Lex Luger heel turn in 1994?

I’ve been going through the Raw shows of 1994 and my question – did they ever consider having Luger turn heel & join the Million Dollar Man? It was obvious from the beginning he wasn’t, but wouldn’t it have been so much better for Luger, who was stuck in the mud as a face? He was like the #5 face by the end of the year, but could’ve been a main event heel & helped the DiBiase’s corporation feel more like a threat. Heel Tatanka was sad.

Take a drink.

And no, Luger was never planned to be a heel. Probably would have helped immensely, but it just wasn’t where they wanted to go with him.

Monday Night RAW – October 31, 1994

Hi Scott,

Want to say that I have been enjoying the SNME and '94 RAW series, and hope to see more!

I noticed that you skipped the October 31 RAW show. I recently did a review of it, and thought I'd pass it along, in case some of your readers are interested.

http://buexperience.blogspot.com/2014/08/wwf-monday-night-raw-october-31-1994.html

Hope you have a great weekend!

​I didn't actually skip it, I was just trolling my fanbase by pretending to do a Battleground 2014 rant and then giving an old RAW instead.  The October 31 RAW is here if anyone missed the joke originally:
 ​

The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 1994

The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 1994 Live from San Antonio, TX Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Gorilla Monsoon The Teamsters (Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart & Jeff Jarrett) v. The Bad Guys (Razor Ramon, 1-2-3 Kid, British Bulldog, Fatu & Sionne) Well, the Teamsters ARE known for their laziness and greed, so it would fit that Nash would be captaining this team. Interesting that only the team captains get entrance music this year. The storyline was more that Shawn and Diesel were having a domestic squabble as tag champions than any real issue between Ramon and Diesel. Kind of weird what a non-issue Ramon was even though he was IC champion for another three months after this. Owen starts with the Kid while Fatu is forced into wearing boots by THE MAN, and this is apparently an issue for him. Kid fights off both Harts but runs into an Anvil elbow in a weird spot, allowing the heels to take over. Kid spinkicks JJ out of the ring (giving us our first “right in the mush” of the evening) and Barbarian comes in with a press slam. Jarrett comes back with a flying clothesline for two. Next up, it’s Owen v. Bulldog and they do the cool wristlock sequence, leading to Owen getting pummelled in the face corner and slammed. Bulldog with a sunset flip for two, but Owen lays him out with the enzuigiri and the New Foundation tries some double-teaming. That backfires because Neidhart is useless, and Fatu comes in but has trouble with his footwear. What a stupid storyline that was. And really, wasn’t there ANY other Samoans available to replace Samu? They just had to give Barbarian another payday? Just use Fatu’s brother! Jarrett grabs a headlock on Ramon and quickly gets tossed for his troubles, and back in he gets double-teamed by Ramon & Kid. Razor tosses the Kid at him for a bodypress that gets two, but Jarrett comes back with an abdominal stretch to slow things down. Kid reverses, so Jarrett hiptosses him over the top rope in a cool spot missed by the camera. Back in with Fatu, who still can’t get his shit together, and Owen gets a leg lariat for two. Fatu comes back, finally acting like a human being months into his babyface run, but Diesel comes in and finishes him with the powerbomb at 13:30. Kid tries next and flies in with a sunset flip off the top, but Diesel casually shrugs him off and another Poochiebomb ends the night at 14:14. Sionne in next and he slugs away, but he walks into ANOTHER powerbomb at 14:45. Bulldog comes in and gets booted to the floor and apparently gets counted out at 16:00. Razor tries a cradle on Diesel for two and the flying bulldog for two, but Diesel puts him down with a clothesline and now Shawn finally wants into the match. He had a legit broken hand at the time, which explains his not factoring into the match thus far. Razor keeps fighting against Diesel and manages to slam him, but can’t get the Razor’s Edge. Diesel finally gets the powerbomb and Shawn tags himself in for the big finish, but then demands that Diesel hold Ramon steady for the fateful superkick. And of course Ramon moves and Diesel eats it. And now he’s had ENOUGH and turns babyface, fighting off his own team members and chasing Shawn back to the dressing room, giving Ramon the countout win over all five heels at 21:26. Survivor: Razor Ramon. Good action before the rapid-fire eliminations and storyline kicked in and killed the match dead, but man what a stupid finish. And really none of the match went anywhere. **1/4 Meanwhile, Shawn leaves the arena, dumps Diesel, and tosses the tag team titles on the ground on the way out. Hopefully he’ll have better luck with his next bodyguard! MIDGET MADNESS: The Royal Family (Jerry Lawler, Cheezy, Queezy & Sleazy) v. Clowns R Us (Doink, Dink, Wink, Pink) No midgets mixing with normals allowed in this match, which is how it should be. Doink quickly gets a clownzuigiri on Lawler, but Lawler’s attempt fails. And we get some midget comedy with everyone running over him on the mat. Doink with some slams and the clown midgets all try to pin Lawler with no luck. Lawler actually sells getting a Burger King crown put on his head and we get an attempt at a chicken fight that goes badly. Finally Lawler uses his old standby, the phantom object, to take over. Really, that’s a heel tactic that no one does anymore and it’s ridiculously easy heat. Pantomime a foreign object in your hand, get a cheapshot with it, hide the “object” in your tights. Doink makes a quick comeback, but a bodypress is rolled through by Lawler for the pin at 10:45. So basically Lawler is eliminated as well. The clown midgets double-team Cheezy in the corner, but Wink gets caught in the heel side and Lawler holds him down for a pin at 13:32. Pink comes in and Lawler drops Cheezy onto him for the pin at 14:33. So Dink is alone and he holds his own and gets a flying bodypress for two on Sleazy, but they roll him over for the pin at 16:00 to finish this off. Survivors: Jerry Lawler and his pet midgets. Jerry Lawler is so proud of himself that he fires his own midgets, resulting in a 6-on-1 midget revolt against him. Never trust a midget! This was as horrible as you could imagine. WWF title, submission match: Bret Hart v. Mr. Bob Backlund Bob runs away a few times to start, but Bret grabs a headlock and goes to work on the neck. Going back and reading the Observers from this time and it’s hilarious how much Meltzer hated Backlund at the time. I mean, he just buried the guy every chance he got. He summed up Backlund even getting to his point as “a cute idea gone haywire” and noted that they were trying to appeal to completely the wrong audience with it. So Bret works on a headlock while we get a shot of Bret’s she-devil wife Julie, and Bret reverses a crossface attempt into a suplex. Back to the headlock, but Bret misses the middle rope elbow and Bob takes over. Bret goes after Owen and nearly gets crossfaced, but fights it off and Bob goes to work on the arm. This gives me the chance to think about the changes in wrestling over the years and how long people stick around. Bob’s original reign ended in 1983 and this was 1994, 11 years after that. Those were like two different worlds and Backlund was some sort of bizarre time-traveller from the past when he did this comeback run. But think about today’s business, and how many guys from 11 years ago are still around and still in the same position. Rock was already winding his career down in 2003 and he just came back and won the WWE title again last year! Hell, the last time I did a review of this show was 15 years ago! No wonder the business is so stale. Anyway, Bret goes to a figure-four now, but Owen walks away from his towel just in case he’s tempted to use it. Backlund reverses the hold and then gets to the ropes to force a break, so Bret goes back to the leg again. They slug it out and Bob gets a piledriver, but can’t get the crossface. Bret comes back with his own piledriver and a bulldog and it’s the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, but Bulldog chases Owen around during the Sharpshooter, allowing Owen to sneak in and break the hold. Bulldog stupidly charges on the floor and hits the stairs, knocking himself unconscious and thus removing the possibility of throwing in the towel. Bob finally gets his crossface and the crowd is freaking out, although Davey Boy may be legally dead at this point and no one seems to care. So Bret is in the hold for NINE MINUTES, which gives me time to go make popcorn and feed my cat, while Owen has a babyface turn at ringside and tearfully talks Stu and Helen into throwing in the towel on Davey’s behalf. Meanwhile, Davey still hasn’t moved and probably has a fractured skull or something. Finally, Helen caves into Owen’s tears and throws in the towel, giving Backlund the WWF title again at 35:20. Backlund of course wouldn’t even make it to the next episode of Monday Night RAW with the belt. The final 10 minutes were some cool mindgames on Owen’s part, but there was just too much nothing leading up to it. AND WHAT ABOUT BULLDOG?! **1/2 The Million Dollar Team (Tatanka, Bam Bam Bigelow, King Kong Bundy & The Heavenly Bodies) v. Guts & Glory (Lex Luger, Adam Bomb, Mabel & The Smoking Gunns) Tatanka throws chops on Luger to start and gets a suplex, but Lex no-sells all of it and comes back with clotheslines. Mabel tosses Dr. Tom around and flattens him with a bodypress at 4:08. Del Ray comes in and walks into the Bossman slam, so we get the Bundy v. Mabel showdown. That goes nowhere and it’ Mabel v. Bam Bam, and Mabel “hits” a leg lariat that misses by 2 feet and goes up. Bigelow slams him off in an impressive spot and goes up with a sunset flip, but Mabel sits on him and they both go tumbling to the floor for countout of Mabel at 7:30. Del Ray superkicks Billy Gunn for two, but a backslide gets two. Adam Bomb comes in and hits the slingshot clothesline on Bigelow, but Bundy gets a cheapshot and the Lunasault finishes at 9:19. Del Ray works Luger over, but walks into the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DOOM and gets pinned at 11:10. The Gunns double-team Tatanka, but he knocks off Bart with the Papoose To Go at 15:00. Luger and Billy work Tatanka over, but Bundy comes in and drops an elbow on Billy to finish him at 17:40. So Luger is alone 3-on-1, the world’s greatest choke artist against the most useless heel stable ever. The heels work Luger over forever, but Luger cradles Tatanka for the pin at 23:32 before Bundy splashes and pins him at 23:40. Survivors: Bam Bam Bigelow & King Kong Bundy. Pretty dull stuff. **1/2 Meanwhile, Mr. Bob Backlund FEELS LIKE GOD. Casket Match: Undertaker v. Yokozuna Your special referee is Chuck Norris, long before he became an internet meme. Taker chases Yoko around the ring and goes old school, but walks into the samoan drop. Yoko tries for the casket, but Taker necksnaps him to escape. Yoko comes back with a legdrop and they fight into the casket, but that goes nowhere. Yoko tosses him and takes over with some choking, but Taker goes up with the flying clothesline and that seems to be it for Yoko. The heels start coming out to re-enact Royal Rumble 94, but they didn’t count on CHUCK NORRIS being there this time. This still gives IRS time to run in and put Taker in a sleeper and into the casket, but Undertaker arises and he’s pissed. Clothesline and big boot puts Yoko in the casket, and Taker slams the lid shut at 15:24 to avenge himself. It was what it was. * The Pulse I know this tends to be a polarizing show to say the least. I just found it really, really dull tonight and had no real connection to any of the elimination tag matches. Your overall enjoyment will probably depend on what you get out of the Bret v. Backlund title match, so for me it’s a thumbs in the middle show.

The Clique in tag team action on Action Zone in 1994

Scott,
You wanted it, you've got it. Here's the HBK & Diesel/Razor & 1-2-3 Kid tag you referenced in your latest RAW review from '94.

WCW 1994

I've been watching the Clashes and PPVs from WCW 94, and have a few observations/questions for you and the BOD.

1:  Did you ever do a rant for Fall Brawl 1994? It was almost like a last hurrah for the promotion that it was before Hogan and his buddies came in to ruin the on air product.

2: Has anybody ever pointed out that Hogan and Sting didn't wrestle on the same Clash/PPV for about the first six months of Hogan's WCW run? Seems like another example of Hogan playing every card he could to try to be the top babyface.

3: Was there any specific reason for the phasing out of Jesse Ventura other than Bobby Heenan was available? I'm not even asking about Ventura leaving the company, but it seems odd that Ventura is the lead color guy for two years and then he's just suddenly demoted.

2.  You are pretty much correct.  Sting was a major threat to his position.
3.  I don't think Jesse was particularly happy with his treatment in the promotion, and as you noted Heenan was available (and probably worked cheaper).  ​

The Lapsed Fan Episode 5: King of the Ring 1994

Hey Scott,
Here again with another plug for this week's Lapsed Fan episode.  Thank you again for plugging the show and for the excellent work you do on the blog.  This week we tackle the KING OF THE RING 1994.  
the lapsed fan Amidst the Vince McMahon steroid trials and Hulk Hogan signing with WCW, the WWE was struggling to find its new identity and a "new generation" of superstars.  Headlined by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper versus Jerry “The King” Lawler, this event seemed more like a step backward than a step forward. Jack Encarnacao and JP Sarro bring their brand of humor and nostalgia to the 1994 King of the Ring, discussing among other things:

–          Arguably the worst pin in the history of the sport of kings-          How hard it was to find this particular show in video stores –          Roddy Piper’s prejudice against people without a neck-          Who Bret Hart claimed was the WWE’s most “stunning figure” at the time –          Two words…Art Donovan

All this and more!  To listen click the link below:

As always Scott, thank you very much!
JP

AJPW 03.06.1994 – Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada

To anyone trying to get into puro in the late 90’s this match along with the 1994 Super J-Cup were prerequisite viewing. In 1998 I paid 20 dollars (American!) for a tape that featured this match. Today, it’s a simple click of a mouse away. So let’s celebrate the life of MitsuharuMisawa and the 20th anniversary of what many still consider the greatest match of all time, Toshiaki Kawada vs Mitsuharu Misawa from the famous Nippon Budokan Arena.


Scott, did you ever review this?


Nope, although obviously it’s a ***** match.  You can also get DVDs full of this stuff from Rudoreels.com and IVPvideos.com.  

http://new.ivpvideos2.com/index.php?cPath=3_79

Batista, Hogan, Flair, DOD and 1994

Scott,

With the Batista rumored "win the belt" clause in his contract, it got me thinking back to Hogan's WCW jump in 1994. They bring him in, first PPV he takes the belt off Flair. Then in October, he beats Flair in a cage match with Flair's career on the line, all this to build to a Starrcade main with him against Brother Booty Man? 

Did Hogan's creative clause give him the power to book all of his angles? I mean, why not build to the Flair career match at Starrcade?

Oh yeah dude, I'm pretty sure Hogan's contract literally said the words "HOGAN CAN DO WHATEVER THE FUCK HE WANTS" in bold letters.  Really though, the Havoc show was more important to Bischoff than Starrcade, and it worked in this case and popped a big number.  But yes, Hogan had iron-clad and complete control over everything he did, absolutely.  

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1994 WWF as told by Sean Waltman

This interview was conducted this year and released four months ago. It is hosted by Sean Oliver and last two hours and fifteen minutes long

 
 
JANUARY

 

On January
10th, Sean and Marty Jannetty defeated the Quebecers for the Tag
Team Titles. One week later, they lost the belts back to the Quebecers. Waltman
is asked if Marty was a suitable partner and immediately said that he was. He
then said that he learned a lot about tag team wrestling by teaming with him.
He is then asked how the one-week title run was proposed to him. Waltman said
that Vince was under indictment at that time and was bringing in guys like
Jerry Jarrett and Bill Watts at the time incase he had to go to prison. Waltman
said that it was a Jerry Jarrett idea. He didn’t get why they lost a week later
and when they lost it was the main event at Madison Square
Garden. Sean said that
they sent the fans home angry that night.

 

At the
January 17th house show at Madison Square
Garden, Owen Hart won a
30-man Royal Rumble match. During this match, Waltman injured his leg. He said
that he did a spinning head scissors, he believed it was on Adam Bomb, and he
did not know how to take the move so he tore up his knee. He said that he had
to share an ambulance with Ludvig Borga that night as they only two of them at
the arena and one of them was for Ivan Putski so he could get a ride back to
the hotel.

 

Up next is
the 1994 Royal Rumble PPV and when Owen kicked Bret’s injured knee. Waltman is
asked if there was any doubt if Owen and Bret could have a good feud and he
said that there was some doubt amongst the other wrestlers as they did not
think Owen was a big enough star to feud with Bret. Sean said that Owen turned
and it didn’t matter about cheers. He also said it was much easier being a
heel, due to not having to worry about fan response as much. Waltman said they
were happy for Owen but business was bad at the time and they were worried about
the gates. Waltman said that they would get home after being on the road and
come home to a tiny check.

 

Still on
the Royal Rumble, Waltman is asked about the angle of the Undertaker’s casket
exploding and him being lifted to the rafters. Waltman said that it was silly.
He is asked if Undertaker took time off because his wife was having a kid and
he said his son was already born and that he was working through a lot of
painful injuries and could barely get around. He also adds that they wouldn’t
even let you wrestle today if you had the same injuries.

 

Waltman is
asked about Lex Luger and Bret Hart being the co-winners of the Royal Rumble
match. He said that the office was behind Lex, joking that the first clue was
that they gave him a “huge, fucking bus” and brings up the angle on the
aircraft carrier. Waltman said at that time, Vince wanted to keep on pushing
Luger but the fans just wanted to see Bret. He brings up a tag match that
featured both guys and how Bret came out for his entrance and went to the
middle of the ring and the fans cheered while Luger went to the corner and
yelled and you could hear his voice echo due to the lack of crowd noise.
Waltman also adds how Bret told him to never go into the corner after his
entrance, because everyone else already does that. According to Waltman, even
Luger brought up his lack of crowd noise in the locker room and soon after
that, the decision was made to put the belt on Bret.

 

Waltman is
asked if Kevin Nash’s star-making moment was when he eliminated several people
in a row during the Rumble match. He said that it was and before that, he
usually looked bad in the ring. Waltman then is told about the fact that Nash
was getting cheered, despite being a heel, and Waltman talks about how the fans
let you know what they want and it makes it a lot easier on everyone, instead
of pushing a wrestler down your throat.

 

Waltman is
asked about Bob Holly, who debuted this month. He said that it was quiet and
when he was in the WWF, he always craved knowledge, especially about other
wreslters, promotions, and even television ratings. Waltman tells a story about
one time, he brought up to the other wrestlers that RAW received a 3.2 rating
and for a while, he was known as the three-two Kid.” Waltman was asked if Holly
was stiff and he said that he wasn’t anymore stiffer than himself. He adds that
they add good matches.

 

 

FEBRUARY

 

On February
6th, during a tour of Germany, Marty Jannetty was fired
for the fourth time by the WWF. Waltman did not recall how he got fired that
time, saying he wasn’t around, then is asked why Marty kept on resurfacing in
the WWF. Waltman said that he always had good matches. He then said he could be
sleeping under a table and wake up in ten minutes and go out and have a great
match. He is then asked if it was a personality conflict with management of
partying. Waltman said that it was partying and Marty was like a kid who
wouldn’t grow up, even adding it sounds hypocritical coming from himself.

 

He is asked
about Jim Ross and his contract not being renewed. Waltman said that it was
cold, as he just suffered a Bells Palsy attack. He is then asked about the
relationship between Ross and Vince McMahon. He tells a story about being in
the office with JR and Vince. JR was eating a plate of food while Vince and
Waltman had a disagreement. Vince told Waltman that sometimes, you have to
learn to like the taste of shit then spoke to JR and said “isn’t that right,
Jim.”

 

Waltman is
asked about how he would work guys who were having tryouts. Waltman said that
he didn’t tryout guys but would work with the new hires and would get a feeling
for their personality and workrate. He talks about the Shane Douglas matches
during his Dean Douglas run. He said it was a rotten gimmick and wasn’t in
shape but worked with him later on and he was much better.

 

During a
February 22nd taping of “Superstars,” Lex Luger was announced as the
WWF Champion and came to the ring with the belt. This show was airing right
after WrestleMania. Waltman was asked if Luger winning was the original plan or
were they just trying to throw people off. Waltman believes that they were just
trying to see how the crowd would react to Luger being the champion but doesn’t
know which reason was correct.

 

Up next is
Jerry Lawler and how four criminal charges of statutory rape and sodomy were
dropped in exchange for him pleading guilty to harassing a witness. Waltman
said that there was talk about the charges in the locker room. He is asked if
Lawler had a well-known reputation amongst the boys for liking underage girls.
Waltman said that people did not act surprised when it happened.

 

Waltman is
asked about Mabel and if he was hurt by him. At this time, he fell on Fatu in a
match and ended up hurting him bad. Waltman said that he got roughed up a bit
but nothing bad. He also brings up how he hurt Nash bad one night and almost
got fired as a result but claims Nash did not want him to lose his job.

 

 

MARCH

 

Waltman is
asked about Chief Jay Strongbow as an agent, who is unpopular amongst most
wrestlers. Waltman said Strongbow liked him and his friends and people did not
like him because he was a hardass. Waltman brings up how Strongbow tried to
teach him when he first got there and called him “trailer,” because he was the
last to arrive to the building. He then took a liking to Waltman when he found
out that he was trained by Boris Malenko, who helped out Strongbow a lot when
he first broke into the business.

 

He is then
asked about a joint show between the WWF and Smoky Mountain.
Waltman is asked about the pay and he said it was shit and that he made about
$200 from that show.

 

Waltman is
asked about the first “meet & greet” before WrestleMania and if they got
paid any extra. Waltman doesn’t believe that they were but that it was expected
of you. He is asked about WrestleMania paydays but at the time, Waltman said he
was on the bottom of the pay scale and didn’t get much anyway.

 

Next is
when Bret won the title from Yokozuna. He is asked about the decision to go
with Bret over Luger. Waltman said that it was not only the fans, but also the
boys. Waltman is asked how someone approaches Vince to tell him what to do,
asking if you have to be blunt or subtle. Waltman just said that they let Shawn
Michaels take care of that stuff.

 

Waltman is now
asked about the ladder match between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels and if they
knew before the match that it was going to be a classic. Waltman said they did
a little bit but most people do not know that those guys had much better ladder
matches at house shows before that. He is then asked if they practice ladder
moves before the match as Waltman tells him you never, ever practice using a
ladder as you could easily injure yourself before the match.

 

He is then
asked if he got paid for his ten-man match at WrestleMania that got bumped off
the card due to time restraints. Waltman said that he got $10,000. He then said
that he was bummed out as it was his first time at WrestleMania. He confirms
that it was the ladder match that ran long.

 

Waltman
then talks about the celebrities that appeared at Mania. He called Burt
Reynolds “whiskey nose” as he was royally shitfaced that night. He is asked if
he got the business. Waltman said that he did and William Shatner did as well.
He said that it was cool meeting Little Richard and Jennie Garth.

 

The tuxedo
match between Howard Finkel and Harvey Whippleman is brought up. Waltman said
that Howard was a whipping boy for a lot of people. Waltman said that he always
liked Howard. He is asked about Howard’s position behind the scenes. Waltman
said that he would tell you what was said in the dirt sheets and was a source
of information.

 

He is asked
why they brought back Capt. Lou Albano to manage the Headshrinkers. Waltman is
asked about Albano. He said that he was funny
after two weeks but after that would just repeat the same jokes. Waltman said
that he was always a little drunk.

 

 

APRIL

 

Waltman is
asked about the “Heartbreak Hotel” segments hosted by Shawn Michaels. He said
that it went with his persona at the time and thought it was good. When asked
if Shawn was dealing with injuries at the time, Waltman smiled and said “sure.”

 

He is then
asked if he heard about Vince’s reaction to Jesse Ventura being awarded money
in his videotape lawsuit. He said that he didn’t but ended up getting the same
lawyer as Jesse. He also thinks that the only reason Vince worked with Jesse
again was due to him being governor and going beyond wrestling. He did recall
one time before the gym, Vince muttered “that’s my fucking money.”

 

Up next is
when Charles Austin was awarded $26.7 million dollars after getting paralyzed
from taking a Rocker Dropper. Waltman said that it was sad and that Austin had no business
being in the ring. He is then asked about all the money problems at the time in
the WWF and if he or the other wrestlers considered jumping over to WCW or
somewhere else. Waltman said no, that they were in it for the long run, but he
did try to see if he could get into movies.

 

On April 30th,
Diesel defeated Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Title. Waltman is asked if
the Kliq were all friends at this point. Waltman said that they were and there
was no resentment from anyone about Diesel winning the belt.

 

 

MAY

 

Next, is
the WWF Tour of Japan. Waltman thought he would be able to make his mark at the
show. He said that he tried to school the others on how to work in Japan but no
one would listen. He said the first night he had an awesome match with Rick
Martel. The second night, they wanted to have a DQ finish and Waltman brings up
how the Japanese hate that. Waltman said the fans were happy to see the stars.
He also said that he got the second best reaction on the show, first was the
Undertaker, due to wrestling with Hakushi. He is asked about the agents that
went over. JJ Dillon went and Waltman said that he and Owen Hart were ribbing
him all night. He also said that Vince did not make the trip.

 

Waltman is
asked about Don Muraco, who was a guest ring announcer during his match in Hawaii against Adam
Bomb. Waltman joked that he spoke “Muraconese” and mentions that he didn’t get
to know him well but heard stories, including that he was part of a clique in
the 1980’s WWF with Roddy Piper, Bob Orton, and Adrian Adonis. He is asked
about being in Hawaii.
He said that he hung out with Bret and almost missed their flight and was
nearly fined by Jack Lanza.

 

Waltman is
asked about Earthquake being upset about having to job to Yokozuna and leaving
the company shortly afterwards as a result. Waltman says that it was true and
that he was one of those guys who wouldn’t job. He brings up a story in WCW of
how Hacksaw Duggan stiffed him in a match because he was pissed that he had to
job.

 

Next is the
angle that saw Ted Dibiase buy Nikolai Volkoff. Waltman is asked if this was
Vince sending a message and having fun with a character. Waltman said that
Vince did do stuff like that. He then said that he wanted to shoot himself in
the fucking head because he had to work with Volkoff on the road and he was
awful in the ring. He did say he was a nice guy but would never take a bump.

 

He is asked
about the Duke “The Dumpster” Droese character and if anyone thought it was a
good idea. Waltman said at the time, that was the mindset for the company, to
have wrestlers with characters based on occupations.

 

Waltman is
asked about the Hardy Boyz, who debuted at the RAW tapings as enhancement
talent. He said that no one thought to give a look at them, saying the agents
responsible for eyeing talent were terrible. They referred to Jeff as “Vanilla
Ice” at the time due to his haircut .He recalls locking up with Jeff when he
was an enhancement guy and thought he had no fucking clue what he was doing but
could do all of the highspots. He tried to do a new finisher on him, an Indian
Death Lock with a front facelock, bur it fell completely flat. He also said
that Scott Hall gave Jeff a bit of offense in one of their matches and went
over to the agent and told them that he had talent after the match but nothing
happened as a result.

 

 

JUNE

 

Waltman is
asked about the 1994 Hall of Fame class. Waltman talks about James Dudley and
how he was very old and broken down when giving his speech but Waltman said it
was great. One time, Dudley was in the corner backstage and pissed himself and
just sat there. He said that Vince honored his dad’s promise to care for him
and that Vince really did honor that promise. He now speaks about the creremony
and how Bret Hart put him over in his speech as part of the young guys who are
going to be the future.

 

Up next is
the fake Undertaker (Brian Lee). Waltman said that they hope it worked and believed
that the actual Undertaker made the suggestion to use Lee in the angle.

 

Waltman is
now asked about the locker room reaction to the WCW parade for Hulk Hogan. He
said that Vince was not vocal about that situation but later on, Vince held at
meeting with talent and told them they were “not fucking going anywhere” during
the time WCW was handing out big contracts. Waltman said that you can take that
however you want

 

Oliver
brings up the WWF attempt to push the next generation and asks if it was
mockery of older stars that were elsewhere or serious attempt to position the
company. Waltman said it was a serious attempt to transition the company into
the future.

 

Next, is
the King of the Ring. He is asked about Art Donovan and Waltman impersonates Donovan’s
“how much does this guy weigh” quotes. Waltman said he was watching and just thought
to himself that this was a fucking disaster. He is then asked about Randy Savage
and a rumor that he was pissed because he had to do commentary with him.
Waltman said it was hard to tell with Savage because he always had the same
expression and tone.

 

Waltman is
now asked about his KoTR matches with Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart. He said it
was great. He then said he saved himself in his first match so he could have an
awesome match against Owen. Waltman then said that Bret complimented him that it
was the best match he had seen in that time period.

 

He is then
asked about the debut of the Cubans, Ricky Santana & Dave Sierra with
manager Bill Alphonso, and how they were gone after a few matches. Waltman said
that he did not want to discuss what happened then Oliver tries to probe but
Waltman did not discuss any more of the situation.

 

Waltman is
asked about the rule against violence acts (chokes, eye gauges, weapon shots)
and threats made in interviews. He thought it was a rib then brings up how
Shawn and Razor were supposed to have a ladder match at SummerSlam with these
restraints. He then says how they were having to work around  everything and it took a lot of effort to
come up with that match.

 

 

JULY

 

Next, is the
resignation of Vice President Basil DeVito and Ann Bojack, who headed PPV’s and
International relations. Waltman said that it was a result of the steroid
trials. He then talks about Lisa Wolfe, who was brought in and very negative
and miserable to be around. Waltman said he never dealt with DeVito and Bojack.
He said that Vince never told anyone why people like Watts and Jerry Jarrett
were around. When asked about Watts, Waltman said that he liked him and thinks
that Watts lied him due to being a disciple of Malenko and Gotch. When asked
who could serve the WWF better, Watts or Jarrett, he said Jarrett.

 

He is then
asked about the death of referee Joey Marella, son of Gorilla Monsoon, who died
in a car accident at 3am. Waltman said that they just finished a long tour and
this was the first time someone close to him died. He then said that Marella
was well liked by everyone. He said that this broke Gorilla and that you could
physically see him decline from that point on.

 

On July 5th,
after the jury deliberated for sixteen hours, Vince McMahon was acquitted of
steroid distribution. Waltman said that Vince and Titan sports were not guilty
of distribution or pressuring people to take steroids. He then said that you
can take a look at reasons for why a person gets pushed then says that steroids
are just the nature of the beast that is the wrestling business. Waltman is
then asked if Vince acted differently after the acquittal and he said yes, then
mentions that night, they were all at a late night diner a little bit fucked
up.

 

Waltman is
asked about his 25 minute match against Bret on RAW. Waltman said at that time,
despite being in the “Kliq,” he was driving with Bret. Waltman said that at the
time, he was influenced by the Calgary-style of wrestling. He got word of this
match after KoTR and had a few weeks to prepare. He said they were mutual fans
of each other and he was proud to have the match. Waltman also mentions a kid
with cancer who visited them before the match and felt he made an impression on
him with the match. Waltman is now asked about working with the “Make a Wish”
foundation. He said when someone’s last wish on earth is too meet you, you try
not to let the kid see you cry and even if you might not feel worthy of the
honor, you suck it up because it is that kid’s wish. Waltman says there is no
right thing to say to a kid. Waltman gets pretty emotional talking about this.

 

Waltman is
asked about Bob Backlund turning on Bret after a handshake. He said that
Backlund was a nice guy but there was a major styles clash. He is then asked
why Bob was involved in this angle and Waltman 
thought Vince believed that Backlund’s name would resonate across the
fanbase and that Vince still thought he was a big name. Waltman also said that
it spoke volumes about their lack of talent.

 

 

AUGUST

 

Next,
Waltman is asked about Bruce Hart. He said that he was crazy and was definitely
going into business for himself. He said that Bret was pissed about Lawler’s
insults about his dad and that it was never discussed beforehand. Waltman said
that when Bret applied the sharpshooter to him, he really tried to break him in
half.

 

He is now
asked about Virgil, who had his last match in the WWF after getting hurt
against Nikolai Volkoff. He thought he was a nice guy but terrible wrestler and
says that they would give guys tryout matches against Virgil, who would have no
interest in putting over anyone.

 

Waltman is
now asked about Johnny Polo (Raven) giving notice. He calls him a brilliant guy
but could rub people the wrong way.

 

During a
match on Superstars, Shawn Michaels slapped a fan who was heckling him. Waltman
said that he had a short fuse but you took the good with the bad.

 

Waltman
suffered a herniated disk in a tag match. He said that the ring was very hard
and not made for guys who were taking a lot of bumps. He goes into the differences
between rings in the North and in the South. He said the ones in the North were
made of steel, while the Southern rings were made of lumber and had cable
ropes, which were better for guys using them for highspots.

 

He is asked
about Walter Payton and his involvement in SummerSlam. Waltman said that he was
a fan and the crowd would erupt when he moved near Shawn Michaels. HE then said
you are given concrete rules when dealing with celebrities in a match or
segment to make things a simple as possible.

 

Next, is
the return of Davey Boy Smith at SummerSlam. Waltman said that he gave him a
ride to the building that night and said he was all jacked up and juiced to the
gills. He also said that Bret was not fond of him returning, thinking that he
would take away some of his momentum.

 

Waltman is
asked why the Fake Undertaker angle was dropped at SummerSlam. Waltman said
that Bret and Owen took as much time as they wanted in their cage match. He
even said that Bret told him so before the match. He said that it would happen
a lot, with guys taking time on purpose to screw over the other guys. When
asked why Lee wasn’t repackaged, Waltman said that Lee was fucked up a lot of
the time.

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER

 

Next,
Waltman is asked about Syndicated TV stations dropping wrestling shows
altogether and if TV squash matches ending would hurt the business. Waltman
said not really and when the competition is putting on PPV quality matches on
TV, you have to match them. He said when the product is hot, it doesn’t matter
how much you give away on TV as the people will keep coming back.

 

Waltman is
now asked about the passing of his trainer, Boris Malenko. , following a battle
with Leukemia. This is when Waltman gets pissed off. He said they were
traveling the Midwest and found out he was dying and asked the office for time
off to see him before he died. J.J. Dillon told him that he needed to stay on
the road. He said when he got home, he was supposed to get on a plane to see
him but his wife told him that he already passed. Waltman said that J.J. ran
the company like Johnny Ace did. He said that Randy Savage picked him up from
the airport and they went to the funeral together. Waltman is asked what it is
like having a successful mentor. He said that the training and wisdom he got
from Malenko was invaluable and he learned real wrestling and even made the
tickets and flyers for his shows, which is how he worked off the money for the
school as he didn’t have the money. He attributes his technique in the ring to
Malenko. He brings up a story of how Strongbow would always people to guess his
real name and everyone said that it was Joe Scarpa but he told them they were
wrong so Waltman called Malenko, who told him that it was actually Luke, and
the next day at TV, Watlman called him Luke and Strongbow was shocked.

 

Waltman is
now asked about a letter that Linda McMahon wrote to “TV Guide” after they
described the WWF as an “Eternal struggle between good and evil with steroids
used to up the ante.” Waltman said that Linda was head of the legal department
at the time, as she was an attorney, then states that she never was around the
locker room. Waltman is asked if wrestling is the bastard child of the
entertainment industry and he said that it was and occasionally feels like that
but was not embarrassed when he was in the nWo, as they were the coolest people
on television. Waltman then brings up how every professional sport has their
issues with PED’s and tells people that there will always be cheating in sports
as long as there is money involved.

 

Waltman is
asked about the time he filled in for Samu, who bolted from the company, and
wrestled with Fatu against Shawn and Diesel. He said that it was at a house
show in Boston and dressed up as an Islander. He said he did that on his own
and enjoyed the match, even doing the Superfly Splash off the top rope.

 

 

OCTOBER

 

Next is the
return of King Kong Bundy. Waltman said that it didn’t work out with him
because he was a mark. He said that he refused to submit to Hart’s
sharpshooter, stating he wasn’t tapping to anyone. Waltman said that he definitely
got Visine in his water bottle last night. He then brings up how little people
respected Bundy then when he went to the referee and tried to have him bring back
the five count gimmick he used in his debut with the company and the referee
blew him off.

 

He is asked
about a push for young announcers, with the debut of Charlie Minn. Waltman is
then asked if it was a decision by Kevin Dunn then is asked about his role in the
company at the time. Waltman said that he makes the guys look good and that
some of the angles were his idea and sometimes the boys would smarten him up.
He said that when Razor wrestled job guys that would screw up, he flashed two
fingers into the camera, signaling for a second take, and they would repeat the
move.

 

Waltman is
asked about Jacques Rougeau. He said that he liked him but that a lot of people
had problems with him. He said at the time, Rougeau would barely leave his feet
but when they were up in Canada, he would use dropkicks and planchas.

 

Next, is
his tag match with Razor Ramon against Shawn Michael and Diesel on the Action Zone,
which is considered one of the best TV matches in WWF history. When asked about
which member of the Kliq he enjoyed working with the most, he said Scott because
he was the best at laying out the foundation of the match. He then said that
Scott is the reason why Shawn and others, including himself, became so good in
the ring.

 

Waltman is
asked about Luna Vachon, who got fired right after her marriage. He believes
that it was due to substance abuse issues and also says that she was on some
heavy anti-psychotic medications. He said that she had Disassociative Identity
Disorder as well as Bipolar Disorder.

 

 

NOVEMBER

 

Next, is
Vince McMahon revealing on television that the WWF was not able to come to
terms with Randy Savage. Waltman said that they were all shocked, as he was the
guy after Hogan left. He recalls taking a leak with Vince and Arnold Skoaland,
who made a comment about Randy and Vince’s face turned white. He is then asked
if it was known that he was going to WCW and Waltman said of course, because it
was the only place to go. Oliver brings up how Lanny Poffo told him that the
WWF told Randy that they were going young at the time.

 

Waltman is
asked about Diesel as a babyface, when he turned at Survivor Series and if it
was something he wanted. He said that Diesel didn’t mind that Vince wanted it
after his performance at the Royal Rumble earlier in the year. He is then asked
about match layouts and who was responsible. He said that there was a hierarchy
amongst the agents, with a lot of them who couldn’t even put together a finish.
He is asked why guys like Tony Garea became an agent and Waltman said it was
due to him being loyal.

 

At the MSG
show in November, Diesel wins the belt from Backlund in eight seconds. Waltman said
the match would have been horrible if it went any longer. He did say that
Backlund did an awesome job selling the finish. He tells a story about
Backulund going up to Vince during a MSG show and wanting to put him over.

 

Henry
Goodwin debuts after weeks of vignettes. Waltman is asked what was in the
bucket. He said that it was usually lettuce and oatmeal. He also said that they
were warned to not put stuff into the bucket. He asked if someone got any “extra
ingredients” and Waltman said that it happened to Sunny one night but he did
not participate. He is then asked about the debut of Hakushi and his tattoos.
Waltman said that they were stenciled and it would take hours. He said that he didn’t
do them during the smaller house shows. He is then asked if he had a hand in
him getting hired and he said that he gave the office the thumbs up after their
match in Japan.

 

Next, is
the WWF RAW video game. Waltman is informed that his strength rating was 4,
while Luna Vachon was 6. He said that he didn’t make much money from video
games then but while in WCW, received a check for $50,000.

 

Waltman is
asked about Gerry Brisco, who became the director of road agents. Watlman said
he was good. Oliver then asks him about the term “stooge” as Waltman said it is
a horrible term then said the term didn’t apply to them until they started to
refer to Pat Patterson and Brisco as Stooges on RAW.

 

He is now
asked about the report that WWF wrestlers would be fired if they were found to
be talking with anyone from WCW. He said that Vince hinted at this in a group
setting. Personally, he didn’t talk to anyone but recalls that Jack Lanza
stopped talking to Bobby Heenan as a result.

 

Tammy Sytch
makes her debut as Tamara Murphy on the Action Zone. Waltman is asked if was
unpopular amongst the locker room right away. He said that happened over time
but at the beginning, most of the boys were trying to get into her pass.

 

He is asked
about the company’s view of UFC at the time with the debut of Kama. Waltman
said that they acknowledged it a little but that UFC derived from wrestling. He
then said that he did not like the gimmick and Papa Shango was better for him.  

 

Waltman is
now asked about the company and how they were wrestling in tiny high school
gyms and it came across as minor league on camera. Catering got cut down a lot
and he compares it to the spread that TNA had when they first started. He is
asked if the locker room was angry at the end of the year and he said it was “Disgruntled.”

 

 

Final Thoughts: I thought Waltman did an excellent
job with this timeline. The WWF was doing poorly at the time and Waltman went
into specifics about that. Even though he was not part of the main event scene,
he hung around people who were and made it a point himself to seek knowledge
about the company. I give this a high recommendation, as Waltman offers good
insight and I wonder what happened to the firing of the Cubans that led to Waltman
not wanting to discuss the specifics.

The Only Review of WCW’s Spring Stampede 1994 That You’ll Ever Need

Wait a minute, you mean to tell me that every other match I’ve ever seen was being held in an ordinary ring?! Then I gotta see this show!

One of the last shows before the Hogan Era started. Slamboree would follow this, which would be followed by Clash of the Champions where Flair unified the WCW World Heavyweight Title and the WCW International Championship, so that Hogan could have THEE title, and not just one of the big ones. If you guys would like me to follow up this PPV with the rest of the lineage that leads to Bash at the Beach, let me know and it shall be.
 


Johnny B. Badd vs. Diamond
Dallas Page

You know, I used to be amazed when I saw DDP in
1997 and realized he landed Kimberly. However, I’m even MORE amazed when I see
1994 DDP. He was at least 40 lbs. heavier, with even worse hair. Despite being
more lithe, and quicker, Johnny really has to earn his momentum, as DDP keeps
him in his control with suplexs,
gut-buster, and a few submissions. Once he turns the tide, he makes the best of
it with a dive to the outside, where DDP stands, then throws him back in for an
off the top rope sunset flip that earns him the pin. Not a bad opener, but
nothing too spectacular, as they really didn’t get much time, and it was all
DDP. They’d go on to have better matches as their chemistry kept developing. Of
course, as DDP was to lose the Diamond Doll to Badd, he jumped ship and instead
she became the Booty Babe to Ed Leslie’s Booty Man.
Johnny B. Badd nails DDP with a sunset flip for
the pin at 5:55 | *1/2 An acceptable opener, nothing great. 


Brian Pillman vs. Steven Regal [C] – WCW TV
Championship

I always dug the TV Championship, as it made so
much more sense to me than US or Intercontinental. Brian rushes Regal to ensure
his control of the beginning of the match, which Pillman holds onto until
Regal’s experience and innovation gets the best of him. Steve hits Pillman with
some stiff European uppercuts, along with some brutal submissions and a few
suplexes and flips that come right out of nowhere. Pillman really looks
over-matched here, being stretched and beaten while the 15-minute time-limit is
counted down in 5 minute intervals over the PA. The match goes the full 15
minutes. I was really looking forward to this match, as Regal was God-like at
this point. However, Pillman was completely off his game tonight. There were
numerous botches, and the only real offense he got off were the occasional
chops here and there. Regal though, he was awesome. 
The match goes to a 15 minute limit draw | ** A
decent match, something you’d find on TV


Nasty Boys [C] vs. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne –
WCW Tag-Team Championship – Chicago Street Fight

You know what I miss? The air-brush t-shirts.
Those were a staple of the 90s, and now they’re gone, last seen with The New
Age Outlaws. This match is on Foley’s first WWE DVD set, and it’s one of the
greatest brawls in history. The amazing thing about it is you literally have to
have two great matches going on at the same time, since the cameras will cut
back and forth. Maxx and Knobbs eventually work over to a fake merch stand,
which is awesome and I wish they still did. Maxx goes to grab a Nasty Boys
t-shirt, causing Tony to exclaim “I don’t even think that shirt fits
him!”. Everything from lead pipes to pool cues, and even tables are used
as hand-held weapons. Two great back to back moments come when Mick is probably
the first wrestler to ever suplex a table onto another guy, and then takes a
RUNNING snow-shovel shot to the head. He’s later thrown off of the entrance
ramp, and bashed with a snow shovel again, giving The Nasty Boys the win. A
hell of a match, without a second of down time or boredom. One of the most
innovative matches in history, that’s almost ludicrous in how entertaining it
is. Fantastic. An absolute must see. 
Saggs smashes Mick with a snow shovel for the pin
at 8:54 | ****3/4 One of the greatest tag-team matches of all time. Absolutely
take the time to see it. 


The Great Muta vs. Steve Austin [C] – WCW US
Championship

Muta uses his quickness and experience to hold the
momentum at the beginning. Steve gets a few flashes of offense before Muta
reminds him once again of who he’s in the ring with. Steve finally gets a lead
when he knees Muta in the back of the head, sending him outside. Back in,
there’s an extended Abdominal Stretch spot, but outside of that, Steve’s
offense is limited to knees and some suplexes. Muta eventually regains control
with his kicks, and after a top rope huricarana, he’s on the verge of a win but
tosses Steve over the top rope, drawing the DQ. Seriously, does Muta EVER have
a match that doesn’t end in an odd fashion? Honestly, the match just didn’t
work. It was a lot less exciting than I was expecting, with very little
innovation or anything interesting. They just didn’t click. Crowd was loving
them some Muta however. 
Muta throws Steve over the top rope, drawing the
DQ at 16:20 | * Not worth it. Very disappointing. 


Sting vs. Rick Rude [C] – WCW International
Champion

Man, I love Rick’s theme from WCW. Sting controls
the beginning of the match, with my favorite moment coming in the form of Sting
holding Rude in a front face-lock, and giving him a wedgie. Of course, referee Pee
Wee Anderson gives Sting the finger-wag and admonishes him for such antics.
Holy shit, this may be one of the most boring matches I’ve ever seen.
Literally, 95 percent of Sting’s offense was a face-lock, then once Rick is in
control he spends 95 percent of his offense on a chin-lock. Once they go for
offense beyond rest-holds, it’s slip up after slip up, numerous botches, and
the only highlight being Rick doing a full flip on a back-drop. Rude is
obviously supposed to go for a Rude Awakening, and then get hit by a chair
swung by Harley Race who’s just shown up. However, Harley is late for his cue,
so Rick starts working Sting and waiting. Finally, Rick sets up the LONGEST
Rude Awakening in history, as Harley enters to deliver one of his patented
Absolute Fakest Most Bullshit Chair Shots Ever, which Rude sells like he just
took a Ryu Dragon Uppercut up the urethra. At this point, Sting grabs the win and
the BS title. Easily one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen, but worth
tracking down for the sheer spectacle of it all. It’s a match you’d see if Ed
Wood were an agent. It’s very bad, but so bad it’s good. 
Sting pins Rude after he’s lightly brushed with a
chair at 12:50 | DUD Atrocious in quality standards, but worth watching for a
laugh.

Dustin Rhodes vs. Bunkhouse Buck w/ Col. Parker –
Bunkhouse Match

Well, Dustin is pretty stupid to enter in a Bunkhouse
Match with a guy named Bunkhouse Buck. You wouldn’t catch me in a steel cage
match against Steel Cage Steve, as clearly it’s his specialty. The match starts
off with a bang as Dustin literally runs down the ramp and leaps over the top
rope, clotheslining Buck down before stomping the hell out of him. Bunkhouse
turns it to his favor, eventually breaking a stick over Dustin’s back, then
splitting him open with it. In a great moment by Heenan, Dustin throws powder
in Bunk’s eyes, and even Heenan sells it! Man, it gets no better than The
Brain. Dustin has Bunkhouse at one point, but stops to assault The Colonel, who
I feel is vastly underrated in the manager game. Soon, Parker slips Buck some
knux, and he knocks out Dustin for the pin. It went a little longer than it
needed to, but it was a hell of a brawl. I expected a lot less, and was
entertained the whole time. It’s a bloody mess, great stuff. 
Bunckhouse Buck knocks out Dustin for the pin
at 14:11 | ***3/4 Good stuff that’s worth searching out


The Boss vs. Vader

Anyone care to tell me how on Earth WCW was
allowed to use the Bossman like this? I mean, it’s the exact gimmick, and I’ve
seen WWE get after people for less. Bossman owns Vader at first, beating the
hell out of him with clotheslines, splashes and drops on the guardrail. Vader’s
left eye has been busted open, and he takes this out on Bossman with a flurry
of punches and other favored Vader offense. He tries to put Bossman away with a
Vader Bomb, but that’s a no go, however, a Moonsault sure as shit does. I’m
surprised Boss wasn’t turned into a major babyface after this, because they
made him look like a million bucks out there against Vader, looking like the
only person other than Sting and Cactus that could stand toe-to-toe with
Frankie’s father. 
Vader hits a moonsault & pins the Bossman
at 9:02 | ***1/4 Probably not a match you’d want to seek out, but within the
context of the show it’s another great under-card bout. 


Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair [C] – WCW World
Heavyweight Championship

The match starts off with some great mat
wrestling, with some typical fantastic stuff that you’re used to from Flair and
Steamboat. Rick soon gets the momentum on his side and controls Flair with a
series of headlocks, and here, here is the brilliance of these two. Because
Randy Orton does this and it’s death, but these two make it as exciting as a
War Games. They battle to the outside where Ricky misses a splash on the guard
rail, and just ends up hanging there, reminding me of when Homer falls backwards
on the fire hydrant and said “This is even more painful than it looks.”
Back in, Steamboat beats the hell out of Flair with punches and chops, earning
us our first Flair Flop of the evening. Soon Steamboat puts Flair in the
Figure-4, and we get my all-time favorite segment for that submission, as Flair
looks like he’s never been in more pain, and Steamboat is trying his damnedest
to make him submit, incredible stuff. They do the same finish from The Clash,
where Steamboat does the Double Chicken-Wing, and it’s turned into bridge-pin,
however both their shoulders stayed down. Since it’s a draw, Flair is the
winner. An incredible match, really. It is perfect Flair and Steamboat, with no
wasted movement, and never once does your attention waver. Great stuff. 
Double-Pin happens, with the win going to Flair at
32:19 | ****1/2 A classic. Definitely hunt it down if you haven’t seen it. I know it’s
available on Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection


Showcase Showdown:

Spring Stampede 1994 is one of the best PPVs I’ve
ever seen. You get two classics, two great mid-card matches, one hilariously
bad-match, and only one disappointment. It’s definitely a show you can watch
top to bottom no problem. It’s definitely as high a note as WCW could go out on
before they entered the Hogan era, which is something they never got out from
underneath.

Much praise to my editor, Steven Ferrari. He and I met when my mom and I had recently moved to California from New Jersey. He was the handy-man at our apartment complex, as well as a karate master. He taught me some stuff so I could defend myself against The Cobra Kai. 
You can find more Caliber at….
Str8 Gangster, No Chaser – some of the Top 4 Classics include: Worst Instances of TV Censorship, Use of the Word “Fuck” In PG-13 Films, Cartoon Themes From My Childhood. Plus I rant & rave about everything else under the sun. 
WCW In 2000 – Recently updated with the July 31st Nitro, which features both a Viagra on a Poll match, and a Straight Jacket Match!
The Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol. 1 – My book about action films. Loved by all, endorsed by both Scott Keith as well as Maddox. It’s only 99 cents. That’s less than a dollar, people!
Requests, mailbag, let me know at [email protected]
– Caliber Winfield

Flair in WCW in 1994

Hey Scott,

How you doing? Long time reader here.
Question – we know that when Hogan was brought into WCW in 1994 they hastily booked a heel turn for then champion Flair to wrestle Hogan etc. What was the original long term plan for Flair as champion had Hogan not come into the picture? How long would  they have gone with babyface Flair as champion, who would he be booked against and what would be the endgame? I'm guessing he would have turned on Sting just for the hell of it, but any knowledge of what was the actual plan? 
Thanks

There was no "plan" for Flair as champion, the plan was Sid as champion all year but obviously that got fucked up, which resulted in Flair getting the belt at Starrcade.  Plus once Flair got the belt they knew Hogan was coming in, so what you see is what they probably wanted.  

SummerFest Countdown: 1994

The Netcop Retro Rant for Summerslam 94. Well, what do you do when you’ve got 2:40 left until RAW? Watch more wrestling! In this case, you, WrestleLine reader, get a first-run rant instead of the re-runs from the past week. And again tomorrow with Summerslam 95, and probably Thursday with a re-mixed version of 96. Truly, your cup runneth over. Speaking of the WWF, I’m working on the epic King Lear rant for the WWF as we speak. King Lear rant, you say? Wait and see, faithful reader.  (That one ended up being pretty big for me.  Paying attention to Shakespeare in high school sometimes pays off, you whippersnappers! )  You won’t be disappointed. Am I evil, or what? In the meantime… Live from Chicago, IL. Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler, who announce that Shawn & Diesel captured the tag team titles the night before.  (Man, speaking of things that ended up changing the business, you wouldn’t think that Shawn & Diesel getting the tag belts would have any longterm effects, but it set off a chain reaction of stuff that led to Nash getting the World title and nearly taking the promotion down with him.)  Opening match: The Headshrinkers v. Bam Bam Bigelow & IRS. This was originally for the tag titles, but the title change from the night before changed that. Could they POSSIBLY have picked a crappier opener than this? (It could have been a SCAFFOLD MATCH!)  Bam Bam and Fatu trade some power stuff to start until Bigelow eats a superkick for two. Bammer comes back with an enzuigiri, as Vince calls it a “gruelling matchup” two minutes in. (Vince says a lot of stuff, like “The WWE Network will launch April 1 2012!”.)  Nice looking double-team superkick gets two for the cannibals. Irwin tags in and gets nowhere, missing a charge and going flying to the outside, where he gets beaten up. Alas, Bigelow pulls down the top rope shortly after, sending Fatu crashing to the floor. Thankfully, he landed on his ass, and thus had lots of padding. The cannibal-in-peril thing lasts about 30 seconds, before Samu gets the hot tag and kills both heels. A diving headbutt gets two, and the Shrinkers hit the finishing sequence on IRS – headbutts, double-front-legsweep, big FAT-ASSED SPLASH OF DOOM. Ref is districted by Ted Dibiase, and all hell breaks loose as all 14 managers get involved and the bell rings at 7:20 for the DQ. A pleasantly peppy little match ruined by a bonehead ending. **1/4 (Who books a DQ in the opener?  Dusty Rhodes?)  Leslie Nielsen does a C-level comedy bit on his “search for the Undertaker”. Do you think Vince Russo wrote this one?  (Jesus, even the celebrities are dead now on these shows.)  We get a locker room interview with Razor Ramon. QUICK, SOMEONE HIDE THE COKE! WWF Meaningless Women’s title match: Alundra Blayze v. Bull Nakano. Alundra is current WCW window dressing Medusa. Man, did she have ugly implants when she had the breast implants done, or what? She went way downhill in the looks department when she had those puppies super-sized. (I’m thinking a lot of hard living on the road had as much to do with that as anything.)  Blayze tries a couple of dropkicks to start, but Bull shoves her aside and proceeds to kicking ass. I don’t watch much women’s wrestling, but (when I do, I watch Dos Eq…oh, wait, sorry) Nakano has always impressed me. Bull is working super-stiff here, getting a legdrop for two. After some more punishment, Blayze comes back with a rana for two, but misses a roundhouse kick and Bull chokes her out. An interesting variation on the Boston crab follows, but we’re in Chicago so Alundra makes the ropes. Now Bull follows with a Standing Sharpshooter that draws Ooooo’s from the crowd, and rightly so. Blayze gets a quick two off a rollup, then Nakano hooks an armbar submission, called a wristlock by Vince. (Perhaps he confused it with a wristwatch.) Well, he’s trying. Blayze comes back with the HAIR PULL SLAMS OF DOOM for two. Bull reverses a piledriver and covers for two, but Blayze bridges out. Backslide gets two for Blayze, and she tries a rana but gets powerbombed for two. Bull goes to the top and misses a legdrop, allowing Blayze to hit the GERMAN SUPLEX OF DEATH for the pin to retain at 8:20. HUGE pop from the crowd, so of course the women’s division was buried soon after. *** (Can’t bury what’s already dead and buried.)  Toad Pedophile interviews the new tag champs. For those keeping score, this is officially the moment when the Clique took over and the WWF began it’s slow death. Remember, the King Lear rant is coming! Intercontinental title match: Diesel v. Razor Ramon. You young’uns would probably know Diesel better as “Big Poochie” or “That dumbass booker Kevin Nash”, while Razor Ramon is better known as “AA Member #191939” or “Scott ‘Alka’ Hall”. Hey, don’t look at me, I’m not the one who got drunk and groped a 50-year old woman. (Well, not as of that writing…I mean the 2000s were tough on everyone and we all do things we’re not proud of.) Anyway, Walter Payton, some football guy, is in Ramon’s corner, and while Chicago seems happy to see him, Payton doesn’t seem terribly thrilled. (I freely admit that I live “in the bubble” when it comes to sports.  I can talk hockey, but I don’t know Tim Tebow from the guy on the shampoo commercials with the crazy hair and couldn’t pick either one out of a police lineup if I was at gunpoint.)  Ramon tosses his toothpick at Diesel…and he sells it. See, now there’s dedication to your craft. (See, Hall draws attention to himself when he walks through an airport, so people BELIEVE that the toothpick hurts.)  Slow start, until the Outsiders lock up and Diesel dismantles him. I can’t believe I used to mark out for this big goof back in 1994. Actually, much of the internet jumped on the Diesel bandwagon in 94, which is why he got the World title a few months after this. (The internet {heart} Kevin Nash!) Shawn interferes freely, and Diesel ends up with a sleeper. Ramon backdrops out, but ends up going over the top to the floor, allowing Shawn to pull off a turnbuckle pad and get in Payton’s face. Only Shawn F’N Michaels could carry two guys in a match he’s not even involved in. Diesel continues the assault on Ramon back in the ring. He runs Ramon into the exposed turnbuckle back-first, then hits a nasty side slam for two. He hits Snake Eyes, and Shawn interferes some more. Ramon has gotten NO offense in here. Big elbow gets two. Now the legacy of Big Lazy rears it’s ugly head, as we get the chinlock and the abdominal stretch, two Nash favorites when he wants a break. Ramon comeback #1 fails, but when Diesel goes for Snake Eyes again, Ramon escapes and cradles Diesel for two. Ramon comeback #2 succeeds, as he gets the better of a test of fisticuffsmanship and then posts Diesel, which leads to the bulldog off the top for two. (I desperately wanted to get fisticuffsmanship over as the catchphrase of the new century, but it was just never gonna happen.)  Dramatic bodyslam gets two. Shawn gets involved and goes flying into the railing, taking the best bump of the match. Diesel ends up on the top, but Ramon can’t suplex him off. Diesel goes for the jackknife, but Ramon backdrops out. Shawn interferes AGAIN, and we get the double-KO spot. Shawn and Payton get into a tug-of-war over the IC belt, which distracts the ref. Shawn tries for the superkick on Ramon, but he misses and nails Diesel, which would actually signal the start of Diesel’s face turn. Ramon crawls over and covers for the pin and the title at 15:05 while Payton subdues Michaels. It was Ramon’s second title, btw. ***1/4 So sue me, I enjoyed it. Shawn and Diesel do separate followup interviews, setting up Wrestlemania XI, albeit indirectly. Lex Luger and Tatanka face off in the locker-room, with Tatanka accusing Luger of selling out. Lex Luger v. Tatanka. The story here is that Luger may or may not have sold out to Ted Dibiase’s Corporation. However, the crowd boos Tatanka heavily and cheers Luger, so obviously THEY knew what the real deal was. Series of lockups to start goes nowhere. They do a sad little wrestling sequence to reinforce that this is babyface v. babyface. Tatanka gets two off a powerslam and does the Pissed Off Racial Stereotype comeback with chops for two. He goes to the top and hits….wait for it….A CHOP. He misses whatever off the top on the second try, and Luger comes back with his SHITTY CLOTHESLINES OF DOOM. Cue Ted Dibiase, who wanders out with a bag of money. Luger yells at him, allowing Tatanka to roll him up for the pin at 6:09. * After the match, Luger is upset with Tatanka, and goes after Dibiase. However, the fans’ suspicions are confirmed as Tatanka jumps Luger from behind, thus officially joining the Corporation. Pretty much everyone on RSPW second-guessed this one easily enough at the time, but it was still pretty shocking to see career babyface Tatanka suddenly turn. Unfortunately, it was completely wasted since he’s the worst heel in the history of wrestling. Oh well, good intentions and all that.  (Of course, Luger betrayed us all and joined the real evil Corporation a year later…)  Jeff Jarrett v. Mabel. Where’s the puppies? MABEL ATE THEM! Okay, so they weren’t around then, but it’s still a good joke. (No.  No it’s not.)  Speaking of good jokes, popular legend has it that other members of the WWF locker room would gather around Mabel in a circle and sing the Barney theme song. Onto the bad jokes: Oscar’s “rapping”, as he gets all up in our area with an intro that sounds like “Throw your hands in the air, awoogaoaodjfjaoidjokjkjkjka, anakjodmvomeioajifdaf, everybody in the house OH YEAH!”. Sadly, I left my Dumbshit-to-English translation guide at my friend’s house, so I have no idea what he was shooting for there. To the match. They strut a lot, and Jarrett gets thrown around the ring a lot. He comes back with some high-flying stuff, but Mabel no-sells. He hits the FAT-ASSED LEG LARIAT OF DOOM for two, as we cut to Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz, who is on strike in the stands. Don’t ask. (Vince really has his finger on the pulse of pop culture, giving it to those baseball owners via SATIRE in a stinging commentary of something.  Because pointing out that something exists = comedy in WWF world and always has.)  Jarrett goes after Oscar, but misses and hits the post. Back in the ring and Mabel misses a splash, allowing Jarrett to get two. Jarrett goes for a sunset flip, Mabel drops down, Jarrett moves and gets the pin at 5:50. Total crap, but the crowd was into it. * Cage match, WWF title: Bret Hart v. Owen Hart. Owen attacks right off the bat, ramming him into two turnbuckles and doing the 10-punch count. Bret comes back with a lariat, but Owen stomps on his hands. Bret blocks a shot to the cage and DDTs Owen. Another slugfest erupts, won by Bret. He makes the first climb attempt, but gets pulled off by Owen. ENZUIGIRI, BABY! Owen nearly makes it out but Bret catches him going over the top and hits a backdrop suplex to the mat. Bret crawls for the door but Owen catches him and whips him to the other corner. Bret grabs a quick bulldog and tries for the door again. Owen yanks him away and dives, Bret yanks him away and dives, repeat twice. Bret tries to climb out, and gets slammed off by Owen. Now Owen climbs and again nearly makes it, but Bret grabs him by the hair and they fight on the top. Owen kicks him off and dropkicks him off the top rope. SWEET. Owen climbs again and they fight on the top again with Owen getting the better of the situation. Owen goes for a piledriver but Bret reverses. Whip, reverse, and double-KO. Owen lunges for the door again, but Bret stops him and drops a vicious looking elbow on him. Bret to the top, Owen stops him again. Bret kicks him in the face a few times, but Owen holds on and crotches him on the top rope. Owen tries for the door again, but Bret stops him. Headbutt to the groin puts Owen down and Bret goes for the climb out again. He changes his mind and goes for an elbowdrop, but misses. Owen climbs out, with Bret not moving. He pops up at the last second and blocks Owen, however, pulling him in by the hair in a great visual. He slams him in for good measure, then makes his own ascent. Owen brings him back in with a modified samoan drop. Owen tries to climb again, Bret stops him. Owen keeps control, however, and they end up ramming each other into the cage. Bret recovers first and makes it about 3/4 of the way down the cage…when Owen grabs his hair and pulls him back in. Piledriver on Bret. Both guys are exhausted, but Owen tries to climb out again. Bret meets him at the top, and they have a slugfest that leads to both guys collapsing to the mat below. Bret immediately crawls for the door, but Owen grabs his leg. Owen fights him down and then lunges for the door himself, but Bret blocks, drags him back in, and slingshots Owen into the cage. Crowd is WAY into this one. Bret crawls for the wrong corner to build suspense, then finds the right one…and Owen leaps over and stops him. Crowd is having a collective heart attack. Owen is up first and goes behind Bret, but ends up going facefirst to the cage. Bret is selling a knee injury, but still climbs up again. Owen gets up….collapses….and makes it juuuuuuuuuust in time to stop his brother from winning. Back in via the hair, and Owen hits a leg lariat. The crowd is absolutely losing it. Owen climbs to the top again, and makes it halfway out before Bret stops him. They fight on the top rope, with Bret getting a big field goal kick to send Owen flying. He pops up again and hauls Bret back in. Owen hits some european uppercuts, and we get another double-KO. Owen makes it up and to the top rope, but Bret stops him and superplexes him back in. Even Davey Boy, at ringside, is marking out. Both guys are out cold again. Bret crawls to the door . . . slowly . . . but Owen grabs him. Owen slaps on the Sharpshooter, screaming about how the belt is gonna be his the whole time. Bret breaks free and reverses to his own. He releases and climbs again, with Owen once again lunging at the last split second and grabbing the hair. Both men fall to the mat. Owen makes it up and to the top first, and both guys make it halfway down the cage, fighting the whole way. Owen rams Bret into the cage, but slips and gets hooked in the cage, allowing Bret to drop down at 31:51 to retain the title. Meanwhile, Jim Neidhart blindsides the Bulldog in the audience, taking Diana down with him. Owen and Anvil toss Bret back into the cage, chain the door shut, and beat the holy hell out of him as the Hart Brothers storm the cage. Oh man, this is so NWA. I love it. Finally the Bulldog (with his caveman hairdo and all) fights his way in and makes the save. This is easily the best cage match you’ll ever see in the WWF, and it’s a terrific way to end the show. ***** Sadly, this didn’t end the show, because we still have one more piece of business to take care of. Main event: Undertaker v. Underfaker. At Royal Rumble 94, Undertaker got beat by Yokozuna and shoved into his own casket, at which point he rose into the air and “died”, but not before read a dramatic soliloquy. He took a couple of months off, then in the stupidest plot development in WWF history, and that’s saying something, Ted Dibiase introduced his newest charge…the Undertaker. But see, it’s not Mark Callaway, it’s Brian Lee, (who would go on to become Chainz), which EVERYONE knew at the time. And of course, the original Undertaker returned, and they decided to fight. First of all, Lee is about 6 inches shorter than Callaway, so the illusion is blown right there. Anyway, Paul Bearer has a couple of Druids wheel out a casket, then unveils his new urn, with flashlight built in, then the real Undertaker makes his return, debuting the new purple look that he had until Survivor Series 1996. The Purple Era is generally considered the low point of UT’s career, and coincides, not coincidentally, with the lowest point of the WWF’s history. This will all be covered in greater detail in the King Lear rant. Don’t you just hate a tease? Oh yeah, the match. Brian Lee does a pretty decent job of pretending to be the Undertaker, right down to no-selling every single move. UT chases UF outside the ring, then suplexes him back in. Crowd has no idea who to cheer for. The faker gains control and tries the ropewalk, but gets slammed off. And sits up. Taker comes back with his own, and the crowd seems to be catching onto the fact that the purple one is the good guy. More no-selling happens. Crowd is just dead. Pardon the pun. They “brawl” outside, and it’s like listening to a 45 at 33 1/3. For those under 20, that’s, uh, like watching something really slow. Yeah. (And now vinyl is cool again.) Anyway, Faker gets a chokeslam and Taker doesn’t sit up, so he takes that as a good sign and tombstones him. UT sits up, so Faker tries again, but Taker reverses to his own. Then picks him up and gives him two more, just for good luck. And this time, there’s no sitting up. Undertaker gets the pin at 9:20 and puts everyone out of their misery, and the words “fake Undertaker” are never, EVER spoken on WWF TV again. –**** The Bottom Line: Well, the show was going okay until that last match. Bret-Owen is truly something special, however, and the Ramon-Diesel match is worth a look. Still, this show signalled the true beginning of the end for the WWF, as the Clique began their rise to power and never looked back. Mild recommendation.  (The cage match is elsewhere a couple of different places, and I’m fairly certain Ramon-Diesel is available on another DVD compilation set as well, so this would be a big SKIP IT these days.) 

July PPV Countdown: WCW Bash At The Beach 1994

The SK Retro Rant for Bash at the Beach 1994 (This was written during the weird transitional time for me between Wrestleline and 411, when my stuff was getting what I would consider more proficiently-written, but I was still in a strangely gleeful state of mind about the death of WCW.  Of course, now I think we all wish that they had stuck around, even if they probably would have morphed into TNA eventually anyway, and it makes rants like these ones seemed overly, I dunno, mean at times.)   Whereas before WCW was run by a bunch of no-nothing bozos who couldn’t tell their asshole from their elbows, at least they were the no-nothing bozos deemed to be the authority by Turner. And if someone did something that was deemed TOO exceptionally stupid by someone higher up, you could always fire him and replace him with another Turner beancounter who would be guaranteed to screw up just as bad, but probably for less money. And then came Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan. See, once Hogan came into the picture with this show, the problem was no longer the guys supposedly in charge, it was now with the locker room itself thanks to Hogan’s incessant political favors for his longtime friends. While WCW could in the past (and did) fire guys like Bill Shaw, Bob Dhue, Bill Watts and even almost Bischoff a couple of times, now they had Hogan under an iron-clad longterm contract and couldn’t just jettison him despite completely disrupting the locker room without providing anything in terms of tangible money returned until 1997. So that makes this an interesting show, because while it was the beginning of an era for WCW where they actually had some mainstream exposure, it was also a larger tradeoff for the cancer that Hogan brought to the previous work ethic displayed there by the people he displaced. Was it worth it in the long run? Well, you don’t see WCW around these days, do you? In fact, for anyone else in the future who gets into any kind of argument with one of the remaining WCW lemmings, I’d recommend pulling that particular trump card out and watching them squirm. Good fun for everyone.  (Obviously Bischoff ended up having just as much of a negative effect on the fate of the promotion as Hogan did with his own Boogie Nights-like decline into debauchery and forgetting his roots and all that, but Hulk certainly didn’t help.)  – Live from Orlando, Florida. Tony declares it a “capacity crowd”, but suspiciously the gate was only a little over $100,000 and their last PPV only drew 5,000, so smart money says that there was enough paper to keep Barrimundi’s fire going through the biggest flood season.  (Whatever that reference was, it’s so obscure now that I had to Google “Barrimundi” to try and figure out what the fuck I was talking about.  It’s some sort of fish, so I have no clue what the context was 11 years ago.  Anyone clue me in?  Anyway, a quick check of the Observer at the time shows that in fact, no, WCW made a shit-ton of money on this show FOR REALZ, with close to 10,000 paid and 14,000 total in the building.)  – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby, plus Jesse here and there. – Opening match, TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Johnny B. Badd. It was supposed to be Sting, but he’s injured, which WCW explains in typical WCW fashion by having Sherri give him an EYERAKE OF DOOM and thus put him out of action. Good thing she didn’t do something REALLY devastating like hit him with her shoe, or else he might still be on the shelf today. A sign at ringside has “Johnny” spelled as “Gonny”, thus leading me to believe WCW planted it themselves, since southern fans would tend to forget that second “n”. Wristlock sequence to start, won by Badd. Badd works the arm and Regal begs off. Regal works the mat for a bit, but gets rolled up for two and begs off again. Badd armdrags him and Regal stalls. He works a headlock on Badd, but Badd goes back to the arm. Regal bails. Back in, Regal hits a chinlock, but gets reversed to a hammerlock. Regal suplex is blocked with a wristlock, but Regal takes over with a headbutt and dropkick. Badd keeps working that arm, however. Big celebrity sighting of the night: Chris Lemmon! If you don’t know who he is, don’t worry, because that’s part of the joke, see. (It just kills the joke when you have to explain it.)  Badd dropkick gets two. Flying headscissors and hiptoss follow, and he hits the PUNCH OF DEATH to send Regal scurrying outside. (Marc Mero should come back for a match against Big Show, and the big spot can be them punching each other at the same time for a draw.)  Badd follows with a pescado and sunset flips back in for two. Regal reverses the pin in an awkward spot and gets the win at 10:45. Odd finish, to say the least. **1/2 – Mean Gene presents Antonio Inoki with a plaque, thus drawing the ire of Lord Regal for reasons never adequately explored (…for some reason), which leads to a match on the next Clash that sucks.  (Inoki was there as a favor to Hogan.  Naturally.)  – Vader v. The Guardian Angel. (Failed gimmick #2 for the former Bossman.  This one was actually a clever idea, although I wonder why they didn’t do something like a Walking Tall thing where he starts taking the law into his own hands vigilante style?  That might have been pretty cool and fit with his real life redneck persona.)  It feels like we had some variation on Vader v. Ray Traylor on every WCW show in 1994. Vader attacks to start and hits a spinkick (!). Angel ducks a lariat and suplexes Vader, then slams him with ease. Lariat and Vader bails. They brawl outside, where Vader gets control, thanks to Race. Vader pounds away, but Angel fights back…and gets clobbered. See ya. Vader goes up for a sunset flip, but Angel sits on him to block. Feel the overwhelming power of Bossman’s ass! Vader gets a short-arm clothesline, and goes to an STF?!? Angel fires back but gets slammed and Vaderbombed. Vader wants the moonsault, and actually hits it, but can’t cover. Race comes in and gets killed. Weak ref bump allows Vader to get a supposed nightstick from Race that looks like one of those canes that blind people use. (Perhaps he stole it from the referee.)  Angel of course steals it, the ref sees him with it, and calls for the DQ at 8:00. Ye gods, what was the point of that? ** Didn’t really gel as well as their usual match here. – Dustin Rhodes & Arn Anderson v. Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Buck. Dustin needed a partner to take on the Parker stable, so he asked…Arn Anderson? What’s wrong with this picture? This match, by the way, is the reason why I often refer to him as “Duh-Stin”. (That catchy-phrase never really caught.)  Arn & Buck start, but Buck wants Dustin. Funk comes in to take his shots, but gets sent to the floor. Back in, Funk chops at him and lays in the badmouth. Dustin dumps him over the top, however, while the ref’s back is turned. The heels regroup, but Rhodes gives both an atomic drop. Funk suplexes out of a headlock, and Buck ducks a Rhodes bodypress and Dustin goes flying out of the ring. Funk lays in the boots out there for fun. KICK HIM, KICK HIM LIKE A DOG! (Funk and Buck were a really fun team that would have torn up Memphis in the 80s.)  Back in, Buck gets a Funk-assisted abdominal stretch. Funk gets a standing neckbreaker for two. Piledriver gets two. Rhodes gets pounded in the corner and Buck hits the chinlock. CLUBBERIN, CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN, TONY! Dustin fights out of the corner with bionic elbows. Backdrops for the heels! Double noggin knocker! Lariat for Funk! HOT TAG ARN…and he turns on Dustin. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Funk gets the easy pin on Rhodes at 11:37. It should be noted that in the original telecast, WCW’s crack camera crew actually missed the fateful DDT that Arn delivered to Rhodes, but they fixed it for the commercial release. Match sucked aside from the finish, of course. *1/4  (Yeah, but I was marking out so much for that heel turn.  Shame that Flair was having his balls chopped off by Hogan, because Flair/Arn/Funk/Buck v. Dusty/Dustin/Nasty Boys at Wargames would have been AWESOME fun.  The one we got was pretty good too, but a proper Flair/Arn/Funk version of the Four Horsemen kicking the crap out of a second generation of Rhodes?  Sign me up!)  – US title match: Stunning Steve Austin v. Ricky Steamboat. Austin blindsides him to start, and attacks the knee, but Steamboat chops him. Austin meets the post, and Steamboat does the UT ropewalk to work the arm. Sadly, he doesn’t yell “old school” first, thus lessening the impact of the move. He then goes the Anderson playbook and hammerlock-slams Austin. Slugfest and Austin goes up, but Steamboat dropkicks him off and lays in the shots as he’s hanging upside down. Back in, Steamboat goes arm-draggin’. Austin fakes a knee injury off a leapfrog, but Steamboat isn’t buying. Hiptoss and dropkick, and Austin bails. He asks for time to heal his crippled knee, but MIRACULOUSLY recovers as Steamboat nears the ropes, and he yanks him out to beat on him. Back in, Steamer goes to the sleeper off a footrace and gets a rollup for two. Back to the arm. Austin goes low with that darned trick knee, however. (No wonder he wore that knee brace for the rest of his career!) A suplex and three clotheslines follow, but Steamboat won’t stay down. He finally does a crazy, delirious selling job that results in him drunkenly falling out of the ring. Austin suplexes him back in for two. Steamboat reverses a suplex and cradles for two. Armdrag and back to the arm for Steamboat. He drives some knees into Austin’s arm, boring the crowd. Collision on a leapfrog puts Steamboat on top for two, but Austin catches a HUGE spinebuster and drops a knee. He goes to the 2nd rope and drops another knee, but Steamboat gets up, wanting more. Slugfest and Steamboat catapults him into the ringpost for two. Austin nails him, but Steamboat wants more. More chops, but Austin backdrops him and hits a neckbreaker for two. Steamboat escapes a rear chinlock, but Austin clobbers him for two. He works that pinfall attempt, getting about 12 two-counts. Steamboat bridges out and mule-kicks Austin. Austin chokes him out on the ropes, then takes Steamboat limp arm and waves “Hello, everybody!” to the camera in the funniest moment of the night. Man, remember when Austin actually had a sense of humor? (Luckily he has one again now that he doesn’t have to put up with all the bullshit of wrestling and is financially set for life.)  Austin comes off the ropes, but walks into his own stungun. He bails and they fight off the apron, but Steamboat takes a header into the railing. Ouch. Austin charges and hits the ringpost facefirst to one-up him. Back in, Dragon hits the FLYING KARATE CHOP OF DOOM and a backdrop. Double-chop gets two. Austin dumps him, but Dragon skins the cat back in and chops away. Austin dumps him again, same result. Steamboat cradles for two. Small package gets two. Rollup gets two. Austin freaks out and tries a tombstone, which is reversed, reversed by Austin, and reversed again by Steamboat to complete the move. Steamboat goes up, but Austin pulls the ref in the way…and Steamboat doesn’t want the DQ. He should have taken it, because he hits a bodypress, which is rolled through for the pin at 20:16 by Austin to retain. Great match, though. ***3/4 (The Clash rematch where Steamboat wins the title is of course even better, although it ends Steamboat’s career.)  – World tag team title: Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan v. Pretty Wonderful. I guess the theory here is that they didn’t want Hogan to have to follow that last one. It must be a terrific feeling for Orndorff, who drew tens of millions of dollars with Hogan in the 80s, to be setting the table for him in a heatless tag title match while Hogan is making more millions by working 10 matches a year. (And he had all that nerve damage from wrestling Hogan with a bad neck night after night in the 80s.  And then Orndorff got CANCER!  Life really did suck for him.)  Megastall to start. Orndorff does some posing between armdrags, annoying Sullivan. Jack & Roma go next, and Roma stalls and dominates. Jack bites to take over. Oh, c’mon, at least follow your own internal logic, guys: The camera showed several clear shots of Jack before the match…with his teeth OUT. Fans pop for it anyway, but that’s WCW for ya. (The elderly fanbase in Orlando could relate, I guess.)  The champs double-team Roma, leading to more stalling. Orndorff pounds on Jack, and they brawl out, which proves to be a mistake. Back in, Orndorff bails again. Back in, Sullivan gets his shots in the corner, and Jack works on the arm. Pretty Wonderful nails him in the corner, however, and beat on him for a bit. Sullivan comes in and rams both guys headfirst to the turnbuckle a few times…at the same time. Cool spot. Double-stomp on Orndorff gets two, and he works the arm. Fans get bored and do the wave, so Jack hits the facelock. Roma & Sullivan slug it out, but Orndorff piledrives Sullivan for two. Roma fucks up a top rope elbow but still manages to pull it off for two. Sullivan is apparently YOUR dwarf-in-peril as Orndorff unleases the dreaded BOOGIE-WOOGIE ELBOW OF DOOM. Sleeper, but Sullivan breaks. Roma drops an elbow for two. Sullivan misses a hot tag chance and Roma hits the chinlock. Orndorff misses a blind charge, but Roma gets a running forearm to maintain control. Roma misses a Money Shot, and now it’s the hot tag to Jack. Double-arm DDT for Orndorff, no ref. Roma trips him coming off the ropes and holds his leg down for the Orndorff pin and the title at 20:14. Ludicrously long match that played completely against the strength of Jack & Sullivan in order to showcase the un-over and un-interesting Pretty Wonderful. See, but they had a REALLY good name, so WCW felt that it was in their best interest to push them to the moon. God knows that Cactus Jack guy probably wouldn’t ever draw a dime in his life anyway. *  (I guess Pretty Wonderful had that mainstream look they were going for, I dunno.  Another weird bit from the Observer:  WCW was so pissed off about Jack spitting on the tag belt in ECW that they flew Brian Pillman in for the show, with the intention of having him substitute for Jack here in losing the belts if Jack’s ongoing injury problems were too much or they just wanted to get rid of him.  So Pillman and Sullivan almost ended up being tag champions for a night.)  – WCW World title match: Ric Flair v. Hulk Hogan. Hogan gets a good pop, but not a 100 million-billion-zillion dollars a year pop, if you know what I mean. Besides, the fans were mostly freebies, and they always cheer for Hogan historically. For those not familiar with the backstory here, well, there is none really. Flair was this huge mega-face for WCW before they decided to hotshot a non-sensical heel turn in order to give Hogan a big heel to squash in his debut match. If I’m booking, I do Hogan/Flair v. The Nasty Boys for name value as a tag team main event and then have Flair turn on Hogan to set up Fall Brawl, but WCW wanted the buyrate NOW and didn’t think of things like logic or the future. (To their credit, they did a HELL of a buyrate for this show and made $3 million more than I’ll ever see in my bank account, so who am I to talk?)  You know how a kid will get $10 as a gift and come home with an extra-large Slurpee and $8.50 worth of Pokemon cards, then wonder where his $10 went to? That’s what WCW was like here, shooting their wad on the very first PPV in a desperate attempt to justify all the money they had spent. And while this show did a decent 1.0 buyrate, (The biggest in their history, so that’s a fair bit more than “decent”) the very next show did a laughable 0.5 buyrate without Hogan, showing that he had very little effect on the promotion as a whole. Shoving to start, won by Hogan. Flair stalls, and dodges Hogan’s punches, drawing a noticeable face pop from the Flair faithful. Flair goes to the hammerlock and and holds a wristlock. Hogan uses an armbar takedown (!) and Flair bails and hides out behind Sherri. Back in, Hogan slugs away and hits the cross-corner clothesline. Big boot misses and Flair bails again. He gets a cheapshot back in and chops at Hogan. Kneedrop misses as Hogan no-sells and punches away. Sherri trips him up and Flair sends him out. They brawl and head back in as Flair comes off the top with an axehandle. He hits the kneedrop, Hogan no-sells again. Flair uses the ropes for two. Hogan gets a clothesline for two, so Flair hits the chinlock. That lasts a while. Hogan comes back, Flair Flip follows, and they head out. Suplex on the floor, and Hogan suplexes him back in. Legdrop misses, Flair goes for the figure-four, blocked, blocked again, blocked a third time. Hogan’s generosity in even allowing the champion to TRY the move is breathtaking, what a guy. Suplex by Flair, Hogan no-sells. Big boot gets two, ref is bumped. Sherri splashes Hogan off the top as Nick Patrick takes over. Figure-four finally gets applied, and the crowd goes NUTS, as the actual paying customers do their damnedest to drown out the Hogan fans. Hogan makes the ropes without expending too much effort, but Flair keeps at the leg. Hogan no-sells…AGAIN…but runs into an elbow. Flair goes up, but Hogan no-sells that elbow and slams him off. Hogan gets his own bad figure-four as Mr. T removes Sherri from ringside. Overbooked, much? Flair then pulls out brass knuckles and KO’s Hogan…for two. Hulk up, and you know the rest. Hogan gets the title at 21:51. Hogan treated Flair like a jobber, but Flair’s usual broomstick formula match managed to make it a worthwhile excursion, better than I remember it from the initial viewing in 1994. ***1/4 Hogan’s no Vince Russo in the ring, though. – I officially stopped watching WCW at this point, boycotting the promotion until November 1995 in protest of the Hogan Love-In. And in fact, the WWF was getting so bad by this point that if it hadn’t been for ECW and SMW, I would have quit watching wrestling entirely until something decent came up again. The Bottom Line: WCW needed an all-around blowaway show to really justify the Hogan investment, and this wasn’t it. They also needed to maximize Hogan by letting him give the rub to a bunch of the undercard would-be stars, and this show didn’t do that, either. As a result, they all left for the WWF, who are still in existence today, while WCW is not. And it’s really as simple as that, folks, when you break it down. The show itself is watchable with a couple of good matches in the main event and US title match, but everything else is the usual marginal WCW pap for this era and isn’t worth the rental. Mild recommendation to avoid.  (Yeah, it’s interesting from certain aspects, but just not a very good show overall.) 

Assorted April PPV Countdown: Spring Stampede 1994

(2012 Scott sez: Back to 1994 as we bounce around the countdown by request, with WCW Spring Stampede for a few days.  And it’s a 2-in-1 rant with the original OLD SCHOOL 1998 version and then the re-rant from 2002 or so.   My typing skillz may be a little off tonight because I was forced to switch back to my netbook again after my full-size Toshiba laptop blue-screened on me one time too many for my liking.  I had just gotten accustomed to the nice big keyboard again, and then BAM, fate (and a faulty hard drive) rip it out of my hands like a disappointing wrestling finish.) The Netcop Retrospective Rant for WCW Spring Stampede 1994.   Live from the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago.   Hosted by Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan, with Jesse Ventura doing interviews in the locker room.   Opening match:  Johnny B. Badd v. Diamond Dallas Page.  Oy, what a difference four years can make.  (And then another 14 years after that.  Can you imagine that I was trying to do a historical perspective on a show that was only four years old?  That’s like doing an old school rant on a 2008 WWE PPV.)  For the two or three of you who are not aware, Johnny B Badd is currently “Marvellous” Marc Mero in the WWF, and a different character he couldn’t be.  Johnny comes to the ring with a sequined cowboy outfit that screams “I’m a raging homo” (moreso than usual for Badd).  Ick.  DDP has Kimberly with him (as “The Diamond Doll”) and about 20 extra pounds.  Man, he used to be chubby.  (Truly some biting and incisive commentary here.)  The match itself is nothing at all, as DDP is mainly in kick and punch mode. These two didn’t really start clicking until a little ways into 1996, just before Mero’s contract ran out and he bolted to the WWF.  (That’s actually not how it went down but 1998 Scott didn’t subscribe to the WON.)  It’s also BDC (Before Diamond Cutter) which means no one gives a shit about DDP, despite some good heel stuff on his part.  Badd was treading on the edge of stardom at this point.  DDP takes a bump outside the ring, and rolls back in to meet a sunset flip off the top for the Badd pin to start us off with a relatively easy Badd win.  **   TV title match:  Lord Steven Regal (w/ Sir William) v. Brian Pillman. Welcome to hell, Brian.  This was after WCW split up the Blonds to get Austin a singles push, and they had NO clue what to do with Pillman, so they stuck him with Regal.  Man, was that a mistake.  Regal’s whole shtick is ring psychology, stalling, mat wrestling and heel tactics, all of which completely negates Brian’s high-impact offense.  It’s like a train wreck.  To make matters worse, it’s booked as a 15-minute draw (oops, gave it away) so Pillman has to find something to do with Regal for 15 minutes.  Both guys try, but it’s not clicking and it’s boring as all hell.  Damn, Regal was good in 94.  I’d love to see him back in that form today and wrestling Dean Malenko.  This match is a cookie-cutter Regal 15-minute TV title draw, of which he did about a million between 1993 and 1996.  Major yawn.  *1/2   (I think future me probably enjoyed this match a lot more.  We shall see.)  Chicago Street Fight:  Nasty Boys v. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne. BOO-YAH!  Now *Payne* should be the one teaming with Foley these days, not Terry Funk.  Remember Man Mountain Rock?  That’s Payne.  (Wait, let me write this down.  Actually, that does remind me of a “Whoops, aren’t I stupid in retrospect” moment from my very early days online, as I stumbled onto the newsgroups in late 1992 having only been exposed to PWI as my source of info.  Thus I thought of the characters as “fan favorites” and “rulebreakers” according to Apter-speak.  When I found RSPW, people were discussing something with Maxx Payne and a possible “heel turn”, and I thought they were talking about some kind of dance move.  True story.)  This match stems from a bunch of shit that was going down between the two teams (and off and on with Dave & Kevin Sullivan to boot) and this match ended up building to the incredible tag title match at Slamboree two months later.  This match is *nothing* like what you’d expect from WCW today…their entire direction went off the deep end when Hogan signed in June of 94, and it’s a shame, because this brawl absolutely blows almost anything ECW has done since 1995 out of the water.  (I wouldn’t say ANYTHING, but it was a great match.) It’s not just goofy spots and oddball weapons, it’s smartly set up spots and stiff shots with intelligent weapons.  The hatred is just palatable, and that’s the way I like it.  These guys just beat the piss out of each other non-stop, including destroying a conveniently placed souvenir stand.  The finish comes as Sags wallops a prone Cactus with a shovel (while he was laying on the concrete – and he hit him HARD on the head, square) and pins him (to retain the titles?  Not sure if they were even on the line).  The match gets ****3/4 from me, and would get ***** if the rematch at Slamboree with the Nasties against Jack & Sullivan wasn’t that *little* bit better.   (Still working out of the kinks on the play by play, I see.)  US title match:  Stunning Steve Austin v. The Great Muta.  The less said about this mess, the better.  I don’t know whose dumb idea it was to marry these two in the first place, but they deserve a smack.  Rule #459b:  Any match in WCW involving the Great Muta after 1992 is guaranteed to suck.  (I should note this was written before Muta had a bizarre career resurgence in Japan.)  It’s a headlock contest for about 10 minutes, and god knows why Steve can’t carry Muta to a better match, because he had the talent back then to do so, and Muta certainly had the talent, even if he chose not to use it 50% of the time.  Then, about 15 minutes in, Muta starts pulling highspots out of nowhere and the crowd gets totally into it.  He does a rana off the top rope, and then kills the crowd again by backdropping Austin over the top rope for the DQ.  Ugh.  The crowd was just sitting there waiting for Muta to do something spectacular, and this disappointed majorly.  Bad match all around.  *   (Wish I was more eloquent to get across what I was going for there.)  Fake World title match:  Rick Rude v. Sting.  Okay, let’s go over this again for those of you just joining us after 1993:  Rude is carrying around the belt currently being used by the WCW World champion, but he’s not actually a World champion, he’s the “WCW International World champion,” which is the punchline to a very long story that is very embarrassing to WCW in general and is not worth getting into now but the FAQ goes into great detail on the subject.  Suffice it to say, the title means nothing, but WCW acts like it does because they don’t like to admit when they fuck up. (Who does, really?)  Okay, with that out of the way, Rude’s pre-match spiel is interrupted by Harley Race, who challenges the winner to a match with Vader.  Back when this was a scary thing, you have to remember.  Sting attacks Race to shut him up, and we’re underway.  Sting ruled the world back then, back when he, you know, WRESTLED.  (Oh, TAG.)  Sting and Rude have a very old-school familiarity about them, in that this is the kind of match that used to headline WWF shows.  Nothing spectacular, but both guys know their trade and know how to work the crowd.  Rude is majorly lazy, and the match gets very slow once he gets on the offensive.  He draws terrific heel heat throughout the match, however. As per Rude’s contract, he exposes his buttocks one (1) time, takes three (3) clotheslines, one (1) backdrop, and oversells one (1) atomic drop.  It’s not a Rude match unless he does all of the above in a two minute span.  So Sting makes El Big Comeback, but Peewee Anderson takes El Bumpo del Reffo and Vader does El Runno-Inno.  This gives Rude time to set up (very slowly as Race regains his breath and grabs a chair) the Rude Awakening, but Race takes a swing at Sting with the chair and misses, nailing Rude.  Sting covers, Anderson recovers, and we have a new…whatever.  **1/2  Entertaining match in a guilty pleasure kind of way.   DustinDust v. Bunkhouse Buck.  In his weirdest, sickest disguise yet, Goldust dresses up as Dusty Rhodes’ offspring!  AAAAAAAAAH!  Oh, the humanity!  Okay, never mind.  Rhodes and Buck both juice here (when was the last time you saw THAT in WCW?) but I’m busy arguing with Zenon over what happened with the Fake World title following the last match, so I’m not really paying attention.  It seemed pretty good, however.  Buck smokes Rhodes with knuckledusters and pins him.  Zen informs me it was ***-ish, and I’ll take his word for it.   (Ah, now there’s old school Scott, ignoring the match and giving a rating based on a third party recollection of it.  Although Zen loved ECW so his ratings can’t be trusted anyway.)  The Boss (Man, he’s Big) v. Vader.  They’re using a ripoff of “Bad Boys” for the Boss.  HEY!  That’s my song.  Bastards. (That would be a reference to my days on RSPW as “Netcop” if you’re wondering.  Plus I love Cops now too.)  Another guilty pleasure match, and a pretty good brawl.  Vader tries an Air Juvi in reverse, going from the rampway into the ring, but misses.  Points for effort, I guess.  Vader goes hardway from the eye and the mouth.  Ouch. There were lots of spots that were almost, but not quite entirely, resembling pretty good ones, which sums up this match:  It was almost, but not quite entirely, resembling a pretty good match.  But ’94 Vader can carry Kurrgan and Goldberg to a ***1/2 match if he wants to, so I’m not worrying overly.  Boss is game, but Vader nails the pump splash/moonsault 1-2 combo for the pin.  Yee-haw for now, but we’ll get totally sick of seeing it by Starrcade.   The Boss attacks Race and Vader with the nightstick following the match, and Commish Nick Bockwinkel decides to strip him of his identity. In reality, the WWF was suing WCW’s ass off for using such a blatant Big Bossman ripoff for Ray Traylor and they needed a new gimmick.   Main event:  WCW World championship match: Ric Flair v. Rick Steamboat.  Five years later, and they decide to give it another go. Man, that crappy WCW belt just doesn’t cut it.  (I don’t mind it so much now compared to say, the WWE title.  In fact I’m quite fond of using it in Smackdown v. RAW 2011.)  For those who don’t know, this is NOT the Flair-Steamboat match that everyone refers to as the greatest match of all-time, but it’s still excellent.  Steamboat is defacto babyface, of course.  It takes Flair about 20 minutes to start cheating, which disappoints me somewhat.  Still, this is a truly spectacular match compared to just about every other “main event” that followed in WCW from Slamboree 1994 until the present.  Where else do you see 32 minute matches these days?  Controversial finish as Steamer goes for the double chicken wing bridge, but both mens’ shoulders are down for the pin, and tie goes to the champion, so Flair retains. ****1/4   (Jesus, a 30 minute match and THAT’S the review for it?  Definitely the kinks needed working out.)  The Bottom Line:   It’s shows like this that make me sick to my stomach over what Hulk Hogan did to WCW over the next two years.  WCW had managed to somehow salvage a HORRIBLE 1993 by putting on a great Starrcade and rolling in the best direction they’d gone in the history of the company (including Bill Watts) and then pissing it all down the crapper by signing Hulk Hogan.  Was the second half of 1994 and the entirety of 1995 worth putting up with before they finally figured out that Hogan didn’t work as a face?  Who knows.  But Spring Stampede was a GREAT show, the kind of top-to-bottom intriguing card that Starrcade 1997 tried to be but failed miserably.  A couple of the matches here were real clunkers (although Austin-Muta should have been WAY better – and why not do Austin-Pillman on PPV?) but having TWO ****+ on the same card is just unheard of these days, and to have two **** matches in such different styles (one garbage, one classic wrestling) is amazing.  Paul E wishes he could pull off something like that.   This tape, and the even better Slamboree 1994, are absolute must-see for any wrestling fan.  A review of Slamboree is available at http://www.planet.eon.net/~skeith/shows/slam94.txt if you want to check it out, too.  (Ha!  My dialup website!  Thankfully Shaw Cable brought broadband into Edmonton a few months after – remember the @Home Network? – and I never had to suffer through modem envy again.) Later. (Not a bad rant, actually.  Considering this was my first ever Retro Rant, it’s not bad at all.)  (And now, the more recent version…) The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Spring Stampede 1994 – Okay, for those not aware, the original rant for this show was done REALLY early in my retro-ranting career, and in fact may have been the first. Either that or Slamboree 94, I can never keep them straight. Anyway, fans of mine probably know exactly how much I hate my old stuff and how more than happy I am to redo the pre-99 works in most cases. And since I get lots of requests to repost this one, I figured, what the hell, let’s redo it. Besides which, if I can get the proposed third book about WCW sold, I’ll need better material to recycle. – Live from Chicago, IL – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby. – Opening match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Johnny B. Badd. Ah, back in the days when DDP wasn’t having himself pushed to the main event and we didn’t have to listen to Kimberly talk. Page attacks, but gets rolled up for two. He bails and gets dragged back in by Badd. Page takes him down for two, but Badd works the arm and they mess up a drop toehold spot. Badd stays on the arm, but Page tries some stuff which I guess could be laughably called mat wrestling until Badd dropkicks him for two. DDP introduces him to the top turnbuckle and takes over with a backdrop suplex and a gutbuster. Tony and Bobby have a really weird verbal exchange here (after Tony declares that the winner of this match will be “in line for a title shot of some sort” in that wonderfully vague wording of the wrestling world) in relation to the gutbuster. Tony starts by calling it a gutbuster, and Bobby breaks in (I’m paraphrasing here). “You know, Page has a name for that move.” “Really?” “Yes. You want to know what it’s called?” “It’s called a gutbuster.” “No, he has a special name for it. You want me to tell you?” “Sure.” “It’s called a.uh.stomach buster.” “That’s what I called it!” They actually proceed like this for like another minute while my head spins. Anyway, Page gets something that looks like a cross between a suplex and a slam for two. We hit the chinlock. Badd escapes and makes the comeback with an atomic drop and backdrop, and the Kiss That Don’t Miss puts DDP on the floor. Badd follows with a pescado. Back in, sunset flip finishes at 5:54. It astonishes me that WCW kept Page long enough to get any good. Well, actually, it doesn’t. * – World TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Brian Pillman. Ah, the dead zone of Pillman’s career post Hollywood Blonds, pre-Horsemen. It’s weird this is 8 years ago as of this writing, and Regal still looks pretty much the same. (Still does another 10 years later.)  Pillman, on the other hand, only three years later looked 20 years older. Pillman attacks to start and goes for the taped leg of Regal, but gets reversed into the quick pinfall sequence. That’s the tragedy of this match Regal may as well have had a big sign on his leg saying “KICK ME HERE” and they ignored it the whole match. Pillman keep son the leg and Regal bails, and that’s it for the leg. Pillman goes after him and switches to the arm instead, and wraps it around the post. Regal finally cheapshots him and works a wristlock, but Pillman fights back. Regal suplexes out of that for two. He pounds away and goes to a body vice, which is reversed to a cradle for two by Pillman. Regal reverses a leglock into the Regal Stretch, which doesn’t yet have a name at this point. Neat counter, though. Brian backslides to block a forearm, but Regal counters into a modified Rita Romero Special, back into a chinlock. Brian fires back, and snaps off a rana for two. Regal blocks a crucifix with a Regal Roll in an awkward sequence, and that gets two. They take it back to the mat, as Regal goes into a bow-and-arrow, but Pillman punches free. Regal quickly grabs a leg and takes him down into a half-crab, however. Regal ties him up, but Pillman keeps coming back. Regal rollup gets two. Back to the mat with a half-nelson stretch, but Pillman keeps fighting. Regal slugs him down, but Pillman gets a dropkick. Regal blocks another try, but Pillman finally gets an enzuigiri to cue the comeback. Regal blocks a monkey-flip, but Pillman gets one more dropkick and gets all fired up.with about 30 seconds to go. The offense is all weak, however, and they tumble out for the draw at 15:00. This is a really weird match, with Regal completely gobbling up Pillman and not really allowing him any hope spots or strong offense, especially considering the bad leg. It had some neat stuff, but as a fan I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief and pretend that Pillman had even a shot to win. ** – Chicago Street Fight: The Nasty Boys v. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne. This match is interesting for about a billion different reasons, chiefly among them that it made Mick Foley into a player in the business once and for all. Up until this point, he was just the wacky midcarder who got one run with Vader, but after this people really took notice of him. But this match also established a template for tag matches that ECW completely lifted for themselves and built the career of Public Enemy on. Third, the basic template was then refined by the WWF into the style of match that came to be the TLC match chaotic brawling with highspots built around weapons and bumps rather than athletics. In fact, you could even extrapolate even further and say that the long-standing “WWF Main Event Style” characterized by brawling in place of resting also stems from this match, but that’s a bit of a stretch it’d be more accurate to trace that to the Benoit-Sullivan series of matches from 1996. I have, however, often wondered why this match wasn’t used to spruce up the tag division in the WWF more; it’s a very easy style of match to work and not only fires up the crowd, but disguises the weaknesses of the people involved. Look at the New Age Outlaws, for instance there’s a reason why their matches with Cactus Jack & Terry Funk in 1998 did so much to get them over. Huge brawl to start, as Payne spikes Sags in the ring and Knobs beats on Jack outside. Jack & Knobs head in and Jack beats on him with a pool cue and takes him out with a Cactus Clothesline. Knobs hits the railing, but Sags saves and we trade dance partners for a bit. The faces pound the Nasties on the floor, and Jack & Sags fight on the ramp and back into the ring. Knobs & Payne end up heading down the aisle, delivering brutally stiff shots to each other, to one of those suspiciously-placed souvenir stands. At ringside, Sags & Jack dish out super-stiff chairshots, while Payne puts Knobs through a table. This was likely unintentional, as table-scoring didn’t start until ECW made it a tradition. He then chokes him out with a t-shirt, as Tony gets right into the spirit of things (“I’m not sure that shirt even fits him!”). All four guys end up at the stand, and Jack takes a sick bump over the railing, while Payne goes through the souvenir stand. Sags batters Jack with a table (which is no small feat of strength, actually) and brings it up onto the ramp, which draws Cactus up there too. Jack steals the table and suplexes it onto Sags, with Sags not even able to get his hands up to block, which even makes Tony cringe. Poor Bobby is just rendered speechless by the whole thing. Knobs stops the count with a shovel, but Payne steals it and pounds him. Meanwhile, Sags piledrives Cactus through the table. Jack gets tossed to the concrete floor, and Sags delivers a SICK unprotected shot to the head with the shovel, and even Tony is glad that it’s finished at 8:58 as a result. You have to understand how revolutionary this was for WCW at the time, in that stuff like going through tables and brawling into the crowd was at best the sole highspot, even in wild brawls. This match turned them into TRANSITION moves and built the drama around other facets of the storyline of the match, and that was what ECW needed to do to make Public Enemy into stars. Some say matches under 10 minutes shouldn’t be ****+, but I’ve been one to conform to convention. ****3/4  (There’s a definite movement of people who feel these matches aren’t that great, mainly because ECW and WWE ended up doing all this stuff themselves later on.  I am merely presented that alternate view and not choosing sides on it.)  – US title match: Steve Austin v. The Great Muta. Muta was the ultimate recipient of good luck with regards to WCW, as he would come in for one or two matches, still super-over due to fans’ memory of him from 1989, be booked strong, and then leave again before WCW could cut the legs out from underneath him. (Sounds like The Rock.)  In retrospect, he was one of the few people ever to be booked properly by WCW all the time. Feeling-out process to start, and Muta works a headlock. Austin stomps him down and grabs his own, but walks into an abdominal stretch. Everyone backs off to regroup. Muta rollup gets two, and back to the headlock. Austin can’t escape until a pair of backdrop suplexes get two. Muta suplexes him right back and drops the power elbow, but that burst of offense just leads to another headlock. Yeesh. Criss-cross and Muta goes right back to the headlock. Austin reverses and everyone backs off to regroup again. Austin rollup gets two, but Muta gets a hammerlock. They work off that for a while. I pity the crowd here. Parker trips up Muta and Austin tosses him as it looks good for SOMETHING to happen. Austin drops a knee for two, but then goes to an abdominal stretch to burn some time. Muta finally escapes and makes the comeback, but misses the dropkick and Austin drops an elbow for two. Muta makes another comeback with a spinkick, but doesn’t follow up. Suplex and dropkick allow Muta to go up, but he puts the “miss” in “missile dropkick”. Austin’s toehold attempt sucks, so they regroup and Muta hotshots him and gets the handspring elbow. Now the crowd is finally alive. Top rope rana and everyone is prepping for the big finish, but it never comes as Muta dumps Austin over the top by accident for the DQ at 16:30. This would be what happens when Muta DOESN’T try, in case you’re wondering. * – WCW Saskatchewan Hardcore International World Gold Belt Western States Heritage Mid-South Missouri title: Rick Rude v. Sting. You wouldn’t think they could fit all that on one belt, but it’s a pretty big belt. Harley Race challenges the winner on behalf of Vader, and gets beat up as a result. Rude attacks to start and gets dumped and suplexed on the floor. Back in, Sting pounds him down and gets a backdrop suplex for two. Sting grabs a facelock and drops the elbow, three times. That gets two. Back to the facelock, and Rude is frustrated and can’t escape. Finally he crotches Sting and dumps him. Rude beats on him, and back in he works on the back. Backdrop suplex gets two. Rude grabs the rear chinlock and that goes on for a while. Sting escapes and they do a rollup reversal spot, but Rude gets a sleeper. Sting is all “BRING IT ON, BITCH!” and makes the comeback with a pair of atomic drops and a clothesline. Ref is bumped with cheese and Sting gets the Scorpion Deathlock, and even tries to revive the ref at the same time. Race returns with Vader, however, and both get clobbered. Then it’s a horribly blown sequence as Rude is supposed to go for the Rude Awakening and get accidentally nailed by Race, but Race completely misses his cue and poor Rude has to stand there “fighting” for the move for like a minute before giving up and pounding Sting down again. Race finally remembers his spot and grabs a chair, and this time they get it right, with Rude going down like a ton of bricks and Sting getting the title at 13:09. You could really see Rude’s deterioration, and in fact the rematch with Sting was his last match. **1/2 – Bunkhouse match: Dustin Rhodes v. Bunkhouse Buck. Hey, it’s Jimmy Golden v. Goldust. This was pretty much Dustin’s prime as a worker, although given his currently motivated status and the possibility of Stardust booking RAW pretty soon, you never know. Dustin lays him out to start and pounds away. Suplex gets two. Buck takes a powder and they brawl, won by Dustin. Back in, Rhodes misses a crossbody and hits the floor, allowing Buck to break a piece of wood on his head. Even Tony is lost as to the source of that wood. Dustin bleeds. I know, shocking. Buck clotheslines him on the ramp and chokes him out. Back in, Buck stomps stomps away and works on the leg. Dustin pulls out a package of white powder (so THAT’S where the Goldust character came from.) and evens the score, however. Buck re-evens the score by whipping him, whipping him like a dog, Tony, with the belt. Buck goes low to put an exclamation point on that beating, and he slowly pounds away in the corner. Dustin finally comes back and beats on him in the corner, then uses that belt himself. Now Buck is bleeding. Dustin drops a cowboy boot on his head and proceeds to whipping, and Buck ends up on the floor. Back in, Buck loads up the glove (always a classic), but Dustin elbows away in the corner. Bulldog, but Dustin is of course an idiot and chases Col. Parker. Buck rolls him up for two. Slugfest is won by Dustin, but Parker slips Buck the knuckledusters, and that finishes at 14:18. Solid but overly long brawl. *** – Vader v. The Boss (Man, Is He Big). (Yeah, I used that joke in both rants, wanna fight about it?)  Boss clotheslines Vader into the ring to start, and gets a big boot, and Vader is out again. They fight on the ramp and Vader sends Boss back in. He follows with a running dive over the top, which misses. Boss dumps him again, and Vader meets the railing. Twice. Back in, Boss with the corner splash and a slam. Vader dumps him to turn the tide, however. Suplex back in and a splash gets two. Vader slugs the shit out of him, but gets suplexed. Boss comes back with a clothesline, but Vader responds in kind. He goes up, but Boss slams him off. A sort-of tornado DDT then gets two. This is BIG FRIGGIN BOSSMAN we’re talking about here. He goes up with a flying bodypress for two. Back up, but Vader powerslams him and adds the pump splash for two. Back up, Vadersault finishes at 9:18. This was a war of attrition. ***1/2 Boss goes nuts with the nightstick, which leads to Nick Bockwinkel stripping him of his gimmick. – WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Ricky Steamboat. This didn’t really have any long-term storyline reasoning, it was just Flair wanting to put on a great match to highlight a PPV. Wacky concept, I know. It was also the subtle beginnings of Flair’s heel turn, as he attacked Steamboat leading up to this. Flair takes him down and we do a bit of mat wrestling. Stalemate results. Steamboat overpowers him and they do more mat wrestling and start with the fisticuffsmanship. Criss-cross and Flair gets pressed and headscissored, twice. Dropkick puts Flair on the floor, and back in Steamboat gets the FLYING KARATE CHOP OF DEATH for two. Flair bails and regroups. Back in, he starts chopping, and they do that thing they do as Flair slowly goes heel. Steamboat holds onto a headlock, confounding Flair. That goes on a while, until Flair escapes, but gets headscissored back into a headlock again. Steamboat overpowers him, and a rollup gets two. Back to the headlock, and Steamboat grinds it in. It’s little touches like that which keep the match interesting, as opposed to Austin and Muta laying around for five minutes. Flair chops out, but Steamboat goes back to it. Dropkick misses, however, and Flair is chopping again. Kneedrop and Flair pounds and chops, and drops another knee for two. Elbow gets two. They chops away and a crossbody puts both on the floor. Steamboat reverses a piledriver attempt, but charges and splats on the railing. Back in, Steamboat superplex gets two. Flair Flip and he walks into a chop and Steamboat follows with a flying chop to the floor. Back in, Steamboat pounds away in the corner with chops, and it’s a Flair Flop for two. Sunset flip is blocked by Flair, but Steamboat blocks a kneedrop and hooks a figure-four. He keeps pulling Flair into the middle of the ring. The old shot to the jaw breaks it up. Flair gets a suplex, but his knee buckles and Steamboat gets two. Into the pinfall reversal sequence. Small package gets two. Flair chops him again and Steamer returns fire. Flair bails to the ramp, but gets chopped back in. Flair Flip and out, and Steamboat follows him out again, but this time Flair is one step ahead and gets a foot up to block. Flair heads back in, but Steamboat stalls until they slug it out on the apron. Flying bodypress gets two for Steamboat. Flair lays him out again, and goes up, but you know what happens next. Steamboat goes back up, but misses the flying splash and hits his knee. CUE OMINOUS MUSIC HERE. Figure-four, but Steamboat eventually makes the ropes. Flair stays on the knee and goes back to the move, but Steamboat reverses for two. Backslide gets two. Superplex and both guys are dead. Rollup gets two. Double chickenwing looks to finish, but Flair falls back (ala Clash VI) and this time BOTH guys are pinned at 32:20. Tie goes to the champion, so Flair retains. This one was lacking a certain spark to it, and it hurt a lot. ****1/4 (The rematch on WCW Saturday Night was even better.)  The Bottom Line: This show is notable only for two matches, really, but they’re two AMAZING matches and both are well worth searching out from an era where ONE ****+ per show was something to talk about. Unfortunately for those in 1994, this was year of the Shawn-Razor ladder match and nothing else from 94 was gonna touch that match at voting time for Match of the Year, but Spring Stampede 94 is still one of the best PPVs that WCW ever did. Highest recommendation.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1994 (Original and New Versions)

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 94 – Live from Providence, Rhode Island. Is that the state or Dusty while he’s swimming? – Your hosts are Ted Dibiase (the Million Dollar Man) and Vince McMahon (The Billion Dollar Man). Triviata: Ted Dibiase is the only color man to have done a PPV with both Vince McMahon AND Eric Bischoff (this show and Souled Out 97 respectively), although I don’t know if the same applies to TV broadcasts. If you add TV broadcasts, you can add Bobby Heenan to that list.Opening match: Tatanka v. Bam Bam Bigelow. This was supposed to be Tatanka v. Ludvig Borga, but ol’ Tony had an ankle injury that ended up changing the course of the WWF. Ludvig was supposed to win this match, using it as a stepping stone to the World title a couple of weeks after, then losing it to Lex Luger at Wrestlemania X. Of course, things turned out much differently. (2012 Scott sez:  This is of course a very dubious proposition spread mostly by Tony Halme himself.)  Tatanka is painted like Peter Criss tonight. You know what’s sad? I made that joke in 1994 and no one got it. Now suddenly KISS makes a comeback and the reference isn’t half as witty as it was. I wonder if Dennis Miller has these kinds of problems. (2012 Scott sez:  I’m totally into old KISS these days.  I actually got into them in the 80s listening to their non-makeup hair metal era, but now all I listen to is the 70s stuff from the debut album through to the “Music From The Elder” atrocity.)   Slugfest to start, and Tatanka blows a bunch of stuff. Well, really he just blows, but I figured I might as well finish the sentence. (2012 Scott sez:  Hey now, I don’t mind Tatanka these days.)  The announcers talk about both men competing in the Rumble later on, which marked the first year that depletion of the roster due to the you-know-what trials forced multiple appearances for the talent on the Rumble card. Now it’s standard practice. (2012 Scott sez:  Now we’ve swung the other way in the post-WCW world, with so many people on the roster that they’ve talked about doing separate RAW and Smackdown Rumbles at times.)  It was a pretty big thing at the time, however. Bearhuggery abounds here. Tatanka tries the Pissed Off Racial Stereotype Comeback, but takes an enzuigiri. Bigelow mocks him, but misses his goofy moonsault, and Tatanka finishes with a flying bodypress at 8:10. This was there. * – WWF tag team title match: The Quebecers v. Bret & Owen Hart. I really need a high quality MP3 of that theme song. RSPW was creaming themselves once the 123 X-Pac and Marty Jannetty won the tag titles on RAW, because we thought we’d get a ***** match out of the deal. Sadly, the match was never changed to that combo (it would have been a standard Harts-Quebecers tag match) and besides which, the Quebecers regained the belts in MSG a week later. Oh, by the way, the WWF Sledgehammer of Plot Committee would just like to remind everyone that EVERYTHING IS ABSOLUTELY FINE between the Harts, thank you very much. Harts double-team the champs to start. Odd moment: Vince McMahon accuses Dibiase of being a limelight hog for most of his career. I won’t even start on that one, because I’ll go on for 5 paragraphs. Champs stall for a bit after Bret gets about 10 two-counts to frustrate Jacques. Pierre cheapshots Bret and a brawl erupts. Cool spot: We do the “double whip, dosey-do” bit that sends Owen & Bret crashing into each other, but Bret immediately whips Owen into Pierre, which allows Owen to switch to a spear move in mid-air, then upon impact roll up Pierre for a two count. That is seriously damn cool. Note to Edge & Christian: Start doing shit like that more often. Leg lariat gets two for Owen. Side suplex gets two. Bret comes in but gets powerslammed into face-in-peril mode to begin the first heat segment of the match. Owen eventually gets a hot tag and suplexes everything in sight. Sharpshooter on Jacques, but another cheapshot breaks it, and we get heat segment #2, this time on Owen. Bret comes back in quickly, hitting the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM on Pierre. Johnny Polo (Raven) pulls down the ropes and Bret falls to the floor, hurting his knee. This begins heats segment #3, as the Quebecers work his knee and generally cheat like rabid weasels. (2012 Scott sez:  “rabid weasels”?!?) We work the countout tease for a bit, then Owen tosses Bret back in. The champs hurt the knee for a while and go for the cannonball finisher, but Bret moves…and won’t tag Owen. Instead, he tries the Sharpshooter on Pierre, but his own knee gives way, and the ref stops the match at 16:44. What a jerk. If I was Owen, I’d turn on him, too. Owen is rightfully pissed, and verbally abuses his poor brother while he rolls around on the mat clutching his knee. Bret fights his way to his feet (to applause), so Owen KICKS HIS LEG OUT OF HIS LEG! Don’t worry, I’ll explain the reference next paragraph. Big heel heat for Owen there. Great match, great angle that makes Bret an even bigger babyface and Owen a huge heel with one kick. **** – Toad Pedophile finds Owen in the locker room, allowing Owen to deliver his semi-famous “YOU’RE TOO DAMN SELFISH” interview, where he berates Bret for only thinking of himself, then stumbles over his big line: He was supposed to say “…and that’s why I kicked your leg out from under you!” but instead he ended up saying “…and that’s why I kicked your leg out of your…uh…leg.”, which sounded much lamer. For comparison, compare the tone of voice in Austin Powers when he says “Allow myself to…uh…introduce myself”. Same thing. – Intercontinental title match: Razor Ramon v. IRS. Jim Ross & Gorilla Monsoon take over for this match. Typical Mad-libbed “you stole my [item of value], so I’m gonna [violent verb] you” angle here, although the one the fans were really digging was the Shawn v. Razor one over the I-C title claim. It should be noted that Ramon is wearing his very macho powder blue tights tonight. Razor takes his trademark over-the-top bump to give control to IRS. Weird spot as IRS comes off the top and Ramon sticks his foot in the air, but IRS changes direction in mid-air and avoids it. Miscue there, I think. Ramon comes back with the usual. Ref is bumped, and heeeeeeeeeere’s Shawn. Lovetap with the bogus I-C title puts Ramon out, and IRS covers for the pin and the title at 10:44. And whereas that would be enough for a semi-clean win in most circumstances, Dave Hebner must have realized how lame IRS as a singles champion of any kind would be, because he rushes out to inform Joey Marella of the chicanery perpetrated by Shawn Michaels, and the match is restarted. Ramon gets the Edge and the pin (the real one) at 11:44. This was whatever, but on the upside it led to the ladder match at Wrestlemania X. ¾* – WWF title casket match: Yokozuna v. The Undertaker. And yes, this is THAT match. And if you’re reading this and wondering “What does he mean by ‘THAT match’?”, well, obviously you’ve led a very sheltered life and have never heard of this match before, and are thus much more mentally stable than the rest of us poor bastards who had to watch it in 1994. I’d just like to point out, for the record, that all the free tapes from WCW, exposure from Wrestleline, money from Sean Shannon, and ass-kissing from fans STILL isn’t enough to justify the mental anguish that this match has caused millions of people and the suffering I have to go through in order to review it for you, the reader. But I guess a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. So please, before we begin, bear in mind that I am making NONE of this up, and everything I am about to describe actually happened, live on a PPV. This is not, just to clarify, an LSD hallucination gone wrong, or a dream sequence that ended with Pat Patterson waking up in the shower in the next morning. And please, for the love of god, put the kids to bed before you read this match review, or skip to the Royal Rumble match. I wouldn’t want any of them to read it and later become a booker with these kinds of ideas lodged in their heads. God knows there’s enough bad influences on TV these days without the added mental problems caused by watching Undertaker matches from 1994. (2012 Scott sez:  There actually are people working for WWE now who would have grown up watching this match and probably taken ideas from it.  THINK ABOUT THAT.)  Presenting the all-time champion of overbooking and general stupidity…Undertaker v. Yokozuna, part one. Onto the match.. – Undertaker gets a quick start, chasing Yoko to the floor. The brawl a bit. Then a bit more. Yoko gains the upper hand with the CEREMONIAL SALT OF DOOM and some weak chairshots. First casketing attempt goes to Yoko, but UT blocks and comes back. Belly-to-bellies ends that, but Taker does the zombie situp. Chokeslam follows, and a HUGE swinging DDT. Undertaker tries to finish, and you might want to skip ahead now, because it REALLY starts to suck. Crush blocks UT’s win attempt, and Taker fights him off. Now the Great Kabuki (as an agent of Mr. Fuji) tries his luck, along with Genichiro Tenryu. Taker fights them all off. Now Bam Bam comes down and it’s 4-on-1. Yoko awakes from his nap in the casket, so now it’s 5-on-1. Is the point hammered home yet? Of course not, so here’s Adam Bomb to make it 6-on-1. Throw in Jeff Jarrett for 7-on-1, then the Headshrinkers make it NINE-on-1, which is getting excessive even by ECW standards. Diesel joins us last (lazy bastard) for an even 10-on-1, and they STILL, ten guys mind you, can’t get him into the damn coffin. So what would YOU do? Steal the urn of course, and dump the ashes out. Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get sillier, it does: Green smoke pours out of the urn and everyone acts all shocked. LET’S KICK IT UP A NOTCH (2012 Scott sez:  Emeril Lagasse reference there, kids.  I miss him in this age of Guy Fieri having 17 shows and imitators on the Food Network.)  – Vince deadpans, as the entire match (and indeed his promotion) falls apart in the ring: “It appears that the power of the urn is escaping, and with it the Undertaker’s powers”. I swear to god he actually said that without a trace of irony. That’s why I couldn’t be a wrestling announcer – I’d get fired for ripping stuff apart as soon as I saw how dumb an idea it was. Finally, after all that, they put the Undertaker down for good and shut the lid to give Yokozuna the win at 14:19, although the actual 1-on-1 match lasted all of 5 minutes. The crowd is left completely numbed and in shock by the ending. –**** (2012 Scott sez:  I only gave this negative four stars?  What would it have needed to be to earn five?)  – Suck it in, because we’re not done yet. The heels then lock the casket and wheel it to the dressing room, but it starts to smoke on the way down the aisle. A video of UT appears on the video wall (which the announcers naturally assume is a live feed of Undertaker inside his casket, thus indicating that Ocham’s Razor is a foreign concept to Vince McMahon, Jr.  (2012 Scott sez:  Hell of a name for a finisher, though.)  ). Undertaker, who is now “dying”, stops his decomposition long enough to give a speech. I was so touched that I transcribed it, because you all deserve to share my pain. I was gonna split it into individual haikus to really be a smart-ass, but it’s late, so here’s the Undertaker’s last words: – “ Be not proud, because the spirit of the Undertaker live within the souls of mankind, the eternal flame of life which cannot be extinguished, the origin of which cannot be explained. The answer lies in the everlasting spirit. Soon all mankind will witness the rebirth of the Undertaker. I will not rest in peace.” – Is that fucking deep or what? I feel like humming “Personal Jesus” right now. I wonder if Sid was watching this show and took interviewing notes or something? By the way, Mark Callaway wanted time off to spend with his wife, so Vince thought up this whole wonderful “sports entertainment” moment to explain his absence. Whatever happened to “he hurt his leg” or “he’s in jail” like in the good old days?  (2012 Scott sez:  Or now, he got suspended for a Wellness violation.)  – Oh, wait, sorry, I bet you thought this segment couldn’t get anymore stupid and offensive…FOOLISH MORTAL! I’ll break your spirit yet! The video wall image of the Undertaker goes to a reverse-color scheme, then starts to “rise” out of the video wall, to be replaced by Marty Jannetty dressed in an Undertaker costume, “levitating” to the ceiling (with wires clearly visible) while Vince earnestly sells the whole experience as a deep and meaningful spiritual experience. – Dear Federal Investigators: Obviously whoever conducted the investigation of Mr. Vincent K. McMahon on suspicion of drug distribution in 1994 and failed to get a conviction was either retarded or coked out of their mind, because if the above 30 minutes doesn’t conclusively prove that the entire booking team was on mind-altering substances of some form then the American legal system might as well pack it in now, because justice is not only blind, it’s stupid. Yours Truly, Scott Keith. P.S. If you do indeed fire your lead investigator, consider forwarding his resume to WCW, because even retarded and on mind-altering substances, he’s still one up on Russo & Ferrera at this point.Royal Rumble: For those of you who haven’t sworn off wrestling entirely after the above, welcome back. Scott Steiner gets #1, Samu #2. Scott has his hair permed like my ex-girlfriend Karen, which is kind of creepy. Due to time constraints we’re going with 90 seconds instead of 2 minutes here. Rick Steiner gets #3, and the Steiners get rid of Samu quickly. Kwang (what’s the sound of 300 pounds of crap hitting the fan? KWANG!) is #4 and he sprays green mist at the Steiners and does some lethal martial arts. To put it in perspective, Kwang is of course that renowned martial artist Savio Vega. Owen Hart (and his big heel pop) are #5. The heels dominate. Owen does an innocuous tussle with Rick in the corner, and ends up fighting hard enough to knock Steiner out. Bart Gunn is #6. He peppers Owen with left hands, but Owen does his Butterbean impersonation and ignores them. (2012 Scott sez:  Poor Bart, punchline for all time.)  Diesel is #7, triggering a pretty famous sequence. Bart! Steiner! Owen! Kwang! Everyone takes a seat on the floor, and the crowd eats it up. Bob Backlund is #8, and there he goes out the other side. Fans chant “Diesel” as he waits for the next victim. It’s Billy Gunn at #9, and he’s out on his ass, man, about that many seconds later. (2012 Scott sez:  I’m kinda ON here.)  Virgil is #10, but not for long. The “Diesel” chants grow louder, and would keep growing louder until he got the WWF title in November of that year. Here’s your weird thought for the day: Kevin Nash was on the verge of being fired at that point, since he was getting no reaction and couldn’t work, and if the Rumble run hadn’t worked, he likely would have gone back to WCW and ended his career around 1995 doing the Vinnie Vegas gimmick for $500 a night, then retired. But it DID work, and he went on to three World titles, numerous tag titles, and a position as head booker of WCW. So if you were one of the fans who were chanting for him that night…GO TO HELL! It’s all YOUR fault that Kevin Nash booked all that crap last year. (2012 Scott sez:  Also, the people at the 2011 Rumble who gave him a big pop for his return, also go to hell.  That match at TLC is your fault, too.)  Randy Savage is #11, thus ending Diesel’s stream of jobbers. He holds his own until Jarrett comes in at #12. Vince’s summary of Jarrett’s motivation nearly makes me tear my hair out: “He wants to use the WWF as a stepping stone to stardom in Nashville”. How the hell is that supposed to draw heel heat for him? An evil COUNTRY SINGER? No wonder the WWF lost so much money. Crush is #13, and he’s on Savage like attractive women on anyone but Mark Madden. Crush and Savage brawl while Diesel rests. Lazy bastard. Heels double-team Savage. Doink is #14. That’d be Steve Lombardi here, I think. Crush presses Savage out of the match. Crush and Diesel fight for a minute, then realize Doink is an easier target. Bigleow is #15, so the heels kindly step out of the way and Bigelow javelins the clown out of the ring halfway down the aisle. That’s pretty decisive right there. Sick bump, too. Mabel is #16. Nothing like a big fat black man to liven up the match. Diesel gets flattened. “Sparky” Thurman Plugg makes his inauspicious WWF debut at #17, beginning an amazing 5 years of non-stop jobbing and humiliation, which would drive most sane people to quitting or suicide, but ol’ Sparky actually hung on and ended up becoming internet darling Hardcore Holly in 1999. (2012 Scott sez:  Boy THAT fortune sure reversed for him in a big way a couple of years later.)  So maybe there’s hope for Prince Iaukea yet.  (2012 Scott sez:  Nope, he’s long retired from the business as an active wrestler.) HBK is #18. Diesel goes after him, just because he can. Shawn ducks out of the way, and the rest of the pack attacks and dumps Diesel. He gets a standing ovation on the way out. Mo is #19. Greg Valentine is #20, subbing for someone. Talent pool is getting pretty weak here. Tatanka is #21, with freshly repainted face. More stuff going on than I can follow easily. This match needs an enema. The Great Kabuki is #22 and casts fear into everyone’s heart. Everyone gangs up on Mabel and dumps him. Lex Luger is #23 and I’m hoping for a big babyface run to clear the deadwood, but Kabuki is his only victim. (2012 Scott sez:  If you don’t even get the big babyface deadwood clearing spot, then you know they don’t have faith in you.)  Tenryu is #24. Out-of-context quote du jour from Dibiase: “He’s there to do a job, he’s not there to win”. Shawn does a bunch of teases on the ropes. Bastion Booger is #25, but doesn’t show up. Rick Martel is #26. More stuff going on. Bret Hart is #27, STILL selling that knee injury. Crowd pops HUGE for him. Fatu (Rikishi) is #28. About half the total population of the match is still in this thing, and that’s way too many. Crush is dumped by three guys. Marty Jannetty is #29, and he and Shawn go flying at each other like Artemis Gordon and James West with those collars on, and the crowd goes nuts because of it. Last man at #30: Adam Bomb. So our field looks like…wait a sec, there goes Sparky. So our field looks like Bomb, Michaels, Jannetty, Luger, Hart, Tenryu, Tatanka, Valentine, Martel, Mo, Fatu & Bigelow. Lots of aimless wandering for a few minutes, then I guess someone signals to go home, because we go fast and furious. Martel wrestles with Valentine in the corner, and Valentine accidentally slips off the ropes and is out. Martel gets backdropped out by Tatanka right after. Everyone dogpiles Adam Bomb and he’s gone. Bigelow tosses Tatanka. Bigelow charges the corner and Flair Flips down to the floor. Jannetty meets him down there. Luger sends Tenryu back to Japan, and we’re left with…the Final Four. – Final Four: Luger, Hart, Michaels, Fatu. Gee, I wonder who goes first? Bret and Shawn do a cool sequence and almost knock each other out. Fatu & Shawn get Luger to the apron, but he fights back in and kills everyone. Double-whip allows Luger and Bret to simultaneously eliminate both heels. Luger and Bret fight to the ropes and over, where both hit the floor at 55:25 to end the match. After a lengthy discussion and a little experimentation on the crowd by WWF bookers (announcing one guy as winner, then the other, to gauge reaction), both men are announced as “co-winners”. Later footage on WWF TV, and testimony from people in the front rows, would clearly reveal Luger to have hit the floor first. C’est la vie, it was still a decent Rumble. ***1/2 The Bottom Line: Steroid trials do funny things to a man, and causing him to book shows like this one is one such thing. The Undertaker angle led to the wonderful “fake Undertaker” saga later that year, while the Hart Family dispute led to a ***** match at WM10 and a renewal of Bret Hart’s career, one of many to come. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to decide which was more worth it in the long run. I’m torn on the recommendation – there’s a couple of great matches, but the Undertaker thing is like a cancer on the rest of the tape. And since the whole Owen-Bret thing was recapped numerous times before Wrestlemania that year, I’ll have to go recommendation to avoid on this show. (2012 Scott sez:  Onto the redone version from a couple of years ago, which I have nothing really to add to.) The SmarK Retro Rant for WWF Royal Rumble 1994 – I’m stuck with the Anthology DVD version, which at least has much better video quality than my original VHS dub, so blame that for any inconsistencies with the original review. At least that means the full PPV version and not the Coliseum edit. – Live from Providence, Rhode Island. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Ted Dibiase. This actually now makes more sense to me given the rotating color commentators on RAW after the departure of Bobby Heenan. Back in the day, it was totally random to me because I only got to watch Superstars. Tatanka v. Bam Bam Bigelow Originally scheduled to be Ludvig Borga here, but what turned out to be a career-ending injury removed him from the show. Slugfest to start and Bigelow dropkicks Tatanka into the corner, but misses a charge and gets powered down. Tatanka with a crossbody for two and he works the arm, then catches Bigelow with his head down for a DDT. To the top, but he whiffs on a cross body and Bammer takes over. Avalanche in the corner, but another try hits boot and Tatanka goes up again with a sunset flip off the top, blocked by Bam Bam’s ass. Tatanka tries to slug him down, but Bam Bam gets a jumping kick for two. Bigelow with the bearhug, but Tatanka is GOING NATIVE! Bigelow puts him down again with a shoulderblock, but another try results in a Tatanka powerslam for two. They both go for a crossbody and collide for the double KO, but it’s comeback time…until Bam Bam pulls out the enzuigiri, which again draws a big pop from the heel fans in the crowd. The Lunasault misses, however, and Tatanka goes up again with a crossbody for the pin at 8:12. Kind of an anticlimactic finish, but it was a fun match put together on short notice. ***1/2 WWF World tag team titles: The Quebecers v. The Hart Brothers The Quebecers were fresh off regaining the tag titles at MSG and the Harts were fresh off a ***** match against the Steiners for Coliseum video, so it was a good week for both. Pierre gets a quick slam on Bret, but runs into a knee. Owen comes in and hiptosses Pierre into a slam for two. A sign at ringside declares “Yokozuna RIP” which unfortunately proved clairvoyant. Jacques comes in to slow things down, but Owen suplexes him and dropkicks him back to his own corner again. Another try, and this time Owen gets the enzuigiri for two. The Harts get a Demolition elbow for two. Bret with a small package for two. Sunset flip gets two. Rollup gets two, but Pierre nails Bret and it’s BONZO GONZO. The Quebecers try to whip the babyfaces into each other, but Owen catapults himself into a rollup on Jacques for two instead. Very nice. The champs bail for some advice from Johnny Polo (“Always insist on cash from Paul Heyman.”), and back in Owen gets a leg lariat on Pierre for two. Overhead suplex gets two. Legdrop gets two. It’s awesome seeing the Harts able to cut loose for once, as Jacques was able to keep up with whatever crazy stuff they could come up with. Bret comes in and walks into a Pierre powerslam for two, and Jacques allows some choking in the corner. Quebecers double-team Bret with an elbow and Pierre pounds on him in the corner, and it’s more quality cheating while hotheaded Owen tries to come in. Pierre comes off the middle rope and lands on Bret’s foot, and it’s hot tag Owen. Backdrop for Jacques, belly to belly suplex for Pierre, and he goes to finish Jacques with the Sharpshooter, but Pierre bulldogs him behind the ref’s back to break. And so Owen is your face-in-peril. They drop him on the top rope for two, but Owen quickly tags Bret back in and he fights off both Quebecers alone. Backbreaker and legsweep for Jacques and noggins are knocked, then he gets rid of Pierre and looks to finish…but Johnny Polo pulls down the top rope and Bret blows out his knee on the way down. The Quebecers swarm in and work over the knee outside until Owen chases them off. Back in, Jacques beats the hell out of the knee and goes to a Boston crab, while the announcers implore Bret to go over and make the tag. The Quebecers switch off on the knee and Vince declares that it’s not skill, it’s HOOLIGANISM. They should have marketed a Vince McMahon Word Of The Day Calendar. Bret tries a Sharpshooter on Pierre, but can’t complete the move, and the ref stops the match at 16:48. Who is he, Steve Mazzagatti? Terrible finish, but a great match up until the storyline took over. **** Speaking of storylines, Owen berates his brother for not tagging, and then KICKS THE LEG FROM UNDER HIS LEG. You know, it’s funny, because years later that would be the least horrific thing that members of that family would do to each other. At least Bret didn’t sue for that or write a tell-all book about it. Meanwhile, Owen cuts a promo from backstage, telling Bret that he’s TOO SELFISH and coins the “kicked the leg from under your leg” phrase that people mocked him about for years afterwards. Owen and a live mic used to be a risky proposition. WWF Intercontinental title: Razor Ramon v. IRS IRS has stolen the gold from around Ramon’s neck to give this some minimal backstory, and Razor slugs him down and chases him out of the ring to start. Back in for an atomic drop, but they head out and Irwin sends him into the stairs. Back in for a quick chinlock and IRS legdrops him low, then drops an elbow for two. Back to the chinlock, but Razor fights out and slugs him down, then gets the blockbuster slam for two. And tragically, the ref is bumped, allowing IRS to grab the briefcase. Razor gets it away and puts IRS down for the pin, but of course there’s no ref. So Ramon puts him on the top rope for a backdrop superplex and sets up for the Razor’s Edge, but Shawn Michaels runs in and clobbers him with the belt, which gives IRS the pin and the title at 9:43?! Luckily, Earl Hebner runs out and demands the match be restarted, because if there’s one thing he won’t stand for, it’s injustice in a title match when Shawn Michaels is involved! Ramon hits the Edge in all the confusion and pins IRS to retain. Whew. Just kind of a junky RAW match. ** But hey, if this is the worst match tonight, it’ll still be an easy thumbs up, right? WWF World title, casket match: Yokozuna v. Undertaker Hang on, I need two Red Bulls and a bag of mushrooms to properly deal with this first. … Well, all I had was canned mushrooms, so that’ll have to do. You know, thinking about Undertaker during this period, he really got stuck with the shittiest series of feuds that you could possibly think up. He had two PPVs against Giant Gonzalez with a house show feud against Mr. Hughes sandwiched in the middle, then got to face Yokozuna in this legendarily horrible match, then had to face himself at Summerslam. No wonder he had no incentive to get better. Anyway, Taker gets a flying clothesline and they fight to the floor, and Taker quickly no-sells everything and heads back in for the ropewalk. Back to the floor, UT beats on him with a chair, and Ted Dibiase notes that it’s going to get a lot more brutal. Indeed. Yoko comes back with a handful of salt and they head back in, where Yoko gets a clothesline and tries to roll him into the casket. Taker awakens and comes back for the slugfest, but Yoko puts him down with a belly to belly suplex. Taker no-sells it and gets a pretty decent chokeslam and follows with a DDT, and at this point it’s a pretty decent match. BUT IT GETS WORSE. So into the casket goes Yokozuna, but Crush runs out and attacks, preventing the finish. Taker gets rid of him, but now the Great Kabuki of all people comes in, followed by Tenryu. Yes, they have fucking GENICHIRO TENRYU booked for the show and this is what they use him for. And now Bam Bam Bigelow, as far more troubling is Yokozuna still unconscious in the casket after a single DDT two minutes previously. But now it REALLY gets silly, as Paul Bearer uses the power of the urn to inspire Undertaker to fight off four guys at once, so Jeff Jarrett and Adam Bomb now join the shitstorm. Oh, and the Headshrinkers. At least it makes sense for THEM to assist Yokozuna. Luckily, Yoko has now recovered from that devastating DDT and is walking around again. And the last man in is Diesel, and with 11 guys helping they STILL can’t close the damn casket lid. BUT IT GETS WORSE. The horde takes out Paul Bearer and steals the urn, which causes (and I’m very embarrassed as a wrestling fan to type this) green smoke to flood out of it, presumably the spirits of Undertaker’s dead parents. So that, finally, is enough to get him in the casket and close the lid at 14:18. And you’re thinking OK, that was a horrible finish and an embarrassment to anyone who’s not Vince Russo or Ed Ferrera, but they can’t possibly sink lower, can they? BUT IT GETS WORSE. So while the heels celebrate the presumably dead body of Undertaker, the lights go out and we somehow get a camera shot from inside the casket, where Undertaker CUTS A PROMO FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. And you thought HHH was bad. Do any of the heels open up the casket and punch him in the mouth at this point? Of course not, they all stare blankly at the video wall while Undertaker delivers a dramatic soliloquy and then rises to the ceiling. Not a dream, not an imaginary story. I paid MONEY to watch this PPV in 1994 and then continued as a wrestling fan afterwards. If ever a match deserved the full negative monty, this is undoubtedly it. -***** Worst of all, none of this went anywhere until November, as you’d think it would set up Undertaker’s Kill Bill rampage of revenge, but instead he just took months off. AND THIS WASN’T EVEN THE STUPIDEST FINISH ON THIS SHOW! On the bright side, it was still better than the January 4 Impact. Royal Rumble: Scott Steiner is #1 and Samu is #2. Steiner tosses Samu around and gets a butterfly bomb, but can’t muscle him over the top. Samu comes back with a clothesline and we’re doing 90 second intervals this year, as Rick Steiner is #3. The Steiners double-team Samu, as you’d expect, and suplex the crap out of him, but make no serious effort to get rid of him. Samu misses a charge and hangs himself in the ropes anyway, and he’s gone at 3:22. KWANG is #4 and he uses his MARTIAL ARTS on Scott and blows mist in Rick’s face, but Scott suplexes him anyway. Owen Hart is #5 to a big heel reaction and he immediately goes after the blinded Rick Steiner and puts him out at 5:50. Good for you, Owen! Bart Gunn is #6 and he goes after Owen, with no luck. Diesel is #7 and he hits everyone indiscriminately. Diesel dumps Bart at 8:57, then Scott at 9:00, then Owen at 9:09. Kwang tries to stop him and gets tossed at 9:25. DIESEL POWER begins here. Mr. Bob Backlund is #8 and nearly gets Big Kev out with a double leg, but leverage isn’t on his side. Diesel gets him out at 10:20 to clear the ring. No wonder he got over. Billy Gunn is #9 and he quickly runs into a boot and he’s gone at 11:25. And now the crowd is firmly behind Diesel. But wait! This gives us a chance to watch footage of the Japanese contingent attacking Lex Luger in the locker room. That’s a shame. Virgil is #10 and I’m not giving him much of a shot. Diesel misses a charge and Virgil uses his fisticuffs, but Diesel gets rid of him at 13:19. Dibiase takes particular delight in that, a nice touch. And now Macho Man is #11 and that’s gonna be it for the big run. Savage pounds away on Kev and throws elbows in the corner, and Jeff Jarrett is #12. He clotheslines Savage out, but Macho skins the cat to hang on and then sends Jarrett back to the dressing room at 17:14. Crush is #13 and that’s trouble for Savage. Savage elbows him down and goes up with the double axehandle, then goes after Diesel as well and loses the battle. The heels double-team him and Doink is #14. Savage is out at 19:10 during Doink’s entrance, leaving the heels to pound on each other while Doink laughs at them. That gets him a beatdown, and Bam Bam Bigelow is #15. Crush & Diesel give Bam Bam free reign to assault Doink, so he sends him into the aisle at 21:14 with a Spike Dudley toss. Nice. The heels all turn on each other, and Mabel is #16. He hits Diesel with an Avalanche, then Bigelow, and SPARKY PLUGG is #17. Now we’re getting into the SERIOUS contenders. People do the “lay on the ropes and pretend to get each other out” thing to burn some time, until Shawn Michaels at #18. Interesting to think that he would go on to win the next two in the row. Everyone decides to go after Diesel, and he’s gone at 25:59. He’d have better days ahead of him. So with the crowd favorite gone, Mo is #19. There’s way too many people with purple tights in there. Bless the 90s. Shawn teases some eliminations and Greg Valentine is #20. Forgot about that one. He goes after Bigelow as deadwood is starting to accumulate. Tatanka is #21 and he beats on Shawn, but Mabel actually holds Tatanka so that Shawn can get some shots in. Shawn turns on him anyway. Kabuki is #22, but don’t union rules say we can only have one mist-spewing Asian per match? Everyone decides to gang up on Mabel and dumps him at 32:32. Probably wise. Lex Luger is #23 and hopefully he’ll clear the ring for AMERICA. Kabuki goes back to Japania at 33:40! And that’s his whole babyface rampage, as Crush attacks him to stop the madness. Tenryu is #24 and he chops Luger right away, and they’re pretty awesome chops. He’s earned his money. #25 no-shows, and Vince is sure it was Bret Hart’s spot, although I believe later it was revealed to be Bastion Booger’s spot. So we continue on and Rick Martel is #26. Luger and Tatanka slug it out in an interesting bit of foreshadowing, and otherwise nothing is going on until Bret Hart is #27, still selling the leg injury from earlier. And the crowd goes nuts for him, especially with the limp. Crush immediately goes for the knee, aided by Tenryu. Fatu is #28 and there’s way too many guys, as the last elimination was more than 10 minutes ago. And Crush gets pounded out by Luger at 42:38. Marty Jannetty is #29, and it’s gung ho against Shawn Michaels to a big pop, as they trade like Frye and Takayama, but gayer. They exchange superkicks, but Marty can’t suplex Shawn out. And finally, Adam Bomb is #30. Bret dumps Plugg at 45:21 to end the dream of Bob Holly in a Wrestlemania main event, and Tenryu is still chopping the shit out of everyone. Doesn’t he know that the object of a battle royale is to lay around on the ropes and crack jokes? Someone teach this guy how to work. Things slow right down with everyone in, and no one can still get Shawn out. Martel finally gets Valentine out at 49:19, and Tatanka dumps Martel at 49:39. Bomb charges Lex and hits the floor at 49:50. Finally, someone gave the “go home” signal. Tatanka goes out at 50:18 off-screen. Shawn and Marty continue their private war, and Bam Bam bumps out at 51:05 following a Luger forearm. Shawn gets rid of Marty at 51:14 for the moral victory, and holy cow Tenryu is still there. Cute spot as he runs Shawn and Fatu’s heads together, but only Shawn sells it. Tenryu just chops the shit out of Luger again, but Bret and Lex team up and dump Tenryu at 52:29. Final Four: Bret Hart, Lex Luger, Fatu, and Shawn Michaels. Bret and Shawn battle on the ropes as Fatu superkicks Lex off my favorite headbutt no-sell spot. The heels put Luger on the apron, but he fights them off and makes the superhero comeback. And the faces backdrop the heels out at 54:49 simultaneously, giving us Bret v. Lex. And they fight to the ropes, and both are out at 55:08 for the most retarded Royal Rumble finish until 1999. Replays clearly show that Luger hit the floor first, but Bret got the last laugh anyway. I should also note that the crowd reaction to Bret’s fake win is MASSIVE compared to Luger’s. A very entertaining Rumble for about the first 40 minutes, then it got clogged up and died off bigtime, leading to the worst Rumble finish ever up until that point. ***1/2 The Pulse: It’s kinda sorta good if you can ignore the glaring spot in the middle surrounding the casket match, but it’s not an all-time classic or anything. Mild recommendation to avoid overall.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1994 (Original and New Versions)

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 94 – Live from Providence, Rhode Island. Is that the state or Dusty while he’s swimming? – Your hosts are Ted Dibiase (the Million Dollar Man) and Vince McMahon (The Billion Dollar Man). Triviata: Ted Dibiase is the only color man to have done a PPV with both Vince McMahon AND Eric Bischoff (this show and Souled Out 97 respectively), although I don’t know if the same applies to TV broadcasts. If you add TV broadcasts, you can add Bobby Heenan to that list.Opening match: Tatanka v. Bam Bam Bigelow. This was supposed to be Tatanka v. Ludvig Borga, but ol’ Tony had an ankle injury that ended up changing the course of the WWF. Ludvig was supposed to win this match, using it as a stepping stone to the World title a couple of weeks after, then losing it to Lex Luger at Wrestlemania X. Of course, things turned out much differently. (2012 Scott sez:  This is of course a very dubious proposition spread mostly by Tony Halme himself.)  Tatanka is painted like Peter Criss tonight. You know what’s sad? I made that joke in 1994 and no one got it. Now suddenly KISS makes a comeback and the reference isn’t half as witty as it was. I wonder if Dennis Miller has these kinds of problems. (2012 Scott sez:  I’m totally into old KISS these days.  I actually got into them in the 80s listening to their non-makeup hair metal era, but now all I listen to is the 70s stuff from the debut album through to the “Music From The Elder” atrocity.)   Slugfest to start, and Tatanka blows a bunch of stuff. Well, really he just blows, but I figured I might as well finish the sentence. (2012 Scott sez:  Hey now, I don’t mind Tatanka these days.)  The announcers talk about both men competing in the Rumble later on, which marked the first year that depletion of the roster due to the you-know-what trials forced multiple appearances for the talent on the Rumble card. Now it’s standard practice. (2012 Scott sez:  Now we’ve swung the other way in the post-WCW world, with so many people on the roster that they’ve talked about doing separate RAW and Smackdown Rumbles at times.)  It was a pretty big thing at the time, however. Bearhuggery abounds here. Tatanka tries the Pissed Off Racial Stereotype Comeback, but takes an enzuigiri. Bigelow mocks him, but misses his goofy moonsault, and Tatanka finishes with a flying bodypress at 8:10. This was there. * – WWF tag team title match: The Quebecers v. Bret & Owen Hart. I really need a high quality MP3 of that theme song. RSPW was creaming themselves once the 123 X-Pac and Marty Jannetty won the tag titles on RAW, because we thought we’d get a ***** match out of the deal. Sadly, the match was never changed to that combo (it would have been a standard Harts-Quebecers tag match) and besides which, the Quebecers regained the belts in MSG a week later. Oh, by the way, the WWF Sledgehammer of Plot Committee would just like to remind everyone that EVERYTHING IS ABSOLUTELY FINE between the Harts, thank you very much. Harts double-team the champs to start. Odd moment: Vince McMahon accuses Dibiase of being a limelight hog for most of his career. I won’t even start on that one, because I’ll go on for 5 paragraphs. Champs stall for a bit after Bret gets about 10 two-counts to frustrate Jacques. Pierre cheapshots Bret and a brawl erupts. Cool spot: We do the “double whip, dosey-do” bit that sends Owen & Bret crashing into each other, but Bret immediately whips Owen into Pierre, which allows Owen to switch to a spear move in mid-air, then upon impact roll up Pierre for a two count. That is seriously damn cool. Note to Edge & Christian: Start doing shit like that more often. Leg lariat gets two for Owen. Side suplex gets two. Bret comes in but gets powerslammed into face-in-peril mode to begin the first heat segment of the match. Owen eventually gets a hot tag and suplexes everything in sight. Sharpshooter on Jacques, but another cheapshot breaks it, and we get heat segment #2, this time on Owen. Bret comes back in quickly, hitting the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM on Pierre. Johnny Polo (Raven) pulls down the ropes and Bret falls to the floor, hurting his knee. This begins heats segment #3, as the Quebecers work his knee and generally cheat like rabid weasels. (2012 Scott sez:  “rabid weasels”?!?) We work the countout tease for a bit, then Owen tosses Bret back in. The champs hurt the knee for a while and go for the cannonball finisher, but Bret moves…and won’t tag Owen. Instead, he tries the Sharpshooter on Pierre, but his own knee gives way, and the ref stops the match at 16:44. What a jerk. If I was Owen, I’d turn on him, too. Owen is rightfully pissed, and verbally abuses his poor brother while he rolls around on the mat clutching his knee. Bret fights his way to his feet (to applause), so Owen KICKS HIS LEG OUT OF HIS LEG! Don’t worry, I’ll explain the reference next paragraph. Big heel heat for Owen there. Great match, great angle that makes Bret an even bigger babyface and Owen a huge heel with one kick. **** – Toad Pedophile finds Owen in the locker room, allowing Owen to deliver his semi-famous “YOU’RE TOO DAMN SELFISH” interview, where he berates Bret for only thinking of himself, then stumbles over his big line: He was supposed to say “…and that’s why I kicked your leg out from under you!” but instead he ended up saying “…and that’s why I kicked your leg out of your…uh…leg.”, which sounded much lamer. For comparison, compare the tone of voice in Austin Powers when he says “Allow myself to…uh…introduce myself”. Same thing. – Intercontinental title match: Razor Ramon v. IRS. Jim Ross & Gorilla Monsoon take over for this match. Typical Mad-libbed “you stole my [item of value], so I’m gonna [violent verb] you” angle here, although the one the fans were really digging was the Shawn v. Razor one over the I-C title claim. It should be noted that Ramon is wearing his very macho powder blue tights tonight. Razor takes his trademark over-the-top bump to give control to IRS. Weird spot as IRS comes off the top and Ramon sticks his foot in the air, but IRS changes direction in mid-air and avoids it. Miscue there, I think. Ramon comes back with the usual. Ref is bumped, and heeeeeeeeeere’s Shawn. Lovetap with the bogus I-C title puts Ramon out, and IRS covers for the pin and the title at 10:44. And whereas that would be enough for a semi-clean win in most circumstances, Dave Hebner must have realized how lame IRS as a singles champion of any kind would be, because he rushes out to inform Joey Marella of the chicanery perpetrated by Shawn Michaels, and the match is restarted. Ramon gets the Edge and the pin (the real one) at 11:44. This was whatever, but on the upside it led to the ladder match at Wrestlemania X. ¾* – WWF title casket match: Yokozuna v. The Undertaker. And yes, this is THAT match. And if you’re reading this and wondering “What does he mean by ‘THAT match’?”, well, obviously you’ve led a very sheltered life and have never heard of this match before, and are thus much more mentally stable than the rest of us poor bastards who had to watch it in 1994. I’d just like to point out, for the record, that all the free tapes from WCW, exposure from Wrestleline, money from Sean Shannon, and ass-kissing from fans STILL isn’t enough to justify the mental anguish that this match has caused millions of people and the suffering I have to go through in order to review it for you, the reader. But I guess a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. So please, before we begin, bear in mind that I am making NONE of this up, and everything I am about to describe actually happened, live on a PPV. This is not, just to clarify, an LSD hallucination gone wrong, or a dream sequence that ended with Pat Patterson waking up in the shower in the next morning. And please, for the love of god, put the kids to bed before you read this match review, or skip to the Royal Rumble match. I wouldn’t want any of them to read it and later become a booker with these kinds of ideas lodged in their heads. God knows there’s enough bad influences on TV these days without the added mental problems caused by watching Undertaker matches from 1994. (2012 Scott sez:  There actually are people working for WWE now who would have grown up watching this match and probably taken ideas from it.  THINK ABOUT THAT.)  Presenting the all-time champion of overbooking and general stupidity…Undertaker v. Yokozuna, part one. Onto the match.. – Undertaker gets a quick start, chasing Yoko to the floor. The brawl a bit. Then a bit more. Yoko gains the upper hand with the CEREMONIAL SALT OF DOOM and some weak chairshots. First casketing attempt goes to Yoko, but UT blocks and comes back. Belly-to-bellies ends that, but Taker does the zombie situp. Chokeslam follows, and a HUGE swinging DDT. Undertaker tries to finish, and you might want to skip ahead now, because it REALLY starts to suck. Crush blocks UT’s win attempt, and Taker fights him off. Now the Great Kabuki (as an agent of Mr. Fuji) tries his luck, along with Genichiro Tenryu. Taker fights them all off. Now Bam Bam comes down and it’s 4-on-1. Yoko awakes from his nap in the casket, so now it’s 5-on-1. Is the point hammered home yet? Of course not, so here’s Adam Bomb to make it 6-on-1. Throw in Jeff Jarrett for 7-on-1, then the Headshrinkers make it NINE-on-1, which is getting excessive even by ECW standards. Diesel joins us last (lazy bastard) for an even 10-on-1, and they STILL, ten guys mind you, can’t get him into the damn coffin. So what would YOU do? Steal the urn of course, and dump the ashes out. Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get sillier, it does: Green smoke pours out of the urn and everyone acts all shocked. LET’S KICK IT UP A NOTCH (2012 Scott sez:  Emeril Lagasse reference there, kids.  I miss him in this age of Guy Fieri having 17 shows and imitators on the Food Network.)  – Vince deadpans, as the entire match (and indeed his promotion) falls apart in the ring: “It appears that the power of the urn is escaping, and with it the Undertaker’s powers”. I swear to god he actually said that without a trace of irony. That’s why I couldn’t be a wrestling announcer – I’d get fired for ripping stuff apart as soon as I saw how dumb an idea it was. Finally, after all that, they put the Undertaker down for good and shut the lid to give Yokozuna the win at 14:19, although the actual 1-on-1 match lasted all of 5 minutes. The crowd is left completely numbed and in shock by the ending. –**** (2012 Scott sez:  I only gave this negative four stars?  What would it have needed to be to earn five?)  – Suck it in, because we’re not done yet. The heels then lock the casket and wheel it to the dressing room, but it starts to smoke on the way down the aisle. A video of UT appears on the video wall (which the announcers naturally assume is a live feed of Undertaker inside his casket, thus indicating that Ocham’s Razor is a foreign concept to Vince McMahon, Jr.  (2012 Scott sez:  Hell of a name for a finisher, though.)  ). Undertaker, who is now “dying”, stops his decomposition long enough to give a speech. I was so touched that I transcribed it, because you all deserve to share my pain. I was gonna split it into individual haikus to really be a smart-ass, but it’s late, so here’s the Undertaker’s last words: – “ Be not proud, because the spirit of the Undertaker live within the souls of mankind, the eternal flame of life which cannot be extinguished, the origin of which cannot be explained. The answer lies in the everlasting spirit. Soon all mankind will witness the rebirth of the Undertaker. I will not rest in peace.” – Is that fucking deep or what? I feel like humming “Personal Jesus” right now. I wonder if Sid was watching this show and took interviewing notes or something? By the way, Mark Callaway wanted time off to spend with his wife, so Vince thought up this whole wonderful “sports entertainment” moment to explain his absence. Whatever happened to “he hurt his leg” or “he’s in jail” like in the good old days?  (2012 Scott sez:  Or now, he got suspended for a Wellness violation.)  – Oh, wait, sorry, I bet you thought this segment couldn’t get anymore stupid and offensive…FOOLISH MORTAL! I’ll break your spirit yet! The video wall image of the Undertaker goes to a reverse-color scheme, then starts to “rise” out of the video wall, to be replaced by Marty Jannetty dressed in an Undertaker costume, “levitating” to the ceiling (with wires clearly visible) while Vince earnestly sells the whole experience as a deep and meaningful spiritual experience. – Dear Federal Investigators: Obviously whoever conducted the investigation of Mr. Vincent K. McMahon on suspicion of drug distribution in 1994 and failed to get a conviction was either retarded or coked out of their mind, because if the above 30 minutes doesn’t conclusively prove that the entire booking team was on mind-altering substances of some form then the American legal system might as well pack it in now, because justice is not only blind, it’s stupid. Yours Truly, Scott Keith. P.S. If you do indeed fire your lead investigator, consider forwarding his resume to WCW, because even retarded and on mind-altering substances, he’s still one up on Russo & Ferrera at this point.Royal Rumble: For those of you who haven’t sworn off wrestling entirely after the above, welcome back. Scott Steiner gets #1, Samu #2. Scott has his hair permed like my ex-girlfriend Karen, which is kind of creepy. Due to time constraints we’re going with 90 seconds instead of 2 minutes here. Rick Steiner gets #3, and the Steiners get rid of Samu quickly. Kwang (what’s the sound of 300 pounds of crap hitting the fan? KWANG!) is #4 and he sprays green mist at the Steiners and does some lethal martial arts. To put it in perspective, Kwang is of course that renowned martial artist Savio Vega. Owen Hart (and his big heel pop) are #5. The heels dominate. Owen does an innocuous tussle with Rick in the corner, and ends up fighting hard enough to knock Steiner out. Bart Gunn is #6. He peppers Owen with left hands, but Owen does his Butterbean impersonation and ignores them. (2012 Scott sez:  Poor Bart, punchline for all time.)  Diesel is #7, triggering a pretty famous sequence. Bart! Steiner! Owen! Kwang! Everyone takes a seat on the floor, and the crowd eats it up. Bob Backlund is #8, and there he goes out the other side. Fans chant “Diesel” as he waits for the next victim. It’s Billy Gunn at #9, and he’s out on his ass, man, about that many seconds later. (2012 Scott sez:  I’m kinda ON here.)  Virgil is #10, but not for long. The “Diesel” chants grow louder, and would keep growing louder until he got the WWF title in November of that year. Here’s your weird thought for the day: Kevin Nash was on the verge of being fired at that point, since he was getting no reaction and couldn’t work, and if the Rumble run hadn’t worked, he likely would have gone back to WCW and ended his career around 1995 doing the Vinnie Vegas gimmick for $500 a night, then retired. But it DID work, and he went on to three World titles, numerous tag titles, and a position as head booker of WCW. So if you were one of the fans who were chanting for him that night…GO TO HELL! It’s all YOUR fault that Kevin Nash booked all that crap last year. (2012 Scott sez:  Also, the people at the 2011 Rumble who gave him a big pop for his return, also go to hell.  That match at TLC is your fault, too.)  Randy Savage is #11, thus ending Diesel’s stream of jobbers. He holds his own until Jarrett comes in at #12. Vince’s summary of Jarrett’s motivation nearly makes me tear my hair out: “He wants to use the WWF as a stepping stone to stardom in Nashville”. How the hell is that supposed to draw heel heat for him? An evil COUNTRY SINGER? No wonder the WWF lost so much money. Crush is #13, and he’s on Savage like attractive women on anyone but Mark Madden. Crush and Savage brawl while Diesel rests. Lazy bastard. Heels double-team Savage. Doink is #14. That’d be Steve Lombardi here, I think. Crush presses Savage out of the match. Crush and Diesel fight for a minute, then realize Doink is an easier target. Bigleow is #15, so the heels kindly step out of the way and Bigelow javelins the clown out of the ring halfway down the aisle. That’s pretty decisive right there. Sick bump, too. Mabel is #16. Nothing like a big fat black man to liven up the match. Diesel gets flattened. “Sparky” Thurman Plugg makes his inauspicious WWF debut at #17, beginning an amazing 5 years of non-stop jobbing and humiliation, which would drive most sane people to quitting or suicide, but ol’ Sparky actually hung on and ended up becoming internet darling Hardcore Holly in 1999. (2012 Scott sez:  Boy THAT fortune sure reversed for him in a big way a couple of years later.)  So maybe there’s hope for Prince Iaukea yet.  (2012 Scott sez:  Nope, he’s long retired from the business as an active wrestler.) HBK is #18. Diesel goes after him, just because he can. Shawn ducks out of the way, and the rest of the pack attacks and dumps Diesel. He gets a standing ovation on the way out. Mo is #19. Greg Valentine is #20, subbing for someone. Talent pool is getting pretty weak here. Tatanka is #21, with freshly repainted face. More stuff going on than I can follow easily. This match needs an enema. The Great Kabuki is #22 and casts fear into everyone’s heart. Everyone gangs up on Mabel and dumps him. Lex Luger is #23 and I’m hoping for a big babyface run to clear the deadwood, but Kabuki is his only victim. (2012 Scott sez:  If you don’t even get the big babyface deadwood clearing spot, then you know they don’t have faith in you.)  Tenryu is #24. Out-of-context quote du jour from Dibiase: “He’s there to do a job, he’s not there to win”. Shawn does a bunch of teases on the ropes. Bastion Booger is #25, but doesn’t show up. Rick Martel is #26. More stuff going on. Bret Hart is #27, STILL selling that knee injury. Crowd pops HUGE for him. Fatu (Rikishi) is #28. About half the total population of the match is still in this thing, and that’s way too many. Crush is dumped by three guys. Marty Jannetty is #29, and he and Shawn go flying at each other like Artemis Gordon and James West with those collars on, and the crowd goes nuts because of it. Last man at #30: Adam Bomb. So our field looks like…wait a sec, there goes Sparky. So our field looks like Bomb, Michaels, Jannetty, Luger, Hart, Tenryu, Tatanka, Valentine, Martel, Mo, Fatu & Bigelow. Lots of aimless wandering for a few minutes, then I guess someone signals to go home, because we go fast and furious. Martel wrestles with Valentine in the corner, and Valentine accidentally slips off the ropes and is out. Martel gets backdropped out by Tatanka right after. Everyone dogpiles Adam Bomb and he’s gone. Bigelow tosses Tatanka. Bigelow charges the corner and Flair Flips down to the floor. Jannetty meets him down there. Luger sends Tenryu back to Japan, and we’re left with…the Final Four. – Final Four: Luger, Hart, Michaels, Fatu. Gee, I wonder who goes first? Bret and Shawn do a cool sequence and almost knock each other out. Fatu & Shawn get Luger to the apron, but he fights back in and kills everyone. Double-whip allows Luger and Bret to simultaneously eliminate both heels. Luger and Bret fight to the ropes and over, where both hit the floor at 55:25 to end the match. After a lengthy discussion and a little experimentation on the crowd by WWF bookers (announcing one guy as winner, then the other, to gauge reaction), both men are announced as “co-winners”. Later footage on WWF TV, and testimony from people in the front rows, would clearly reveal Luger to have hit the floor first. C’est la vie, it was still a decent Rumble. ***1/2 The Bottom Line: Steroid trials do funny things to a man, and causing him to book shows like this one is one such thing. The Undertaker angle led to the wonderful “fake Undertaker” saga later that year, while the Hart Family dispute led to a ***** match at WM10 and a renewal of Bret Hart’s career, one of many to come. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to decide which was more worth it in the long run. I’m torn on the recommendation – there’s a couple of great matches, but the Undertaker thing is like a cancer on the rest of the tape. And since the whole Owen-Bret thing was recapped numerous times before Wrestlemania that year, I’ll have to go recommendation to avoid on this show. (2012 Scott sez:  Onto the redone version from a couple of years ago, which I have nothing really to add to.) The SmarK Retro Rant for WWF Royal Rumble 1994 – I’m stuck with the Anthology DVD version, which at least has much better video quality than my original VHS dub, so blame that for any inconsistencies with the original review. At least that means the full PPV version and not the Coliseum edit. – Live from Providence, Rhode Island. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Ted Dibiase. This actually now makes more sense to me given the rotating color commentators on RAW after the departure of Bobby Heenan. Back in the day, it was totally random to me because I only got to watch Superstars. Tatanka v. Bam Bam Bigelow Originally scheduled to be Ludvig Borga here, but what turned out to be a career-ending injury removed him from the show. Slugfest to start and Bigelow dropkicks Tatanka into the corner, but misses a charge and gets powered down. Tatanka with a crossbody for two and he works the arm, then catches Bigelow with his head down for a DDT. To the top, but he whiffs on a cross body and Bammer takes over. Avalanche in the corner, but another try hits boot and Tatanka goes up again with a sunset flip off the top, blocked by Bam Bam’s ass. Tatanka tries to slug him down, but Bam Bam gets a jumping kick for two. Bigelow with the bearhug, but Tatanka is GOING NATIVE! Bigelow puts him down again with a shoulderblock, but another try results in a Tatanka powerslam for two. They both go for a crossbody and collide for the double KO, but it’s comeback time…until Bam Bam pulls out the enzuigiri, which again draws a big pop from the heel fans in the crowd. The Lunasault misses, however, and Tatanka goes up again with a crossbody for the pin at 8:12. Kind of an anticlimactic finish, but it was a fun match put together on short notice. ***1/2 WWF World tag team titles: The Quebecers v. The Hart Brothers The Quebecers were fresh off regaining the tag titles at MSG and the Harts were fresh off a ***** match against the Steiners for Coliseum video, so it was a good week for both. Pierre gets a quick slam on Bret, but runs into a knee. Owen comes in and hiptosses Pierre into a slam for two. A sign at ringside declares “Yokozuna RIP” which unfortunately proved clairvoyant. Jacques comes in to slow things down, but Owen suplexes him and dropkicks him back to his own corner again. Another try, and this time Owen gets the enzuigiri for two. The Harts get a Demolition elbow for two. Bret with a small package for two. Sunset flip gets two. Rollup gets two, but Pierre nails Bret and it’s BONZO GONZO. The Quebecers try to whip the babyfaces into each other, but Owen catapults himself into a rollup on Jacques for two instead. Very nice. The champs bail for some advice from Johnny Polo (“Always insist on cash from Paul Heyman.”), and back in Owen gets a leg lariat on Pierre for two. Overhead suplex gets two. Legdrop gets two. It’s awesome seeing the Harts able to cut loose for once, as Jacques was able to keep up with whatever crazy stuff they could come up with. Bret comes in and walks into a Pierre powerslam for two, and Jacques allows some choking in the corner. Quebecers double-team Bret with an elbow and Pierre pounds on him in the corner, and it’s more quality cheating while hotheaded Owen tries to come in. Pierre comes off the middle rope and lands on Bret’s foot, and it’s hot tag Owen. Backdrop for Jacques, belly to belly suplex for Pierre, and he goes to finish Jacques with the Sharpshooter, but Pierre bulldogs him behind the ref’s back to break. And so Owen is your face-in-peril. They drop him on the top rope for two, but Owen quickly tags Bret back in and he fights off both Quebecers alone. Backbreaker and legsweep for Jacques and noggins are knocked, then he gets rid of Pierre and looks to finish…but Johnny Polo pulls down the top rope and Bret blows out his knee on the way down. The Quebecers swarm in and work over the knee outside until Owen chases them off. Back in, Jacques beats the hell out of the knee and goes to a Boston crab, while the announcers implore Bret to go over and make the tag. The Quebecers switch off on the knee and Vince declares that it’s not skill, it’s HOOLIGANISM. They should have marketed a Vince McMahon Word Of The Day Calendar. Bret tries a Sharpshooter on Pierre, but can’t complete the move, and the ref stops the match at 16:48. Who is he, Steve Mazzagatti? Terrible finish, but a great match up until the storyline took over. **** Speaking of storylines, Owen berates his brother for not tagging, and then KICKS THE LEG FROM UNDER HIS LEG. You know, it’s funny, because years later that would be the least horrific thing that members of that family would do to each other. At least Bret didn’t sue for that or write a tell-all book about it. Meanwhile, Owen cuts a promo from backstage, telling Bret that he’s TOO SELFISH and coins the “kicked the leg from under your leg” phrase that people mocked him about for years afterwards. Owen and a live mic used to be a risky proposition. WWF Intercontinental title: Razor Ramon v. IRS IRS has stolen the gold from around Ramon’s neck to give this some minimal backstory, and Razor slugs him down and chases him out of the ring to start. Back in for an atomic drop, but they head out and Irwin sends him into the stairs. Back in for a quick chinlock and IRS legdrops him low, then drops an elbow for two. Back to the chinlock, but Razor fights out and slugs him down, then gets the blockbuster slam for two. And tragically, the ref is bumped, allowing IRS to grab the briefcase. Razor gets it away and puts IRS down for the pin, but of course there’s no ref. So Ramon puts him on the top rope for a backdrop superplex and sets up for the Razor’s Edge, but Shawn Michaels runs in and clobbers him with the belt, which gives IRS the pin and the title at 9:43?! Luckily, Earl Hebner runs out and demands the match be restarted, because if there’s one thing he won’t stand for, it’s injustice in a title match when Shawn Michaels is involved! Ramon hits the Edge in all the confusion and pins IRS to retain. Whew. Just kind of a junky RAW match. ** But hey, if this is the worst match tonight, it’ll still be an easy thumbs up, right? WWF World title, casket match: Yokozuna v. Undertaker Hang on, I need two Red Bulls and a bag of mushrooms to properly deal with this first. … Well, all I had was canned mushrooms, so that’ll have to do. You know, thinking about Undertaker during this period, he really got stuck with the shittiest series of feuds that you could possibly think up. He had two PPVs against Giant Gonzalez with a house show feud against Mr. Hughes sandwiched in the middle, then got to face Yokozuna in this legendarily horrible match, then had to face himself at Summerslam. No wonder he had no incentive to get better. Anyway, Taker gets a flying clothesline and they fight to the floor, and Taker quickly no-sells everything and heads back in for the ropewalk. Back to the floor, UT beats on him with a chair, and Ted Dibiase notes that it’s going to get a lot more brutal. Indeed. Yoko comes back with a handful of salt and they head back in, where Yoko gets a clothesline and tries to roll him into the casket. Taker awakens and comes back for the slugfest, but Yoko puts him down with a belly to belly suplex. Taker no-sells it and gets a pretty decent chokeslam and follows with a DDT, and at this point it’s a pretty decent match. BUT IT GETS WORSE. So into the casket goes Yokozuna, but Crush runs out and attacks, preventing the finish. Taker gets rid of him, but now the Great Kabuki of all people comes in, followed by Tenryu. Yes, they have fucking GENICHIRO TENRYU booked for the show and this is what they use him for. And now Bam Bam Bigelow, as far more troubling is Yokozuna still unconscious in the casket after a single DDT two minutes previously. But now it REALLY gets silly, as Paul Bearer uses the power of the urn to inspire Undertaker to fight off four guys at once, so Jeff Jarrett and Adam Bomb now join the shitstorm. Oh, and the Headshrinkers. At least it makes sense for THEM to assist Yokozuna. Luckily, Yoko has now recovered from that devastating DDT and is walking around again. And the last man in is Diesel, and with 11 guys helping they STILL can’t close the damn casket lid. BUT IT GETS WORSE. The horde takes out Paul Bearer and steals the urn, which causes (and I’m very embarrassed as a wrestling fan to type this) green smoke to flood out of it, presumably the spirits of Undertaker’s dead parents. So that, finally, is enough to get him in the casket and close the lid at 14:18. And you’re thinking OK, that was a horrible finish and an embarrassment to anyone who’s not Vince Russo or Ed Ferrera, but they can’t possibly sink lower, can they? BUT IT GETS WORSE. So while the heels celebrate the presumably dead body of Undertaker, the lights go out and we somehow get a camera shot from inside the casket, where Undertaker CUTS A PROMO FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. And you thought HHH was bad. Do any of the heels open up the casket and punch him in the mouth at this point? Of course not, they all stare blankly at the video wall while Undertaker delivers a dramatic soliloquy and then rises to the ceiling. Not a dream, not an imaginary story. I paid MONEY to watch this PPV in 1994 and then continued as a wrestling fan afterwards. If ever a match deserved the full negative monty, this is undoubtedly it. -***** Worst of all, none of this went anywhere until November, as you’d think it would set up Undertaker’s Kill Bill rampage of revenge, but instead he just took months off. AND THIS WASN’T EVEN THE STUPIDEST FINISH ON THIS SHOW! On the bright side, it was still better than the January 4 Impact. Royal Rumble: Scott Steiner is #1 and Samu is #2. Steiner tosses Samu around and gets a butterfly bomb, but can’t muscle him over the top. Samu comes back with a clothesline and we’re doing 90 second intervals this year, as Rick Steiner is #3. The Steiners double-team Samu, as you’d expect, and suplex the crap out of him, but make no serious effort to get rid of him. Samu misses a charge and hangs himself in the ropes anyway, and he’s gone at 3:22. KWANG is #4 and he uses his MARTIAL ARTS on Scott and blows mist in Rick’s face, but Scott suplexes him anyway. Owen Hart is #5 to a big heel reaction and he immediately goes after the blinded Rick Steiner and puts him out at 5:50. Good for you, Owen! Bart Gunn is #6 and he goes after Owen, with no luck. Diesel is #7 and he hits everyone indiscriminately. Diesel dumps Bart at 8:57, then Scott at 9:00, then Owen at 9:09. Kwang tries to stop him and gets tossed at 9:25. DIESEL POWER begins here. Mr. Bob Backlund is #8 and nearly gets Big Kev out with a double leg, but leverage isn’t on his side. Diesel gets him out at 10:20 to clear the ring. No wonder he got over. Billy Gunn is #9 and he quickly runs into a boot and he’s gone at 11:25. And now the crowd is firmly behind Diesel. But wait! This gives us a chance to watch footage of the Japanese contingent attacking Lex Luger in the locker room. That’s a shame. Virgil is #10 and I’m not giving him much of a shot. Diesel misses a charge and Virgil uses his fisticuffs, but Diesel gets rid of him at 13:19. Dibiase takes particular delight in that, a nice touch. And now Macho Man is #11 and that’s gonna be it for the big run. Savage pounds away on Kev and throws elbows in the corner, and Jeff Jarrett is #12. He clotheslines Savage out, but Macho skins the cat to hang on and then sends Jarrett back to the dressing room at 17:14. Crush is #13 and that’s trouble for Savage. Savage elbows him down and goes up with the double axehandle, then goes after Diesel as well and loses the battle. The heels double-team him and Doink is #14. Savage is out at 19:10 during Doink’s entrance, leaving the heels to pound on each other while Doink laughs at them. That gets him a beatdown, and Bam Bam Bigelow is #15. Crush & Diesel give Bam Bam free reign to assault Doink, so he sends him into the aisle at 21:14 with a Spike Dudley toss. Nice. The heels all turn on each other, and Mabel is #16. He hits Diesel with an Avalanche, then Bigelow, and SPARKY PLUGG is #17. Now we’re getting into the SERIOUS contenders. People do the “lay on the ropes and pretend to get each other out” thing to burn some time, until Shawn Michaels at #18. Interesting to think that he would go on to win the next two in the row. Everyone decides to go after Diesel, and he’s gone at 25:59. He’d have better days ahead of him. So with the crowd favorite gone, Mo is #19. There’s way too many people with purple tights in there. Bless the 90s. Shawn teases some eliminations and Greg Valentine is #20. Forgot about that one. He goes after Bigelow as deadwood is starting to accumulate. Tatanka is #21 and he beats on Shawn, but Mabel actually holds Tatanka so that Shawn can get some shots in. Shawn turns on him anyway. Kabuki is #22, but don’t union rules say we can only have one mist-spewing Asian per match? Everyone decides to gang up on Mabel and dumps him at 32:32. Probably wise. Lex Luger is #23 and hopefully he’ll clear the ring for AMERICA. Kabuki goes back to Japania at 33:40! And that’s his whole babyface rampage, as Crush attacks him to stop the madness. Tenryu is #24 and he chops Luger right away, and they’re pretty awesome chops. He’s earned his money. #25 no-shows, and Vince is sure it was Bret Hart’s spot, although I believe later it was revealed to be Bastion Booger’s spot. So we continue on and Rick Martel is #26. Luger and Tatanka slug it out in an interesting bit of foreshadowing, and otherwise nothing is going on until Bret Hart is #27, still selling the leg injury from earlier. And the crowd goes nuts for him, especially with the limp. Crush immediately goes for the knee, aided by Tenryu. Fatu is #28 and there’s way too many guys, as the last elimination was more than 10 minutes ago. And Crush gets pounded out by Luger at 42:38. Marty Jannetty is #29, and it’s gung ho against Shawn Michaels to a big pop, as they trade like Frye and Takayama, but gayer. They exchange superkicks, but Marty can’t suplex Shawn out. And finally, Adam Bomb is #30. Bret dumps Plugg at 45:21 to end the dream of Bob Holly in a Wrestlemania main event, and Tenryu is still chopping the shit out of everyone. Doesn’t he know that the object of a battle royale is to lay around on the ropes and crack jokes? Someone teach this guy how to work. Things slow right down with everyone in, and no one can still get Shawn out. Martel finally gets Valentine out at 49:19, and Tatanka dumps Martel at 49:39. Bomb charges Lex and hits the floor at 49:50. Finally, someone gave the “go home” signal. Tatanka goes out at 50:18 off-screen. Shawn and Marty continue their private war, and Bam Bam bumps out at 51:05 following a Luger forearm. Shawn gets rid of Marty at 51:14 for the moral victory, and holy cow Tenryu is still there. Cute spot as he runs Shawn and Fatu’s heads together, but only Shawn sells it. Tenryu just chops the shit out of Luger again, but Bret and Lex team up and dump Tenryu at 52:29. Final Four: Bret Hart, Lex Luger, Fatu, and Shawn Michaels. Bret and Shawn battle on the ropes as Fatu superkicks Lex off my favorite headbutt no-sell spot. The heels put Luger on the apron, but he fights them off and makes the superhero comeback. And the faces backdrop the heels out at 54:49 simultaneously, giving us Bret v. Lex. And they fight to the ropes, and both are out at 55:08 for the most retarded Royal Rumble finish until 1999. Replays clearly show that Luger hit the floor first, but Bret got the last laugh anyway. I should also note that the crowd reaction to Bret’s fake win is MASSIVE compared to Luger’s. A very entertaining Rumble for about the first 40 minutes, then it got clogged up and died off bigtime, leading to the worst Rumble finish ever up until that point. ***1/2 The Pulse: It’s kinda sorta good if you can ignore the glaring spot in the middle surrounding the casket match, but it’s not an all-time classic or anything. Mild recommendation to avoid overall.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1994 (Original and New Versions)

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 94 – Live from Providence, Rhode Island. Is that the state or Dusty while he’s swimming? – Your hosts are Ted Dibiase (the Million Dollar Man) and Vince McMahon (The Billion Dollar Man). Triviata: Ted Dibiase is the only color man to have done a PPV with both Vince McMahon AND Eric Bischoff (this show and Souled Out 97 respectively), although I don’t know if the same applies to TV broadcasts. If you add TV broadcasts, you can add Bobby Heenan to that list.Opening match: Tatanka v. Bam Bam Bigelow. This was supposed to be Tatanka v. Ludvig Borga, but ol’ Tony had an ankle injury that ended up changing the course of the WWF. Ludvig was supposed to win this match, using it as a stepping stone to the World title a couple of weeks after, then losing it to Lex Luger at Wrestlemania X. Of course, things turned out much differently. (2012 Scott sez:  This is of course a very dubious proposition spread mostly by Tony Halme himself.)  Tatanka is painted like Peter Criss tonight. You know what’s sad? I made that joke in 1994 and no one got it. Now suddenly KISS makes a comeback and the reference isn’t half as witty as it was. I wonder if Dennis Miller has these kinds of problems. (2012 Scott sez:  I’m totally into old KISS these days.  I actually got into them in the 80s listening to their non-makeup hair metal era, but now all I listen to is the 70s stuff from the debut album through to the “Music From The Elder” atrocity.)   Slugfest to start, and Tatanka blows a bunch of stuff. Well, really he just blows, but I figured I might as well finish the sentence. (2012 Scott sez:  Hey now, I don’t mind Tatanka these days.)  The announcers talk about both men competing in the Rumble later on, which marked the first year that depletion of the roster due to the you-know-what trials forced multiple appearances for the talent on the Rumble card. Now it’s standard practice. (2012 Scott sez:  Now we’ve swung the other way in the post-WCW world, with so many people on the roster that they’ve talked about doing separate RAW and Smackdown Rumbles at times.)  It was a pretty big thing at the time, however. Bearhuggery abounds here. Tatanka tries the Pissed Off Racial Stereotype Comeback, but takes an enzuigiri. Bigelow mocks him, but misses his goofy moonsault, and Tatanka finishes with a flying bodypress at 8:10. This was there. * – WWF tag team title match: The Quebecers v. Bret & Owen Hart. I really need a high quality MP3 of that theme song. RSPW was creaming themselves once the 123 X-Pac and Marty Jannetty won the tag titles on RAW, because we thought we’d get a ***** match out of the deal. Sadly, the match was never changed to that combo (it would have been a standard Harts-Quebecers tag match) and besides which, the Quebecers regained the belts in MSG a week later. Oh, by the way, the WWF Sledgehammer of Plot Committee would just like to remind everyone that EVERYTHING IS ABSOLUTELY FINE between the Harts, thank you very much. Harts double-team the champs to start. Odd moment: Vince McMahon accuses Dibiase of being a limelight hog for most of his career. I won’t even start on that one, because I’ll go on for 5 paragraphs. Champs stall for a bit after Bret gets about 10 two-counts to frustrate Jacques. Pierre cheapshots Bret and a brawl erupts. Cool spot: We do the “double whip, dosey-do” bit that sends Owen & Bret crashing into each other, but Bret immediately whips Owen into Pierre, which allows Owen to switch to a spear move in mid-air, then upon impact roll up Pierre for a two count. That is seriously damn cool. Note to Edge & Christian: Start doing shit like that more often. Leg lariat gets two for Owen. Side suplex gets two. Bret comes in but gets powerslammed into face-in-peril mode to begin the first heat segment of the match. Owen eventually gets a hot tag and suplexes everything in sight. Sharpshooter on Jacques, but another cheapshot breaks it, and we get heat segment #2, this time on Owen. Bret comes back in quickly, hitting the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM on Pierre. Johnny Polo (Raven) pulls down the ropes and Bret falls to the floor, hurting his knee. This begins heats segment #3, as the Quebecers work his knee and generally cheat like rabid weasels. (2012 Scott sez:  “rabid weasels”?!?) We work the countout tease for a bit, then Owen tosses Bret back in. The champs hurt the knee for a while and go for the cannonball finisher, but Bret moves…and won’t tag Owen. Instead, he tries the Sharpshooter on Pierre, but his own knee gives way, and the ref stops the match at 16:44. What a jerk. If I was Owen, I’d turn on him, too. Owen is rightfully pissed, and verbally abuses his poor brother while he rolls around on the mat clutching his knee. Bret fights his way to his feet (to applause), so Owen KICKS HIS LEG OUT OF HIS LEG! Don’t worry, I’ll explain the reference next paragraph. Big heel heat for Owen there. Great match, great angle that makes Bret an even bigger babyface and Owen a huge heel with one kick. **** – Toad Pedophile finds Owen in the locker room, allowing Owen to deliver his semi-famous “YOU’RE TOO DAMN SELFISH” interview, where he berates Bret for only thinking of himself, then stumbles over his big line: He was supposed to say “…and that’s why I kicked your leg out from under you!” but instead he ended up saying “…and that’s why I kicked your leg out of your…uh…leg.”, which sounded much lamer. For comparison, compare the tone of voice in Austin Powers when he says “Allow myself to…uh…introduce myself”. Same thing. – Intercontinental title match: Razor Ramon v. IRS. Jim Ross & Gorilla Monsoon take over for this match. Typical Mad-libbed “you stole my [item of value], so I’m gonna [violent verb] you” angle here, although the one the fans were really digging was the Shawn v. Razor one over the I-C title claim. It should be noted that Ramon is wearing his very macho powder blue tights tonight. Razor takes his trademark over-the-top bump to give control to IRS. Weird spot as IRS comes off the top and Ramon sticks his foot in the air, but IRS changes direction in mid-air and avoids it. Miscue there, I think. Ramon comes back with the usual. Ref is bumped, and heeeeeeeeeere’s Shawn. Lovetap with the bogus I-C title puts Ramon out, and IRS covers for the pin and the title at 10:44. And whereas that would be enough for a semi-clean win in most circumstances, Dave Hebner must have realized how lame IRS as a singles champion of any kind would be, because he rushes out to inform Joey Marella of the chicanery perpetrated by Shawn Michaels, and the match is restarted. Ramon gets the Edge and the pin (the real one) at 11:44. This was whatever, but on the upside it led to the ladder match at Wrestlemania X. ¾* – WWF title casket match: Yokozuna v. The Undertaker. And yes, this is THAT match. And if you’re reading this and wondering “What does he mean by ‘THAT match’?”, well, obviously you’ve led a very sheltered life and have never heard of this match before, and are thus much more mentally stable than the rest of us poor bastards who had to watch it in 1994. I’d just like to point out, for the record, that all the free tapes from WCW, exposure from Wrestleline, money from Sean Shannon, and ass-kissing from fans STILL isn’t enough to justify the mental anguish that this match has caused millions of people and the suffering I have to go through in order to review it for you, the reader. But I guess a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. So please, before we begin, bear in mind that I am making NONE of this up, and everything I am about to describe actually happened, live on a PPV. This is not, just to clarify, an LSD hallucination gone wrong, or a dream sequence that ended with Pat Patterson waking up in the shower in the next morning. And please, for the love of god, put the kids to bed before you read this match review, or skip to the Royal Rumble match. I wouldn’t want any of them to read it and later become a booker with these kinds of ideas lodged in their heads. God knows there’s enough bad influences on TV these days without the added mental problems caused by watching Undertaker matches from 1994. (2012 Scott sez:  There actually are people working for WWE now who would have grown up watching this match and probably taken ideas from it.  THINK ABOUT THAT.)  Presenting the all-time champion of overbooking and general stupidity…Undertaker v. Yokozuna, part one. Onto the match.. – Undertaker gets a quick start, chasing Yoko to the floor. The brawl a bit. Then a bit more. Yoko gains the upper hand with the CEREMONIAL SALT OF DOOM and some weak chairshots. First casketing attempt goes to Yoko, but UT blocks and comes back. Belly-to-bellies ends that, but Taker does the zombie situp. Chokeslam follows, and a HUGE swinging DDT. Undertaker tries to finish, and you might want to skip ahead now, because it REALLY starts to suck. Crush blocks UT’s win attempt, and Taker fights him off. Now the Great Kabuki (as an agent of Mr. Fuji) tries his luck, along with Genichiro Tenryu. Taker fights them all off. Now Bam Bam comes down and it’s 4-on-1. Yoko awakes from his nap in the casket, so now it’s 5-on-1. Is the point hammered home yet? Of course not, so here’s Adam Bomb to make it 6-on-1. Throw in Jeff Jarrett for 7-on-1, then the Headshrinkers make it NINE-on-1, which is getting excessive even by ECW standards. Diesel joins us last (lazy bastard) for an even 10-on-1, and they STILL, ten guys mind you, can’t get him into the damn coffin. So what would YOU do? Steal the urn of course, and dump the ashes out. Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get sillier, it does: Green smoke pours out of the urn and everyone acts all shocked. LET’S KICK IT UP A NOTCH (2012 Scott sez:  Emeril Lagasse reference there, kids.  I miss him in this age of Guy Fieri having 17 shows and imitators on the Food Network.)  – Vince deadpans, as the entire match (and indeed his promotion) falls apart in the ring: “It appears that the power of the urn is escaping, and with it the Undertaker’s powers”. I swear to god he actually said that without a trace of irony. That’s why I couldn’t be a wrestling announcer – I’d get fired for ripping stuff apart as soon as I saw how dumb an idea it was. Finally, after all that, they put the Undertaker down for good and shut the lid to give Yokozuna the win at 14:19, although the actual 1-on-1 match lasted all of 5 minutes. The crowd is left completely numbed and in shock by the ending. –**** (2012 Scott sez:  I only gave this negative four stars?  What would it have needed to be to earn five?)  – Suck it in, because we’re not done yet. The heels then lock the casket and wheel it to the dressing room, but it starts to smoke on the way down the aisle. A video of UT appears on the video wall (which the announcers naturally assume is a live feed of Undertaker inside his casket, thus indicating that Ocham’s Razor is a foreign concept to Vince McMahon, Jr.  (2012 Scott sez:  Hell of a name for a finisher, though.)  ). Undertaker, who is now “dying”, stops his decomposition long enough to give a speech. I was so touched that I transcribed it, because you all deserve to share my pain. I was gonna split it into individual haikus to really be a smart-ass, but it’s late, so here’s the Undertaker’s last words: – “ Be not proud, because the spirit of the Undertaker live within the souls of mankind, the eternal flame of life which cannot be extinguished, the origin of which cannot be explained. The answer lies in the everlasting spirit. Soon all mankind will witness the rebirth of the Undertaker. I will not rest in peace.” – Is that fucking deep or what? I feel like humming “Personal Jesus” right now. I wonder if Sid was watching this show and took interviewing notes or something? By the way, Mark Callaway wanted time off to spend with his wife, so Vince thought up this whole wonderful “sports entertainment” moment to explain his absence. Whatever happened to “he hurt his leg” or “he’s in jail” like in the good old days?  (2012 Scott sez:  Or now, he got suspended for a Wellness violation.)  – Oh, wait, sorry, I bet you thought this segment couldn’t get anymore stupid and offensive…FOOLISH MORTAL! I’ll break your spirit yet! The video wall image of the Undertaker goes to a reverse-color scheme, then starts to “rise” out of the video wall, to be replaced by Marty Jannetty dressed in an Undertaker costume, “levitating” to the ceiling (with wires clearly visible) while Vince earnestly sells the whole experience as a deep and meaningful spiritual experience. – Dear Federal Investigators: Obviously whoever conducted the investigation of Mr. Vincent K. McMahon on suspicion of drug distribution in 1994 and failed to get a conviction was either retarded or coked out of their mind, because if the above 30 minutes doesn’t conclusively prove that the entire booking team was on mind-altering substances of some form then the American legal system might as well pack it in now, because justice is not only blind, it’s stupid. Yours Truly, Scott Keith. P.S. If you do indeed fire your lead investigator, consider forwarding his resume to WCW, because even retarded and on mind-altering substances, he’s still one up on Russo & Ferrera at this point.Royal Rumble: For those of you who haven’t sworn off wrestling entirely after the above, welcome back. Scott Steiner gets #1, Samu #2. Scott has his hair permed like my ex-girlfriend Karen, which is kind of creepy. Due to time constraints we’re going with 90 seconds instead of 2 minutes here. Rick Steiner gets #3, and the Steiners get rid of Samu quickly. Kwang (what’s the sound of 300 pounds of crap hitting the fan? KWANG!) is #4 and he sprays green mist at the Steiners and does some lethal martial arts. To put it in perspective, Kwang is of course that renowned martial artist Savio Vega. Owen Hart (and his big heel pop) are #5. The heels dominate. Owen does an innocuous tussle with Rick in the corner, and ends up fighting hard enough to knock Steiner out. Bart Gunn is #6. He peppers Owen with left hands, but Owen does his Butterbean impersonation and ignores them. (2012 Scott sez:  Poor Bart, punchline for all time.)  Diesel is #7, triggering a pretty famous sequence. Bart! Steiner! Owen! Kwang! Everyone takes a seat on the floor, and the crowd eats it up. Bob Backlund is #8, and there he goes out the other side. Fans chant “Diesel” as he waits for the next victim. It’s Billy Gunn at #9, and he’s out on his ass, man, about that many seconds later. (2012 Scott sez:  I’m kinda ON here.)  Virgil is #10, but not for long. The “Diesel” chants grow louder, and would keep growing louder until he got the WWF title in November of that year. Here’s your weird thought for the day: Kevin Nash was on the verge of being fired at that point, since he was getting no reaction and couldn’t work, and if the Rumble run hadn’t worked, he likely would have gone back to WCW and ended his career around 1995 doing the Vinnie Vegas gimmick for $500 a night, then retired. But it DID work, and he went on to three World titles, numerous tag titles, and a position as head booker of WCW. So if you were one of the fans who were chanting for him that night…GO TO HELL! It’s all YOUR fault that Kevin Nash booked all that crap last year. (2012 Scott sez:  Also, the people at the 2011 Rumble who gave him a big pop for his return, also go to hell.  That match at TLC is your fault, too.)  Randy Savage is #11, thus ending Diesel’s stream of jobbers. He holds his own until Jarrett comes in at #12. Vince’s summary of Jarrett’s motivation nearly makes me tear my hair out: “He wants to use the WWF as a stepping stone to stardom in Nashville”. How the hell is that supposed to draw heel heat for him? An evil COUNTRY SINGER? No wonder the WWF lost so much money. Crush is #13, and he’s on Savage like attractive women on anyone but Mark Madden. Crush and Savage brawl while Diesel rests. Lazy bastard. Heels double-team Savage. Doink is #14. That’d be Steve Lombardi here, I think. Crush presses Savage out of the match. Crush and Diesel fight for a minute, then realize Doink is an easier target. Bigleow is #15, so the heels kindly step out of the way and Bigelow javelins the clown out of the ring halfway down the aisle. That’s pretty decisive right there. Sick bump, too. Mabel is #16. Nothing like a big fat black man to liven up the match. Diesel gets flattened. “Sparky” Thurman Plugg makes his inauspicious WWF debut at #17, beginning an amazing 5 years of non-stop jobbing and humiliation, which would drive most sane people to quitting or suicide, but ol’ Sparky actually hung on and ended up becoming internet darling Hardcore Holly in 1999. (2012 Scott sez:  Boy THAT fortune sure reversed for him in a big way a couple of years later.)  So maybe there’s hope for Prince Iaukea yet.  (2012 Scott sez:  Nope, he’s long retired from the business as an active wrestler.) HBK is #18. Diesel goes after him, just because he can. Shawn ducks out of the way, and the rest of the pack attacks and dumps Diesel. He gets a standing ovation on the way out. Mo is #19. Greg Valentine is #20, subbing for someone. Talent pool is getting pretty weak here. Tatanka is #21, with freshly repainted face. More stuff going on than I can follow easily. This match needs an enema. The Great Kabuki is #22 and casts fear into everyone’s heart. Everyone gangs up on Mabel and dumps him. Lex Luger is #23 and I’m hoping for a big babyface run to clear the deadwood, but Kabuki is his only victim. (2012 Scott sez:  If you don’t even get the big babyface deadwood clearing spot, then you know they don’t have faith in you.)  Tenryu is #24. Out-of-context quote du jour from Dibiase: “He’s there to do a job, he’s not there to win”. Shawn does a bunch of teases on the ropes. Bastion Booger is #25, but doesn’t show up. Rick Martel is #26. More stuff going on. Bret Hart is #27, STILL selling that knee injury. Crowd pops HUGE for him. Fatu (Rikishi) is #28. About half the total population of the match is still in this thing, and that’s way too many. Crush is dumped by three guys. Marty Jannetty is #29, and he and Shawn go flying at each other like Artemis Gordon and James West with those collars on, and the crowd goes nuts because of it. Last man at #30: Adam Bomb. So our field looks like…wait a sec, there goes Sparky. So our field looks like Bomb, Michaels, Jannetty, Luger, Hart, Tenryu, Tatanka, Valentine, Martel, Mo, Fatu & Bigelow. Lots of aimless wandering for a few minutes, then I guess someone signals to go home, because we go fast and furious. Martel wrestles with Valentine in the corner, and Valentine accidentally slips off the ropes and is out. Martel gets backdropped out by Tatanka right after. Everyone dogpiles Adam Bomb and he’s gone. Bigelow tosses Tatanka. Bigelow charges the corner and Flair Flips down to the floor. Jannetty meets him down there. Luger sends Tenryu back to Japan, and we’re left with…the Final Four. – Final Four: Luger, Hart, Michaels, Fatu. Gee, I wonder who goes first? Bret and Shawn do a cool sequence and almost knock each other out. Fatu & Shawn get Luger to the apron, but he fights back in and kills everyone. Double-whip allows Luger and Bret to simultaneously eliminate both heels. Luger and Bret fight to the ropes and over, where both hit the floor at 55:25 to end the match. After a lengthy discussion and a little experimentation on the crowd by WWF bookers (announcing one guy as winner, then the other, to gauge reaction), both men are announced as “co-winners”. Later footage on WWF TV, and testimony from people in the front rows, would clearly reveal Luger to have hit the floor first. C’est la vie, it was still a decent Rumble. ***1/2 The Bottom Line: Steroid trials do funny things to a man, and causing him to book shows like this one is one such thing. The Undertaker angle led to the wonderful “fake Undertaker” saga later that year, while the Hart Family dispute led to a ***** match at WM10 and a renewal of Bret Hart’s career, one of many to come. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to decide which was more worth it in the long run. I’m torn on the recommendation – there’s a couple of great matches, but the Undertaker thing is like a cancer on the rest of the tape. And since the whole Owen-Bret thing was recapped numerous times before Wrestlemania that year, I’ll have to go recommendation to avoid on this show. (2012 Scott sez:  Onto the redone version from a couple of years ago, which I have nothing really to add to.) The SmarK Retro Rant for WWF Royal Rumble 1994 – I’m stuck with the Anthology DVD version, which at least has much better video quality than my original VHS dub, so blame that for any inconsistencies with the original review. At least that means the full PPV version and not the Coliseum edit. – Live from Providence, Rhode Island. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Ted Dibiase. This actually now makes more sense to me given the rotating color commentators on RAW after the departure of Bobby Heenan. Back in the day, it was totally random to me because I only got to watch Superstars. Tatanka v. Bam Bam Bigelow Originally scheduled to be Ludvig Borga here, but what turned out to be a career-ending injury removed him from the show. Slugfest to start and Bigelow dropkicks Tatanka into the corner, but misses a charge and gets powered down. Tatanka with a crossbody for two and he works the arm, then catches Bigelow with his head down for a DDT. To the top, but he whiffs on a cross body and Bammer takes over. Avalanche in the corner, but another try hits boot and Tatanka goes up again with a sunset flip off the top, blocked by Bam Bam’s ass. Tatanka tries to slug him down, but Bam Bam gets a jumping kick for two. Bigelow with the bearhug, but Tatanka is GOING NATIVE! Bigelow puts him down again with a shoulderblock, but another try results in a Tatanka powerslam for two. They both go for a crossbody and collide for the double KO, but it’s comeback time…until Bam Bam pulls out the enzuigiri, which again draws a big pop from the heel fans in the crowd. The Lunasault misses, however, and Tatanka goes up again with a crossbody for the pin at 8:12. Kind of an anticlimactic finish, but it was a fun match put together on short notice. ***1/2 WWF World tag team titles: The Quebecers v. The Hart Brothers The Quebecers were fresh off regaining the tag titles at MSG and the Harts were fresh off a ***** match against the Steiners for Coliseum video, so it was a good week for both. Pierre gets a quick slam on Bret, but runs into a knee. Owen comes in and hiptosses Pierre into a slam for two. A sign at ringside declares “Yokozuna RIP” which unfortunately proved clairvoyant. Jacques comes in to slow things down, but Owen suplexes him and dropkicks him back to his own corner again. Another try, and this time Owen gets the enzuigiri for two. The Harts get a Demolition elbow for two. Bret with a small package for two. Sunset flip gets two. Rollup gets two, but Pierre nails Bret and it’s BONZO GONZO. The Quebecers try to whip the babyfaces into each other, but Owen catapults himself into a rollup on Jacques for two instead. Very nice. The champs bail for some advice from Johnny Polo (“Always insist on cash from Paul Heyman.”), and back in Owen gets a leg lariat on Pierre for two. Overhead suplex gets two. Legdrop gets two. It’s awesome seeing the Harts able to cut loose for once, as Jacques was able to keep up with whatever crazy stuff they could come up with. Bret comes in and walks into a Pierre powerslam for two, and Jacques allows some choking in the corner. Quebecers double-team Bret with an elbow and Pierre pounds on him in the corner, and it’s more quality cheating while hotheaded Owen tries to come in. Pierre comes off the middle rope and lands on Bret’s foot, and it’s hot tag Owen. Backdrop for Jacques, belly to belly suplex for Pierre, and he goes to finish Jacques with the Sharpshooter, but Pierre bulldogs him behind the ref’s back to break. And so Owen is your face-in-peril. They drop him on the top rope for two, but Owen quickly tags Bret back in and he fights off both Quebecers alone. Backbreaker and legsweep for Jacques and noggins are knocked, then he gets rid of Pierre and looks to finish…but Johnny Polo pulls down the top rope and Bret blows out his knee on the way down. The Quebecers swarm in and work over the knee outside until Owen chases them off. Back in, Jacques beats the hell out of the knee and goes to a Boston crab, while the announcers implore Bret to go over and make the tag. The Quebecers switch off on the knee and Vince declares that it’s not skill, it’s HOOLIGANISM. They should have marketed a Vince McMahon Word Of The Day Calendar. Bret tries a Sharpshooter on Pierre, but can’t complete the move, and the ref stops the match at 16:48. Who is he, Steve Mazzagatti? Terrible finish, but a great match up until the storyline took over. **** Speaking of storylines, Owen berates his brother for not tagging, and then KICKS THE LEG FROM UNDER HIS LEG. You know, it’s funny, because years later that would be the least horrific thing that members of that family would do to each other. At least Bret didn’t sue for that or write a tell-all book about it. Meanwhile, Owen cuts a promo from backstage, telling Bret that he’s TOO SELFISH and coins the “kicked the leg from under your leg” phrase that people mocked him about for years afterwards. Owen and a live mic used to be a risky proposition. WWF Intercontinental title: Razor Ramon v. IRS IRS has stolen the gold from around Ramon’s neck to give this some minimal backstory, and Razor slugs him down and chases him out of the ring to start. Back in for an atomic drop, but they head out and Irwin sends him into the stairs. Back in for a quick chinlock and IRS legdrops him low, then drops an elbow for two. Back to the chinlock, but Razor fights out and slugs him down, then gets the blockbuster slam for two. And tragically, the ref is bumped, allowing IRS to grab the briefcase. Razor gets it away and puts IRS down for the pin, but of course there’s no ref. So Ramon puts him on the top rope for a backdrop superplex and sets up for the Razor’s Edge, but Shawn Michaels runs in and clobbers him with the belt, which gives IRS the pin and the title at 9:43?! Luckily, Earl Hebner runs out and demands the match be restarted, because if there’s one thing he won’t stand for, it’s injustice in a title match when Shawn Michaels is involved! Ramon hits the Edge in all the confusion and pins IRS to retain. Whew. Just kind of a junky RAW match. ** But hey, if this is the worst match tonight, it’ll still be an easy thumbs up, right? WWF World title, casket match: Yokozuna v. Undertaker Hang on, I need two Red Bulls and a bag of mushrooms to properly deal with this first. … Well, all I had was canned mushrooms, so that’ll have to do. You know, thinking about Undertaker during this period, he really got stuck with the shittiest series of feuds that you could possibly think up. He had two PPVs against Giant Gonzalez with a house show feud against Mr. Hughes sandwiched in the middle, then got to face Yokozuna in this legendarily horrible match, then had to face himself at Summerslam. No wonder he had no incentive to get better. Anyway, Taker gets a flying clothesline and they fight to the floor, and Taker quickly no-sells everything and heads back in for the ropewalk. Back to the floor, UT beats on him with a chair, and Ted Dibiase notes that it’s going to get a lot more brutal. Indeed. Yoko comes back with a handful of salt and they head back in, where Yoko gets a clothesline and tries to roll him into the casket. Taker awakens and comes back for the slugfest, but Yoko puts him down with a belly to belly suplex. Taker no-sells it and gets a pretty decent chokeslam and follows with a DDT, and at this point it’s a pretty decent match. BUT IT GETS WORSE. So into the casket goes Yokozuna, but Crush runs out and attacks, preventing the finish. Taker gets rid of him, but now the Great Kabuki of all people comes in, followed by Tenryu. Yes, they have fucking GENICHIRO TENRYU booked for the show and this is what they use him for. And now Bam Bam Bigelow, as far more troubling is Yokozuna still unconscious in the casket after a single DDT two minutes previously. But now it REALLY gets silly, as Paul Bearer uses the power of the urn to inspire Undertaker to fight off four guys at once, so Jeff Jarrett and Adam Bomb now join the shitstorm. Oh, and the Headshrinkers. At least it makes sense for THEM to assist Yokozuna. Luckily, Yoko has now recovered from that devastating DDT and is walking around again. And the last man in is Diesel, and with 11 guys helping they STILL can’t close the damn casket lid. BUT IT GETS WORSE. The horde takes out Paul Bearer and steals the urn, which causes (and I’m very embarrassed as a wrestling fan to type this) green smoke to flood out of it, presumably the spirits of Undertaker’s dead parents. So that, finally, is enough to get him in the casket and close the lid at 14:18. And you’re thinking OK, that was a horrible finish and an embarrassment to anyone who’s not Vince Russo or Ed Ferrera, but they can’t possibly sink lower, can they? BUT IT GETS WORSE. So while the heels celebrate the presumably dead body of Undertaker, the lights go out and we somehow get a camera shot from inside the casket, where Undertaker CUTS A PROMO FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. And you thought HHH was bad. Do any of the heels open up the casket and punch him in the mouth at this point? Of course not, they all stare blankly at the video wall while Undertaker delivers a dramatic soliloquy and then rises to the ceiling. Not a dream, not an imaginary story. I paid MONEY to watch this PPV in 1994 and then continued as a wrestling fan afterwards. If ever a match deserved the full negative monty, this is undoubtedly it. -***** Worst of all, none of this went anywhere until November, as you’d think it would set up Undertaker’s Kill Bill rampage of revenge, but instead he just took months off. AND THIS WASN’T EVEN THE STUPIDEST FINISH ON THIS SHOW! On the bright side, it was still better than the January 4 Impact. Royal Rumble: Scott Steiner is #1 and Samu is #2. Steiner tosses Samu around and gets a butterfly bomb, but can’t muscle him over the top. Samu comes back with a clothesline and we’re doing 90 second intervals this year, as Rick Steiner is #3. The Steiners double-team Samu, as you’d expect, and suplex the crap out of him, but make no serious effort to get rid of him. Samu misses a charge and hangs himself in the ropes anyway, and he’s gone at 3:22. KWANG is #4 and he uses his MARTIAL ARTS on Scott and blows mist in Rick’s face, but Scott suplexes him anyway. Owen Hart is #5 to a big heel reaction and he immediately goes after the blinded Rick Steiner and puts him out at 5:50. Good for you, Owen! Bart Gunn is #6 and he goes after Owen, with no luck. Diesel is #7 and he hits everyone indiscriminately. Diesel dumps Bart at 8:57, then Scott at 9:00, then Owen at 9:09. Kwang tries to stop him and gets tossed at 9:25. DIESEL POWER begins here. Mr. Bob Backlund is #8 and nearly gets Big Kev out with a double leg, but leverage isn’t on his side. Diesel gets him out at 10:20 to clear the ring. No wonder he got over. Billy Gunn is #9 and he quickly runs into a boot and he’s gone at 11:25. And now the crowd is firmly behind Diesel. But wait! This gives us a chance to watch footage of the Japanese contingent attacking Lex Luger in the locker room. That’s a shame. Virgil is #10 and I’m not giving him much of a shot. Diesel misses a charge and Virgil uses his fisticuffs, but Diesel gets rid of him at 13:19. Dibiase takes particular delight in that, a nice touch. And now Macho Man is #11 and that’s gonna be it for the big run. Savage pounds away on Kev and throws elbows in the corner, and Jeff Jarrett is #12. He clotheslines Savage out, but Macho skins the cat to hang on and then sends Jarrett back to the dressing room at 17:14. Crush is #13 and that’s trouble for Savage. Savage elbows him down and goes up with the double axehandle, then goes after Diesel as well and loses the battle. The heels double-team him and Doink is #14. Savage is out at 19:10 during Doink’s entrance, leaving the heels to pound on each other while Doink laughs at them. That gets him a beatdown, and Bam Bam Bigelow is #15. Crush & Diesel give Bam Bam free reign to assault Doink, so he sends him into the aisle at 21:14 with a Spike Dudley toss. Nice. The heels all turn on each other, and Mabel is #16. He hits Diesel with an Avalanche, then Bigelow, and SPARKY PLUGG is #17. Now we’re getting into the SERIOUS contenders. People do the “lay on the ropes and pretend to get each other out” thing to burn some time, until Shawn Michaels at #18. Interesting to think that he would go on to win the next two in the row. Everyone decides to go after Diesel, and he’s gone at 25:59. He’d have better days ahead of him. So with the crowd favorite gone, Mo is #19. There’s way too many people with purple tights in there. Bless the 90s. Shawn teases some eliminations and Greg Valentine is #20. Forgot about that one. He goes after Bigelow as deadwood is starting to accumulate. Tatanka is #21 and he beats on Shawn, but Mabel actually holds Tatanka so that Shawn can get some shots in. Shawn turns on him anyway. Kabuki is #22, but don’t union rules say we can only have one mist-spewing Asian per match? Everyone decides to gang up on Mabel and dumps him at 32:32. Probably wise. Lex Luger is #23 and hopefully he’ll clear the ring for AMERICA. Kabuki goes back to Japania at 33:40! And that’s his whole babyface rampage, as Crush attacks him to stop the madness. Tenryu is #24 and he chops Luger right away, and they’re pretty awesome chops. He’s earned his money. #25 no-shows, and Vince is sure it was Bret Hart’s spot, although I believe later it was revealed to be Bastion Booger’s spot. So we continue on and Rick Martel is #26. Luger and Tatanka slug it out in an interesting bit of foreshadowing, and otherwise nothing is going on until Bret Hart is #27, still selling the leg injury from earlier. And the crowd goes nuts for him, especially with the limp. Crush immediately goes for the knee, aided by Tenryu. Fatu is #28 and there’s way too many guys, as the last elimination was more than 10 minutes ago. And Crush gets pounded out by Luger at 42:38. Marty Jannetty is #29, and it’s gung ho against Shawn Michaels to a big pop, as they trade like Frye and Takayama, but gayer. They exchange superkicks, but Marty can’t suplex Shawn out. And finally, Adam Bomb is #30. Bret dumps Plugg at 45:21 to end the dream of Bob Holly in a Wrestlemania main event, and Tenryu is still chopping the shit out of everyone. Doesn’t he know that the object of a battle royale is to lay around on the ropes and crack jokes? Someone teach this guy how to work. Things slow right down with everyone in, and no one can still get Shawn out. Martel finally gets Valentine out at 49:19, and Tatanka dumps Martel at 49:39. Bomb charges Lex and hits the floor at 49:50. Finally, someone gave the “go home” signal. Tatanka goes out at 50:18 off-screen. Shawn and Marty continue their private war, and Bam Bam bumps out at 51:05 following a Luger forearm. Shawn gets rid of Marty at 51:14 for the moral victory, and holy cow Tenryu is still there. Cute spot as he runs Shawn and Fatu’s heads together, but only Shawn sells it. Tenryu just chops the shit out of Luger again, but Bret and Lex team up and dump Tenryu at 52:29. Final Four: Bret Hart, Lex Luger, Fatu, and Shawn Michaels. Bret and Shawn battle on the ropes as Fatu superkicks Lex off my favorite headbutt no-sell spot. The heels put Luger on the apron, but he fights them off and makes the superhero comeback. And the faces backdrop the heels out at 54:49 simultaneously, giving us Bret v. Lex. And they fight to the ropes, and both are out at 55:08 for the most retarded Royal Rumble finish until 1999. Replays clearly show that Luger hit the floor first, but Bret got the last laugh anyway. I should also note that the crowd reaction to Bret’s fake win is MASSIVE compared to Luger’s. A very entertaining Rumble for about the first 40 minutes, then it got clogged up and died off bigtime, leading to the worst Rumble finish ever up until that point. ***1/2 The Pulse: It’s kinda sorta good if you can ignore the glaring spot in the middle surrounding the casket match, but it’s not an all-time classic or anything. Mild recommendation to avoid overall.