A Look Back At: The 1995 PWI 500 Rankings

95-Winter
The fifth installment of looking back at the PWI 500 starting the beginning in 1991 continues with the 1995 edition. This year, the grading period was from August 1st, 1994 to August 1st, 1995.
To view the complete list of where the wrestlers were ranked click HERE.
Here are the notable rankings for the year 1995.  
Kevin Nash(1)
The Top Ten:
1.) Diesel
2.) Shawn Michaels
3.) Sting
4.) Bret Hart
5.) Sabu
6.) Hulk Hogan
7.) Big Van Vader
8.) Randy Savage
9.) Razor Ramon
10.) Mitsuharu Misawa
Early on in the grading period, Diesel was one-half of the WWF World Tag Team Champions with Shawn Michaels, who is ranked number two. Diesel would win the WWF World Championship in eight-seconds by pinning Bob Backlund on November 26th in Madison Square Garden. Diesel would continually defeat Backlund on the house shows. Diesel wrestled a near thirty minute classic with Bret Hart at the Royal Rumble that ended in a draw. Diesel successfully defended the championship against former friend Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XI in what was the lone bright spot on the show. Diesel’s reign continued with a feud against Psycho Sid that lasted most of the summer. Diesel pinned Psycho Sid at the July In Your House that was competed under a lumberjack stipulation. Diesel was a dominating champion for the grading period.
Michaels run started in 1995 when he won the 1995 Royal Rumble after being the first entrant in the match and last eliminated the second entrant, Davey Boy Smith. Michaels came up short in his WrestleMania title match against Diesel, but still stole the show despite the loss. Michaels would feud with Psycho Sid after Sid turned on him after Mania. Michaels would defeat Sid in a cage match at a June MSG house show. The end of the grading period saw Michaels win his third WWF Intercontinental Championship when he pinned Jeff Jarrett at In Your House #2.
Despite not being in the main event scene during the grading period, Sting was still ranked as the best WCW wrestler in the publication. Early in the grading period Sting focused on a feud with Avalanche and Big Bubba teaming Randy Savage often times. Struggled in a feud against Big Bubba losing at UnCensored but got a victory at Slamboree. At the Great American Bash, Sting won the WCW United States Championship when he defeated Meng in the finals of a tournament. Meng was an undefeated heel monster since debuting for WCW. Sting won a rematch against Meng at the Bash at the Beach pay per view in July. It was evident that Sting was playing the third tier baby face behind Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.
The Hitman was the WWF World Champion at the start of the grading period and successfully defended the championship against Owen Hart at SummerSlam inside a steel cage. Bret would lose the belt to Bob Backlund at Survivor Series. Hart was unable to regain the championship at Royal Rumble. Bret continued his feud with Bob Backlund winning an I Quit match at WrestleMania XI. Hart was also able to end his long-running feud with Jerry Lawler at the King of the Ring when he won a Kiss My Foot match. Hart would win memorable matches against Hakushi throughout the spring, as well. Hitman remains in the top five after consecutive back to back number one rankings in 1993 and 1994.
Sabu getting into the top five is a huge accomplishment for ECW as the company was still a company based mainly out of Philadelphia but gaining traction. Early in the grading period, Sabu got big victories over 2 Cold Scorpio and Cactus Jack in the fall. He won the ECW Tag Team Championships with Taz by defeating Public Enemy in February ’95. Sabu would leave ECW and head to Japan where h ewon the IWGP junior heavyweight championship from Koji Kanemoto on May 3rd. Sabu was a battered man who often would wrestle despite broken bones and was loved by fans for doing so. He would soon return to ECW as it will be addressed in the next edition of the series.
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Hulkamania slips a few spots but remains in the top ten of the PWI 500. Hogan started the grading period beating Ric Flair in a steel cage match to force Flair into retirement. Hogan won the main event at Starrcade against the Butcher, his former best friend. Hulk started a long feud with Vader in 1995 wrestling on pay per view many times. Hogan would win at Superbrawl by disqualification, defeated Ric Flair (who was still retired) despite wrestling Vader in a strap match at UnCensored. Hogan brought his friend Randy Savage into the feud to defeat Vader and Flair at Slamboree. Hogan ended his feud with Vader by winning a cage match at the July Bash at the Beach pay per view.
Vader was unsuccessful in his attempt to win the WCW World Championship from Hulk Hogan throughout 1995, but he never suffered a pin fall loss to the Hulkster. Vader ended 1994 by winning the WCW United States Championship from Jim Duggan at Starrcade, but vacated the belt to go after Hogan’s gold. After the failed attempts, Vader turned into a good guy by siding with Hogan against the Dungeon of Doom though Vader would leave WCW soon afterward and would never return to WCW.
Last year, the Macho Man was ranked number forty-four in the PWI 500. Savage returned to in-ring competition on a full-time basis and ranked up to the eighth spot. Randy teamed with Sting to win a feud against Big Bubba Rogers and Avalanche. Had a brief singles feud with Avalanche winning a match at Uncensored. Savage would go back to feuding against Ric Flair losing to Flair at Great American Bash but winning a rematch at Bash at the Beach in July with a lumberjack stipulation.
The Bad Guy regained the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Diesel at SummerSlam with Walter Payton in his corner. Ramon held the title until the Royal Rumble when he lost the belt to Jeff Jarrett. Ramon regained the belt briefly by winning the title at a house show, but lost it two days later back to Jarrett. Ramon was also a USWA heavyweight champion during the grading period for a brief time. Razor was likely a contender to win the 1995 King of the Ring but was out of the tournament due to injury.
Misawa is the first Japanese wrestler to reach the top ten in the PWI to this point. Misawa won the Triple Crown championship from Stan Hansen on May 26th. Was voted as the best scientific wrestler in Japan.
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11.) Jeff Jarrett
12.) Owen Hart
17.) Eddy Guerrero
18.) Rey Mysterio Jr.
20.) Ric Flair
Double J kicked off the grading period pinning Mabel at SummerSlam and continued to be lost in the shuffle in the mid card until early 1995 when he won the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Razor Ramon. Jarrett and Ramon traded the belt in May with Jarrett coming out as the champion. Jarrett lost the championship to Michaels at In Your House #2 before departing from the WWF.
Owen nearly won the WWF World Championship at SummerSlam inside a steel cage but settled for costing Bret the championship at Survivor Series and helping Bob Backlund win the gold. Owen would team with Yokozuna at WrestleMania XI to win the WWF World Tag Team Championships from the Smoking Gunns.
Eddy Guerrero went from 141 all the way to the seventeen spot this year. Guerrero was really starting make a name for himself competing in NJPW and ECW. While wrestling in ECW, Eddy was having memorable clashes with Dean Malenko over the ECW Television Championship that many still regard as the best matches the company had ever put on.
Rey Mysterio Jr. also moves up the ranks as he won the Triple A light heavyweight championship from Juventud Guerrera during the grading period.
The Nature Boy was retired thanks to losing a cage match to Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc. His retirement lasted until May when he and Vader lost a tag match to Hogan and Savage. Flair did pick up a huge victory the following month by pinning Randy Savage while Randy’s father was at ringside. PWI was quoted as saying, “Career finally appears to be winding down.” That couldn’t have been further from the truth.
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23.) Lex Luger
24.) Arn Anderson
26.) Tracy Smothers
28.) Shane Douglas
30.) Bam-Bam Bigelow
Luger was once seen as the likely WWF World Champion and second coming of Hulk Hogan, but failed to connect with fans and was thrown to the mid card ranks. Had an infamous feud with Tatanka that saw his former friend turn on him after a singles match at SummerSlam. The feud would continue on for many months with Luger winning a cage match prior to WrestleMania XI. Luger formed a tag team with Davey Boy Smith but failed to win the WWF World Tag Team Championships.
Despite losing a feud against Dustin Rhodes at the end of 1994, Anderson was able to win the WCW Television Championship from Johnny B. Badd in early 1995. Arn defeated Badd in a lumberjack match at the pre-show telecast prior to Superbrawl V. Anderson suffered a loss to Johnny at Uncensored in a boxer vs. wrestler match. Arn handed Alex Wright his first loss at Slamboree to retain the WCW Television Championship but would lose the belt the following month to The Renegade at the Great American Bash.
Smothers had a lengthy feud with Bryant Anderson which saw Smothers win numerous I Quit matches at the end of 1994. Formed a successful tag team with former rival the Dirty White Boy to win feuds against the Gangstas and the Headbangers.
“The Franchise” Shane Douglas threw down history when he won the NWA World Championship after winning a tournament on August 27th and renamed it the ECW World Championship. Douglas retained the title against the likes of the Tazmaniac, Ron Simmons and Mikey Whipwreck throughout the second half of 1994. Douglas would feud with Tully Blanchard during the first few months of 1995 retaining the championship. Douglas would lose the belt to the Sandman at the Hostile City Showdown on April 15th. Shane would leave ECW for the WWF, which wouldn’t end up as being a good career decision.
Bigelow had a memorable confrontation with Lawrence Taylor at the Royal Rumble, which would lead to a main event match at WrestleMania XI. Bigelow would lose and soon his heel stable members would turn on him. Bigelow became a good guy and aligned himself with Diesel to defeat Psycho Sid and Tatanka at the King of the Ring in June.
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31.) Cactus Jack
32.) Yokozuna
34.) Sid Vicious
36.) Lord Steven Regal
43.) Steve Austin
Cactus Jack didn’t have a great start to the grading period when he lost to Kevin Sullivan at WCW Fall Brawl 1994 causing him to leave WCW forever. However, the change of scenery ended up being a blessing in disguise as Cactus headed to ECW. While in ECW, Cactus won the ECW World Tag Team Championships with Mikey Whipwreck which they held from August to November ’94. Cactus had a lengthy feud with the Sandman which would eventually be over the ECW World Championship. Early in the feud, Cactus would get many wins, but when Sandman became champion, Jack was unable to defeat him. Cactus pinned Terry Funk twice in April of ’95, as well.
Yokozuna’s stock in the WWF was quickly plummeting as his run as a main event player was coming to an end as 1994 came to a close. Yokozuna lost a casket match against the Undertaker at Survivor Series and wouldn’t be seen again until WrestleMania XI. At the event, Yokozuna was revealed as the surprise partner for Owen Hart and the duo won the WWF World Tag Team Championships from the Smoking Gunns. They would retain the titles over the likes of the Allied Powers, Savio Vega & Razor Ramon, and Men on a Mission. They were still the champions as of press time.
While on competing in WCW or the WWF at the start of the grading period, Sid was the USWA Heavyweight Champion which he won in July of 1994 and held until February of 1995 when he lost it to Jerry Lawler. After the loss, Sid would return to the WWF where he quickly turned on Shawn Michaels and unsuccessfully challenged for the WWF World Championship on two occasions on pay per view.
Regal lost the WCW Television Championship at Fall Brawl in September of ’94 and would continue a trend of losing singles matches against the likes of the Guardian Angel, Jim Duggan and Sting. By early 1995, Regal would form a tag team with Bobby Eaton known as the Blue Bloods. They got a decent push but failed to win the WCW World Tag Team Championships from the Nasty Boys at the Great American Bash.
Austin was once seen as a top rising star in WCW, but by the end of 1994 he was losing to Jim Duggan in under three minutes and was out of a job by the spring of 1995. I have no idea how Austin could have possibly been ranked so high considering he was also injured for many months.
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48.) Hakushi
49.) Mabel
54.) Alex Wright
60.) The Sandman
62.) Dustin Rhodes
Hakushi’s run in the WWF started off very well as he had an undefeated streak for half the grading period with victories over the 1-2-3 Kid, Bob Holly, and enhancement talents. He would suffer his first loss to Bret Hart at the first In Your House in May. Hakushi would continually lose to the Hitman for the remaining three months of the grading period, though they were some of the best matches the WWF aired during the year.
With his partner Mo out due to injury, Mabel tried his hand at a singles push that saw him lose to Jeff Jarrett at SummerSlam. Mabel would trade wins with the likes of King Kong Bundy and IRS to close of 1994. 1995 saw an attitude change by Men on a Mission and Mabel was the unlikely winner of the King of the Ring meaning he would be the number one contender to the WWF World Championship. He defeated the Undertaker and Savio Vega on his way to winning the crown.
Das Wunderkind was another wrestler who had a lengthy undefeated streak as he spent several months in 1994 establishing himself over enhancement talents. Wright finished 1994 with an impressive victory over Jean Paul Levesque at Starrcade. Alex continued his success by winning feuds against Bobby Eaton and Paul Roma in early 1995. Wright suffered his first loss to Arn Anderson at WCW Slamboree in a WCW Television Championship match. Wright had a great match with Brian Pillman at the Great American Bash, which he won. During the grading period, Wright also worked a few matches with Ric Flair but was not successful in defeating the Nature Boy.
At the end of 1994, Sandman was on the losing end of a feud with Tommy Dreamer. As noted before, Sandman struggled in a feud with Cactus Jack that lasted over six months in 1995. Despite his struggles, Sandman was able to win the ECW World Championship from Shane Douglas in April. Sandman would successfully defend the championship against Cactus Jack in a barbed wire match over the summer.
‘The Natural” won his feud with Arn Anderson at the tail end of 1994 that included teaming with his father Dusty Rhodes and the Nasty Boys to win War Games in September. Dustin would lose a singles match against Vader in November before returning to his feud with the Stud Stable, mostly the Blacktop Bully. Dustin lost both matches he had on pay per view losing to the Blacktop Bully at Superbrawl V and in a King of the Road match at Uncensored. Following the latter pay per view, Dustin was fired for bleeding in the match. He’d go under an extreme makeover in the next installment of this series.
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65.) Kama
76.) Bob Holly
79.) Jean Pierre Lafitte
82.) Big Bubba Rogers
84.) Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Previously known as Papa Shango, Kama made his debut in January 1995. His first six months saw Kama not lose on television and was involved in a lengthy feud with the Undertaker over the urn. Despite not losing on television, Kama would often lose to the Undertaker on the house show market.
Spark Plug was not getting much momentum at the end of 1994 as he was regularly losing to various mid card heels. However, Holly teamed with the 1-2-3 Kid to win the WWF World Tag Team Championships at the Royal Rumble. Their reign lasted all of twenty four hours when they lost the titles to the Smoking Gunns. In April, Holly won the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Jeff Jarrett, but the title was held up and Jarrett regained the belt. Holly pinned Chris Benoit in what was Benoit’s tryout match.
Previously known as Quebecer Pierre, Jean Pierre Lafitte made his debut as an evil pirate would get victories over the likes of Virgil, Duke Droese and Doink the Clown during the grading period. His only memorable feud was with Bret Hart due to stealing Hart’s ring jacket and his sunglasses, though no match between the two had happened as of press time.
He was known as the Guardian Angel who wasn’t quite able to get into the WCW World Championship scene. Angel ended up turning on Sting by the winter and would team with Avalanche in a feud against Sting and Randy Savage. Bubba found some success in his feud against Sting, winning a singles match at Uncensored, but wasn’t able to continue the momentum into anything that was noteworthy.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley made his debut in April and was primarily working with undercard wrestlers such as Doink and Bob Holly. Hunter hadn’t suffered a loss as of press time. He had worked as Jean Paul Levesque in WCW for a portion of the grading period, but wasn’t heavily push aside from a loss to Alex Wright at Starrcade.

Unabomb
Unabomb

87.) Psicosis
92.) Meng
100.) Brian Lee
101.) Unabomb
113.) Jim Duggan
A breakout year for Psicosis as he won the Mexican welterweight championship from El Hijo del Santo. The victory is seen as the moment that made Psicosis a superstar in Mexico.
Meng hadn’t made his in-ring debut until March of 1995 where he defeated Jim Duggan at Uncensored. Meng received a good push and made it to the finals of the WCW United States Championship tournament, which he lost to Sting at the Great American Bash and a rematch at Bash at the Beach. The brief run showed that Meng still had something to offer in the ring after leaving the WWF a few years prior.
Lee lost the tag titles with Chris Candido to the Rock N’ Roll Express just a few days into the grading period. Lee played the fake Undertaker role at SummerSlam, where he lost to the real Undertaker but returned to SMW. After being fired by Tammy Fytch, Lee would feud with Chris Candido and they would trade victories although there was not a conclusive end to their issues.
Unabomb teamed with Al Snow to win the SMW Tag Team Championships from the Rock N’ Roll Express in April of 1995. They’d hold the belts until July when they lost the titles to Tracy Smothers and Dirty White Boy. Would debut in the WWF by the summer as Dr. Isaac Yankeem to help Jerry Lawler in his feud with Bret Hart.
Hacksaw didn’t waste any time in winning a championship in WCW when he pinned Steve Austin at Fall Brawl to win the WCW United States Championship. Duggan remained champion until he was destroyed by Big Van Vader at Starrcade. Duggan feuded with the Stud Stable mainly Bunkhouse Buck and Meng. Lost to Kamala at the Bash at the Beach pay per view in July.
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114.) Raven
120.) La Parka
122.) Crash the Terminator
126.) New Jack
237.) Kevin Sullivan
Raven made his debut in January and targeted Tommy Dreamer as his first rival. Throughout the eight months of the grading period, Raven dominated his feud with Dreamer, though Dreamer did get a pin fall victory over Raven on April 14th, which is seemingly forgotten about. Along with Stevie Richards, won the ECW World Tag Team Championships on June 30th by defeating the Public Enemy.
Parka was previously a heel but was turned into a baby face during his feud with Jerry Estrada, whom he lost the Mexican lightweight championship to.
Crash the Terminator was the PCW Heavyweight Champion and was feuding with Johnny Gunn. Apparently, Crash had a WWF tryout but did not sign with them.
New Jack first arrived in Smoky Mountain Wrestling where he and Mustafa made Jim Cornette and the Rock N’ Roll Express lives a living nightmare. By the fall of ’94, the Gangstas were the SMW Tag Team Champions. He was champion for about two months before losing them back to the Express in December. By the summer of ’95 Jack made his debut in ECW and was involved in a violent feud with Public Enemy.
Sullivan’s main focus was to eliminate Hulk Hogan but failed to do so throughout the year. Kevin was successful in defeating his brother Dave Sullivan in one of the least interesting feuds that WCW had to offer. Sullivan became the leader of the Dungeon of Doom, the infamous group that had many people from Hogan’s past to eliminate him from wrestling forever.
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245.) The Renegade
295.) Moadib
306.) Luna Vachon
423.) The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior ripoff, the Renegade, made his debut in March of 1995 aligning himself with Hogan and Savage. Won the WCW Television Championship at the Great American Bash by defeating Arn Anderson in June and was still champion as of press time. Successfully defended the championship against Paul Orndorff at Bash at the Beach in July.
Moadib, who would be better known as Ahmed Johnson by the end of 1995, was making a name for himself in the Texas independents as a rule breaker.
Luna Vachon was busy working in ECW mainly teaming with Tommy Dreamer to take on male tag teams and was doing pretty well in defending herself in the land of Extreme.
Apparently, the real Ultimate Warrior only had one match as he returned to in-ring action to defeat rival the Honkytonk Man.
What are your thoughts on the PWI 500 for 1995? Would you have ranked anyone higher or lower?

Leave your thoughts below!

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

Thanks for reading.

Lex & Sting 1995 BFFs

Scott,

I'm powering through Nitros in 1995 and am still amazed by the oddball Lex and Sting angle. They are best friends but Lex goes with the Dungeon of Doom and is kind of a pseudo face/heel still? It's so bizarre. Has there ever been an angle like that where someone is a heel but has a best friend face and they kinda walk that line for months and months?

Also, the main event of Nitro before Starrade 1995 was a Ric Flair vs Macho Man match for the belt! What a throw-away. Was the NJPW Starrcade a success or a dud? Guessing a dud since it hasn't really happened since.

Also Hulk is unbearable as the loose cannon with a chair while Macho Man is champ, always needing the last word or anything on every show. Awful.

The Luger-Sting dynamic was totally unique and I still don't know why someone hasn't tried to steal it since.  And you knew they were best friends in real life, so it made the angle all the cooler to see it playing out on TV.  Unfortunately they had negative chemistry together in the the ring, so the blowoff would have sucked.  

Speaking of sucking, Starrcade was a sellout in the building, but a massive, MASSIVE flop on PPV, only eclipsed in shittiness by the WWF's putrid IYH5 show.  It did 75K buys when they were running about 200K per show typically. 

And don't even get me started on Hogan.  

WWF 1995 Question


Hi Scott,

     I've been reading Titan Sinking and I was wondering who you think
would've been a better choice to program with Diesel during his title
reign compared to who Vince went with? Looking at the roster at the
time it's hard to see who could've been the strong heel he needed. Any
ideas? Thanks.

Mark

Heel turned Razor Ramon!  Shawn Michaels if they hadn't panicked and turned him babyface in April!  They could have milked the Shawn feud for MONTHS.  

Another 1995 question

Hey Scott, you've mentioned before how much Diesel was tanking business and as soon as they put the belt on Bret, business picked up again and I want to know why that was. You've also mentioned before that once Bret won the title he was booked as a lameduck champion, but reading your 1995 Raw reviews, Bret was also being booked as a lameduck challenger too as the guy was still feuding and having problems with Jerry Lawler, a guy anybody can beat. Hell even Aldo Montoya pinned the King once. So yeah, my question is since the booking didn't improve, and since Bret's credibility seemed to be pretty low at this point, why did business pick up?

​Because people liked and cared about Bret Hart, and not about Diesel.  ​

The SmarK Rant for WCW Starrcade 1995

The SmarK Rant for WCW Starrcade 1995 Well, we’ve apparently run out of RAW shows to review again, so we might as well just say fuck it and go back to WCW for a while. I was going to repost this one from years ago, but have you READ IT? UGH. So here’s a fresh version. Although I was drifting back to WCW at this point, I wasn’t dropping the $30 on this show. That’s, like, 20 weeks worth of instant noodles and hot dogs. Live from Nashville, TN Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan & Dusty Rhodes Chris Benoit v. Jushin Liger So this WCW v. New Japan as a concept, which might have been one of the worst-promoted PPV concepts ever, as none of the Japanese guys got any screen time leading up to the show and they barely even announced the lineup out of the triangle main event. Also, why didn’t they bring in Muta for this? He was always good to pop the crowd and probably could have had a cool match with Johnny B. Badd or something. Tony notes that Liger and Benoit know each quite well, which is a massive understatement. Benoit takes him down a couple of times to start, but Liger sends him running with armdrags and follows with a baseball slide and somersault off the apron. Back in, Liger hits him with a koppo kick, but walks into a backbreaker that gets two. Liger reverses out of a powerbomb and dropkicks Benoit out again, but can’t get his dive this time. Benoit with a snap suplex and a backdrop suplex to take over, and he follows with a Liontamer. Dusty goes on an epic soliloquy about whether the current Horsemen are better than the 80s Horsemen and even Tony gives up trying to translate Dusty into English after that. Benoit with a german suplex for two, but Liger takes him down for a bow and arrow and Dusty is INTO IT. It’s an unclin’ situation, Tony! Liger with a rear chinlock but Benoit escapes with an electric chair and they fight over a tombstone. Liger gets that one and goes up, but Benoit brings him down with a superplex for two. Diving headbutt misses and Liger hits him with the rolling kick in the corner and follows with a Ligerbomb for two. Brainbuster gets two. Liger gets cocky and Benoit comes back with the rolling germans, but only two. Powerbomb and he goes up with the diving headbutt, but Kevin Sullivan comes out to cause trouble, leading to Liger getting a sloppy rana for the pin at 10:30. Japan 1, WCW 0. So this was quite the opener. ****1/4 Would have been higher with a better finish, but as it was, the suplex-crazy offense was tremendous stuff. Koji Kanemoto v. Alex Wright Koji is an awesome dick heel so this should be an easy transition for him. Koji goes to work on the knee, but Wright gets an enzuigiri and they trade wristlocks. Wright with a headscissor takedown and they fight to the floor, where Wright hits him with a dive. Back in, Wright goes to the chinlock, but Koji throws chops in the corner and then LEVELS him with a spinkick. Wrights gets hung in the corner and Koji dropkicks him there, putting Wright on the floor. Kanemoto follows with a dive, but Wright fights back on the floor like a MAN. Back in, Koji wraps him up in a tiger suplex for two and follows with a moonsault, but he doesn’t want the pin. Wright comes back with a german suplex for two and fights back with a leg lariat and goes up with a slingshot splash for two, but a missile dropkick goes badly for him and both guys are out. Wright with a crossbody for two, but Koji escapes the german suplex and kicks him down into a moonsault for two. Back up and this time Wright blocks the missile dropkick, then pops up and hits his own. They fight to the top and Wright gets a superplex for two, but Koji drops him with Snake Eyes and rolls him up for the pin at 11:44. Another great match! Wright was the plucky kid way out of his league who decided to man up and keep fighting, but just couldn’t finish. Koji was on another level as a worker at this point, doing all these vicious kicks perfectly. Japan 2, WCW 0. **** Lex Luger v. Masa Chono I don’t sense this will be very good. Luger overpowers Chono, but gets put down with forearms and a big boot. Chono chokes him out in the corner and goes to a chinlock, then puts Luger down with a Scorpion deathdrop and into the STF. Luger makes the ropes and they slug it out, but Chono puts him down with a Yazuka kick. Chono goes up and lands on Luger’s elbow, and the Torture Rack finishes at 6:40. Japan 2, WCW 1. *1/2 Total style clash here. Johnny B. Badd v. Masa Saito Saito is looking particularly old and grizzled at this point. So someone had the brilliant idea of giving Kimberly promo time before the match and talking is not her strong suit. To say the least. It’s like the world’s worst “yo mama” battle or something, which probably explains why she almost never talked again. Saito takes Badd down and goes to a chinlock, and then they slug it out with chops because Saito is 53 (!!) and obviously isn’t taking any bumps here. Saito with a side suplex for two and a clothesline gets two. Sonny Onoo gets some choking in and Saito gets a Russian legsweep for two, but Badd comes back with a double axehandle and a sunset flip for two. Saito no-sells the knockout punches and Badd stands around waiting for Onoo to hit his cue, and Saito throws Badd over the top for the DQ at 6:00. Why did they drag Saito out of mothballs for this embarrassment? DUD Japan 2, WCW 2. Eddie Guerrero v. Shinjiro Ohtani This would be the “pivotable” match in the tournament, according to Dusty. Ohtani takes him down with an armdrag and immediately acts like a dick, clawing at the face just because. Eddie hits him with a low dropkick, but Ohtani goes to the leg and controls on the mat again. Eddie fights out with a rana to put him on the floor and Ohtani gets some advice from Sonny Onoo. That advice? Fuck if I know, I don’t speak Japanese. Back in, Eddie with a slingshot senton and a Boston crab, but Ohtani makes the ropes. Eddie with a powerbomb for two. Brainbuster gets two. Eddie charges and Ohtani slickly ducks out of the way, then dumps Eddie and follows with a springboard dive to the floor. Back in, dropkick and Ohtani chokes him down on the mat and follows with a sleeper, but Eddie escapes with a backdrop suplex for two. Ohtani snaps off a german suplex for two and it’s pretty badass. Springboard leg lariat and Ohtani goes up, but Eddie follows him up with a rana for two. Eddie with Splash Mountain for two. Ohtani suddenly wraps him up with a heel hook, but Eddie makes the ropes. They fight to the floor and Eddie follows with some insane hangtime on a springboard dive. Ohtani manages to suplex him back in and follows with a springboard dropkick. That’s usually his setup, but Eddie escapes the suplex and they trade sunset flip reversals until Ohtani ends up on top for the pin at 13:30. They were letting it all hang out here. **** Japan 3, WCW 2. Randy Savage v. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (spelled “Tensan” here) Tenzan, who today is 44 and totally broken down, is still kicking around New Japan as a kind-of top guy still. He had not yet met hetero life partner Satoshi Kojima yet, sadly. They fight for the lockup and Tenzan chops him down and pounds away for two. Tenzan chokes him down in the corner and it’s punch punch punch as Savage has little interest in doing anything but selling tonight. More punching and Savage bails to the floor, but Tenzan beats on him out there as well. Back in, Tenzan with the flying headbutt for two, but Savage comes back, drops him on the top, and finishes with the miracle elbow at 6:50. This was pretty embarrassing even by Savage’s low standards at this point. Japan 3, WCW 3. ¼* World Cup Final: Sting v. Kensuke Sasaki Just to troll the Sting truthers a bit more, Sasaki was voted into the WON Hall of Fame last year, and Sting still isn’t in. Sting, it should be noted, has his face painted like a Reese’s Pieces. Could this signify a secret alliance with ET? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT! Sasaki attacks and chokes him out, but Sting fights back with a dropkick and clotheslines him to the floor. Back in, Sasaki gets a powerslam and Northern Lights Bomb and grabs an armbar on Sting. Armdrag into a slam gets two. Sasaki gets his own Scorpion deathlock, but Sting makes the ropes and comes back with an enzuigiri before finishing with his own Scorpion at 6:51 to win the World Cup. That’s it, put him in the Hall of Fame right now! This was OK. ** Oddly, Sasaki dropped the US title to One Man Gang in a dark match at the end of the night while working as a babyface, in a match where Gang got the win and then the match was restarted and Sasaki got the win. But apparently they only used the Gang portion. Because WCW. Triangle match: Ric Flair v. Sting v. Lex Luger Winner gets Randy Savage for the title immediately after. We actually have an hour left in the show so there’s some time to burn here. This is slightly different than current three-way rules, as one guy has to be on the apron and tag in. Sting starts with Flair and gets the press slam and clothesline for two, but Flair immediately bails. Back in, he works on the hammerlock and slugs away on Sting, but Sting no-sells and starts beating on him again. Bulldog sends Flair out of the ring again and this time Sting follows and keeps up the beating. Back in, he misses a dropkick and Flair takes over. Dusty goes on a crazy old man rant about playing possum while Flair trolls Luger and tosses Sting for some abuse on the floor. Back in, kneedrop gets two. Suplex, but Sting pops up again and we get another press slam to set up a superplex for two. Neat moment as Luger comes in to save and the crowd goes “ooooooo” but the buddies smooth things over. Luger finally tags in against Flair, but quickly gets hit with a cheapshot and no-sells that. Poor Flair gets pressed again and we get a Flair Flop for two. Flair goes to the knee, however, and goes to work on that. Flair goes low (“He must have lost his balance…” notes Heenan) and gets the figure-four, but Luger uses the power of his pecs to reverse the move. Suplex gets two. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, and Luger no-sells his chops and decides to tag out to Sting. So we get the long-awaited Sting v. Luger showdown. They fight over a lockup and exchange shots in the corner, as Luger suddenly goes heel again and begs off. Lex pounds him in the corner and gets a clothesline, but Sting comes back with a bodypress for two. Man, this segment is just DYING. Pretty shocking lack of heat for something that was supposed to be the top program. Sting misses a pump splash and Luger drops an elbow for two. Sting slugs back and gets the Scorpion, but Luger goes low about as blatantly as possible. Sting gets a small package for two and a sunset flip for two, and makes the comeback with a bulldog and Stinger splash. A second one misses and Luger gets the Rack, but the ref is bumped and Flair sneaks in with a chop block to break it up. Both Sting and Luger land on the floor, and the ref revives and counts them out at 28:00. What a shit finish that was. Sting-Flair was entertaining, Luger-Flair was entertaining, and Sting-Luger was shit and killed the crowd. Man, what a terrible finish, though. **1/2 WCW World title: Randy Savage v. Ric Flair Savage beats on Flair to start as Paul Orndorff joins us at ringside in a neck brace for an angle that ended up going nowhere. Flair with an atomic drop on Savage, but he can’t get the figure-four, and Savage dumps him and follows with the double axehandle. Flair nails him on the way down, however, and takes over in the ring by working on the giant bandaged arm. You’d think people would take that low-hanging fruit more often in 1995. Savage fights back, but walks into a sleeper before slugging Flair down for two. Clothesline gets two. Savage goes up and gets caught coming down again, and Jimmy Hart’s megaphone gets involved, resulting in Savage nailing Flair with it and tapping a gusher. Big elbow, but the ref is still with Jimmy Hart, and the Horsemen run in behind the idiot ref’s back, leaving Arn to nail Savage with brass knuckles six inches from the ref’s head, and Flair wins the title again at 8:40. *1/2 This would kick off the era of women’s shoes as deadly weapons, but we’ll get to that later on Nitro. The Pulse Although the main event didn’t deliver, the World Cup gave us an astonishing 3 **** matches, so you can’t complain very loudly about that. I still think World War III was an overall better show from an entertainment standpoint, but this was a better wrestling show. Recommended.

Survivor Series 1995

Scott

Random question on the wild card match of Survivor Series in 1995…

What was the deal with that match? Was there a shortage of faces? Not the first or last time that foes had to co-exist but just seems a weird mix?

Were there plans after this match that didn't happen? As far as I know the heels in this match stayed heels and the same goes for the faces…

Thanks as always! 
​It was just a thing they were doing to try something different, based off similar deals in lucha libre.  Nothing more to it than that.  ​

Starrcade 1995



What was the mindset with the World Cup of Wrestling card at Starrcade 1995? Only two matches with storyline implications. Everything just feels so random. Just seems so odd, especially at the dawn of the Monday Night Wars.


Thanks

​Well the deal was negotiated with New Japan months before, even before Nitro launched, and it was basically a money thing as far as I know.  That's also why Sasaki ended up with the US title.  I will also be redoing Starrcade 95 now that I'm back from my conference before getting back into Nitro again.  ​

Repost: The SmarK Rant for WCW World War III 1995

The SK Retro Rant for WCW World War III 1995 (This was originally done around 2001.)  – For those of you who follow my little personal asides in these rants, you’ll know that this was actually the show that ended my WCW boycott in 1995. I had actually stopped watching WCW entirely once the Orange Goblin won the WCW World title and killed Ric Flair’s career dead in the process, and after almost 18 months of waiting, Hogan finally lost it and WCW, probably not coincidentally, put together a card that looked good enough on paper for me to part with my $29.95 and come back into the fold. – Live from Norfolk, VA – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan. – Okay, so the Hogan Retardation Factor kicks in right away, as Hogan, Savage and Sting come out with a garbage pail and Hogan’s “dark side” black costume (not to confused with his nWo black costume, which would come later), and burn the costume. Hogan was only fooling, you see, and was playing mindgames to lull Kevin Sullivan into a sense of security. (Now there’s a Vince Russo motif if we’ve ever heard one.)  Then we pump up the surrealness as Hogan declares that Savage’s crippling arm injury was just another plan on their part, and THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH IT. Keep this in mind later, and also note that Savage has a HUGE bandage wrapped around his arm while giving this speech. Finally, Hogan finishes with a flurry by burning a copy of the Observer and calling it a “rag sheet”, noting that it said Giant would win the title tonight and Savage was injured, and that it’s the internet that really has the scoop on things. (In fact, Meltzer never wrote anything about the Giant winning in the issue he was burning, as Dave’s guess was either Sting or Savage.  Maybe Hogan got it from PWInsider and just assumed Meltzer wrote it? )  No, honestly, this interview really happened, just like that. You know, I almost miss the days of Hogan being on top, just for the yuks involved in listening to him distort the truth for his own means.  (Yeah, well, more of that was coming.)  – Opening match, TV title: Johnny B. Badd v. Diamond Dallas Page. DDP put Kimberly on the line here in exchange for the title match, as they were having domestic problems in the storyline. Badd and DDP do a shoving match and hairpulling bit to start, and roll out onto the floor. Back in, Badd crossbody is reversed by DDP for two. Badd gets a samoan drop for two, and he works a headlock. Page rolls him over for a few two-counts. They fight over a wristlock and DDP cheats to win. He works the arm, but Badd pulls the hair to break. DDP charges and misses, ending up on the floor. Badd fakes a highspot and then follows with a pescado. Page then tosses Kim at Badd to gain the advantage in an innovative spot. I’m surprised Savage didn’t do that one more. Back in, DDP gets a backdrop suplex out of the corner and stomps away. He gets a tombstone and showboats, but Kimberly no-sells and won’t give him a 10. Kimberly’s job was to stand around and hold up scores for DDP at this point, in case you don’t know. Badd catches his foot, but DDP clotheslines him for two. DDP keeps jawing with Kim, leading to him missing a blind charge. Badd then sidesteps a kick, which is a cute spot that looked better than it sounds. Badd makes a comeback, getting an inverted atomic drop and lariat. Kim gives Johnny a “10+”, which I’m sure isn’t Olympic standard. Ligerbomb gets two for Badd. Blind charge misses and DDP uses the ropes for two. He gets a sideslam for two, but Badd rolls him over for two. Flying headscissors and Badd goes up, but DDP lifts the knees to block the splash. DDP works on the ribs with a gutbuster for two, although the move actually looked like a blown rotation bomb. Tombstone is reversed, for two. KO punch puts DDP on the floor, and Badd follows with a somersault plancha, then tosses Page back in and finishes with a slingshot legdrop for the pin at 12:33, giving him the services of Kimberly, which he retained until his firing in 1996. DDP absolutely worked his ass off from 95-98 or so in an effort to get himself over, and the sequence of near-falls to end this thing were great. ***1/2 – Big Bubba Rogers v. Hacksaw Duggan. This is taped-fist match under knockout rules. Tony and Bobby spend the first part of the match relaying, in a completely serious tone of voice, a story about how Jim Duggan’s grandmother was a taped-fist champion in Ireland. I can’t parody stuff like that, kids. Duggan attacks outside to start, and into the ring where he threatens to use the 2×4, only to get cheapshotted. Duggan clotheslines him out, however, and they retreat to Ring #2 for some reason. Duggan jams his head in between two of the ringposts in an innovative spot, then comes off the apron and gets sent to the STEEL railing. Stallamania X7 results. Back in, Bubba does some choking. Slugfest leads to Bubba’s enzuigiri. Bubba adds some more tape to his fists, but Duggan punches him to the floor. Bubba, however, actually takes the advice Bobby Heenan has been giving all match and tapes Duggan to the top rope, allowing him a bunch of free shots. In one of the most retarded spots I’ve ever seen, Bubba charges at him, but Duggan HOLDS OUT HIS FIST and Bubba runs into it, and gets knocked down.  (“Yeah, well, I’m gonna hold out my fist like this, and if you run into it, then it’s your own fault!”)  It’s hard to truly comprehend this unless you keep in mind how slow Bubba runs and that Duggan wasn’t looking while holding out his fist. Bubba charges again and gets backdropped out, slamming his back into the apron in the process. Good one, Ray. Back in, Duggan hits the three-point stance clothesline, but VK Wallstreet sneaks in and gives Bubba a chain, which he uses to knock Duggan out for the win at 10:08. About what you’d expect from Duggan v. Bubba. ½* – Cutie Suzuki & Mayumi Ozaki v. Bull Nakano & Akira Hokuto. I have no idea why they decided to toss this on here, but god bless ‘em for it. Sonny Onoo is managing the heels, just so we know that they’re evil. Heels attack to start, and they clobber Ozaki. Bull tosses Ozaki around the ring, and Hokuto teases allowing a tag. Bull does some biting and brutally drags Ozaki around the ring by the hair like a caveman. Ozaki comes back but Bull no-sells. Hokuto chokes her out, but gets DDT’d to allow a tag to Suzuki. Dropkick gets two as the faces apply stereo half-crabs. They work on Akira’s leg. Bull comes in and quickly powerbombs Suzuki. Moonsault misses and the faces take turns with double stomps off the top, which the crowd pops huge for. Double-suplex attempt on Bull is reversed, as Nakano suplexes both at once. Hokuto comes off the top but misses the splash. The faces try to double-superplex her, but Nakano pulls them down off the top. Nakano & Hokuto go for stereo powerbombs, but they get reversed to stereo ranas for a pair of two counts. Suzuki gets a flying bodypress on Hokuto for two. Hokuto hits a nasty half-nelson suplex for two, but Ozaki comes back and drops her square on her head with a german suplex. Good lord. Bull tags in and kills Ozaki in retaliation. Hokuto comes off the top with a missile dropkick on both girls at once and they bail. Hokuto follows them out with a somersault tope off the top rope, and back inside the heels hit a Doomsday Device that gets two. Bull goes up and finishes Ozaki with a guillotine legdrop at 9:18. Slow start with a REAL good finish. ***1/4 (I think that’s low, actually.  I remember it being more like ****.)  They never really got another shot on PPV again, however. – US title match: Kensuke Sasaki v. Chris Benoit. I’ve never been a big Sasaki fan, and his position in Japan at the time as Hawk’s partner didn’t help things. And check the mullet on Benoit here. Attaboy. Benoit starts with some Canadian Violence right away, but Sasaki gets his own chops. He tries the armbar, but Benoit takes him down and works a hammerlock. Sasaki backdrops out and grabs a wristlock. Two bodyslams get a two count. We HIT THE CHINLOCK, leading to a leapfrog sequence and Sasaki press slam. Benoit manages to get him out of the ring and follows with a suicide dive. Back in, snap suplex gets two. Sasaki gets a powerslam for two. Benoit tries to debut the rolling germans, but Sasaki clotheslines him after the second one. (He actually debuted them on that episode of Nitro I just reviewed where they had their first match, so that’s actually a nice touch to show how Sasaki was learning.)  Tombstone is reversed and Benoit hits the diving headbutt for two. More Canadian Violence and a top rope rana gets two. Sasaki stops a slugfest with something resembling a chokeslam and goes for an armbar. Benoit clotheslines him, but Sasaki no-sells, hits a Northern Lights Bomb, and gets the pin to retain at 10:02. Nothing special at all. *1/2 (That sounds way low, too.)  – Randy Savage v. Lex Luger. Now remember, at the beginning of the show Hogan said that Savage did not have an arm injury, and he’s at 100%. Heenan immediately takes umbrage to that claim by pointing out the gigantic bandage on Savage’s arm, and Tony actually tries to argue that Savage is okay. Savage attacks to start and chokes Luger down. Blind charge hits boot, but Savage clotheslines Luger anyway. Into a Boston Crab, but Lex makes the ropes. They brawl on the floor and back in for the ELBOWDROP OF DOOM, but the ref is distracted with Jimmy Hart. Savage tosses Luger and they brawl some more. Luger catches Savage with a torture rack for some bizarre reason, and back in for an armbar, to Savage’s heavily bandaged arm, which gets a very quick submission at 5:25. Yeah, that’s arm’s just fine. In fact, Savage DID have a torn tricep muscle, so ignore the funny looking orange person with the male pattern baldness. DUD – Sting v. Ric Flair. This is the blowoff from Halloween Havoc and the Horsemen reformation. Slugfest to start, and Flair bails to Ring #2 and struts. Sting follows and continues the beating. Press slam, but Flair goes to the eyes. He chops away and does some stylin’ and/or profilin’. Sting clotheslines him to end that. Hiptoss and dropkick and Flair bails to Ring #3, thus making it a running gag. Sting follows and no-sells some chops. Slugfest won by Sting, and Flair bails again. He takes a walk, and back in Sting keeps no-selling. Press-slam and Flair bails AGAIN, back to Ring #1. Sting charges and splashes the railing by mistake. Back in, Flair goes low in dramatic fashion to gain the advantage. Kneedrop leads to more stalling. He goes after the leg and tosses Sting, and they head over to Ring #3 just to pound the joke into the ground. Figure-four, but Sting powers out and reverses. Backslide gets two. Flair bails to Ring #1 and Sting presses and clotheslines him. Flair cheats and goes upstairs, but gets slammed off as usual. Flair Flip and back in for the Sting comeback. Superplex and Scorpion Deathlock finish at 14:29. This was good in comparison to lots of other matches at the time, but not in comparison to the other, more awesome, matches these two have had. In fact, it was more like a Cliff’s Notes version of Sting v. Flair with some comedy tossed in. Still, Sting v. Flair is never too shabby. *** (Again, that’s low.  It was **** all day.)  WCW World title match, World War III: Okay, take a deep breath, because here’s the 60 guys in the match: Arn Anderson, Alex Wright, Brian Knobbs, Ricky Santana, David Taylor, Scott Armstrong, Sting, Joey Maggs, Pez Whatley, Disco Inferno, Meng, Stevie Ray, Mark Starr, Buddy Lee Parker, James Earl Wright, Lex Luger, Eddy Guerrero, Cobra, The Giant, Paul Orndorff, Khris Kanyon, Bobby Walker, Bobby Eaton, Chris Benoit, Randy Savage, Marcus Bagwell, The Yeti, Kurosawa, Hugh Morrus, Zodiac Man, VK Wallstreet, DDP, Scott Norton, Brian Pillman, Craig Pittman, One Man Gang, Super Assassin #1, Mr. JL, Bunkhouse Buck, Kensuke Sasaki, Mike Winner, Hawk, Shark, Steve Armstrong, David Sullivan, Scotty Riggs, Johnny B. Badd, Black Bart, Steven Regal, Dick Slater, Maxx Muscle, Super Assassin #2, Fidel Sierra, Kevin Sullivan, Jerry Saggs, Jim Duggan, Booker T, Big Bubba, Ric Flair and The Orange Goblin. – Okay, so 20 men per ring, and after 10 guys are out in each the rings will merge into one. Until then, they split the screen into three small squares with each ring covered by one of them. The end result is that it’s absolutely impossible to tell what the hell is going on at any one point, a problem compounded by WCW’s usual shitty camera work, and I’m pretty much dependant on the announcers to follow who gets eliminated, and even then that’s a problem given the announce team. Believe me, this match brings new meaning to the term “Three ring circus”. I’m not even gonna bother doing play-by-play because I have no idea what’s going on, but the order of elimination of jobbers goes Yeti, Mike Winner, Mark Starr, Buddy Lee, James Earl, Cobra, Bagwell, Kanyon, Black Bart, Maxx Muscle, Fidel Sierra, Steve Armstrong, Dave Sullivan, Mr. JL, Knobbs, Santana, Alex Wright, Pez Whatley, Scotty Riggs, Bobby Eaton, Dick Slater, VK Wallstreet and Scott Norton and apparently 23 guys is good enough for WCW because they merge the rings into one. Unless I missed 7 guys getting eliminated, which is very much possible given the amateur quality of this match. – Okay, so we’re down to one regular battle royale with all the jobbers out, thus making me wonder what the point of having them all in there in the first place was. Well, that’s WCW for you. One Man Gang and Regal fight on the floor as Joey Maggs gets to go first. Bubba goes out by Duggan’s hand, but hangs on and takes Duggan with him. Disco gets tossed. Luger hangs out on the floor and takes cheapshots now and then. Dave Taylor gets tossed by Hogan. Hogan then puts both Booker and Saggs out, as well as Kevin Sullivan. Savage & Luger head off to another ring for a private fight as Regal gets tossed out. DDP & Badd eliminate each other as Giant goes on a rampage, tossing Pittman and Benoit. Meng gets rid of Kurosawa, but Giant gets rid of him. Giant tosses some people around as Hogan and Orndorff renew their battle. Morrus and Pillman get rid of Zodiac, but Sasaki dumps Morrus. Hawk then dumps Pillman, who hangs onto Sasaki as Hawk tries to keep him in. Hogan of course sneaks up and dumps everyone. What a guy that Hogan is, always thinking of others first. Sting splashes Eddy as Hogan reverses an Orndorff piledriver and, you guessed it, eliminates him. 9 guys left. Eddy goes up with a missile dropkick on Anderson, but the Horsemen come back and work him over. Eddy gets dumped, missed by the camera. Sting splashes the Horsemen in sequence as Giant chokeslams Savage. Sting slingshots AA into Flair, putting both Horsemen out. 6 guys left. Sting & Luger double-team Giant, but Hogan…wait for it…dumps all three guys out. Giant, the scoundrel, pulls Hogan out under the bottom rope while the camera totally misses Savage tossing Gang. However, the refs were looking at Savage taking Gang out, and they assume Hogan went over the top, thus giving Savage the World title at 29:42. I don’t rate battle royales. Hogan, sportsman of the year, throws a huge temper tantrum and won’t endorse Savage, and the arena just completely turns on him ala Royal Rumble 92. Hulk Hogan, hero to millions. The Bottom Line: Aside from the god-awful main event abortion of a battle royale (which they considered such a good idea that they ran it for THREE MORE YEARS), this is a pretty decent show that started a good run for WCW. Of course, all the good workers that caused it got buried during the nWo era, but that’s WCW for ya. Recommended show. (It’s a HELL of a show, probably the best of 1995 up and down the card.) 

WCW 1995

What do you think of the other things that happened later in 1995?  As stupid as the dungeon of doom stuff was with Hogan “entering it” and all, I always thought the stuff from the fall really took the prize.  For example:  ·        The Yeti ·        Not being able to verify the WW3 winner because the tape cut out? (this may be the dumbest thing they pulled) ·        The monster truck fight from the roof   I don’t think these things get their due in the history books as some of the other bad ideas (shockmaster, underfaker, Cheatum, etc) that are often talked about.  I have to admit though, sometimes it’s fun to rewatch the stuff that’s really bad from wrestling –  especially since they were trying to get all this stuff over for real. 

Well, all those things were stupid, but WCW was at least making money (or not losing horrendous amounts for once) so they get a bit of leeway, I think.  And come on, who doesn't love a good monster truck fight to the death?  

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1995 WWF as told by Kevin Nash, Disc Two

This disc runs at one hour and thirty-two minutes long

JUNE




Skip (Chris Candido) makes his debut, defeating Scott Taylor during an episode of “Superstars.” Sean asks Nash about him, who said he never spent much time with him but that he took one hell of a powerbomb. Nash said that Waltman put him over for his work. Sean reminds Nash that Waltman told the story on his “YouShoot” DVD of Sunny wearing a mohair sweater with Shawn coming out of her room with it all over his face as Nash says that was his story to tell. Sean then asks if Chris knew about Sunny and Shawn as Nash said he heard many stories about Sunny. Sean asks if Sunny ever came on to him and he said no. When Sean asked why, Nash said because he wasn’t a prick, implying that was the type of guy Sunny was into.

Nash introduces Antonio Rocca into the “WWE Hall of Fame.” He was chosen because he was the champ. sean asks about the early days of the HOF as Nash said that Andre was the only guy in it for a few years, joking that it was the “Wall of Fame” as all it contained was a plaque of Andre on the wall inside of Titan Towers. They talk about the HOF today as Nash said he wouldn’t want to go up and make a speech. Sean asks him how he and the ohter wrestlers feel about the legitimacy of the HOF, as Nash said that he cant believe how guys like Rick Rude are not in but Koko B. Ware is then says that he would decline the opportunity if he got the call until guys like Rude get nominated.

Mabel defeats Savio Vega to win the “King of the Ring” Tournament. Nash joked that Mabel won as Vince wanted to go back to guys with good bodies. Nash then compares the rapping from Men on a Mission to guys using blackface. Nash liked the group but couldn’t believe that the best rapper the WWE could find then was Oscar.

JULY




On July 8th, Vince McMahon announced that President Jack Tunney had stepped down and was replaced by Gorilla Monsoon. In reality, the WWE was shutting down their offices in Toronto in a cost-cutting move. Nash calls Tunney a “fucking crook” and said that his friend, Billy Red Lyons, would always have a new Cadillac whenever they went to Toronto. Nash said the payoffs were shit and that after the conversion rate, it seemed like you owed the company money. Nash did put over the atmosphere in the Maple Leaf Garden. On the subject of Gorilla, Nash said he was a great guy and would no-sell everything bad that happened to him while maintaining an upbeat attitude.

Nash tells a story of when he was told that he was dropping the belt to Shawn. Vince took him to the sound studio, with Jim Ross off on the side looking through the glass to see if Nash would go off. Anyway, Vince spends 35 minutes pitching an idea to Nash about fighting Mike Tyson in Central Park for charity, then at the end, casually dropped that the was going to drop the belt. Nash said that he couldn’t believe that Vince, who owned the company, made up a bullshit story to soften the blow about him losing the belt. Nash said he wasn’t pissed about the story, stating that Vince has to deal with a lot of bullshit anyway, but felt that he was close enough for Vince to be honest with him and just say that business was down and he wasn’t drawing with the belt.

Next, is when Jeff Jarrett and the Roadie quit the company after Jeff lost the Intercontinental Title to Shawn at the second “In Your House” PPV. Nash said that Jeff got along with everyone and that when the Kliq were split up on the road, Jeff would ride with them. Nash then talks about how as champ, he had to work house shows with Backlund and then King Kong Bundy. He then talks about his last run and how they put him in a ladder match, which was probably the last match anyone would ever want to see him wrestle. Nash then says that it is a business and if you are not a mark, they cannot fuck with you. From this, he brings up the “Fingerpoke of Doom” and how people bitched at him for beating Goldberg, saying he was more over than him, then sarcastically points out how how he put himself over just to hold the belt for twenty-four hours. Nash then asks for someone to try to find a time in which he gloated about ending Goldberg’s streak. Nash then brings up how the crowds were chanting “Goldberg sucks” and they had to pipe in the Goldberg stuff. He then talks about the show in Salisbury, MD and how he told them that this was a WWF town and that they would be cheering for him and Hall, which they did, and Hall went with the crowd.

On July 24th, the Dark Match before RAW, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels teamed up for the first time to face the Blu Brothers. Nash is asked if they friendly here and Nash said no, that they never were. Nash said they had a mutual respect then and that there was a running joke that Shawn said he was better than him. Nash himself admits that Shawn was the best he ever wrestled. Sean then asks Nash what Shawn would tell him about Bret. Nash tells a story of how he was having difficulty with Bret, after the whole powerbomb deal at the “In Your House,” and that he was with Shawn and told him that he was not going to drop the belt to Bret. Shawn, who was pissed, told him he had to drop the belt to him because he was going to get it next. Nash points out it was the only fight that the every had. This was prior to the Kliq meeting with Vince in Indianapolis.

AUGUST




“WrestleMania: The Arcade Game” is released. Nash is the champion but did not make the game. Sean brings up how Doink was in the game then also mentions how Matt Borne said on one of the Kayfabe Commentary releases that Nash should have never been broken into the business. Nash responds in a hilarious manner by how devastated he was hearing that come from someone like Borne then jokes about how Borne got the last laugh by making the arcade game. You have to see this for yourself as Nash was a fucking riot explaining all of this.

During a match in Ohio, Sid defeated Razor Ramon and dropped him on the railing, legitimately injuring Hall to the point that he was coughing up blood. Nash is asked if he ever hurt anyone in the ring and he said one time when referee Jack Doan told him he could bump and he threw him out of the ring. Doan went through the ropes like he was Superman and fell on the floor, injuring his wrist. He then said that he was surprised he didnt hurt Big Show and said when he powerbombed him, he was close to 600 lbs. Nash originally suggested that he hit him with a gimmicked pot of coffee then just pin him. Nash said that he was more hurt than him from the move and also claimed that Big Show told him that Hogan went to him afterwards, stating Nash dropped him on his head on purpose.

Next, is the ladder match between Hall and Michaels at SummerSlam. Nash said that since they were going up against not just WCW but also Disney, the office told him that they were not allowed to use the ladder as a weapon. He said they were up to 4am trying to put the match together. Nash also credits HHH for putting together half of the match. Sean tells Nash that Sid was originally supposed to face Michaels in the ladder match and asked if he new what happened. Nash said he didny but can imagine that when they approached him with that, Michaels probably told them they were crazy for wanting him to carry Sid in a ladder match and requested to face Hall. Nash also says that “Crazy Shawn” developed from this match as he injured himself greatly and went nuts with drugs.

Nash then talks about his SummerSlam match with Mabel. He said that going into the match, his back was hurt and he asked Mabel to take it easy on him but he ended up crashing down on his lower back with a sitdown splash. Nash said that Mabel hurt one of the Samoans prior to the match, which is a feat in itself, and that he ended up straining his abdomen. After the match, he asked him “what the fuck” and claimed that Vince gave him his papers on the spot but Nash told Vince not to fire him and that he just made a mistake. Mabel was constantly injuring people at the time and wasn’t around much longer.

They now talk about Tatanka and how he was suspended after a woman named him in an incident. Nash said it was the “Helter Skelter”incident as there was blood smeared all over the walls in the hallway. He then recalls sitting with Taker one time and a goth girl came by after one of the boys “H-Bombed” her and she was with the cops in the lobby the next morning. When asked about the Tatanka incident, Nash carefully says that he thinks it was Jimmy Del Ray who gimmicked the girl and that Tatanka was with him that night and knows for a fact that he did not do anything.

SEPTEMBER




The “B” house shows are eliminated. Nash said that he didn’t cut his pay but it prevented him from going to Erie, PA three times a year. He calls the building a piece of shit and that you couldn’t draw 3,000 people if you were giving money away.

Nash is now asked about the debut of WCW “Monday Nitro.” Nash points out how they were doing it from a mall and that it was such a WCW move. Nash said that he was watching the show with his boys and that the WWF production truck was playing the show. Nash also brings up how before the nWo, WCW was doing monster truck angles and stuff with King Curtis.

Dean Douglas makes his debut. Nash said that it didn’t matter what Douglas did, as he was DOA, due to the fact that he was an “indy guy.” Nash said that he never had heat with him and that he liked Douglas, Sean also brings up his YouShoot and how Shane said he liked Nash when he was alone. Nash liked Douglas for realizing that there was a world outside of wrestling and calls him smart. Nash then said when Waltman gave him the thumbs down after the match, it was the end.

On September 25th, RAW and Nitro are on live at the same time. Clearance Mason debuted and Nash said he wasn’t a real attorney. When asked about the race angle, Nash said that you have to commit 100% if you want to work and compares to how they approached the situation to being “half pregnant.”

Marty Jannetty returned on the same episode. Nash said that Marty and Shawn were definitely distant and compares it to a guy meeting his ex-wife at a party after several years. Nash also says it was an uncomfortable situation and that he never brought it up with Shawn.

OCTOBER




On October 4th, the WWF began a tour of Europe in England and on this date, the incident in which Man Mountain Rock brought his video camera and recorded what went on backstage and on the bus. Nash confirms that this happened and that you could actually hear him in the background on one clip but that he never rode with them.

On October 8th, the Harris Twins confronted Shawn Michaels. Nash said that Shawn legit needed a bodyguard as he wouldnt back down. Nash said that he likes the Harris Brothers and when he came back, they told him what happened. Nash said while he didnt want anyone beating on his friend, Shawn got over the incident so Nash was okay. When asked if he would retaliate if Shawn asked, Nash said yes. He also said that Shawn did deserve what happened to him at times. Sean asks Nash if this is what got them fired and Nash said that at the time, most of the roster was starving and they were letting guys go at the time. Nash brings up how Chief Jay Strongbow told himto never live above your means and to buy the place you live in, because they cannot take that away from you. He also said why buy a new car when you drive a new rental daily and that you do not need 7,000 square feet if you are only there three days in a row at most.

Bill Watts quit on October 13th. Nash calls him a bully and a “fucking dick.” He recalls one time in WCW, Watts told him to bend over and he hit him in the face, after being pissed about how he did in a match. Nash said he no-sold the punch and after three weeks later, Watts was telling him about making him a face a giving a push. He then tells a story of how he was having a dark match with Yokozuna, which was in of the old blue cage. Nash said the guys putting it up struggled and they do the match. Nash said he told Yoko he was going to charge him and to hit a Samoan drop. Nash then told him to drag him in the corner and try the sitdown splash but he was going to grab his leg then go out the cage. The match lasted twenty seconds. Backstage, Watts was pissed and that Nash referenced something Watts told him in WCW about being higher up on the food chain than he was. Nash was pretty damn funny telling the story about Watts.

Up next is when Shawn gets assaulted by several servicemen outside of Club 37 in New York. Nash said that when he read Meltzer’s column of the story and laughs at him calling Waltman a “legitimate tough guy.” Nash jokes that you shouldnt book Shawn without him. Nash says that he was told that Shawn was absolutely bombed and hitting on a girl that belonged to the Marine. He then said Shawn was half-passed out and heard he got assaulted while he was sitting in the car.

Goldust debuted on October 22nd, defeating Marty Jannetty. Nash is asked if the guys were freaked out by this and Hall said that during his feud with Goldust, it was getting tough explaining the show to his kid with the homosexuality involved in the storyline. Nash then jokes how they had to counter the red-hot Dungeon of Doom feud in WCW that was going on at the time by taking a risk.

Dean Douglas gets awarded the Intercontinental Title, then lost it to Razor Ramon. Nash said that Hall would always tell Vince that he was going to go to Japan and would ask Vince for a little more of the merchandise cut and thinks Vince gave him the belt to appease him.

Nash talks about the dirtsheets and how if you were caught having one, you would get crucified by the locker room. He then said that they had no idea about who guys like Ahmed Johnson were or any international stars. Nash then joked about an idea for an Ahmed vignette that featured Karen Black and would recreate a scene from “Mandingo.”

NOVEMBER 




1-2-3 Kid turns heel on Razor Ramon. Nash said at that point, they wanted to work with the guys they wanted to instead of some of the slugs. Nash said he believes Hall gave notice at this point and back then, you needed to give a 90 day written notice.

Nash talks about Mr. Perfect. Nash said he was the man and that he smartened up Hall and Shawn in the AWA.

Bret defeats Nash at Survivor Series to win the Title. Nash said he wanted to have a good match and could have one with Bret. Nash is asked about the announcer’s table spot. He said that he was speaking with Bret on the phone discussing the match and they were basically finishing each other’s sentences going over the match. They got the idea for the cable-tying spot after Owen ribbed Bret after tying him up with a telephone cord. Nash said he told the camera guys to make sure they caught him turning around and swearing. Nash said he got over from the Rumble and wanted to get back to being an ass-kicker. He then talks about after being portrayed as an ass-kicker at the Rumble, they cut his balls off. Nash then goes over all of the shitty gimmicks he had before becoming Diesel.

The following night on RAW, Diesel interrupted a match and cut an interview stating that he was no longer had to be the “corporate puppet” he was as the champion. He said that he watched the movie “Heat” and that DeNiro is the clear-cut heel and Pacino the face and despite being the heel, everyone in the theater wanted DeNiro to go over and from a psychology major point of view, saw that and knew how that was the fucked up part of our society. He then says that Vince will always see the American-flag waving guy as the face. When asked if he watched ECW, Nash said no and that the anti-corporate guy would get over. Sean brings up how it was a precursor to the Stone Cold character and Nash said that Steve is his friend and that he was able to do better with the character. Nash finishes by stating that he doesn’t need validation for being creative or for being successful in wrestling as he can wake up every morning and sip coffee while looking at the ocean and realize that he is doing pretty good.

On the Novembe 25th house show, Shane Douglas and Scott Hall got into a backstage argument due to the Kliq believing Douglas was faking a back injury for a built-in excuse to lose to Hall. Nash said that was not the correct story. He said that Shane was hurt in Europe and HHH had to work twice. So, Nash said that Yokozuna yelled at Dean on the bus, saying that he should have watched the match with HHH to see what Hall needs in the ring then told Douglas that there are no days off and to get out there. Yoko apparently threw in a lot of f-bombs. Nash said that Yoko was a “BSK” guy and adds that the undertaker was going out there with a mask after his face was nearly caved in and he still wrestled.

DECEMBER




At the In Your House PPV, Bret defeated Davey Boy Smith and bled throughout the match at a time when blading was banned in the company. Nash is asked if Bret was going into business for himself and Nash said that he did the same in a cage match with Owen. Nash said it couldnt have been hardway because after a few minutes of bleeding, it swells up and stops.

Nash talks about how Alundra Blayze showed up on Nitro and tossed the WWF Women’s Title in the trash can. Nash jokes that his wife was glad that Alundra was gone and when pressed about the issue, Nash denied that he was ever close with her.

On the December 18th edition of RAW, two factions of wrestlers were in the locker room. The “BSK,” who would wear the initials on their baseball hats. They consisted of the Undertaker, Yokozuna, Fatu, Duke Droese, and Owen Hart. Another group led by the Smoking Gunns, Davey Boy Smith, and Goldust all wore red handkerchiefs. Nash jokes about the red handkerchiefs being over and references the film “Cruising” and how it San Francisco it meant that they wanted to be pissed on.

The “Village Voice” reported that Vince McMahon offered his former assistant, Emily Fineberg, a six-figure sum to take part in a movie about his life that would have Sylvester Stallone play the part of himself.Nash jokes that he would have James Garner play Vince.

On December 30th, Bret Hart defeated Nash in a ladder match. Nash said he liked gimmick matches, as the smoke-and-mirrors helped him out. He then questions why have a cage match if you can’t juice and how it makes no sense. He then brings up his “Hell in a Cell” match with HHH and how it was set up to fuck him. He says that when you leave you can come back but they will book you first then fuck with you later. He then said after that, he told his wife to get the clippers and wanted to shave his head and come back on his terms.

Final Thoughts: Another great disc. Nash is one of the more engaging storytellers you will ever find on a shoot interview. Even though he went off topic a lot, he still entertained whenever he spoke. As far as painting a picture of the year(s) in question, I thought that Bruno Sammartino’s Timeline from 1963-1969 was better in that aspect but you cannot go wrong at all in picking this up. It is lenghty but the time will fly by. I give this one of my highest recommendations.

Also, please vote on which shoot you would like to see reviewed next week. The votes are all very close so click on the link below and see which recap you would like to read on Thursday:

http://poll.pollcode.com/8491198




Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1995 WWF as told by Kevin Nash, Disc One

Disc 2 will be posted tomorrow. 
The length of the first disc was an hour and forty-five minutes


JANUARY

 

Nash is
asked about Jim Ross being named the Executive Producer of RAW and to help out
with the storylines. Nash brings up that Ross broke into the business as a
referee and that Ross became a fan of his by having him on his radio show when
he was in WCW. Ross realized that Nash was funny, Nash saw him as an ally and
it helped him out. Sean asks Nash if Ross was a creative guy. Nash says that he
doesn’t know but he did know what worked and what did not. He then says that
when he became booker himself, no matter how good of an idea you have, if two
guys botch it completely and do not do their jobs, you lose money and get
labeled as a bad booker.

 

Sean brings
up Bob Backlund. Nash puts over his strength and recalls a story during a match
against him in Sacramento in which Backlund called for Nash to perform a sunset
flip. Nash said that he went along with it as Backlund was the heel. When the
match ended and they went backstage, The Undertaker jokingly told Nash that if
he ever saw him do that move ever again, he would put the boots to him in the
middle of the match. Taker said it looked ridiculous as he was way too tall for
the move. Nash is asked about guys calling the match. He says there are guys
like, Steve Regal, who he calls a great hand, but would want to grapple. Nash
said that watching him work that style is like watching paint dry and that he
needs a guy who can move around him. Nash says that Bret Hart could work both
of those styles.

 

Next, they
are asked about William Shatner hosting the January 9th edition
of RAW. Nash says that he and Scott Hall took a picture with him. Nash says
that Shatner caught on after a couple of scotches.

 

Mantaur
debuts on the January 16th edition of RAW. Nash says that he
was a fan of a Moose character in the Sheik’s territory and saw where the
gimmick was coming from. Nash then tells a story that took place during a dark
match when Mantaur took off his mask, Hall slapped him as hard as he could.

 

Kama debuted
on the January 28th edition of Superstars. Nash is asked if the
Kama character was a result of UFC starting out. Nash said that it was not and
a creation of Kama himself, who worked as a bouncer at a strip club in Vegas,
where a lot of UFC fighters hung out.

 

He is asked
about Matt & Jeff Hardy as enhancement talent. Nash said that they used to
call Jeff “Vanilla Ice” but that Scott Hall saw something in them and
would give them a little bit of offense, which would drive Vince McMahon crazy.

 

At the Royal
Rumble, Jeff Jarrett defeated Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Title. Nash
recalls a story that Scott Hall told him about him breaking into the business,
no one wanted to help him out because he was a big, good looking guy and they
were afraid that he would take his spot. Hall wrestled in the AWA and had a
match against Larry Zbyszko. During the day, Larry blew off Hall but during
their match, Larry went ten minutes with him, because he saw something special
in him. Hall told Nash that he never would forget that and wanted to give that
chance to someone else. Nash calls Larry a class act.

 

Nash calls
his match at the Royal Rumble with Bret Hart as his first match of any
importance. He says that going into this match, they had been on the road for
22 straight days. He remembers walking past Lawrence Taylor at 4am at the “Doll
House,” and Taylor was surprised that they hung out that late when they had to
work the next day. Nash then says that back then, they always went into a PPV
hungover, because if you went in feeling miserable, you could maintain focus
easier than if you came in happy.

 

Back to his
Rumble match, Nash talks about how three years prior he was almost out of the
business. He then says that he did not go over on his first PPV, comparing it
to a manager holding him to a 30 pitch count. He said that when he first got
the belt, Vince told him that he wanted him to keep the belt for three years,
stressing the fact that it was Vince who came up with this. He also said that
Shawn Michaels was lobbying for the belt at the time too and with the trial
going on and people getting off of steroids, he was clean the whole time. He
said that one night backstage, Lex Luger told Nash that they were going to give
him a big push and shortly after that, he got the Intercontinental Title.

 

Still on the
Royal Rumble show, Sean asks Nash when he heard about the angle between Bam Bam
Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor. Nash said that back then, the company was much
smaller and said when he came back for his last run, he compared the backstage
atmosphere to an Eagles concert, with tons of buses and guys running around. He
said that back in 1995, there were a few production trucks and guys driving
Chevy Lumina’s. He also said there was no downside guarantee back then and said
he recently looked at his first WWF contract, which said he was guaranteed ten
shots for $150 per appearance. He puts over how Lawrence could keep up with the
craziness of the wrestlers and that was how it worked.

 

He is asked
about the Blu Brothers debuting at the Royal Rumble, which Uncle Zebekiah
(Dutch Mantell) as their manager. Nash recalls meeting Dutch during his first
ever road trip in the business. In the car were Nash, Mantell, Sid, and the
Iron Sheik. Sean asks Nash to talk about this as Nash said that Sheik lit up a
joint as soon as they drove and would always stop and get Heinekens. Nash does
a funny impression of the Sheik. He said that they would go to the gym and
Sheik would have the Persian clubs going wearing a stocking hat, benching 130
lbs. He then looked over at Sid, who was doing an intense workout then at
Dutch, who was in the lobby reading the “USA Today” and at that moment, Nash
realized that these are the people in professional wrestling. Nash then talks
about how when you are starting out and green, you would always feel good after
the show having a few beers listening to the boys swap stories. Sean asks him
about the stories and Nash said that if he had to break into the business like
guys did in Calgary, he would have went home.

 

They now
discuss the Rumble match and if Shawn blew the ending. Nash said they showed
the replay and thinks that he might of. Sean asks him about Pamela Anderson,
who was the guest ring announcer. Nash said that she was nice and they did a
photo shoot in Malibu. He said that Tommy Lee was with her and that her dad was
a nice guy.

 

Sean brings
up a radio interview in which Nash said that he did steroids once in 1986 but
when he signed with the WWF, he knew that they were clean there, unlike when he
was in WCW. Sean asks him about this and Nash said that he was brainwashed at
the time and that it was bad. He said that there would be guys collecting urine
specimens at the Philadelphia Spectrum then when they worked in Hershey the
next day, they would have to produce another sample.

 

 

FEBRUARY

 

Eddie
Gilbert’s death is brought up, as he died on February 18th due
to a heart attack. Nash then uses this to bring up how he looked at pictures
with himself and several other wrestlers from years ago and he is the only one
who is alive. He then talks how he looks back on what he did back then and
doesn’t want to be remembered as a drug abuser when he passes. He says that his
dad passed away at 36 and he did not use any drugs at all. Nash himself says he
doesn’t expect to see 70 years old. He then talks some more about the lifestyle
and how you would have to fly from Boston to Anaheim, the longest flight in the
continental United States, and you better make sure you are ready when the bell
rings and have your gimmicks in your system before the landing gear goes down.
Nash said that you would be lucky to even get a cup of coffee in the arenas,
joking that you couldn’t get coffee in Madison Square Garden if you had a winning
lottery ticket. He said catering then, you had ham sandwiches and if you go
today, it is unbelievable how much that you have.

 

On the
February 20th edition of RAW, Sid returns as the bodyguard of
Shawn Michaels. Nash said that they had to lobby for Vince to bring in Sid due
to his stabbing of Arn Anderson. Nash then claims that they had a meeting with
Vince in the locker room and sold Vince on the idea of bringing in Sid. Nash
recalls how Vince once told Sid that he was going to give him Hogan’s spot as
the top face but Sid declined and wanted to be a heel instead and how Vince
soured on Sid from that situation but told Nash and the others they had to care
for him.

 

Sean asks
Nash about his involvement in the NBA All-Star Weekend. Nash said it was fun
but that there were no more limos left in Vegas to take him around. He then
blames Lisa Wolfe for that, then calls her a bitch and says “fuck you” to her
if she is watching. He then goes on how people from other entities have no idea
how wrestling works. Nash said that she had power and was third in charge and
they all tried to get her gone as soon as possible. He then brings up how Vince
got pissed at him for showing up on “Regis & Kathy Lee” wearing a suit,
instead of his gear and belt. He said they got her to quit after an appearance
at the NFL 50th anniversary, when she got Nash a cheap suit
that was three sizes to big and he refused to go out dressed like that, so they
had to bring in tailors to fix it up. 

 

Nash talks
about Lex Luger. He says that they liked Lex the person but as a wrestler, he
was no good.  He tells a story how backstage at a show, Lex
accidentally knocked over a bunch of equipment. Sean brings up and interview in
which Shawn Michaels knocked Lex for having crappy punches and that he could
only clothesline. Nash calls Shawn passionate and that he was not afraid to
make you look back if you screwed up.

 

Nash is
asked about Chief Jay Strongbow. He said that he helped him out and thought he
did good as an agent. Sean brings up how most people usually have bad things to
say about Strongbow. He then asks Nash if Strongbow was good as an agent and
Nash said that in his matches, he did shit, but the fans never sat on their
hands in his matches and ate everything up. Nash brings up how he once told
Lawler that he was happy to learn from him and Lawler said “fuck you” to him
and that he has been wrestling for 25 years and still learning, so he could
learn on his own. Nash then jokes about the match with him, saying he was sorry
for the “potato.”

 

Next, is the
WrestleMania press conference. Sean asks if the press was snarky to them and
Nash said yes then jokes how they will gush over the Masters Tournament for six
hours, stating they should be sponsored by Ambien.

 

 

 

MARCH

 

On March 12th,
Brian “Crush” Adams was arrested for possession of steroids and unregistered
guns. Sean goes back to the press and Nash said that the WWF was lucky that he
was a mid-carder at the time so it wasn’t that prevalent in the press. Nash
said he was a great guy and had a sense of humor similar to Bob Newhart. He
then talks about how they would go to the gym and said that no matter how many
bad addicition you have, you at least had one by going to the gym.

 

Sean brings
up an in-ring interview with Shawn Michaels conducted by Vince and how Shawn
said that he was “going over” at WrestleMania. Nash said the Kliq was trying to
push the envelope because at that time, every wrestler was based off of an
occupation and how that doesn’t sell tickets. Nash brings up boxing and how
guys fighting against guys will always sell. He says that if Mayweather fights
Pacquiao, no matter how impressive of a card UFC could run against it, everyone
will buy the fight. Nash also brings up the angle in which Owen Hart knocked
out Shawn with a kick, saying that they went over it in the car the night
before and Nash said that he wanted to make it seem as real as possible and
suggested the announcers not say anything so the moment could sink in with the
fans. 

 

Nash talks
about fans, stating that they will always have smarks but that they need to
appeal to other fans. Nash has fun with smarks, joking that he is a darling to
them before making fun of how they will say how a certain PPV was the worst
ever and they will never buy another one, until next month. 

 

 

APRIL

 

At
WrestleMania XI, Diesel retained the belt against Shawn Michaels. He said that
for the first time in five years, his wife saw him wrestle. He said that Linda
McMahon wanted her there as Nash did not, because he didnt want his wife near
the “Pirate Ship.” He also said that he knew Shawn was going to try
to blow him up. Sean asks Nash what they talk about before the match. Nash said
that back then, they only had an hour of TV on RAW and rarely was it a match of
any significance. Also, they would work with each other for a month at house
shows and when they wrestled at a major show, they knew what to do. He also
adds that he watched him from ringside as his bodyguard for several months. He
then said that Shawn was lobbying for the top spot but Nash joked how he was
the biggest guy at the airport and Vince still thinks it is a big man’s sport.
After that, Nash brings up how Shawn took the worst bump off of a powerbomb in
the history of wrestling on purpose. Sean asks why and Nash said why not as
they were both “1099’s” and had to protect their brands. He also adds
that if you cannot fuck with the guys you ride with, then who can you fuck
with? He also denies that there was an incident between Tommy Lee and
Shawn. 

 

Nash is
asked to compare Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Nash said that Bret was born
into wrestling and bought into it as it was real, saying that he wrestled that
way and was genetically engineered to be a wrestler. He also brings up
 how Shawn was suplexing is friends in a pool as a kid and even John Cena
made his own title Belt at age eight. Nash said he was different as he saw it
as a way to make money when he could no longer do his first love,
basketball. 

 

Sean asks
Nash about the match between Bam Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor. Nash said he
and Shawn should have been the main event at Mania, as it was the title match
and you didn’t know what type of match they were going to have. Nash credits
Bam Bam for the match being a success and calls him a great worker, despite the
fact that he was “anti Kliq.” 

 

Nash then
tells a story about how he and Hall found out that Shawn got $60,000 for his
payoff at Survivor Series while they only got $45,000 despite doing most of the
work in the match. Nash then calls J.J. Dillon all pissed off so, according to
Nash, J.J. puts him on hold and tells Vince “They’re fucking talking”
so Vince gets on as Nash does a funny impersonation of him and after their
conversation ended, Nash said that he immediately called his wife and told her
that a package containing $15,000 was arriving to the house and to put it in
the bank. 

 

He also
tells a story of the Kliq meeting with Pat Patterson and Vince McMahon, after
they flew in when the Kliq voiced a lot of complaints, and they hashed it out
and finished by drinking beers at Chili’s. He said that they told HHH to sit in
his room that night, as he was new and didn’t want him to get major heat. When
asked if the meeting took care of their grievances, Nash said they did. 

 

Nash tells a
story of when he knew he was done with the WWF. At the IYH show in Louisville,
Nash was supposed to beat Bret clean with the powerbomb, before the Undertaker interfered, but Bret refused. in
the locker room,  Bret kept saying that it didn’t make him look good so
the Undertaker, who Nash said was generally mild-mannered, got up and told Bret
“Motherfucker, it isn’t always about you.” After the match, Nash said
that he got in the shower then told Hall that he was calling Bischoff. 

 

Next, is the
angle from the April 3rd edition of RAW when Sid ran out and powerbombed Shawn
three times, leaving him out for six weeks. Sean asks Nash if it was legit and
he said no and that Shawn “lost his smile” again at that point. He
calls him a teacher saying he worked nine months with the Summer off, because
business was slow. 

 

Sean asks
Nash about the overseas tour and the flights. Nash said if you fell asleep on
the plane, you were fucked. He recalls a time when Savio Vega cut a little
piece of hair from both Shawn Michael and Scott Hall, who brought Savio into
the company. He asked if they flew first class. They said no and one time, he
flew sitting between Undertaker and Yokozuna. Nash said Yoko would have to take
up two seats. Nash then said they bused through most of Europe and would be
exhausted from that. One day in the locker room, Waltman brought in a full
bottle of Phenobarbitol and no one had a clue as to what they did but Nash saw
they had caffeine and came to the conclusion if they took 4-5 pills, they
should at least feel awake. When asked what they did, Nash said he had no idea
as there was so much stuff in his system. 

 

Hunter
Hearst Helmsley debuted at the end of the month. Nash said that HHH was always
different, he wore slacks and dressed nice while they were wearing fanny packs
and gimmick t-shirts. When HHH worked his first match, Nash said that they all
watched on the monitor and were impressed, then went up to him and asked who he
rode with before saying that he could ride with them. Nash said that you could
immediately tell that he was money. He puts him over for being really
intelligent and for knowing the business. Sean asks him how did he fit in,
seeing as he did not party at all. Nash said they were relieved that someone
clean could drive and that HHH saw it as an opportunity to align himself with
powerful people. 

 

 

MAY

 

The In Your
House PPV starts. Nash said they were branching out at the time, doing stuff on
MTV and Nickelodeon. He also puts over Shane McMahon for pushing it in a more
realistic direction instead of a cartoon. 

 

He is asked
about Sid. Nash thinks that he is a better worker than him but that their
styles are too similar and the match was boring. He says there was no
excitement at all. 

 

Nash hurt is
elbow in a double clothesline spot in a match against Kama. Nash said that he
got up in the middle of night and took a piss and put his arm up and in
tremendous pain. He put on the light and was black and blue all over and even
bleeding out. He then said that he decided to do some incline presses, like an
idiot the next day then went to see Dr. Andrews and was initially told he tore
his triceps and would be out for nine months but was back working in three
weeks. Nash said that he couldnt take time off as he was on top and wasnt going
to get paid at home. Nash recalls talking to Paul Orndorff in WCW, asking him
why he never took time off when he hurt his elbow and Orndorff said that he was
on top working with Hogan and that they were printing money so he didnt want to
miss out. 

 

On May 18th,
WWE had a meeting at Titan Towers with all of the wrestlers in an attempt to
show them how impressive their facilities were. Nash said it turned into a
grievance meeting and recalls how Bam Bam stood up and yelled at Shawn for
traveling on the same bus and cars as Nash, the person he was wrestling , and
how he wasnt protecting the business. Shawn stood up and started to yell and
swear then Nash said that Hall stood up and told Bam Bam that the same cars
following the wrestlers have been traveling around, seeing the same matches for
the past two weeks and that they probably get it by now and getting into same
buses aren’t going to stop them from buying tickets. 

 

Final
Thoughts:
Well, this
was excellent. Nash goes off topic a lot but is such an engaging story teller
that it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Half of the disc was spent on
January and February too. A few of these stories have been told before, from
his other shoot interviews, but if you have not seen a Nash shoot, pick this up
by all means. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Shawn in 1995 Question


Hi Scott.

Got one I was hoping you might be able to shed zsome light on.

If Shawn Michaels never got injured in 95, where does that lesve the IC Title? Obviously, we know the injury led to a chain ending with Goldust getting it at the Rumble…but say Shawn didn't get beat up. Does he carry the titlr all the way to WM, or what?

I hate to shatter your illusions, but Shawn was already gonna drop that belt to Dean Douglas and it was only the very well-timed attack by the marines (Cena?  Dibiase Jr? Miz?) that allowed him to conveniently forfeit it like a hero instead.  Not that I would insinuate Shawn Michaels fabricating an injury in order to avoid losing a title in the ring, but…OK, that's exactly what I'm insinuating.

November PPV Countdown: WCW World War III 1995

The SK Retro Rant for WCW World War III 1995 – For those of you who follow my little personal asides in these rants, you’ll know that this was actually the show that ended my WCW boycott in 1995. I had actually stopped watching WCW entirely once the Orange Goblin won the WCW World title and killed Ric Flair’s career dead in the process, and after almost 18 months of waiting, Hogan finally lost it and WCW, probably not coincidentally, put together a card that looked good enough on paper for me to part with my $29.95 and come back into the fold.  (I miss the days of $30 PPVs.  I’d buy a lot more of them today if they were still that pricepoint.)  – Live from Norfolk, VA – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan. – Okay, so the Hogan Retardation Factor kicks in right away, as Hogan, Savage and Sting come out with a garbage pail and Hogan’s “dark side” black costume (not to confused with his nWo black costume, which would come later), and burn the costume. Hogan was only fooling, you see, and was playing mindgames to lull Kevin Sullivan into a sense of security. (Rumor at the time was that this was a test run of sorts for the Hogan heel turn, but Meltzer talked about this very recently and noted that they literally didn’t know Hogan would agree to the eventual turn until about six weeks before Bash at the Beach.  In Hogan’s mind at this point, he was still 100% babyface.)  Then we pump up the surrealness as Hogan declares that Savage’s crippling arm injury was just another plan on their part, and THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH IT. Keep this in mind later, and also note that Savage has a HUGE bandage wrapped around his arm while giving this speech. Finally, Hogan finishes with a flurry by burning a copy of the Observer and calling it a “rag sheet”, noting that it said Giant would win the title tonight and Savage was injured, and that it’s the internet that really has the scoop on things. (Yeah, the internet!  Take that, Dave Meltzer!)  No, honestly, this interview really happened, just like that. You know, I almost miss the days of Hogan being on top, just for the yuks involved in listening to him distort the truth for his own means. – Opening match, TV title: Johnny B. Badd v. Diamond Dallas Page. DDP put Kimberly on the line here in exchange for the title match, as they were having domestic problems in the storyline. (Which of course led to the Kevin Sullivan Rule in real life.)  Badd and DDP do a shoving match and hairpulling bit to start, and roll out onto the floor. Back in, Badd crossbody is reversed by DDP for two. Badd gets a samoan drop for two, and he works a headlock. Page rolls him over for a few two-counts. They fight over a wristlock and DDP cheats to win. He works the arm, but Badd pulls the hair to break. DDP charges and misses, ending up on the floor. Badd fakes a highspot and then follows with a pescado. Page then tosses Kim at Badd to gain the advantage in an innovative spot. I’m surprised Savage didn’t do that one more. Back in, DDP gets a backdrop suplex out of the corner and stomps away. He gets a tombstone and showboats, but Kimberly no-sells and won’t give him a 10. Kimberly’s job was to stand around and hold up scores for DDP at this point, in case you don’t know. (He should hire someone to hold up yoga poses for him now.)  Badd catches his foot, but DDP clotheslines him for two. DDP keeps jawing with Kim, leading to him missing a blind charge. Badd then sidesteps a kick, which is a cute spot that looked better than it sounds. Badd makes a comeback, getting an inverted atomic drop and lariat. Kim gives Johnny a “10+”, which I’m sure isn’t Olympic standard. (I think Cecil Peoples once tried to give someone that score while judging a UFC fight.)  Ligerbomb gets two for Badd. Blind charge misses and DDP uses the ropes for two. He gets a sideslam for two, but Badd rolls him over for two. Flying headscissors and Badd goes up, but DDP lifts the knees to block the splash. DDP works on the ribs with a gutbuster for two, although the move actually looked like a blown rotation bomb. Tombstone is reversed, for two. KO punch puts DDP on the floor, and Badd follows with a somersault plancha, then tosses Page back in and finishes with a slingshot legdrop for the pin at 12:33, giving him the services of Kimberly, which he retained until his firing in 1996. DDP absolutely worked his ass off from 95-98 or so in an effort to get himself over, and the sequence of near-falls to end this thing were great. ***1/2 – Big Bubba Rogers v. Hacksaw Duggan. This is taped-fist match under knockout rules. Tony and Bobby spend the first part of the match relaying, in a completely serious tone of voice, a story about how Jim Duggan’s grandmother was a taped-fist champion in Ireland. I can’t parody stuff like that, kids. (See also:  JBL’s hilarious asides on Smackdown about Wade Barrett’s father Larry, the famous bare knuckles boxing champion.)  Duggan attacks outside to start, and into the ring where he threatens to use the 2×4, only to get cheapshotted. Duggan clotheslines him out, however, and they retreat to Ring #2 for some reason. Duggan jams his head in between two of the ringposts in an innovative spot, then comes off the apron and gets sent to the STEEL railing. Stallamania X7 results. Back in, Bubba does some choking. Slugfest leads to Bubba’s enzuigiri. Bubba adds some more tape to his fists, but Duggan punches him to the floor. Bubba, however, actually takes the advice Bobby Heenan has been giving all match and tapes Duggan to the top rope, allowing him a bunch of free shots. In one of the most retarded spots I’ve ever seen, Bubba charges at him, but Duggan HOLDS OUT HIS FIST and Bubba runs into it, and gets knocked down. It’s hard to truly comprehend this unless you keep in mind how slow Bubba runs and that Duggan wasn’t looking while holding out his fist. Bubba charges again and gets backdropped out, slamming his back into the apron in the process. Good one, Ray. Back in, Duggan hits the three-point stance clothesline, but VK Wallstreet sneaks in and gives Bubba a chain, which he uses to knock Duggan out for the win at 10:08. About what you’d expect from Duggan v. Bubba. ½* – Cutie Suzuki & Mayumi Ozaki v. Bull Nakano & Akira Hokuto. I have no idea why they decided to toss this on here, but god bless ‘em for it. Sonny Onoo is managing the heels, just so we know that they’re evil. Heels attack to start, and they clobber Ozaki. Bull tosses Ozaki around the ring, and Hokuto teases allowing a tag. Bull does some biting and brutally drags Ozaki around the ring by the hair like a caveman. Ozaki comes back but Bull no-sells. Hokuto chokes her out, but gets DDT’d to allow a tag to Suzuki. Dropkick gets two as the faces apply stereo half-crabs. They work on Akira’s leg. Bull comes in and quickly powerbombs Suzuki. Moonsault misses and the faces take turns with double stomps off the top, which the crowd pops huge for. Double-suplex attempt on Bull is reversed, as Nakano suplexes both at once. Hokuto comes off the top but misses the splash. The faces try to double-superplex her, but Nakano pulls them down off the top. Nakano & Hokuto go for stereo powerbombs, but they get reversed to stereo ranas for a pair of two counts. Suzuki gets a flying bodypress on Hokuto for two. Hokuto hits a nasty half-nelson suplex for two, but Ozaki comes back and drops her square on her head with a german suplex. Good lord. Bull tags in and kills Ozaki in retaliation. Hokuto comes off the top with a missile dropkick on both girls at once and they bail. Hokuto follows them out with a somersault tope off the top rope, and back inside the heels hit a Doomsday Device that gets two. Bull goes up and finishes Ozaki with a guillotine legdrop at 9:18. Slow start with a REAL good finish. ***1/4 They never really got another shot on PPV again, however. – US title match: Kensuke Sasaki v. Chris Benoit. I’ve never been a big Sasaki fan, and his position in Japan at the time as Hawk’s partner didn’t help things. And check the mullet on Benoit here. Attaboy. Benoit starts with some Canadian Violence right away, but Sasaki gets his own chops. He tries the armbar, but Benoit takes him down and works a hammerlock. Sasaki backdrops out and grabs a wristlock. Two bodyslams get a two count. We HIT THE CHINLOCK, leading to a leapfrog sequence and Sasaki press slam. Benoit manages to get him out of the ring and follows with a suicide dive.  (Cough) Back in, snap suplex gets two. Sasaki gets a powerslam for two. Benoit tries to debut the rolling germans, but Sasaki clotheslines him after the second one. Tombstone is reversed and Benoit hits the diving headbutt for two. More Canadian Violence and a top rope rana gets two. Sasaki stops a slugfest with something resembling a chokeslam and goes for an armbar. Benoit clotheslines him, but Sasaki no-sells, hits a Northern Lights Bomb, and gets the pin to retain at 10:02. Nothing special at all. *1/2 – Randy Savage v. Lex Luger. Now remember, at the beginning of the show Hogan said that Savage did not have an arm injury, and he’s at 100%. Heenan immediately takes umbrage to that claim by pointing out the gigantic bandage on Savage’s arm, and Tony actually tries to argue that Savage is okay. (This is why people hated Tony.)  Savage attacks to start and chokes Luger down. Blind charge hits boot, but Savage clotheslines Luger anyway. Into a Boston Crab, but Lex makes the ropes. They brawl on the floor and back in for the ELBOWDROP OF DOOM, but the ref is distracted with Jimmy Hart. Savage tosses Luger and they brawl some more. Luger catches Savage with a torture rack for some bizarre reason, and back in for an armbar, to Savage’s heavily bandaged arm, which gets a very quick submission at 5:25. Yeah, that’s arm’s just fine. In fact, Savage DID have a torn tricep muscle, so ignore the funny looking orange person with the male pattern baldness. (Ken Anderson?)  DUD – Sting v. Ric Flair. This is the blowoff from Halloween Havoc and the Horsemen reformation. Slugfest to start, and Flair bails to Ring #2 and struts. Sting follows and continues the beating. Press slam, but Flair goes to the eyes. He chops away and does some stylin’ and/or profilin’. Sting clotheslines him to end that. Hiptoss and dropkick and Flair bails to Ring #3, thus making it a running gag. Sting follows and no-sells some chops. Slugfest won by Sting, and Flair bails again. He takes a walk, and back in Sting keeps no-selling. Press-slam and Flair bails AGAIN, back to Ring #1. Sting charges and splashes the railing by mistake. Back in, Flair goes low in dramatic fashion to gain the advantage. Kneedrop leads to more stalling. He goes after the leg and tosses Sting, and they head over to Ring #3 just to pound the joke into the ground. Figure-four, but Sting powers out and reverses. Backslide gets two. Flair bails to Ring #1 and Sting presses and clotheslines him. Flair cheats and goes upstairs, but gets slammed off as usual. Flair Flip and back in for the Sting comeback. Superplex and Scorpion Deathlock finish at 14:29. This was good in comparison to lots of other matches at the time, but not in comparison to the other, more awesome, matches these two have had. In fact, it was more like a Cliff’s Notes version of Sting v. Flair with some comedy tossed in. Still, Sting v. Flair is never too shabby. *** – WCW World title match, World War III: Okay, take a deep breath, because here’s the 60 guys in the match: Arn Anderson, Alex Wright, Brian Knobbs, Ricky Santana, David Taylor, Scott Armstrong, Sting, Joey Maggs, Pez Whatley, Disco Inferno, Meng, Stevie Ray, Mark Starr, Buddy Lee Parker, James Earl Wright, Lex Luger, Eddy Guerrero, Cobra, The Giant, Paul Orndorff, Khris Kanyon, Bobby Walker, Bobby Eaton, Chris Benoit, Randy Savage, Marcus Bagwell, The Yeti, Kurosawa, Hugh Morrus, Zodiac Man, VK Wallstreet, DDP, Scott Norton, Brian Pillman, Craig Pittman, One Man Gang, Super Assassin #1, Mr. JL, Bunkhouse Buck, Kensuke Sasaki, Mike Winner, Hawk, Shark, Steve Armstrong, David Sullivan, Scotty Riggs, Johnny B. Badd, Black Bart, Steven Regal, Dick Slater, Maxx Muscle, Super Assassin #2, Fidel Sierra, Kevin Sullivan, Jerry Saggs, Jim Duggan, Booker T, Big Bubba, Ric Flair and The Orange Goblin.  (Only nine dead out of that crew, which is actually pretty decent for a PPV from this era.)  – Okay, so 20 men per ring, and after 10 guys are out in each the rings will merge into one. Until then, they split the screen into three small squares with each ring covered by one of them. The end result is that it’s absolutely impossible to tell what the hell is going on at any one point, a problem compounded by WCW’s usual shitty camera work, and I’m pretty much dependant on the announcers to follow who gets eliminated, and even then that’s a problem given the announce team. Believe me, this match brings new meaning to the term “Three ring circus”. I’m not even gonna bother doing play-by-play because I have no idea what’s going on, but the order of elimination of jobbers goes Yeti, Mike Winner, Mark Starr, Buddy Lee, James Earl, Cobra, Bagwell, Kanyon, Black Bart, Maxx Muscle, Fidel Sierra, Steve Armstrong, Dave Sullivan, Mr. JL, Knobbs, Santana, Alex Wright, Pez Whatley, Scotty Riggs, Bobby Eaton, Dick Slater, VK Wallstreet and Scott Norton and apparently 23 guys is good enough for WCW because they merge the rings into one. Unless I missed 7 guys getting eliminated, which is very much possible given the amateur quality of this match. – Okay, so we’re down to one regular battle royale with all the jobbers out, thus making me wonder what the point of having them all in there in the first place was. Well, that’s WCW for you. One Man Gang and Regal fight on the floor as Joey Maggs gets to go first. Bubba goes out by Duggan’s hand, but hangs on and takes Duggan with him. Disco gets tossed. Luger hangs out on the floor and takes cheapshots now and then. Dave Taylor gets tossed by Hogan. Hogan then puts both Booker and Saggs out, as well as Kevin Sullivan. Savage & Luger head off to another ring for a private fight as Regal gets tossed out. DDP & Badd eliminate each other as Giant goes on a rampage, tossing Pittman and Benoit. Meng gets rid of Kurosawa, but Giant gets rid of him. Giant tosses some people around as Hogan and Orndorff renew their battle. Morrus and Pillman get rid of Zodiac, but Sasaki dumps Morrus. Hawk then dumps Pillman, who hangs onto Sasaki as Hawk tries to keep him in. Hogan of course sneaks up and dumps everyone. What a guy that Hogan is, always thinking of others first. Sting splashes Eddy as Hogan reverses an Orndorff piledriver and, you guessed it, eliminates him. 9 guys left. Eddy goes up with a missile dropkick on Anderson, but the Horsemen come back and work him over. Eddy gets dumped, missed by the camera. Sting splashes the Horsemen in sequence as Giant chokeslams Savage. Sting slingshots AA into Flair, putting both Horsemen out. 6 guys left. Sting & Luger double-team Giant, but Hogan…wait for it…dumps all three guys out. Giant, the scoundrel, pulls Hogan out under the bottom rope while the camera totally misses Savage tossing Gang. However, the refs were looking at Savage taking Gang out, and they assume Hogan went over the top, thus giving Savage the World title at 29:42. I don’t rate battle royales. Hogan, sportsman of the year, throws a huge temper tantrum and won’t endorse Savage, and the arena just completely turns on him ala Royal Rumble 92. Hulk Hogan, hero to millions. The Bottom Line: Aside from the god-awful main event abortion of a battle royale (which they considered such a good idea that they ran it for THREE MORE YEARS), this is a pretty decent show that started a good run for WCW. Of course, all the good workers that caused it got buried during the nWo era, but that’s WCW for ya. Recommended show.

November Countdown: Survivor Series 1995

(It was pointed out to me that I never did Scott Sez versions of this show or 96, probably because I wasn’t sure if the gimmick was going to get over or not at the time.  So that’s as good a place to start as any.) The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1995 – This is one of those weird shows, in that Vince was completely self-destructing behind the scenes, but the product was great for some reason. Maybe distraction allows him to focus better or something, who knows.  (Jesus, not these days.)  – Live from Washington, DC  (A place that Linda McMahon will only ever visit for weekends.)  – Your hosts are Vincent K, Jim Ross, and making his surprise return…Mr. Perfect. By the way, I actually had a few people e-mail and ask me this, so let me clear up a Netcop Joke: Mr. Spiffy is my pet name for Mr. Perfect, because when he joined WCW in 1997 it was obvious he was never going to get over as “Curt Hennig”, so I suggested that they call him the next best thing — Mr. Spiffy. He could then say things like “Now that’s what I call…spiffy!” and have some fun parodying himself by doing skits where he’d be almost, but not quite, perfect at various sports, missing by a few inches each time. Anyway…  (I still maintain that idea is gold.  And Vince Russo kind of stole it later with Sean Stasiak.)  Opening match: Marty Jannetty, Hakushi, Barry Horowitz & Bob Holly v. Bodydonna Skip, Rad Radford, Dr. Tom Pritchard & The 1-2-3 Kid. This would be Kid’s debut as a heel, one week after guest-reffing a match between Ramon and Sid, and turning on him. Rad Radford (the late Louie Spicoli) is a “Bodydonna in training” at this point, although ironically it would be PRITCHARD who would shortly be repackaged as “Zip”, Skip’s partner. (Obviously Spicoli and Candido studied each other too much and ended up in the same place.)  Jannetty cleans house to start, and he looks thoroughly baked so tags out quickly. Rad gets the better of Hakushi, who then gets beat on in the heel corner. Crowd starts chanting for Barry Horowitz, which is pretty surreal. I still wonder why Vince didn’t just PUSH the guy if he was so over. It’s not rocket science, I mean it’s not like there’s some genetic code that says a guy has to be a jobber his entire career. (We call it “The Swagger Gene”)  Holly gets a quick pin on the Doctor with a flying bodypress, and Skip rolls *him* up right after to send him packing. Hakushi and the Kid do a great little sequence, and Radford pins Hakushi after Kid kicks him in the head. Horowitz and the Kid go next, with Barry taking a beating. Radford continues it, but keeps picking him up. And what happens when a heel keeps picking up a jobber, kids? That’s right — he gets pinned while showboating, and this is no exception. Sunny yells at him, pretty much disqualifying him from the Bodydonna Sweepstakes.  (And what a prestigious spot that would have been.  Almost as fulfilling as living with Tammy.)  Skip & Barry have their showdown, but Kid pins Barry after a snap legdrop, leaving Jannetty 2-on-1. He does a cool sequence with Skip, pinning him after a top rope powerbomb! (OWWWWW!  MY ANKLES!  OK, that’s pretty mean, speaking as someone who’s had fucked up ankles for many years, but what else do you come here for?) That was pretty unheard of at that time in the WWF. Kid comes in and mops up with Jannetty, pinning him after an assist from Sid at 18:36. Minus a bit for the bad ending, but otherwise this was the shiznit, if you will. ***3/4 Survivor: 1-2-3 Kid.  (Sid and the Kid was a boffo combination, actually, since Kid’s whole persona was the shithead little heel hiding behind the real muscle, and it’s kind of a shame that Sid’s departure and Kid’s “demons” meant they could never pay it off properly.)  Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe & Lioness Asuka v. Alundra Blayze, Sakie Hasegawa, Kyoko Inoue & Chapparita Asari. I had to get the names from the PWI Almanac because they had fucking Dok Hendrix shilling the crappy Survivor Series Commemorative T-shirt during the ring introductions. At least it’s not that Barry guy. And this would be a total spotfest as the women are basically given 10 minutes to wow the crowd. So Asari goes and pulls out the first ever Sky Twister Press on PPV, which is called “Whatamaneuver” by Vince, then called properly by JR. (Man, they should totally put Vince and JR back on commentary again, because JR just does not give a FUCK any longer and I would be endlessly entertained by them.)  Blayze pins Asuka with the german suplex soon after. Hasegawa hits a chain of 5 double-underhook suplexes while we’re watching the replay of the Sky Twister Press. See, Vince had absolutely no idea how to deal with any match that exceeded the North American pace, which is why it took so long for him to grasp the whole cruiserweight concept. Aja Kong comes in and kick’s Hasegawa’s ass. Kong can best be described as the female Vader, I guess. (The one time I got to hang out with Herb Kunze he was trying to get me into some Japanese women’s stuff, and I just didn’t get it at all.)  The only woman I ever really followed in Japan was Akira Hokuto, so I’m pretty much at JR’s mercy for the backstory on these chicks. Aja nails a NASTY backdrop suplex, dropping Hasegawa right on her head, to get the pin. Asari comes in and tries a cross-body, bouncing right off Aja, then gets splashed and pinned. Inoue comes in and does a little more damage, but tries a sunset flip and gets sat on for the pin. That leaves Alundra 3-on-1. Blayze dominates Watanabe and pins her after a piledriver. Faye & Kong have a heel miscommunication moment and Bertha gets suplexed and pinned by Alundra. So it’s Kong v. Blayze. Alunda hits a missile dropkick and a standing moonsault, but Aja shoves her off the top rope and pins her after a spinning backhand at 10:00. Pretty damn good, given the circumstances. *** Survivor: Aja Kong. This was supposed to start Blayze’s next big program, but she went and dumped the Women’s title in a trash can on Nitro, the night after this if I’m not mistaken.  (Man, I bet she regrets that one to this day.  I know Bischoff did.  In fact I think someone said that on a WWE DVD.)  – And since we’re in Washington, we get a visit from the fake Clinton for some hijinks.  (Good thing we don’t have to put over sleazy politicians on these shows anymore.)  Bam Bam Bigelow v. Goldust. Goldust’s entrance takes FOREVER. At this point he was just weird, rather than sexually deviant. Goldust s..l..o..w..l..y wears down the Bammer, then pins him with a bulldog at 8:18. Oh my god, that sucked. 1/4* Honest to god, I had nothing interesting to write between the introductions and the pinfall, it was that boring. – The Undertaker, Henry Godwinn, Fatu & Savio Vega v. King Mabel, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Isaac Yankem & Jerry Lawler. The story here is that, during the crack-induced period when Vince hired Bill Watts to book, Mabel did a big fat legdrop on UT’s face and broke it, necessitating a goofy purple mask that looks like something Kyle Raynor would be wearing today. (Once again, I have to say, I now fucking love Kyle Raynor and consider him to be a formative part of my comic fandom during the 90s.  I don’t read New Guardians because it sucks, but Kyle totally redeemed himself with me many times over and he’s by far my favorite Green Lantern now and I think they should have done the movie with that character instead of Hal Jordan.  THERE, I SAID IT.)  Needless to say, Taker is PISSED, and is thus more over than ever. Most of the match (11 minutes to be exact) is meaningless filler, as the teams go through the motions of a match and the faces deliberately don’t tag UT in, saving him up for the big finish. Perfect, by the way, tells McMahon that Helmsley prefers to be called “Triple H”, although that name didn’t catch on until two years after this. Undertaker finally gets the hot tag, and obliterates the heel team. Lawler tries to run away, but none of the team will tag him, and the result is a tombstone, to a HUGE pop. Goodbye. (Boy, we came close to that one seeming pretty grim.)  Yankem comes in next, tombstone, goodbye. Of course, it would take THREE tombstones for UT to do the same thing when Wrestlemania XIV rolled around. HHH tries, gets chokeslammed from the ring apron into the ring, see ya. (And then next year, Undertaker kept challenging Hunter to a rematch because he wanted to prove himself so badly or something!  Oh, wait, that would be stupid, never mind.)  Mabel gets the brief advantage but UT sits up, and that’s all Mabel needs to see, deciding to take the smart route and run away to fight another day. Taker’s team gets the win at 14:23, with the entire team surviving. 1/2*  (Awesome booking, though.)  Wild Card match: Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, The British Bulldog & Sid v. Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon & Dean Douglas. If you’re thinking this team looks weird, you’re right. It was set up by Gorilla Monsoon to stir things up. (Now see, THIS would be something that the various authority figures could do to truly be controversial!  Never mind endless tag matches featuring guys who are already in feuds, just sign a random wacky tag match like this and watch the sparks fly.)  We get the one-and-only Shawn v. Shane match pretty early in, and it’s pretty good. Ahmed comes in and kicks ass, but tries to slam Yoko, which is immensely not smart. He gets beat on for a bit, then tags in Shawn, who pins Douglas on a rollup. Owen & Bulldog go next, then Shawn & Razor. JR wonders if they can have a match not involving a ladder. Razor gets the Edge, but Ahmed makes the save. Crowd is torn on who to cheer for. Sid comes in and stinks up the joint. He calls for Shawn’s help on a double-team superkick, but Ramon ducks and Sid takes it. Shawn gives a hilarious “Oh, well…” shrug, and Ramon pins Sid. (Shawn used to be COOL, before he became HHH’s merchandise-shilling parrot.)  Sid powerbombs Shawn for being a smart-ass, and I can’t say as I blame him. Razor gets two from it. Shawn then gets pummelled by Yokozuna, including that VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM. Ahmed gets the hot tag and pins Owen quickly with the tiger bomb. Ramon cleans house but takes a spinebuster from Ahmed. Ahmed poses on the second rope, and Ramon comes from behind and Edge’s him off. Sid & Kid wander to ringside and distract Ramon, and he walks into a Bulldog powerslam as a result and gets pinned. So Yoko is 3-on-1. He does well against Shawn, but misses the FAT-ASSED BUTTDROP OF DEATH and Ahmed gets the hot tag. Bodyslam! Davey Boy comes in to break up the pin, because he’s a bad person and all. So Shawn superkicks Yoko and then ties up the Bulldog, allowing Ahmed to get the pin unfettered at 27:23. And now of course the Bulldog wants to celebrate with his teammates. Match wasn’t terrible. **1/4 Survivors: Michaels, Johnson, Bulldog. – WWF World title match: Diesel v. Bret Hart. Hart v. Michaels was already pencilled in for WM12, so it’s not like the result here was a secret of national security or anything. Diesel and Bret both pull off turnbuckle pads to reinforce that it’s no-DQ. Diesel pounds Bret in the corner, so Bret bails. They fight outside for a bit as Bret uncharacteristically runs like a chicken. (Not so uncharacteristic later.)  Back in the ring for a slugfest, which Bret loses. He bails again, so Diesel rams him backfirst into the post. He grabs a chair and nails him for good measure. Back in the ring and he goes for the powerbomb early, but Bret blocks it and comes back. Lots of cheap stuff from Bret, then he starts working on the knees of the champ. Figure-four wears him down further, then Bret grabs a cable in an amazingly dickish move and hogties Diesel’s ankles around the post. He takes the chair and demolishes his knee with it, actually drawing boos. (See, if they wanted to get Nash over as a babyface, they should have just had him wrestling Bret Hart every night.)  Diesel finally looses himself and slams Bret off the top rope, then chokes him out with the cable. Side slam gets a two count. Nash is doing an amazing job of selling the injury at this point, the best I’ve ever seen him do. He manages Snake Eyes, but Bret reverses a second attempt and comes back. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Bret sends Diesel to the floor, but the pescado misses. Bret crawls onto the apron, and it’s HISTORY TIME! The biggest running gag in WWF’s history begins here, as Diesel shoves Bret off the apron, right through the Spanish announce table. Bret is acting like he’s on his deathbed. Diesel tosses him back in for the kill, but when he goes for the powerbomb Bret simply collapses. The ref wants to stop the match, but Diesel shoves him aside and tries it again…and Bret small packages him out of nowhere for the pin and the title at 24:50. Diesel clearly mouths a very naughty phrase at the camera which rhymes with “Another trucking skit”, then powerbombs Bret twice and takes out a bunch of refs, yelling “I’M BACK!” at the camera. He started pissing off the Undertaker soon after, and got jobbed out, leading to him joining WCW in 1996. Wonder whatever happened to him? This would be Nash’s second-best match ever, only eclipsed by the one he had with Michaels in 1996. ****1/4  (I can go higher on this one depending on the day and my mood, but that seems about right.)  The Bottom Line: Can’t lose here. Even if the offices of the WWF were going to hell, the workers were shining, especially the rising Shawn Michaels, the resurgent Bret Hart, and the newly motivated Diesel. Recommended show.  (One that I rewatched a lot.) 

SummerFest Countdown: 1995

The Netcop Retro Rant for Summerslam 95. (I had actually redone this show a few years back, but when I was typing it up I realized that I was basically doing the exact same review over again.  I did notably change one star rating, however.)  Let’s take a trip back to 1995, when the major players of today were minor players, and the WWF hit it’s lowest nadir. Live from Pittsburgh, PA, once described by Bret Hart as the place you’d have to stick the hose if you wanted to give America an enema. Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler. Backstage, Dean Douglas is grading the matches. Opening match: Hakushi v. The 1-2-3 Kid. More X-Pac than Lightning Kid at this point, the Kid was on the verge of the heel turn that would reinvent his entire career. Hakushi is Hayabusa’s buddy Jinsei Shinzaki, and has become one of the worst wrestlers on the international circuit through years of dedicated laziness. (It’s good to have goals in life.)  Hakushi was in the midst of a heel push at this point, although the fans were pretty apathetic. (Tensai!) Quick start as the Kid does a flip out of a wristlock using the ropes, impressing the crowd. Nice Van Dam-ish sequence goes nowhere. Another criss-cross goes nowhere. Hakushi gets a cheap shot to take control, but the Kid flips out of a powerbomb, only to get dropped with a backbreaker. Hakushi hits a handspring elbow, ironically leaving Kid in the position he usually puts people in for the Broncobuster. And even more ironically, Hakushi does it! Stalling follows, however. Hakushi kicks away at the leg and hits some stiff kicks to the neck. Pump splash gets two. Too much resting here — Hakushi was made to look VERY good by Bret Hart in their feud. Hakushi superkicks the Kid out of the ring, then debuts the elusive Space Flying Tiger Drop on North American PPV. He tosses the Kid back in and nails a shoulderblock off the top for two. A diving headbutt misses, however. Kid comes back and dumps Hakushi out, then nails a dive from the second turnbuckle to the floor. He comes in with a slingshot legdrop for two, and a splash off the top for two. He goes for a leg lariat, but gets caught in mid-air and dropped on his head for three at 8:49. **1/2 for the highspots.  (This was pretty good, actually, about ***1/2).  Mabel cuts a pretty decent heel promo for the main event, promising a surprise. Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Bob “Sparkplug” Holly. Oh, man, where do you start with this one? One goes from aristocrat to degenerate, the other goes from race-car driver to Hardcore. Who knew Holly actually had a personality? And may I also point out that HHH has put on about 50 pounds since then. (Only 50?  I guess it was only 1998 at that point.)  HHH does his Steve Regal impression here, refusing to lock up with Holly. HHH was, shall we say, not very good at this point. Mainly punching and kicking going on here. Holly bumps around pretty good, and HHH marks a milestone: His first ever knee-related move on PPV. In this case, a kneedrop. And thus a grand legacy begins. They fight over an abdominal stretch, crowd couldn’t care less about either guy. This, in a nutshell, was what destroyed the WWF in this era: Gimmicks instead of characters. People care about characters, not gimmicks. More on that in the King Lear Rant, coming soon to WrestleLine. (Geez, this guy’s worse than Tout.)  Sloppy sequence allows Holly to come back. He makes the mistake of trying a backdrop, however, and Helmsley turns it into the Pedigree for the pin at 7:11. 1/2* Jacob & Eli Blu v. The Smoking Gunns. The Blu twins were last seen in the WWF as DOA. (And then again in WCW as a bunch of lame teams.)  Billy Gunn you know, and you know Bart Gunn. (Does anyone really know Bart Gunn anymore?  REALLY?)  You probably don’t associate them as a team, however. For reference sake, the Gunns won their first tag titles in January of 1995, and lost them at Wrestlemania XI. This was a nothing tag match to put the Gunns over. Billy still had the long hair and moustache at this point. Billy hits a fame-asser quickly on a Blu twin for a two count. Nice double-team sequence from the Gunns gets two. Billy gets caught with both Blus and dropped on his head to become ass-in-peril, however. Kick, punch, kick, punch. No matter how many times Vince repackages the Harris brothers, they still suck. See also: Knight, Dennis. (Mideon.)  See also: Bradshaw, Justin. (Written six years before he ended up getting the World title for a year.)  Bart gets the hot tag and hits a bunch of left hands (if it was Steve Williams in there, the match would be over) and the Gunns hit the Sidewinder (legdrop-side slam combo) for the easy pin at 5:31. Bleh. 1/2* Skip (w/ Sunny) v. Barry Horowitz. This would be Horowitz’ one and only brush with stardom, as he scored a fluke pin on Skip to set up this feud.  (And then fell in love with Eve, but got chokeslammed by Kane a million times…oh wait, wrong guy.)  Barry goes right after Skip with a jawbreaker and a dragon-screw leg whip to start, then he clotheslines him to the floor. He misses a blind charge, but compensates in time and gets a rollup for two. Skip takes a nice bump as Barry suplexes him from the ring to floor, prompting Sunny to throw in the towel. Ref doesn’t buy it. Sunny trips Horowitz, allowing Skip to come back. Man, Candido has NO ring presence at this point. Again, Vince was pushing a gimmick with Chris “Bodydonna Skip” Candido, while he was pushing a character in Barry Horowitz. Guess who the fans responded to? (Steve Austin.)  Skip controls with some basic stuff. Fans don’t care about Skip. Horowitz comes back with two shouldertackles for two counts, but runs into a clothesline. He comes back with a Thesz press for two, but runs into a powerslam this time. Skip keeps wasting time. Skip hits three sloppy legdrops for two. He needs to get the Kid to show him how to do those properly. Both go for a dropkick and we get a double-KO spot. Crowd keeps chanting for Barry. Skip gets knocked off the top rope, but Horowitz can’t capitalize. Skip hits a diving headbutt…and picks up Barry at two. Big mistake, Skip. Barry comes back and goes to the top, but the crack whore pushes him down, allowing Skip to hit the superplex. Hakushi wanders down, since he has issues with Skip. Skip yells threats at him, so Hakushi springboards in…right over both men. Skip is so confused that he doesn’t even see Horowitz behind him, and Barry small packages him for the upset win at 11:11. This was Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling, and it’s too bad that Barry’s push was aborted even faster than I thought it would be. **1/2 Dean Douglas defines “Vivify” while analyzing the last match. Those who say that Dean Douglas was somehow a bad character is either full of shit or falling for Shane’s ECW propaganda. It drew great and instant heel heat. The problem was with Razor Ramon and clique politics. More on that in…wait for it…The King Lear Rant. (You’d think I would have held out for some money from Wrestleline given how hard I shilling for it.)  WWF Meaningless Women’s title match: Alundra Blayze v. Bertha Faye. As a continuation of what I writing in the 94 rant about the women’s division being buried, Vince decides to switch from pushing actual wrestlers to using his normal strategy in the men’s division: Pushing freakishly huge monsters. See also: Mabel. Bertha Faye no-sells and screams a lot. Picture Roseanne Barr in a technicolor dress. Bertha destroys Blayze, but misses a splash. Alundra gets a victory roll for two, but Faye is JUST TOO FAT to keep down. Blayze gets the HAIR SLAMS OF DOOM, but the ref is talking to Harvey Wippleman. A chase ensues, and we head back in the ring as Blayze gets two off a rollup. Bertha actually takes a rana for two. Blayze hits two dropkicks off the second rope, but misses a third and gets powerbombed for the pin and the title, a finish NO ONE wanted to see. That’s 4:53 of my life I’ll never get back again. Blayze regained the title a couple of weeks later, then showed up on the upstart WCW Monday Nitro the next week and dumped the belt in a garbage can, which is where it belonged. Well, at least it was clean. *1/2 (RIP Bertha Faye.)  Casket match: Kama v. The Undertaker. Kama took the urn-stealing angle a step further, actually melting it down and wearing it as a chain. Kama = Papa Shango = Kama Mustafa = The Godfather, by the way. Nice psychology right away as UT dumps Kama over the top, right on the casket, causing Kama to freak out and get back in the ring. UT hits a splash in the corner and the ropewalk, showing a lot of energy for that time period. UT asks for the casket to be opened, and tosses Kama into it, but can’t get the lid shut. Kama hits a clothesline off the top, which is no-sold by UT. UT tries another splash in the corner, but gets caught and slammed by Kama. UT goes into the casket, but manages to pull Kama in. Dibiase makes the save. Kama and Dibiase double-team UT. Like I care. UT comes back but Dibiase keeps distracting him and Kama rams him into the post backfirst. He suplexes Undertaker on the casket to work on the back. Psy-col-o-gy? He follows with a baseball slide. Man, did I suddenly tune into lucha libre or something? Kama goes for a piledriver on the casket, but UT backdrops him into the ring and comes back. Kama hits a powerslam, but forgets it’s a casket match, which allows UT to sit up. Chinlock ensues. Taker escapes and comes back for real. Flying clothesline, and both guys go tumbling into the casket, and the lid is closed. Kama tries to escape but can’t. Now UT escapes, but can’t shut the lid. UT chokeslams him, back in the ring, and tombstones him. Into the casket at 16:25, match over. Ye gods, whose bright idea was it to give these guys that much time? ** for the psychology. Bret Hart v. Isaac Yankem DDS. Remember what I was saying about gimmicks v. characters? Here you go again. The idea is that Isaac is Jerry Lawler’s personal dentist, brought in as the final revenge against Bret Hart. He is, however, much better known for a gimmick that finally clicked for him in 1997: Kane. (And now you know…the rest of the story.)  And why did that one click? Because it was the character that the fans got into, rather than the gimmick. Yankem controls with some power stuff not unlike what he does today as Kane, with the same mannerisms. It’s pretty weird to see, actually. He misses a blind charge and Bret hits an inverted atomic drop and three clotheslines, the third of which sends Isaac to the floor. Bret follows with a pescado (dive to the floor). Back in and Bret goes for the Sharpshooter early, but Yankem blocks. Rollup gets two for Bret. He comes off the ropes and gets press slammed, however, giving Isaac the advantage. Many shot of Isaac’s bad teeth are shown, thus revealing the last refuge of a bad gimmick: Situational irony. See, he’s a DENTIST, but he’s got BAD TEETH! Understand how that’s supposed to draw heat? Me neither. (At least there’s some minimal effort put into giving him something to distinguish him from Jackson Andrews or Abraham Washington or Fillard Millmore) Bret reverses a hangman’s neckbreaker into a small package for two, but gets clotheslined to the floor. Yankem rams Bret to the post and hits him with the DENTAL BAG OF DEATH. Bret ends up draped on the top rope and Isaac legdrops him off the top, which would have looked great if it was hit properly. Bret dodges some sledges, but gets decked from behind. Yankem rolls out, and Bret follows with a tope suicida. They brawl outside for a bit, then back in for a Hitman bulldog for two. Yes kids, it’s time for…wait for it….THE FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! (Still waiting on that royalty cheque.  So is JTG, apparently.)  Lawler helps his dentist make the ropes on the Sharpshooter, however. Bret backdrops Yankem to the floor, where they brawl. Bret gets whipped to the steps, and Yankem goes to the top. Bret slams him off, then whips him to the corner and posts him, tying his feet together with TV cable. He then goes after Jerry Lawler, allowing Yankem to drill (get it?) him from behind off the top rope, and toss him back in. Bret gets a flying forearm, but Lawler trips him up, and Yankem ties him in the ropes and beats on him, drawing the DQ at 16:10. Yankem definitely showed promise here, but then he was trained by Al Snow so that’s not terribly surprising. He got REALLY bad during the Diesel II period, however. Still, not a bad debut at all. ***, thanks to Bret. Ladder match, Intercontinental title: Shawn Michaels v. Razor Ramon. Shawn is the champion here, not Razor, for those of you who keep asking me about this one. This was scheduled to be Shawn v. Sid for the title up to about a week before the show, but Vince felt the card sucked as it stood, and wanted to add, you know, a good match. The Sid v. Shawn match *did* go off a couple of weeks later, and was the infamous “He pins the big guy with three superkicks” match that marked the debut of Eric “Mr. Tact” Bischoff’s guerrilla warfare tactics on Nitro. Dok Hendrix joins us for commentary, replacing the departing Jerry Lawler. Ramon ducks out of a superkick very early on. Ramon goes for the Edge early on, which Shawn escapes from. Things are even until Shawn gets whipped into the corner and takes a suicide bump over the top. They fight into the aisle where the ladder waits, but don’t go for it. Back to the ring, where Shawn takes an absolutely sick bump and gets suplexed to the floor, full on. No landing on his feet here. Ramon goes for the Edge again, but Shawn wiggles out. Ramon ducks the superkick and they nail each other for an early double-KO. Ramon recovers first and hits a blockbuster suplex off the top, and goes for the ladder. Shawn misses the baseball slide he hit at WMX, thus showing that Ramon has learned from the last match. Ramon goes for the belt, but Shawn dumps him off, then nails him with the ladder. Shawn climbs, but Ramon yanks Shawn’s tights down, and Shawn slips off the ladder and takes ANOTHER sick bump, wrenching his knee and getting it caught in the ladder. Ramon stomps on it, just because. He rams it into the ladder to further the damage, and clips Shawn’s knee with the ladder when he stands up. Then he slams Shawn on the ladder, right on his knee. Just brutal. Razor sets up the ladder, but Shawn can’t even stand up. So Ramon beats on the knee some more. Attaboy. Shawn kicks him into the ladder, but it doesn’t last long, as Ramon drops him knee-first on the ladder. Ramon absolutely dismantles the knee, ramming it into the apron and wrapping it around the post. He even works in an indian deathlock, which is just about the only place where it’s appropriate. Now back to the ladder, as Ramon drops it on Shawn’s knee. Ramon is drawing great heel heat here. He goes for the climb now, but gets knocked off by a flying Shawn. Ramon climbs again, but is followed and suplexed off by Shawn. Crowd is torn as to who to cheer for. Shawn sets up the ladder in the corner and whips Ramon into it, then again in another corner, and a forearm smash for good measure. And the crowd BOOS. Amazing. Shawn moonsaults off the ladder onto Ramon, which was somewhat blown by Ramon. Shawn to the top of the ladder, but misses the splash that he hit at Wrestlemania X. Notice how the one match builds on the other? The ladder is set up in the middle, and both climb it, and both go crashing off it, with Ramon ending up on the floor. Shawn charges him with the ladder and misses, ending up on the floor himself. Then, in an odd moment, Razor grabs the spare ladder from under the ring and brings it in. Shawn, meanwhile, climbs again, but gets Edged off the top of the ladder. Ramon moves first, setting up his own ladder. Shawn sets up his, and we have a foot race. Shawn superkicks Ramon off his ladder, but then falls off and takes a nasty bump. That didn’t look scripted. Ramon tries another Edge, but gets backdropped over the top and Shawn grabs the belt to retain at 24:56, after another aborted attempt. Shawn blew the ending twice, so minus a bit, but the rest was gold. ****1/2 (I boosted this one to the full monty on subsequent viewings, but others disagree, and that’s OK.)  Dean Douglas critiques Ramon’s performance, and Ramon storms his set and attacks him. (“I bought this Tupperware at your store last week and someone used it to smoke a bunch of crack!”) Oh, man, do I *have* to watch the main event? WWF title match: Diesel v. King Mabel. This was set up because GOD HATES ME and wanted to see me suffer.  (No, that’s the three hour RAW era.)  Mabel pushes Diesel around to start, because he’s JUST TOO FAT. Diesel can’t slam him, but a shoulderblock sends him to the floor. Diesel then has the balls to pull out his no-hands pescado. Last time he did that was Souled 98 against the Giant, by the way. They fight outside the ring, with Diesel going to the ringpost and Mabel charging, but eating a foot to the face. Back in the ring, crowd is deader than…well, I’ll resist my baser impulses. (And to think the list of people I could have gone to was significantly shorter at that point.)  Mabel hits a ugly Bossman slam and a buttdrop. Ref gets bumped for no adequately explained reason, and MOM double-team Big D. Lex Luger makes the save, but gets taken out by Diesel (who assumes that Luger is on Bulldog’s side and thus is against him). Luger takes out Mo anyway, so no hard feelings I guess. And that is the last appearance of Mr. Luger in the WWF. Back in the ring, Mabel gets the belly-to-belly for two, but misses a splash off the second rope. Diesel follows with a shoulderblock off the second rope and gets the mercy killing at 9:10. Yay, it’s over.  -** The Bottom Line: Diesel drew no heat for this show, while Ramon and Shawn rocked the house, and Vince STILL didn’t take the hint. That lesson runs true today in WCW, and some of the same people are even involved. The message was written on the wall, and Vince even delivered it himself during the IC title match: “It was originally supposed to be Sid v. Shawn, but interim president Gorilla Monsoon said that the people didn’t want to see that, they wanted to see a ladder match”. Did Vince listen? No. Why? It’s in the rant. Coming soon to WrestleLine. Ain’t I a stinker? (Dude, enough.)  Anyway, this show had it’s ups and downs, with the “ups” very slightly beating out the “downs”, but that’s mainly thanks to the efforts of Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, rather than from the last hurrah of the cartoon character age. If you’ve never seen Ramon v. Shawn II, I’d recommend checking this show out. Otherwise, don’t bother.

July PPV Countdown: WCW Bash At The Beach 1995

The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Bash at the Beach 95 – Live from Huntington Beach, CA. – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby. – This is of course from the beach, with no actual seating. WCW made various claims from between 50-100,000 people, but actual attendance (free, to boot) was about 10,000. The setup looks kinda like Road Wild, except with phony Hollywood beach bunnies instead of racist redneck bikers. It certainly looks unique.  (Meltzer kept harping on this one during a recent radio show, noting that AAA was having a giant show in the same city at the same time, and he wondered why no one from WCW wanted to go watch the show and scout for talent instead of partying with the Hollywood phonies.  I guess not everyone appreciates lucha libre as much as strippers and blow.)  – US title match: Sting v. Meng. (Today we went to a festival in the park with a friend, and while there that friend ran into another friend who happened to be a Tongan.  Tattoos and everything.  It took a lot of self-control to keep from asking him if he was related to Haku.)  This is a rematch from Great American Bash. They go right for the test of strength to start and that goes nowhere. Meng pounds away and they slug it out, but Meng no-sells it all. I think they missed a major opportunity in not booking Meng v. Renegade at this point. Not an opportunity to draw money or anything, but an opportunity to amuse me. And that’s the important thing. (I never really got why they switched Meng’s character abruptly from suit-wearing badass to CRAZY TONGAN WILDMAN without any explanation.  I mean, I know in wrestling that sort of thing is common, but you’d think that sort of drastic personality shift would indicate personal problems.)  Meng hammers away in the corner and grunts a lot. Choking follows. Lots of it. Legdrop gets two. Meng goes to the NECK-MUSCLE MASSAGE OF DEATH, but Sting reverses to an armbar. Meng’s attempt at a suplex is blocked and they do more jockeying, and that goes nowhere. Sting’s clothesline is dramatically no-sold, in case we missed the point when he didn’t fall down. Sting is aghast. What acting. Meng goes up and misses a headbutt from the middle, which allows Sting to get the Scorpion Deathlock. Col. Parker distracts Sting and he lets go like an idiot, and Meng tosses him. Suplex back in gets two. Backbreaker gets two. Meng works on the back in the laziest manner possible as Tony makes his ridiculous claims about the crowd being the largest in WCW history. Meng goes to the abdominal stretch and we get lots of crowd shots. Sting gets a sunset flip for one, and Meng gets his own, which Sting blocks with a bad-looking butt-splash. Everyone is out. Meng is up first and we get a Boston Crab as the psychology is just all over the place. Pick a body part and stick to it. Sting makes the ropes, which of course tricks the heel into thinking the match is over, and a missed elbowdrop allows Sting to come back. Backdrop suplex and clotheslines follow. He clips Meng and gets a Thesz Press for two. Rana gets two. Cross-body gets two. Stinger splash is blocked by a thrust kick, which gets two. Meng goes up again with a big splash for two. And once again he thinks it’s over, and this time gets rolled up for the pin at 15:30. This was How to Bore the Crowd 101. ** Hawk saves Sting from any further abdominal stretching. – World TV title: Renegade v. Paul Orndorff. Criss-cross to start and Orndorff takes him down and pounds away. He goes up and hits boot on the way down, and Renegade comes back and dumps him. Orndorff lands in the sand which, as Tony notes, is very abrasive to the skin. (Oh Tony, you were like a neverending supply of running jokes for our group back in the day.)  Back in, Renegade works a headlock and pumps up the crowd. Okay, just the headlock. He gets an alleged dropkick that ends up 0.8 Watts, and Orndorff bails and tosses sand in Renegade’s face. Well, now you KNOW you’re watching a classic. (However, Renegade sent away for Charles Atlas’ bodybuilding course and became a real man afterwards!)  Back in, Orndorff gets a side suplex and goes to the chinlock. Orndorff gets his own dropkick and stalls, then decides to go for the piledriver. Sadly, Renegade escapes and gets ANOTHER 0.8 Watts dropkick, and then ANOTHER one. This guy really needs to learn how to throw a dropkick. (That was the least of his problems.)  Powerslam fails to excite the crowd, and when Orndorff tosses Renegade they CHEER. WCW should have taken the hint. This isn’t even a hardcore crowd, it’s casual beach dwellers, and even THEY hate the guy. Back in, Renegade escapes a suplex and gets a backdrop suplex for the pin at 6:11. Crowd boos that one out of the building. Or off the beach, as it were. Orndorff punks him out and piledrives him, which turns him face with the crowd. Renegade doesn’t even have the decency to sell it, popping right back up with a flying bodypress. –*  (At least it’s not Kamala v Jim Duggan.)  – Kamala v. Jim Duggan. (Fuck!)  And here I thought the show could only get BETTER after that last match. Thankfully Duggan is here to save us from any potential Ugandan invasion forces. This was during the early days of the Dungeon of Doom, when suspense was running high as to who the newest members would be, and when I say “high” I mean as in “drugs were needed to enjoy this angle”. They slug it out and Duggan wins that battle. Kamala won’t go down. A clothesline drops him, but he comes back with some chopping. Duggan tries a slam, and gets pounded. Choking follows. Into the bearhug, and Duggan misses a charge after escaping. Into the PURPLE NURPLE OF DEATH, but Duggan slugs out and bites to come back. Clothesline and Duggan slams him, which is about the one impressive thing in the whole match, and the three-point stance puts Kamala down. Zodiac runs in behind the ref’s back, knocks Duggan out, and Kamala gets the pin at 6:06. I don’t know what was more astounding – that Kamala actually got a serious push, or that no one figured out Zodiac was Brutus Beefcake. DUD – Diamond Dallas Page v. Evad Sullivan. Don’t even get me started on the rabbit. Sullivan attacks to start and suplexes DDP in, but Page backs off. Atomic drop and clothesline set up a suplex, and Dave is pumped. He stops to put the moves on Kimberly, however, and gets stomped down by DDP. Page pounds away, but misses a charge and crotches himself. Sullivan comes back and slugs away. Clothesline and he wants whatever, but goes after Max Muscle and gets hit with the Diamond Cutter at 4:26. This gets nothing and likes it. DUD  (It’s the parade of Hogan hangers-on and wannabes!)  – Normally I wouldn’t bother with pre-match promos, but Jerry Sags quotes Frampton in between screamed clichés, so he earns a spot in the recap as a result. – WCW World tag title: Harlem Heat v. Nasty Boys v. The Bluebloods. The crowd is chanting for the Heat, so Booker tells them to shut up. It’s a pier-nine brawl to start (after a complex coin toss that was supposed to set the Nasties & Heat as the starters) and the Nasties clean house. Knobs and Booker start proper, and Booker pounds away and chokes him out. Knobs ventures too far into the wrong corner, and Regal tags himself in. Booker takes him down and superkicks him, and Stevie Ray comes in for more pounding. Eaton tags in and gets backdropped and bails, which allows Sherri to get her shots in. Back in, Stevie gets a sideslam, but Eaton tags Sags mid-move and the Nasties do some CLUBBERING, CLUBBERING, THEY BE CLUBBERING in the corner. Knobs headbutts Stevie low and they go after the leg. Sags decides to tag Regal in, so Stevie makes the comeback and the Heat work Regal over in the corner. Booker goes to the Blueblood corner and gets pounded, however. Knobs comes back in and misses a charge, but Regal subdues Booker. Knobs clotheslines Booker for two. Nasties double-team Booker for two. Regal slaps him around and drops a knee, then tags Sags back in again. Sags promptly turns on the Bluebloods, and they brawl for a bit, allowing Booker to tag Stevie back in. Sags & Stevie slug it out, but Eaton comes in and takes over for Sags. The Bluebloods work Stevie over in the corner, and Knobs comes in with an elbow and a splash for two. Booker comes in and gets a sidekick on Knobs for two. Stevie comes in with a kneedrop, and Regal tags himself in and goes after Knobs. Bluebloods work Knobs over in the royal corner, and Bobby comes off the top with a knee for nothing, as Booker saves. Regal Stretch, but Sags saves. Stevie gets tagged back in and hammers on Knobs in the corner, and Booker gets tagged by Regal, which prompts Knobs to suddenly make the comeback out of nowhere. Regal hammers him down again, but Knobs blocks a sunset flip with a buttdrop, and Sags gets the hot (?) tag and cleans house. Everyone brawls and Regal gets splashed by a bunch of people, and apparently Stevie Ray was in the pile and thus gets the win at 13:10. What a stupid finish. Match dragged on and had absolutely no flow to it. *1/2 – Lifeguard match: Randy Savage v. Ric Flair. This would be a lumberjack match, except with lifeguards mixed in. Nyuk nyuk. Savage knocks him down and pounds away to start, and a trio of clotheslines put Flair out. The lumberjacks put him back in, but Savage chokes him out on the apron. Savage pounds away in the corner, but Flair gets an atomic drop out of the corner and starts chopping. Savage gets tossed and the babyface lumberjacks gently put him back in, and Flair chops again. Blind charge hits elbow and Savage slugs away and knocks Flair down with an elbow. Flair Flip and he heads out and back in via the lumberjacks. Savage gets tossed to the sand and thrown back in. Suplex back in is blocked, and Savage suplexes Flair to the outside. Back in he goes. Tony notes that Savage’s suplex was not a deliberate toss over the top. I’d say SUPLEXING a guy over the top is pretty deliberate, but the rule says that you BOTH have to be in, which is why it’s not a DQ. Just in case your teacher ever puts that on a pop quiz in history class. Flair takes over with a sleeper, but Savage sends him into the corner to escape. Flair chops away and tosses Savage, which SHOULD be a DQ, but I guess this is no-DQ or something. Back in, Flair comes off the top and collides with Savage in a weird spot, and Savage whips Flair around and slugs away. Sleeper is reversed by Flair into the kneecrusher, and goes to work on the leg. Savage keeps fighting back, but hits boot on a charge and NOW! WHOO! WE GO TO SCHOOL. Figure-four, but Savage reverses pretty easily. Flair gets a delayed vertical suplex for two. Savage comes back and slugs away, and Flair goes out again and makes a run for it, only to be caught and brought back. Back in, Savage backdrops him and gets the axehandle, but AA comes in and distracts the ref. Flair charges and gets backdropped over the top, but Arn comes in again and DDTs Savage. Flair gets two. Savage gets a backslide for two. Charge hits elbow and Flair goes up top, gets slammed, and the big elbow finishes at 13:53. That was so predictable that I typed the finish like 30 seconds before it happened. Match was nothing special and lacked emotion – it just felt like a couple of guys doing their usual match. **1/4 – WCW World title, cage match: Hulk Hogan v. Big Van Vader. Since Hogan is involved, this is pinfall, submission or escape. Hogan attacks and sends Vader into the cage to start, and chokes him out with the t-shirt. Double axehandle and he slugs away, but Vader won’t go down. They slug it out and can’t ram each other into the cage, until Vader finally wins that battle. He keeps pounding Hogan, but gets rammed into his own mask, which Hogan then proceeds to use as a weapon. More punching. Vader comes back with an avalanche, however, and goes up for a pump splash. Back up for another go, and that gets two. Vader spears him into the cage and keeps pounding away. Drop suplex and Vader goes for the door, but Hogan recovers and sends Vader into the cage. He tries a slam, but gets pounded back down again. Vader goes back up, but misses a senton bomb and Hogan comes back. Corner clothesline and Hogan tries another slam, but Vader falls on top and gets two. We hit the chinlock, and Hogan comes back with a clothesline. He still wants the slam, however. He gets it, but hurts his back. Vader comes off the middle rope with a splash and gets two. Hulk-up time, as he no-sells a trip to the cage and comes back. Vader eats the cage a few times and it’s the big boot, but Zodiac tries to get into the cage, only to be foiled by Dennis Rodman. Hogan drops the leg, poses, and then does it again. Sure, just totally emasculate the guy, why don’t ya? Hogan climbs, but gets caught by Vader, who then falls off and allows Hogan to exit at 13:09. Real bad. * This was also Vader’s final WCW PPV, as he left for the WWF shortly before Fall Brawl. The Bottom Line: Well, Savage-Flair was a major disappointment, and was pretty much the only match on the show even close to “worthwhile”, so that pretty much makes this the usual WCW disaster of epic proportions. (Man, how did I forget about THIS one in my list of horrible PPVs?)  Strong recommendation to avoid.

Assorted May-Per-View Countdown: WCW Slamboree 1995

The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Slamboree 95 (When I was going through the archives to see what needed to be done for May, I had to check twice to make sure there actually WAS a Slamboree show in 1995 and that I had actually done it.  There was and I had, but given I can’t remember a single match from it, that’s probably not a good sign.)  – Someone requested a repost of this one on my message board, despite my having never done it before. Ah, my fans, gotta love ’em. Anyway, we’ll get back to Japan next week. – Live from Leningrad, Florida. – Your hosts are Eric Bischoff & Bobby Heenan. Tony is off getting his neck surgery at this point (or as Eric might call it, back-leg-front-neck surgery) so we get the dulcet tones of Mr. Bischoff instead. Neck surgery apparently runs in the WCW announce crew, as Bobby was forced to go through it later that year, too. Apparently they were doing some jobs for All Japan on the weekends and things got out of hand during a match with Misawa. – Opening match, WCW tag team title: Harlem Heat v. The Nasty Boys. I firmly believe that if The Nasty Boys had changed their name to The Nasty Boyz, they could have established the trend that was set years later and thus extended their stay in the wrestling world by hours or even DAYS longer. Think about it. Despite the involvement of Booker T in this, the participation of Saggs and Knobs would seem to preclude any subplots involving shampoo, or personal hygiene of any sort for that matter. (Guessing this was written in 2002, then.)  Saggs comes out alone due to an undefined attack on Knobs. Perhaps it involved him stealing a Japanese shampoo endorsement contract, I don’t know. Please keep in mind that if you’re reading this in, say, 2007, these jokes will of course be horribly dated and probably make no sense out of context, but then that’s never stopped me before. (Besides, that’s what 2012 Scott is here for!  To explain the dated 2002 jokes!)  Hell, if Whoopi Goldberg can host the Oscars with HER material, then this is practically Season 5 Simpsons by comparison. Booker starts for the Heat and slugs away, but Saggs clotheslines him and holds off both Heat members. Double-DDT and he gets a shot in on Sista Sherri as well. Pumphandle slam gets two. Stevie Ray comes in for the double-team, but Sags goes low a couple of times. It gets two. Sags goes up with a double-elbow for two. Saggs chases Sherri like a moron and gets caught in the heel corner and choked out by Stevie. Booker gets a forearm and elbow, and hits the chinlock. The SPINAROONI (not yet named) and sidekick (which Eric calls something so incredibly stupid like “jumping front leg back spinwheel kick” that I’m inspired to note the rest of his retarded kick names) puts Sags down again, and Steve comes in with a dropkick. Sideslam sets up Booker’s Harlem Hangover, but he stalls too long and only gets two. See now, this has always been wrestling’s little mini-play about morality and the importance of following up right away, but really to be completely accurate, you’d have to also note that going to the top rope to do ANYTHING is pretty much a waste of time, given the spectacularly bad track record of heels who attempt to do so. Stevie Ray then makes my week by coming off the BOTTOM rope and yet still blows the legdrop. Now THAT’S funny. Eric thinks that this is so brutal that the ref should just stop the match. I not only fully concur with the sentiment, but I also vote the more extreme measure of building a time machine and going back to the 50s to kill all of the parents of the competitors. However, then I’d probably get jumped on the street by a gang of Comp Sci majors who spend their lives arguing that such a thing is impossible due to the precedent set by the Terminator movies. However, I do not personally discount the possibility of an evil computer from 20 years in the future sending back a cybernetically-enhanced Stevie Ray, whose only goal is to have horrible matches and annoy me. (At least I was in a good mood when I was enduring this.)  Sags suddenly starts no-selling (maybe HE’S the evil robot.) and piledrives Booker, as Knobs hobbles out with his indeterminate injury (there’s tape all over him, so it MUST be bad. I’d like to meet the medical personnel they’ve got working back there and find out how I can get a piece of that action — $500 an hour for wrapping a guy up like a mummy every time he gets kicked anywhere in the torso area seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.) He wants the tag! If I’m Sags, I’m thinking “Hey, great timing, I get beat up for 10 minutes and you hobble out like a hero and clean up.” But apparently Sags is too dumb to know when he’s being screwed, because he tags out and Knobs cleans house. Bulldog for Booker, and Stevie gets dumped. Sags then finishes Booker with the Shitty Elbow at 10:52 to win their third and final tag titles. Man, when they announced that it was the Nasty’s final title shot, I was like “Oh, man, they’ll NEVER win now because when does a babyface ever win their last shot ever at a title?” And then they went and won the title, and it was just like Andy Williams doing “Moon River” after all. You’d think that two teams who had as many matches as these guys would break ** one of those times, and you’d be wrong. * – The Man With No Talent v. Kevin Sullivan. Yes, it’s Ed Leslie’s all-too-brief babyface run from 1995, AFTER he realized that Kevin Sullivan was screwing him over as the Butcher, but BEFORE he went right back to him as Zodiac Man mere weeks later to join the fledgling Dungeon of Doom. Of course, later they claimed that he was a double-agent for Hulkamania all along, but then the WWF claims that Stephanie was in on the Vegas wedding and rape all along too, and we don’t listen to them, either. (Obviously time has shown that Stephanie wasn’t exactly putting up much of a fight against HHH.)  This was yet another epic storyline (in a series of them) stemming from the labyrinthine plot of the Evad Sullivan feud, as Kevin sacrificed the Butcher in order to get a win over his estranged brother. Butcher swore revenge, and then to show him that he REALLY meant business, he changed gimmicks.TWICE! First to the Man With No Face, and then to the Man With No Name. The first one was naturally false advertising, and the second is self-contradictory, much like rock groups releasing songs called “Untitled”. Besides, Eric generally refers to him as “Butcher, the Man With No Name” during the match, thus pretty much killing the point of the gimmick right out of the gate. Eric’s credibility streak continues, as he points out what great shape Butcher is in, while he staggers out with a Rikishi-like ass and beer gut. (In fairness to Butcher, by the tie he returned as Disciple he was in much better shape and had an awesome beard, too.)  Brutus starts out with a high knee and they brawl outside. Back in, Zodiac pounds away in the corner and chops away. Sleeper, but Sullivan miraculously escapes with a jawbreaker and tosses him. More brawling, but Bootyman chokes away when they head back in. Sullivan comes back, but Disciple no-sells and gets a chop to the head for two. I thought the Wahoo match wasn’t on yet? Butcher piledrives him for two. Sullivan goes to the eyes (hey, wait, I thought he didn’t have a face? REFUND!) and they brawl out again. Dizzy Ed meets the post, sort of, because he actually hits nothing, prompting Eric & Bobby to note that Sullivan was aiming for the TURNBUCKLE or perhaps the steel cable, “because it’s sharper”. I cannot make this stuff up if I wanted to. Back in, Furface misses a splash, and Sullivan hangs him in the Tree of Woe and finishes with the double-stomp at 5:45. THANK CHRIST! Well, it IS Easter. -*** Then just when you thought the pain was over, King Curtis appears on the video screen to direct Kevin to form the Dungeon of Doom. Why can’t these mysterious types direct the heels to do something useful, like planting drugs in Hogan’s gymbag and telling the FBI about it?  (Or hiding a video camera in his hotel room so they can frame him with a sex tape!)  – Legends Match: Wahoo McDaniel v. Dick Murdoch. This is in black & white, because that denotes things that are old and nostalgic rather than fresh and interesting. Gordon Solie is doing commentary, thus giving Bobby Heenan someone to recycle the material on. Wahoo gets a devastating armdrag, but Dick comes back with a series of elbows. They slug it out, and stalling results. Cheapshot turns the tide, but Wahoo gets him back. More stalling. Wahoo starts pounding, but Dick knees him and stomps away. Murdoch goes up and rides him down with a knee to the neck, and the big elbow gets two. Wahoo chops him down for the pin at 6:18. Smell the workrate! Oh, wait, that’s Ben Gay. DUD – IWGP title: The Great Muta v. Paul Orndorff. Wristlock sequence to start, but Paul retreats to the ropes. Muta takes him down and Orndorff stalls. Muta gets a spinkick (“jump back side kick”) and Orndorff stalls. They work off a headlock, which bores the crowd faster than an X-Pac match. Orndorff clotheslines him, but an elbow misses and Muta gets a dropkick (“jump double kick” I shit you not) and elbow. (Bischoff’s commentary here reminds me of Sheldon on Big Bang Theory, endlessly correcting everyone because he happens to know a bit more about an obscure subject that no one else cares about.)  Then he hits the chinlock. That goes on for a LONG time, before Orndorff suplexes him and stomps away. The BOOGIE WOOGIE ELBOW OF DEATH sets up another chinlock, this time for Orndorff. That goes on about as long as the Korean War before Muta escapes and misses a dropkick, and Orndorff goes to a facelock instead. Muta comes back with a clothesline and elbowdrop. Orndorff keeps slugging away and a fistdrop gets two. Piledriver is reversed an Muta spinkicks him and gets the handspring elbow for two. Moonsault finishes clean at 14:10. Yes, FIFTEEN MINUTES. ½* – World TV title: Arn Anderson v. Alex Wright. Alex was undefeated but was getting screwed around by everyone in the promotion outside of Ric Flair. Wright gets a quick armdrag to start and works a headlock. That goes on for a while. Bobby, in a desperate attempt to revive obscure 50s catchphrases, notes that Alex has “greasy kid’s stuff” in his hair. Alex gets an enzuigiri (“back leg round kick”) and back to the headlock. Dropkick and back to the headlock. Well, he’s certainly got that one down pat. AA gets a cheapshot to break, but Alex gets an STF after ducking Arn’s version of the enzuigiri. Arn makes the ropes and bails. Alex follows with a pescado, and sends Arn to the post. Back in, Alex goes to the arm, but Arn cheats to win. Spinebuster and he goes to work. Alex escapes a toehold and comes back with a leg lariat (“jump spin wheel kick”), and gets a missile dropkick for two. Arn cradles for two, reversed for two. They collide, and Arn DDTs him back to Germany at 11:34. Not exactly a classic or anything, but it was watchable. ** – Hawk v. Meng. This is bigger than a Surprise Match OR a Bonus Match it’s a SURPRISE BONUS MATCH! Meng slugs away with kicks (“back leg round kicks”) and a clothesline. Piledriver is no-sold and Hawk gives him a neckbreaker, which is also no-sold. Hawk misses a charge and bails, allowing Parker to get his shots in. Hawk meets the post. Back in, backbreaker gets two for THEMONSTERMENG. Hawk comes back, and Meng gleefully no-sells it all like Paul Heyman giving excuses to the bankruptcy court. (High five!  Anyone?)  Clothesline finally works. Fistdrop gets two. Hawk goes up and misses all the way to the floor, and they brawl for the double-countout at 4:40. It’s both a surprise because I expected a finish of some sort, and a bonus because the match is over. ¼* A group of concerned jobbers run out to prevent any further match outbreaks. (I had totally forgotten about this rant and bitchy sarcastic Scott is pretty awesome around this time.)  – The 1995 Hall of Fame inductions are next, as Dusty Rhodes (I know, I’m shocked too), Terry Funk, Antonio Inoki, Big John Studd, Wahoo McDaniel, Angelo Poffo and Gordon Solie are all welcomed in. Angelo’s induction was largely a joke, as he was only invited there as cannon fodder for the Flair-Savage feud. – Sting v. Big Bubba Rogers. Sting brings a table with him. Stalling to start. Sting gets a dropkick and Bubba bails and stalls. He pounds away back in the ring, and uses his emergency backup tie to choke Sting out. What is he, Italian now? (Or Daniel Bryan?)  Sting dropkicks him to escape. Bubba slugs again, but Sting clotheslines him for two. They brawl out and Sting rams him into the folded table and slams him on it. Bubba comes back with the BABY POWDER OF DISFIGUREMENT and they head back in, where the table gets set up in the corner. Sting hits it, but escapes a piledriver. Stinger Splash hits table, however. Bossman Slam gets two. He goes up and gets slammed off, and Sting splashes for two. Clothesline and Sting slugs him down, then puts the table on top of him and double-stomps it to set up the Scorpion Deathlock for the win at 9:36. They should market this show as a cure for insomnia. ½* – Ric Flair & Vader v. Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage. Hogan & Vader start and stall. Vader pounds away but Hogan follows suit and gets a clothesline. Vader gets dumped, and Savage follows with an axehandle. They Megapowers try some double-teaming, but get bowled over by Vader. Flair attacks Savage outside, and back in Savage comes back. Flair Flip leads into a Hogan boot. Cute. Savage dumps Flair, and stalling follows. Back in, Flair goes to the eyes and starts chopping, but Hogan comes in and no-sells the chops. Clothesline, but Flair goes to the eyes again and drops a knee. To the top, but Hogan slams him off and goes for a Dusty-like figure-four. They even do the spot where Arn runs in and gets cradled. But Flair goes to the knee and starts working on it. Vader helps out with a toehold, as Paul Wight stands in the entranceway and looks menacing. That pretty much marks the peak for his career. (Hey now, he went on to win the IC title from Cody Rhodes.  That’s, something, I guess.)  Hogan no-sells a suplex, but puts his head down and gets discombobulated by Vader. Flair chokes him down and Vader avalanches him. Pump splash, but the moonsault misses. Hot tag Savage, who quickly gets decked by Flair, but comes back with the big elbow before Arn pulls him out. IT’S AN AMBUSH, RANDY! Too late. Back in, Flair drops a knee and Vader gets that moonsault, for two. Eric notes that Savage is tougher than Nailz. No way, dude, Nailz beat up Vince McMahon, no one’s tougher than him! (High five!  Anyone?)  Flair chops away, but Savage fights back. Eric notes that only one thing can stop this match, and that’s a pinfall or the marine corps. I think that one speaks for itself. Hot tag Hulk, who pounds Flair and slams both heels. Big boot, but Arn trips him up. Vader splash gets two, but he Hulks up. Arn hits Flair by mistake, legdrop finishes at 18:56. Hey, Flair jobs again, what a shock. Match was pretty fun. *** Angelo Poffo tries to save Savage from a heel beatdown, but he himself gets beaten down to set up a Flair-Savage match for the next PPV. The Bottom Line: This show is so bad that I hear George Bush is going to invade and destroy it for the sake of wiping out terrorism in the world.  (High five!  Anyone?)  Strongest recommendation to avoid.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1995

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 95 – Live from Tampa, FL. – Your hosts are Mr. McMahon & The King (2012 Scott sez:  I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that I did a redo of this show after the “Netcop” era, but I can’t find one, so I guess I’m losing my mind again.  This one is written in the post-2000 style, though, so who knows.)  – Welcome to the great downward slide of the WWF, as this is the first of many financially disastrous PPVs featuring Kevin Nash as World champion and a cast of characters that no one gave a crap about.Opening match, Intercontinental title: Razor Ramon v. Jeff Jarrett. Case in point, this match, since Vince was so determined to get Jarrett over as a heel that as soon as “Roadie” Jesse Jammes gave Jarrett even the slightest heel heat, he got moved to the next level. 75% of the heat was for the Road Dogg, however, as evidenced by the Milli Vanilli storyline. (2012 Scott sez:  Are Milli Vanilli references still a thing?)Ramon’s fruity color of choice tonight: Banana yellow. Ramon hits a quick fallaway slam and chokeslam, causing Jarrett to bail. Stall session follows, as Jarrett plays headgames. We get a test of strength 5 minutes later and an armbar. Jarrett hits three dropkicks to finally get this horse kicking. Lariat gets two. Jarrett controls with some basic stuff that gets a few two counts. A swinging neckbreaker and feet on the ropes get more two counts. Ramon quickly slides out and posts Jarrett, and hits a messed up flying bulldog for two (Jarrett turned around to face Ramon before the move). Jarrett dumps him to the floor, and Ramon blows out his knee (and Roadie clips him for good measure) and is counted out at 11:44. Call it **1/2 for some decent stuff between the stalling. Jarrett does the standard thing for Ramon matches – he challenges him to quit being a chicken and continue, a situation that would usually take place on house shows and result on Ramon getting a quick Razor’s Edge to retain for real. However, that finish was pretty much squeezed dry six ways from Sunday, so they changed it up a bit as we head into… – Intercontinental title match #2: Razor Ramon v. Jeff Jarrett. Ramon gets a quick cradle and a small package, but Jarrett viciously goes after the knee. Figure-four gets Jarrett a few two-counts. Ramon makes the superman comeback and hits a backdrop superplex for two. Razor’s Edge, but the knee collapses on the way down and Jarrett covers for the clean pin and his first I-C title at 6:18. Second match was as good as the first, short as it was. ** – IRS v. The Undertaker. Massive stall session to start. Into the ring, more stalling. UT tosses him around. That’s pretty much the first 5 minutes right there. Dibiase jumps onto the apron and IRS collides with him, so Dibiase summons those ever-mysterious Druids (Jimmy Del Rey of the Heavenly Bodies and a Harris brother in black robes, so don’t bother Asking The Rick) to run some interference, but UT just ignores them. (2012 Scott sez:  Anyone play the “beat the Undertaker” storyline in Smackdown v. RAW 2011?  The all-Druid Rumble was kind of trippy, actually.)  Finally they manage to triple-team him long enough to give IRS the advantage. So what does he do? An abdominal stretch. Geez, no wonder the guy never made it past mid-card. He misses a splash and UT comes back. Those pesky Druids keep interfering, however, forcing Undertaker to keep fighting them off until he can hit a chokeslam for the pin at 10:45. Well, that’s 10 minutes I’ll never get back again. ¼* King Kong Bundy waddles in and IRS takes the opportunity to steal the urn and kick off another fascinating 8 month storyline for Undertaker.  (2012 Scott sez:  Ah, the good old days when someone would just steal the urn to generate an insta-feud with Undertaker, instead of having to be his brother or try to break the Wrestlemania streak or whatever.)  WWF title match: Diesel v. Bret Hart. Diesel’s big feat was winning all three titles in the same calendar year, something not only duplicated by Steve Austin in 1997, but improved upon as Austin won all three titles…TWICE. Well, I guess the second WWF title came about a month shy of one calendar year after he won he first tag title (May 97 – June 98) but as my chem teacher used to say, good enough for government work. (2012 Scott sez:  Nowadays you’re considered a pussy if you don’t win all the titles THREE times in the same year, with extra points if you can win them in the same show.) Bret works the knee to start. He gets a figure-four early, but Diesel makes the ropes. Bret goes for it again, Diesel escapes again. Big D takes a breather, so Bret follows with a dive through the ropes and takes him down. Diesel whips him into the stairs and takes control back in the ring, working on Bret’s back. Sideslam gets two. He continues working on the back and tries a body vice, but Bret reverses out. Big boot and elbowdrop gets two. Bret bails and ends up using his wrist tape to tie Diesel’s legs around the post, giving Bret the upper hand. Bulldog gets two, and we go into…THE FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Okay, quick moment of clarification for those who keep asking: The FIVE MOVES OF DOOM (always written in all caps, of course) are as follows – Bulldog, vertical suplex, russian legsweep, backbreaker and second-rope elbow. They are the setup moves for the Sharpshooter, although it doesn’t always follow them right away. Diesel bails after the elbow and Bret tries the dive again, but gets caught in mid-air and rammed back-first into the post. Diesel gets a good face pop for that, then tosses Bret back in and powerbombs him for the…wait a sec, here’s Shawn Michaels in to break up the count and attack Diesel’s knee. The ref decides to continue the match. Bret goes back to the leg, which Big Kev starts selling pretty convincingly. Figure four again, Diesel breaks it with shots to the ribs and lower back. See, that’s some WICKED psychology there, kids. They inflict injuries on each other and then use them to counter each other’s moves later on. He goes to work on Bret’s ribs and back in the corner, and a gut-wrench suplex gets two. Diesel gets caught in the corner and Bret posts him, then takes a swing at his leg with a chair, drawing heel heat. Sharpshooter, but now Owen comes out to break it up, and again the match continues. Diesel covers the unconscious Bret for two. Slugfest and Diesel goes for a chair, but changes his mind, which allows Bret the time to survey the situation and decide to play possum. Diesel goes for the powerbomb, but Bret small packages for two. That would end up being the finish for the eventual rematch at Survivor Series for that year. But in this case, Diesel kicks out, and then the ref gets bumped and EVERYONE runs in for the no-contest at 27:21. That was a pretty shitty ending right there. ****, more if it had a finish that didn’t suck. That rating kind of shocks me because I wasn’t thrilled with the match back in 95 when I first watched it, but it was way better than I remember it.  (2012 Scott sez:  That’s basically a Sportz Entertainment Finish, 2 years before such a thing was invented.)  WWF tag team title, tournament final: Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka v. 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly. Kid & Sparky were the upset kings of the tournament, although going over Well Dunn in the first round and the Heavenly Jobbers in the second hardly counts as upsetting anyone in my book. Tatanka calmly works Holly over, then Bigelow plows through Holly & Kid. Bammer tosses the Kid literally 10 feet in the air, but he reverses to a rana on the way down. Some miscommunication gives the underdogs a brief respite, but Bob Holly’s recurring case of jobberitis pops up and he gets murdered by Tatanka. Both teams do a miscommunication spot, but poor Bob gets the worst of the situation because NOTHING is working for him tonight. He pathetically crawls to the wrong corner and gets beaten down. He’s got some pretty good sympathy heat going, I’ll give him that. Both Holly & Tatanka go for a cross-body and collide, allowing Holly to make the hot (and I mean HOT) tag to the Kid. Missile dropkick for Bigelow, and somersault tope for Tatanka. Bigelow does a Spike Dudley job on the Kid, tossing him onto the floor with a thud. Ouch. Bigelow then goes for the moonsault, but Tatanka tries his own move coming off the ropes, and they cross paths on the way and Bigelow ends up out cold on the mat and Tatanka is out cold on the floor. 1-2-3 Kid covers for the pin and the tag title at 15:44. Match was a wee bit too long for the story being told, but very good otherwise. ***1/4 The honeymoon only lasted a scant 24 hours, however, as the returning Smoking Gunns claimed the titles the next night on RAW. – The Big Angle of 1995 then follows, as ringside observer Lawrence Taylor makes fun of Bigelow for jobbing, and gets shoved down for his troubles. This was played as a shoot angle back then, but watching it today makes it pretty easy to tell it was a work. It led to the Bigelow-LT match at Wrestlemania XI, at any rate, so obviously SOME people bought it.  (2012 Scott sez:  Just imagine the buyrate for WM11 if they HADN’T done this angle.  Shawn v. Diesel in 1995 as a main event?  Yeesh.)  Royal Rumble: This is the aggravating super-abbreviated version with 60 second intervals for time reasons. Vince hypes it as the “fastest-paced Rumble ever”, which is like when Microsoft finds a bug and calls it a “feature”. (2012 Scott sez:  Or Windows 7.)  The move pissed off EVERYONE, however, and hasn’t been seen since. Shawn Michaels gets #1, and British Bulldog gets #2. For those who weren’t around, Shawn’s participation in the Rumble was equivalent to Rocky’s this year: A mere formality. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, but technically BIG SHOW ended up winning the 2000 Rumble, which is what I was referring to there.)  So they gave him #1 to build suspense for his inevitable win. Bulldog manhandles Shawn quickly, with Shawn teasing elimination a few times. Spot I hate the most in the Rumble: Bulldog presses someone above his head, but instead of dumping them out, he just slams them to the mat. That’s just idiotic, and he (and Luger) do it EVERY YEAR they are in the Rumble. Eli Blu is #3. Duke Droese is #4. Jimmy Del Rey is #5. Mainly just punching and kicking going on. Shawn teases elimination again. Barbarian is #6. Bulldog knocks Del Ray out for the first elimination. Tom Pritchard takes his place at #7. This 60 second thing is ludicrous, there’s just no way to tell a story. Doink is #8 and everyone pairs off. Kwang is #9. Who would have ever thought that Savio Vega could actually be a step UP the gimmick ladder? When do you ever hear sentences like “Boy, he’s way better off with that Caribbean Legend gimmick now!” except in cases like Kwang?  (2012 Scott sez:  “Yeah, Dolph Ziggler is a stupid name, but at least he’s not a cheerleader or Chavo’s caddie anymore.”) Rick Martel is #10 on the downswing of his career. Too many people in there right now. Kwang almost knocks Shawn out. Owen Hart is #11, and his loving brother Bret attacks him and kicks his ass. Crowd eats it up, and by the time he’s done we’re at #12 with Timothy Well of Well Dunn. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, there’s some star power for you, they were stretched so thin that year that WELL DUNN is in this thing.  No disrespect meant to whichever one is dead now.)  Owen is tossed by the Bulldog immediately upon entry, followed by Droese, Well, Martel, Pritchard and Doink. Good riddance. Sheepfucker Luke is #13 as Eli & Kwang eliminate each other. Speaking of semi-famous Eli’s, here’s one for The Rick: Whatever happened to UWF midcarder Eli The Eliminator? I used to think he was pretty cool back in my mark days. And may I just say thank god the hick Spokane station we got in Vancouver carried Bill Watts’ UWF, even it was at 2 in the morning. I think it was KCPQ, but I could be off. Help me here, fellow Lower Mainlanders from the 80s!  (2012 Scott sez:  Most awesome 5-hour block of wrestling EVER.   WWF Superstars, then NWA Worldwide, then Pro Wrestling This Week, then GLOW, then UWF.  AWESOME.)  Shawn dumps Luke, leaving him and the Bulldog. Jacob Blu is #14 and a blind charge at Shawn ends his night. Back to Shawn & Bulldog. King Kong Bundy is #15 and the crowd seems worried for Shawn (who was actually a heel at this point, but getting sympathetic face pops by the bucketful). Mo is #16, and soon he’s no mo’. Mabel is #17, and I guess the gravitational pull of both him and Bundy is too much, because they collide and do a showdown. Sheepfucker Butch is #18 as Mabel & Bundy put more stress on the ring ropes than is mandated by law, and so the poor thing screams in pain until one of them falls out – in this case, Bundy. That darn gravitational pull acts up again, taking Butch with him. The man is so fat he’s a menace to the laws of physics. Mabel & Bulldog almost get Shawn out, but Lex Luger makes the save at #19. He tosses Mabel out, which is admittedly pretty impressive. Luger & Bulldog go after Shawn now, but speaking of fat people, here’s Mantaur (PN News’ little brother and future ECW reject Bruiser Mastino) to help out at #20. (2012 Scott sez:  Fucking MANTAUR is #20.  How did they not go out of business?)  Aldo Montoya (and really, how many jokes can be made about the poor guy?) is #21 and Shawn nearly knocks the jockstrap off his face with some rights (okay, so I’m weak…). (2012 Scott sez:  If mocking Pete Polaco is wrong, I don’t want to be right.)  HOG is #22. Billy Gunn is #23, Bart Gunn is #24, and my jobber sense is tingling as the match goes nowhere. Mr. Bob Backlund is #25, but Bret attacks HIM too, to the delight of the crowd. Luger’s elimination of him is academic. Steven Dunn is #26. Dick Murdoch gets the honor of being the Token Old-Timer at #27 and does pretty good for himself. Too many guys in there right now again. Adam Bomb is #28. Fatu is #29 as Mantaur goes out via Luger. Crush gets the honor of being #30. Interesting note: Although Vince tried to resuscitate Crush’s singles push after a horrible 1994, life intervened as Crush was arrested on weapons charges soon after this and didn’t return until 1996 as the ex-convict themed Crush. (2012 Scott sez:  Sadly, Brian Adams’ story, like most in wrestling, had no happy ending.)  Crush dumps both Gunns at once. Dunn is done. More milling around to use up PPV time. Somewhere in here, Vince and Jerry are discussing the co-winner situation from the previous year, and there’s a funny exchange later on: – Lawler: “I’m changing my official prediction to Shawn & Crush!” – Vince: “You can’t have two people winning the Royal Rumble!” – Lawler: “Well, it happened last year!” – Vince: “[Pauses] Well, that’ll NEVER happen again, I promise you.” The audible cringe in Vince’s voice is pretty funny. – Murdoch almost tosses Shawn, but Luger saves him. Crush backdrops Adam Bomb out, then Shawn gets rid of Aldo. Luger saves Shawn from Murdoch again. Crush dumps Fatu. Murdoch tries an airplane spin on Godwinn, but gets dizzy and falls out. Godwinn is still dizzy himself, so Luger gets rid of him. – Final Four: Shawn, Bulldog, Luger & Crush. Pretty good field for the final four. Luger tries the 10-punch count on Crush, and that’s so idiotic that Shawn can’t resist simply pushing him over and out. Shawn & Crush strike a bargain and beat up Bulldog, then Crush turns on Shawn and is about to press him out of the ring, but Bulldog charges and knocks Crush out of the ring and Shawn down to safety. So we’re back where we started at the beginning: Shawn v. Bulldog. Bulldog kills him and clotheslines him out for the win, but Shawn plays hot-potato with his feet, and eventually crawls back in and dumps the celebrating Bulldog out for the real win at 38:39. Replays show that indeed, Shawn managed to somehow only have one foot touch the ground. Good Rumble for the huge flaws imposed on it. ***1/2 Pamela Anderson celebrates with Shawn and looks none too thrilled to be a part of it. Yeah, because god knows BAYWATCH has way more critical acclaim and highbrow appeal than wrestling does… (2012 Scott sez:  Maybe that’s where Abdullah got Hepatitis from?) The Bottom Line: I’m torn on the recommendation, because actually everything is quite surprisingly great on this show, with the only weak match being the UT-IRS stall-fest. On the other hand, the show is so bland and historically meaningless that there’s no real reason to run out and watch it. Still, a recommended show for the wrestling alone.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1995

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 95 – Live from Tampa, FL. – Your hosts are Mr. McMahon & The King (2012 Scott sez:  I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that I did a redo of this show after the “Netcop” era, but I can’t find one, so I guess I’m losing my mind again.  This one is written in the post-2000 style, though, so who knows.)  – Welcome to the great downward slide of the WWF, as this is the first of many financially disastrous PPVs featuring Kevin Nash as World champion and a cast of characters that no one gave a crap about.Opening match, Intercontinental title: Razor Ramon v. Jeff Jarrett. Case in point, this match, since Vince was so determined to get Jarrett over as a heel that as soon as “Roadie” Jesse Jammes gave Jarrett even the slightest heel heat, he got moved to the next level. 75% of the heat was for the Road Dogg, however, as evidenced by the Milli Vanilli storyline. (2012 Scott sez:  Are Milli Vanilli references still a thing?)Ramon’s fruity color of choice tonight: Banana yellow. Ramon hits a quick fallaway slam and chokeslam, causing Jarrett to bail. Stall session follows, as Jarrett plays headgames. We get a test of strength 5 minutes later and an armbar. Jarrett hits three dropkicks to finally get this horse kicking. Lariat gets two. Jarrett controls with some basic stuff that gets a few two counts. A swinging neckbreaker and feet on the ropes get more two counts. Ramon quickly slides out and posts Jarrett, and hits a messed up flying bulldog for two (Jarrett turned around to face Ramon before the move). Jarrett dumps him to the floor, and Ramon blows out his knee (and Roadie clips him for good measure) and is counted out at 11:44. Call it **1/2 for some decent stuff between the stalling. Jarrett does the standard thing for Ramon matches – he challenges him to quit being a chicken and continue, a situation that would usually take place on house shows and result on Ramon getting a quick Razor’s Edge to retain for real. However, that finish was pretty much squeezed dry six ways from Sunday, so they changed it up a bit as we head into… – Intercontinental title match #2: Razor Ramon v. Jeff Jarrett. Ramon gets a quick cradle and a small package, but Jarrett viciously goes after the knee. Figure-four gets Jarrett a few two-counts. Ramon makes the superman comeback and hits a backdrop superplex for two. Razor’s Edge, but the knee collapses on the way down and Jarrett covers for the clean pin and his first I-C title at 6:18. Second match was as good as the first, short as it was. ** – IRS v. The Undertaker. Massive stall session to start. Into the ring, more stalling. UT tosses him around. That’s pretty much the first 5 minutes right there. Dibiase jumps onto the apron and IRS collides with him, so Dibiase summons those ever-mysterious Druids (Jimmy Del Rey of the Heavenly Bodies and a Harris brother in black robes, so don’t bother Asking The Rick) to run some interference, but UT just ignores them. (2012 Scott sez:  Anyone play the “beat the Undertaker” storyline in Smackdown v. RAW 2011?  The all-Druid Rumble was kind of trippy, actually.)  Finally they manage to triple-team him long enough to give IRS the advantage. So what does he do? An abdominal stretch. Geez, no wonder the guy never made it past mid-card. He misses a splash and UT comes back. Those pesky Druids keep interfering, however, forcing Undertaker to keep fighting them off until he can hit a chokeslam for the pin at 10:45. Well, that’s 10 minutes I’ll never get back again. ¼* King Kong Bundy waddles in and IRS takes the opportunity to steal the urn and kick off another fascinating 8 month storyline for Undertaker.  (2012 Scott sez:  Ah, the good old days when someone would just steal the urn to generate an insta-feud with Undertaker, instead of having to be his brother or try to break the Wrestlemania streak or whatever.)  WWF title match: Diesel v. Bret Hart. Diesel’s big feat was winning all three titles in the same calendar year, something not only duplicated by Steve Austin in 1997, but improved upon as Austin won all three titles…TWICE. Well, I guess the second WWF title came about a month shy of one calendar year after he won he first tag title (May 97 – June 98) but as my chem teacher used to say, good enough for government work. (2012 Scott sez:  Nowadays you’re considered a pussy if you don’t win all the titles THREE times in the same year, with extra points if you can win them in the same show.) Bret works the knee to start. He gets a figure-four early, but Diesel makes the ropes. Bret goes for it again, Diesel escapes again. Big D takes a breather, so Bret follows with a dive through the ropes and takes him down. Diesel whips him into the stairs and takes control back in the ring, working on Bret’s back. Sideslam gets two. He continues working on the back and tries a body vice, but Bret reverses out. Big boot and elbowdrop gets two. Bret bails and ends up using his wrist tape to tie Diesel’s legs around the post, giving Bret the upper hand. Bulldog gets two, and we go into…THE FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Okay, quick moment of clarification for those who keep asking: The FIVE MOVES OF DOOM (always written in all caps, of course) are as follows – Bulldog, vertical suplex, russian legsweep, backbreaker and second-rope elbow. They are the setup moves for the Sharpshooter, although it doesn’t always follow them right away. Diesel bails after the elbow and Bret tries the dive again, but gets caught in mid-air and rammed back-first into the post. Diesel gets a good face pop for that, then tosses Bret back in and powerbombs him for the…wait a sec, here’s Shawn Michaels in to break up the count and attack Diesel’s knee. The ref decides to continue the match. Bret goes back to the leg, which Big Kev starts selling pretty convincingly. Figure four again, Diesel breaks it with shots to the ribs and lower back. See, that’s some WICKED psychology there, kids. They inflict injuries on each other and then use them to counter each other’s moves later on. He goes to work on Bret’s ribs and back in the corner, and a gut-wrench suplex gets two. Diesel gets caught in the corner and Bret posts him, then takes a swing at his leg with a chair, drawing heel heat. Sharpshooter, but now Owen comes out to break it up, and again the match continues. Diesel covers the unconscious Bret for two. Slugfest and Diesel goes for a chair, but changes his mind, which allows Bret the time to survey the situation and decide to play possum. Diesel goes for the powerbomb, but Bret small packages for two. That would end up being the finish for the eventual rematch at Survivor Series for that year. But in this case, Diesel kicks out, and then the ref gets bumped and EVERYONE runs in for the no-contest at 27:21. That was a pretty shitty ending right there. ****, more if it had a finish that didn’t suck. That rating kind of shocks me because I wasn’t thrilled with the match back in 95 when I first watched it, but it was way better than I remember it.  (2012 Scott sez:  That’s basically a Sportz Entertainment Finish, 2 years before such a thing was invented.)  WWF tag team title, tournament final: Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka v. 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly. Kid & Sparky were the upset kings of the tournament, although going over Well Dunn in the first round and the Heavenly Jobbers in the second hardly counts as upsetting anyone in my book. Tatanka calmly works Holly over, then Bigelow plows through Holly & Kid. Bammer tosses the Kid literally 10 feet in the air, but he reverses to a rana on the way down. Some miscommunication gives the underdogs a brief respite, but Bob Holly’s recurring case of jobberitis pops up and he gets murdered by Tatanka. Both teams do a miscommunication spot, but poor Bob gets the worst of the situation because NOTHING is working for him tonight. He pathetically crawls to the wrong corner and gets beaten down. He’s got some pretty good sympathy heat going, I’ll give him that. Both Holly & Tatanka go for a cross-body and collide, allowing Holly to make the hot (and I mean HOT) tag to the Kid. Missile dropkick for Bigelow, and somersault tope for Tatanka. Bigelow does a Spike Dudley job on the Kid, tossing him onto the floor with a thud. Ouch. Bigelow then goes for the moonsault, but Tatanka tries his own move coming off the ropes, and they cross paths on the way and Bigelow ends up out cold on the mat and Tatanka is out cold on the floor. 1-2-3 Kid covers for the pin and the tag title at 15:44. Match was a wee bit too long for the story being told, but very good otherwise. ***1/4 The honeymoon only lasted a scant 24 hours, however, as the returning Smoking Gunns claimed the titles the next night on RAW. – The Big Angle of 1995 then follows, as ringside observer Lawrence Taylor makes fun of Bigelow for jobbing, and gets shoved down for his troubles. This was played as a shoot angle back then, but watching it today makes it pretty easy to tell it was a work. It led to the Bigelow-LT match at Wrestlemania XI, at any rate, so obviously SOME people bought it.  (2012 Scott sez:  Just imagine the buyrate for WM11 if they HADN’T done this angle.  Shawn v. Diesel in 1995 as a main event?  Yeesh.)  Royal Rumble: This is the aggravating super-abbreviated version with 60 second intervals for time reasons. Vince hypes it as the “fastest-paced Rumble ever”, which is like when Microsoft finds a bug and calls it a “feature”. (2012 Scott sez:  Or Windows 7.)  The move pissed off EVERYONE, however, and hasn’t been seen since. Shawn Michaels gets #1, and British Bulldog gets #2. For those who weren’t around, Shawn’s participation in the Rumble was equivalent to Rocky’s this year: A mere formality. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, but technically BIG SHOW ended up winning the 2000 Rumble, which is what I was referring to there.)  So they gave him #1 to build suspense for his inevitable win. Bulldog manhandles Shawn quickly, with Shawn teasing elimination a few times. Spot I hate the most in the Rumble: Bulldog presses someone above his head, but instead of dumping them out, he just slams them to the mat. That’s just idiotic, and he (and Luger) do it EVERY YEAR they are in the Rumble. Eli Blu is #3. Duke Droese is #4. Jimmy Del Rey is #5. Mainly just punching and kicking going on. Shawn teases elimination again. Barbarian is #6. Bulldog knocks Del Ray out for the first elimination. Tom Pritchard takes his place at #7. This 60 second thing is ludicrous, there’s just no way to tell a story. Doink is #8 and everyone pairs off. Kwang is #9. Who would have ever thought that Savio Vega could actually be a step UP the gimmick ladder? When do you ever hear sentences like “Boy, he’s way better off with that Caribbean Legend gimmick now!” except in cases like Kwang?  (2012 Scott sez:  “Yeah, Dolph Ziggler is a stupid name, but at least he’s not a cheerleader or Chavo’s caddie anymore.”) Rick Martel is #10 on the downswing of his career. Too many people in there right now. Kwang almost knocks Shawn out. Owen Hart is #11, and his loving brother Bret attacks him and kicks his ass. Crowd eats it up, and by the time he’s done we’re at #12 with Timothy Well of Well Dunn. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, there’s some star power for you, they were stretched so thin that year that WELL DUNN is in this thing.  No disrespect meant to whichever one is dead now.)  Owen is tossed by the Bulldog immediately upon entry, followed by Droese, Well, Martel, Pritchard and Doink. Good riddance. Sheepfucker Luke is #13 as Eli & Kwang eliminate each other. Speaking of semi-famous Eli’s, here’s one for The Rick: Whatever happened to UWF midcarder Eli The Eliminator? I used to think he was pretty cool back in my mark days. And may I just say thank god the hick Spokane station we got in Vancouver carried Bill Watts’ UWF, even it was at 2 in the morning. I think it was KCPQ, but I could be off. Help me here, fellow Lower Mainlanders from the 80s!  (2012 Scott sez:  Most awesome 5-hour block of wrestling EVER.   WWF Superstars, then NWA Worldwide, then Pro Wrestling This Week, then GLOW, then UWF.  AWESOME.)  Shawn dumps Luke, leaving him and the Bulldog. Jacob Blu is #14 and a blind charge at Shawn ends his night. Back to Shawn & Bulldog. King Kong Bundy is #15 and the crowd seems worried for Shawn (who was actually a heel at this point, but getting sympathetic face pops by the bucketful). Mo is #16, and soon he’s no mo’. Mabel is #17, and I guess the gravitational pull of both him and Bundy is too much, because they collide and do a showdown. Sheepfucker Butch is #18 as Mabel & Bundy put more stress on the ring ropes than is mandated by law, and so the poor thing screams in pain until one of them falls out – in this case, Bundy. That darn gravitational pull acts up again, taking Butch with him. The man is so fat he’s a menace to the laws of physics. Mabel & Bulldog almost get Shawn out, but Lex Luger makes the save at #19. He tosses Mabel out, which is admittedly pretty impressive. Luger & Bulldog go after Shawn now, but speaking of fat people, here’s Mantaur (PN News’ little brother and future ECW reject Bruiser Mastino) to help out at #20. (2012 Scott sez:  Fucking MANTAUR is #20.  How did they not go out of business?)  Aldo Montoya (and really, how many jokes can be made about the poor guy?) is #21 and Shawn nearly knocks the jockstrap off his face with some rights (okay, so I’m weak…). (2012 Scott sez:  If mocking Pete Polaco is wrong, I don’t want to be right.)  HOG is #22. Billy Gunn is #23, Bart Gunn is #24, and my jobber sense is tingling as the match goes nowhere. Mr. Bob Backlund is #25, but Bret attacks HIM too, to the delight of the crowd. Luger’s elimination of him is academic. Steven Dunn is #26. Dick Murdoch gets the honor of being the Token Old-Timer at #27 and does pretty good for himself. Too many guys in there right now again. Adam Bomb is #28. Fatu is #29 as Mantaur goes out via Luger. Crush gets the honor of being #30. Interesting note: Although Vince tried to resuscitate Crush’s singles push after a horrible 1994, life intervened as Crush was arrested on weapons charges soon after this and didn’t return until 1996 as the ex-convict themed Crush. (2012 Scott sez:  Sadly, Brian Adams’ story, like most in wrestling, had no happy ending.)  Crush dumps both Gunns at once. Dunn is done. More milling around to use up PPV time. Somewhere in here, Vince and Jerry are discussing the co-winner situation from the previous year, and there’s a funny exchange later on: – Lawler: “I’m changing my official prediction to Shawn & Crush!” – Vince: “You can’t have two people winning the Royal Rumble!” – Lawler: “Well, it happened last year!” – Vince: “[Pauses] Well, that’ll NEVER happen again, I promise you.” The audible cringe in Vince’s voice is pretty funny. – Murdoch almost tosses Shawn, but Luger saves him. Crush backdrops Adam Bomb out, then Shawn gets rid of Aldo. Luger saves Shawn from Murdoch again. Crush dumps Fatu. Murdoch tries an airplane spin on Godwinn, but gets dizzy and falls out. Godwinn is still dizzy himself, so Luger gets rid of him. – Final Four: Shawn, Bulldog, Luger & Crush. Pretty good field for the final four. Luger tries the 10-punch count on Crush, and that’s so idiotic that Shawn can’t resist simply pushing him over and out. Shawn & Crush strike a bargain and beat up Bulldog, then Crush turns on Shawn and is about to press him out of the ring, but Bulldog charges and knocks Crush out of the ring and Shawn down to safety. So we’re back where we started at the beginning: Shawn v. Bulldog. Bulldog kills him and clotheslines him out for the win, but Shawn plays hot-potato with his feet, and eventually crawls back in and dumps the celebrating Bulldog out for the real win at 38:39. Replays show that indeed, Shawn managed to somehow only have one foot touch the ground. Good Rumble for the huge flaws imposed on it. ***1/2 Pamela Anderson celebrates with Shawn and looks none too thrilled to be a part of it. Yeah, because god knows BAYWATCH has way more critical acclaim and highbrow appeal than wrestling does… (2012 Scott sez:  Maybe that’s where Abdullah got Hepatitis from?) The Bottom Line: I’m torn on the recommendation, because actually everything is quite surprisingly great on this show, with the only weak match being the UT-IRS stall-fest. On the other hand, the show is so bland and historically meaningless that there’s no real reason to run out and watch it. Still, a recommended show for the wrestling alone.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1995

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 95 – Live from Tampa, FL. – Your hosts are Mr. McMahon & The King (2012 Scott sez:  I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that I did a redo of this show after the “Netcop” era, but I can’t find one, so I guess I’m losing my mind again.  This one is written in the post-2000 style, though, so who knows.)  – Welcome to the great downward slide of the WWF, as this is the first of many financially disastrous PPVs featuring Kevin Nash as World champion and a cast of characters that no one gave a crap about.Opening match, Intercontinental title: Razor Ramon v. Jeff Jarrett. Case in point, this match, since Vince was so determined to get Jarrett over as a heel that as soon as “Roadie” Jesse Jammes gave Jarrett even the slightest heel heat, he got moved to the next level. 75% of the heat was for the Road Dogg, however, as evidenced by the Milli Vanilli storyline. (2012 Scott sez:  Are Milli Vanilli references still a thing?)Ramon’s fruity color of choice tonight: Banana yellow. Ramon hits a quick fallaway slam and chokeslam, causing Jarrett to bail. Stall session follows, as Jarrett plays headgames. We get a test of strength 5 minutes later and an armbar. Jarrett hits three dropkicks to finally get this horse kicking. Lariat gets two. Jarrett controls with some basic stuff that gets a few two counts. A swinging neckbreaker and feet on the ropes get more two counts. Ramon quickly slides out and posts Jarrett, and hits a messed up flying bulldog for two (Jarrett turned around to face Ramon before the move). Jarrett dumps him to the floor, and Ramon blows out his knee (and Roadie clips him for good measure) and is counted out at 11:44. Call it **1/2 for some decent stuff between the stalling. Jarrett does the standard thing for Ramon matches – he challenges him to quit being a chicken and continue, a situation that would usually take place on house shows and result on Ramon getting a quick Razor’s Edge to retain for real. However, that finish was pretty much squeezed dry six ways from Sunday, so they changed it up a bit as we head into… – Intercontinental title match #2: Razor Ramon v. Jeff Jarrett. Ramon gets a quick cradle and a small package, but Jarrett viciously goes after the knee. Figure-four gets Jarrett a few two-counts. Ramon makes the superman comeback and hits a backdrop superplex for two. Razor’s Edge, but the knee collapses on the way down and Jarrett covers for the clean pin and his first I-C title at 6:18. Second match was as good as the first, short as it was. ** – IRS v. The Undertaker. Massive stall session to start. Into the ring, more stalling. UT tosses him around. That’s pretty much the first 5 minutes right there. Dibiase jumps onto the apron and IRS collides with him, so Dibiase summons those ever-mysterious Druids (Jimmy Del Rey of the Heavenly Bodies and a Harris brother in black robes, so don’t bother Asking The Rick) to run some interference, but UT just ignores them. (2012 Scott sez:  Anyone play the “beat the Undertaker” storyline in Smackdown v. RAW 2011?  The all-Druid Rumble was kind of trippy, actually.)  Finally they manage to triple-team him long enough to give IRS the advantage. So what does he do? An abdominal stretch. Geez, no wonder the guy never made it past mid-card. He misses a splash and UT comes back. Those pesky Druids keep interfering, however, forcing Undertaker to keep fighting them off until he can hit a chokeslam for the pin at 10:45. Well, that’s 10 minutes I’ll never get back again. ¼* King Kong Bundy waddles in and IRS takes the opportunity to steal the urn and kick off another fascinating 8 month storyline for Undertaker.  (2012 Scott sez:  Ah, the good old days when someone would just steal the urn to generate an insta-feud with Undertaker, instead of having to be his brother or try to break the Wrestlemania streak or whatever.)  WWF title match: Diesel v. Bret Hart. Diesel’s big feat was winning all three titles in the same calendar year, something not only duplicated by Steve Austin in 1997, but improved upon as Austin won all three titles…TWICE. Well, I guess the second WWF title came about a month shy of one calendar year after he won he first tag title (May 97 – June 98) but as my chem teacher used to say, good enough for government work. (2012 Scott sez:  Nowadays you’re considered a pussy if you don’t win all the titles THREE times in the same year, with extra points if you can win them in the same show.) Bret works the knee to start. He gets a figure-four early, but Diesel makes the ropes. Bret goes for it again, Diesel escapes again. Big D takes a breather, so Bret follows with a dive through the ropes and takes him down. Diesel whips him into the stairs and takes control back in the ring, working on Bret’s back. Sideslam gets two. He continues working on the back and tries a body vice, but Bret reverses out. Big boot and elbowdrop gets two. Bret bails and ends up using his wrist tape to tie Diesel’s legs around the post, giving Bret the upper hand. Bulldog gets two, and we go into…THE FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Okay, quick moment of clarification for those who keep asking: The FIVE MOVES OF DOOM (always written in all caps, of course) are as follows – Bulldog, vertical suplex, russian legsweep, backbreaker and second-rope elbow. They are the setup moves for the Sharpshooter, although it doesn’t always follow them right away. Diesel bails after the elbow and Bret tries the dive again, but gets caught in mid-air and rammed back-first into the post. Diesel gets a good face pop for that, then tosses Bret back in and powerbombs him for the…wait a sec, here’s Shawn Michaels in to break up the count and attack Diesel’s knee. The ref decides to continue the match. Bret goes back to the leg, which Big Kev starts selling pretty convincingly. Figure four again, Diesel breaks it with shots to the ribs and lower back. See, that’s some WICKED psychology there, kids. They inflict injuries on each other and then use them to counter each other’s moves later on. He goes to work on Bret’s ribs and back in the corner, and a gut-wrench suplex gets two. Diesel gets caught in the corner and Bret posts him, then takes a swing at his leg with a chair, drawing heel heat. Sharpshooter, but now Owen comes out to break it up, and again the match continues. Diesel covers the unconscious Bret for two. Slugfest and Diesel goes for a chair, but changes his mind, which allows Bret the time to survey the situation and decide to play possum. Diesel goes for the powerbomb, but Bret small packages for two. That would end up being the finish for the eventual rematch at Survivor Series for that year. But in this case, Diesel kicks out, and then the ref gets bumped and EVERYONE runs in for the no-contest at 27:21. That was a pretty shitty ending right there. ****, more if it had a finish that didn’t suck. That rating kind of shocks me because I wasn’t thrilled with the match back in 95 when I first watched it, but it was way better than I remember it.  (2012 Scott sez:  That’s basically a Sportz Entertainment Finish, 2 years before such a thing was invented.)  WWF tag team title, tournament final: Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka v. 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly. Kid & Sparky were the upset kings of the tournament, although going over Well Dunn in the first round and the Heavenly Jobbers in the second hardly counts as upsetting anyone in my book. Tatanka calmly works Holly over, then Bigelow plows through Holly & Kid. Bammer tosses the Kid literally 10 feet in the air, but he reverses to a rana on the way down. Some miscommunication gives the underdogs a brief respite, but Bob Holly’s recurring case of jobberitis pops up and he gets murdered by Tatanka. Both teams do a miscommunication spot, but poor Bob gets the worst of the situation because NOTHING is working for him tonight. He pathetically crawls to the wrong corner and gets beaten down. He’s got some pretty good sympathy heat going, I’ll give him that. Both Holly & Tatanka go for a cross-body and collide, allowing Holly to make the hot (and I mean HOT) tag to the Kid. Missile dropkick for Bigelow, and somersault tope for Tatanka. Bigelow does a Spike Dudley job on the Kid, tossing him onto the floor with a thud. Ouch. Bigelow then goes for the moonsault, but Tatanka tries his own move coming off the ropes, and they cross paths on the way and Bigelow ends up out cold on the mat and Tatanka is out cold on the floor. 1-2-3 Kid covers for the pin and the tag title at 15:44. Match was a wee bit too long for the story being told, but very good otherwise. ***1/4 The honeymoon only lasted a scant 24 hours, however, as the returning Smoking Gunns claimed the titles the next night on RAW. – The Big Angle of 1995 then follows, as ringside observer Lawrence Taylor makes fun of Bigelow for jobbing, and gets shoved down for his troubles. This was played as a shoot angle back then, but watching it today makes it pretty easy to tell it was a work. It led to the Bigelow-LT match at Wrestlemania XI, at any rate, so obviously SOME people bought it.  (2012 Scott sez:  Just imagine the buyrate for WM11 if they HADN’T done this angle.  Shawn v. Diesel in 1995 as a main event?  Yeesh.)  Royal Rumble: This is the aggravating super-abbreviated version with 60 second intervals for time reasons. Vince hypes it as the “fastest-paced Rumble ever”, which is like when Microsoft finds a bug and calls it a “feature”. (2012 Scott sez:  Or Windows 7.)  The move pissed off EVERYONE, however, and hasn’t been seen since. Shawn Michaels gets #1, and British Bulldog gets #2. For those who weren’t around, Shawn’s participation in the Rumble was equivalent to Rocky’s this year: A mere formality. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, but technically BIG SHOW ended up winning the 2000 Rumble, which is what I was referring to there.)  So they gave him #1 to build suspense for his inevitable win. Bulldog manhandles Shawn quickly, with Shawn teasing elimination a few times. Spot I hate the most in the Rumble: Bulldog presses someone above his head, but instead of dumping them out, he just slams them to the mat. That’s just idiotic, and he (and Luger) do it EVERY YEAR they are in the Rumble. Eli Blu is #3. Duke Droese is #4. Jimmy Del Rey is #5. Mainly just punching and kicking going on. Shawn teases elimination again. Barbarian is #6. Bulldog knocks Del Ray out for the first elimination. Tom Pritchard takes his place at #7. This 60 second thing is ludicrous, there’s just no way to tell a story. Doink is #8 and everyone pairs off. Kwang is #9. Who would have ever thought that Savio Vega could actually be a step UP the gimmick ladder? When do you ever hear sentences like “Boy, he’s way better off with that Caribbean Legend gimmick now!” except in cases like Kwang?  (2012 Scott sez:  “Yeah, Dolph Ziggler is a stupid name, but at least he’s not a cheerleader or Chavo’s caddie anymore.”) Rick Martel is #10 on the downswing of his career. Too many people in there right now. Kwang almost knocks Shawn out. Owen Hart is #11, and his loving brother Bret attacks him and kicks his ass. Crowd eats it up, and by the time he’s done we’re at #12 with Timothy Well of Well Dunn. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, there’s some star power for you, they were stretched so thin that year that WELL DUNN is in this thing.  No disrespect meant to whichever one is dead now.)  Owen is tossed by the Bulldog immediately upon entry, followed by Droese, Well, Martel, Pritchard and Doink. Good riddance. Sheepfucker Luke is #13 as Eli & Kwang eliminate each other. Speaking of semi-famous Eli’s, here’s one for The Rick: Whatever happened to UWF midcarder Eli The Eliminator? I used to think he was pretty cool back in my mark days. And may I just say thank god the hick Spokane station we got in Vancouver carried Bill Watts’ UWF, even it was at 2 in the morning. I think it was KCPQ, but I could be off. Help me here, fellow Lower Mainlanders from the 80s!  (2012 Scott sez:  Most awesome 5-hour block of wrestling EVER.   WWF Superstars, then NWA Worldwide, then Pro Wrestling This Week, then GLOW, then UWF.  AWESOME.)  Shawn dumps Luke, leaving him and the Bulldog. Jacob Blu is #14 and a blind charge at Shawn ends his night. Back to Shawn & Bulldog. King Kong Bundy is #15 and the crowd seems worried for Shawn (who was actually a heel at this point, but getting sympathetic face pops by the bucketful). Mo is #16, and soon he’s no mo’. Mabel is #17, and I guess the gravitational pull of both him and Bundy is too much, because they collide and do a showdown. Sheepfucker Butch is #18 as Mabel & Bundy put more stress on the ring ropes than is mandated by law, and so the poor thing screams in pain until one of them falls out – in this case, Bundy. That darn gravitational pull acts up again, taking Butch with him. The man is so fat he’s a menace to the laws of physics. Mabel & Bulldog almost get Shawn out, but Lex Luger makes the save at #19. He tosses Mabel out, which is admittedly pretty impressive. Luger & Bulldog go after Shawn now, but speaking of fat people, here’s Mantaur (PN News’ little brother and future ECW reject Bruiser Mastino) to help out at #20. (2012 Scott sez:  Fucking MANTAUR is #20.  How did they not go out of business?)  Aldo Montoya (and really, how many jokes can be made about the poor guy?) is #21 and Shawn nearly knocks the jockstrap off his face with some rights (okay, so I’m weak…). (2012 Scott sez:  If mocking Pete Polaco is wrong, I don’t want to be right.)  HOG is #22. Billy Gunn is #23, Bart Gunn is #24, and my jobber sense is tingling as the match goes nowhere. Mr. Bob Backlund is #25, but Bret attacks HIM too, to the delight of the crowd. Luger’s elimination of him is academic. Steven Dunn is #26. Dick Murdoch gets the honor of being the Token Old-Timer at #27 and does pretty good for himself. Too many guys in there right now again. Adam Bomb is #28. Fatu is #29 as Mantaur goes out via Luger. Crush gets the honor of being #30. Interesting note: Although Vince tried to resuscitate Crush’s singles push after a horrible 1994, life intervened as Crush was arrested on weapons charges soon after this and didn’t return until 1996 as the ex-convict themed Crush. (2012 Scott sez:  Sadly, Brian Adams’ story, like most in wrestling, had no happy ending.)  Crush dumps both Gunns at once. Dunn is done. More milling around to use up PPV time. Somewhere in here, Vince and Jerry are discussing the co-winner situation from the previous year, and there’s a funny exchange later on: – Lawler: “I’m changing my official prediction to Shawn & Crush!” – Vince: “You can’t have two people winning the Royal Rumble!” – Lawler: “Well, it happened last year!” – Vince: “[Pauses] Well, that’ll NEVER happen again, I promise you.” The audible cringe in Vince’s voice is pretty funny. – Murdoch almost tosses Shawn, but Luger saves him. Crush backdrops Adam Bomb out, then Shawn gets rid of Aldo. Luger saves Shawn from Murdoch again. Crush dumps Fatu. Murdoch tries an airplane spin on Godwinn, but gets dizzy and falls out. Godwinn is still dizzy himself, so Luger gets rid of him. – Final Four: Shawn, Bulldog, Luger & Crush. Pretty good field for the final four. Luger tries the 10-punch count on Crush, and that’s so idiotic that Shawn can’t resist simply pushing him over and out. Shawn & Crush strike a bargain and beat up Bulldog, then Crush turns on Shawn and is about to press him out of the ring, but Bulldog charges and knocks Crush out of the ring and Shawn down to safety. So we’re back where we started at the beginning: Shawn v. Bulldog. Bulldog kills him and clotheslines him out for the win, but Shawn plays hot-potato with his feet, and eventually crawls back in and dumps the celebrating Bulldog out for the real win at 38:39. Replays show that indeed, Shawn managed to somehow only have one foot touch the ground. Good Rumble for the huge flaws imposed on it. ***1/2 Pamela Anderson celebrates with Shawn and looks none too thrilled to be a part of it. Yeah, because god knows BAYWATCH has way more critical acclaim and highbrow appeal than wrestling does… (2012 Scott sez:  Maybe that’s where Abdullah got Hepatitis from?) The Bottom Line: I’m torn on the recommendation, because actually everything is quite surprisingly great on this show, with the only weak match being the UT-IRS stall-fest. On the other hand, the show is so bland and historically meaningless that there’s no real reason to run out and watch it. Still, a recommended show for the wrestling alone.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1995

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 95 – Live from Tampa, FL. – Your hosts are Mr. McMahon & The King (2012 Scott sez:  I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that I did a redo of this show after the “Netcop” era, but I can’t find one, so I guess I’m losing my mind again.  This one is written in the post-2000 style, though, so who knows.)  – Welcome to the great downward slide of the WWF, as this is the first of many financially disastrous PPVs featuring Kevin Nash as World champion and a cast of characters that no one gave a crap about.Opening match, Intercontinental title: Razor Ramon v. Jeff Jarrett. Case in point, this match, since Vince was so determined to get Jarrett over as a heel that as soon as “Roadie” Jesse Jammes gave Jarrett even the slightest heel heat, he got moved to the next level. 75% of the heat was for the Road Dogg, however, as evidenced by the Milli Vanilli storyline. (2012 Scott sez:  Are Milli Vanilli references still a thing?)Ramon’s fruity color of choice tonight: Banana yellow. Ramon hits a quick fallaway slam and chokeslam, causing Jarrett to bail. Stall session follows, as Jarrett plays headgames. We get a test of strength 5 minutes later and an armbar. Jarrett hits three dropkicks to finally get this horse kicking. Lariat gets two. Jarrett controls with some basic stuff that gets a few two counts. A swinging neckbreaker and feet on the ropes get more two counts. Ramon quickly slides out and posts Jarrett, and hits a messed up flying bulldog for two (Jarrett turned around to face Ramon before the move). Jarrett dumps him to the floor, and Ramon blows out his knee (and Roadie clips him for good measure) and is counted out at 11:44. Call it **1/2 for some decent stuff between the stalling. Jarrett does the standard thing for Ramon matches – he challenges him to quit being a chicken and continue, a situation that would usually take place on house shows and result on Ramon getting a quick Razor’s Edge to retain for real. However, that finish was pretty much squeezed dry six ways from Sunday, so they changed it up a bit as we head into… – Intercontinental title match #2: Razor Ramon v. Jeff Jarrett. Ramon gets a quick cradle and a small package, but Jarrett viciously goes after the knee. Figure-four gets Jarrett a few two-counts. Ramon makes the superman comeback and hits a backdrop superplex for two. Razor’s Edge, but the knee collapses on the way down and Jarrett covers for the clean pin and his first I-C title at 6:18. Second match was as good as the first, short as it was. ** – IRS v. The Undertaker. Massive stall session to start. Into the ring, more stalling. UT tosses him around. That’s pretty much the first 5 minutes right there. Dibiase jumps onto the apron and IRS collides with him, so Dibiase summons those ever-mysterious Druids (Jimmy Del Rey of the Heavenly Bodies and a Harris brother in black robes, so don’t bother Asking The Rick) to run some interference, but UT just ignores them. (2012 Scott sez:  Anyone play the “beat the Undertaker” storyline in Smackdown v. RAW 2011?  The all-Druid Rumble was kind of trippy, actually.)  Finally they manage to triple-team him long enough to give IRS the advantage. So what does he do? An abdominal stretch. Geez, no wonder the guy never made it past mid-card. He misses a splash and UT comes back. Those pesky Druids keep interfering, however, forcing Undertaker to keep fighting them off until he can hit a chokeslam for the pin at 10:45. Well, that’s 10 minutes I’ll never get back again. ¼* King Kong Bundy waddles in and IRS takes the opportunity to steal the urn and kick off another fascinating 8 month storyline for Undertaker.  (2012 Scott sez:  Ah, the good old days when someone would just steal the urn to generate an insta-feud with Undertaker, instead of having to be his brother or try to break the Wrestlemania streak or whatever.)  WWF title match: Diesel v. Bret Hart. Diesel’s big feat was winning all three titles in the same calendar year, something not only duplicated by Steve Austin in 1997, but improved upon as Austin won all three titles…TWICE. Well, I guess the second WWF title came about a month shy of one calendar year after he won he first tag title (May 97 – June 98) but as my chem teacher used to say, good enough for government work. (2012 Scott sez:  Nowadays you’re considered a pussy if you don’t win all the titles THREE times in the same year, with extra points if you can win them in the same show.) Bret works the knee to start. He gets a figure-four early, but Diesel makes the ropes. Bret goes for it again, Diesel escapes again. Big D takes a breather, so Bret follows with a dive through the ropes and takes him down. Diesel whips him into the stairs and takes control back in the ring, working on Bret’s back. Sideslam gets two. He continues working on the back and tries a body vice, but Bret reverses out. Big boot and elbowdrop gets two. Bret bails and ends up using his wrist tape to tie Diesel’s legs around the post, giving Bret the upper hand. Bulldog gets two, and we go into…THE FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Okay, quick moment of clarification for those who keep asking: The FIVE MOVES OF DOOM (always written in all caps, of course) are as follows – Bulldog, vertical suplex, russian legsweep, backbreaker and second-rope elbow. They are the setup moves for the Sharpshooter, although it doesn’t always follow them right away. Diesel bails after the elbow and Bret tries the dive again, but gets caught in mid-air and rammed back-first into the post. Diesel gets a good face pop for that, then tosses Bret back in and powerbombs him for the…wait a sec, here’s Shawn Michaels in to break up the count and attack Diesel’s knee. The ref decides to continue the match. Bret goes back to the leg, which Big Kev starts selling pretty convincingly. Figure four again, Diesel breaks it with shots to the ribs and lower back. See, that’s some WICKED psychology there, kids. They inflict injuries on each other and then use them to counter each other’s moves later on. He goes to work on Bret’s ribs and back in the corner, and a gut-wrench suplex gets two. Diesel gets caught in the corner and Bret posts him, then takes a swing at his leg with a chair, drawing heel heat. Sharpshooter, but now Owen comes out to break it up, and again the match continues. Diesel covers the unconscious Bret for two. Slugfest and Diesel goes for a chair, but changes his mind, which allows Bret the time to survey the situation and decide to play possum. Diesel goes for the powerbomb, but Bret small packages for two. That would end up being the finish for the eventual rematch at Survivor Series for that year. But in this case, Diesel kicks out, and then the ref gets bumped and EVERYONE runs in for the no-contest at 27:21. That was a pretty shitty ending right there. ****, more if it had a finish that didn’t suck. That rating kind of shocks me because I wasn’t thrilled with the match back in 95 when I first watched it, but it was way better than I remember it.  (2012 Scott sez:  That’s basically a Sportz Entertainment Finish, 2 years before such a thing was invented.)  WWF tag team title, tournament final: Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka v. 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly. Kid & Sparky were the upset kings of the tournament, although going over Well Dunn in the first round and the Heavenly Jobbers in the second hardly counts as upsetting anyone in my book. Tatanka calmly works Holly over, then Bigelow plows through Holly & Kid. Bammer tosses the Kid literally 10 feet in the air, but he reverses to a rana on the way down. Some miscommunication gives the underdogs a brief respite, but Bob Holly’s recurring case of jobberitis pops up and he gets murdered by Tatanka. Both teams do a miscommunication spot, but poor Bob gets the worst of the situation because NOTHING is working for him tonight. He pathetically crawls to the wrong corner and gets beaten down. He’s got some pretty good sympathy heat going, I’ll give him that. Both Holly & Tatanka go for a cross-body and collide, allowing Holly to make the hot (and I mean HOT) tag to the Kid. Missile dropkick for Bigelow, and somersault tope for Tatanka. Bigelow does a Spike Dudley job on the Kid, tossing him onto the floor with a thud. Ouch. Bigelow then goes for the moonsault, but Tatanka tries his own move coming off the ropes, and they cross paths on the way and Bigelow ends up out cold on the mat and Tatanka is out cold on the floor. 1-2-3 Kid covers for the pin and the tag title at 15:44. Match was a wee bit too long for the story being told, but very good otherwise. ***1/4 The honeymoon only lasted a scant 24 hours, however, as the returning Smoking Gunns claimed the titles the next night on RAW. – The Big Angle of 1995 then follows, as ringside observer Lawrence Taylor makes fun of Bigelow for jobbing, and gets shoved down for his troubles. This was played as a shoot angle back then, but watching it today makes it pretty easy to tell it was a work. It led to the Bigelow-LT match at Wrestlemania XI, at any rate, so obviously SOME people bought it.  (2012 Scott sez:  Just imagine the buyrate for WM11 if they HADN’T done this angle.  Shawn v. Diesel in 1995 as a main event?  Yeesh.)  Royal Rumble: This is the aggravating super-abbreviated version with 60 second intervals for time reasons. Vince hypes it as the “fastest-paced Rumble ever”, which is like when Microsoft finds a bug and calls it a “feature”. (2012 Scott sez:  Or Windows 7.)  The move pissed off EVERYONE, however, and hasn’t been seen since. Shawn Michaels gets #1, and British Bulldog gets #2. For those who weren’t around, Shawn’s participation in the Rumble was equivalent to Rocky’s this year: A mere formality. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, but technically BIG SHOW ended up winning the 2000 Rumble, which is what I was referring to there.)  So they gave him #1 to build suspense for his inevitable win. Bulldog manhandles Shawn quickly, with Shawn teasing elimination a few times. Spot I hate the most in the Rumble: Bulldog presses someone above his head, but instead of dumping them out, he just slams them to the mat. That’s just idiotic, and he (and Luger) do it EVERY YEAR they are in the Rumble. Eli Blu is #3. Duke Droese is #4. Jimmy Del Rey is #5. Mainly just punching and kicking going on. Shawn teases elimination again. Barbarian is #6. Bulldog knocks Del Ray out for the first elimination. Tom Pritchard takes his place at #7. This 60 second thing is ludicrous, there’s just no way to tell a story. Doink is #8 and everyone pairs off. Kwang is #9. Who would have ever thought that Savio Vega could actually be a step UP the gimmick ladder? When do you ever hear sentences like “Boy, he’s way better off with that Caribbean Legend gimmick now!” except in cases like Kwang?  (2012 Scott sez:  “Yeah, Dolph Ziggler is a stupid name, but at least he’s not a cheerleader or Chavo’s caddie anymore.”) Rick Martel is #10 on the downswing of his career. Too many people in there right now. Kwang almost knocks Shawn out. Owen Hart is #11, and his loving brother Bret attacks him and kicks his ass. Crowd eats it up, and by the time he’s done we’re at #12 with Timothy Well of Well Dunn. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, there’s some star power for you, they were stretched so thin that year that WELL DUNN is in this thing.  No disrespect meant to whichever one is dead now.)  Owen is tossed by the Bulldog immediately upon entry, followed by Droese, Well, Martel, Pritchard and Doink. Good riddance. Sheepfucker Luke is #13 as Eli & Kwang eliminate each other. Speaking of semi-famous Eli’s, here’s one for The Rick: Whatever happened to UWF midcarder Eli The Eliminator? I used to think he was pretty cool back in my mark days. And may I just say thank god the hick Spokane station we got in Vancouver carried Bill Watts’ UWF, even it was at 2 in the morning. I think it was KCPQ, but I could be off. Help me here, fellow Lower Mainlanders from the 80s!  (2012 Scott sez:  Most awesome 5-hour block of wrestling EVER.   WWF Superstars, then NWA Worldwide, then Pro Wrestling This Week, then GLOW, then UWF.  AWESOME.)  Shawn dumps Luke, leaving him and the Bulldog. Jacob Blu is #14 and a blind charge at Shawn ends his night. Back to Shawn & Bulldog. King Kong Bundy is #15 and the crowd seems worried for Shawn (who was actually a heel at this point, but getting sympathetic face pops by the bucketful). Mo is #16, and soon he’s no mo’. Mabel is #17, and I guess the gravitational pull of both him and Bundy is too much, because they collide and do a showdown. Sheepfucker Butch is #18 as Mabel & Bundy put more stress on the ring ropes than is mandated by law, and so the poor thing screams in pain until one of them falls out – in this case, Bundy. That darn gravitational pull acts up again, taking Butch with him. The man is so fat he’s a menace to the laws of physics. Mabel & Bulldog almost get Shawn out, but Lex Luger makes the save at #19. He tosses Mabel out, which is admittedly pretty impressive. Luger & Bulldog go after Shawn now, but speaking of fat people, here’s Mantaur (PN News’ little brother and future ECW reject Bruiser Mastino) to help out at #20. (2012 Scott sez:  Fucking MANTAUR is #20.  How did they not go out of business?)  Aldo Montoya (and really, how many jokes can be made about the poor guy?) is #21 and Shawn nearly knocks the jockstrap off his face with some rights (okay, so I’m weak…). (2012 Scott sez:  If mocking Pete Polaco is wrong, I don’t want to be right.)  HOG is #22. Billy Gunn is #23, Bart Gunn is #24, and my jobber sense is tingling as the match goes nowhere. Mr. Bob Backlund is #25, but Bret attacks HIM too, to the delight of the crowd. Luger’s elimination of him is academic. Steven Dunn is #26. Dick Murdoch gets the honor of being the Token Old-Timer at #27 and does pretty good for himself. Too many guys in there right now again. Adam Bomb is #28. Fatu is #29 as Mantaur goes out via Luger. Crush gets the honor of being #30. Interesting note: Although Vince tried to resuscitate Crush’s singles push after a horrible 1994, life intervened as Crush was arrested on weapons charges soon after this and didn’t return until 1996 as the ex-convict themed Crush. (2012 Scott sez:  Sadly, Brian Adams’ story, like most in wrestling, had no happy ending.)  Crush dumps both Gunns at once. Dunn is done. More milling around to use up PPV time. Somewhere in here, Vince and Jerry are discussing the co-winner situation from the previous year, and there’s a funny exchange later on: – Lawler: “I’m changing my official prediction to Shawn & Crush!” – Vince: “You can’t have two people winning the Royal Rumble!” – Lawler: “Well, it happened last year!” – Vince: “[Pauses] Well, that’ll NEVER happen again, I promise you.” The audible cringe in Vince’s voice is pretty funny. – Murdoch almost tosses Shawn, but Luger saves him. Crush backdrops Adam Bomb out, then Shawn gets rid of Aldo. Luger saves Shawn from Murdoch again. Crush dumps Fatu. Murdoch tries an airplane spin on Godwinn, but gets dizzy and falls out. Godwinn is still dizzy himself, so Luger gets rid of him. – Final Four: Shawn, Bulldog, Luger & Crush. Pretty good field for the final four. Luger tries the 10-punch count on Crush, and that’s so idiotic that Shawn can’t resist simply pushing him over and out. Shawn & Crush strike a bargain and beat up Bulldog, then Crush turns on Shawn and is about to press him out of the ring, but Bulldog charges and knocks Crush out of the ring and Shawn down to safety. So we’re back where we started at the beginning: Shawn v. Bulldog. Bulldog kills him and clotheslines him out for the win, but Shawn plays hot-potato with his feet, and eventually crawls back in and dumps the celebrating Bulldog out for the real win at 38:39. Replays show that indeed, Shawn managed to somehow only have one foot touch the ground. Good Rumble for the huge flaws imposed on it. ***1/2 Pamela Anderson celebrates with Shawn and looks none too thrilled to be a part of it. Yeah, because god knows BAYWATCH has way more critical acclaim and highbrow appeal than wrestling does… (2012 Scott sez:  Maybe that’s where Abdullah got Hepatitis from?) The Bottom Line: I’m torn on the recommendation, because actually everything is quite surprisingly great on this show, with the only weak match being the UT-IRS stall-fest. On the other hand, the show is so bland and historically meaningless that there’s no real reason to run out and watch it. Still, a recommended show for the wrestling alone.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1995

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 95 – Live from Tampa, FL. – Your hosts are Mr. McMahon & The King (2012 Scott sez:  I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that I did a redo of this show after the “Netcop” era, but I can’t find one, so I guess I’m losing my mind again.  This one is written in the post-2000 style, though, so who knows.)  – Welcome to the great downward slide of the WWF, as this is the first of many financially disastrous PPVs featuring Kevin Nash as World champion and a cast of characters that no one gave a crap about.Opening match, Intercontinental title: Razor Ramon v. Jeff Jarrett. Case in point, this match, since Vince was so determined to get Jarrett over as a heel that as soon as “Roadie” Jesse Jammes gave Jarrett even the slightest heel heat, he got moved to the next level. 75% of the heat was for the Road Dogg, however, as evidenced by the Milli Vanilli storyline. (2012 Scott sez:  Are Milli Vanilli references still a thing?)Ramon’s fruity color of choice tonight: Banana yellow. Ramon hits a quick fallaway slam and chokeslam, causing Jarrett to bail. Stall session follows, as Jarrett plays headgames. We get a test of strength 5 minutes later and an armbar. Jarrett hits three dropkicks to finally get this horse kicking. Lariat gets two. Jarrett controls with some basic stuff that gets a few two counts. A swinging neckbreaker and feet on the ropes get more two counts. Ramon quickly slides out and posts Jarrett, and hits a messed up flying bulldog for two (Jarrett turned around to face Ramon before the move). Jarrett dumps him to the floor, and Ramon blows out his knee (and Roadie clips him for good measure) and is counted out at 11:44. Call it **1/2 for some decent stuff between the stalling. Jarrett does the standard thing for Ramon matches – he challenges him to quit being a chicken and continue, a situation that would usually take place on house shows and result on Ramon getting a quick Razor’s Edge to retain for real. However, that finish was pretty much squeezed dry six ways from Sunday, so they changed it up a bit as we head into… – Intercontinental title match #2: Razor Ramon v. Jeff Jarrett. Ramon gets a quick cradle and a small package, but Jarrett viciously goes after the knee. Figure-four gets Jarrett a few two-counts. Ramon makes the superman comeback and hits a backdrop superplex for two. Razor’s Edge, but the knee collapses on the way down and Jarrett covers for the clean pin and his first I-C title at 6:18. Second match was as good as the first, short as it was. ** – IRS v. The Undertaker. Massive stall session to start. Into the ring, more stalling. UT tosses him around. That’s pretty much the first 5 minutes right there. Dibiase jumps onto the apron and IRS collides with him, so Dibiase summons those ever-mysterious Druids (Jimmy Del Rey of the Heavenly Bodies and a Harris brother in black robes, so don’t bother Asking The Rick) to run some interference, but UT just ignores them. (2012 Scott sez:  Anyone play the “beat the Undertaker” storyline in Smackdown v. RAW 2011?  The all-Druid Rumble was kind of trippy, actually.)  Finally they manage to triple-team him long enough to give IRS the advantage. So what does he do? An abdominal stretch. Geez, no wonder the guy never made it past mid-card. He misses a splash and UT comes back. Those pesky Druids keep interfering, however, forcing Undertaker to keep fighting them off until he can hit a chokeslam for the pin at 10:45. Well, that’s 10 minutes I’ll never get back again. ¼* King Kong Bundy waddles in and IRS takes the opportunity to steal the urn and kick off another fascinating 8 month storyline for Undertaker.  (2012 Scott sez:  Ah, the good old days when someone would just steal the urn to generate an insta-feud with Undertaker, instead of having to be his brother or try to break the Wrestlemania streak or whatever.)  WWF title match: Diesel v. Bret Hart. Diesel’s big feat was winning all three titles in the same calendar year, something not only duplicated by Steve Austin in 1997, but improved upon as Austin won all three titles…TWICE. Well, I guess the second WWF title came about a month shy of one calendar year after he won he first tag title (May 97 – June 98) but as my chem teacher used to say, good enough for government work. (2012 Scott sez:  Nowadays you’re considered a pussy if you don’t win all the titles THREE times in the same year, with extra points if you can win them in the same show.) Bret works the knee to start. He gets a figure-four early, but Diesel makes the ropes. Bret goes for it again, Diesel escapes again. Big D takes a breather, so Bret follows with a dive through the ropes and takes him down. Diesel whips him into the stairs and takes control back in the ring, working on Bret’s back. Sideslam gets two. He continues working on the back and tries a body vice, but Bret reverses out. Big boot and elbowdrop gets two. Bret bails and ends up using his wrist tape to tie Diesel’s legs around the post, giving Bret the upper hand. Bulldog gets two, and we go into…THE FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Okay, quick moment of clarification for those who keep asking: The FIVE MOVES OF DOOM (always written in all caps, of course) are as follows – Bulldog, vertical suplex, russian legsweep, backbreaker and second-rope elbow. They are the setup moves for the Sharpshooter, although it doesn’t always follow them right away. Diesel bails after the elbow and Bret tries the dive again, but gets caught in mid-air and rammed back-first into the post. Diesel gets a good face pop for that, then tosses Bret back in and powerbombs him for the…wait a sec, here’s Shawn Michaels in to break up the count and attack Diesel’s knee. The ref decides to continue the match. Bret goes back to the leg, which Big Kev starts selling pretty convincingly. Figure four again, Diesel breaks it with shots to the ribs and lower back. See, that’s some WICKED psychology there, kids. They inflict injuries on each other and then use them to counter each other’s moves later on. He goes to work on Bret’s ribs and back in the corner, and a gut-wrench suplex gets two. Diesel gets caught in the corner and Bret posts him, then takes a swing at his leg with a chair, drawing heel heat. Sharpshooter, but now Owen comes out to break it up, and again the match continues. Diesel covers the unconscious Bret for two. Slugfest and Diesel goes for a chair, but changes his mind, which allows Bret the time to survey the situation and decide to play possum. Diesel goes for the powerbomb, but Bret small packages for two. That would end up being the finish for the eventual rematch at Survivor Series for that year. But in this case, Diesel kicks out, and then the ref gets bumped and EVERYONE runs in for the no-contest at 27:21. That was a pretty shitty ending right there. ****, more if it had a finish that didn’t suck. That rating kind of shocks me because I wasn’t thrilled with the match back in 95 when I first watched it, but it was way better than I remember it.  (2012 Scott sez:  That’s basically a Sportz Entertainment Finish, 2 years before such a thing was invented.)  WWF tag team title, tournament final: Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka v. 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly. Kid & Sparky were the upset kings of the tournament, although going over Well Dunn in the first round and the Heavenly Jobbers in the second hardly counts as upsetting anyone in my book. Tatanka calmly works Holly over, then Bigelow plows through Holly & Kid. Bammer tosses the Kid literally 10 feet in the air, but he reverses to a rana on the way down. Some miscommunication gives the underdogs a brief respite, but Bob Holly’s recurring case of jobberitis pops up and he gets murdered by Tatanka. Both teams do a miscommunication spot, but poor Bob gets the worst of the situation because NOTHING is working for him tonight. He pathetically crawls to the wrong corner and gets beaten down. He’s got some pretty good sympathy heat going, I’ll give him that. Both Holly & Tatanka go for a cross-body and collide, allowing Holly to make the hot (and I mean HOT) tag to the Kid. Missile dropkick for Bigelow, and somersault tope for Tatanka. Bigelow does a Spike Dudley job on the Kid, tossing him onto the floor with a thud. Ouch. Bigelow then goes for the moonsault, but Tatanka tries his own move coming off the ropes, and they cross paths on the way and Bigelow ends up out cold on the mat and Tatanka is out cold on the floor. 1-2-3 Kid covers for the pin and the tag title at 15:44. Match was a wee bit too long for the story being told, but very good otherwise. ***1/4 The honeymoon only lasted a scant 24 hours, however, as the returning Smoking Gunns claimed the titles the next night on RAW. – The Big Angle of 1995 then follows, as ringside observer Lawrence Taylor makes fun of Bigelow for jobbing, and gets shoved down for his troubles. This was played as a shoot angle back then, but watching it today makes it pretty easy to tell it was a work. It led to the Bigelow-LT match at Wrestlemania XI, at any rate, so obviously SOME people bought it.  (2012 Scott sez:  Just imagine the buyrate for WM11 if they HADN’T done this angle.  Shawn v. Diesel in 1995 as a main event?  Yeesh.)  Royal Rumble: This is the aggravating super-abbreviated version with 60 second intervals for time reasons. Vince hypes it as the “fastest-paced Rumble ever”, which is like when Microsoft finds a bug and calls it a “feature”. (2012 Scott sez:  Or Windows 7.)  The move pissed off EVERYONE, however, and hasn’t been seen since. Shawn Michaels gets #1, and British Bulldog gets #2. For those who weren’t around, Shawn’s participation in the Rumble was equivalent to Rocky’s this year: A mere formality. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, but technically BIG SHOW ended up winning the 2000 Rumble, which is what I was referring to there.)  So they gave him #1 to build suspense for his inevitable win. Bulldog manhandles Shawn quickly, with Shawn teasing elimination a few times. Spot I hate the most in the Rumble: Bulldog presses someone above his head, but instead of dumping them out, he just slams them to the mat. That’s just idiotic, and he (and Luger) do it EVERY YEAR they are in the Rumble. Eli Blu is #3. Duke Droese is #4. Jimmy Del Rey is #5. Mainly just punching and kicking going on. Shawn teases elimination again. Barbarian is #6. Bulldog knocks Del Ray out for the first elimination. Tom Pritchard takes his place at #7. This 60 second thing is ludicrous, there’s just no way to tell a story. Doink is #8 and everyone pairs off. Kwang is #9. Who would have ever thought that Savio Vega could actually be a step UP the gimmick ladder? When do you ever hear sentences like “Boy, he’s way better off with that Caribbean Legend gimmick now!” except in cases like Kwang?  (2012 Scott sez:  “Yeah, Dolph Ziggler is a stupid name, but at least he’s not a cheerleader or Chavo’s caddie anymore.”) Rick Martel is #10 on the downswing of his career. Too many people in there right now. Kwang almost knocks Shawn out. Owen Hart is #11, and his loving brother Bret attacks him and kicks his ass. Crowd eats it up, and by the time he’s done we’re at #12 with Timothy Well of Well Dunn. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, there’s some star power for you, they were stretched so thin that year that WELL DUNN is in this thing.  No disrespect meant to whichever one is dead now.)  Owen is tossed by the Bulldog immediately upon entry, followed by Droese, Well, Martel, Pritchard and Doink. Good riddance. Sheepfucker Luke is #13 as Eli & Kwang eliminate each other. Speaking of semi-famous Eli’s, here’s one for The Rick: Whatever happened to UWF midcarder Eli The Eliminator? I used to think he was pretty cool back in my mark days. And may I just say thank god the hick Spokane station we got in Vancouver carried Bill Watts’ UWF, even it was at 2 in the morning. I think it was KCPQ, but I could be off. Help me here, fellow Lower Mainlanders from the 80s!  (2012 Scott sez:  Most awesome 5-hour block of wrestling EVER.   WWF Superstars, then NWA Worldwide, then Pro Wrestling This Week, then GLOW, then UWF.  AWESOME.)  Shawn dumps Luke, leaving him and the Bulldog. Jacob Blu is #14 and a blind charge at Shawn ends his night. Back to Shawn & Bulldog. King Kong Bundy is #15 and the crowd seems worried for Shawn (who was actually a heel at this point, but getting sympathetic face pops by the bucketful). Mo is #16, and soon he’s no mo’. Mabel is #17, and I guess the gravitational pull of both him and Bundy is too much, because they collide and do a showdown. Sheepfucker Butch is #18 as Mabel & Bundy put more stress on the ring ropes than is mandated by law, and so the poor thing screams in pain until one of them falls out – in this case, Bundy. That darn gravitational pull acts up again, taking Butch with him. The man is so fat he’s a menace to the laws of physics. Mabel & Bulldog almost get Shawn out, but Lex Luger makes the save at #19. He tosses Mabel out, which is admittedly pretty impressive. Luger & Bulldog go after Shawn now, but speaking of fat people, here’s Mantaur (PN News’ little brother and future ECW reject Bruiser Mastino) to help out at #20. (2012 Scott sez:  Fucking MANTAUR is #20.  How did they not go out of business?)  Aldo Montoya (and really, how many jokes can be made about the poor guy?) is #21 and Shawn nearly knocks the jockstrap off his face with some rights (okay, so I’m weak…). (2012 Scott sez:  If mocking Pete Polaco is wrong, I don’t want to be right.)  HOG is #22. Billy Gunn is #23, Bart Gunn is #24, and my jobber sense is tingling as the match goes nowhere. Mr. Bob Backlund is #25, but Bret attacks HIM too, to the delight of the crowd. Luger’s elimination of him is academic. Steven Dunn is #26. Dick Murdoch gets the honor of being the Token Old-Timer at #27 and does pretty good for himself. Too many guys in there right now again. Adam Bomb is #28. Fatu is #29 as Mantaur goes out via Luger. Crush gets the honor of being #30. Interesting note: Although Vince tried to resuscitate Crush’s singles push after a horrible 1994, life intervened as Crush was arrested on weapons charges soon after this and didn’t return until 1996 as the ex-convict themed Crush. (2012 Scott sez:  Sadly, Brian Adams’ story, like most in wrestling, had no happy ending.)  Crush dumps both Gunns at once. Dunn is done. More milling around to use up PPV time. Somewhere in here, Vince and Jerry are discussing the co-winner situation from the previous year, and there’s a funny exchange later on: – Lawler: “I’m changing my official prediction to Shawn & Crush!” – Vince: “You can’t have two people winning the Royal Rumble!” – Lawler: “Well, it happened last year!” – Vince: “[Pauses] Well, that’ll NEVER happen again, I promise you.” The audible cringe in Vince’s voice is pretty funny. – Murdoch almost tosses Shawn, but Luger saves him. Crush backdrops Adam Bomb out, then Shawn gets rid of Aldo. Luger saves Shawn from Murdoch again. Crush dumps Fatu. Murdoch tries an airplane spin on Godwinn, but gets dizzy and falls out. Godwinn is still dizzy himself, so Luger gets rid of him. – Final Four: Shawn, Bulldog, Luger & Crush. Pretty good field for the final four. Luger tries the 10-punch count on Crush, and that’s so idiotic that Shawn can’t resist simply pushing him over and out. Shawn & Crush strike a bargain and beat up Bulldog, then Crush turns on Shawn and is about to press him out of the ring, but Bulldog charges and knocks Crush out of the ring and Shawn down to safety. So we’re back where we started at the beginning: Shawn v. Bulldog. Bulldog kills him and clotheslines him out for the win, but Shawn plays hot-potato with his feet, and eventually crawls back in and dumps the celebrating Bulldog out for the real win at 38:39. Replays show that indeed, Shawn managed to somehow only have one foot touch the ground. Good Rumble for the huge flaws imposed on it. ***1/2 Pamela Anderson celebrates with Shawn and looks none too thrilled to be a part of it. Yeah, because god knows BAYWATCH has way more critical acclaim and highbrow appeal than wrestling does… (2012 Scott sez:  Maybe that’s where Abdullah got Hepatitis from?) The Bottom Line: I’m torn on the recommendation, because actually everything is quite surprisingly great on this show, with the only weak match being the UT-IRS stall-fest. On the other hand, the show is so bland and historically meaningless that there’s no real reason to run out and watch it. Still, a recommended show for the wrestling alone.

Starrcade Countdown: 1995

The Netcop Retro Rant for WCW Starrcade 1995. · Live from Nashville, TN · Your hosts are Tony, Dusty and Bobby. · Okay, this is what we call a “Concept Show.” The concept in this case is that Sonny Onoo and his group of baddies from New Japan Pro Wrestling are “invading” WCW and the result is a 7 match series to determine the “World Cup of Wrestling.” Neat idea in theory, stupid idea in practice, especially on the biggest show of the year. This predated the nWo by 7 months, it should be noted. · Opening match: Chris Benoit v. Jushin Liger. Benoit is a freshly named Horsemen at this point (along with Pillman, Flair and Anderson) and is wrestling like Wild Pegasus instead of Ass-Kicking Mofo Pegasus. Liger rocks here, adjusting nicely to the North American style, which unfortunately means “dumbing it down” for the Tennessee audience. Good to start, slow in the middle, hot to finish. Tony is already spewing the “#1 wrestling organization” crap months before they ever won a decisive ratings victory, but his knowledge of the move names and history of the wrestlers is in-fucking-credible. He is definitely being an ignoramus today as part of the character, because 1995 Tony was Mike Tenay on steroids. (2011 Scott sez:  Really, hindsight says that, like most people in WCW, it was because Tony stopped giving a shit sometime in 1997)  This is America, so the Ligerbomb has minimal effect on Benoit. Benoit actually debuts the rollthrough german suplexes here and then doesn’t do it again for two years. And of course a screwy ending-Kevin Sullivan distracts Benoit, allowing Liger a cheap win.  New Japan 1, WCW 0. ***1/4 · Alex Wright v. Koji Kanemoto. I was hoping for Alex to walk out with three broken bones and a mouthful of tooth fragments, but no such luck. Lots of legbars and armbars that look really good but don’t do much damage. Still, I credit Alex for effort here. Koji with a couple of SWANK~! spinning kicks, but the rest is way too loosey-goosey for someone who works as stiff as Koji does overseas. Koji wrestles a dead-on Muta impersonation for some reason here. This is spot-rest-spot Sabu type of match, which keeps the crowd alternately bored and excited. Kanemoto with Snake-Eyes and then a double-leg rollover for the pin. **1/2 New Japan 2, WCW 0.  (2011 Scott sez:  Alex Wright was WAAAAAAY out of his league here.) · Lex Luger (w/ Jimmy Hart) v. Masa Chono. This is just after Luger’s heel turn at Havoc 95. And it’s as bad as you’d think it would be, given the talent involved, although Chono makes a go of it. Luger with the inevitable torture rack (hey, he’s in the main event later tonight, he has to win) for the submission. * New Japan 2, WCW 1. · Johnny B. Badd (w/ Kimberly) v. Masa Saito. Kim looks eminently do-able here, much more so than today’s Nitro Girl look. (2011 Scott sez:  She fell hard, FAST. By the time she did The 40 Year Old Virgin you could barely recognize her.)  And who thought this match up? A graphic on the bottom of the screen helpfully points out the score. Choke, slap, stall, rest. Goofy ending as Badd goes for Onoo on the apron, and Saito dumps him over the top rope to show how stupid the Japanese are for not knowing that’s a DQ here in the GOOD OL’ US OF A! HOOOOO! Oh, wait, that’s just Kimberly… DUD.  (2011 Fuad sez:  IS FUNNY BECAUSE KIMBERLY IS LOOSE WOMAN, HO HO!) New Japan 2, WCW 2. · Shinjiro Ohtani v. Eddy Guerrero. YES! YES! YES! And Ohtani is full “Screw you, I’ll be an asshole and you’ll like it.” mode, to make it even better. Lots and lots of great mat wrestling, and Eddy rules it with a foldover powerbomb. Ohtani says, “Fuck you, no way you’re gonna rule the world more than me” (Okay, so I actually said that, but still…) and pulls out a Taka top-rope springboard. I love this guy. Eddy’s not wearing a mask but Ohtani tries to rip it off anyway. Ohtani even manages to DRAW HEAT. On his own. Eddy does Splash Mountain, just to see who can be more SWANK in one match. Eddy beats on Ohtani some more, but My Lord and Savior comes back with his VICIOUS springboard dropkick to the back of Eddy’s head that looks like it nearly gave him whiplash. Then into a killer series of pinfall reversals, on the third of which Ohtani holds him down for the win. Awesome. ****1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  They played this match on either 24/7 or Vintage Collection, I forget which, and it was still pretty fucking awesome.)  New Japan 3, WCW 2. · Randy Savage v. Tenzan. They spell Tenzan as “Tensan” just to piss me off. (2011 Scott sez:  This coming from the guy who can’t decide if it’s “Eddy” or “Eddie” Guerrero) Macho is the World champion at this point, and has exactly one offensive move of any note: The flying elbow. Man, he went into a deep funk before making a comeback via DDP in 1997. Nothing match-Savage gets the shit kicked out of him, has one quick move to stun Tenzan, then elbow and it’s over. DUD. New Japan 3, WCW 3.  (2011 Scott sez:  They had a fucking Savage v. Hiroyoshi Tenzan match and wasted it with this crappy Savage formula?  Holy cow that could have been a show-stealing slugfest for the ages!  But then I didn’t really get into Tenzan and Kojima until about three years after I wrote this rant anyway, so who knows if he was any good in 95.) · Mean Gene interviews Ric Flair, who is the only participant in the main event not wrestling a previous match tonight. That should have given it away right there… · World Cup final: Sting v. US champ Kensuke Sasake. Yes, Sasake (2011 Scott sez:  Wasn’t 1999 Scott just bitching earlier about them misspelling “Tenzan”?  It’s SASAKI, 1999 Scott.) was actually US champion in 1995, continuing that proud lineage that went on to produce US champ One Man Gang, US Champ Konnan, US Champ Jeff Jarrett and US champ Steve McMichael. (2011 Scott sez:  Don’t forget US Champ Orlando Jordan!) Major yawn. See Savage match, substitute “Scorpion Deathlock” for “Flying Elbow”. DUD. WCW wins the World Cup.  (2011 Scott sez:  And no one smashed the trophy?  WTF?) · Triangle match: Lex Luger v. Sting v. Ric Flair. Now this is the really interesting part of the show. This is a one-on-one match with the third guy on the apron, able to tag in. Winner of the pinfall gets a shot at Randy Savage’s World title immediately following. Basic story is this: Flair turned on Sting for the millionth time at Havoc 95 so they hate each other. Sting and Luger are best friends, despite the fact that Luger’s a ratfuck who turns on Sting regularly behind his back. And Luger and Flair just plain hate other from past history. This basically three separate matches: Sting-Flair, Flair-Luger and Luger-Sting. The Flair v. Sting segment is their typically excellent encounter, with neither man really dominating and Flair taking a shitkicking because Sting’s REALLY PISSED. Then we get Luger-Flair, with Luger playing the same babyface he played in 1988 and Flair playing the snivelling coward who takes out the knee and then works on that non-stop, all the while throwing sneering remarks at Sting just to annoy him. Flair finally tags out, just to be a shit disturber, and Tony effortlessly reels off the last date and event when Sting met Luger (Superbrawl II in Milwaukee). He never does that stuff anymore. You know, continuity. (2011 Scott sez:  Could be worse, could be Michael Cole just making stuff up based on what Vince is yelling in his earpiece that day.) Then some weird shit happens: Luger instantly morphs into heel mode, effectively doing a mid-match turn. Spooky… Luger beats the hell out of Sting, completely controlling that portion while Flair gleefully watches. Finally, the ref gets bumped as Luger puts Sting into the rack, and Flair pounces. He clips Luger and tosses him out of the ring, then nails Sting and tosses him too, then wakes up the referee, who counts out both guys. Flair is your winner and challenger for the World title. ****  (2011 Scott sez:  That…doesn’t really sound like a **** match to me.  Sounds like a clusterfuck that I overrated because the rest of the show was really good wrestling-wise.)  · WCW World title match: Randy Savage v. Ric Flair. Paul Orndorff wanders down to remind us what bad people the Horsemen are (he’s in a neck brace at this point, courtesy Pillman). Jimmy Hart is managing Flair for some reason. This is your basic Flair-Savage match, minus the excitement and drama. Savage nails Flair with the megaphone at one point and then blades Flair himself for some reason, opening a HUGE gusher. Pillman and Benoit run in (the ref is talking to Jimmy Hart) and cause mayhem to smoke-screen Arn Anderson, who nails Savage with brass knucks, allowing Flair to get the pin and World title #12. **1/2 Pillman snaps and beats on Savage with the World title as the Horsemen celebration takes us out. The Bottom Line: Hogan took a sort-of hiatus between World War III and Bash at the Beach (where he turned nWo 4 life) and the quality of WCW shows dramatically improved in that timespan. The NJ v. WCW idea was a cool idea that wasn’t suited for 1995 (it’d damn sure work today, though) and the Sting v. Luger v. Flair v. Savage trainwreck was a brilliant bit of characterization on everyone’s part that ended up going absolutely nowhere because Hulk Hogan came back and put the spotlight on the nWo. Still, this is a great slice of something different from WCW and a great show to look back on and wonder “What if…” about.  (2011 Scott sez:  That may have been the case in 99, but I barely even remember this show today.)

Starrcade Countdown: 1995

The Netcop Retro Rant for WCW Starrcade 1995. · Live from Nashville, TN · Your hosts are Tony, Dusty and Bobby. · Okay, this is what we call a “Concept Show.” The concept in this case is that Sonny Onoo and his group of baddies from New Japan Pro Wrestling are “invading” WCW and the result is a 7 match series to determine the “World Cup of Wrestling.” Neat idea in theory, stupid idea in practice, especially on the biggest show of the year. This predated the nWo by 7 months, it should be noted. · Opening match: Chris Benoit v. Jushin Liger. Benoit is a freshly named Horsemen at this point (along with Pillman, Flair and Anderson) and is wrestling like Wild Pegasus instead of Ass-Kicking Mofo Pegasus. Liger rocks here, adjusting nicely to the North American style, which unfortunately means “dumbing it down” for the Tennessee audience. Good to start, slow in the middle, hot to finish. Tony is already spewing the “#1 wrestling organization” crap months before they ever won a decisive ratings victory, but his knowledge of the move names and history of the wrestlers is in-fucking-credible. He is definitely being an ignoramus today as part of the character, because 1995 Tony was Mike Tenay on steroids. (2011 Scott sez:  Really, hindsight says that, like most people in WCW, it was because Tony stopped giving a shit sometime in 1997)  This is America, so the Ligerbomb has minimal effect on Benoit. Benoit actually debuts the rollthrough german suplexes here and then doesn’t do it again for two years. And of course a screwy ending-Kevin Sullivan distracts Benoit, allowing Liger a cheap win.  New Japan 1, WCW 0. ***1/4 · Alex Wright v. Koji Kanemoto. I was hoping for Alex to walk out with three broken bones and a mouthful of tooth fragments, but no such luck. Lots of legbars and armbars that look really good but don’t do much damage. Still, I credit Alex for effort here. Koji with a couple of SWANK~! spinning kicks, but the rest is way too loosey-goosey for someone who works as stiff as Koji does overseas. Koji wrestles a dead-on Muta impersonation for some reason here. This is spot-rest-spot Sabu type of match, which keeps the crowd alternately bored and excited. Kanemoto with Snake-Eyes and then a double-leg rollover for the pin. **1/2 New Japan 2, WCW 0.  (2011 Scott sez:  Alex Wright was WAAAAAAY out of his league here.) · Lex Luger (w/ Jimmy Hart) v. Masa Chono. This is just after Luger’s heel turn at Havoc 95. And it’s as bad as you’d think it would be, given the talent involved, although Chono makes a go of it. Luger with the inevitable torture rack (hey, he’s in the main event later tonight, he has to win) for the submission. * New Japan 2, WCW 1. · Johnny B. Badd (w/ Kimberly) v. Masa Saito. Kim looks eminently do-able here, much more so than today’s Nitro Girl look. (2011 Scott sez:  She fell hard, FAST. By the time she did The 40 Year Old Virgin you could barely recognize her.)  And who thought this match up? A graphic on the bottom of the screen helpfully points out the score. Choke, slap, stall, rest. Goofy ending as Badd goes for Onoo on the apron, and Saito dumps him over the top rope to show how stupid the Japanese are for not knowing that’s a DQ here in the GOOD OL’ US OF A! HOOOOO! Oh, wait, that’s just Kimberly… DUD.  (2011 Fuad sez:  IS FUNNY BECAUSE KIMBERLY IS LOOSE WOMAN, HO HO!) New Japan 2, WCW 2. · Shinjiro Ohtani v. Eddy Guerrero. YES! YES! YES! And Ohtani is full “Screw you, I’ll be an asshole and you’ll like it.” mode, to make it even better. Lots and lots of great mat wrestling, and Eddy rules it with a foldover powerbomb. Ohtani says, “Fuck you, no way you’re gonna rule the world more than me” (Okay, so I actually said that, but still…) and pulls out a Taka top-rope springboard. I love this guy. Eddy’s not wearing a mask but Ohtani tries to rip it off anyway. Ohtani even manages to DRAW HEAT. On his own. Eddy does Splash Mountain, just to see who can be more SWANK in one match. Eddy beats on Ohtani some more, but My Lord and Savior comes back with his VICIOUS springboard dropkick to the back of Eddy’s head that looks like it nearly gave him whiplash. Then into a killer series of pinfall reversals, on the third of which Ohtani holds him down for the win. Awesome. ****1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  They played this match on either 24/7 or Vintage Collection, I forget which, and it was still pretty fucking awesome.)  New Japan 3, WCW 2. · Randy Savage v. Tenzan. They spell Tenzan as “Tensan” just to piss me off. (2011 Scott sez:  This coming from the guy who can’t decide if it’s “Eddy” or “Eddie” Guerrero) Macho is the World champion at this point, and has exactly one offensive move of any note: The flying elbow. Man, he went into a deep funk before making a comeback via DDP in 1997. Nothing match-Savage gets the shit kicked out of him, has one quick move to stun Tenzan, then elbow and it’s over. DUD. New Japan 3, WCW 3.  (2011 Scott sez:  They had a fucking Savage v. Hiroyoshi Tenzan match and wasted it with this crappy Savage formula?  Holy cow that could have been a show-stealing slugfest for the ages!  But then I didn’t really get into Tenzan and Kojima until about three years after I wrote this rant anyway, so who knows if he was any good in 95.) · Mean Gene interviews Ric Flair, who is the only participant in the main event not wrestling a previous match tonight. That should have given it away right there… · World Cup final: Sting v. US champ Kensuke Sasake. Yes, Sasake (2011 Scott sez:  Wasn’t 1999 Scott just bitching earlier about them misspelling “Tenzan”?  It’s SASAKI, 1999 Scott.) was actually US champion in 1995, continuing that proud lineage that went on to produce US champ One Man Gang, US Champ Konnan, US Champ Jeff Jarrett and US champ Steve McMichael. (2011 Scott sez:  Don’t forget US Champ Orlando Jordan!) Major yawn. See Savage match, substitute “Scorpion Deathlock” for “Flying Elbow”. DUD. WCW wins the World Cup.  (2011 Scott sez:  And no one smashed the trophy?  WTF?) · Triangle match: Lex Luger v. Sting v. Ric Flair. Now this is the really interesting part of the show. This is a one-on-one match with the third guy on the apron, able to tag in. Winner of the pinfall gets a shot at Randy Savage’s World title immediately following. Basic story is this: Flair turned on Sting for the millionth time at Havoc 95 so they hate each other. Sting and Luger are best friends, despite the fact that Luger’s a ratfuck who turns on Sting regularly behind his back. And Luger and Flair just plain hate other from past history. This basically three separate matches: Sting-Flair, Flair-Luger and Luger-Sting. The Flair v. Sting segment is their typically excellent encounter, with neither man really dominating and Flair taking a shitkicking because Sting’s REALLY PISSED. Then we get Luger-Flair, with Luger playing the same babyface he played in 1988 and Flair playing the snivelling coward who takes out the knee and then works on that non-stop, all the while throwing sneering remarks at Sting just to annoy him. Flair finally tags out, just to be a shit disturber, and Tony effortlessly reels off the last date and event when Sting met Luger (Superbrawl II in Milwaukee). He never does that stuff anymore. You know, continuity. (2011 Scott sez:  Could be worse, could be Michael Cole just making stuff up based on what Vince is yelling in his earpiece that day.) Then some weird shit happens: Luger instantly morphs into heel mode, effectively doing a mid-match turn. Spooky… Luger beats the hell out of Sting, completely controlling that portion while Flair gleefully watches. Finally, the ref gets bumped as Luger puts Sting into the rack, and Flair pounces. He clips Luger and tosses him out of the ring, then nails Sting and tosses him too, then wakes up the referee, who counts out both guys. Flair is your winner and challenger for the World title. ****  (2011 Scott sez:  That…doesn’t really sound like a **** match to me.  Sounds like a clusterfuck that I overrated because the rest of the show was really good wrestling-wise.)  · WCW World title match: Randy Savage v. Ric Flair. Paul Orndorff wanders down to remind us what bad people the Horsemen are (he’s in a neck brace at this point, courtesy Pillman). Jimmy Hart is managing Flair for some reason. This is your basic Flair-Savage match, minus the excitement and drama. Savage nails Flair with the megaphone at one point and then blades Flair himself for some reason, opening a HUGE gusher. Pillman and Benoit run in (the ref is talking to Jimmy Hart) and cause mayhem to smoke-screen Arn Anderson, who nails Savage with brass knucks, allowing Flair to get the pin and World title #12. **1/2 Pillman snaps and beats on Savage with the World title as the Horsemen celebration takes us out. The Bottom Line: Hogan took a sort-of hiatus between World War III and Bash at the Beach (where he turned nWo 4 life) and the quality of WCW shows dramatically improved in that timespan. The NJ v. WCW idea was a cool idea that wasn’t suited for 1995 (it’d damn sure work today, though) and the Sting v. Luger v. Flair v. Savage trainwreck was a brilliant bit of characterization on everyone’s part that ended up going absolutely nowhere because Hulk Hogan came back and put the spotlight on the nWo. Still, this is a great slice of something different from WCW and a great show to look back on and wonder “What if…” about.  (2011 Scott sez:  That may have been the case in 99, but I barely even remember this show today.)