved in a feud with Cactus Jack which saw Hammer win a few battles. According to PWI, he was seen a future World Champion. Van Hammer, of all people. 
He hadn’t developed the cigarette smoking, beer drinking gimmick yet but Sandman was still a force on the Philadelphia independent scene during the time. Along with Tommy Dreamer who relied heavily on a sleeper hold to win his matches, apparently. Keep your eyes on Chris Candido as well as he continued to tour the globe and gain experience. 
Farewell To The 500:
Sid Justice
Lex Luger
Paul Roma
Zeus
If the grading timeframe is right, and I’m guessing in large part to what the PWI writers commented on, then Justice and Luger should be at least on the list. 
Justice had wrestled from late 1991 to April 1992 for the WWF, which saw him main event Mania and almost win the Rumble. 
Luger won the WCW World Championship in July and held it until February 1992 when he lost to Sting. He’d be out of wrestling for a year. 
Zeus went back to acting. Paul Roma was in semiretirement. 
There is the notable names for the 1992 PWI 500. Would you have ranked anyone differently? Leave your thoughts below!

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

Thanks for reading.

1992 Questions

  Hi Scott I’ve been acquainting myself with WCW on the network… got up to Flair’s jump to WWF (with Sid and Luger also switching teams) and started watching their old stuff too even though I’ve seen it before – just got to Wrestlemania 8. I still can’t get my head around them not running with Hogan vs Flair. Has Flair ever expressed any views on this, do you know? If part of his problem in WCW was not being booked at the level he thought he deserved, then wouldn’t being pulled from the main event program with Hulk rankle in the same way? But I never hear of any bad feeling on Flair’s part over this. I know Flair was having specific issues leading to his jump, but Luger and Sid coming over at around the same time; was this a concerted attempt to poach WCW talent? (Was Sting ever approached, being the other of their big three with Flair and Luger)? Or am I overestimating the significance of WCW at the time and this was just general Vince hiring some big dudes he liked for Hogan’s soon to be vacant spot?  Also, Piper’s match with Bret on that show is famously one of his few (only) clean losses in his career. How was he able to get away with refusing to job for so long? Was he really enough of a draw for people to put up with that?   Flair was always fine with it as far as I know because he loved working with Savage anyway.  And he wasn’t ever pulled from the program, as Sid v. Hogan was the plan all along.  Luger was never really supposed to be a WWF talent poaching, as Vince wanted him for the WBF and didn’t appear to care about him as a wrestler, and Luger himself was making noise even in WCW about wanting to get out of the business anyway.  So no, it wasn’t really a mass talent raid by standards you’d normally classify, just happenstance.  And yes, Piper was enough of a draw that he could make those kind of demands.  Plus, they let him get away with it, so they only have themselves to blame anyway. 

Ultimate 1992 question

Hey Scott,

Friend and I were talking Network and throwback wrestling. We debated what the best North American match of 1992 was: Flair wins the Rumble, War Games, or Bret/Bulldog.

Gun to your head, which do you pick over the others? I went Bret/Bulldog, but barely.

​Wait, your friend literally held a gun to your head to force a decision?  That's fucked up, man.  
And the correct answer is always Wargames.​

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1992 WWE as told by Bret Hart

This was released on July 31st, 2014

The interview was conducted by Sean Oliver

It runs at two hours and fifteen minutes long

JANUARY


The first question asked to Bret is about the “Inside Edition” piece that aired on January 3rd on steroids and wrestling that primarily focused on Hulk Hogan’s apparent lying about his steroid use on the Arsenio Hall Show. Bret said that he recalled that a lot of guys in the locker room felt that if he just answered the question honestly, the whole issue would have gone away but when he lied, Bret said that it brought on a whole tidal wave of criticism and business went down significantly by the end of the year.

On January 5th, the first match between Hogan and Ric Flair at the Omni in Atlanta only drew 4,500 fans. Bret is asked why didnt the feud between Hogan and Flair work. Bret said it was due to ego problems as each guy were set in their own ways and had doing their same matches for years. When asked if someone tried to step in and tell these guys to go out their and deliver, Bret said he believes that Vince would have done that then talks about his own problems with Flair. He said that they were having really good matches at the beginning of the year but once Bret won the belt, the matches started to get sloppy. Bret said that Flair told him that he was having problems at home thus was distracted. He said that very well could have been the case but Bret also said that he went up to Vince and told him that he believed Flair was intentionally sabotaging their matches as the finishes would constantly get screwed up. He said that they had meetings with Vince and Pat Patterson to work things out as well. When Flair left, Vince came up to Bret a few weeks later and told him that he believes that Flair can only work his style of match and was not doing anything to purposely screw things up. Bret talks about how Flair called it in the ring and tried to be like Dory Funk and Harley Race were in the 1970’s and he came from a different era and they had a bit of a styles clash.

When asked about Shawn Michaels turning on Marty Jannetty and sending him through the “Barber Shop” window, Bret said that he believes they were split up as he believes that Shawn was tired of babysitting Marty, in the same way that he was tired of doing the same to Jim Neidhart. Bret also said that he did not travel on the road with the Rockers so he cannot say for sure. Bret then talks about Neidhart and how his night did not begin until 2am and that he had to stay with him to make sure he would make the flight the next day and how that got old after a while. When asked out of the Rockers which one he would have picked for a singles push, Bret puts over both guys for being exceptional workers but says that it was clear that Shawn was the better athlete of the two and picks him. Bret then says that Shawn and Curt Hennig were the two best athletes he has ever wrestled against. Bret then talks a bit more about Shawn and how he thought he was a better character and worker when they feuded against each other in 1997.

On Jaunary 17th, Bret dropped the Intercontinental Title to Jacques Rougeau. When asked if he was okay with that, Bret said that he was fine with dropping the belt to Jacques but upset in the fact that he was unsure which direction the company was going with him and thought he was doing a good job as the IC champion. He felt that he was going to get discarded but then Vince told him what was going to happen and he was not sure that it was going to happen as he had been promised many things in the past that did not happen. Bret also added that he was sure that the WWF knew what they were doing too. Sean then asked how far in advanced was Bret told that he was winning the World Heavyweight Title and he said that he was told that around Christmas time in 1991. Sean then asked Bret if it was true that he was talking to WCW and Bret confirmed, even saying that he had a few deals in place with the company. He then said that at the time, Brian Pillman called him and said that he was making more money in WCW than Bret was in the WWF. Bret said he called WCW and spoke with Jim Barnett, who told Bret that they could not pay him what he had been told by Pillman and was better off staying in the WWF. Bret said he wondered if they just did not see a lot in him or if they were doing him a huge favor. Bret said that it bothered him that all of the news about his negotiations were all over the “shit sheets” and the Observer and that pissed him off.

Now, Bret is asked about the 1992 Royal Rumble Match that Ric Flair won and became the WWF Champion. Sean asks Bret if Flair made a good champion for the WWF and their identity at the time. Bret then talks about how he is baffled when people tell him that Flair was the greatest wrestler of all-time, even saying that he is a fan of his and puts over his work ethic. When asked why do people consider Flair the greatest of  all-time, Bret said he was flamboyant and had one of the greatest characters but as far as a worker, Bret said that he had an older mindset when it came to in-ring work and could not break out of the 1970’s style and do stuff in the ring that his generation was doing. Bret then talks about the three things that make you a great wrestler, your look/presence, workrate, and promo ability and how you would rate them in each category out of ten. He said that Hogan was 9/10 in presence and promo but 1/10 as a worker. He then said that the Dynamite Kid was a 0/10 promo, 9/10 wrestler and a 7/10 presence. Bret said that his biggest weakness were his promos and could do something good if he had an issue, like he did in 1997. Bret said he was either a 7 or 8 in presence, on his best day 7 or 8 in promos and close to a 10/10 as a worker. Bret said that he was impressed by good bodies but as a fan, he was impressed with who could work and wanted them to look and sell themselves as athletes. He then goes into how business tapered off in 1992 due to the steroid scandal.

Bret then skips ahead and talks about a match at a “Saturday Night Main Event” taping between Flair and Randy Savage. After they came through the curtain, Vince yelled at them to go back out and do it all over again, this time the way he wanted them too and they went back and did the same match and when they came back through the second time, Vince just yelled and told them to get the fuck out the way. Bret also said that those two were having meetings behind closed doors about their matches and when they failed, Bret believes that was the nail in the coffin for Flair as he could not wrestle the way they wanted him too.

FEBRUARY


Bret is asked about Kerry Von Erich, who was arrested for prescription fraud, and if his drug problem was known throughout the locker room. He said that it was known before he arrived to the WWF that Kerry had a severe drug addiction but does not recall seeing him that out of it while in the WWF. Bret then talks about how Kerry was a hard guy not to like and that everyone had some sympathy for him due to everything that happened in his life. Bret said he was one of the sweetest, kind-hearted wrestlers he has ever seen.

Jim Neidhart was fired on February 16th for “unprofessional conduct.” When asked how he got fired, Bret recalls that he stalled the company for drug testing him and that he somehow snuck out of the building and never got tested the night before. The next night, Neidhart got pissed and shot-putted a TV monitor that ended up hitting a WWF TV executive and breaking his ankle and that was what got him fired. Sean was asked if there were any discussions for him to team with Owen at that time and he said there was not and that was not the time to do it as he was getting a singles push.

When asked if it was the right time to turn the Undertaker face, Bret said he thinks so and puts over the Undertaker for constantly evolving and talking about how the gimmick was not easy to pull off. Bret then said that the Undertaker came up to him and said that he was happy to work together as he wanted to show what he could do in the ring. Bret puts over the Undertaker for being the only person to pull off that gimmick and said that he was smooth in the ring.

MARCH


Bret is asked about Terry Garvin and Pat Patterson resigning on March 2nd due to allegations of sexual harassment and how the locker room reacted. He said that at the time, with this coming right after Hogan lying about his steroid use, a lot of them were worried about the state of the business. Bret said that about the allegations of harassment, he said he never witnessed anything personally but does not doubt that some shenanigans took place.

APRIL


On April 2nd, former WWF referee Rita Chatterton went on Geraldo Rivera’s talk show and claimed that Vince McMahon forced sexual intercourse upon her. Bret said he had no idea if this took place but said that he had trouble buying that Vince would jeopardize everything he had to do that to her. Bret also hints that it is ridiculous to believe due to Rita’s looks then talks about how the lady Arnold Schwarzenegger cheated with was a 2/10 and Tiger Woods’ girls that he was with were “3/10 skanks.” When asked if Vince was showing any strain during this time and Bret said that he never saw any of it but also heard from the office that he was preparing for the worse and heard a rumor that Vince would be doing the booking from jail if he was convicted.

The “WBF Body Stars” made its debut on April 4th. Bret said that the wrestling business was changing and talks about how less people were watching and advertisers would no longer air commercials for their toys and calls it a real dark time in the company. He then talks about how bodybuilding is a waste of life and how he does not see any ability or skill in bodybuilding, even comparing them to fashion models. He then talks about how the WBF guys were making more than the top wrestlers and got paid their full contracts when they folded. Bret then said that the WBF guys got to fly in first class ahead of the wrestlers on the same plane, which he did not feel was right. Sean questions why they decided to launch this after the steroid scandal came about and Bret said it was doomed from day one then talks about Lex Luger and how he was totally clean at that time (from steroids), as were most wrestlers he said in the 1990’s due to steroid testing, but that even less people would care when the bodybuilders were not doing steroids. Finally, Sean asks Bret about IcoPro as Bret said it tasted horrible and had no benefits then said that they sent crates of it to his house which he gave to his neighbors (With Bret joking that they would return it by leaving it on his step the next day) and stacked in his garage. Bret said that the rest of the wrestlers would buy their own supplements despite the fact they could have gotten IcoPro for free.

At WrestleMania VIII, Bret defeated Roddy Piper for the Intercontinental Title. Roddy helped Bret to his feet then put the belt around his waist. Sean asks Bret if it meant anything for Piper to put him over and Bret said that it did and in his own way, Roddy passed the torch to him. Bret said Roddy would have only done that for a few people. Bret said that he was worried about not being able to get the belt but said that as the Intercontinental Champion, he got a bit of a push and had good people to work against, unlike when he was a Tag Team Champion. When asked about bleeding heavily and the WWF having a no blading policy at the time, Bret said that it was a gut call on his part and recalls a time in Moncton, New Brunswick with Piper before WrestleMania. They had not seen each other much and talked about the match. Bret first talks about how hard it can be to discuss a match you will have with someone you look up to as you have too much respect and sometimes are not true to yourself as a result. They went to a restaurant and Piper laid out the match and Bret said that what Piper laid out was exactly what he wanted to do himself. Roddy then told Bret that if he got some color that it would enhance the match. Bret said it wasnt a question of whether he could do it but if he could get away with that. Bret said that Flair and Savage planned on getting color in their match and did that and got fined but Bret did not when he did. Bret then talks about how Flair did it openly and mocks a little kid saying “daddy why he is cutting himself: but Bret said that no one even knew that he bladed and they passed it off as hardway. Bret also said how he and Piper did a pull-apart in the locker room that Strongbow broke up and the rest of the office was unsure whether or not Bret cut so he did not get cut.

When asked about Jake Roberts quitting before WrestleMania VIII and only going out for the match if Vince gave him his release, Bret said that it was his understanding that he would be working with Jake Roberts at SummerSlam after Patterson told him that he was going to put him over Jake at the show.

Bret is asked about Savage defeating Flair for the belt at WrestleMania. He talks about how they were looking for someway to replace Hogan at the time then talks about how they tried that with the Ultimate Warrior and he tried about as well as anyone could have in that position. Bret said all of the boys in the locker room respected Savage for his work and how he was a steady and reliable guy for the belt.

Sean asks Bret about Hogan and if they really thought he was retiring after his match against Sid. Bret said that he made a giant cartoon drawing of all the wrestlers, who signed it as well, to give to Hogan as he thought he was done and leaving for Hollywood. Sean then asks why wasn’t Hogan vs. Flair at WrestleMania as Bret speculates that they might not have had an ending.

Sid Justice quit on April 26th, after losing to the Ultimate Warrior in the Boston Garden. Sid allegedly falsified a drug test prior to WrestleMania. Sean tells Bret that he heard a humor that Sid had Harvey Whippleman’s urine in a Visine bottle so he could pass the test. Bret said he was not privy to any of that. Sean then asks Bret if Sid took wrestling seriously. Bret said that Sid was naive and how you could easily rile him up then talks about how Owen would have had a field day with a guy like him. Bret said that Sid could destruct if you encouraged him then tells a story about how in Canada, they had a match in which CFL players were lumberjacks and how he was flipping out about football players touching him but Bret explained how they were just going to roll him back into the ring and says that he sensed if could have gone badly if he riled him up. Bret then talks about how he seemed easy to manipulate.

MAY

High Energy (Owen Hart & Koko B Ware) made their debut on May 2nd. Bret is asked how Owen felt about his ring outfit and being paired with Koko. Bret laughs and said how Owen hated his ring attire then talks about Owen teaming with Neidhart and how Owen actually embraced the babysitter role he had with Neidhart as Bret said the day Neidhart actually got fired was when Owen was not there to look after him. Bret said that Owen felt the whole thing was a rib. Bret also said that they did what they could do make it work.

Now, Bret is asked about Papa Shango putting a curse on the Ultimate Warrior. Bret said it was the second worst idea they had, with the Gobbledy Gooker being the absolute worst. Bret said that “only a Bret Hart” could clean up that mess then said that even Vince knew it was horrible after it happened. Bret then puts over the Papa Shango character and said that adding a mouthpiece to the character could have helped him out. He believes that Pat Patterson hated Papa Shango, both the gimmick and as a wrestler, and killed the gimmick.

Bret said that he thought Nailz was a good gimmick and that he did look like a bad-ass prisoner. He then said that a better worker could have made it worked. Bret said that he had a legit reputation as a tough guy and how he was typically quiet and a good guy but no one messed with him.

JUNE

On June 13th, the second and Final WBF PPV aired. Bret said that a lot of the locker room was resentful over the fact that the bodybuilders got all of that money instead of it going down to them. Bret then said that 1992 was the hardest year for him in wrestling regarding the travel.

When asked about Rocco: The Wrestling Dummy, Bret said that it totally messed up Hawk and how he cracked at SummerSlam that year because he hated the gimmick. Bret said that Vince wanted to make the Legion of Doom appear more “fun.” Sean then mentions how Bruce Prichard defended the Red Rooster gimmick with a passion during his “Guest Booker” shoot and Bret said that is why Bruce is where he is today. Bret said that Paul Ellering was a cool guy and thinks that he might have been brought in to help Hawk, who was battling drug addiction.

JULY

Bob Backlund made his return on July 1st and defeated Skinner. Sean asks Bret if Bob is relevant in 1992. Bret said that in the Northeast he was and if you remember him from his era too. Bret then talks about how cool it was when both Backlund and Flair locked up in a battle royal.

On July 21st, Bret Hart defeated Shawn Michaels in the first ever ladder match that took place in the WWF. Bret talks about how he kept explaining the concept of the match to Vince and it happened for eight years until it finally happened. Bret talks about the first ladder match that they had at a house show. He then talks about how Curt Hennig and Jim Duggan came up to him and said that SummerSlam was either going to take place in England or in Washington D.C. at the Cap Centre. Bret thought about it and said that he was probably gonig to lose the belt and said if it was in England, then he would drop it to Davey and how it would make sense. If it was in Washington D.C, he was hearing that it would be against Shawn and if that was the case, he wanted to try to get Vince to let them do a ladder match. Bret then talks about telling Vince these two ideas and at that time, Vince told Bret to show him the idea for the ladder match and to pick someone for it and suggested Shawn. Bret told Shawn the idea and how he was confused about the concept. They then went out and had the match as it was just a demonstration then Bret said he was pissed about Shawn and “them” stealing his idea ldown the road. Bret said that Vince initially promised that he would not do the ladder match without him being involved but that was not the case.

AUGUST

Bret is asked about Scott Hall, who made his debut as Razor Ramon. Bret said that Razor did well when he first came in and was always a good guy who was focused and fun to be around back then. Bret talks about how Hall did a great job with the gimmick then talks about how he was going to “Cowboy” Bret Hart in 1985 and at the last minute, realized that he could not do the character and make it work.

Bret talks about Jerry Lawler and said how he was one of the best heels he worked against. He said that he had a basic moveset and could still get more heat than anyone in the company with a move like a thumb to the throat.

They now discuss Bret’s SummerSlam match against Davey Boy Smith. Bret said that Davey went home in July due to a staph infection. Bret said that Davey’s drug problems were out of control then too. He also said that he had a match against Davey just prior to SummerSlam and it was terrible and backstage, Vince told Bret that he hoped it would be better at SummerSlam and that he planned on having them go on last. Bret also talks about how that match took place at a TV taping and how those are usually long days and it is not the best way to judge someone. Bret thought if Davey followed him they could have one of the best matches ever and put themselves on the map. Bret said he kept on thinking about the match and would think about it the whole month of August. He tried to call Davey but he was never available as his drug problem was out of control. He even recalls when he got to London for SummerSlam, he saw Davey and took him aside to ask why he had not returned his calls. Davey told him that he was on a two-day long cocaine binge and had not slept in 48 hours. Bret talks about how Davey was out of shape and not going to the gym during this time and was a total wreck. Davey told him that he was going to stink out in the ring and Bret laid out the match for him and they went over it for two days but after the first move in the actual match, Davey told Bret that he was fucked as he forgot the match then says how it is the only match you can hear him talk (Bret spoke in the third person here) and that he had to call it, which he hates and sees as an automatic fail. Bret said that he was furious at Davey for being in the condition that he was as he wanted to see him rise to the occasion. Bret then puts over Davey for sucking it up and performing in the ring as Bret calls it his greatest match for carrying Davey. Sean asks Bret if him dropping the IC title to Davey was to free him up for the Heavyweight Title, Bret said no then talks about how it was like being a Beatle when he went overseas, getting mobbed and grabbed by female fans and said that after a match in which he wrestled the opener, he was mobbed by females and came through the curtain to prove to Strongbow that he was over here, he went on last during matches overseas afterwards.

SEPTEMBER

Bret is asked how he felt the WWF was marketing him at that point. He said the company was slowly pushing him at first and talks about how when you get the push through merchandise, you have power in the company because when you talk about leaving, they try to get you to stay because you are selling merchandise and that is how you can make yourself more money.

OCTOBER




Bret is asked about Sgt. Slaughter appearing on television in a suit, stating that he was acting as the enforcer of the WWF and going to instill law and order, and if he was an agent at this point. Bret said he thinks he was just an on-air talent and not an agent at that point. Sean then asks Bret about the transition from wrestler to agent and Bret said not just anyone could fill that role and that you need the right guys to do the job. He said that Rene Goulet was great at it as he understood the travel and business. Bret said that he thought Tony Garea was good as he did not have an ax to grind but calls George Steele one of the worst. Bret said he remembered Steele partying and blowing coke one week then the next he was an agent and Bret likened it to an inmate turning into a prison guard and said he was basically an asshole after that. He then tells a story about Steele getting his Haliburton stolen.  One day he arrived to the building two minutes late, with Owen and The Berzerker, and was fined $500 by Steele. Bret said that no other agent would do that. Bret then said Owen and Savage took Steele’s Haliburton, containing all of Steele’s stuff, and they snuck it out of the building and Owen ended up tossing it out of the car and into the Manhattan River. Bret then said that Steele was not a good guy and called him a snitch.

On October 12th, Bret Hart defeated Ric Flair at the Superstars taping to become the WWF World Heavyweight Champion. Sean then asks Bret to talk about who laid out the plans for him to win and when he was told. Bret first talks about how a memo went out that if you changed your plane ticket, you would be fined $2,000. Bret had just changed his ticket to go to Italy with a girl he barely knew then went up to Vince to say that he already changed it but told him it was to go see a friend. Vince told him that he would not have to worry about that. A few days after Bret got back from Italy he was on the road and was told that he had to fly to Saskatoon Monday morning and could not change his ticket and that he had to see Vince. Bret thought that he was going to be in trouble and said that he probably should have realized that he was going to get the belt as a few days prior, Strongbow told him that there was a list of five guys to be a champ and Bret was on the list and Strongbow told Bret that he and a few others put a good word in for him and not to fuck anything up along the way. Bret got there and saw Flair leave Vince’s office and shake his hand then saw Vince wave him over and made it sound like he was going to fire him and Bret thought that he might actually would fire him, even despite the fact that they were flying him his dad to be in his corner, but after everything, Vince told him that he was going to be the champ and Bret said he felt like jumping for joy but did not give a reaction. Sean then asks Bret why the match was only made to be available on Coliseum Home Video and Bret said that he never understood why that was the case. Bret then speaks about when he became the champion, Vince wanted to be called every day and when asked why by Bret, Vince said that he always wants to talk with his champion. Bret said he would call him and wondered if Vince wanted him to “stooge off” guys to him but never did that and he was cool with what they were doing. He then says that the reason he went back to work for Vince is because he took a chance on him and gave him his first break. He also believes that Vince loved his work and would tell Bret not to tell him the finish of his matches and wanted Bret to just go out and show him in the ring.

Yokozuna made his debut on October 26th. Sean asks Bret if anyone had pegged him as a champion. Bret puts over Yoko for being a great athlete and a pro in the ring. He then talks about how Vader was stiff and terrible to work with, unlike Yoko and Bam Bam who would take care of you in the ring. Bret also talks about Kamala and said that he would never have a problem giving offense to a smaller guy and said working with him was like a night off and always fun to work with.

Doink the Clown made his debut on October 31st. Bret puts over Matt Borne for being the best at the Doink gimmick, which he loved. Bret recalls how Davey had a problem working with Doink though. Bret then talks about how Balls Mahoney and said his Xanta Klaus gimmick was great too.

NOVEMBER

Bret is asked about the cancellation of “Saturday Night’s Main Event.” He said that between all of the scandals and the guys on steroids going away, the casual fans disappeared and the wrestling fans wanted wrestling matches instead of the cartoon stuff. He also said that the direction the company went with his face-to-face interviews with Yokozuna and making it seem like a shoot was the way he thought the business should be like, along with having more athletic matches. Bret then talks about how he heard the guys down in NXT were recently watching his 1993 Royal Rumble match against Razor Ramon.

The Ultimate Warrior got fired on November 21st and Sean throws out rumors of him holding out for more money and having to work with Nailz as the reasons but Bret shakes his head and said he knows what happened. Bret said that he got a call from Vince, who told him that he was going to have to fire Davey. He then told Bret that he had to fire the Warrior as well. Bret says that he was originally supposed to work against Warrior at the Rumble in 1993 and beat him with the Sharpshooter. Vince told Bret that Davey and Warrior were buying either steroids or HGH from a guy in Europe and having them shipped over to the States. Well, that guy got busted and Warrior panicked when that happened and called Vince, without telling Davey, that the guy they were getting the stuff from got busted and their names were on the list and this was when the trial was going on so Vince told him that they were toxic and that is how they got fired.

Bret talks about his match with Shawn at the Survivor Series. He said they had wrestled together all throughout the year on house shows and didnt feel like it was fresh when they went out. He did they had great matches and thought this match holds up today but they could have done more. When asked if the competitiveness between each other was going on at this time, Bret said no and that even Shawn felt they could have done a better job if there was more build on TV.

DECEMBER




Jerry Lawler made his debut as a commentator on the December 12th edition of Superstars. Bret talks about how Jerry pissed off the locker room as he would constantly play tapes of the current WWF guys who jobbed to him in Memphis. Bret said that Curt Hennig was especially pissed off at Lawler, which also had to due with poor payoffs while he wrestled for Lawler in Memphis. Sean asks Bret about Lawler’s crown and if he knew who shit in it as Bret laughs and said that it happened at a TV taping in Sacramento. Bret saw the crown in the shower and saw that multiple people had shit inside of it but did not know exactly who they were. He then said that Lawler was in a panic looking all over for the crown but Bret, when asked, said that he had no idea where it was.

He is asked about Nailz getting fired for attacking Vince McMahon. Bret said that he did not see it happen but that he was right outside of the door when it went down and could hear it all happen. He recalls Nailz shrieking in anger that he had been lied to and had enough of Vince’s bullshit. He then heard a bang and a gurgling sound and didn’t know what to do and recalled how Vince had a lot of heat with guys over a period of time. He remembers that Blackajck Lanza was the first guy there and waved Bret to come over as a few other agents broke it up. He then remembers the police arriving and Nailz saying that Vince tried to molest him.

Final Thoughts: A great installment in the Timeline series. Sure, Bret is in love with himself but Sean Oliver did a fantastic job with the interview and kept him on the topic at hand more often than not. He deserves credit for that. Despite all of that, Bret gave a lot of great insight and did hold not back at all, making this a must-see interview.

As far as where this ranks among the other WWE Timelines, I would say that the Nash and Cornette are the only ones that are better than this and you could make a case for Sammartino’s as well. They ran through a lot of subjects and hit on all of the important topics of the year.

I highly recommend this interview and encourage all of you to watch this for yourselves.

You can purchase the interview On Demand for $15.99 (It stays in your queue forever) and the DVD for $20. If you get it On Demand, you can watch it from just about everywhere, including Roku. Click on the link below to see how to get the DVD

http://kayfabecommentaries.com/DVD_TL_1992.html

No poll for next week as our contest winner selected another Bret Hart shoot, his RF Video Voulme #1 edition.

Here is my schedule for the next week:

Friday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/30/86 (Final Episode)
Saturday: RoH Unscripted 9/21/02
Sunday: WWF Superstars 9/6/86  (Debut Episode)
Tuesday: WWF Challenge 9/7/86  (Debut Episode)
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Bret Hart, Volume 1




The Princess Rant for WrestleWar 1992

The best gimmick match in wrestling history? Quite possibly. Meanwhile I have a question for debate. Better tag team wrestler: Arn Anderson or Bobby Eaton?

The
Princess Retro Rant for WCW Wrestlewar 1992: War Games

From the Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum in Jacksonville, Fla.

Hosted by Jim Ross and Jesse “The Body” Ventura


U.S. Tag Team Championship:  The Taylor
Made Man & Greg Valentine vs. The Fabulous Freebirds

I’m assuming “Badstreet USA” was dubbed over but the ‘Birds were in a weird
babyface run and cutting bad songs as “musicians” so this could easily just be
one of those. The Taylor Made Man is Terry Taylor doing a cheap rip off of Ted
DiBiase’s gimmick down to the tear away tuxedo shirt. Greg Valentine is…well
Greg Valentine. The Freebirds are Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin.  Taylor and Valentine are the champions and
BILL ALFONZO~! is the referee.

Taylor and Hayes start out and do a ton of posturing and strutting and other
forms of stalling and fanfare. Taylor makes the blind tag but goofy heel
miscommunication leads to a near fall by Hayes. Hayes gets the first impact
move in – a hip toss but when he goes for it the second time Valentine clubs
him with a forearm. Hayes comes back with an atomic drop and a couple of
clotheslines that get a two count.  Hayes
chops away before tagging Garvin and the Freebirds decide to work on Valentine’s
arm to set the pace. Garvin tries a roll up but Valentine counters and misses
the elbow. Freebirds double team the arm and continue the basic work as the
crowd chants DDT. Valentine fights out and tags Taylor, who misses an elbow.
The Freebirds continue to work on Taylor’s arm with a succession of quick tags
and arm bars. High cross body (actually not very high at all) gets two. Garvin
drops a leg on Taylor’s arm and tags back to Hayes. Sticking with the arm and
Taylor tries to headbutt his way out of this predicament but Hayes casually
grabs Taylor’s ponytail and pulls him down. Finally Taylor breaks the arm but
gets back body dropped. Hayes follows with a running elbow and an elbow drop
for a two count. Crowd still chanting DDT as Taylor uses leverage to send
Garvin to the floor. Valentine roughs up Garvin while he’s down there.

Back in the ring Taylor with a jawbuster and now Valentine in the ring and he
lays in the chops. Corner whip but Valentine eats boot off the blind charge.
Garvin goes for the tag but Valentine cuts him off. Garvin, however, gets a
suplex on Valentine although Garvin was worse for wear. Valentine tries a
splash and hits knees but manages to hold off Garvin long enough to tag Taylor.
Taylor with a corner clothesline and a chin lock to break up the movement.
Garvin with a clothesline out of the hold and a hot tag to Hayes. He takes on
both guys and we’ve got a donnybrook here. Hayes goes for the DDT on Valentine
but Taylor hits the five arm on Hayes for a near fall. Wow I thought that would
finish it. Valentine with a backbreaker gets two. Valentine gets in all of his
traditional offense including the great headbutt to the lower abdomen.
Valentine tries another splash that hits knees but Valentine rolls into a tag
and Taylor goes to the eyes to maintain control. Hayes reverses an irish whip
but sets too early so Taylor hits a doctor bomb for two. Tag to Valentine and
he goes right to the figure four so Garvin quickly jumps in to break that up.
Valentine decides to go with a step over armbar. Hayes gets vertical and gets
chopped a few times for doing so. Valentine with a hard corner whip and he
couldn’t follow up because Hayes oversold it. Taylor tagged in and he tries to
ram Hayes’ head into the turnbuckle but Hayes reverses it and drops him with a
left. Hot tag to Garvin and he cleans house on both men. Double clothesline by
Garvin but Valentine trips him off the ropes and Taylor hits a knee drop for
two. Taylor goes for a slam but Garvin rolls over and hits the DDT for the pin
and the belts. Crowd goes wicked loud for that. Freebirds were over in Jacksonville.

(Freebirds def. Taylor/Valentine, pinfall, ***1/4, old school Southern formula
tag team match with four veterans that know how to do it. Fun stuff.)

Tony Schiavone, looking quite svelte, and Eric Bischoff do some post match
analysis before our next match.


“Young Pistol” Tracy Smothers vs. Johnny B. Badd

Jesse goes straight for the gay jokes of course and…well Mero gives him no
reason not to, wearing more makeup than a room full of Italian housewives.
Smothers is going to play the heel in this match as he makes a point to
complain about Badd pulling the tights early. Badd with a hip toss and an
armdrag that forces Smothers to take a powder. Badd gets a cross body for two
off of a rope sequence and then an armdrag that transitions right into an
armbar. Smothers gets back to his feet and corners Badd. Smothers roughs up Badd
in the corner and hits a jumping side kick to the face for two. Smothers does a
little more “martial arts” and hits a BEAUTIFUL flying back elbow from the top
for two. Smothers goes back up to the top and hits a cross body but Badd rolls
over and gets a two count. Smothers, however, stays in control and hits another
jumping side kick for two. For those wondering I think his tag partner, Steve
Armstrong, had left for the WWF at this point. Smothers hits a few more chops
and gets another two count. A body slam attempt is countered into an inside
cradle for two but Smothers gets the chinlock. Badd rallies with a high knee
and a series of punches. Powerslam from Badd and a top rope sunset flip gets
two but Smothers is up first. He misses the side kick and Badd hits the “kiss
that don’t miss” (a punch to the face) for the three count.

(Badd def. Smothers, **3/4, perfectly acceptable stuff that could have been
really good with 3-5 more minutes.)

Missy Hyatt talks with the Freebirds and PRECIOUS~! With brown hair no less.  She looked pretty good too.

More analysis from Tony and Eric.


Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. Scotty Flamingo

Speaking of Missy Hyatt, Bagwell is one of the boys she brought into Atlanta I
believe. Scotty Flamingo is/was better known as Raven. They slap each other in
the face several times and finally Flamingo dumps Bagwell to the floor but
Bagwell jumps back in the ring and tackles Flamingo. They go back to slapping
each other. Are they going to use their nails next? Maybe some hair pulling?
Anyway Bagwell does something and gets a back suplex for two. Flamingo tries a
suplex but Bagwell reverses it and gets two. Flamingo recovers to send Bagwell
to the floor. Back in the ring Bagwell counters a kitchen sink knee with a
rollover for two. Flamingo recovers with a back suplex. Snapmare and Flamingo
hits the fist drop from the second rope for two. Flamingo with a chin lock and
we wait. Thankfully he goes to the choke and gets a two count. Back to the chin
lock for Flamingo. They do a few rope sequences before Flamingo lands a high
cross body that sends both guys over the top rope. Both men are back in the
ring. Bagwell sends Flamingo to the canvas face first but Flamingo fights back
on the ground. Bagwell rallies back with a hip toss and a clothesline. Bagwell
to the second rope and hits a double axe to the head. Fisherman’s suplex gets
two when Flamingo has his foot on the ropes. Bagwell with a roll up but
Flamingo reverses it and grabs the tights for the three count.

(Flamingo def. Bagwell, *1/2, both men…or at least Flamingo were capable of
better.)

We look back at the events that led to this tag match between Ron Simmons and
JYD against Cactus Jack and Mr. Hughes. Cactus and Abdullah beat up Simmons at
Superbrawl and JYD SLOWLY came in for the save. JYD was so slow had it been a
shoot Simmons would have easily been dead.


Cactus Jack & Mr. Hughes vs. Ron Simmons & Junkyard Dog

Wow JYD is super fat, he makes Cactus look like a light heavyweight in
comparison. Not sure why they dubbed over Simmons’ “Doom” music with this
techno scratching crap but whatever. Anyway Cactus jumps JYD on the ramp and
after a short brawl Cactus takes him out with the suicide elbow. Bang Bang for
sure. JYD does the stretcher job and after a short delay Simmons decides to go
at it alone and damn near kills both guys with a double clothesline. Cactus
decides to chill for this one and let the homeboys battle it out.


Ron Simmons vs. Mr. Hughes

Simmons beats him up with power stuff and Hughes takes a powder. Back in the
ring and Hughes takes control with a clothesline and an elbow drop for two.
Hughes slams Simmons and hits a knee drop for another two count. Jesse points
out that he loves Hughes wrestling with his shades on. Hughes and Cactus do
some more cheating but Simmons rallies with a hip toss. In a funny spot Cactus
tries to tag in but Fonzie is having none of it. Hughes misses a sit down
splash and Simmons rallies with the big spinebuster. Cactus tries for the save
but Simmons cuts him off at the ropes and hits Hughes with the running tackle
for three.

(Simmons def. Hughes, pinfall, ½*, nothing of note there.)

Tony and Eric talk about JYD’s potential injury. He would return or maybe not. A
few months after this Hughes would go to the WWF at the request of the Undertaker.


Todd Champion vs. Super Invader

They are really busting out the big names for this one. Somehow Harley Race got
stuck with the Super Invader but he would eventually just saddle up with Vader
full time. For those that don’t know the Super Invader used to be known as “Hercules”
in the WWF but you give a guy a mask and all of a sudden he’s a Thai fighter.
Go figure. As for the match Invader does all that “oriental” stuff, which means
he chops to the throat a lot. Champion is a big, good looking kid. Not sure if
he was worth a shit in the ring but I’m surprised Vince never threw a worker’s
contract his way. Not much going on here, Invader goes hard with the chinlock
and then a clothesline before dumping Champion to the floor. Back in the ring
and Invader goes up to the top and gets caught with a boot to the face.
Champion hits an ugly shoulderblock and a slightly better spinning elbow but
Invader catches him on the third move with a stun gun. Praying powerbomb
finishes this snoozefest.

(Invader def. Champion, pinfall, ½*, nothing of note here either.)

And we’re right to the next match.


Richard Morton vs. Big Josh

Big Josh is the late Matt Bourne in a smiling Billy Jack Haynes-Paul Bunyan
Northwoods type gimmick. Richard Morton is Ricky Morton using his legal name.
Morton tries to play cat and mouse with Josh but eventually he gets caught and
beat up with power stuff. Morton catches Josh with a knee lift off the ropes
and he rips Josh’s flannel shirt off because he’s really angry I guess. Josh
corners Morton, however and roughs him up. Running forearm hits Morton stiff as
hell. Damn I felt that one. Josh misses a corner elbow and Morton with a back
suplex. Inverted atomic drop from Morton and a knee drop. Morton, playing the
heel, goes for the choke. Josh fights off a roll up but misses an elbow and
Morton gets a two count from all of that. Morton with a snapmare and another knee
drop for two. Morton with an armbar and he takes it to the ground. Josh fights
to get back to his vertical base and easily breaks the hold. Morton goes for a
monkey flip but Josh casually stomps him in the face. Body slam and a big elbow
drop gets two. Josh sets too early off of an irish whip and Morton kicks him in
the mouth. Back to the arm for Morton and he adds a few elements to the armbar
because Morton always tried hard. Headbutt from Josh breaks the hold and hits a
beautiful belly to belly suplex. Josh corners Morton and gets a double
underhook suplex for two. Morton goes to the eyes and then to the ropes but
gets caught with the spinebuster and the northern exposure (a running butt splash)
for the pin.

(Josh def. Morton, **1/4, nothing offensive here.)

Tony and Eric give us more analysis! Talking light heavyweight championship
here and former tag partners exploding! We see a clip from the WCW Saturday
night where Zenk and Pillman set up their match by arguing while wearing some
of the best clothing Chess King could provide.


WCW Light Heavyweight Championship: Flyin’ Brian vs. The Z Man

Jesse is reveling in the two pretty boys clashing and asks Ross who is going to
cheat first. Both guys keep it scientific to start and do an extended rope
sequence before trying for dropkicks at the same time. Pillman gets a drop toe
and goes to the arm. Zenk fights out and another rope sequence sees both guys
try for arm tosses. Pillman gets a snapmare and a knee drop for a two count.
Pillman goes to the side headlock but Zenk gets an armdrag and he works the
hammer lock for a while before going to the armbar. They do more rope stuff and
Pillman gets the head scissors take down on a counter and he goes to the arm
before switching to a sitting head scissors. Zenk fights out and gets a
backslide for two and then a sunset flip for two so Pillman chops the shit out
of him. Indian deathlock from Pillman as he works the leg and then moves down
to the knee and ankle specifically. Pillman drops the elbow on the knee and
starts wrenching away. Pillman extends Zenk’s hamstring a couple of times but
misses a somersault senton. Suplex from Zenk gets two and now Zenk works on the
back with a couple of knees. Backbreaker by Zenk and a springboard splash
catches knees. Pillman goes back to the leg and drops the elbow on the knee a
couple of times. Anklelock from Pillman turns into a half crab. Zenk fights to
his feet and hits an enziguri for the near fall. Zenk with a corner whip but he
misses the flying knee and Pillman applied the figure four and both guys start
SLAPPING each other. Awesome.

Zenk furiously fights the hold and turns it over but Pillman turns it back,
however Zenk grabs the ropes and forces the break. Another nasty chop from Pillman.
He goes for a slingshot shoulderblock but Zenk catches him with a powerslam for
a near fall. Zenk lays in the chops and but Pillman with a arm crucifix for two
and a half. Pillman sets Zenk up on the ropes and goes for the superplex but
Zenk dumps him off the ropes and climbs to the top where he hits the cross body
and gets another two count. The competitors do another rope sequence and knock
heads to temporary stop the flow. After a short double count Zenk hits a
flapjack for another two count. Zenk misses the elbow drop but catches Pillman
with a straight kick for two. Zenk goes for the top rope dropkick but Pillman
moves out of the way and gets the double leg rollup for the pin!

(Pillman def. Zenk, pinfall, ***3/4, that turned into a hell of a match.)

And right to the next match.


Takayki Iizuka & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. The Steiner Brothers

Now when I WANT the WWE to overdub generic music with the “Orient Express”
theme it doesn’t happen. MAKE ME HAPPY NETWORK!! Anyway the Steiners are the
WCW World Tag champions but this match is to determine the IWGP Number One
contenders.

Scott and Fujinami start and do some scientific stuff to start and it looks
like they will wrestle a more Japanese-style match to start at least. Scott
tries to give Fujinami the reverse slam and almost breaks his neck. Iizuka
comes in for some and the reverse slam hits cleanly. Scott then stiffs Fujinami
on a forearm because he was pissed. Iizuka tagged in and he slams Scott, hits a
second rope elbow and then a somersault double kick from the top for a two
count. Nice. Iizuka gets a boston crab. Iizuka turns it over into a double leg
but Steiner bridges out of the pin and hits the underhook power bomb. Scott puts
Iizuka over his shoulder and tags Rick who comes off the top with the elbow for
a two count. Tag to Fujinami and we go back to a headlock to slow the pace down
but Rick with a vicious release belly to back suplex for two. Damn. Tag to
Scott and he hits Fujinami with an elbow and now a single crab. Jesse points
out that Iizuka is bleeding from something Steiner did, probably the elbow from
the top. Tag to Rick and they let Fujinami out of the corner. He gets Rick in
an electric chair and tags Iilzuka who hits the cross body from the top but
Steiner turns it over in the air for two! Steiner gets a football tackle and
another two count before Iizuka tags out. Fujinami comes in and works on the
leg with a variety of things including a single leglock and a super hamstring
extender using the second rope. Tag to Iizuka and he does a sit down splash on
the leg. Rick finally tags out and Scott hits a tilt-a-whirl slam for two.
Scott applies a chicken wing and then gives Iizuka a T-Bone suplex before
tagging in Rick again.

Rick with a step over armbar and then Rick scoops him up and runs him into the
corner. Tag to Scott, who hits an abdominal stretch slam for two and back to
the ground stuff. Iizuka is taking an ass whipping in there. Iizuka tags
Fujinami and he goes after both Steiners so Rick gladly beats the fuck out of
him for daring to bow up. Fujinami with an abdominal stretch on Scott and he
pulls it back into a pinning hold for two. 
Scott fights back to his feet and tags Rick back in. He and Fujinami
continue their brawl but the Japanese corner Rick only for him to easily muscle
out and give Iizuka and ridiculous belly to belly overhead suplex as Jesse
loves this shit. Scott snapmares Iizuka and sends him into his corner where
Fujinami makes the tag. The Japanese try a double team but Scott with a double
armdrag and Rick with a springboard double clothesline. Scott sets up Iizuka
but the referee is concerned with Rick so Fujinami gets a belly to back suplex
on Scott. Nasty german suplex from Iizuka with an aborted release. SPIKE
PILEDRIVER~! from the Japanese team and Iizuka comes in with a top rope
dropkick, illegally I might add. Fujinami with a sleeper and now the dragon
sleeper but Scott gets to the ropes. Regular sleeper and Scott kicks Fujinami
to the face and hits a clothesline. Scott and Fujinami knock heads and both
guys retreat to the corners for the tags but Rick gets the hot tag. Big
Steinerline and an elbow gets two. Belly to Belly rollover suplex for two. All
four men in the ring. Steiner with a belly to belly from the top and that
finally gets the pin.  Oh my goodness!

(Stieners def. Fujinami/Iizuka, ****1/2, that match went into the awesome zone
as Iizuka and Fujinami were willing to die for my pleasure.)

Jesse and JR recap the goodness we just saw.

Tony and Eric with some more analysis. Will Sting and Nikita Koloff get along?
Can the Dangerous Alliance stick together?


Wargames: The Dangerous Alliance (“Ravishing” Rick Rude, “Stunning” Steve
Austin, “The Cruncher” Larry Zbyzsko, “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson and “Beautiful”
Bobby Eaton) vs. Sting’s Squadron (Sting, Nikita Koloff, Barry Windham, Ricky “The
Dragon” Steamboat and “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes)

Funny thing is you can pretty much mix any of these ten guys in a tag match and
get an easy ***+ out of it. Ok I haven’t seen this match in a good long time so
I am going to guess who bleeds:

All right Austin and Anderson are obvious ones for the DA while Dustin and
Windham probably started blading on their way to the ring. Zbyzsko isn’t much
of a bleeder and neither is Koloff so let’s eliminate them. Ricky Steamboat has
his nose taped so there’s a good chance he’ll bleed. I’ll say Eaton will show
some red and that’s all. So Austin, Anderson, Eaton, Steamboat, Windham and
Rhodes are my designated bleeders for this match. Let’s roll.

Austin and Windham will go for the five minute period. Slugfest to the shock of
no one, Austin tries to send Windham to the cage but Windham blocks it. Back
and forth action as Austin back drops Windham and drops an elbow. They work to
the other ring as Windham tries to send Austin to the cage but he blocks it so
Windham DDTs him instead. Windham tries to rub Austin’s face in the cage but he
blocks it and clotheslines Windham over both ropes and the other way. Austin
tries to use the top of the cage for leverage but gets a flapjack for his
trouble and now Windham sends him into the cage twice! Austin is the first
gusher of the night as Windham bites him and adds a kneelift. Coin toss goes to
the DA, I’m shocked. Rick Rude comes in for the 2-on-1 and he roughs up Windham
and goes to the eyes. Rude goes with the intensity and power to take the
advantage but Windham blocks the cage attempt. Austin fights back to his feet
and hits Windham with a clothesline from the middle rope. The heels team up and
send Windham to the cage not once but twice and I’m sure Windham is bleeding so
two down and four to go.

Steamboat comes in for the Squadron and he goes CRAZY. Austin is sent into the
cage, a DDT for Rude, a DDT for Austin and the crowd is LOVING it. Austin’s
face is completely submerged with blood. Fuck TV PG man. Steamboat with a
franksteiner on Rude and some ground and pound as the faces are rolling.
Windham is back to his feet and they double team Rude. Anderson gives the heels
the 3-on-2 advantage and he DDTs Windham and then goes to the other ring to hit
Steamboat with the spinebuster. Double boston crab by Rude and Anderson on
Steamboat and he’s tapping out but this long before that was a way to submit.
Windham tries to save his partner but the numbers game is too great. All five
men are now in one ring. Nasty piledriver by Rude on Steamboat and then he
launches the Dragon into the other ring! Steamboat and Rude clothesline each
other. Dustin Rhodes on deck and its bionic elbow time for Anderson and a
clothesline for Austin. Now Steamboat has a Boston crab on Rude with Windham
adding to the punishment. Electric chair for Rhodes on Austin while Windham has
Anderson’s head wedged in between the rings! Wild action everywhere and now
Steamboat with a figure four on Rude. I need to breathe for a second.

Zbyzsko is the seventh man in the ring giving the DA a 4-3 advantage and Medusa
climbs the cage to slip the phone to her men before Sting chases her off. Rude
goes after Steamboat’s nose while The Enforcers torture Dustin Rhodes and send
him into the cage. Anderson sends Windham hard into the cage as Rude puts a
sleeper on Steamboat. Sting evens the battle and a facebuster for Anderson, a
jawbreaker and press slam for Rude. Sting sends Anderson into the and back
drops poor Austin into the cage. Austin has taken a grade-A shitkicking tonight.
Medusa tapes Eaton’s hand while Sting grates Anderson’s bloody face into the
cage. I love it! I LOVE IT! Austin with a ridiculous lariat on Rhodes while
Windham and Larry Z knock each other out with something else. Eaton gives the
DA its final one-man advantage of the night, he sends Steamboat into the cage.
Rhodes with a big boot on Austin and Rhodes is wearing a serious crimson mask.
Eaton sends Windham back into the cage as Zbyzsko and Rude are trying to loosen
a turnbuckle. Windham with a figure four on Anderson while Steamboat chops
Zybykso in the corner. Crowd chanting for Nikita as we have 30 seconds left
before The Match Beyond begins. Koloff sends the Anderson into the cage and
extends a hand to Sting. They do a stare down and then Nikita pushes Sting out of
the way and takes a double clothesline from Austin and Anderson. The faces rally
back with clotheslines of their own, high five each other AND NOW ITS ASS
KICKING TIME as the place is about to riot! Rude goes back to working on that
turnbuckle. Sting with a Stinger splash on Anderson and the Scorpion deathlock
but Eaton broke it up.

Dustin with a figure four on Zbyzsko while Nikita continues to make Austin’s
shitty night even worse, just torturing him in a corner. Rude breaks the figure
four that Dustin had but Koloff just chokes him out. Rhodes misses a top rope
elbow on Austin. Steamboat with a sleeper on Rude but Eaton and Zbyzsko corner
Sting and Larry Z grabs the steel hook on the buckle and accidentally hits
Eaton in the shoulder with it. Sting sends Zbyzsko to Larryland and then slaps
a shoulderbar on Eaton. Sadly the Beautiful one only lasts about 15 seconds in
the hold before calling it a night. Final blood count was Anderson, Austin, Windham
and Rhodes. It looked like Eaton was actually hit with the bar because he had a
NASTY purple bruise, although that could have come from anything. Unbelievable
match.

(Squadron def. Dangerous Alliance, submission, *****, I would say it is the
greatest gimmick match of all time.)

The Bottom Line: Something for everyone here and no complaints from me. One of
the great PPVs when both promotions were doing different things extremely well.

Ted Dibiase 1992 Question


Hello Scott,

  I was reading your blog on Bret Hart rumored on going to WCW in 1992. I can swear I heard rumors back in the day (on the sheets and hotlines) that Ted was going to WCW around the same time Bret was rumored to be leaving.  With Ted’s booking at the Royal Rumble that year and also with them putting Sherri with Shawn at the time, it would seem Ted Dibiase was on his way out the WWF. But then out of the blue, Ted Dibiase teams with IRS and they win the belts from LOD. I always heard this was a last minute decision since LOD was rumored to be history with the WWF at that point.

Ted was still very much under contract at that time and definitely wasn't jumping.  In fact, he was getting an even bigger push than ever, with the first plan being a tag team with newly heel Shawn Michaels, and then of course IRS as champions.  It was a last minute decision in terms of the night they won it, but the plans were to get the belts off LOD and onto Dibiase/partner for a while before that, as LOD were bitching about the steroid testing that had been implemented (for obvious reasons) and clearly wanted out of the promotion ASAP.  The title change was a surprise to everyone when it happened, though, as I think Vince was paranoid about LOD disappearing with the belts and just wanted to get it off them the first chance he got.  Considering that Hawk basically went AWOL and joined the Hell's Angels later in the year, that might have been a wise decision on his part.

SummerFest Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Summerslam 92 (I thought I had redone this one more recently than this rant appears to represent.  Could also be senility setting in.)  Live from Jolly Ol’ England (Not originally.  It was supposed to be in Washington DC, headlined by the first ever ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart to get the belt onto Shawn, up until surprisingly close to the show.)  Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Bobby Heenan This was, it should be noted, the first PPV event shown in Edmonton, so this was a big one for me, personally speaking. (Back when PPV was “only” $25 a pop and less of a big hit on the cable bill.  Also back when you actually had to call into the cable company and talk to someone to physically order the show, too.)  Opening match: The Legion of Doom v. Money Inc. Paul Ellering is at ringside for the LOD…with Rocco. Can’t forget Rocco. If you don’t know what Rocco is, you don’t want to, believe me. Dibiase is wearing his KICKASS alternate white outfit. (He should have worn that one way more often.  He’d be World champion two or three times over if he had.)  LOD dominates Dibiase and…oh, hell, I can’t resist: See, LOD was getting stale, so Vince decided to bring back Paul Ellering at WM8. And everyone was like “Hey, there’s no way he can possibly screw up something THAT easy, right?” Well, a couple of weeks later, the LOD began doing vignettes from the mean streets of Chicago, talking about “losing their inspiration” and reminiscing about their childhood. But luckily, when they were in a junkyard, they found their prized…ventriloquist’s dummy? Yes, it was Rocco, and Paul Ellering began bringing it to ringside and doing a really bad ventriloquism act during matches. This was A-Level, brilliant stuff, no? Anyway, this match sucks. Even Dibiase can’t work miracles. Besides, he wasn’t born again until about 1996. (High five!  Anyone?)  Hawk plays Ricky Morton (if Ricky Morton didn’t learn how to sell properly). I think Ted Dibiase should have been brought in as the mouthpiece for the Revolution instead of Shane “Hey, remember when I quit in 1993 and no one could tell?” Douglas. Animal gets the hot tag and they go for the Doomsday Device, but IRS dropkicks Animal to break it up. Dibiase takes a powerslam for the pin at 11:58 to render the previous sequence pointless, much like the match. LOD bailed for Japan very soon after this. 1/2*  (I actually upgraded this to *** on the Road Warriors DVD.  It’s a really good opener, just before the LOD imploded and Hawk went off to join the Hell’s Angels for a while.)  Ric Flair plays mindgames with Mean Gene, ducking the “Which corner will Mr. Perfect” be in question. His final answer: “Why, Mr. Perfect is in the dressing room of the winner!” Virgil v. Nailz. Okay, so Nailz was brought in as Big Bossman’s nemesis, a convict who Bossman treated too roughly during his prison guard days and has now returned for revenge. The obvious ethical ramifications of America’s prison system allowing a man as obviously psychotic as Nailz free (after he cut a promo, FROM PRISON, about how he wanted to basically kill the Bossman) were never covered.  (If Sideshow Bob has taught us anything, it’s that anyone can get out and run for mayor.)  But then we didn’t have Russo and Ferreira to look out for us back then. So Nailz, uh, destroys Virgil and…well…there’s really no finish for this thought. Nailz wins with the choke sleeper at 3:16 (hmmm…), thus giving the only instance of a wrestler who had a resthold for a finisher. DUD Did the “902714” on his coveralls (representing his prisoner number) have any “smart” double meaning, or was it just a random number, I wonder? (Tune into Nitro to find out!  I dunno if I was doing that punchline then, but I should have here.)  Shawn Michaels v. Rick Martel. Special stipulation: No hitting in the face. No, really, Sensational Sherri was in love with both guys at the time, so she had it written into the contract. Shawn gets a surprisingly big pop upon his entrance. Wow. Sherri is dressed like Chyna does today, except in white. (As a pornographic She-Hulk parody?) Martel plays headgames with Shawn to start, moving out of the way of Shawn’s offense. We go into a unique wristlock sequence, as they pull each other’s hair multiple times and tease a shot to the face several times in retribution. Shawn takes his first bump and lands face-first on the floor. Martel takes the opportunity to seduce Sherri, then beats on Shawn some more. What a man’s man. Another funny sequence as they do a series of rollup-reversals, with each man getting the count broken up twice due to the ref seeing them pull the tights. Sweet chin music gets two. This match is far better with the “no punching” stip. Shawn gets a Ric Flair pin attempt for two. Martel rolls him up (and pulls the tights) for two. Finally Michaels and Martel flip out and knuckle up. This causes Sherri to “faint”, and take a nice bump to the floor. The men take turns trying to revive her, and get into a fight over *that*. They go back to the dressing room for a double-DQ, ignoring Sherri, who of course was faking. Michaels dumped Sherri and won the IC title a couple of weeks later. *** Shawn heads back to the ring and carries Sherri, but Martel knocks them down and HE carries her back. Sherri is taking some great bumps here. Shawn regains Sherri again, prompting Martel to grab a bucket of water from the dressing room and dump it on Sherri to revive her. And ruin her dress. Match ran 7:16, plus another 4 minutes of extracurricular activities.  (Sadly this ended up going nowhere, as Sherri left for WCW soon after getting dumped by Shawn.)  WWF World tag team title: The Natural Disasters v. The Beverly Brothers. Poffo messes up his poem, so it’s edited on the Coliseum tape. (I haven’t watched the Anthology version yet, but I assume the error is left intact there.)  That reminds me – is there a hyphen in “anal retentive”? (I put that one in there specifically to annoy my roommate, in case you’re wondering.)  Being a Destruction Crew mark from the start, I was strongly pulling for the challengers here. The champs use their enormous fat advantage to toss the Beverlys around. Blake almost manages to slam Typhoon, but of course he’s JUST TOO FAT. Quake misses an avalanche and Typhoon gets turned into Shockmaster-in-peril. Hold on, this is just in: Shawn Michaels has left Wembley Stadium. Okay, we’re back. Beverlys do some nice stuff, but mostly cheap heel tactics. And not very exciting ones, either. After two false tags to Quake, the Beverlys get Lanny Poffo’s SCROLL OF DOOM and nail Typhoon. Quake makes the save before the count and Quake gets the hot tag. This time the avalanche hits, and he follows with the butt splash for the pin at 10:17 to keep the titles. 1/2* for the Beverlys’ stuff. Crush v. Repo Man. It’s the battle of Demolition! And of course, Crush is current nWo B-team goof Bryan Adams and possible KISS demon. (RIP.  Although he never ended up as the KISS Demon, since Dale Torberg got that prestigious gig instead.)  Repo Man is jobber Barry Darsow, aka Smash. This was the initial singles push for Crush, and he’s pretty over. Total squash for Crush to begin with, but a POKE IN THE EYES OF DOOM turns the tide…for about 5 seconds. Crush quickly hits a belly-to-belly, but misses a kneedrop. Match appears to be clipped on the Coliseum video version here. A very well done one, but a clip nonetheless. Repo controls for a bit, but gets caught with a powerslam coming off the top and is done in by the HEAD SQUEEZE OF DEATH at 4:01 for the submission. If in doubt, go to the PWI Almanac, so I do so and find out that the match actually ran 5:41. So it was 90 seconds cut out. (Dammit, now I HAVE to watch the Anthology version to get the full epic!)  Review of the awesome Warrior-Savage buildup, as Ric Flair plays both sides and makes everyone think that either Savage or Warrior has been bought off by Mr. Perfect. This leads to Warrior and Savage doing the “partners who distrust each other thing” and causes them a loss to the Nasty Boys as a result. And with that, we go to… WWF World title match: Randy Savage v. The Ultimate Warrior. Neither man has Mr. Perfect in their corner…to begin with. Just to give you an idea, the intrigue for the “Who Sold Out?” storyline was up there in heat level with the Greater Power. (And the payoff was just as good!)  My poor TV screen can’t take too many of these matches, because of the incredibly garish ring robes involved. At least Ric Flair had the decency to pick a color scheme and stick to it. We do a distrustful handshake to start. Crowd is incredibly hot, alternating chants for both guys. Savage acts pretty heelish to start, drawing even more heat for Warrior. Savage controls with his usual quickly in, but gets caught coming off the top and is atomic dropped by Warrior twice and clotheslined for two. Savage comes back with a kneedrop for two, to heel heat. Warrior comes back with stomps and a clothesline for two, but Savage botches a leverage move, then hits it for real and slingshots Warrior into the corner to come back. He clotheslines Warrior to the floor and the crowd does not approve. Back in for a double-axehandle, but Warrior no-sells. Another one gets two, Warrior won’t stay down. A third, but Warrior catches him coming down and hits a backbreaker for two. Warrior goes on offense, but he seems blown up already. For those who have asked me in the past, “blown up” refers to a wrestler who uses up all his energy in the first few minutes and then ends up sucking wind for the remainder. Bearhug-slam thing gets two, then a side slam gets two. Savage hits a small package out of nowhere for two. Warrior puts his head down on a whip, however, and Savage hits a spinning neckbreaker for two. Warrior fights out of a suplex and sells a neck injury, quite well actually. He fights for a suplex and gets two. He rolls out to the floor and Savage follows him down with a double-axehandle from the top. Savage tosses Warrior into the ringpost, then tosses him in for a two count. And now Mr. Perfect (in a tux) and Ric Flair make their way down. Savage gets a sunset flip for two and Warrior hits a clothesline for two. The BIG SPLASH OF HORROR hits the knees and Savage gets two. Double-KO spot as the announcers speculate on who sold out. Savage gets two, then Perfect trips him coming off the ropes, so Warrior sold out, right? Savage offers words to Flair and Perfect, giving Warrior time to recover and nail Savage. Ref gets bumped, Warrior gets the press slam for two. Ref recovers, then gets bumped AGAIN, and Savage hits a nasty piledriver. Perfect revives Warrior as Savage revives the official…then Flair and Perfect turn on Warrior! So now the announcers speculate that SAVAGE sold out. I’m so confused. (Shades of grey!  Fifty of them!) Savage goes for the flying elbow, but Warrior kicks out at two. Or, in Vince-speak, 1-2-3 he got him, no he didn’t, c’mon ref! Warrior hulks up and goes through his finishing sequence on Savage, but Flair nails him with a chair coming off the ropes when he goes for the big splash. Savage goes for the kill…then realizes he couldn’t have possibly done that much damage on his own. He goes for the elbow anyhow, then changes his mind and goes after Flair. Sorry, pal, Flair is smarter than that, and nails Savage with his handy chair on the way down. Savage is counted out at 25:20. Like vultures, Flair and Perfect swoop in and destroy Savage. Warrior chases them off with a chair, and Warrior and Savage do the male bonding thing. ***1/2 Not as freakin’ great as their WM7 classic, but still a really good match. Last I heard, Warrior was booked to win the title and turn heel here (thus justifying the mid-card position of the match, so as not to send the fans home pissed off) but Warrior got all weird (what a surprise) and the booking was changed at the last minute. (Yup.  That story still holds, I believe.)  Kamala v. The Undertaker. UT rides a hearse to ringside, which takes forever. If there was a storyline here, I don’t remember it or care about it. UT goes chop, chop, ropewalk, ropewalk, but Kamala pulls him down. UT doesn’t sell. Kamala clotheslines him to the floor. UT doesn’t sell. Back in the ring and UT chokeslams him, which admittedly looked cool. Flying clothesline and tombstone, but Kim Chee (Steve Lombardi in a mask) runs in for the DQ at 3:46. Kamala destroys UT with three splashes off the top, but UT sits up, causing Kamala to shit himself and run away. Guess how much I loved this match. -** Sean Mooney interviews the British Bulldog about the family pressure for the main event. Man, would THAT ever become amplified as of recent months. (I’m guessing this was written in early 1998.)  Bret Hart retorts with a WHINY-ASS promo about what an ingrate Bulldog is. Man, listening to his “me me me” interviews years later lends a totally new perspective to them. Roddy Piper makes a surprise appearance, playing the bagpipes. Main event, Intercontinental title: Bret Hart v. The British Bulldog. DBS brings Lennox Lewis with him to suck up to the crowd, just in case any of them didn’t know who the babyface was. (Lennox Lewis was a pretty famous Canadian/British boxing champion, for those who don’t speak early 90s.)  Shoving match to start. Bret takes a bump to the floor off a shoulderblock. Back in and they trade side headlock takedowns, and Bret flips out of a slam to roll him up for two. Small package gets two, and Bret goes back to the side headlock. Into a wristlock, and Bulldog flips out and goes into the armbar. Bret comes off the ropes, but gets caught with a slingshot into the corner, and Bulldog goes back to move #929 (ARM-bar). Crucifix gets two, and Bulldog takes him down with a hammerlock. Shots of Diana Hart-Smith are cut in. She was cute in 92, but got really ugly from about 96 on. I’m just saying. Bret escapes and knees DBS in the gut coming off the ropes to take control. He goes into Heel Bastard Mode, dropping a leg and taunting the fans. DBS fights out of a chinlock, but eats an elbow coming off the ropes. Inverse atomic drop is called a “reverse piledriver” by Vince. DBS goes for another crucifix but gets dropped on his back for two. They do a criss-cross sequence and Bulldog hits a monkey-flip to take control, then a pair of cross-corner whips on Bret. He runs into Bret’s foot on the second, however. Bulldog (a nasty one, too) from Bret. How ironic. See, he’s the Bulldog, and he got…oh, never mind. (If you have to explain the joke, it’s not worth telling.  WWE would do well to learn that lesson.)  Bret goes to the top, but gets slammed off. DBS tries it, but Bret moves. Bulldog tries a quick rollup, but Bret ducks down and Bulldog goes flying to the floor. Bret hits an ugly looking pescado. Ouch, he better buy Bulldog a round of drinks after that one. He rams him into the post for good measure. Back in the ring for more punishment, with a series of forearms and a dropkick. I’ve never liked Bret’s dropkick. Bulldog takes an awkward-looking bump on his knee off a backdrop, and Bret goes back to the chinlock. Bret gets the snap suplex for two. Bulldog blocks a forearm with a backslide for two. Bret decks him and hits the elbow off the second rope for two. I like how Bret is actually varying the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM here. Bret hair-tosses DBS, pissing off the crowd. Bret gets a sleeper, and Vince declares the match over. Sure. Smith fights out and presses Bret, but drops him crotch-first on the top rope. He clotheslines him three times for a two count. Military press gets two. The delayed suplex gets a big pop, and a two count. Cross-corner whip gets two. The running powerslam gets two. Davey Boy is perplexed. Bret is dead. Smith shoves him out of the ring, then suplexes him in, but Bret reverses to a german suplex for two. Bret tries a suplex, but Bulldog blocks and superplexes him for two. Whip, reverse, and double-KO spot. Bret maneuvers into position and applies the Sharpshooter, however, drawing screams of horror from the crowd. Bulldog makes the ropes. Bulldog whips and puts his head down, Bret sunset flips him, and Bulldog hooks Bret’s legs for leverage and gets the pin and the Intercontinental title at 25:10. Crowd goes NUTS. Davey’s best match, post-Stampede era. (Which is ironic because Bret went on record several times noting that Davey was blown up minutes into the match and he literally had to carry the entire match himself as a result.)  ***** Smith and Hart reunite the family after the match, despite Bret teasing walking out a couple of times. The Bottom Line: Hey, ya GOTTA see Bret v. Bulldog at least in your life if you’re a real wrestling fan. And Warrior v. Savage is worth a look, too. The rest is crap, but 2 out of whatever isn’t a bad ratio for the WWF. Total wrestling time: A little over 90 minutes. The aftermath was pretty interesting, too, as Warrior was turfed out of the WWF shortly after this and Bret Hart was put on top ahead of the other main eventers. WCW TAKE NOTE. Recommended show.  (Yup, there’s some pretty fun stuff on here, with the largest LEGITIMATE crowd that WWF ever did.) 

July PPV Countdown: The Great American Bash 1992

(2012 Scott sez:  And now…the Bill Watts era.)  The Netcop Retro Rant for WCW Great American Bash 1992 – Live from Albany, Georgia. – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Magnum TA, Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura. – Eric Bischoff interviews Bill Watts to start, who defends the “off the top” rule and basically wishes everyone in the NWA tag title tournament good luck.  (Funny that Bill was already on the defensive about his stupid rule changes at this point.)  – This is very much a special interest show:  It features the NWA World tag team title tournament and a World title match between Sting and Vader, and nothing else.  The first round of the tournament was held at Clash 19 a few weeks previous to this show, and as well Steve Williams and Terry Gordy fought the Steiners in a quarterfinal round match on that same show, which was won by the MVC (Miracle Violence Connection, their Japanese team name.), sending them to the semi-finals on this show. Opening match: Brian Pillman & Jushin Liger v. Nikita Koloff & Ricky Steamboat.  Good enough choice for an opener, but it has two distinct portions:  The portion involving Ricky Steamboat (which ROCKS) and the portion involving Nikita Koloff (which SUCKS).  I wish I could have seen Ricky Steamboat v. Jushin Liger before Steamboat retired.  Not much to say about this one, back and forth with good action until Pillman tries a flying bodypress and Steamboat rolls through for the pin.  ***  (Oh yeah, it’s 98 Scott all right.)  – I should mention that Jim Ross had managed to oust Dusty Rhodes as the booker at this point, so everything is clean no matter how boring it may be. – The Freebirds v. Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto.  The tape I’m watching cuts out almost the entirety of this match, but it’s the Freebirds AND Hashimoto in the same match so it’s safe to say it sucked. (Professional wrestling reviewing at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.  Although to be fair this was before the days of Youtube where you could just look something up if you tape cut out.)  The Japanese team shows up later in the night so I guess the ‘Birds jobbed here (yay!), which is good because I hate their guts. – My tape cuts back in just in time for the intros to… – Rick Rude & Steve Austin v. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes.  This would be approaching the zenith of the Windham-Rhodes team.  The Dangerous Alliance was in decline, as Rude spent all his time with Austin and Madusa instead of Paul E.  Decent enough match, everyone was pretty much at the top of their game at this point.  Rude even pulls off a top-rope dropkick!  Interesting note:  Rude is US champion and Austin is TV champion at this point.  Rude lost his belt to Dustin Rhodes and Austin lost his to Barry Windham (albeit briefly and before this match).  Life is funny sometimes, no?  Long headlock sequence in the middle really kills this one.  Hot tag to Dustin, who cleans house.  Austin tries a piledriver on Windham, but Rhodes is the legal man and comes off the top with a clothesline for the pin on Austin.  ***  Lots of goofy graphical effects interject themselves for some reason.  (I saw this one a few years ago on 24/7 or Vintage Collection or something, and it’s pretty badass, like ***1/2 – ***3/4) – Bischoff interviews the Van They Call Vader and Harley Race, in preparation for Sting. – Semifinal #1:  Nikita Koloff & Ricky Steamboat v. The Miracle Violence Connection.  Williams & Gordy were in the midst of the monster push of a lifetime here, and had recently beaten the Steiners to win the WCW World tag titles.  Bill Watts just LOVED these two.  (Who didn’t really?  You put Steve Williams and Terry Gordy together and get them to beat the piss out of people, what’s not to love?)  Extended armbar here. The crowd dies here and never really gets back into it for the rest of the night.  Mat wrestling exhibition.  This is why WCW fired Jim Ross as a booker in the first place.  (To be fair, I don’t think Ross ever had THAT much power, since Watts was really the main decision maker.  JR certainly had his ear, though.)  Really long and dull match.  Blame WCW for the onset of 6 match PPVs, as this one goes about 20 minutes plus. Semi-hot ending has Steamboat going for the bodypress, but Gordy pushes him off, into the arms of Dr. Death, who Stampedes him for the academic pin.  **  (Another one I saw later where I short-shrifted the original viewing.  Outside of the dull middle portion, this was a hell of a tag match, again a ***1/2 affair.)  – Semifinal #2:  Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v. Shinya Hashimoto & Hiroshi Hase.  Man, this is a no-nonsense PPV.  Just bang-bang-bang, one match after another.  (Wrestling is SERIOUS.  No fancy stuff!)  The arena is so dark it looks like Hardcore Heaven.  Dustin v. Shinya is the closest the world ever got to Dustin fighting his father.  (I don’t know what Shinya Hashimoto did to piss me off.)  Bad match which gets marginally better when Hase is in.  Hot tag to Windham about 15 minutes in, who beats up Hase and then nails the lariat for the pin.  *1/2 – Tony & Magnum interview Ron Simmons. – WCW World title match:  Sting v. Big Van Vader.  Vader still has that goofy helmet.  Setup:  Vader splashed and destroyed Sting in the Omni a few months ago.  Big staredown to start.  This is match #2 in a series of about 40,000, the last of which occurs at Fall Brawl 94 to quietly end one of the longest running feuds in wrestling.  This is like the prologue in a long novel, as Sting has yet to really meet Vader in a meaningful match and doesn’t realize what he’s getting into.  Sting starts out smart, sticking and moving fast, but gets dumb and never recovers.  Vader crushes him.  He even puts Sting in the Scorpion Deathlock at one point.  Vader is mauling Sting like a grizzly, with stiff rights and clotheslines.  Sting makes a comeback, but it takes as much out of him as it does Vader, and Sting isn’t in great shape here to begin with.  Sting hits a fallaway slam, but it takes forever for him to execute and you can tell he’s out of gas and the end is near for him. German suplex (barely) for 2, Stinger splash, and again, but Vader drops down on the second one and Sting slams his head into the ringpost.  He’s bleeding and is a walking dead man and everyone can just feel it.  He takes a couple of big shots at Vader, but he just casually steps aside and Sting falls flat on his face and stays there.  Vader picks him up and powerbombs him, but it’s just a formality because Sting wasn’t getting up to begin with.  The three count is academic.  Vader claims his first WCW World title, and the crowd is in SHOCK.  ****1/4  This is one of the best fucking matches I’ve ever seen.  Vader just absolutely dismantled Sting here, and Sting’s gotta be the biggest company man ever, because he did the mega-job, getting the crap kicked out of him for the cause of putting Vader over BIGTIME.  This is the match that *made* Vader.  (That’s how wrestling used to work, yes.  A big star puts over a guy who they want to be a big star and makes him into a big star too, and then they fight again for EVEN BIGGER MONEY.  Like Chael Sonnen v. Anderson Silva II.  I think Aries-Roode should rip off the finish from the first Silva-Sonnen fight, with Aries beating the hell out of Roode for 15 minutes before getting trapped in a triangle choke.)  – Bischoff interviews the new champ. – NWA World tag team title final:  Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v. Steve Williams & Terry Gordy.  Ole Anderson is the referee here, proving if anything that there *is* a job he can do worse than booking.  (High five!  Anyone?) I always thought the NWA tag titles looked better than the WCW ones.  The Steiners come down to ringside, but get chased off by WCW security.  I can appreciate the attempts from Ross & Watts to push mat wrestling, but it’s sooooo boring to sit through it.  Crowd is dead silent throughout after that last match basically ripped out their heart.  Eyebrow-raising moment:  Mongo’s name gets dropped in reference to Steve Williams’ football career.  This is a slow, deliberate match which is 99.99% controlled by the MVC.  Headlock, armbar, submission moves…just about as basic as you get.  Dustin makes a hot tag to Windham, who immediately gets caught in a headlock and becomes the Face in Peril in Rhodes’ place.  Hot tag #2 to Rhodes, who becomes Face In Peril in Windham’s place.  God forbid the crowd should be excited about anything here. Windham never gets hot tag #3, as Williams goes for the Oklahoma Stampede, but Windham comes in and dropkicks Rhodes on top.  (If I were booking it, that’d be the ending right there…underdog win and poetic justice in one.)  Williams easily kicks out, however, ruining the fans’ night by ripping Rhodes’ head off with a clothesline and pinning him to become the first and last NWA World tag team champions, unifying them with the WCW version right out of the gate.  *1/2 The Bottom Line: Aside from Vader-Sting, this was an utterly pointless waste of time. The MVC were already WCW World champions at this point, there was no need to put the NWA World titles on them as well!  Let a babyface team take them, like the Steiners, and then build to a big unification match. (I was just going to say that!  Thanks, 1998 Scott.)  Instead, we get boring MVC win after win, as they take out everyone and capture all the gold in one night and send the fans home bored and unhappy.  Wrestling is not a sport to watch the better team win with superior athleticism.  In the real world, Williams & Gordy were the best team in the field and would have won with solid mat wrestling, true.  In the wrestling world, however, the better team rarely wins, and even more rarely with mat wrestling.  The Steiners should have won this tournament to set up the big blowoff between them and the MVC that Ross was pushing all night.  It never happened. Wrestling is not the real world, and when it tries to be the results are a dull show like Bash 92.  For Bill Watts/Jim Ross wrestling “purists” however, I’m sure this show is exactly what anti-screwjob factions are screaming for.  If nothing else, I’d like to warn y’all that clean, basic mat wrestling is generally boring as hell.  As an interesting note, Williams & Gordy went on to lose the “Unfied” titles to Windham and Rhodes, the very team they beat to unify it.  (The cat burglar has been caught by the very person who was trying to catch him!)  Recommended for Sting-Vader, but not really much else unless you’re a big MVC fan.  (Don’t be a hater, 1998 Scott.  There was some SWANK tag team wrestling on this show and I’ll take a three-hour PPV of clean finishes and basic wrestling these days seven days a week and twice on Sunday.  This is another one I wanna YouTu…er, I mean, watch when a legal WWE authorized DVD copy comes out…and see if it the show looks any different to me now.) 

Hart, Flair, McMahon and 1992

Hey Scott,
 
Longtime reader and diehard fan of the rants and blog. My question concerns the WWF in 1992, specifically the extremely odd booking. I understand that McMahon was in the midst of the steroid scandal, and understandably distracted. That being said, there are some questions I’ve never heard satisfactorily addressed; perhaps you can offer some insight.
 
It was obviously a time of transition. Flair gets the belt back from Savage with the full understanding that he’s a transition champion at that point. Despite their later issues, Flair at the time had no problem whatsoever with putting over Bret Hart clean, wherever and whenever. The story both Flair and Hart convey is that for some unexplained reason, McMahon lost faith in Flair and wanted the new era to begin sooner rather than later. Even if that’s TRUE, why do it at a house show and piss away millions? As a businessman, McMahon was an 11 on the incompetence scale here. And since money trumps everything, I have a hard time believe backstage political considerations, whatever they were, would drive McMahon to piss away a huge payday while laying the foundation for the future.
 
Flair still had a monumental rub to give, and you go with that? If he waited another few months, he could have built a monster feud; it would have been totally new and fresh. Instead of the fall of ’92, do the “new generation thing” at the Royal Rumble with Flair tapping to the Sharpshooter after a 30 minute classic. Remember, these were still the days of the “big four” PPVs. Hart gets an amazing blast-off to start the era and instant credibility to carry the torch into the 90's. Due to this shortsightedness, 1993 is an unmitigated disaster financially, and Hart has to wait until WM 10 until he’s finally viewed as someone on par with Flair and Hogan as an anchor company guy, at least in my eyes.
 
Shawn

The situation, as I understand it, was that Flair was hurt due to his inner ear problem and Vince decided that they should get the belt off him NOW.  Plus Vince wanted Bret as his guy and he had a lot of people in his ear fighting against the idea, so if he had waited and built to something later then it's likely that someone would have talked him into changing his mind instead of going with Bret.  As well, with the steroid hysteria in full swing, Vince wanted someone on top who he could point to as a "smaller" guy that was clearly not juicing.  Even though Bret and Shawn both clearly were, but that's another matter.  It was all just one of those "everything coming together at the right moment" deals for Bret.  

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1992 Live from Albany, NY Your hosts are Gorilla and Brain. Opening match: The New Foundation v. The Orient Express. Hart Foundation – Bret + Owen = New Foundation. (2012 Scott sez:  Although Owen later joined the real Hart Foundation, so the algebra got REALLY ugly at that point…) Owen and Kato do a wrestling sequence to start, with Owen working in the slingshot off the top rope to break a wristlock and a rana for two. Neidhart tags in and pounds on Tanaka. Bobby Heenan is bravely predicting a Flair victory tonight the whole time. Owen debuts his enzuigiri and leg lariat to “Oooos” from the fans. Cross-body off the top onto both Express members gets two. But the cheating Japanese duo (both of whom are from the southern US, btw) (2012 Scott sez:  A fertile breeding ground for many foreign heels) use Fuji’s cane to take control of Owen. Extended Ricky Morton heat segment on Owen as Kato turns back into Paul Diamond before our eyes and uses Americanized offense. Owen takes a nice shoulderfirst bump into the corner, where Fuji’s cane is set up. Owen makes the hot tag, slingshooting Neidhart in with a shoulderblock, then hits a plancha on Tanaka. The New Foundation finishes Kato off with a Rocket launcher shortly after. *** Review of Mountie’s mega-upset of Bret Hart for the Intercontinental title a few days prior. Bret was badly injured and sick and had to drop the title, and Mountie was lucky enough to be wrestling him that night. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, we later found out that Bret was full of crap and his “fever” was about as real as his “hardway” blood at Wrestlemania that year.  But for all the talk about Montreal and contracts, the crushing irony is that Hart was set to walk out on his valid WWF contract before the title change, taking the IC title with him to debut in WCW the next week before Vince managed to change his mind.   That would have been WCW’s revenge for the Flair belt controversy, I guess.  So there you go, feel free to use that one as a countpoint next time Montreal comes up.)  The honeymoon was not to last, however. Intercontinental title match: The Mountie v. Rowdy Roddy Piper. Mega-pop for Piper. Piper basically beats up Mountie at will, countering his wrestling stuff with punches, ramming him to the turnbuckle, and bulldogging him for two. Heenan’s banter as he tries to bribe Monsoon into letting him check on Flair is great. Piper misses a dropkick and Mountie takes over with the half-nelson smash into the turnbuckle. Flying elbow for two. This match is pretty disjointed, especially on two days’ notice. Piper atomic drops Mountie out, and he does the skin-the-cat back in. Mountie charges, but Piper moves and Mountie collides with Jimmy Hart, allowing him to slap on the sleeper. Mountie is out, and then Piper zaps him with the cattle prod for good measure. The pop from the crowd as Fink announces him as the new champion still gives me goosebumps. This was the one and only WWF title ever held by Piper. (2012 Scott sez:  This was of course written years before Piper got that tag title reign with Flair.)  Bad match, but who cares, it was such a great moment. *1/2 The Beverly Brothers v. The Bushwhackers. This is the Jameson match. Don’t ask. Don’t even ask. Shit happens and we’ll just pretend that an actual match happened here and move on with our lives. Beverlys win after about 7 hours with an axehandle off the top rope. I’ll be generous and go DUD (2012 Scott sez:  That was being REALLY generous.  Who the FUCK booked this match to go almost 20 minutes?!  I don’t know why they even bothered bringing Bloom & Enos in) WWF tag team title match: Legion of Doom v. The Natural Disasters. Typical LOD match as Hawk plays Ricky Morton. Match drags on until Hawk hits an elbow off the top on Earthquake and makes the hot tag. Animal with the flying shoulderblock, and everyone ends up outside the ring. Typhoon beats the count back in. Boring. 1/2* This was the first sign that the LOD was nearing the end. (2012 Scott sez:  There was all sorts of wacky stuff going on around this show, with Vince desperately trying to get the tag titles off the LOD in case Hawk self-destructed, as of course they finally convinced them to do the job to Dibiase & IRS on a house show where it would be filmed but then never aired as part of the deal.) Interview-o-rama. The Royal Rumble (winner gets vacant WWF title): This is course was set up after Hulk Hogan cheated to regain the title from Undertaker at “This Tuesday In Texas”. Jack Tunney (big boos) officially opens the match. And away we go. British Bulldog is #1 and Ted Dibiase is #2. Dibiase kills Bulldog and tosses him, but he lands on the apron, climbs in, and clotheslines Dibiase out. Ric Flair is #3 and Bobby has a heart attack. (2012 Scott sez:  One of the all-time great Bobby Heenan reactions there.)  Gorilla rubs it in. Bulldog goes right after Flair, destroying him with power moves until Flair starts a trend by lowblowing him. Nasty Boy Sags is #4. Flair and Sags double-team Bulldog. Bulldog knocks Sags out in short order and then goes back to Flair. Haku is #5. He beats on Bulldog and Flair until getting dumped by Bulldog. Shawn Michaels is #6. He and Flair immediately begin their selling contest by trading chops. Shawn goes over the top and back under the ropes a couple of times. Tito is #7 and of course he goes after Flair right away, like everyone else. Gorilla: “Some people just hate Flair less than others”. Ballshot #2 on Bulldog. Big “OOooooooh” from the males in the crowd for that one. Barbarian is #8. Gorilla (in ominous voice): “Barbarian doesn’t like Flair”. (2012 Scott sez:  That line slays me for some reason.  Just Gorilla’s glee at twisting the knife on Bobby.)  Another near-elimination for Shawn. Kerry Von Erich is #9, and one guess who he goes after. Flair Flop. Shawn does his own. Repo Man is #10. Nothing notable happens. Greg Valentine is #11 and he and Flair start trading chops. Another Flair flop. Nikolai Volkoff (subbing for Janetty) is #12. (2012 Scott sez:  Jannetty went through the Barbershop window, which is code for rehab, I guess.  Scott Hall has been thrown through windows on WWE’s dime quite a few times now.)  Flair and Valentine are trading some NASTY chops. Repo Man dumps Volkoff. Big Bossman is #13 and you can just guess who his target is. Repo Man dumps Valentine. Bossman dumps Repo Man. Flair dumps Bulldog, then Von Erich. Santana and Michaels eliminate each other. Whew. Hercules is #14 and he goes right after Flair. Flair is saved by Barbarian, and then turns on him. Oops. (2012 Scott sez:  It blows my mind how incredibly well booked this match was, with Flair being Flair even to the point where he would turn on a guy who is likely to rip his head off in retaliation.)  Barbarian kills him, but Herc dumps Barbarian and Bossman dumps Barbarian. We’re down to Flair and Bossman. Bossman wallops Flair, but misses a cross-body and flies out. Flair celebrates with a Flair flop.  (2012 Scott sez:  And again Bobby is in prime form, declaring Flair the winner before Gorilla puts him in his place again.)  Piper is #15 and the crowd erupts. Piper cleans Flair’s clock from one side of the ring to other. He even works in the eye poke off an atomic drop. Airplane spin and sleeper on Flair. Jake Roberts is #16 and he just sits back and lets Piper continue. Then he turns on him. Evil Jake was so cool. (2012 Scott sez:  What an awesomely booked match.  I’m sitting and picturing the whole sequence in my head and I don’t even have to watch it to relive how effective it was.)  Flair and Jake take turns turning on each other until Duggan comes in at #17. Flair is the punching bag as usual. IRS is #18. Snuka is #19. Not much going on. Heenan is having a nervous breakdown at this point. Snuka goes after Flair, of course. Undertaker is #20. Snuka is gone. UT chokes out Flair, who is saved by Duggan. UT no-sells all. Randy Savage is #21, but Jake Roberts is hiding outside the ring. Roberts comes in and Savage goes medieval on him, knocking him out with a high knee. Savage follows him out over the top, but the ruling is that Savage wasn’t thrown out. UT no-sells a ballshot from Flair. Berzerker is #22. Piper and UT do a double-choke on Flair, but UT doesn’t appreciate Piper’s sense of humor. (2012 Scott sez:  What a unique program that would have been.  Can you IMAGINE the crowd reaction if UT did the zombie situp and Piper poked him in the eye?  It would bring the house down.  It would have to end with Piper taking the most overblown tombstone bump ever and doing the job, but that would be a fun match, I’m pretty sure.)  Virgil is #23. Piper is beating on protégé Virgil. Col. Mustafa is #24, but no one cares. And why is Mustafa such a popular name in wrestling? Colonel, Saied, Kama…too many to count. (2012 Scott sez:  I guess I actually did count them.)  Rick Martel is #25. Savage eliminates Mustafa. Hulk Hogan is #26 to a big pop. He gets attacked by the Undertaker right away. Heenan starts bargaining with God to let Flair win. (2012 Scott sez:  All of Bobby’s greatest hits in one match!)  UT gets clotheslined out by Hulk. Berzerker gets backdropped out, allowing Hulk time to rip off the shirt. Duggan and Virgil eliminate each other. Skinner is #27, impressing no one. Sgt. Slaughter is #28, but the heat is gone at this point. Skinner gets dumped. Kind of a mish-mash of stuff going on. Sid is #29, and he hammers a variety of people. Warlord is #30, so our suspects are: Flair, Hogan, Warlord, IRS, Sid, Savage, Slaughter, Martel and Piper. Slaughter takes a dive over the top and out. 8 guys left and watching you’d have no idea who would win. Piper goes to the apron and pulls IRS out by his tie. 7 guys left. Hogan and Sid double-team Warlord out. 6 guys left. Martel and Piper fight on the ropes and Sid dumps them both. The Final four: Hulk, Savage, Sid and Flair. Sid dumps Savage as Flair and Hogan fight in the corner. Hogan gets Flair almost out…and Sid takes advantage and dumps Hulk! Hulk whines from the outside and won’t let go of Sid, so Flair comes from behind and dumps Sid to win the Royal Rumble and his first WWF title. Sid and Hulk get into a shoving contest in the ring, meanwhile, and the crowd is firmly behind Sid on this one. ***** Best Rumble ever. And the first serious backlash against Hogan from the fans. (2012 Scott sez:  And then the next night on RAW, they spent the whole show talking about how fans had the right to pay their money and boo whoever they wanted, then marketed shirts that said “Hogan Sucks” before wondering why people weren’t reacting to Hogan as strongly as they did before.  Oh, wait, sorry, that’s what they’d do NOW.) Backstage, Flair delivers his acceptance speech. The Bottom Line: The Rumble is great, the rest is bad. This show is pretty much universally loved, but the Rumble literally saved the show. But it saves it in a big way. Strongly recommended.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1992 Live from Albany, NY Your hosts are Gorilla and Brain. Opening match: The New Foundation v. The Orient Express. Hart Foundation – Bret + Owen = New Foundation. (2012 Scott sez:  Although Owen later joined the real Hart Foundation, so the algebra got REALLY ugly at that point…) Owen and Kato do a wrestling sequence to start, with Owen working in the slingshot off the top rope to break a wristlock and a rana for two. Neidhart tags in and pounds on Tanaka. Bobby Heenan is bravely predicting a Flair victory tonight the whole time. Owen debuts his enzuigiri and leg lariat to “Oooos” from the fans. Cross-body off the top onto both Express members gets two. But the cheating Japanese duo (both of whom are from the southern US, btw) (2012 Scott sez:  A fertile breeding ground for many foreign heels) use Fuji’s cane to take control of Owen. Extended Ricky Morton heat segment on Owen as Kato turns back into Paul Diamond before our eyes and uses Americanized offense. Owen takes a nice shoulderfirst bump into the corner, where Fuji’s cane is set up. Owen makes the hot tag, slingshooting Neidhart in with a shoulderblock, then hits a plancha on Tanaka. The New Foundation finishes Kato off with a Rocket launcher shortly after. *** Review of Mountie’s mega-upset of Bret Hart for the Intercontinental title a few days prior. Bret was badly injured and sick and had to drop the title, and Mountie was lucky enough to be wrestling him that night. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, we later found out that Bret was full of crap and his “fever” was about as real as his “hardway” blood at Wrestlemania that year.  But for all the talk about Montreal and contracts, the crushing irony is that Hart was set to walk out on his valid WWF contract before the title change, taking the IC title with him to debut in WCW the next week before Vince managed to change his mind.   That would have been WCW’s revenge for the Flair belt controversy, I guess.  So there you go, feel free to use that one as a countpoint next time Montreal comes up.)  The honeymoon was not to last, however. Intercontinental title match: The Mountie v. Rowdy Roddy Piper. Mega-pop for Piper. Piper basically beats up Mountie at will, countering his wrestling stuff with punches, ramming him to the turnbuckle, and bulldogging him for two. Heenan’s banter as he tries to bribe Monsoon into letting him check on Flair is great. Piper misses a dropkick and Mountie takes over with the half-nelson smash into the turnbuckle. Flying elbow for two. This match is pretty disjointed, especially on two days’ notice. Piper atomic drops Mountie out, and he does the skin-the-cat back in. Mountie charges, but Piper moves and Mountie collides with Jimmy Hart, allowing him to slap on the sleeper. Mountie is out, and then Piper zaps him with the cattle prod for good measure. The pop from the crowd as Fink announces him as the new champion still gives me goosebumps. This was the one and only WWF title ever held by Piper. (2012 Scott sez:  This was of course written years before Piper got that tag title reign with Flair.)  Bad match, but who cares, it was such a great moment. *1/2 The Beverly Brothers v. The Bushwhackers. This is the Jameson match. Don’t ask. Don’t even ask. Shit happens and we’ll just pretend that an actual match happened here and move on with our lives. Beverlys win after about 7 hours with an axehandle off the top rope. I’ll be generous and go DUD (2012 Scott sez:  That was being REALLY generous.  Who the FUCK booked this match to go almost 20 minutes?!  I don’t know why they even bothered bringing Bloom & Enos in) WWF tag team title match: Legion of Doom v. The Natural Disasters. Typical LOD match as Hawk plays Ricky Morton. Match drags on until Hawk hits an elbow off the top on Earthquake and makes the hot tag. Animal with the flying shoulderblock, and everyone ends up outside the ring. Typhoon beats the count back in. Boring. 1/2* This was the first sign that the LOD was nearing the end. (2012 Scott sez:  There was all sorts of wacky stuff going on around this show, with Vince desperately trying to get the tag titles off the LOD in case Hawk self-destructed, as of course they finally convinced them to do the job to Dibiase & IRS on a house show where it would be filmed but then never aired as part of the deal.) Interview-o-rama. The Royal Rumble (winner gets vacant WWF title): This is course was set up after Hulk Hogan cheated to regain the title from Undertaker at “This Tuesday In Texas”. Jack Tunney (big boos) officially opens the match. And away we go. British Bulldog is #1 and Ted Dibiase is #2. Dibiase kills Bulldog and tosses him, but he lands on the apron, climbs in, and clotheslines Dibiase out. Ric Flair is #3 and Bobby has a heart attack. (2012 Scott sez:  One of the all-time great Bobby Heenan reactions there.)  Gorilla rubs it in. Bulldog goes right after Flair, destroying him with power moves until Flair starts a trend by lowblowing him. Nasty Boy Sags is #4. Flair and Sags double-team Bulldog. Bulldog knocks Sags out in short order and then goes back to Flair. Haku is #5. He beats on Bulldog and Flair until getting dumped by Bulldog. Shawn Michaels is #6. He and Flair immediately begin their selling contest by trading chops. Shawn goes over the top and back under the ropes a couple of times. Tito is #7 and of course he goes after Flair right away, like everyone else. Gorilla: “Some people just hate Flair less than others”. Ballshot #2 on Bulldog. Big “OOooooooh” from the males in the crowd for that one. Barbarian is #8. Gorilla (in ominous voice): “Barbarian doesn’t like Flair”. (2012 Scott sez:  That line slays me for some reason.  Just Gorilla’s glee at twisting the knife on Bobby.)  Another near-elimination for Shawn. Kerry Von Erich is #9, and one guess who he goes after. Flair Flop. Shawn does his own. Repo Man is #10. Nothing notable happens. Greg Valentine is #11 and he and Flair start trading chops. Another Flair flop. Nikolai Volkoff (subbing for Janetty) is #12. (2012 Scott sez:  Jannetty went through the Barbershop window, which is code for rehab, I guess.  Scott Hall has been thrown through windows on WWE’s dime quite a few times now.)  Flair and Valentine are trading some NASTY chops. Repo Man dumps Volkoff. Big Bossman is #13 and you can just guess who his target is. Repo Man dumps Valentine. Bossman dumps Repo Man. Flair dumps Bulldog, then Von Erich. Santana and Michaels eliminate each other. Whew. Hercules is #14 and he goes right after Flair. Flair is saved by Barbarian, and then turns on him. Oops. (2012 Scott sez:  It blows my mind how incredibly well booked this match was, with Flair being Flair even to the point where he would turn on a guy who is likely to rip his head off in retaliation.)  Barbarian kills him, but Herc dumps Barbarian and Bossman dumps Barbarian. We’re down to Flair and Bossman. Bossman wallops Flair, but misses a cross-body and flies out. Flair celebrates with a Flair flop.  (2012 Scott sez:  And again Bobby is in prime form, declaring Flair the winner before Gorilla puts him in his place again.)  Piper is #15 and the crowd erupts. Piper cleans Flair’s clock from one side of the ring to other. He even works in the eye poke off an atomic drop. Airplane spin and sleeper on Flair. Jake Roberts is #16 and he just sits back and lets Piper continue. Then he turns on him. Evil Jake was so cool. (2012 Scott sez:  What an awesomely booked match.  I’m sitting and picturing the whole sequence in my head and I don’t even have to watch it to relive how effective it was.)  Flair and Jake take turns turning on each other until Duggan comes in at #17. Flair is the punching bag as usual. IRS is #18. Snuka is #19. Not much going on. Heenan is having a nervous breakdown at this point. Snuka goes after Flair, of course. Undertaker is #20. Snuka is gone. UT chokes out Flair, who is saved by Duggan. UT no-sells all. Randy Savage is #21, but Jake Roberts is hiding outside the ring. Roberts comes in and Savage goes medieval on him, knocking him out with a high knee. Savage follows him out over the top, but the ruling is that Savage wasn’t thrown out. UT no-sells a ballshot from Flair. Berzerker is #22. Piper and UT do a double-choke on Flair, but UT doesn’t appreciate Piper’s sense of humor. (2012 Scott sez:  What a unique program that would have been.  Can you IMAGINE the crowd reaction if UT did the zombie situp and Piper poked him in the eye?  It would bring the house down.  It would have to end with Piper taking the most overblown tombstone bump ever and doing the job, but that would be a fun match, I’m pretty sure.)  Virgil is #23. Piper is beating on protégé Virgil. Col. Mustafa is #24, but no one cares. And why is Mustafa such a popular name in wrestling? Colonel, Saied, Kama…too many to count. (2012 Scott sez:  I guess I actually did count them.)  Rick Martel is #25. Savage eliminates Mustafa. Hulk Hogan is #26 to a big pop. He gets attacked by the Undertaker right away. Heenan starts bargaining with God to let Flair win. (2012 Scott sez:  All of Bobby’s greatest hits in one match!)  UT gets clotheslined out by Hulk. Berzerker gets backdropped out, allowing Hulk time to rip off the shirt. Duggan and Virgil eliminate each other. Skinner is #27, impressing no one. Sgt. Slaughter is #28, but the heat is gone at this point. Skinner gets dumped. Kind of a mish-mash of stuff going on. Sid is #29, and he hammers a variety of people. Warlord is #30, so our suspects are: Flair, Hogan, Warlord, IRS, Sid, Savage, Slaughter, Martel and Piper. Slaughter takes a dive over the top and out. 8 guys left and watching you’d have no idea who would win. Piper goes to the apron and pulls IRS out by his tie. 7 guys left. Hogan and Sid double-team Warlord out. 6 guys left. Martel and Piper fight on the ropes and Sid dumps them both. The Final four: Hulk, Savage, Sid and Flair. Sid dumps Savage as Flair and Hogan fight in the corner. Hogan gets Flair almost out…and Sid takes advantage and dumps Hulk! Hulk whines from the outside and won’t let go of Sid, so Flair comes from behind and dumps Sid to win the Royal Rumble and his first WWF title. Sid and Hulk get into a shoving contest in the ring, meanwhile, and the crowd is firmly behind Sid on this one. ***** Best Rumble ever. And the first serious backlash against Hogan from the fans. (2012 Scott sez:  And then the next night on RAW, they spent the whole show talking about how fans had the right to pay their money and boo whoever they wanted, then marketed shirts that said “Hogan Sucks” before wondering why people weren’t reacting to Hogan as strongly as they did before.  Oh, wait, sorry, that’s what they’d do NOW.) Backstage, Flair delivers his acceptance speech. The Bottom Line: The Rumble is great, the rest is bad. This show is pretty much universally loved, but the Rumble literally saved the show. But it saves it in a big way. Strongly recommended.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1992 Live from Albany, NY Your hosts are Gorilla and Brain. Opening match: The New Foundation v. The Orient Express. Hart Foundation – Bret + Owen = New Foundation. (2012 Scott sez:  Although Owen later joined the real Hart Foundation, so the algebra got REALLY ugly at that point…) Owen and Kato do a wrestling sequence to start, with Owen working in the slingshot off the top rope to break a wristlock and a rana for two. Neidhart tags in and pounds on Tanaka. Bobby Heenan is bravely predicting a Flair victory tonight the whole time. Owen debuts his enzuigiri and leg lariat to “Oooos” from the fans. Cross-body off the top onto both Express members gets two. But the cheating Japanese duo (both of whom are from the southern US, btw) (2012 Scott sez:  A fertile breeding ground for many foreign heels) use Fuji’s cane to take control of Owen. Extended Ricky Morton heat segment on Owen as Kato turns back into Paul Diamond before our eyes and uses Americanized offense. Owen takes a nice shoulderfirst bump into the corner, where Fuji’s cane is set up. Owen makes the hot tag, slingshooting Neidhart in with a shoulderblock, then hits a plancha on Tanaka. The New Foundation finishes Kato off with a Rocket launcher shortly after. *** Review of Mountie’s mega-upset of Bret Hart for the Intercontinental title a few days prior. Bret was badly injured and sick and had to drop the title, and Mountie was lucky enough to be wrestling him that night. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, we later found out that Bret was full of crap and his “fever” was about as real as his “hardway” blood at Wrestlemania that year.  But for all the talk about Montreal and contracts, the crushing irony is that Hart was set to walk out on his valid WWF contract before the title change, taking the IC title with him to debut in WCW the next week before Vince managed to change his mind.   That would have been WCW’s revenge for the Flair belt controversy, I guess.  So there you go, feel free to use that one as a countpoint next time Montreal comes up.)  The honeymoon was not to last, however. Intercontinental title match: The Mountie v. Rowdy Roddy Piper. Mega-pop for Piper. Piper basically beats up Mountie at will, countering his wrestling stuff with punches, ramming him to the turnbuckle, and bulldogging him for two. Heenan’s banter as he tries to bribe Monsoon into letting him check on Flair is great. Piper misses a dropkick and Mountie takes over with the half-nelson smash into the turnbuckle. Flying elbow for two. This match is pretty disjointed, especially on two days’ notice. Piper atomic drops Mountie out, and he does the skin-the-cat back in. Mountie charges, but Piper moves and Mountie collides with Jimmy Hart, allowing him to slap on the sleeper. Mountie is out, and then Piper zaps him with the cattle prod for good measure. The pop from the crowd as Fink announces him as the new champion still gives me goosebumps. This was the one and only WWF title ever held by Piper. (2012 Scott sez:  This was of course written years before Piper got that tag title reign with Flair.)  Bad match, but who cares, it was such a great moment. *1/2 The Beverly Brothers v. The Bushwhackers. This is the Jameson match. Don’t ask. Don’t even ask. Shit happens and we’ll just pretend that an actual match happened here and move on with our lives. Beverlys win after about 7 hours with an axehandle off the top rope. I’ll be generous and go DUD (2012 Scott sez:  That was being REALLY generous.  Who the FUCK booked this match to go almost 20 minutes?!  I don’t know why they even bothered bringing Bloom & Enos in) WWF tag team title match: Legion of Doom v. The Natural Disasters. Typical LOD match as Hawk plays Ricky Morton. Match drags on until Hawk hits an elbow off the top on Earthquake and makes the hot tag. Animal with the flying shoulderblock, and everyone ends up outside the ring. Typhoon beats the count back in. Boring. 1/2* This was the first sign that the LOD was nearing the end. (2012 Scott sez:  There was all sorts of wacky stuff going on around this show, with Vince desperately trying to get the tag titles off the LOD in case Hawk self-destructed, as of course they finally convinced them to do the job to Dibiase & IRS on a house show where it would be filmed but then never aired as part of the deal.) Interview-o-rama. The Royal Rumble (winner gets vacant WWF title): This is course was set up after Hulk Hogan cheated to regain the title from Undertaker at “This Tuesday In Texas”. Jack Tunney (big boos) officially opens the match. And away we go. British Bulldog is #1 and Ted Dibiase is #2. Dibiase kills Bulldog and tosses him, but he lands on the apron, climbs in, and clotheslines Dibiase out. Ric Flair is #3 and Bobby has a heart attack. (2012 Scott sez:  One of the all-time great Bobby Heenan reactions there.)  Gorilla rubs it in. Bulldog goes right after Flair, destroying him with power moves until Flair starts a trend by lowblowing him. Nasty Boy Sags is #4. Flair and Sags double-team Bulldog. Bulldog knocks Sags out in short order and then goes back to Flair. Haku is #5. He beats on Bulldog and Flair until getting dumped by Bulldog. Shawn Michaels is #6. He and Flair immediately begin their selling contest by trading chops. Shawn goes over the top and back under the ropes a couple of times. Tito is #7 and of course he goes after Flair right away, like everyone else. Gorilla: “Some people just hate Flair less than others”. Ballshot #2 on Bulldog. Big “OOooooooh” from the males in the crowd for that one. Barbarian is #8. Gorilla (in ominous voice): “Barbarian doesn’t like Flair”. (2012 Scott sez:  That line slays me for some reason.  Just Gorilla’s glee at twisting the knife on Bobby.)  Another near-elimination for Shawn. Kerry Von Erich is #9, and one guess who he goes after. Flair Flop. Shawn does his own. Repo Man is #10. Nothing notable happens. Greg Valentine is #11 and he and Flair start trading chops. Another Flair flop. Nikolai Volkoff (subbing for Janetty) is #12. (2012 Scott sez:  Jannetty went through the Barbershop window, which is code for rehab, I guess.  Scott Hall has been thrown through windows on WWE’s dime quite a few times now.)  Flair and Valentine are trading some NASTY chops. Repo Man dumps Volkoff. Big Bossman is #13 and you can just guess who his target is. Repo Man dumps Valentine. Bossman dumps Repo Man. Flair dumps Bulldog, then Von Erich. Santana and Michaels eliminate each other. Whew. Hercules is #14 and he goes right after Flair. Flair is saved by Barbarian, and then turns on him. Oops. (2012 Scott sez:  It blows my mind how incredibly well booked this match was, with Flair being Flair even to the point where he would turn on a guy who is likely to rip his head off in retaliation.)  Barbarian kills him, but Herc dumps Barbarian and Bossman dumps Barbarian. We’re down to Flair and Bossman. Bossman wallops Flair, but misses a cross-body and flies out. Flair celebrates with a Flair flop.  (2012 Scott sez:  And again Bobby is in prime form, declaring Flair the winner before Gorilla puts him in his place again.)  Piper is #15 and the crowd erupts. Piper cleans Flair’s clock from one side of the ring to other. He even works in the eye poke off an atomic drop. Airplane spin and sleeper on Flair. Jake Roberts is #16 and he just sits back and lets Piper continue. Then he turns on him. Evil Jake was so cool. (2012 Scott sez:  What an awesomely booked match.  I’m sitting and picturing the whole sequence in my head and I don’t even have to watch it to relive how effective it was.)  Flair and Jake take turns turning on each other until Duggan comes in at #17. Flair is the punching bag as usual. IRS is #18. Snuka is #19. Not much going on. Heenan is having a nervous breakdown at this point. Snuka goes after Flair, of course. Undertaker is #20. Snuka is gone. UT chokes out Flair, who is saved by Duggan. UT no-sells all. Randy Savage is #21, but Jake Roberts is hiding outside the ring. Roberts comes in and Savage goes medieval on him, knocking him out with a high knee. Savage follows him out over the top, but the ruling is that Savage wasn’t thrown out. UT no-sells a ballshot from Flair. Berzerker is #22. Piper and UT do a double-choke on Flair, but UT doesn’t appreciate Piper’s sense of humor. (2012 Scott sez:  What a unique program that would have been.  Can you IMAGINE the crowd reaction if UT did the zombie situp and Piper poked him in the eye?  It would bring the house down.  It would have to end with Piper taking the most overblown tombstone bump ever and doing the job, but that would be a fun match, I’m pretty sure.)  Virgil is #23. Piper is beating on protégé Virgil. Col. Mustafa is #24, but no one cares. And why is Mustafa such a popular name in wrestling? Colonel, Saied, Kama…too many to count. (2012 Scott sez:  I guess I actually did count them.)  Rick Martel is #25. Savage eliminates Mustafa. Hulk Hogan is #26 to a big pop. He gets attacked by the Undertaker right away. Heenan starts bargaining with God to let Flair win. (2012 Scott sez:  All of Bobby’s greatest hits in one match!)  UT gets clotheslined out by Hulk. Berzerker gets backdropped out, allowing Hulk time to rip off the shirt. Duggan and Virgil eliminate each other. Skinner is #27, impressing no one. Sgt. Slaughter is #28, but the heat is gone at this point. Skinner gets dumped. Kind of a mish-mash of stuff going on. Sid is #29, and he hammers a variety of people. Warlord is #30, so our suspects are: Flair, Hogan, Warlord, IRS, Sid, Savage, Slaughter, Martel and Piper. Slaughter takes a dive over the top and out. 8 guys left and watching you’d have no idea who would win. Piper goes to the apron and pulls IRS out by his tie. 7 guys left. Hogan and Sid double-team Warlord out. 6 guys left. Martel and Piper fight on the ropes and Sid dumps them both. The Final four: Hulk, Savage, Sid and Flair. Sid dumps Savage as Flair and Hogan fight in the corner. Hogan gets Flair almost out…and Sid takes advantage and dumps Hulk! Hulk whines from the outside and won’t let go of Sid, so Flair comes from behind and dumps Sid to win the Royal Rumble and his first WWF title. Sid and Hulk get into a shoving contest in the ring, meanwhile, and the crowd is firmly behind Sid on this one. ***** Best Rumble ever. And the first serious backlash against Hogan from the fans. (2012 Scott sez:  And then the next night on RAW, they spent the whole show talking about how fans had the right to pay their money and boo whoever they wanted, then marketed shirts that said “Hogan Sucks” before wondering why people weren’t reacting to Hogan as strongly as they did before.  Oh, wait, sorry, that’s what they’d do NOW.) Backstage, Flair delivers his acceptance speech. The Bottom Line: The Rumble is great, the rest is bad. This show is pretty much universally loved, but the Rumble literally saved the show. But it saves it in a big way. Strongly recommended.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1992 Live from Albany, NY Your hosts are Gorilla and Brain. Opening match: The New Foundation v. The Orient Express. Hart Foundation – Bret + Owen = New Foundation. (2012 Scott sez:  Although Owen later joined the real Hart Foundation, so the algebra got REALLY ugly at that point…) Owen and Kato do a wrestling sequence to start, with Owen working in the slingshot off the top rope to break a wristlock and a rana for two. Neidhart tags in and pounds on Tanaka. Bobby Heenan is bravely predicting a Flair victory tonight the whole time. Owen debuts his enzuigiri and leg lariat to “Oooos” from the fans. Cross-body off the top onto both Express members gets two. But the cheating Japanese duo (both of whom are from the southern US, btw) (2012 Scott sez:  A fertile breeding ground for many foreign heels) use Fuji’s cane to take control of Owen. Extended Ricky Morton heat segment on Owen as Kato turns back into Paul Diamond before our eyes and uses Americanized offense. Owen takes a nice shoulderfirst bump into the corner, where Fuji’s cane is set up. Owen makes the hot tag, slingshooting Neidhart in with a shoulderblock, then hits a plancha on Tanaka. The New Foundation finishes Kato off with a Rocket launcher shortly after. *** Review of Mountie’s mega-upset of Bret Hart for the Intercontinental title a few days prior. Bret was badly injured and sick and had to drop the title, and Mountie was lucky enough to be wrestling him that night. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, we later found out that Bret was full of crap and his “fever” was about as real as his “hardway” blood at Wrestlemania that year.  But for all the talk about Montreal and contracts, the crushing irony is that Hart was set to walk out on his valid WWF contract before the title change, taking the IC title with him to debut in WCW the next week before Vince managed to change his mind.   That would have been WCW’s revenge for the Flair belt controversy, I guess.  So there you go, feel free to use that one as a countpoint next time Montreal comes up.)  The honeymoon was not to last, however. Intercontinental title match: The Mountie v. Rowdy Roddy Piper. Mega-pop for Piper. Piper basically beats up Mountie at will, countering his wrestling stuff with punches, ramming him to the turnbuckle, and bulldogging him for two. Heenan’s banter as he tries to bribe Monsoon into letting him check on Flair is great. Piper misses a dropkick and Mountie takes over with the half-nelson smash into the turnbuckle. Flying elbow for two. This match is pretty disjointed, especially on two days’ notice. Piper atomic drops Mountie out, and he does the skin-the-cat back in. Mountie charges, but Piper moves and Mountie collides with Jimmy Hart, allowing him to slap on the sleeper. Mountie is out, and then Piper zaps him with the cattle prod for good measure. The pop from the crowd as Fink announces him as the new champion still gives me goosebumps. This was the one and only WWF title ever held by Piper. (2012 Scott sez:  This was of course written years before Piper got that tag title reign with Flair.)  Bad match, but who cares, it was such a great moment. *1/2 The Beverly Brothers v. The Bushwhackers. This is the Jameson match. Don’t ask. Don’t even ask. Shit happens and we’ll just pretend that an actual match happened here and move on with our lives. Beverlys win after about 7 hours with an axehandle off the top rope. I’ll be generous and go DUD (2012 Scott sez:  That was being REALLY generous.  Who the FUCK booked this match to go almost 20 minutes?!  I don’t know why they even bothered bringing Bloom & Enos in) WWF tag team title match: Legion of Doom v. The Natural Disasters. Typical LOD match as Hawk plays Ricky Morton. Match drags on until Hawk hits an elbow off the top on Earthquake and makes the hot tag. Animal with the flying shoulderblock, and everyone ends up outside the ring. Typhoon beats the count back in. Boring. 1/2* This was the first sign that the LOD was nearing the end. (2012 Scott sez:  There was all sorts of wacky stuff going on around this show, with Vince desperately trying to get the tag titles off the LOD in case Hawk self-destructed, as of course they finally convinced them to do the job to Dibiase & IRS on a house show where it would be filmed but then never aired as part of the deal.) Interview-o-rama. The Royal Rumble (winner gets vacant WWF title): This is course was set up after Hulk Hogan cheated to regain the title from Undertaker at “This Tuesday In Texas”. Jack Tunney (big boos) officially opens the match. And away we go. British Bulldog is #1 and Ted Dibiase is #2. Dibiase kills Bulldog and tosses him, but he lands on the apron, climbs in, and clotheslines Dibiase out. Ric Flair is #3 and Bobby has a heart attack. (2012 Scott sez:  One of the all-time great Bobby Heenan reactions there.)  Gorilla rubs it in. Bulldog goes right after Flair, destroying him with power moves until Flair starts a trend by lowblowing him. Nasty Boy Sags is #4. Flair and Sags double-team Bulldog. Bulldog knocks Sags out in short order and then goes back to Flair. Haku is #5. He beats on Bulldog and Flair until getting dumped by Bulldog. Shawn Michaels is #6. He and Flair immediately begin their selling contest by trading chops. Shawn goes over the top and back under the ropes a couple of times. Tito is #7 and of course he goes after Flair right away, like everyone else. Gorilla: “Some people just hate Flair less than others”. Ballshot #2 on Bulldog. Big “OOooooooh” from the males in the crowd for that one. Barbarian is #8. Gorilla (in ominous voice): “Barbarian doesn’t like Flair”. (2012 Scott sez:  That line slays me for some reason.  Just Gorilla’s glee at twisting the knife on Bobby.)  Another near-elimination for Shawn. Kerry Von Erich is #9, and one guess who he goes after. Flair Flop. Shawn does his own. Repo Man is #10. Nothing notable happens. Greg Valentine is #11 and he and Flair start trading chops. Another Flair flop. Nikolai Volkoff (subbing for Janetty) is #12. (2012 Scott sez:  Jannetty went through the Barbershop window, which is code for rehab, I guess.  Scott Hall has been thrown through windows on WWE’s dime quite a few times now.)  Flair and Valentine are trading some NASTY chops. Repo Man dumps Volkoff. Big Bossman is #13 and you can just guess who his target is. Repo Man dumps Valentine. Bossman dumps Repo Man. Flair dumps Bulldog, then Von Erich. Santana and Michaels eliminate each other. Whew. Hercules is #14 and he goes right after Flair. Flair is saved by Barbarian, and then turns on him. Oops. (2012 Scott sez:  It blows my mind how incredibly well booked this match was, with Flair being Flair even to the point where he would turn on a guy who is likely to rip his head off in retaliation.)  Barbarian kills him, but Herc dumps Barbarian and Bossman dumps Barbarian. We’re down to Flair and Bossman. Bossman wallops Flair, but misses a cross-body and flies out. Flair celebrates with a Flair flop.  (2012 Scott sez:  And again Bobby is in prime form, declaring Flair the winner before Gorilla puts him in his place again.)  Piper is #15 and the crowd erupts. Piper cleans Flair’s clock from one side of the ring to other. He even works in the eye poke off an atomic drop. Airplane spin and sleeper on Flair. Jake Roberts is #16 and he just sits back and lets Piper continue. Then he turns on him. Evil Jake was so cool. (2012 Scott sez:  What an awesomely booked match.  I’m sitting and picturing the whole sequence in my head and I don’t even have to watch it to relive how effective it was.)  Flair and Jake take turns turning on each other until Duggan comes in at #17. Flair is the punching bag as usual. IRS is #18. Snuka is #19. Not much going on. Heenan is having a nervous breakdown at this point. Snuka goes after Flair, of course. Undertaker is #20. Snuka is gone. UT chokes out Flair, who is saved by Duggan. UT no-sells all. Randy Savage is #21, but Jake Roberts is hiding outside the ring. Roberts comes in and Savage goes medieval on him, knocking him out with a high knee. Savage follows him out over the top, but the ruling is that Savage wasn’t thrown out. UT no-sells a ballshot from Flair. Berzerker is #22. Piper and UT do a double-choke on Flair, but UT doesn’t appreciate Piper’s sense of humor. (2012 Scott sez:  What a unique program that would have been.  Can you IMAGINE the crowd reaction if UT did the zombie situp and Piper poked him in the eye?  It would bring the house down.  It would have to end with Piper taking the most overblown tombstone bump ever and doing the job, but that would be a fun match, I’m pretty sure.)  Virgil is #23. Piper is beating on protégé Virgil. Col. Mustafa is #24, but no one cares. And why is Mustafa such a popular name in wrestling? Colonel, Saied, Kama…too many to count. (2012 Scott sez:  I guess I actually did count them.)  Rick Martel is #25. Savage eliminates Mustafa. Hulk Hogan is #26 to a big pop. He gets attacked by the Undertaker right away. Heenan starts bargaining with God to let Flair win. (2012 Scott sez:  All of Bobby’s greatest hits in one match!)  UT gets clotheslined out by Hulk. Berzerker gets backdropped out, allowing Hulk time to rip off the shirt. Duggan and Virgil eliminate each other. Skinner is #27, impressing no one. Sgt. Slaughter is #28, but the heat is gone at this point. Skinner gets dumped. Kind of a mish-mash of stuff going on. Sid is #29, and he hammers a variety of people. Warlord is #30, so our suspects are: Flair, Hogan, Warlord, IRS, Sid, Savage, Slaughter, Martel and Piper. Slaughter takes a dive over the top and out. 8 guys left and watching you’d have no idea who would win. Piper goes to the apron and pulls IRS out by his tie. 7 guys left. Hogan and Sid double-team Warlord out. 6 guys left. Martel and Piper fight on the ropes and Sid dumps them both. The Final four: Hulk, Savage, Sid and Flair. Sid dumps Savage as Flair and Hogan fight in the corner. Hogan gets Flair almost out…and Sid takes advantage and dumps Hulk! Hulk whines from the outside and won’t let go of Sid, so Flair comes from behind and dumps Sid to win the Royal Rumble and his first WWF title. Sid and Hulk get into a shoving contest in the ring, meanwhile, and the crowd is firmly behind Sid on this one. ***** Best Rumble ever. And the first serious backlash against Hogan from the fans. (2012 Scott sez:  And then the next night on RAW, they spent the whole show talking about how fans had the right to pay their money and boo whoever they wanted, then marketed shirts that said “Hogan Sucks” before wondering why people weren’t reacting to Hogan as strongly as they did before.  Oh, wait, sorry, that’s what they’d do NOW.) Backstage, Flair delivers his acceptance speech. The Bottom Line: The Rumble is great, the rest is bad. This show is pretty much universally loved, but the Rumble literally saved the show. But it saves it in a big way. Strongly recommended.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1992 Live from Albany, NY Your hosts are Gorilla and Brain. Opening match: The New Foundation v. The Orient Express. Hart Foundation – Bret + Owen = New Foundation. (2012 Scott sez:  Although Owen later joined the real Hart Foundation, so the algebra got REALLY ugly at that point…) Owen and Kato do a wrestling sequence to start, with Owen working in the slingshot off the top rope to break a wristlock and a rana for two. Neidhart tags in and pounds on Tanaka. Bobby Heenan is bravely predicting a Flair victory tonight the whole time. Owen debuts his enzuigiri and leg lariat to “Oooos” from the fans. Cross-body off the top onto both Express members gets two. But the cheating Japanese duo (both of whom are from the southern US, btw) (2012 Scott sez:  A fertile breeding ground for many foreign heels) use Fuji’s cane to take control of Owen. Extended Ricky Morton heat segment on Owen as Kato turns back into Paul Diamond before our eyes and uses Americanized offense. Owen takes a nice shoulderfirst bump into the corner, where Fuji’s cane is set up. Owen makes the hot tag, slingshooting Neidhart in with a shoulderblock, then hits a plancha on Tanaka. The New Foundation finishes Kato off with a Rocket launcher shortly after. *** Review of Mountie’s mega-upset of Bret Hart for the Intercontinental title a few days prior. Bret was badly injured and sick and had to drop the title, and Mountie was lucky enough to be wrestling him that night. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, we later found out that Bret was full of crap and his “fever” was about as real as his “hardway” blood at Wrestlemania that year.  But for all the talk about Montreal and contracts, the crushing irony is that Hart was set to walk out on his valid WWF contract before the title change, taking the IC title with him to debut in WCW the next week before Vince managed to change his mind.   That would have been WCW’s revenge for the Flair belt controversy, I guess.  So there you go, feel free to use that one as a countpoint next time Montreal comes up.)  The honeymoon was not to last, however. Intercontinental title match: The Mountie v. Rowdy Roddy Piper. Mega-pop for Piper. Piper basically beats up Mountie at will, countering his wrestling stuff with punches, ramming him to the turnbuckle, and bulldogging him for two. Heenan’s banter as he tries to bribe Monsoon into letting him check on Flair is great. Piper misses a dropkick and Mountie takes over with the half-nelson smash into the turnbuckle. Flying elbow for two. This match is pretty disjointed, especially on two days’ notice. Piper atomic drops Mountie out, and he does the skin-the-cat back in. Mountie charges, but Piper moves and Mountie collides with Jimmy Hart, allowing him to slap on the sleeper. Mountie is out, and then Piper zaps him with the cattle prod for good measure. The pop from the crowd as Fink announces him as the new champion still gives me goosebumps. This was the one and only WWF title ever held by Piper. (2012 Scott sez:  This was of course written years before Piper got that tag title reign with Flair.)  Bad match, but who cares, it was such a great moment. *1/2 The Beverly Brothers v. The Bushwhackers. This is the Jameson match. Don’t ask. Don’t even ask. Shit happens and we’ll just pretend that an actual match happened here and move on with our lives. Beverlys win after about 7 hours with an axehandle off the top rope. I’ll be generous and go DUD (2012 Scott sez:  That was being REALLY generous.  Who the FUCK booked this match to go almost 20 minutes?!  I don’t know why they even bothered bringing Bloom & Enos in) WWF tag team title match: Legion of Doom v. The Natural Disasters. Typical LOD match as Hawk plays Ricky Morton. Match drags on until Hawk hits an elbow off the top on Earthquake and makes the hot tag. Animal with the flying shoulderblock, and everyone ends up outside the ring. Typhoon beats the count back in. Boring. 1/2* This was the first sign that the LOD was nearing the end. (2012 Scott sez:  There was all sorts of wacky stuff going on around this show, with Vince desperately trying to get the tag titles off the LOD in case Hawk self-destructed, as of course they finally convinced them to do the job to Dibiase & IRS on a house show where it would be filmed but then never aired as part of the deal.) Interview-o-rama. The Royal Rumble (winner gets vacant WWF title): This is course was set up after Hulk Hogan cheated to regain the title from Undertaker at “This Tuesday In Texas”. Jack Tunney (big boos) officially opens the match. And away we go. British Bulldog is #1 and Ted Dibiase is #2. Dibiase kills Bulldog and tosses him, but he lands on the apron, climbs in, and clotheslines Dibiase out. Ric Flair is #3 and Bobby has a heart attack. (2012 Scott sez:  One of the all-time great Bobby Heenan reactions there.)  Gorilla rubs it in. Bulldog goes right after Flair, destroying him with power moves until Flair starts a trend by lowblowing him. Nasty Boy Sags is #4. Flair and Sags double-team Bulldog. Bulldog knocks Sags out in short order and then goes back to Flair. Haku is #5. He beats on Bulldog and Flair until getting dumped by Bulldog. Shawn Michaels is #6. He and Flair immediately begin their selling contest by trading chops. Shawn goes over the top and back under the ropes a couple of times. Tito is #7 and of course he goes after Flair right away, like everyone else. Gorilla: “Some people just hate Flair less than others”. Ballshot #2 on Bulldog. Big “OOooooooh” from the males in the crowd for that one. Barbarian is #8. Gorilla (in ominous voice): “Barbarian doesn’t like Flair”. (2012 Scott sez:  That line slays me for some reason.  Just Gorilla’s glee at twisting the knife on Bobby.)  Another near-elimination for Shawn. Kerry Von Erich is #9, and one guess who he goes after. Flair Flop. Shawn does his own. Repo Man is #10. Nothing notable happens. Greg Valentine is #11 and he and Flair start trading chops. Another Flair flop. Nikolai Volkoff (subbing for Janetty) is #12. (2012 Scott sez:  Jannetty went through the Barbershop window, which is code for rehab, I guess.  Scott Hall has been thrown through windows on WWE’s dime quite a few times now.)  Flair and Valentine are trading some NASTY chops. Repo Man dumps Volkoff. Big Bossman is #13 and you can just guess who his target is. Repo Man dumps Valentine. Bossman dumps Repo Man. Flair dumps Bulldog, then Von Erich. Santana and Michaels eliminate each other. Whew. Hercules is #14 and he goes right after Flair. Flair is saved by Barbarian, and then turns on him. Oops. (2012 Scott sez:  It blows my mind how incredibly well booked this match was, with Flair being Flair even to the point where he would turn on a guy who is likely to rip his head off in retaliation.)  Barbarian kills him, but Herc dumps Barbarian and Bossman dumps Barbarian. We’re down to Flair and Bossman. Bossman wallops Flair, but misses a cross-body and flies out. Flair celebrates with a Flair flop.  (2012 Scott sez:  And again Bobby is in prime form, declaring Flair the winner before Gorilla puts him in his place again.)  Piper is #15 and the crowd erupts. Piper cleans Flair’s clock from one side of the ring to other. He even works in the eye poke off an atomic drop. Airplane spin and sleeper on Flair. Jake Roberts is #16 and he just sits back and lets Piper continue. Then he turns on him. Evil Jake was so cool. (2012 Scott sez:  What an awesomely booked match.  I’m sitting and picturing the whole sequence in my head and I don’t even have to watch it to relive how effective it was.)  Flair and Jake take turns turning on each other until Duggan comes in at #17. Flair is the punching bag as usual. IRS is #18. Snuka is #19. Not much going on. Heenan is having a nervous breakdown at this point. Snuka goes after Flair, of course. Undertaker is #20. Snuka is gone. UT chokes out Flair, who is saved by Duggan. UT no-sells all. Randy Savage is #21, but Jake Roberts is hiding outside the ring. Roberts comes in and Savage goes medieval on him, knocking him out with a high knee. Savage follows him out over the top, but the ruling is that Savage wasn’t thrown out. UT no-sells a ballshot from Flair. Berzerker is #22. Piper and UT do a double-choke on Flair, but UT doesn’t appreciate Piper’s sense of humor. (2012 Scott sez:  What a unique program that would have been.  Can you IMAGINE the crowd reaction if UT did the zombie situp and Piper poked him in the eye?  It would bring the house down.  It would have to end with Piper taking the most overblown tombstone bump ever and doing the job, but that would be a fun match, I’m pretty sure.)  Virgil is #23. Piper is beating on protégé Virgil. Col. Mustafa is #24, but no one cares. And why is Mustafa such a popular name in wrestling? Colonel, Saied, Kama…too many to count. (2012 Scott sez:  I guess I actually did count them.)  Rick Martel is #25. Savage eliminates Mustafa. Hulk Hogan is #26 to a big pop. He gets attacked by the Undertaker right away. Heenan starts bargaining with God to let Flair win. (2012 Scott sez:  All of Bobby’s greatest hits in one match!)  UT gets clotheslined out by Hulk. Berzerker gets backdropped out, allowing Hulk time to rip off the shirt. Duggan and Virgil eliminate each other. Skinner is #27, impressing no one. Sgt. Slaughter is #28, but the heat is gone at this point. Skinner gets dumped. Kind of a mish-mash of stuff going on. Sid is #29, and he hammers a variety of people. Warlord is #30, so our suspects are: Flair, Hogan, Warlord, IRS, Sid, Savage, Slaughter, Martel and Piper. Slaughter takes a dive over the top and out. 8 guys left and watching you’d have no idea who would win. Piper goes to the apron and pulls IRS out by his tie. 7 guys left. Hogan and Sid double-team Warlord out. 6 guys left. Martel and Piper fight on the ropes and Sid dumps them both. The Final four: Hulk, Savage, Sid and Flair. Sid dumps Savage as Flair and Hogan fight in the corner. Hogan gets Flair almost out…and Sid takes advantage and dumps Hulk! Hulk whines from the outside and won’t let go of Sid, so Flair comes from behind and dumps Sid to win the Royal Rumble and his first WWF title. Sid and Hulk get into a shoving contest in the ring, meanwhile, and the crowd is firmly behind Sid on this one. ***** Best Rumble ever. And the first serious backlash against Hogan from the fans. (2012 Scott sez:  And then the next night on RAW, they spent the whole show talking about how fans had the right to pay their money and boo whoever they wanted, then marketed shirts that said “Hogan Sucks” before wondering why people weren’t reacting to Hogan as strongly as they did before.  Oh, wait, sorry, that’s what they’d do NOW.) Backstage, Flair delivers his acceptance speech. The Bottom Line: The Rumble is great, the rest is bad. This show is pretty much universally loved, but the Rumble literally saved the show. But it saves it in a big way. Strongly recommended.

Starrcade Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 92, which is the 10th annual Starrcade 92, according to the voiceover guy at the beginning. Yup, I remember the first Starrcade 92, back in 1983… • Live from Atlanta, GA • Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura• The whole point of the show is blown right off the bat, as it is announced that US champion Rick Rude is injured, thus ruining the Ron Simmons-Rick Rude match for the WCW World title. Steve Williams is put in his place. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to hear that announcement when watching the show for the first time. That would be sarcasm, of course. • Bill Watts and Hank Aaron present Sting with last year’s Battlebowl ring. I’m shocked that Watts was able to be in the same ring with Aaron, considering all the allegations of racism against Watts. Sting is wearing blue and white face paint…could this be a secret alliance with the Smurfs? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT!  (2011 Scott sez:  I’d like to think that joke’s pretty timeless.) • Larry Z and Missy Hyatt do the honors of drawing the names for Battlebowl. The Lethal Lottery: • Opening match: Van Hammer & Dan Spivey v. Cactus Jack & Johnny B. Badd. Johnny wears a cowboy hat to the ring, thus boosting him to an 8 on the Fag-O-Meter. He’d hit 9 if he was wearing the feather boa. Hammer dominates Cactus to start. Badd tags in and he gets beat up. Badd retaliates with a VICIOUS rana, driving Hammer’s head into the mat. Badd and Cactus are de facto faces here, and Hammer is the reluctant heel. The drawing is rigged for this match at least (it was done on the previous Clash) so they’ve had some time to plan the match. Badd gets beat on for a bit and Jack gets the hot tag and destroys Spivey. He goes for the tag again, but Badd was knocked out to the floor. Further miscommunication results and Badd ends up KO’ing Jack, allowing Hammer to roll him up for the pin. Not bad. ** • Dustin Rhodes & Vader v. Barbarian & Kensuke Sasaki. Well, one team is good. Vader and Barbie have a slobberknocker to start. That goes nowhere so we try Dustin v. Sasaski. Sasaski wrestles like a Road Warrior, no-selling Dustin’s stuff, so Vader comes in and wipes the mat with him. That’ll teach him. Awfully stiff stuff from Vader. Dustin cleans house on Barbarian, and a miscommunication spot between Sasaki and Barbarian leads to Rhodes getting the pin. Vader made it watchable. *1/2 Vader destroys Rhodes for fun. • Why is Jesse Ventura wearing a Malcolm X hat? • Barry Windham & The Great Muta v. 2 Cold Scorpio & Brian Pillman. This should be interesting. Pillman & Windham are going for the tag titles later in the show. Muta is the most over guy in the match. Pillman and Muta do a “dream match that never happened” sequence. What a shame. Windham and Pillman smack each other around a bunch, then call it off. Muta gets a SWANK spinning kick to the jaw of Pillman, but gets caught in the wrong corner. Sadly, these matches are too short to tell any kind of story, but necessity. Now Scorp gets caught in the wrong corner and double-teamed. Ever notice how much the People’s Elbow resembles Muta’s? Scorpio does some high impact stuff to Muta and a pier-six erupts. Windham hits an absolutely neck-breaking Implant (jumping DDT) and Muta finishes it with a moonsault to Scorpio for the pin. Damn, I wish they had 20 minutes to develop it. **1/2 • Steve Williams & Sting v. Erik Watts & Jushin Liger. Williams no-sells a bunch of Liger’s stuff (what a surprise) so Liger lets Watts be the whipping boy. Liger tags back in and gets torn apart by Williams. Is this some kind of All Japan-New Japan thing? Sting and Liger works out a bit better for Jushin. Williams just kills Liger some more. Why can’t it be Watts taking the shitkicking? (2011 Scott sez:  Because then the match would suck, duh.)  Liger goes for a sleeper on Doc—not smart, Jushin. Doc drops him on his head. JR is in his glory calling this. Finally after a horrible slaughter, Watts gets the hot tag and hits the two singularly worst dropkicks I’ve seen in my life. Williams should be ashamed for selling them. (2011 Scott sez:  I actually based the Erik Watts Dropkick Scale on this match.  This is 1.0 Watts.)  The crowd does NOT appreciate the efforts of Watts. Williams hits a stungun on Watts shortly after and easily pins him, for a big pop. This was basically a squash. ** • So the Battlebowl field is Van Hammer, Dan Spivey, Barry Windham, Great Muta, Vader, Dustin Rhodes, Sting and Steve Williams. • NWA “World” title match: Masahiro Chono v. The Great Muta. Oh no, it’s the battle of nWo Japan. Back in early 1993, Herb Kunze noted that both guys were specifically told by Bill Watts before the match to NOT put on a good show, so as not to steal the show from the WCW guys. So if you ever see this match, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Chono is wearing the belt currently worn by DDP here. (2011 Scott sez:  Say what?)  Some wristlock trading to start, and Muta stalls. They trade abdominal stretches. Then Chono applies an armbar. Then Muta applies a head scissor. Man, this is almost exciting to type as it is to watch. Now Muta stalls some more. Man, they’re just lucky it’s not Philly. Chono goes into a hammerlock. I’m proud of the fans for not breaking into a huge “boring” chant, because it would certainly be their right. Finally a highspot, as Chono goes to the top and Muta reverses to a superplex. Muta with the Indian deathlock. You’ve all heard my stance on that particular move and why no one born after 1960 should be using it anymore, I assume. Now Chono stalls. Hey, another highspot, as Muta hits the handspring elbow and goes for the moonsault, but misses. Muta gets two off a cradle. Both guys try a dropkick and both miss. Chono hits a backdrop suplex, and Muta reverses a second try for two. Muta misses a dropkick and Chono hooks the STF and Muta submits. Okay, first of all the finish came out of nowhere, with no buildup. The match was terribly boring. The crowd was dead. There was all of one move with any kind of high-risk. All in all, a horrible match. -** • Ross runs down a tournament for the US title as a result of Rude’s injury. It’s a shame, too, because Rude was pretty much pencilled in to take Ron Simmons’ World title on this show. He never properly recovered from that neck injury, and in fact was permanently crippled by Sting in 1994 and sent into retirement. He lost all his heat during the layoff, too. • WCW World title match: Ron Simmons v. Steve Williams. Yes, it’s Farrooq v. JR’s Boy. No wonder this show tanked. Simmons of course is using that classic theme “Don’t Step to Ron”. Sadly, my roommate has that CD. Jesse rants about dirty politics with regards to Rick Rude. Williams actually offers Simmons a handshake—and doesn’t attack him. Wow. They trade headlocks and then do a dueling three-point stance routine to get the crowd going. Simmons does a bunch of armbarring. Williams works on the knee. There you go, 10 minutes summed up in 2 sentences. Simmons makes the comeback with a bunch of clips. They fight outside the ring for a double countout. A long, boring match that settled nothing. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  Whose dumb idea was it to substitute Dr. Death into the World title match?  Just stick Vader in there since they ended up changing the title about a week after this anyway.)  WCW/NWA tag team title match: Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas v. Brian Pillman & Barry Windham. Pillman & Windham were the pre-cursors to the Hollywood Blonds. Windham is using the epic theme “Smokin’” and Steamboat/Douglas get “Family Man”. Wow, what a great album that was. Not. Jesse notes that Shane’s idol is Rush Limbaugh. Somehow I’m not surprised at that revelation. Pillman and Douglas start out. It’s pretty tough to deal with Douglas the Bouncing Babyface these days. The champs do some double-teaming, leaving us with Windham against Steamboat. Since Steamboat is a professional (unlike his partner) he breaks the theme of the evening by actually putting forth an effort. Everyone else has it in cruise control. Pillman takes his trademark chin-to-the-railing bump, of course. Douglas does take a nice bump, getting dropkicked off the top rope to the floor. Douglas plays Ricky Morton. Douglas takes a nasty bump, hitting his leg on the railing. Steamboat nails Windham with a chair to save Douglas. Ricky, I’m disappointed in you. Faces don’t do that. Finally, after an eternity, Steamboat gets the hot tag and cleans house. Doesn’t last long, as Windham powerslams and suplexes him. Another heat segment follows, this one on Steamboat. Douglas gets another hot tag, and a pier-six erupts. Pillman walks into a fluke belly-to-belly and the champs retain. Just awful by Steamboat’s standards, although still a really good match by any other. ***1/4 Windham would be replaced by Steve Austin for the rematch, and the rest is history.  (2011 Scott sez:  I majorly short-shrifted this match, as we’ll see once I repost the Essential Starrcade rants.  This was a HELL of a tag match, maybe one of the best in the history of Starrcade.)  The King of Cable tournament final: Sting v. Vader. JR and Jesse talk this up as the big blowoff for the Sting-Vader feud. Hah! It’s won’t end—it NEVER ENDS! They’d still be fighting today if Vader was in WCW. (2011 Scott sez:  Or TNA.)  Hmm, the doo rag makes Vader look cool, but the jockstrap on his face completely negates it. This would be match #19948 in their series of 78190. Sting controls early and slaps on the deathlock, but Vader breaks out and they fight outside the ring. Sting misses the Stinger splash outside and runs into the railing. Vader destroys Sting like his bitch. Vader hits him so hard you’d think that Sting stole his donut collection or something. They must not have had much time to prepare this one—Vader is calling spots pretty frequently. Sting blocks a superplex but Vader continues the assault. Sting finally sucks up his breath and lets Vader punch himself out, then makes the comeback. Sting goes after Race and pays the price for it—getting chokeslammed by Vader. Vader goes to the second rope and splats Sting. Woof. He didn’t get all of it, so he goes up to the top rope, and gets powerslammed by Sting for the pin. Sting wins the King of Cable tournament. Hey, a **** Sting-Vader match, what a shock. ****1/4 • Battlebowl: We’ve got Van Hammer, Dan Spivey, Dustin Rhodes, Vader, Sting, Steve Williams, Barry Windham and Great Muta. They talk to some football player about the importance of rings in sporting events. My roommate’s theory: Bill Watts likes football players. That’s right—never mind those blacks or Japanese, let’s talk to some completely unrelated retired football players. Great philosophy Bill—enjoy the unemployment line. Anyway, racist unpleasantness aside, Sting and Vader try to kill each other, as per usual. Windham and Rhodes try to kill each other, of course. The rest kind of mingle in the corner. Van Hammer and Spivey are the first gone. Vader dives onto Sting and they’re both gone. Final four: Rhodes, Windham, Williams and Muta. Windham bleeds hardway from the nose. Not much happens until Williams tries to knock Rhodes and Windham out, but only gets Rhodes…and himself in the process. That leaves Windham and Muta. Windham wipes the mat with Muta. He tosses Muta, who does the Ricky Steamboat skin-the-cat back in and dropkicks Barry out for the win and the ring. Ummmm, that was pretty pointless. I don’t rate battle royales. The Bottom Line: This show marked the end of the Great Bill Watts Fiasco, as his reign lasted from early 1992 until here. Almost immediately after, Watts was tossed out on his ass and replaced with company suckup Eric Bischoff, who put the World title back on Vader and took the company in a whole new direction. This was a sham of a Starrcade, certainly not worthy of the 10th anniversary name.  (2011 Scott sez:  It’s true, Bill Watts was just not the right guy to be running a national company at that point.  He really didn’t “get” the PPV model or modern TV product, and shows like this proved it.)  Strong recommendation to avoid.  (2011 Scott sez:  Well, except for the two ****+ matches that ended the show.  We’ll actually say mildly recommended for those.) 

Starrcade Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 92, which is the 10th annual Starrcade 92, according to the voiceover guy at the beginning. Yup, I remember the first Starrcade 92, back in 1983… • Live from Atlanta, GA • Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura• The whole point of the show is blown right off the bat, as it is announced that US champion Rick Rude is injured, thus ruining the Ron Simmons-Rick Rude match for the WCW World title. Steve Williams is put in his place. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to hear that announcement when watching the show for the first time. That would be sarcasm, of course. • Bill Watts and Hank Aaron present Sting with last year’s Battlebowl ring. I’m shocked that Watts was able to be in the same ring with Aaron, considering all the allegations of racism against Watts. Sting is wearing blue and white face paint…could this be a secret alliance with the Smurfs? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT!  (2011 Scott sez:  I’d like to think that joke’s pretty timeless.) • Larry Z and Missy Hyatt do the honors of drawing the names for Battlebowl. The Lethal Lottery: • Opening match: Van Hammer & Dan Spivey v. Cactus Jack & Johnny B. Badd. Johnny wears a cowboy hat to the ring, thus boosting him to an 8 on the Fag-O-Meter. He’d hit 9 if he was wearing the feather boa. Hammer dominates Cactus to start. Badd tags in and he gets beat up. Badd retaliates with a VICIOUS rana, driving Hammer’s head into the mat. Badd and Cactus are de facto faces here, and Hammer is the reluctant heel. The drawing is rigged for this match at least (it was done on the previous Clash) so they’ve had some time to plan the match. Badd gets beat on for a bit and Jack gets the hot tag and destroys Spivey. He goes for the tag again, but Badd was knocked out to the floor. Further miscommunication results and Badd ends up KO’ing Jack, allowing Hammer to roll him up for the pin. Not bad. ** • Dustin Rhodes & Vader v. Barbarian & Kensuke Sasaki. Well, one team is good. Vader and Barbie have a slobberknocker to start. That goes nowhere so we try Dustin v. Sasaski. Sasaski wrestles like a Road Warrior, no-selling Dustin’s stuff, so Vader comes in and wipes the mat with him. That’ll teach him. Awfully stiff stuff from Vader. Dustin cleans house on Barbarian, and a miscommunication spot between Sasaki and Barbarian leads to Rhodes getting the pin. Vader made it watchable. *1/2 Vader destroys Rhodes for fun. • Why is Jesse Ventura wearing a Malcolm X hat? • Barry Windham & The Great Muta v. 2 Cold Scorpio & Brian Pillman. This should be interesting. Pillman & Windham are going for the tag titles later in the show. Muta is the most over guy in the match. Pillman and Muta do a “dream match that never happened” sequence. What a shame. Windham and Pillman smack each other around a bunch, then call it off. Muta gets a SWANK spinning kick to the jaw of Pillman, but gets caught in the wrong corner. Sadly, these matches are too short to tell any kind of story, but necessity. Now Scorp gets caught in the wrong corner and double-teamed. Ever notice how much the People’s Elbow resembles Muta’s? Scorpio does some high impact stuff to Muta and a pier-six erupts. Windham hits an absolutely neck-breaking Implant (jumping DDT) and Muta finishes it with a moonsault to Scorpio for the pin. Damn, I wish they had 20 minutes to develop it. **1/2 • Steve Williams & Sting v. Erik Watts & Jushin Liger. Williams no-sells a bunch of Liger’s stuff (what a surprise) so Liger lets Watts be the whipping boy. Liger tags back in and gets torn apart by Williams. Is this some kind of All Japan-New Japan thing? Sting and Liger works out a bit better for Jushin. Williams just kills Liger some more. Why can’t it be Watts taking the shitkicking? (2011 Scott sez:  Because then the match would suck, duh.)  Liger goes for a sleeper on Doc—not smart, Jushin. Doc drops him on his head. JR is in his glory calling this. Finally after a horrible slaughter, Watts gets the hot tag and hits the two singularly worst dropkicks I’ve seen in my life. Williams should be ashamed for selling them. (2011 Scott sez:  I actually based the Erik Watts Dropkick Scale on this match.  This is 1.0 Watts.)  The crowd does NOT appreciate the efforts of Watts. Williams hits a stungun on Watts shortly after and easily pins him, for a big pop. This was basically a squash. ** • So the Battlebowl field is Van Hammer, Dan Spivey, Barry Windham, Great Muta, Vader, Dustin Rhodes, Sting and Steve Williams. • NWA “World” title match: Masahiro Chono v. The Great Muta. Oh no, it’s the battle of nWo Japan. Back in early 1993, Herb Kunze noted that both guys were specifically told by Bill Watts before the match to NOT put on a good show, so as not to steal the show from the WCW guys. So if you ever see this match, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Chono is wearing the belt currently worn by DDP here. (2011 Scott sez:  Say what?)  Some wristlock trading to start, and Muta stalls. They trade abdominal stretches. Then Chono applies an armbar. Then Muta applies a head scissor. Man, this is almost exciting to type as it is to watch. Now Muta stalls some more. Man, they’re just lucky it’s not Philly. Chono goes into a hammerlock. I’m proud of the fans for not breaking into a huge “boring” chant, because it would certainly be their right. Finally a highspot, as Chono goes to the top and Muta reverses to a superplex. Muta with the Indian deathlock. You’ve all heard my stance on that particular move and why no one born after 1960 should be using it anymore, I assume. Now Chono stalls. Hey, another highspot, as Muta hits the handspring elbow and goes for the moonsault, but misses. Muta gets two off a cradle. Both guys try a dropkick and both miss. Chono hits a backdrop suplex, and Muta reverses a second try for two. Muta misses a dropkick and Chono hooks the STF and Muta submits. Okay, first of all the finish came out of nowhere, with no buildup. The match was terribly boring. The crowd was dead. There was all of one move with any kind of high-risk. All in all, a horrible match. -** • Ross runs down a tournament for the US title as a result of Rude’s injury. It’s a shame, too, because Rude was pretty much pencilled in to take Ron Simmons’ World title on this show. He never properly recovered from that neck injury, and in fact was permanently crippled by Sting in 1994 and sent into retirement. He lost all his heat during the layoff, too. • WCW World title match: Ron Simmons v. Steve Williams. Yes, it’s Farrooq v. JR’s Boy. No wonder this show tanked. Simmons of course is using that classic theme “Don’t Step to Ron”. Sadly, my roommate has that CD. Jesse rants about dirty politics with regards to Rick Rude. Williams actually offers Simmons a handshake—and doesn’t attack him. Wow. They trade headlocks and then do a dueling three-point stance routine to get the crowd going. Simmons does a bunch of armbarring. Williams works on the knee. There you go, 10 minutes summed up in 2 sentences. Simmons makes the comeback with a bunch of clips. They fight outside the ring for a double countout. A long, boring match that settled nothing. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  Whose dumb idea was it to substitute Dr. Death into the World title match?  Just stick Vader in there since they ended up changing the title about a week after this anyway.)  WCW/NWA tag team title match: Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas v. Brian Pillman & Barry Windham. Pillman & Windham were the pre-cursors to the Hollywood Blonds. Windham is using the epic theme “Smokin’” and Steamboat/Douglas get “Family Man”. Wow, what a great album that was. Not. Jesse notes that Shane’s idol is Rush Limbaugh. Somehow I’m not surprised at that revelation. Pillman and Douglas start out. It’s pretty tough to deal with Douglas the Bouncing Babyface these days. The champs do some double-teaming, leaving us with Windham against Steamboat. Since Steamboat is a professional (unlike his partner) he breaks the theme of the evening by actually putting forth an effort. Everyone else has it in cruise control. Pillman takes his trademark chin-to-the-railing bump, of course. Douglas does take a nice bump, getting dropkicked off the top rope to the floor. Douglas plays Ricky Morton. Douglas takes a nasty bump, hitting his leg on the railing. Steamboat nails Windham with a chair to save Douglas. Ricky, I’m disappointed in you. Faces don’t do that. Finally, after an eternity, Steamboat gets the hot tag and cleans house. Doesn’t last long, as Windham powerslams and suplexes him. Another heat segment follows, this one on Steamboat. Douglas gets another hot tag, and a pier-six erupts. Pillman walks into a fluke belly-to-belly and the champs retain. Just awful by Steamboat’s standards, although still a really good match by any other. ***1/4 Windham would be replaced by Steve Austin for the rematch, and the rest is history.  (2011 Scott sez:  I majorly short-shrifted this match, as we’ll see once I repost the Essential Starrcade rants.  This was a HELL of a tag match, maybe one of the best in the history of Starrcade.)  The King of Cable tournament final: Sting v. Vader. JR and Jesse talk this up as the big blowoff for the Sting-Vader feud. Hah! It’s won’t end—it NEVER ENDS! They’d still be fighting today if Vader was in WCW. (2011 Scott sez:  Or TNA.)  Hmm, the doo rag makes Vader look cool, but the jockstrap on his face completely negates it. This would be match #19948 in their series of 78190. Sting controls early and slaps on the deathlock, but Vader breaks out and they fight outside the ring. Sting misses the Stinger splash outside and runs into the railing. Vader destroys Sting like his bitch. Vader hits him so hard you’d think that Sting stole his donut collection or something. They must not have had much time to prepare this one—Vader is calling spots pretty frequently. Sting blocks a superplex but Vader continues the assault. Sting finally sucks up his breath and lets Vader punch himself out, then makes the comeback. Sting goes after Race and pays the price for it—getting chokeslammed by Vader. Vader goes to the second rope and splats Sting. Woof. He didn’t get all of it, so he goes up to the top rope, and gets powerslammed by Sting for the pin. Sting wins the King of Cable tournament. Hey, a **** Sting-Vader match, what a shock. ****1/4 • Battlebowl: We’ve got Van Hammer, Dan Spivey, Dustin Rhodes, Vader, Sting, Steve Williams, Barry Windham and Great Muta. They talk to some football player about the importance of rings in sporting events. My roommate’s theory: Bill Watts likes football players. That’s right—never mind those blacks or Japanese, let’s talk to some completely unrelated retired football players. Great philosophy Bill—enjoy the unemployment line. Anyway, racist unpleasantness aside, Sting and Vader try to kill each other, as per usual. Windham and Rhodes try to kill each other, of course. The rest kind of mingle in the corner. Van Hammer and Spivey are the first gone. Vader dives onto Sting and they’re both gone. Final four: Rhodes, Windham, Williams and Muta. Windham bleeds hardway from the nose. Not much happens until Williams tries to knock Rhodes and Windham out, but only gets Rhodes…and himself in the process. That leaves Windham and Muta. Windham wipes the mat with Muta. He tosses Muta, who does the Ricky Steamboat skin-the-cat back in and dropkicks Barry out for the win and the ring. Ummmm, that was pretty pointless. I don’t rate battle royales. The Bottom Line: This show marked the end of the Great Bill Watts Fiasco, as his reign lasted from early 1992 until here. Almost immediately after, Watts was tossed out on his ass and replaced with company suckup Eric Bischoff, who put the World title back on Vader and took the company in a whole new direction. This was a sham of a Starrcade, certainly not worthy of the 10th anniversary name.  (2011 Scott sez:  It’s true, Bill Watts was just not the right guy to be running a national company at that point.  He really didn’t “get” the PPV model or modern TV product, and shows like this proved it.)  Strong recommendation to avoid.  (2011 Scott sez:  Well, except for the two ****+ matches that ended the show.  We’ll actually say mildly recommended for those.) 

Starrcade Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 92, which is the 10th annual Starrcade 92, according to the voiceover guy at the beginning. Yup, I remember the first Starrcade 92, back in 1983… • Live from Atlanta, GA • Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura• The whole point of the show is blown right off the bat, as it is announced that US champion Rick Rude is injured, thus ruining the Ron Simmons-Rick Rude match for the WCW World title. Steve Williams is put in his place. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to hear that announcement when watching the show for the first time. That would be sarcasm, of course. • Bill Watts and Hank Aaron present Sting with last year’s Battlebowl ring. I’m shocked that Watts was able to be in the same ring with Aaron, considering all the allegations of racism against Watts. Sting is wearing blue and white face paint…could this be a secret alliance with the Smurfs? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT!  (2011 Scott sez:  I’d like to think that joke’s pretty timeless.) • Larry Z and Missy Hyatt do the honors of drawing the names for Battlebowl. The Lethal Lottery: • Opening match: Van Hammer & Dan Spivey v. Cactus Jack & Johnny B. Badd. Johnny wears a cowboy hat to the ring, thus boosting him to an 8 on the Fag-O-Meter. He’d hit 9 if he was wearing the feather boa. Hammer dominates Cactus to start. Badd tags in and he gets beat up. Badd retaliates with a VICIOUS rana, driving Hammer’s head into the mat. Badd and Cactus are de facto faces here, and Hammer is the reluctant heel. The drawing is rigged for this match at least (it was done on the previous Clash) so they’ve had some time to plan the match. Badd gets beat on for a bit and Jack gets the hot tag and destroys Spivey. He goes for the tag again, but Badd was knocked out to the floor. Further miscommunication results and Badd ends up KO’ing Jack, allowing Hammer to roll him up for the pin. Not bad. ** • Dustin Rhodes & Vader v. Barbarian & Kensuke Sasaki. Well, one team is good. Vader and Barbie have a slobberknocker to start. That goes nowhere so we try Dustin v. Sasaski. Sasaski wrestles like a Road Warrior, no-selling Dustin’s stuff, so Vader comes in and wipes the mat with him. That’ll teach him. Awfully stiff stuff from Vader. Dustin cleans house on Barbarian, and a miscommunication spot between Sasaki and Barbarian leads to Rhodes getting the pin. Vader made it watchable. *1/2 Vader destroys Rhodes for fun. • Why is Jesse Ventura wearing a Malcolm X hat? • Barry Windham & The Great Muta v. 2 Cold Scorpio & Brian Pillman. This should be interesting. Pillman & Windham are going for the tag titles later in the show. Muta is the most over guy in the match. Pillman and Muta do a “dream match that never happened” sequence. What a shame. Windham and Pillman smack each other around a bunch, then call it off. Muta gets a SWANK spinning kick to the jaw of Pillman, but gets caught in the wrong corner. Sadly, these matches are too short to tell any kind of story, but necessity. Now Scorp gets caught in the wrong corner and double-teamed. Ever notice how much the People’s Elbow resembles Muta’s? Scorpio does some high impact stuff to Muta and a pier-six erupts. Windham hits an absolutely neck-breaking Implant (jumping DDT) and Muta finishes it with a moonsault to Scorpio for the pin. Damn, I wish they had 20 minutes to develop it. **1/2 • Steve Williams & Sting v. Erik Watts & Jushin Liger. Williams no-sells a bunch of Liger’s stuff (what a surprise) so Liger lets Watts be the whipping boy. Liger tags back in and gets torn apart by Williams. Is this some kind of All Japan-New Japan thing? Sting and Liger works out a bit better for Jushin. Williams just kills Liger some more. Why can’t it be Watts taking the shitkicking? (2011 Scott sez:  Because then the match would suck, duh.)  Liger goes for a sleeper on Doc—not smart, Jushin. Doc drops him on his head. JR is in his glory calling this. Finally after a horrible slaughter, Watts gets the hot tag and hits the two singularly worst dropkicks I’ve seen in my life. Williams should be ashamed for selling them. (2011 Scott sez:  I actually based the Erik Watts Dropkick Scale on this match.  This is 1.0 Watts.)  The crowd does NOT appreciate the efforts of Watts. Williams hits a stungun on Watts shortly after and easily pins him, for a big pop. This was basically a squash. ** • So the Battlebowl field is Van Hammer, Dan Spivey, Barry Windham, Great Muta, Vader, Dustin Rhodes, Sting and Steve Williams. • NWA “World” title match: Masahiro Chono v. The Great Muta. Oh no, it’s the battle of nWo Japan. Back in early 1993, Herb Kunze noted that both guys were specifically told by Bill Watts before the match to NOT put on a good show, so as not to steal the show from the WCW guys. So if you ever see this match, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Chono is wearing the belt currently worn by DDP here. (2011 Scott sez:  Say what?)  Some wristlock trading to start, and Muta stalls. They trade abdominal stretches. Then Chono applies an armbar. Then Muta applies a head scissor. Man, this is almost exciting to type as it is to watch. Now Muta stalls some more. Man, they’re just lucky it’s not Philly. Chono goes into a hammerlock. I’m proud of the fans for not breaking into a huge “boring” chant, because it would certainly be their right. Finally a highspot, as Chono goes to the top and Muta reverses to a superplex. Muta with the Indian deathlock. You’ve all heard my stance on that particular move and why no one born after 1960 should be using it anymore, I assume. Now Chono stalls. Hey, another highspot, as Muta hits the handspring elbow and goes for the moonsault, but misses. Muta gets two off a cradle. Both guys try a dropkick and both miss. Chono hits a backdrop suplex, and Muta reverses a second try for two. Muta misses a dropkick and Chono hooks the STF and Muta submits. Okay, first of all the finish came out of nowhere, with no buildup. The match was terribly boring. The crowd was dead. There was all of one move with any kind of high-risk. All in all, a horrible match. -** • Ross runs down a tournament for the US title as a result of Rude’s injury. It’s a shame, too, because Rude was pretty much pencilled in to take Ron Simmons’ World title on this show. He never properly recovered from that neck injury, and in fact was permanently crippled by Sting in 1994 and sent into retirement. He lost all his heat during the layoff, too. • WCW World title match: Ron Simmons v. Steve Williams. Yes, it’s Farrooq v. JR’s Boy. No wonder this show tanked. Simmons of course is using that classic theme “Don’t Step to Ron”. Sadly, my roommate has that CD. Jesse rants about dirty politics with regards to Rick Rude. Williams actually offers Simmons a handshake—and doesn’t attack him. Wow. They trade headlocks and then do a dueling three-point stance routine to get the crowd going. Simmons does a bunch of armbarring. Williams works on the knee. There you go, 10 minutes summed up in 2 sentences. Simmons makes the comeback with a bunch of clips. They fight outside the ring for a double countout. A long, boring match that settled nothing. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  Whose dumb idea was it to substitute Dr. Death into the World title match?  Just stick Vader in there since they ended up changing the title about a week after this anyway.)  WCW/NWA tag team title match: Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas v. Brian Pillman & Barry Windham. Pillman & Windham were the pre-cursors to the Hollywood Blonds. Windham is using the epic theme “Smokin’” and Steamboat/Douglas get “Family Man”. Wow, what a great album that was. Not. Jesse notes that Shane’s idol is Rush Limbaugh. Somehow I’m not surprised at that revelation. Pillman and Douglas start out. It’s pretty tough to deal with Douglas the Bouncing Babyface these days. The champs do some double-teaming, leaving us with Windham against Steamboat. Since Steamboat is a professional (unlike his partner) he breaks the theme of the evening by actually putting forth an effort. Everyone else has it in cruise control. Pillman takes his trademark chin-to-the-railing bump, of course. Douglas does take a nice bump, getting dropkicked off the top rope to the floor. Douglas plays Ricky Morton. Douglas takes a nasty bump, hitting his leg on the railing. Steamboat nails Windham with a chair to save Douglas. Ricky, I’m disappointed in you. Faces don’t do that. Finally, after an eternity, Steamboat gets the hot tag and cleans house. Doesn’t last long, as Windham powerslams and suplexes him. Another heat segment follows, this one on Steamboat. Douglas gets another hot tag, and a pier-six erupts. Pillman walks into a fluke belly-to-belly and the champs retain. Just awful by Steamboat’s standards, although still a really good match by any other. ***1/4 Windham would be replaced by Steve Austin for the rematch, and the rest is history.  (2011 Scott sez:  I majorly short-shrifted this match, as we’ll see once I repost the Essential Starrcade rants.  This was a HELL of a tag match, maybe one of the best in the history of Starrcade.)  The King of Cable tournament final: Sting v. Vader. JR and Jesse talk this up as the big blowoff for the Sting-Vader feud. Hah! It’s won’t end—it NEVER ENDS! They’d still be fighting today if Vader was in WCW. (2011 Scott sez:  Or TNA.)  Hmm, the doo rag makes Vader look cool, but the jockstrap on his face completely negates it. This would be match #19948 in their series of 78190. Sting controls early and slaps on the deathlock, but Vader breaks out and they fight outside the ring. Sting misses the Stinger splash outside and runs into the railing. Vader destroys Sting like his bitch. Vader hits him so hard you’d think that Sting stole his donut collection or something. They must not have had much time to prepare this one—Vader is calling spots pretty frequently. Sting blocks a superplex but Vader continues the assault. Sting finally sucks up his breath and lets Vader punch himself out, then makes the comeback. Sting goes after Race and pays the price for it—getting chokeslammed by Vader. Vader goes to the second rope and splats Sting. Woof. He didn’t get all of it, so he goes up to the top rope, and gets powerslammed by Sting for the pin. Sting wins the King of Cable tournament. Hey, a **** Sting-Vader match, what a shock. ****1/4 • Battlebowl: We’ve got Van Hammer, Dan Spivey, Dustin Rhodes, Vader, Sting, Steve Williams, Barry Windham and Great Muta. They talk to some football player about the importance of rings in sporting events. My roommate’s theory: Bill Watts likes football players. That’s right—never mind those blacks or Japanese, let’s talk to some completely unrelated retired football players. Great philosophy Bill—enjoy the unemployment line. Anyway, racist unpleasantness aside, Sting and Vader try to kill each other, as per usual. Windham and Rhodes try to kill each other, of course. The rest kind of mingle in the corner. Van Hammer and Spivey are the first gone. Vader dives onto Sting and they’re both gone. Final four: Rhodes, Windham, Williams and Muta. Windham bleeds hardway from the nose. Not much happens until Williams tries to knock Rhodes and Windham out, but only gets Rhodes…and himself in the process. That leaves Windham and Muta. Windham wipes the mat with Muta. He tosses Muta, who does the Ricky Steamboat skin-the-cat back in and dropkicks Barry out for the win and the ring. Ummmm, that was pretty pointless. I don’t rate battle royales. The Bottom Line: This show marked the end of the Great Bill Watts Fiasco, as his reign lasted from early 1992 until here. Almost immediately after, Watts was tossed out on his ass and replaced with company suckup Eric Bischoff, who put the World title back on Vader and took the company in a whole new direction. This was a sham of a Starrcade, certainly not worthy of the 10th anniversary name.  (2011 Scott sez:  It’s true, Bill Watts was just not the right guy to be running a national company at that point.  He really didn’t “get” the PPV model or modern TV product, and shows like this proved it.)  Strong recommendation to avoid.  (2011 Scott sez:  Well, except for the two ****+ matches that ended the show.  We’ll actually say mildly recommended for those.)