Impact Wrestling – September 27, 2018

Impact Wrestling
Date: September 27, 2018
Location: Fronton Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
Commentators: Don Callis, Josh Matthews

We’re still in Mexico City and I’m not sure what that means for this week’s show. Last week’s edition wasn’t exactly great and a lot of that is due to just throwing luchadors out there and using them in matches that aren’t much better than something you would see elsewhere. Maybe this week’s will be an improvement though so let’s get to it.

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Impact Wrestling – September 20, 2018

Impact Wrestling
Date: September 20, 2018
Location: Fronton Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
Commentators: Don Callis, Josh Matthews

After all the weeks of telling us multiple times a night that the show was going to Mexico City, the show is now in Mexico City! Odds are these tapings will take us up to Bound For Glory next month and that means we should be seeing some big stuff taking place over the next four weeks. Let’s get to it.

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The King Gimmick

Hi Scott, Big fan, etc.

With the King gimmick doing less than nothing for Barrett It got me wondering what the best cases for the gimmick have been. Obviously Jerry Lawler is top but I was wondering where do you think the likes of Harley Race, Savage, Duggan, Haku, Owen Hart, Mabel, Booker, Regal, etc fit into the rankings of doing the most with the gimmick, the gimmick helping or hindering them, etc.?



I think clearly it extended Race’s career a few years past where it would have been otherwise, so it was great for him. Guys like Duggan, Haku and Mabel were a total waste because they were either over without it or it didn’t help them. Owen didn’t really live the gimmick or anything and it was more of a convenient way to give him another nickname. Savage was crazy enough to make it his own. Regal, I dunno because I wasn’t watching at the time, but I can’t see it not being awesome.

King Of The Mountain Title


I saw that TNA debuted a new King Of The Mountain Championship tonight. Where do you think they came up with the money to buy the belt, or is it on loan from somewhere?

​Considering the purpose of the belt is to be the main title for Jarrett's promotion, I'd be willing to bet that he's the one that paid for it.  ​

Place to be Nation Presents: King of the Ring Special

The fine folks over at Place to be Nation have gone through every King of the Ring PPV as they re-booked and re-ranked all the brackets and overall shows. So, click on the link below and listen then post here on what you agree and disagree with.

The SmarK Rant for WWF King of the Ring 1996–06.23.96

The SmarK Rant for WWF King of the Ring 1996 – 06.23.96 I’ve kinda been hemming and hawing about this one, but the original rant isn’t great and it does contain one of the most important moments in the history of wrestling and all. Oddly, this is the home video version instead of the original PPV broadcast and is actually about 10 minutes longer than the PPV thanks to “Coliseum Video exclusive” material. Live from Milwaukee, WI Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Owen Hart. King of the Ring Semi-Final: Steve Austin v. Marc Mero Mero has his grumpy jobbing face on during the ring entrance. Orton gets that one a lot, too. They trade headlocks on the mat to start and Mero puts him on the floor with a headscissors. Back in, Mero starts to work on the arm, but Austin stomps him down while Owen sums up the difference between Mero and Austin: “You don’t see Austin out there with some hosebag in his corner!” Austin offers a handshake and they go to the test of strength, which allows Austin to cheat and take over. He tosses Mero and drops him on the concrete with a press slam, which is a move you don’t see out of Austin very often. Back in with a snap suplex for two and Austin drops the middle rope elbow for two. Press slam into a backbreaker gets two. Boston crab as Austin busts out every bit of wacky offense in his playbook. Mero manages to power out of that one and gets a small package for two, but Austin puts him down with an elbow and goes back to the crab again. Mero powers out again (with help from some really well-timed cheerleading from Sable, which is impressive for someone so new in the business) and they trade near-falls off that, and Mero gets a rollup for two. Austin just slugs him down and counters a sleeper with a jawbreaker, but Mero launches out of the corner with a butt-butt. Mero makes the comeback and slugs away in the corner, and a double axehandle gets two. Mero tosses Austin (who is suddenly gushing blood from his lip) and follows with a dive, and back in for a missile dropkick that gets two. They fight to the top and Mero brings him down with a rana, which gets two. Austin comes back with a stungun variation out of a powerbomb for two, and the Stone Cold Stunner finishes at 16:48. And that was Mero’s first loss, so no wonder he was grumpy. Hell of an opener, with tons of crazy stuff from Austin and heat that built consistently throughout. **** Reading the original rant, I was thinking I must have overrated it, but no, Austin and Mero were working their asses off here. King of the Ring Semi-Final: Vader v. Jake Roberts Vader overpowers him and starts working the arm on the mat, and a big splash gets two. Jake blocks a blind charge and slugs back, but Vader escapes the DDT and beats him down in the corner. Corner splash misses and Jake gets the DDT, but the ref gets wiped out and calls for the DQ on the way down, giving Jake the win at 3:38. Nothing much to this one. ½* Vader completely destroys Jake afterwards to set up the storyline for the finals. Of mild note here is Owen calling him “Big Van Vader” during the beatdown, which probably got him a dirty look from Vince. WWF tag titles: The Smoking Gunns v. The Godwinns Thankfully this version of the show omits the pre-show match with Cloudi the transvestite managing the Bodydonnas, although they do show “highlights” here. The commentary and Billy’s pre-match promo really hammer home that the Gunns are HEELS NOW, DAMMIT, SO STOP CHEERING FOR THEM! Billy attacks PIG, who has immediately spazzes out while we cut to an inset interview with Cloudi. Was “she” ever seen again? I don’t recall the character lasting much beyond this. Meanwhile, Henry works on Bart’s arm, but a cheapshot turns the tide and the Gunns beat on Henry in a dull heat segment. Henry reverses a slam for two, but Billy continues working on the back before missing a blind charge and taking what would become a trademark bump. Bart comes in and misses a flying bodypress, and Phineas gets the hot tag. We get the requisite pier-six brawl, but Bart takes off his boot and nails PIG with it, giving Billy the pin at 10:00. Not terrible, but really, really, really boring. I was reading a recap of the 28-hour Marvel movie marathon over on the AV Club while watching this match, and now I know what he must have felt like by the time Age of Ultron rolled around. * Ultimate Warrior v. Jerry Lawler Lawler does a wonderfully cheesy rundown of the crowd on the way to the ring, basically insulting everyone in the front row one by one. I have to say, the impact of Warrior’s entrance is lessened a lot by the fancy pyro, because it minimizes the chances of him just storming to the ring and destroying someone. King attacks with the royal scepter and chokes Warrior out on the ropes, and Vince notes that Warrior certainly didn’t expect those sorts of tactics. I would presume that Warrior would have watched a Jerry Lawler match at some point in his life, in which case he should have expected those and more. Finally Warrior has had enough and no-sells a piledriver, making the comeback and destroying Lawler at 3:50. And that was the last time Warrior ever wrestled on a WWF PPV, although he did a couple of house show and TV appearances after this. What a way to go out. DUD This was pretty much exactly how the match needed to go, however. Undertaker v. Mankind This was looking to be another “urn thief of the month” feud for Undertaker, but then it suddenly caught fire and ended up evolving both guys. A severely pissed Undertaker attacks out of the darkness to start and pounds Mankind down in the corner, and Mankind bails for advice from the voices in his head. That advice: “Talking to yourself isn’t crazy. It’s only crazy if you answer yourself.” Back in, Taker works on the arm with the ropewalk, but Mankind slams him and slugs away in the corner. Mankind tosses him a couple of times, but he charges with a chair and that backfires on him. Taker backdrops him onto a chair on the floor. And you wonder why Mick is in the shape he is now. Back in, Taker gives him a shot with a chair behind the ref’s back, but Mankind escapes the tombstone and puts him down with a neckbreaker to set up the Mandible Claw, but Taker sits up to block it. It’s kind of amazing that they could get a simple move over to the point where Taker blocking it could get such a huge reaction from the crowd. He’s basically sticking his finger’s into a guy’s mouth, but the crowd is horrified and fearing for Undertaker’s safety when he does it, and overjoyed when Taker blocks it. Mankind with a Vulcan nerve pinch, but Taker slugs out of it and they brawl to the floor, where Mankind debuts the running knee into the stairs. Taker, not to be outdone, smashes in the face with a chair and they head back in. Taker beats on him in the ropes and adds the flying clothesline, but Mankind pulls out the piledriver out of nowhere for two. Mick gets all riled up and steals the urn from Paul Bearer, but can’t get it away from him. Taker seemingly moves in for the kill, but Mankind applies the Claw…and Paul accidentally hits Taker with the urn while aiming for Mankind, and that’s all for Undertaker at 18:18. Great brawl that kicked off a series of matches which gave us the first big reinvention of Undertaker’s gimmick. ***1/2 Intercontinental title: Goldust v. Ahmed Johnson Much like Mankind, this should have launched Ahmed Johnson into the stratosphere, but unfortunately ended up being a peak that he was never able to achieve again instead. Ahmed bursting through the doors and knocking the poor doormen down in a great visual, as he charges to the ring and starts beating on Goldust. They head to the floor and Ahmed throws the stairs at him, which has Owen criticizing his aim. Owen was pretty great on commentary here as the snarky jerk. Finally Goldust dodges a blind charge and takes over with a lariat, slugging him down for two. Goldust goes to a chinlock, and a rather lengthy one at that, and a piledriver gets two. Back to the chinlock, but Ahmed fights out and Goldust knees him in the back to slow him down again. Goldust with a sleeper, but he releases the move so he can give Ahmed some mouth-to-mouth, at which point Ahmed wakes up, does the crazed angry black man comeback, and squashes him for good with the powerbomb to win the IC title at 15:27. Way too long in the middle leading up to Ahmed’s big comeback. Also, the whole nonsense with the Savio Vega title controversy really lessened the impact of Goldust finally losing the title. ** This was set up to be the launching pad for Ahmed, and it just didn’t happen. Not for lack of trying, however, as this felt like a big deal at the time and you could sense the rocket getting strapped to Ahmed. Brian Pillman joins us at ringside to cut a crazed promo about how Jeffrey Dalmer should have eaten everyone in the city because Milwaukee sucks so much. Pillman’s gonna rape, pillage and plunder the WWF! If only he could have. King of the Ring finals: Steve Austin v. Jake Roberts Austin wisely goes right for the ribs and throws down on them. Austin slaps him around and tears the rib tape off, which brings Gorillla Monsoon out to check on Jake personally. Owen raises a good point – Why SHOULD Austin stop the beating unless he hear a bell? Jake decides to fight back, but Austin casually blocks the DDT by going to the ribs, and the Stone Cold Stunner finishes at 4:35 to kick off the Austin Era. DUD At least they kept it short. And then, the REAL moment, as Austin cuts his coronation promo and buries Roberts for his bible-thumping promos. “Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass” suddenly became the ultra-cool catchphrase for online fans everywhere, and soon there were signs all over TV. Although as awesome as this moment was, no one had any idea how big Austin would become. WWF World title: Shawn Michaels v. British Bulldog So weeks after the entire point of the match has been shelved for good (the Diana lawsuit), the main event of this show limps into the home stretch. Sadly, Curt Hennig is exiled to the outside referee position, as they can’t even resist a bait-and-switch for a guest referee stip. They trade headlocks while Owen vocalizes what we’re all thinking: We all KNOW Shawn is a gutless coward, so how can he retain his title without cheating or getting himself disqualified? I love how Owen was making no effort to get himself over as a cool hip guy here, just going all out to be an unlikeable lying jerk. Shawn dumps Bulldog and follows with a rana off the apron, and poor Cornette gets spanked with the tennis racket. Back in, Bulldog goes back to the headlock, but Shawn reverses into a cross armbreaker and then evades Bulldog’s power to stay on the arm. Shawn with a sleeper, but Bulldog runs him into the corner to break and tosses him around the ring. Shawn puts him down with an armbar and goes up with a flying axehandle to the shoulder, but Bulldog presses him and drops him straight to the floor in a crazy Shawn bump. Bulldog adds a suplex on the floor and then presses Shawn back into the ring again for two. Bulldog with a chinlock, and he whips Shawn around the ring again and hooks him with the Rito Romero Special, then bridges back for two. Back to the chinlock, and he puts Shawn down with a backdrop and legdrop for two, which gives us a rare burst of emotion from Diana at ringside. She almost smiles and emotes! Vince puts over Shawn’s fanbase and Owen goes on an epic rant about how wrestling fans are morons and Bulldog should be champion because he’s talented and a winner, like himself. He’s just such a great asshole. Shawn fights up and Bulldog puts him down with a lariat and goes back to the chinlock. Shawn escapes with a crucifix for two, but they trade finisher attempts and then Bulldog kills him with another clothesline. That’s the kind of stuff Bulldog should have been doing all along. Piledriver and Bulldog goes up, but he misses a diving headbutt in embarrassing fashion. Owen, without missing a beat, immediately accuses Jose Lothario of pulling the ropes and tripping him up. Shawn goes up and Bulldog brings him down with a superplex for two. Another one is reversed in mid-air by Shawn, for two. They slug it out and collide, and Shawn recovers first with a rana, which Bulldog turns into a powerbomb for two. Both guys are out, but Shawn makes the comeback and the ref is bumped. Shawn with the flying elbow and superkick to finish at 26:23. Perfect didn’t even factor into the match after all the buildup. **** Bulldog and Owen proceed with the heel beatdown, which turns into Camp Cornette beating down Shawn and Ahmed Johnson, and then Ultimate Warrior makes the save to set up the six-man for the July PPV that no one remembers. The Pulse This show had the misfortune to be sandwiched between two of the greatest PPVs in history on the WCW side and saddled with a main event angle that no one cared about, but it’s a pretty tremendous show during a shit time for the company. Bookended by **** matches and featuring a surprisingly great performance from Undertaker in the middle, it’s really only hampered by Jake Roberts stinking up the KOTR tournament itself. Check it out on the Network if you’ve never seen it!

The PG Era Rant: 2015 King of the Ring

The PG Era Rant for the 2015 King of
the Ring Final Four.
Well, I was supposed to rant on
Tuesdays and then Main Event disappeared. But hey, this is a Tuesday
show, so let’s have some fun together and enjoy the show.

This show is dedicated to the memory of
Verne Gagne.
We start with a video about past kings
and how winning the King of the Ring title leads to big things for
all involved. So which of the four tonight will join them?
Live from the WWE Network.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, and
master of ceremonies Jerry Lawler. Lawler welcomes us and talks
about being King of the Ring. But first, highlights of the
Byron Saxton interviews Sheamus. He
says he’ll be a 2-time King, but first he has to beat Neville. Yes,
Neville defies gravity – but not while he’s unconscious. And it
doesn’t matter who’s in the final; Sheamus will become King and make
you kiss his arse.
Renee Young, meanwhile, gets Adrian
Neville. He reminds us he was a long-reigning NXT Champion, and in
just a month, he’s in the King of the Ring semis. No one thought he
could do this – just as no one thinks he’ll win tonight – but he
defies gravity and expectations. He’s ready to show Sheamus what he
can do.
2015 King of the Ring Semifinals:
Sheamus v. Adrian Neville.
1980s Kings are now canon, because Sheamus is trying to join Bret
Hart as 2-time King. Sheamus starts with the “lol you’re short”
hand signal. He shoves Neville in the corner a couple times and
talks trash, but Neville forearms and kicks out. Neville handsprings
out of the corner, boot is caught, clothesline ducked, but Neville
runs into the Irish Curse. Neville shoves Sheamus away as the ref
checks on him. Sheamus charges in on kneelifts and delivers a second
Irish Curse. Neville tries to fight back from a kneeling position,
but Sheamus clubs him down and gets a running knee. Boot choke in
the corner follows, and Sheamus goes to a rear bearhug as the crowd
chants for Neville. Neville elbows out, then gets the Tito Santana
forearms to rattle Sheamus. Sheamus recovers with a knee to the gut,
then tosses Neville to try the Ten of Clubs. Neville fights out, so
Sheamus throws him into the announce table from the apron. They
tease the countout, but Neville’s in at 9. Sheamus disgustedly
pounds away on Neville before throwing him halfway across the ring.
Sheamus with White Noise on Neville… but Dolph Ziggler is here to
get his attention. You know, with how Dolph won at Extreme Rules?
Sheamus is furious and misses the Brogue Kick from it, and the
enzuigiri and Red Arrow ends it at 5:44. Would a clean finish kill
them? *3/4
puts Neville over before addressing Sheamus and saying that, um,
there was supposed to be a stipulation for when he won, and it’s time
to collect. He charges the ring and gets a few shots in, but Sheamus
escapes. Sheamus is furious and decides to race back in to continue
the fight as ALL the referees come out to do something about it.
Sheamus’ right eye is busted open from the fight.
know it wouldn’t be very insightful, but I would pay money if the
entire Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon podcast was Jericho
finding newer ways to call Stephanie a trashbag ho like back in 2000.
But that’s just me.
ago, for those who don’t understand how video on demand works.
Young is with Bad News Barrett. First off, Neville beating Sheamus
is one of the biggest upsets in King of the Ring history. Renee said
it, not Wade. Barrett wants to know why he should be worried about
R-Truth. Once Barrett beats a has-been, he’ll take out a
never-will-be. When he’s done, Neville will be the Man That Everyone
Forgot, and they’ll only remember Barrett as King.
Saxton is with R-Truth for the rebuttal. Truth’s final thoughts:
he’s still afraid of spiders. But he has a plan: he’s not facing his
fears. He has something concrete. His plan is become King of the
Ring, and when he does, he’ll declare that spiders are banned in
wrestling. He’ll build a castle, make a drawbridge, fill up a
moat… wait, are there water spiders? As for Barrett, he’s not
invited to the castle unless he can kill spiders. He’s a
goooooooooooooooood R-Truth again.
King of the Ring Semifinals: R-Truth v. Wade Barrett.

Truth with a quick rollup for two. The two exchange strikes, with
Barrett doing better in it, but Truth stops a whip to dance and get
another cradle for two. Barrett boots Truth down for one. Choke on
the second rope by Barrett, then some knee strikes and a running boot
to send Truth to the outside. On the outside, Barrett sends Truth
into the apron and gets two back in. To the chinlock! Barrett
misses a blind charge and Truth gets the clotheslines and front
suplex for two. Axe Kick misses, but the Lie Detector gets two. A
second one gets two. Little Jimmy gets blocked, Bulhammer missed,
and the Bossman Slam gets two. Barrett with kicks in the corner, but
a blind charge airballs and Little Jimmy gets two, but Barrett gets
to the rope. No one bought that as a near fall. Barrett with an eye
rake and Bullhammer more or less from nothing to win at 4:38. This
never got out of the blocks. ½*
video tribute to Verne Gagne. It gets a classy ovation. Lawler and
JBL share their thoughts.
Young is with Dolph Ziggler. We’re reminded of how Ziggler got
Sheamus to advance by DQ over Dean Ambrose. But Ziggler eliminated
Sheamus this time. Dolph says he’s tired of Sheamus being a
loud-mouthed bully. He even called Dean Ambrose to apologize, so
that story thread is going nowhere. He promises there’s more pain to
come for Sheamus. This isn’t about kissing an arse – it’s about
kicking one.
week: Mick Foley! Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon! WrestleMania
Rewind – Money/Giant!
from the Extreme Rules kickoff show, where Neville scored an upset.
Saxton is with Barrett. Saxton says there’s some bad news: Neville’s
already beaten Barrett. Barrett doesn’t like fighting twice in one
night, but Neville is in trouble because Barrett destroyed R-Truth
and has all the momentum. And from here, Barrett will be the King of
the Ring.
really should not have shown the Neville/Barrett highlights. Too
many fans know about 50/50 booking nowadays. Of course, those that
do also remember Sunday’s match…
2015 King of the
Ring: Adrian Neville v. Wade Barrett.

Winner becomes King of the Ring. With any luck, the loser gets his
first name back. Fun little detail: Barrett comes out and points at
the throne, clearly shouting “That’s mine” as he does. Barrett
stalls to start. Lockup leads to a knee from Barrett and works the
ribs. Neville with the handspring and head-scissors, then a back
heel kick. More kicks, but Barrett pounces on Neville and
clotheslines him out of the ring. Barrett with a slam on the
outside, then he shoves Neville into the apron. Back in, Barrett
gets one. Barrett hangs Neville on the top roe and clubs the back
before kicking the ribs for two. Slingshot backbreaker gets two. He
stomps on the ribs before going to a half-surfboard with his knee in
Neville’s ribs. Neville kicks out, staggering Barrett, but Barrett
recovers. Neville flips out of another slingshot and kicks away,
this time ducking Barrett’s rush and sending him out. Neville
follows with a springboard quebrada. Back in, Neville with a
springboard dropkick. He strikes Barrett with every limb he’s got,
getting a sliding dropkick and German suplex for two. Neville runs
into the Bossman Slam for two. Wasteland try, but Neville escapes
and gets a kick before… running back into Wasteland for two.
Barrett’s running out of ideas, with nothing but the Bullhammer left,
and he’s ready to deliver it. It misses, and Neville with a cradle
and bridge for two. Enzuigiri by Neville and he goes up, but the
Shooting Star Press misses. Neville rolls through and charges…
right into a Bullhammer for the crown at 7:06. A neat little story
they told there, with Neville showing fighting spirit and Barrett
unloading the hard shots and winning with experience. **1/4
puts on the robe and takes the throne. Lawler makes it official.
Barrett says he’s got the class and elegance to call himself King.
He will rule with an iron fist and a Bullhammer. Boom.
with that, I throw it back to Tommy Hall to take you through the rest
of the week. If you want me to do a Network recap, let me know. See
you later!

The King of Hardcore, WCW Style

I was pulling for Meng, who was locked into quite a battle with the surprisingly powerful Terry Funk. But, in the end, the Blog of Doom said that even these titans were no match for the most fearsome gladiator of all.

Congratulations to Norman Smiley, the greatest WCW Hardcore Warrior of all time!

Repost: King of the Ring 95

(All right, you broke me down, but I’m not rewatching it.  This was originally written circa 1999.)  – So you’re the WWF. WCW pumps out Uncensored, Renegade, the Dungeon of Doom and Ric Flair in a dress…so what do you do to retaliate? Simple: Go back to the thing that defined the WWF: Really bad wrestling. (And big fat guys.)  – Live from Philadelphia, PA. Mistake #1. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix. – Pre-game show match: Savio Vega v. IRS. See, Razor Ramon had already qualified, but got injured, so we got this to see who would face Yokozuna in the first round. Decent but unspectacular match which sees Jobbio hit a leg lariat for the pin. *1/2  (Final PPV appearance of IRS, in fact.)  – Okay, so the tournament looks like this… – Mabel (d. Adam Bomb) v. Undertaker (d. Jeff Jarrett) – Kama (d. Duke Droese) v. Shawn Michaels (d. King Kong Bundy) – Roadie (d. Doink) v. Bob Holly (d. Mantaur) – Savio Vega (d. IRS) v. Yokozuna (d. Lex Luger) Conventional wisdom on RSPW at the time said that the tournament was merely a formality to put Shawn over.  (Also conventional wisdom from Dave Meltzer and anyone else with half a brain.)  – Opening match: Savio Vega v. Yokozuna. Yes, THIS is the match they picked for the opener. Savio had just made his debut as Ramon’s buddy at the first In Your House. Yokozuna, who at this point had breasts larger than Debra, kicks the crap out of Savio for a while with devastating restholds and stomps. Wow, way to get the crowd going. It should be noted that Dok Hendrix is trying to do a less-edgy Michael Hayes-type color commentator here and not doing very well at it.  (He had his moments, but had to tone it down a LOT.)  Yoko misses the FAT-ASSED LEGDROP OF DOOM, and Savio makes the Pissed Off Racial Stereotype comeback. But Owen Hart appears at ringside to get some shots in on Ramon, triggering a sort-of brawl outside. Vega beats the count back into the ring for the win. DUD  (Gotta protect Yokozuna, you know.)  – The Roadie v. Bob “Not Hardcore” Holly. Okay, ya gotta admit that this match would be pretty cool today. (Ugh, OK then.)  Poor Jesse was still playing Jarrett’s lackey at this point, and they were about to start the “With My Baby Tonight” angle. Good stuff to start as they trade two counts, but Holly goes for a rana and gets powerbombed for a two-count and the Roadie advantage. Jammes was very inexperienced at this point and dances between moves too much. (As opposed to the smooth technical worker he became in the late 90s?) Plus his hair extensions are idiotic. Match is fine otherwise, and would turn out to be the only one of the show to be any good. Holly makes the comeback and they end up on the top rope, but Holly goes for something and hits Roadie’s foot…and Roadie gets the pin? That was a pretty innocuous spot to get a pin from, and further it looked like Holly kicked out, but the ref counted three. Anyone know what happened there? ***  (Nothing of note in the WON about it, that was just the finish they came up with.)  Shawn Michaels v. Kama Shango Mustafa, the Supreme Pimpin’ Machine. The first hint that something was severely fucked up with this show: Shawn Michaels stops by the throne to goof around…and the crown doesn’t fit. Kama is still wearing the melted-down urn around his neck at this point, and he gets a black wreath from the weird Undertaker fans at ringside, who are NOT Shane and Stephanie McMahon, by the way. (Really, was that a thing at the time?  Obviously Steph would be way too young for the part at that point anyway.) A closeup reveals that quite clearly. (Thank you Sherlock.)  Shawn bounces around to stay out of Kama’s way for the first little bit. Kama hits a pretty stiff roundhouse kick to the gut and knocks Shawn over the top to take control. Kicks abound. Shawn bumps like a pinball for Kama as the announcers keep making reference to the time limit. Kama misses an early prototype of the Ho Train and we get the double KO spot. They lay around for a while to waste time. Once the timer counting down the remaining 2:25 appears, you can guess the ending. Michaels makes the comeback with the KIP-UP OF DEATH and the other Shawn stuff. Shawn gets a few pin attempts, but the time limit expires and the crowd is PISSED. Well, no problem, the Undertaker is still in the tournament, right? **  (Considering the tournament was essentially sold on Shawn’s involvement and the idea that Shawn is the star of the moment and ready to go to the next level, the crowd had a right to be pissed.  Why even put him there?  Guys like Lex Luger, Owen Hart, Jeff Jarrett or even the newbies like Man Mountain Rock or HOG weren’t even on the show and could have been stuck in that kind of death slot.)  – We take a look at Bob Backlund campaigning for President in Philadelphia. – Mabel v. The Undertaker. UT chokes a bunch, but Mabel hits the World’s Worst Bossman Slam to take control. Mabel does a job of selling that can only be described as “looking mildly distracted”. He hits a belly-to-belly and applies quite possibly the laziest rear chinlock this side of Stevie Ray. Man, that’s just BAD. The match s.l.o.w.l.y progresses with Mabel taking every opportunity to rest that is humanly possible. (Well, he had to work TWO matches in one night, do you think he’s Tarzan or something?  No human being could sustain that kind of gruelling schedule!)  UT comes back and the ref gets bumped. Chokeslam, but Kama runs in, kicks UT in the head, and Mabel drops the leg for the pin. Talk about a brainfart. –*  (Yeah, of all the people to waste a clean-ish Undertaker job on, they go with MABEL?  They barely even had Taker appearing on TV at this point to keep him special.  Again, so many other guys at a decent level who weren’t even booked on the show that could have put Barney over.)  – May I just ask who booked this crap?  (Jim Ross.)  – We take a look at the Hall of Fame inductions from the night before. – Semi-final: Savio Vega v. The Roadie. The “Road Dog” nickname is coined in the pre-match interview. And what the FUCK is this doing on a major PPV anyway? Vince spends much of the match talking about how Savio is living a dream and all that crap. (That’s another problem with his “inspirational” run through the tournament, as he couldn’t actually beat Yokozuna and then his semi-final opponent was Jeff Jarrett’s bitch.  How is this supposed to be impressive?)  And speaking of crap, we have this match. Jammes kicks and punches, Vega does nothing. Crowd rapidly grows bored with this. Jarrett hops up on the apron, Roadie gets whipped into him, Vega gets the pin. DUD  (That’s probably harsh, it was at least watchable.)  – Funny bit after the match as Carlos Cabrera interviews Savio and Dok provides “translation”.  (Now THIS was funny.  I saw this again recently and it was the kind of edge that Hayes used to have.)  – Kiss My Foot: Bret Hart v. Jerry Lawler. What is with Jim Cornette booking humiliation matches? (Well it’s a southern wrestling thing but this wasn’t Cornette booking.)  They brawl for a bit, but go outside the ring and Bret gets tossed to the steps. Lawler alternates between pounding on Bret and jawing with the fans. Three piledrivers doesn’t stop Bret, who makes the comeback. Lawler tosses him out of the ring and takes off his boot, nailing Bret with it for a two count. The story is that Lawler has been soaking his foot in horse manure for weeks, so the sock is colored brown and black in places. Fistdrop gets two. Hakushi makes the run-in, but hits Lawler by mistake and Bret goes into…wait for it…wait for it….THE FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Jerry submits. (This was actually a pretty good finish with Bret convincingly beating the shit out of Lawler once and for all, and this time remembering to release the hold so as to avoid any reversed decisions.)  Bret takes off *his* boot and shoves his foot in Lawler’s mouth, then makes Lawler kiss his own foot. This finally ended the years-long feud between the two. 1/2* (It was better than that, like **1/2.)  Vince sells it as the most humiliating moment of Lawler’s career, although I’m pretty sure wrestling on an ECW PPV is right up there, too…  (And then they actually managed to tie this in with the debut of Isaac Yankem in an impressive bit of booking gymnastics, so kudos to whoever pulled that one off.)  – Promo for the Special Olympics. So *that’s* who booked this show… – King of the Ring: Mabel v. Savio Vega. This is, by the way, a special unadvertised match that I put on the end of Netcop Busts. (Yeah, no one would pay money for it even on that tape.)  Yes, Vince, Savio’s rise to the finals is indeed unbelievable — it’s NOT BELIEVABLE! (Well, the thing is, the character had only been introduced literally a month beforehand, so we didn’t even know who he was. You can’t do an inspirational story with a guy who’s basically a generic babyface.  If it was 1-2-3 Kid, then absolutely they would have earned the underdog comeback story and it would have tied in with his character perfectly.  Plus you also get the “Razor Ramon’s buddy” side-story out of it.)   So we go punch, kick, punch, kick. And bearhug. Can’t be a fat black man unless the bearhug is in your repertoire. I think it’s a law. And, amazingly, Mabel even has a lazy bearhug. Then we go into the chinlock. Crowd gets so bored they start chanting “ECW” and Vince is suddenly at a loss for words. (Funny story behind that, as Vince heard the chants and demanded that the sound guys turn up the crowd noise because he thought they were chanting for Savio due to him not having any clue what ECW was.  Then when he realized what was happening, he freaked out and had them turn the noise down equally fast.)  Savio comes back and hits the leg lariat, but Mabel kicks out, thus sealing it right there. Big splash finishes it for Mabel and ends this joke of a tournament. DUD – Men on a Mission destroy Ramon and Savio. The Kid tries a save but gets pummelled too. – Mabel gets crowned, and the fans surrounding him absolutely pelt him with crap. Too funny.  (And yet they STILL didn’t take the hint from that reaction.)  – Sadly, this show isn’t over yet. – Main event: Diesel & Bam Bam Bigelow v. Sid & Tatanka. You know, they blew the whole Tatanka heel turn from the get-go. If he had changed his name back to Chris Chavis and stopped dressing like an indian it would have worked, but the Evil Native American thing never flew. (Yeah yeah, we know, this has only been in the last bazillion RAW rants.) I would also be remiss in not mentioning Bam Bam’s…uh…interesting ring outfit, complete with flame-shooting gauntlets. I wonder if the Clique used to get stoned and think of shit like that to mess with the Bammer’s mind. Okay, so the match: Diesel has a bad elbow, which the heels hit a bunch. Vince notes that they’re “blatantly” hammering on the elbow…and it’s legal! As opposed to what? Being disqualified for an *illegal* shot to the elbow? Bam Bam gets a hot tag, but falls prey to some devastating forearms to the back from Sid, and an admittedly impressive top rope chokeslam. Hey, that brings it above DUD. Tatanka with more kicks. Man, this is exciting. Viva la New WWF Generation. Sid comes in and kicks some more. Bigelow heads out of the ring, and trips Sid. Sid suddenly drops down and sells it as though he’s been shot in the head with a high powered rifle at close range. Well, you have to admire the effort, but he missed the Oscars by several weeks. Diesel makes the hot tag, but drops an elbow using his bad elbow and has to tag Bigelow back in. More kicking and resting from Tatanka. He wasn’t that great to begin with, but his workrate absolutely went to shit once he turned. (Not to disagree, but I think it was more that he could disguise his weakness by selling a bunch as a babyface and limiting his offense to short comebacks.)  Finally, Diesel gets the hot tag and powerbombs the shit out of Tatanka, but picks him up at two. He wants Sid. Sid disagrees and walks, so Diesel drops an elbow on Tatanka and pins him to put everyone out of their misery, finally. Call it about 1/4*  (What a TERRIBLE finish, making Sid look like a coward to build up another match between them.  This was supposed to be the match to put Bigelow on the main event level and just made him look like another midcard geek like Tatanka.)  The Bottom Line: While certainly not the *worst* PPV of all time, it’s certainly one that best makes the case for mandatory drug testing on the booking committee. (Was Michael Hayes booking yet?)  But then, I think we all want to know what the WWF was thinking between 1993 and 1996. Sadly for Vince, King Mabel didn’t quite turn the industry on it’s ear the way he had hoped, and the whole stupid idea was dropped a few months later, but not before making everyone suffer through Diesel v. Mabel.  (And what a funeral dirge the march to THAT main event was.)  Strongest recommendation to avoid this show.

Pro Wrestling Diaries Shoot Interview with King Kong Bundy, Disc Two

This disc runs at 54 minutes long

Bundy said that it was the office’s idea to have him elbow drop Little Beaver but said that when Beaver slapped him with his moccasin, it stung like hell. Bundy makes a joke about how it wasn’t the first time he was a little hard on the Beaver but said he did slam him hard that night and the other midgets missed the cue and he had to again yell that he was going to splash Beaver in order for them to come in and stop the assault. He then talks about how Bret Hart said in his book that he (Bundy) hated the midget angle because he thought he was a serious heel. Bundy claims to have never said anything like that then goes on to say how Bret mailed him a copy of his book and recalls how Bret once called him to say he wanted to send him his book. Bundy said he told Bret that he was a real fucking asshole when he had the belt, to which Bret replied that it went with the territory. Bundy said that was bullshit because plenty of champs did not act like that then says that the point to all of this was that Bret did not want to initiate any sort of contact with Bundy at all and just wanted him to have a copy of his book so he could read his ramblings of his glorious career. He then jokes about how Bret talks about his legacy, like he is Tom Brady or something, and talks about he became the champ because someone gave it to him. Bundy then laughs at the ridiculous of Bret and said that he used to be friends with him before he became the champ.
He is asked about several other guys. Bundy said that Butch always joked about how he was racist and said that he was a good guy. Bundy did not like Hercules and said how he had to give him $200 once because he slapped around his girlfriend and needed to get out of town. He also recalls one time that Hercules once said while high that it would be a great idea to get a gun and shoot some cops. Bundy said George Steele was a good guy but turned into a stooge when he became an agent. He said that Don Muraco was a good guy. Bundy said that Superstar Billy Graham was an asshole and said how he started the steroid controversy and complained about not being able to work due to injuries, prompting Bundy to say he should get a regular job. Bundy likes Tito Santana but said he never liked to lose and that he was cheap. But not nearly as cheap as Nikolai Volkoff, who was also a nice guy. He likes the Wild Samoans. Bundy said Billy Jack Haynes was a good guy and once beat the shit out of Iron Mike Sharpe. He said that Haynes was a very tough guy.
Bundy talks about the Honky Tonk Man and said that he is ignorant and arrogant and likes it that way. He calls Jake Roberts a mess and said that he lent him money once and it took him 40 phone calls to get it back. Bundy said that Roberts is a typical wrestler’s kid.
He talks about Bam Bam Bigelow and how he became broke chasing his dream of owning two homes filled with all sorts of luxuries.
On why he left the WWF in the 80’s, he said that it was time to go. He then got a few film roles. Bundy said that he was supposed to be “Running Man” and said that the “big, fat guy wearing lights” and was offered $12,500 a week for ten weeks but this was when he was doing the Machines angle with Andre and couldn’t leave then shortly after that, Andre ended the angle to film the “Princess Bride.”
When asked about “Married with Children,” Bundy said that the creators were big wrestling fans and that was why the neighbors were the “Rhoades,” after Dusty (although spelled differently).
In between his return to the WWF, Bundy worked for a computer company and then owned a bar. He then decided to go back and worked a match in ECW when the WWF called. He was managed by Ted DiBiase, who Bundy liked but said was not a good manager. Bundy said that his match against the Undertaker sucked. He also said that the Undertaker kept saying that he should be on top and Bundy said that he was a sour guy.
Bundy puts over the Bam Bam/ Lawrence Taylor match from WrestleMania and said that LT was gassed after the match.
On being released from the WWF, Bundy said that they wanted to put him in a program with Henry Goodwin and he thought it was terrible.
When asked about today’s wrestling, he says that stuff looks choreographed and goes off on internet fans who love smaller wrestlers because of the highspots. He said that when you watch wrestling, you want to see someone bigger than life, not someone as short as Rey Mysterio because if you look at a guy and think you can kick their ass, then something is wrong with the business.
Bundy goes back to the WWF during his last run and said how there was no money at all in the WWF and that they were doing shows and RAW’s in high school gymnasiums then goes back to Bret Hart in his book crowing about how he was a great champion.
He is asked what makes a good heel. Bundy said that there are two types of heels, the monster heel and the sneaky heel. He said both of them can draw heat. He also said that you have to be a guy who doesn’t mind getting beat.
His favorite place to wrestle was in Toronto. The worst was the Nassau Coliseum as people would throw batteries at you.
When asked about how wrestling has changed, Bundy said that the business is deader than Elvis and you no longer see people wearing wrestling shirts. He said the hottest period was with The Rock and Austin with the second best being the “Hulkamania” era.
Bundy said he was never a fan of women’s wrestling and joked how they are better at cooking and housecleaning.
He talks about doing stand-up comedy and how he keeps getting better at it and has performed over 50 times but he had foot problems and could not stand on stage for a while.
Now, they talk about the Iron Sheik’s roast and the incident in which Scott Hall attacked a comic after they made reference to Owen Hart’s death. Bundy said that everything goes in a roast but the comic probably should not have said that. Bundy then said that Hall is a moron and that it was a combination of booze and people in the crowd egging him on by chanting “Razor.” Bundy said that he mocked Hall when he went on as he pretending to act drunk and act pissed over someone making a joke about the Fabulous Moolah’s pussy.
Bundy said that he might write a book someday then likes the books that Catcus and The Rock did but slams Bret some more over his book. He said that Bret had a picture in his book and a caption that read Heartthrob, or at least that is what the guys told me which has Bundy go off on a funny bit about what the fuck does that even mean and if guys came up to Bret saying that he was sexy and had a nice ass.
When asked about the WWE Hall of Fame, Bundy sarcastically said that he is not worthy when you have men who have had the careers like Koko B. Ware did are included. Bundy said that he put over Koko more than he did and how guys like Pete Rose and Johnny Rodz are not included. Bundy said that he doesn’t care and is not bitter at all that he is not included.
He says that on the independent scene today, there are some guys that have far-fetched match ideas. He tells a story about how some guy who was so fat that it made him look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, complained that his match went on before Jimmy Snuka’s. Bundy said it was ridiculous for him to think he was worthy of main-eventing over Snuka.
Bundy is asked his three favorite matches and said it was WrestleMania 1-3 stuff, with the 3rd being his favorite.
He is asked how he wants to be remembered and said that he did the best he could to make his opponent look good. He then said that Chris Jericho stole the “Jerichoholics” phrase from him when he used the “Bundyholics” and jokes how he will shove his “woodpecker head” up his ass.
Final Thoughts:  Bundy certainly wasn’t afraid to dish the dirt here. Also, he ripped Bret Hart to shreds for his book, which was pretty funny.
I thought Bundy came off as a likable guy in this shoot. Being that he is currently involved in stand-up comedy he was trying to channel that in talking about some of the other wrestlers, especially Bret.
This shoot also included extra bonus features and matches, which I did not really explore.
I give this a high recommendation.

Pro Wrestling Diaries Shoot Interview with King Kong Bundy, Disc One

This interview was filmed in 2010

Disc One runs at one hour and fifty-four minutes long

The interview was conducted by Andrew Khellah

Disc Two will be posted tomorrow

The interview starts with Bundy cutting a promo while standing in a ring on anyone who disses him by stating that  he will dish the dirt on them right now.

Growing up, Bundy said that he used to watch wrestling as a kid and enjoyed when the babyface like Bruno Sammartino would run out and make the big save but was not really a big fan.

Bundy said that it was a fluke that he got into wrestling. He quit college, as he did not want to be a teacher and became a bartender after plans to run a family business went awry. Dick Worley, a WWF referee, knew his brother, who taught Worley’s kids as a phys. ed teacher. Worley somehow confused a message from Bundy’s brother and thought that he wanted to be a referee, when he just asked for some tickets. After that, Worley looked him up in the phone book and ended up calling Bundy to ask if he wanted to get into wrestling.

He ended up getting trained by Larry Sharpe. Bundy said the most important thing that Sharpe told him was to protect the other person in the ring. Bundy said that he did not learn much and his first match was as a jobber on WWF TV. Bundy said he tried a sunset flip and was told to never do that again.

Bundy said that he trained a few hours every night and never thought about quitting.

He earned $50 per taping on the WWF TV Tapings every three weeks. Bundy said that he also got put on some house shows after that.

When asked about paying dues, he said driving up to Hamburg or Allentown, PA every three weeks to lose for $50 was how he did that.

He then worked for World Class. He was working for Blackjack Mulligan at the time in Tennessee and did a TV job to Bruiser Brody and was noticed by Gary Hart, who saw him on the Atlanta TV. Back then, he was “Big Daddy Bundy” billed from the oil fields and as a face.

He turned heel on the Von Erich’s by coming out with Gary Hart. He then switched to black ring attire and boots.

Bundy said that the Freebirds really gave the territory a shot in the arm and tells a story of how he drove them to the airport going 100mph so they would not miss their flight and that Michael Hayes paid for the first speeding ticket.

He ended up leaving World Class due to Ken Mantell, who was the booker. Bundy talks about nepotism in wrestling and said that Mantell replaced him with Gene Petit, who later became Cousin Luke in the WWF, as he was good friends with Mantell.

When asked about paydays, Bundy said that he made nothing as a face, because the Von Erich’s had all the top spots, but as a heel, he was making about $1,200 a week.

Bundy thought Fritz was nice but had an ego the size of the building. Then, some guy ( I assume the sound guy) tells them to re-do the question as a plane flew low and they could not hear what they said, promping Bundy to joke around and call the guy a “prick.”

He thought that David was the best worker out of the Von Erich’s. He said that Kerry had the best body and that Kevin never sold. Before his hair match with Kevin, Fritz told Bundy that he needed to sell a lot for Kevin, which Bundy said was bullshit because he was the one who was losing his hair.

Bundy talks about how the Von Erich’s were screwed up and recalls a story of the Von Erich’s giving Chris half of a quaalude then having a girl blow him at age ten and asks how could you not be screwed up after that.

He liked Skandor Akbar a lot. He recalls a story of how he drove up to a small town with him in his car and on TV, they played up like they had a ton of money. This girl sees them in their car and asked why they drove such a shitty car to which Akbar replied “we drive shit cars to shit towns.” Bundy said that Akbar always made him laugh.

After World Class, he went to Mid South. Bundy claims that Ernie Ladd, who was the booker, hated him and Bundy called him an “asshole” who was dumb as a box of rocks. He recalls how Ladd “wasn’t a fag” but would always have a young kid with him that he basically treated as a slave and tells a story of how he once made someone wait in the car for an hour during a long drive so he could play Mrs. Pacman.

On Bill Watts, he said that he always liked to yell but didn’t have a problem with him and did not think he was the worst boss in the world but said he was a bully. He also credits Watts for coming up with the “five count” gimmick, which he thought was great.

When asked with his feud against Junkyard Dog, Bundy said how JYD was very over in the Louisiana. He was also told back then that he was making $5,000 a week and someone else told him that JYD had $138,000 in the bank. He liked JYD but said that he would give you the “dead sell” which made it tough to work against him.

He left Mid South, because he said it was time to go, then went to work for Ole Anderson in Atlanta. Bundy said that the territory was dead when he got there. Bundy then said that car rental places were prejudicial to wrestlers and refused to rent cars to them because someone took a shit in the trunk out of one of the cars.

Bundy talks about hanging with the wrestlers is the toughest part. He said there is a lot of insecurity and “macho bullshit” but there are some good guys too.

On Ole Anderson, Bundy said that he enjoyed being an asshole. Anderson would come up to them backstage and tell them that someone could kick your ass if you are not paying attention, which Bundy said was ridiculous. He then said that Ole would run in place backstage and talk about how he was old and still tough.

He went to Memphis after leaving Atlanta. He remembers meeting Andy Kaufman and called Tommy Rich a “dope fiend.” He recalls a road story traveling with Tommy Rogers, Tommy Rich, and Johnny Rich and at 3am it was his turn to stop driving but everyone else was too screwed up on pills to drive. Bundy hammers Tommy Rich here, calling him a baby and how he would complain if someone would mess up his hair. Back to the road story, he ended up falling asleep an hit a guy, sending the person into a ditch and tried to help the guy out and how no one else helped him out with that or even kick in some money for being too fucked up to drive.

Bundy recalls a story of sharing a room with Rick McGraw, who was trying to eat pizza but was way too fucked up and could not get it into his mouth.

After that, he was supposed to be going to the AWA but did a tour of Japan and got noticed by Hulk Hogan, who told Vince McMahon and Bundy went to the WWF instead. Bundy called Hogan a stand-up guy for doing that.

About Vince, Bundy said that Vince ignored him completely when he was a job guy. When he came back, Bundy said that Vince never gave a guarantee in his contract and that would cause the guys to work through injuries and damage themselves. He talks about how there are no benefits, 401K plans, or paid vacations in the WWE and brings up Vince’s interview with HBO Real Sports. He said that he never had any problems with Vince.

Bundy did not hear about Jesse Ventura trying to start a union. He then goes on about how when wrestlers get older, they talk about how they were a lot more tougher and banged more chicks when they were younger. He goes on about the delusions of grandeur older wrestlers have when they talk about the past. He calls Jesse entertaining and clever.

His first match back for the WWF was on TV when he wore a black cape and was managed by Jimmy Hart. Bundy said that he liked Heenan a lot better as a manager as Hart’s style was not something he liked. Bundy talks about how he never went to bother Vince and realizes now that Vince likes guys who seek him out and kiss his ass in order to get ahead.

He laughs when asked about Capt. Lou Albano. He said he was great and talks about how he worked a house show in Washington D.C. and saw Albano backstage with a giant bottle of vodka and two buckets of chicken, asking Bundy if he wanted some.

Bundy said that Roddy Piper is very talented and one of the good guys. He said that John Studd was also very nice but that he was obsessed with being a giant and did a ton of steroids as a result. Bundy also said that Studd kissed Andre’s ass constantly and recalls a time when someone asked the locker room how they were doing to which Studd replied “if Andre is happy, we are happy.” He also said that Chief Jay Strongbow always told Studd how he was an awful worker.

He then talks about how the “marks on the internet” now make the wrestlers believe that workrate and mic skills are what makes you great then goes on about how Bret Hart wrote in his book about Dave Meltzer saying that he had the best match on the card, prompting Bundy to say who cares what Meltzer thinks but that some people do care. Bundy said that Meltzer’s name never came up in the locker room back in the 1980’s but did in the 1990’s.

He said that is first match ever at Madison Square Garden was against Tony Garea, who thanked him after winning the match. This was before he returned in 1985. Bundy said that Garea was nice but as “cheap as the day is long” and used to keep the mileage from every trip.

Bundy first met Hogan in Japan but said that Hogan was the best champion ever. He recalls Bret Hart saying in his book that once you see Hogan wrestle once, you have seen everything but Bundy said you can say the same thing about Bret after seeing him wrestle three times then goes on about how wrestling is always like that. He said that Hogan had an incredible presence about him in the ring.

On the topic of Randy Savage, Bundy said that he “can’t stand the prick.” He said that Elizabeth was polite and nice and if she had not got involved with Savage then Lex Luger, she would still be alive. He said that the whole Poffo family was cheap and that they would sit in the airport for five hours rather than check into the hotel early in order to save money. He did say that Lanny Poffo was an alright guy and enjoyed the Genius gimmick. He does put over Savage as being a great athlete.

Bundy tells a story about how Randy and Elizabeth once ended up in different cars with the Hebner’s and how Randy questioned the one who drove with Elizabeth about what they talked about during the trip.

He said that S.D Jones was a nice guy but did not like jobbing that quickly at WrestleMania. He did say that it was really like 23 seconds rather than 9 because S.D. waited too long. Bundy said that if someone told him to lose in 9 seconds, he would try to lose in 7 seconds.

Bundy talks about Uncle Elmer and how he was an odd guy. He recalls how someone asked him how he was doing once and replied not to good because his wife was “bleeding out of the ass again.” Bundy said that in Memphis, he would always have stuff to sell to people. He then said that Elmer once told Bundy to stand on his ribs during a match then went to the doctors for an x-ray to show that he had broken ribs, which revealed a brake that took place 10 years ago. Bundy said he planned the whole thing in order to get time off, which he thought was ridiculous because they wrestled in 5 minute matches. He then said that Bret Hart did an impression of Elmer the next day that was funny.

They now show a clip from a Fan Slam” session from 2004 that shows SD Jones saying Vince and Pat Patterson came up to him and asked if he would job in nine seconds to Bundy and he agreed but then said while people laughed at him, he made a very big payday. Bundy again says that he would have lost in 7 seconds and not hesitate like S.D. did and goes on about how he lost to midgets, Koko B. Ware, college kids, and nuns because no one is actually beating you as it is all predetermined. Bundy jokes how he would put over the interviewer in a match for $500.

He now talks about how people blame Vince for “raiding” territories of their talent and running shows in their towns, calling it antiquated thinking on the part of the territory owners because Vince offered the talent better deals and what is to stop him from running a show in another building in the same town. Bundy said if the territories paid the talent more, they would have stayed.

Bundy said it was really hard wrestling against Andre the Giant. He said Andre was difficult to deal with and would hurt guys if he did not like them and later on, he was constantly drunk and even harder to work with. He recalls working against Andre in Austin, TX while in World Class and thanked him for working with him and said that he went out of his way to kiss his ass but then said how he was ready to work for “new York” now and that comment was why Andre hated Bundy, according to Hogan. He said that Andre was a “petty prick.” Bundy also recalls the story of Andre tossing around the N-word on the bus and when Bad News Brown called him out, Andre refused to get off and confront him.

On the subject of crowd reactions. Bundy feels that the crowds might be more jaded and pop less than they do back then and questions why you would buy a PPV as they give away main event matches on television on a weekly basis. He also says that the talent on top gets stale nowadays.

They now asked Bundy about several workers.

Roddy Piper: Calls him a great talker and loves his fight scene from “They Live.”

Paul Orndorff: Said that Paul would threaten to quit if he didn’t get his way. Bundy liked him but said that Paul only looked out for himself and very selfish. He says that Orndorff made $100,000 in a month working with Hogan then proceeded to leave a $1 tip on a $26 tab. He then calls out the Honky Tonk Man for never leaving a tip and tells a story of how Honky saying he does not leave tips because that prevents him from buying his kids toys (something that Honky himself admitted in his YouShoot) to which Bundy says that not leaving a tip prevents the waitress from buying her kids toys.

Honky Tonk Man: Said he used to like him and was humble but once he got a push with the Honky Tonk Man, his head got huge and he started to bad mouth Hogan, the one who got Honky his job in the WWF and was the reason he got money and if not, would still be starving in Calgary.

Adrian Adonis: Said he was a jerk and would abuse younger guys in the ring. He said that he remembered once Adonis was in an airport around Christmas telling young kids that there was no Santa Claus, which Bundy said why would you do something like that. He does say how he was a tremendous talent but he could not overcome his demons.

When asked about the Jacques Rougeau/Dynamite Kid incident, Bundy said that Dynamite was a bully and  a nasty prick but he did like him. He tells a story of how he gave Dynamite $10 to get a beer at the airport and the bartender accidentally gave him change back for a $20. Dynamite told Bundy this then said that he was not going to let her know. When the bartender came back to say that she made a mistake, Dynamite swore at her and reduced her to tears. Bundy said that he himself was an asshole for not getting involved but he hated getting into other wrestler’s bullshit. Bundy said that Davey told him that Dynamite would roll out of bed in a hotel room just to piss on the floor.

Bundy talks about Mr. Fuji for a bit and tells a story from a “Tuesday Night Titans” taping when Danny Spivey was sleeping and saw that Mr. Fuji put some tape on his boots and lit it on fire. Bundy said that if a rib costs money and ruins someone’s stuff, then it is not funny. He also recalls how Fuji once put turds in Barry Horowitz’ food but credits him for not selling the rib.

He confirms that Haku was the toughest guy in the locker room and says that he once pulled out Jesse Barr’s (Jimmy Jack Funk) eye and broke his ribs and got fined $1,000 while Barr got fired. Bundy says that Jesse probably started it while being drunk and obnoxious.

About Gene Okerlund, Bundy said that he once had a model hand him a note to give to Gene, which read that she wanted to fuck him.

When asked about Brutus Beefcake, Bundy said he was a prick back then but is a good guy now. Beefcake once told Bundy that the only reason he was in the business was because he ate 200 cheeseburgers as Bundy told Beefcake that he was in the business because his head was up Hogan’s ass.

On his match against Hogan at WrestleMania 2, he said it was an alright match but Vince did not want Hogan getting color and that there was no discussions of him taking the belt. He then said that he was not championship material. He talks about how much money you can make working with Hogan.

Bundy said that Hillbilly Jim is one of the greatest guys ever and a real gentleman. He did not feel that it was a demotion wrestling in a mixed match with midgets. He also said how he was in the main event the year before

Final Thoughts: I thought the first disc was pretty good. I have never seen a shoot from this company before but I thought they interview was decent enough to conduct a wrestling shoot anyway.

I find it refreshing when someone who did not grow up a huge fan and is not a mark for himself does a shoot interview. Bundy himself does not seem to have an delusions about his abilities and is certainly not afraid to dish the dirt.

So far, I give this shoot a high recommendation and disc two will be posted tomorrow.

The Lapsed Fan Episode 5: King of the Ring 1994

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

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

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

As always Scott, thank you very much!

Rock Star Gary reflects on…King of the Ring 1993

Live from Dayton, OH

Airdate:  June 13,

Attendance:  6,500

Vince McMahon welcomes us to the King of the Ring and gives
us the tournament bracket:

Quarterfinal #1:  Bret
Hart vs. Razor Ramon

Quarterfinal #2:  Mr.
Perfect vs. Mr. Hughes

Quarterfinal #3:  Bam
Bam Bigelow vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

Quarterfinal #4:  Tatanka
vs. Lex Luger

Jim Ross, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and Bobby “The Brain”
Heenan represent the broadcast team. Ross mentions the WWF title match between
Hulk Hogan and Yokozuna, and Savage places his support firmly behind Hulk Hogan.
Next they discuss the Intercontinental title match between Shawn Michaels and

Match 1 for the KOTR
Quarterfinal: Bret “Hitman” Hart versus Razor Ramon



The fans chanted “1-2-3” at Razor due to his
loss to The Kid on RAW back on May 17.

Ross explained the time limits for each round.
Quarterfinal matches have fifteen minutes; Semifinal matches have thirty; The
Final match has sixty.

Bret gave Ramon an arm drag and worked on the

Hip toss by Ramon countered. Hip toss by Bret
countered. Ramon clothesline.

Elbow drop by Ramon missed.

Bret continued to work on the arm.

Thumb to the eye by Razor.

Elbow off the ropes earned Razor a 2 count.

Bret countered a chinlock into a hammerlock.

Back elbow by Razor broke the hold.

Cross-corner whip by Razor countered by Bret.

Blind charge got Bret a knee to the face.

Razor then tossed him shoulder-first into the
ring post.

The Hulk Hogan impersonator was shown at

Ramon worked on Bret outside of the ring.

The fans tried to irk Ramon with the “1-2-3”

Back in the ring Ramon gave Bret a fallaway slam
for another 2 count.

Ramon followed up with a running powerslam! Wow!
Hadn’t seen him do that before.

Two elbow drops by Ramon were followed by a
sidewalk slam.

Three missed elbow drops changed the momentum
back in Bret’s favor.

Bret worked on Ramon in the corner then gave him
an inverted atomic drop.

A Bret clothesline collected a 2 count.

Off an Irish whip Bret hit Ramon in the gut.

He then followed with a side Russian leg sweep for
another 2 count.

Next Bret delivered a backbreaker. Another 2

Second rope elbow smash. Another 2 count.

Head butt by Bret.

Missed haymaker by Ramon turned into a rollup by
Bret for 2.

Bulldog attempt by Bret sent him sternum-first
into the turnbuckle.

Ramon signaled for the finish.

Ramon set up for the Razor’s Edge, but Bret
escaped at the apex of the maneuver.

Bret then attempted to hook a back slide, flipped
off the top turnbuckle, hooked the inside cradle, and almost got the pin! Wow,
that was close.

As Bret argued with the referee Ramon
clotheslined him.

Ramon placed Bret on the top turnbuckle and
attempted to give him a belly-to-back suplex.

However, Bret countered by landing atop Ramon
and pinned him!

Bret Hart advanced to the semifinals.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Seemingly at every turn Bret outsmarted and outwrestled
Ramon. While Ramon brought power to the match Bret had his wrestling boots
on and countered Ramon quite often.

We look back at Superstars from over the weekend where Mr.
Hughes and Giant Gonzalez manhandle the Undertaker and Paul Bearer.  Harvey Wippleman steals the urn and gives it
to Mr. Hughes. Hughes then wallops UT in the back with it. Continuing the
assault he lays out both UT and Bearer with the urn as his new prized

Match 2 for the KOTR
Quarterfinal: Mr. Perfect versus Mr. Hughes (w/ Harvey Wippleman)


Before the match Perfect tossed his towel at Mr.
Hughes. It landed PERFECTLY on his shoulder. Excellent!
As much as I enjoy Heenan’s commentary his use
of the “Brain Scan” with the telestrator was awful.
Ross mentioned Hughes’ attitude issues back in
his football days at Kansas State.
Perfect caught Hughes with an arm drag as Hughes
ran the ropes.
A rope sequence culminated with a Perfect
dropkick sending Hughes to the ropes.
Right hand by Hughes knocked Perfect over the
top rope to the floor!
Head butt by Hughes sent a groggy Perfect to the
Neck vice by Hughes.
As Perfect came off the ropes he ate a big boot and
a clothesline from Hughes.
Snap mare and neck vice by Hughes.
Perfect pulled himself up by Hughes’ tie.
Cross-corner whip oversold marvelously by
During the match Bret was interviewed and asked
about opponent preference.
Vicious cross-corner whip by Hughes.
As Bret chose Perfect for his preference for an
opponent Hughes blows a suplex off the ropes.
Hughes choked Perfect on the ropes, missed the
running guillotine, received a chop, and then a hip toss.
Backdrop, snap mare, and the rolling neck snap from
Perfect worked him over in the corner until
Hughes grabbed the urn and NAILED him with it!
Referee Earl Hebner disqualified Hughes.
Mr. Perfect advanced in the tournament to meet
Bret Hart.

Rating: *

Summary:  This has to be one of Perfect’s worst matches
completely due to the ineptitude of Mr. Hughes.

Mean Gene interviews Mr. Fuji and Yokozuna. Gene reminds
them of the disastrous finish to WrestleMania IX. I concur, Gene.

Match 3 for the KOTR
Quarterfinal: Bam Bam Bigelow versus “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan


Duggan ducked a clothesline off the ropes and
delivered three of his own to knock the big man down.
Cross-corner whip by Duggan reversed by Bigelow.
Blind charge netted nothing for BBB.
Duggan tried to slam him, but Bigelow head butted
him instead.
Duggan injured his ribs on the whip so BBB gave
him an Irish whip into a bear hug.
He broke the bear hug with forearms.
Bigelow with a snap mare but missed the head
butt off the ropes.
Again Duggan tried to slam Bigelow, but BBB fell
on top of him for a 2 count.
Bigelow reapplied the bear hug.
Duggan bit BBB’s head to break free.
Bigelow gave him an Irish whip, but Duggan
reversed it.
Duggan ducked too early so BBB attempted to kick
him in the midsection.
However, Duggan moved so Bigelow fell down.
This time Duggan successfully slammed BBB.
With injured ribs Duggan took his three-point
stance, charged, but hit the turnbuckle as Bigelow slipped away.
Taking quick advantage BBB mounted the top
turnbuckle, hit the diving head butt, and got the pin.
Bigelow advanced in the tournament.

Rating: **

Summary:  This was the pure definition of a  1993 RAW main event.

Terry Taylor interviews the Smoking Gunns and the Steiner
brothers. Both teams are excited for the eight man tag team match.

Match 4 for the KOTR
Quarterfinal: “The Narcissist” Lex Luger versus Tatanka


Savage mentioned Tatanka’s undefeated streak
while Heenan acknowledged Luger’s. Could either competitor suffer their first
defeat in the WWF tonight?
As Luger posed, the referees asked him to wear a
pad over his steel-reinforced forearm to neutralize it.
Luger refused so the referees confer with ring
announcer Howard Finkel.
He announced that Luger must wear the elbow pad
or be eliminated from the tournament.
As an outraged Luger leaned over the top rope in
disbelief, the surgical scar from the steel plate insertion was extremely
Reluctantly Luger wore the elbow pad.
Tatanka sprinted to the ring; however, Luger
attacked him immediately and tossed him over the top rope to complete his
posing ritual.
Tatanka re-entered the ring and pushed the
mirror on top of Luger.
Four chops by Tatanka sent Luger over the top
rope to the floor.
Following Luger to the floor Tatanka slammed him.
Cross-corner whip by Luger reversed by Tatanka
into a back drop.
Running clothesline by Tatanka got a 2 count.
During the match Bigelow was interviewed about
opponent preference.
Without question BBB wished to face “the Indian”
and then win the tournament.
Luger gave Tatanka an Irish whip but ate a cross
body block for a 2 count.
Tatanka worked on Luger’s arm.
Both men countered standing hammerlocks.
A back elbow off the break gave the advantage to
After an Irish whip Luger buried the knee in the
An elbow smash got another 2 count for Luger.
After pushing Tatanka in the corner Luger gave
him three shoulder blocks.
Backbreaker and elbow drop earned Luger a 2
Jumping elbow drop by Luger hit getting another
2 count.
Luger argued the count, so Tatanka schoolboyed
him for a 2 count.
Brief comeback by Tatanka with punches and
Snap mare and a reverse chinlock contributed to
Luger’s methodical pace. (© Jim Ross)
Tatanka tried to make another comeback but ate a
Elbow to the sternum earned Luger another 2
An attempted slam became an inside cradle for
Tatanka for 2.
Irish whip by Luger segued into a sunset flip by
Ross noted that only 4 minutes remain in the
Luger berated the crowd then rammed Tatanka’s
head into the top turnbuckle.
Cue Tatanka’s normal comeback as a couple of
chops put Luger down.
An Irish whip by Tatanka led to a third chop and
a 2 count. 3 minutes remain.
Another Irish whip and Tatanka gave him a
powerslam for another 2 count.
After a slam Tatanka headed to the top
Chop to the head earned another 2 count.
After mounting the top turnbuckle Tatanka dove
but missed the high cross body as Luger ducked.
2 minutes remain.
Irish whip by Luger set up a running clothesline
and another 2 count.
90 seconds remain.
Another Irish whip by Luger set up the powerslam
and another 2 count.
One minute left.
A third Irish whip led to a back drop and a vertical
suplex by Luger.
30 seconds remain as Luger got another 2 count.
Backbreaker got another 2 count, and the bell
rings to end the match.
Finkel announced a time-limit draw eliminating
both competitors.
Consequently he revealed that Bigelow received a
bye to the finals.
Luger requested the microphone and wanted five
more minutes.
The crowd cheered more for that than they did
for anything else during the match.
Thereafter Luger removed the elbow pad and laid
Tatanka out cold.

Rating: **

Summary:  In good conscience I cannot rate this match
any higher. Luger’s S-L-O-W pace not only telegraphed the time-limit draw a
mile away but also made the match rather boring. The pin attempts at the end
made the match somewhat entertaining, but it didn’t gel as well as it could
have. In addition it wasn’t Finkel who was announcing the time left in the
match. It was Ross; therefore, the live crowd more than likely had no idea what
happened when the bell rang. Both men maintain their undefeated streaks in the

Mean Gene interviews both Mr. Perfect and Bret Hart. Gene
insinuates from Bret’s preference that Perfect is an easier opponent.
Immediately Mr. Perfect takes offense. They bicker over whose dad beat the
other. Bret brings up the match from Summerslam ’91 where he beat Mr. Perfect
for the Intercontinental title. Perfect fakes out Bret on a handshake. After
Bret leaves Perfect cuts a promo on Bret stating “all you Canadians are alike.”
Yikes! I’m not Canadian, but I’m offended.

Match 5 for the KOTR
Semifinal: Bret “Hitman” Hart versus Mr. Perfect


Perfect tossed the towel behind his back to
referee Earl Hebner PERFECTLY.
Bret’s fingers were taped from his previous
match. Possible finger dislocation was speculated.
Both wrestlers are faces. Who do the fans in
attendance root for?
Bret won a tie-up with a standing headlock.
A rope sequence culminated with a Bret hip toss.
Side headlock takeover by Bret countered into a
headscissors by Perfect.
Bret escaped and reapplied the side headlock.
Perfect took Bret to the corner and chopped him
on the break.
Cross-corner whip by Perfect reversed into a
Hart body slam.
Upon landing on the mat Perfect kicked Bret in
the face.
Perfect got the slam this time, but Bret kicked
him in the face.
Side headlock by Bret.
Perfect shot Bret off the ropes, but Bret
countered with a crucifix for 2.
Bret reapplied the side headlock.
Once again Perfect shot Bret off the ropes, but
Bret hit the cross body for another 2 count.
Perfect’s kick out sent Bret outside the ring.
On the apron Bret gave him a shoulder block then
sunset flips into the ring for another 2 count.
Yet again Bret grabbed a side headlock frustrating
Perfect took him to the ropes to break then delivered
a knee and a stomp to the gut.
Savage acknowledged Perfect’s “salty past.”
Impressive standing dropkick by Perfect sent
Bret out of the ring.
Perfect held the ropes open for Bret.
Whoops. Scratch that as Perfect kicked Bret just
before he got into the ring.
He then rammed Bret’s head into the top
Chop by Perfect followed by forearms to the back
of the neck.
Knee lift by Perfect got a 2 count.
A kick to the ribs sent Bret outside the ring
Perfect followed and chopped him on the floor.
He then rammed his head into the apron and
re-entered the ring.
Bret got back up on the apron, but Perfect sent
him flying off into the barricade.
Bret writhed in pain holding his knee.
Perfect punched Bret on the apron, brought him
back inside, and delivered a knee to the chin.
 A punch
put a weary Bret to the canvas.
Perfect mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered
a missile dropkick for a 2 count.
Bret put his leg on the bottom rope to stop the
count, so Perfect grabbed both legs and got another 2 count.
Chop in the corner followed by a cross-corner
whip sending Bret sternum-first to the opposite turnbuckle earning Perfect
another 2 count.
Another punch put Bret back on the canvas as
Perfect mounted the top turnbuckle again.
However, Bret caught him with a punch to the
gut, followed him to the top, and gave him a superplex.
That earned Bret a 2 count.
Bret kicked at Perfect’s knee twice then took
him down.
Figure-four leg lock by Bret.
Ultimately Perfect grabbed the bottom rope to
Single leg takedown by Bret into a knee bar.
Perfect broke the hold by dropping his free leg
across Bret’s face.
Wearily both men got to their feet.
Perfect rammed Bret’s head into the top
Two handfuls of hair allowed Perfect to toss
Bret across the ring.
Perfect Irish whipped Bret and applied a
Bret got to the ropes to break the hold.
After delivering another chop Perfect reapplied
the sleeper.
Slyly Perfect used the bottom rope for leverage.
Bret broke the hold by getting to his feet and
ramming Perfect’s head into the top turnbuckle.
To put things in perspective Ross pontificated
about a time-limit draw causing Bam Bam Bigelow to win the tournament

European uppercut by Bret.
Bret rammed Perfect’s head into the turnbuckle
and returned the favor earlier by Perfect in tossing him across the ring while
having two handfuls of hair.
Inadvertently Perfect crotched himself on the
ring post.
Inverted atomic drop and side Russian leg sweep
gets a 2 count for Bret.
Standing leg drop, backbreaker, and Bret headed
to the corner for the elbow smash from the second rope.
Cover got 2 as Perfect exited out the back door.
As Bret tried to lock the Sharpshooter Perfect
grabbed Bret’s injured fingers.
He then stomped on Bret’s hand.
Perfect tried to give Bret the Perfectplex, but
Bret blocked it.
Instead Bret suplexed Perfect over the top rope
sending both men to the floor.
Savage alluded to a possible double countout
causing Bigelow’s tournament victory.
Perfect returned to the ring first as Bret
limped back into the ring.
Perfect hooked an inside cradle for 2, but Bret
countered for 3!
A frustrated Perfect rolled out of the ring realizing
that Bret was goldbricking.
He returned to the ring and shakes Bret’s hand
while exchanging words of respect undoubtedly.
Bret advanced to the finals to face Bigelow.

Rating: ****

Summary:  Excellent fast-paced wrestling match!
Perfect’s unique counter to the Sharpshooter was a great nod to their previous
match at Summerslam where Perfect submitted. Considering he was a face
Perfect’s “saltiness” during the match added flavor to a face versus face
matchup. Additionally Bret’s feigning injury proved wisely for him and costly
for his opponent. On Bret’s DVD Bret mentions the catapult into the barricade
spot. He said the crate “almost blew my knee out…almost broke my leg.” He
refers to the match as “the best match we (Perfect & Bret) ever had.”

Mean Gene interviews the five-time WWF champion Hulk Hogan
with manager Jimmy Hart. In the beginning Hulk points to the airbrushed design
of his face on Jimmy’s jacket then flexes his triceps. Very patriotic if not
jingoistic promo.

Match 6 for the WWF
championship: Hulk Hogan (champion w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji)


In order to not insult the paying customer
Yokozuna was billed from “the Polynesian islands” rather than Japan since it’s
quite obvious that he’s not Japanese.
Ross noted the presence of photographers at
Yokozuna was now billed at 550 pounds. Holy hold
the mayo, Batman!
Meanwhile Hulk Hogan “trimmed down” according to
Heenan. <cough>steroid trials<cough>
In stark contrast to McMahon’s commentary during
this period in time Ross’ commentary contained historical snippets such as
Hulk’s first WWF title victory in 1984.
The fans chanted “Hogan.”
Hmmm…shouldn’t this be the main event? Or is the
King of the Ring title more important than the WWF title? Something smells
fishy here.
Yoko got the early advantage with a chop, back
rake, and a head butt.
Clubbing forearm put Hogan down.
Yokozuna slammed him.
He then worked over Hogan in the corner.
Cross-corner whip put Hogan on the canvas again.
Another cross-corner whip placed Hogan in the
opposite corner, but Yokozuna missed the avalanche.
Hogan landed some punches then mounted the
corner for more punches.
Cross-corner whip by Hogan followed by a
Hogan failed to slam Yokozuna.
Irish whip by Yokozuna but he missed a
Hogan returned fire with punches.
An eye rake and a kick to the gut by Hogan.
Again Hogan failed to slam Yokozuna.
Irish whip by Yokozuna but again he missed the
clothesline and then an elbow.
Hogan hit the clothesline off the ropes
staggering the big man.
Another running clothesline staggered him
A third attempt became a Yokozuna clothesline
putting Hogan down again.
Running splash missed.
Hogan came off the ropes but was knocked down
attempting a shoulder block.
Yokozuna applied a bear hug.
Crowd chanted “U-S-A.”
As Hogan faded the arm went down once…twice…but
not three times!
A series of punches to the head broke the hold.
Off the ropes Hogan ate a Yokozuna back elbow.
Belly-to-belly suplex by Yokozuna.
Huge kick out at 2 by Hogan. Now it’s Hulk-up
Irish whip by Hogan led to the big boot, but
Yokozuna didn’t go down.
Another whip, another big boot, but again
Yokozuna stayed vertical.
A third whip and big boot finally sent Yokozuna down
to the canvas.
Leg drop by Hogan ONLY GOT 2!
As Mr. Fuji jumped on the apron Hogan nailed
Hogan signaled for the slam, but a photographer (Harvey
Wippleman in disguise) got up on the apron.
As Hogan confronted the photographer the camera
exploded in his face.
Clothesline and leg drop by Yokozuna put Hogan
down for the pin!
We have a NEW champion!
Hogan got up holding his right eye.
Yokozuna knocked him back down then he and Fuji
dragged him to the corner.
Yokozuna hit the Banzai drop.
Ross exclaims “Yokozuna has squashed
Heenan proclaims “Hulkamania is dead!”
Jimmy Hart helped Hogan out of the ring.
As Pat Patterson and Dave Hebner assisted Hogan
down the aisle, Heenan buried Hogan on commentary.
Back in the ring Mr. Fuji and Yokozuna posed
with the championship belt.

Rating:  *

Summary:  This match would mark the last Hulk Hogan
live appearance on WWF TV until 2002 when Hogan appeared at No Way Out in
February. For all intents and purposes Hogan’s days as the all-American hero in
the WWF are over. Good riddance. He shouldn’t have held the title in 1993 to
begin with. Have fun making Thunder in Paradise, Hulkster!

Terry Taylor interviews Mr. Perfect. Perfect is obviously perturbed
over his loss to Bret Hart.

Mean Gene interviews the Intercontinental champion Shawn
Michaels and his new bodyguard. Shawn BURIES
Hogan calling him a “dinosaur.” This predates his geriatric burial at
Summerslam by twelve years! Gene then asks for the name of Shawn’s bodyguard.
Shawn tells the whole world that his bodyguard’s name is Diesel. I’m not sure
if being named after a type of gasoline is a step above Vinnie Vegas, but let’s
see how it plays out.

Match 7: The Steiners
and the Smoking Gunns versus Money, Inc. and the Headshrinkers


Unfortunately these guys had the unenviable task
of following that mess.
As the Gunns joined the Steiners in the ring
they shot their cap guns.
Scott Steiner and Ted DiBiase started the match.
DiBiase took Scott down with an arm drag.
Single leg takedown into a waist lock by Scott.
Rope sequence culminated with a Scott dropkick.
Steinerline knocked DiBiase over the top rope to
the floor.
Rick hit him and threw him back into the ring.
Another Steinerline put DiBiase out of the ring
Again Rick hit him and threw him back in.
DiBiase took a powder to regroup. Fatu tagged
As Steiner grabbed Fatu’s arm Bart Gunn tagged
Fatu avoided a drop toe hold but ate a dropkick.
Bart then got the drop toe hold and applied an
arm bar.
Fatu Irish whipped Bart who grabbed Fatu’s head
and rammed it into the mat.
Obviously having not done his homework Gunn ate
a savate kick.
Samu tagged in, and the Headshrinkers
double-clotheslined Bart.
Diving head butt off the ropes by Samu. IRS
tagged in.
He gave Bart an elbow off the ropes as Ross
noted IRS’ three tag team title reigns with three different partners (i.e. Barry
Windham, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, and DiBiase)
Leg drop to the abdomen by IRS. DiBiase tagged
back in.
Whip by DiBiase and he delivered a back elbow.
Vertical suplex by DiBiase.
Samu tagged back in then chopped and head butted
Fatu tagged in and the Headshrinkers gave Bart a
back drop.
Head butt to the abdomen by Samu earned Fatu a 2
Backbreaker by Fatu.
IRS tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and
leveled Bart with a right hand.
Meanwhile Ross promised us an update on Hulk
Leg drop by IRS got a 2 count.
Sunset flip by Bart got a 2 count.
Whip off the ropes and both men clotheslined
each other.
DiBiase and Billy Gunn tagged in.
Cross-corner whip turned into a back drop
followed by two clotheslines by Billy.
Stun-gun by DiBiase.
DiBiase hooked the Million Dollar Dream but released
it after referee Danny Davis raised Billy’s arm only once.
Oozing of swagger DiBiase believed he had Billy right
where he wanted him.
He tried to slam Billy but was hooked into an
inside cradle for the pin!
All eight men entered the ring and a melee ensued.
Scott LAUNCHED IRS out of the ring.
The faces prevailed as the heels headed for
higher ground.

Rating: **

Summary: Standard
tag-team formula stuff here. I would have loved to have seen Scott give someone
the Steiner Screwdriver here.  Considering
DiBiase’ pin here it telegraphed the end of Money, Inc.’s title reign.  Subsequently they lost the titles the next
night at a house show.

Mean Gene interviews NEW
WWF champion
Yokozuna along with Mr. Fuji. 
WWF President Jack Tunney congratulates the new champion. Mr. Fuji
unintentionally quotes the chorus to Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Goin’ Down” while
commenting on the Hulkster.

Match 8 for the WWF
Intercontinental championship: “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (w/ Diesel)
versus Crush


Prior to the match Ross informed us that Hogan
suffered neither permanent damage to his vision nor broken ribs.
Back on May 17 Shawn Michaels lost the
Intercontinental title to Marty Jannetty.
However, on June 6 with the help of the debuting
Diesel Michaels regained the title.
Crush won the initial tie-up with a standing
After Shawn threw Crush off into the ropes he was
mauled by a Crush shoulder block knocking him completely out of the ring.
Crush won another lock-up with a standing
Knowing he couldn’t win a wristlock battle he
forwent it and hit Crush in the ribs.
A rope sequence culminated with a left by Shawn.
Shawn won the next lock-up and worked on Crush’s
Another rope sequence almost ended via a Shawn
super kick, but he missed.
Instead Crush delivered a dropkick. Wow!
A second dropkick sent Shawn over the top rope
to the floor.
Single leg takedown by Shawn, but Crush kicked
him away.
Two single leg takedowns by Crush followed by an
arm drag.
As Crush gave Shawn a military press and a tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker Savage believed Crush can slam Yokozuna. They might have to try
that perhaps on a national holiday aboard a battleship.
As Crush signaled for the Kona Clutch Diesel
dragged Shawn out of the ring.
Crush followed Shawn to the floor only to be outsmarted
by the speed of Michaels who chop blocked him.
Behind the referee’s back Diesel rammed Crush’s
head into the ring post.
Shawn met Crush on the outside and rammed the
back of Crush’s head five times into the ring post. OUCH!
Shawn physically picked Crush up off the floor
and tossed him back in the ring.
He dragged Crush to the middle of the ring for
the seemingly obvious pin.
But Crush kicked out at 2!
Five stomps kept Crush down as Shawn mounted the
top turnbuckle.
Shawn hit the double axe handle to the back of
the neck.
He continued to work on the back of the neck and
applied a front face lock.
Crush broke the hold by throwing Shawn off.
Shawn reapplied the hold, but Crush sent him
into orbit.
Third front face lock by Shawn.
Immediately Crush picked him up and draped him
across the top rope and out to the floor.
Shawn re-entered the ring via the top rope, but
upon leaping his head was rammed into the canvas.
Irish whip by Crush led to a back drop, cross-corner
whip, and a backbreaker for a 2 count.
Another Irish whip by Crush led to the big boot,
and a standing leg drop got another 2 count.
Clothesline over the top rope by Crush.
Two Doinks marched to the ring smoking cigars.
As they distracted Crush Shawn delivered the
super kick to the back of the head earning the victory by pinfall.
The Doinks high-tailed it backstage, and Crush
immediately charged after them.

Rating: ***

Summary:  Aside from the bad finish Shawn’s selling
along with Crush’s moveset made this match very entertaining. I’m glad we didn’t
get the Crush/Doink rematch here because it would have been a lot worse.

Mean Gene interviews Bam Bam Bigelow. He’s “fresh as a
daisy” and fired up!

Match 9 for the KOTR
Final: Bret “Hitman” Hart versus Bam Bam Bigelow


As much as I admire Bigelow for his wrestling
ability, the WWF music they gave him reminds me of the Flintstones’ character.
Maybe they should have had Luna dress like Pebbles. By the way where is she?
Ross stated that the time between BBB’s matches was
an hour and 20 minutes.
Thus, while Bigelow was fresh Bret favored his
leg along with some possibly dislocated fingers.
BBB charged Bret, missed, and landed face-first
to the turnbuckle.
Irish whip by Bigelow led to an attempted
military press.
Instead Bret used his own momentum to knock BBB
down and received a 2 count.
Bigelow whipped Bret off the ropes and gave him
a shoulder block.
Military press by BBB.
He vaulted Bret over the top rope to the floor.
He then followed him and tossed him back in.
Two head butts to the lower back by Bigelow.
Hard cross-corner whip by BBB sent Bret back
first to the opposite turnbuckle and then to the canvas.
Off the ropes Bigelow gave him a jumping head
butt to the shoulder.
Two count broken by Bret’s foot on the ropes.
BBB hooked that leg and got another 2 count.
Bigelow continued to work on Bret’s back.
Fantastic belly-to-back suplex by BBB.
Brief Bret comeback thwarted by Bigelow.
Another cross-corner whip further weakened
Bret’s back.
Head butt knocked Bret down.
Diving head butt off the ropes by BBB.
Irish whip by Bigelow followed by a bear hug.
Neck vice broke the hold; however, BBB gave him
another belly-to-back suplex.
Mean Gene oversaw the match from the coronation
Bigelow again tossed Bret out of the ring and
followed him.
He tried to whip Bret but was reversed and sent
into the barricade.
Bret made BBB taste the steel. Probably needed
Elbow from the apron to the floor by Bret.
Bret dove from the apron to the floor but got
Bigelow rammed Bret back-first into the ring
He took Bret to the entryway and slammed him on
the unpadded floor.
Luna Vachon came down the aisle and popped (i.e.
lightly tapped) Bret on the back with a chair behind the referee Joey Marella’s
She scampered back to the dressing room.
BBB joined Bret on the floor and tosses him back
Slam put Bret down on the mat.
Bigelow climbed to the top rope, hit the diving
head butt, and got the pin?
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Bret got screwed again!
Wait a minute…I don’t recall BBB winning the
King of the Ring.
Hold the phone! Referee Earl Hebner came out to
notify Marella of the chicanery perpetrated by Luna.
Finkel announced that the referee reversed the
decision, but Hebner stopped him in mid-sentence.
Hebner informed Finkel that he wanted the match
to continue.
As soon as Finkel made the announcement Bigelow
furthered his weakening of Bret’s back.
Yet another cross-corner whip zapped some strength
from Bret’s back.
Another Irish whip by BBB set up a second bear
Bret tried to break but Bigelow put him in the
backbreaker a la Superstar Billy Graham.
Bret escaped and gave BBB a belly-to-back suplex
of his own.
Up first Bigelow came off the ropes but missed
the senton.
Fourth cross-corner whip into another
Bret raked the eyes and hooked the sleeper while
riding BBB’s back.
Bigelow tossed him overhead to break the hold.
Running dropkick by Bret sent BBB into the ropes
and almost over.
Bret then tossed him over the top rope.
Plancha by Bret.
After a series of punches Bret tossed Bigelow
back into the ring.
Second rope clothesline by Bret got a 2 count.
Side Russian leg sweep and second rope bulldog
by Bret.
Attempted Sharpshooter but BBB kicked him away.
Bret came off the ropes back into a third bear
He then ate some Bigelow tattoo to break the
hold. Tasted like chicken.
Attempted belly-to-back suplex by Bret countered
into a 2 count for BBB.
Fifth cross-corner whip by Bigelow, but a blind
charge got boots to the face.
Bret mounted the second rope again, hooked the
victory roll, and wins!
Bret Hart became the King of the Ring!
Savage entered the ring to congratulate him.
Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Great big man-little man match-up. Since it
was Bret’s third match but only Bigelow’s second I can understand Bigelow’s
getting the majority of the offense here. Though repetitive the psychology of
working the back worked well for the Bammer. Certainly this is one of the
highlights of Bret’s career along with his World title reigns.

Tony Garea leads Bret to the coronation stage. Mean Gene
places the royal robe on Bret and hands him the scepter. Gene then bestows the
crown upon Bret’s head. But before Bret can say a word Jerry “The King” Lawler
interrupts the proceedings.  He refers to
Bret as “the pretender to my throne.” 
Lawler offers him the title of “Prince” if he will honor him by kissing
Jerry’s feet.

Bret retorts by insulting Jerry’s integrity due to his lack
of entry into the tournament. He then refers to Lawler as the “burger king.” As
Bret chants “burger king” to incite the crowd Lawler nails Bret in the head and
then the back with the scepter.

Afterwards Lawler stomps on the crown and throws the throne
onto Bret’s back. OUCH! He then jabs Bret In the ribs with the remainder of the
scepter. Next he chokes Bret with it then tosses the robe off the stage.  Lastly he drops the stool into Bret’s

Grabbing the microphone Lawler tells the befallen Bret to
kiss his feet. He then kicks Bret in the face sending him off the stage.

Conclusion:  Yokozuna may be the WWF champion, but
Bret Hart cemented himself here as the true workhorse/top dog of the promotion.
While not having the WWF title in his grasp Bret received a nice pat on the
back here from the WWF along with earning a long-time rival in Lawler. We’ll
see where this goes.

Additionally it should be noted that despite the title match
being Hogan’s final televised match in the WWF (until 2002) he worked the house
show circuit. His last appearance for the WWF was on August 6 in Sheffield,
England. He defeated Yokozuna by disqualification.

I would be remiss if I didn’t proclaim that I truly enjoyed
this show more than WrestleMania IX. If the combination of three great Bret
matches and a good Shawn match is your cup of tea seek it out and enjoy!

For more information on me please visit

King of the Ring 96

I just finished watching King of the Ring 96 on the network, and I had a thought that I hoped you could help me with.  Obviously, in hindsight, Austin was the right choice for winner, but at the time: Vader had been positioned as a monster heel and ended up main eventing Summerslam that year, Mero was being paid a pretty good sum of money, by all accounts, and Jake was on the nostalgia/comeback tour…by the time they got to the PPV, it seems like Austin was the 4th most likely to win the tournament.  How did he end up getting the nod from Vince and company?

I don't know if there was any specific reason behind Austin winning other than Vince just deciding that he was the guy that day (and really they had no plans for him at that point anyway), but I do have to call attention to Meltzer at the time doing the most spectacular undersell of a business-changing moment:

7. Austin beat Roberts in 4:28 to win King of the Ring. The storyline was that Roberts was working on badly injured ribs. Ironically it was Austin who was hurt legit as he needed 15 or 16 stitches in the tongue and mouth (done backstage at the building, not in the hospital as was said on television). Austin worked the ribs for about 3:00 and Gorilla Monsoon came in to stop the match. Roberts begged for him to let it go, which he did. At this point they got a lot of heat and Roberts made a quick comeback before being cut off. Austin got the pin with the Stone Cold Stunner and did a strong post-match interview knocking Roberts religion and drinking problems. 1/2*

​Yeah, it was a "strong post-match interview", that's for sure.  ​

QOTD 55: Why be a king, when you can be a…

God. I’ve spent the last three days in a haze of Assassin’s Creed IV and Eminem’s MMLP2, and they’re both curiously similar in that they’re really *really* good, despite feeling a little…forced.

The thing with Eminem is that I think he’s officially suffering from Everclear syndrome. Meaning that his music is at its best when his life really sucks, or his life previously sucked. There’s an underlying angst and mischievous ‘fuck the world’ attitude to his best tunes.The same thing goes for Everclear or even Alanis Morrisette, when your musical identity is predicated on something raw, what happens when you’re not raw anymore?

Making matters worse for Em, he’s also dealing with MMLP2 being his first record since his ‘come back’ album, Recovery, which is probably the only album I know to explore the world of drug abuse and depression with more goofy puns than a Disney open-mic. Because of this, Eminem has completed the typical three act structure us humans are intimately familiar with: Rise, Fall, Redemption. Who remembers the fourth act?

I’ll have a full review of the album (cause I wanna) later on, but until then, the question is:

Is it better to burn out or fade away? Are their artists you still listen too despite their creative peak being years ago? Do The Rolling Stones still feel *anything* after decades of playing the same…20 songs or so on tour? Who are you favorite artists that faded away, then came back?


Apologies for my absence, the middle of the week is nuts.

Why doesn’t King Kong Bundy ever appear the WWE?

Hey Scott,

Any idea why King Kong Bundy never appears for any WWE nostalgia shows? Apparently, he's not even in the HoF?

I dunno, because he's a REALLY funny guy and would probably fit in well with their wacky backstage skits and would do a hell of a HOF speech to boot.  He absolutely would warrant inclusion.  I don't think there's any bad blood, either.  Maybe he's reading this and can enlighten us.

Book Review: “It’s Good to Be the King…Sometimes.”

Jerry Lawler has certainly experienced a lifetime in the last seven months. It was an absolutely surreal moment when “The King” suffered a near fatal heart attack on air at the September 10, 2012 Raw. He defied the odds, pulled down the strap, and made a remarkable recovery. With all those fuzzy feelings fostering inside me for the King, I felt I would be inclined to give Jerry Lawler’s biography a good rating, figured I would enjoy the book and the remarkable journey of a remarkable wrestler and personality.

I was wrong.

“It’s Good to Be the King…Sometimes” is probably one of the worst volumes the WWE has published….and that covers a lot of ground…which, trust me, you are going to see in my next few reviews. It just seems impossible that a wrestler as renown and decorated as Jerry Lawler would have anything but a spectacular biography. I am saddened to report that this is not the case.

This is going to be a bit of a different review, as I just cannot bring myself to recap the career of the man. The big reason is that Lawler does a spectacularly shitty job himself in the book. Instead, I will try to hit on some of the main points and narratives offered in the book.

Lawler grew up in a fairly nondescript middle class home that moved from Memphis to Cleveland and back to Memphis again all while Jerry was still a child. Young Jerry Lawler was not a model student, except for one exceptional skill: art. Lawler is an incredible artist, which is shown throughout the book in the form of some of his illustrations. Unfortunately, these are the best written parts of the book.

Jerry’s wrestling career began in a most unorthodox way. As a youngster, he would send some of his drawings to the offices of Memphis wrestling, and to the young man’s shock, announcer Lance Russell actually displayed some of Lawler’s work on the air. Memphis wrestling legend Jackie Fargo was impressed by these illustrations, and invited the impressionable artist to help decorate a club he owned in town. From there, Jerry Lawler would never look back, as he was now neck deep into the wrestling industry.

Lawler was not exactly a womanizer in school, but once he had that first taste…forget about it. His first girlfriend became pregnant when Jerry was just beginning to engage in the mat wars, and he became a father at 21…and again 10 months later. Quite the fertile couple. One of those offspring was Brian “Grandmaster Sexay” Christopher (Lawler). Jerry was not exactly thrilled by this, but he married the girl, and made an absolutely unfathomable decision at such a young age: he got a vasectomy.

While Jerry was married, this did not stop his young, budding, womanizing ways, and he makes no bones about it in the book. He makes some veiled references to marital infidelities early on, but nothing too much in detail. Just keep that in mind for later.

Lawler was basically a sensation in Memphis, which led to a feud with his childhood idol Jackie Fargo. Lawler made an off the cuff remark about Fargo being the “King” of Memphis wrestling, and when Lawler defeated Fargo in a highly publicized match, Jerry Lawler became Jerry “The King” Lawler.

There is a rather funny story about Jerry’s crown early on in the book. One night he forgot his crown somewhere, and another wrestler who was using a “King” gimmick offered the use of his to Jerry. This wrestler died in a plane crash the next week. This happened again down the road, only the wrestler lending the crown this time died in a horrific auto accident. Since then, Jerry has always made sure to have his own crown at all times, lest the “Curse of the Crown” rear its ugly head again and kill another wrestler.

Now, while the stuff about his early career is excellent and pretty detailed, the rest of the book just falls off a cliff from here. The only exception are the chapters on Andy Kaufman. I hope to GOD people reading this know who Andy Kaufman was, and his importance in pro wrestling. I will assume you do, and spare all the details. Jerry did not want to break kayfabe or tarnish the legacy he had with Kaufman, but seeing the book was published in 2002, post “Man on the Moon” , Jerry offers his insight to the whole thing. It was a total work, but Andy was a very enigmatic person (fuck Jeff Hardy). The matches in Memphis were one thing: scripted to a degree, with some leeway. But the David Letterman appearance was something different altogether. Lawler was in the dark on what Andy was EXACTLY going to do, only having a very broad, general idea of what was supposed to occur. The coffee throwing? The slap? All improvised, left to Jerry to figure out what the enigma Kaufman wanted. And if you watch that today, it is still a tremendous piece of business, as Letterman is practically wetting himself as all of this occurs. The matches at the Mid South Coliseum drew big time sellouts and made Lawler much dinero (as he and Jerry Jarrett had basically taken over the territory by strong arming Nick Gulas out of the area when he tried to push his untalented son George past the bounds of all sanity), and Kaufman never once demanded any money from the King. Lawler gave him checks, but they were never cashed. It proved to be kind of a bittersweet swan song for Kaufman, for he died shortly after from lung cancer. As a quick aside, that the WWE Celebrity Wing of the Hall of Fame does NOT have Andy Kaufman in it is a joke. OK, I know the WWE Hall of Fame IS a joke, but no celebrity has EVER had the impact and the passion for the business as Andy Kaufman did. Bar none.

Now, Lawler basically skips over most of his great eighties stuff. He gleans over the Von Erich/Hennig/AWA stuff in like two paragraphs, which is a goddamned shame. He doesn’t mention the money distribution problem with Gagne over WrestleClash. He barely talks about Hogan in Memphis. I mean, he just basically jumps from Kaufman right to the WWF. And even here its choppy.

One item Lawler does clear up is the rumor of someone, upon his entry to WWF, shitting in his crown. He confirms it, but has no idea who it was.

So Lawler enters McMahon Land. He is programmed with Bret Hart following King of the Ring 1993. Lawler seems to suffer from selective memory, as he mentions the King of the Ring beatdown on Hart at the coronation ceremony….and then jumps to the Kiss My Foot Match two years later. No mention of SummerSlam 1993, no mention of the buildup to Survivor Series 1993 in BOSTON, and CERTAINLY no mention of the rape charge that was dropped but kept him out of said Survivor Series. Not even his return at WrestleMania X (which, as a young 13 year old fan back then, I was PISSED when Lawler showed up there. Sign of a good heel). Nope, none of that…straight to the Kiss My Foot match, with a quick backpedal to the Piper match at KOTR 1994, which Lawler says is the stiffest he has ever been involved in.

Here is where the train jumps off the rails. Lawler doesn’t go too in depth about his WWE run, besides his respect for Jim Ross. Expecting witty banter about Vince McMahon, particularly the whole “McMemphis” storyline? Not there. I am going to skip over a bit of the stuff Lawler prints, and get to the nitty gritty of this book.

Lawler has never done drugs, and has never drank. That is admirable in an industry where those two vices seem to run rampant. Lawler himself states in the book that he has one vice: Sex. The Lawler you may remember during the Attitude Era, carping on and on and ON about the Divas and their “Puppies?” THAT is a shoot. Lawler is a depraved sex addict, and if you need further proof, well, this book is for you. Lawler was married twice before coming to WWE, and even while married, his sexaul dalliances were almost deviant and depraved. This guy is a fucking sicko. He has a whole chapter devoted to some of his printable sexual exploits and the divas, past and present, that he would like to fornicate with. It is absolutely unreal how fucked up Lawler is in this fashion. Keep in mind, many of these dalliances occurred when he was married. He talks of a time he got a blowjob in the back of a limo from two ring rats, and when they left the limo, the voyeur limo driver, sweat dripping off of his brow, turns to the king and says…and i basically quote from the book…”Mista da man…those bitches be slurpin you fo an houa…you is tha King.” Witty repartee there. Lawler talks about wanting to bang Sunny, Missy Hyatt (he didn’t…is he the only one who hasn’t?) and Terri Runnells. He married Stacy Carter…who might I add, was pretty damn hot in her WWE run…and life seemed good. To quote Mel Brooks, “Its Good to be the king.”

Then No Way Out 2001 happened. For my money, that is the greatest non Wrestlemania PPV the WWE has ever produced. Every match had something, and stars abound, particularly the three stages of hell HHH-Austin match. On that PPV, Steven Richards defeated Jerry Lawler in a match that if Lawler had won, his wife, The Kat, would have gotten naked that night. The RTC (Right to Censor) abducted Kat, and she was never heard from again on WWE TV. The next night, Vince fired Kat…for reasons never known. Maybe it was the fact that her only marketable skill was the possibility of nudity (see Armageddon 1999). Maybe because she was long time good employee Lawler’s wife. Whatever the case may be, she was shitcanned, and Jerry Lawler made the worst possible decision of his life: he walked away from WWE with his wife.

To be truthful, King did as much as he could with his trophy wife, fulfilling as many bookings as the independents would give them. But Stacy, who, Jerry says, was not a girl looking for publicity, didn’t HAVE enough publicity anymore. She wanted a divorce, and started cheating on King.

OK, here is where the book gets ridiculous. Jerry Lawler, bastion of great marriage and fidelity, the beacon of what very young blonde bimbo should aspire for, a man who has rampantly cheated on every “soul” partner he has ever had…is DEVASTATED by Stacy Carter’s marital betrayal. Its comical. Lawler sounds like a teenager scorned in describing the breakup, and it is absolutely pathetic. But it only gets worse. Stacy leaves him, and Lawler is desperate for young pussy, but now he is 51 years old and off of TV, so his tastes far exceed what reality is about to deal him. He has his agent put out a search for young nubile women to “accompany” him to the ring in his matches and accompany him outside of the ring. Basically, he has his agent set up a fucking Beaver Hunt. It is so lame and pathetic. Dude, you are a man who has been a public figure, famous for years. GO TO A FUCKING BAR OR CLUB. Use your wit, your chops, your pick up lines….anything is preferable to this farce. Christ…it is pathetic.

Believe it or not…THAT is basically where the book ends. You get a quick paragraph on him returning to WWE after Survivor Series 2001, where he took over for Paul Heyman (who was far superior in that color role…may I add). In that instance, as he says, it was good to be the king.

All in all, this is one of the WORST books I have ever read by a wrestler. Jerry Lawler has won more titles than anyone EVER in the industry and has experienced both the highs and lows that go with it. Instead, this book devolves into a bad version of “Desperate Letters to Penthouse.” If you want to read into the demise of an all time great, read this book. Otherwise, I will let this quote do the talking:

“It was the first time I had seen Chyna since she left the WWE and we sat down and talked about what went wrong for the both of us. She told me what happened between her and Triple H (and Steph) and I talked about what happened between Stacy and me. We wound up crying and hugging eachother, but she seemed to be stronger and in better shape emotionally than I was.”

No wonder he has been a shell of his former self for 10+ years….

King of the Ring 1994

So why did Piper vs. Lawler go on last? The PPV felt more like a SNME pacing instead of a major PPV.

I can only assume that it's either because they wanted to end the show with a babyface winning, or because it was the 90s and they were doing some really good drugs backstage.  

NJPW 2012 10 08 King of Pro Wrestling

Your random great match of the day:  Tanahashi v. Suzuki from the October 2012 NJPW PPV.  What a brutal and great match.  Tanahashi looks and acts like a rock star and Suzuki is this grizzled tough guy and it’s such an awesome dynamic, especially with Suzuki just beating the hell out of Tanahashi with everything he has, and the supposed pretty boy champion coming back with shots to the leg.  Plus there’s this awesome spot where Tanahashi puts him into an abdominal stretch and plays air guitar on him, and Suzuki has a supremely pissed off look and proceeds to just slap the shit out of him.  30 minutes just flies by, an easy ***** match.

Six Million Pageview Request: King Lear

(2012 Scott sez:  As requested by Steve Sindar, who got the six millionth pageview on the blog, here’s another look at what is probably my most popular and famous essay, originally written in 1999 for Wrestleline.)  King Lear (The Fall of the WWF) I was never good at this sort of thing in high school. I read King Lear in Grade 12, and was quite impressed with it. It was very dark and cynical, and as a cynic myself I could appreciate that. But the whole “understanding Shakespeare” thing always went over my head. I’m a very superficial person at heart, and I dislike symbolism and allegories and boring stuff like that. It was meant as entertainment, says I, so entertain me.  (Probably why I’m a lifelong fan of pro wrestling, come to think of it.  I also hated poetry and couldn’t write it to save my life.)  Despite that shortcoming, I still managed to turn in a critical essay of King Lear that earned me 100% on the provincial diploma exam for English and impressed the hell out of a bunch of teachers. (The “dips” as we called them are kind of a non-binding Canadian version of the SATs, but subject-specific and without the life-altering nature.  Basically if you want to attend Canadian university and you have the money and an 80% high school average, you’re good to go. The mania about getting into the right schools in the US always mystified me growing up because none of it applies up here.)  But being the person that I am, I quickly forgot about the subject matter and filed the play away in the endless Rolodex of useless knowledge that is my brain.  (I wish I had kept more of my stuff from high school, actually.  Now that I have a daughter who is only 2 and already loves books, I feel like it’s my responsibility to make sure to foster that as much as possible.)  Skip ahead more than a few years, to late 1997. As a side project for my spare time, I decide to write a big epic work on the Monday Night Wars and what led to them. (Also toyed with doing a book on the subject for a while too, much later on of course.)  While writing the WWF part of things, it struck me how closely Vince McMahon resembled the tragic figure of King Lear, although the ending to HIS story was certainly anything but tragic. For those who haven’t read King Lear, here’s a summary of what happens: King Lear is a once-wise, aging ruler of a large kingdom who is in need of an heir. He summons his three daughters to him and decides that whichever one loves him most will be given his kingdom. Regan and Goneril lie and profess their love with various hyperbole, while Cordelia simply states her loyalty to him and no more. Lear loses control and punishes Cordelia for her answer, denying her the kingdom and giving it to his other, more “loving” daughters instead. As Lear moves away from his ruling duties, he is shuttled back and forth between his two daughters, both of whom are using him for their own gains. Soon Lear’s only true friend is the fool, who ironically is the only one who speaks the truth. Cordelia is courted by the King of France, who soon invades the weakened Lear, nearly costing Lear his entire kingdom. The invasion is barely held back by Lear’s army, and as his other daughters desert the kingdom, Lear reconciles with Cordelia and finally realizes who his true allies are, only to discover that it’s too late…Cordelia has been mortally wounded by the battle, and Lear has gone so mad that he is unable to see that, and thinking that she is still alive and able to rule his kingdom, he gives up and dies. Rather gloomy little play, isn’t it? So what does that have to do with the WWF? Well, let’s re-write it, substituting some names… Vince McMahon is a once-wise, aging promoter of a large wrestling company, who is in need of a new long-term draw. He summons his three biggest names to him and decides that whichever one kisses the most ass will be given a run as champion. Diesel and Shawn Michaels lie and profess their respect for Vince with various hyperbole, while Bret Hart simply states his loyalty to him and no more. Vince loses control and punishes Bret for his answer, jobbing him to Bob Backlund and giving the WWF title to Diesel instead. As Vince moves away from his creative duties, he is manipulated back and forth between his two champions, both of whom are using him for their own gains. Soon Vince’s only true ally is Jim Ross, who ironically is the only one who speaks the truth. Bret Hart is courted by Eric Bischoff, who soon invades the weakened Vince, nearly costing him the WWF. The invasion is barely held back by Vince’s loyalist workers, and as the Clique deserts the WWF, Vince reconciles with Bret Hart and signs him to a 20 year deal, only to discover that it’s too late…Bret has been morally scarred by the changing face of wrestling, and Vince has gone so mad that he is unable to see that, and thinking that Bret is still a viable draw and able to carry the WWF title whenever the need should arise, he gives up and instead allows Shawn Michaels an extended reign as champion, thus effectively conceding defeat in the Monday Night Wars.  (Also note years later that Vince really is losing his mind compared to his younger days, and pretty much kicked heir apparent Shane McMahon out of his “kingdom” and replaced him with HHH instead.)  Heavy, no? So this, then, is why the WWF died, and how they got there… THE STORY Part One: Vince McMahon 1, Federal Government 0. The first player in our little tragedy is a guy you’ve probably never heard of, but who single-handedly changed the WWF nonetheless: Dr. George Zahorian. (I think we’ve all heard of George by now.)  See, from the mid-80s until the early 90s, steroids were legal for use in the US as long as they were prescribed by a doctor. So Vince McMahon simply hired himself a doctor, under the pretext of having them there on behalf of the state athletic commission, and away he went distributing the juice to any WWF wrestler who had the cash. And even if they didn’t have the cash, no problem, he’d just advance them some money on their next paycheque. Problem: In 1991, Dr. George Zahorian is sent down the river by the government, and arrested on several charges of distributing steroids. Suddenly, the WWF is *very* nervous, and rightly so. Just as they feared, upon his arrest Zahorian squeals to the feds that Vince McMahon has been using and distributing steroids himself for years, and now the government has a solid and tangible way to nail McMahon on felony charges, something they’d been waiting to do for years. And so, on Friday, November 19, 1993, the Brooklyn, NY office of the U.S. Department of Justice handed down an indictment against Vince McMahon and Titan Sports Inc. The indictment contained charges of conspiracy, possession and possession with intent to distribute. Vince was, in a word, screwed.  (Really, in retrospect he had little to worry about, because the government’s case was ridiculously circumstantial and was based on accusations in one part of the country while WWF was very publicly running shows in another part of the country entirely, thus giving Vince an airtight alibi.  But we certainly didn’t know that at the time.  The courtroom transcripts are really fascinating stuff if you ever have a few years of your life to burn.)  The effect on the WWF was immediately noticeable. Pat Patterson took over most of the major creative endeavours in Vince’s absence, and the result was Royal Rumble 94, a card featuring 10 guys teaming up to put the Undertaker in a casket, and Undertaker subsequently rising to the ceiling after delivering a soliloquy. It was widely considered one of the stupidest things ever seen in wrestling. (Some people, ON THIS VERY SITE IN FACT, have since started defending it.  No accounting for taste, I guess.)  Ridiculous gimmick wrestlers like Doink the Clown and Men on a Mission were pushed down the fans’ throats, and the overall quality of Monday Night RAW declined at an alarming pace. One of the bright spots of the early 1994 period was the feud between the Hart Brothers — Bret and Owen. Vince was all for transitioning the WWF title from Undertaker to Ludvig Borga, who would then lose it to Lex Luger at Wrestlemania X while Bret fought his brother in the undercard. (This has of course been debunked several times since then and likely came from Tony Halme himself.)  However, when a tied result of the Rumble was booked, with Bret and Lex both hitting the floor at the same time (although sharp-eyed fans pointed out that Lex clearly hit first), the crowd so decisively voiced their approval for Bret that the WWF had no choice but to drastically alter plans.  (I wouldn’t say “drastically alter.”  By that time they pretty much knew they were going with Bret as the top guy.)  Bret was given the title in the main event, Luger was buried. Owen was subsequently pushed into the main event as a foil for Bret. It was the first real sign that the WWF was willing to change with the times. That proved to be premature hope. On July 22, 1994, after deliberating for 16 hours, the jury found McMahon and Titan Sports not guilty of the charges. Despite testimony from Zahorian and Hulk Hogan, there proved to be too many flaws in the evidence, holes in the stories, and reluctance from wrestlers to testify and thus be branded a traitor in the locker room, and Vince was a free man. And with the Dark Period looking to be over, Vince triumphantly returned as the creative force behind the WWF. The first major storyline to emerge after this was the Fake Undertaker one. Ted Dibiase had “found” the Undertaker (after he “died” at the Rumble, remember), only it was SMW mainstay Brian Lee with his hair dyed red. (Not to mention one of Mark Callaway’s best friends in real life.)  The “real” Undertaker returned soon after the imposter debuted (in reality he was on vacation with his wife) and a match was set for Summerslam 94 with little buildup or interest from the fans. The real Undertaker won the match, Brian Lee disappeared, and Undertaker went back to his usual act again, a state in which he’d remain until 1996. Meanwhile, another interesting thing occurred: WWF veteran Bob Backlund was given a title match against Bret Hart on WWF TV, and lost. At the end of the match, Backlund snapped and attacked Hart, then stared at his hands in awe. The original idea was possession by the returning Papa Shango, but to everyone’s surprise, Backlund managed to get himself over as a monster heel using only the “crazy old man” gimmick and his largely untested heel interview skills. The fans were hugely into the character, so he was pushed into the main event with Bret Hart at Survivor Series 94…and won the title. Backlund was the most interesting heel champion they’d had in years, and was hugely over. Best of all, he was still a great wrestler at 41, an age that seems downright young compared to the people on top of WCW these days. So what happened? The Clique happened. And nothing would ever be the same again. (Sorry if this is getting a little too “Behind The Music” for everyone.  I was really into that show at this point.)  Part Two: The Clique (I was also into sub-headings.)  Let’s backtrack a bit. In 1993, Shawn Michaels hit his stride as a singles wrestler, winning the Intercontinental title for a second time from ex-partner Marty Jannetty. In order to give the character the last ingredient lacking, the WWF decided to give him a bodyguard. So, as a favor to WWF star Razor Ramon, WCW jobber (and good friend of Ramon) Vinnie Vegas was hired and repackaged as the monster Diesel. The three men became friends and started working together on a regular basis. Around the same time, independent wrestler The Lightning Kid was brought in and repackaged as hard-luck underdog The 1-2-3 Kid, getting his first win by going over…you guessed it…(Frank Stallone?) Razor Ramon. He soon joined their little group. A contract dispute with the WWF left Shawn out of action in late 93 and Diesel out of luck, but by the end of the year Shawn was back and Diesel was tossing out 8 straight wrestlers in Royal Rumble 94 to win over the crowd. (That was a pretty awesome moment for him.)  Ramon was Intercontinental champion, and set up an issue with Shawn Michaels over who was the “real” champ that led to the show-stealing ladder match at Wrestlemania X.  (I’m kind of omitting Shawn’s drug suspension here, which TO THIS DAY he claims was a setup to smear his good name, which was the reason behind switching the title to Ramon in the first place.  Because if you’re looking for someone dependable and drug-free, think Scott Hall.)  Now they were using each other to get more over, and the push escalated. Diesel and Shawn were given the tag titles shortly before Summerslam, while Ramon and the Kid were positioned as buddies. The four men had a ****1/2 tag team match with each other on an early episode of WWF Action Zone that only served to demonstrate how good they could be together and how lazy they tended to get otherwise. (Look it up on YouTube!  It’s AWESOME!  It’s not on DVD and it totally should be.)  The booking was starting to center almost exclusively on those four, and as a result they were the only ones getting enough airtime to be significantly over. (That’s what the kids call a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”) And so, at Survivor Series 94, Diesel and Shawn finally split up in order to begin the parallel singles pushes of both men. And mere days later, with almost no warning, Bob Backlund made his first title defense against Diesel after beating Bret Hart in a gruelling 40 minute marathon. Diesel won the match against Backlund in 6 seconds with a kick to the gut and a powerbomb, taking the title and kicking off the wretched “New WWF Generation” era.  (He was like Hulk Hogan, but with less moves and better hair.)  Suddenly, the entire direction of the promotion shifted to Shawn Michaels v. Diesel. Shawn was put over several bigger men in order to build him as a viable contender. (Specifically he beat Adam Bomb clean with the superkick to not only show he could beat a bigger guy, but to establish that as his finisher once and for all.)  He won the 95 Royal Rumble and faced Diesel for the title at WrestleMania XI…and that was the first sign of a major problem for Vince McMahon, and the first sign that he was unwilling to change with the times. Part Three: Vince <heart> Big Talentless Slugs For you see, the WWF had now done the impossible and made Shawn Michaels MORE over than Diesel. (What, someone more over than Kevin Nash?  That’s unpossible!)  It was undeniable. For the first time in his experience since the Hulk Hogan era, the fans were actively demanding that a smaller man be given the World title push at top of the promotion, and Vince didn’t know how to deal with it. He jobbed Shawn to Diesel at Wrestlemania, which only served to make him more over than he was before. (I don’t think as the heel champion in 95 would have worked particularly well anyway.)  He gave Shawn a new bodyguard — Sid Vicious — and then had him turn on Shawn, hoping the babyface push would steer the fans toward a Sid-Diesel showdown instead. It didn’t work — the fans clearly wanted Shawn v. Diesel again, and the WWF was unwilling to provide that for whatever reason. Instead they provided Diesel v. Sid, Diesel v. Mabel, Diesel v. Yokozuna, trying everything in their power to build Diesel as a Hogan-like babyface to recapture lightning in a bottle.  (Story of their life.)  The ultimate example of this is King of the Ring 95, one of the most depressingly bad cards ever put together by either promotion. The point of it was to make the fans fear Mabel as a legitimate title threat, but what the arena was screaming for was Shawn, and by the time Mabel defeated Savio Vega in the finals the crowd was so deflated that none of them could possibly have gone home happy. Meanwhile, the Diesel v. Sid program dragged on, playing to houses of 1000 people or less much of the time. (Yeah, even up here in wrestling-crazed Western Canada, they went from arenas to large halls.  It was pretty sad.)  And when the focus was shifted to Diesel v. King Mabel and set up as the main event for Summerslam, the groans of pain from the fanbase were almost audible. Matches like Michaels v. Ramon in a ladder rematch and Kid v. Hakushi were blowing the roof off the arena, while fans snored through Diesel v. Mabel or Undertaker v. whoever. The old formula of building up a big fat heel to lose to the virtuous champion was dying fast, but that didn’t stop the WWF from beating it into the ground all of 1995 and 1996, once Shawn got his run at the top. In Shawn’s case, he got fed to Vader and a heel-turned Diesel. Vince’s fascination with big men had killed the house show circuit so much and left Monday Night RAW such a pathetic shell of it’s former self that the WWF was now almost begging for a challenge to it’s throne. In a word, Nitro. Part Four: “He beats the big guy with three superkicks” With those eight words, the Monday Night Wars were officially launched, and WCW had the lead. In the early days of Nitro, Eric Bischoff counter-programmed everything that the WWF did almost to the minute, putting matches at the commercial breaks during the WWF’s big matches. And most notably, the first example of Bischoff thinking “outside the box” was to simply give away the results of the very stale taped RAWs during the Nitro broadcast, as RAW was taped four shows at a time once a month. Did it work? That’s debatable at best. (82 weeks of ratings dominance say it did.)  But people *did* talk about Nitro now, whether it was good or bad, and that translated into viewers, enough to cause the WWF to take notice. So what did they do? Refine their approach? Push new stars? Adjust their way of thinking about the wrestling business as a whole? No, even better…they mocked Ted Turner.  (That’s Vince for you.)  Yes, in early 1996, an increasingly desperate WWF began an infamous series of sketches called “Billionaire Ted’s Rasslin’ Warroom”, using very slightly changed versions of Ted Turner, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Mean Gene to illustrate how much hipper and with it the WWF was. However, the sketches had two fatal flaws: 1) The WWF was doing the same repetitive nonsense that they were mocking WCW for, (Example:  They ragged on WCW for using shoes and hot coffee over and over, but RAW was filled with screwjob finishes and run-ins just as frequently) and; 2) The sketches ended up becoming so bizarre and mean-spirited that Ted Turner’s lawyers issued a cease-and-desist order against the WWF, something which much of the WWF fanbase agreed with.  (It was one thing when they were pointing out logical fallacies in their booking or how old their top stars were, but taking very personal potshots at Ted Turner just left people feeling dirty after watching them.)  And now, with the failure of the Billionaire Ted sketches, things were falling apart more rapidly than Vince could keep up. Diesel’s contract was up and he made it known that he would rather ply his trade in WCW for more money. Razor Ramon was suffering from a severe drug habit and was no longer welcome in the WWF. (Although even with all the rehab troubles it really just came down to money and he probably would have been re-signed if they could.)  The 1-2-3 Kid’s attitude was becoming so disruptive that he was also asked to leave. (That’s saying it politely.)  And so, in the ultimate slap in the face to the WWF, the departing Clique members lost their final matches one night in Madison Square Garden, and then engaged in a group hug to close the evening, before departing for WCW the next day. Vince was enraged, and punished the only available target for his anger: Hunter Hearst Helmsley, who had joined the Clique in mid-95 after coming over from WCW.  (There’s some dispute over whether this “punishment” was a real thing or just urban legend, but HHH himself worked it into his character later on so that’s good enough for me.)  Now desperate for anything to gain the edge back, he started doing completely the wrong things — he re-signed the Ultimate Warrior and gave him free reign, he put a major title on Ahmed Johnson, and began pushing has-been Jake “The Snake” Roberts on a nostalgia trip. Goldust’s quasi-gay character was stretched to the absolute bounds of good taste, and then hastily turned face for political reasons. (They were getting major, MAJOR heat from gay rights groups over the character as presented.)  Untested Olympic weightlifter Mark Henry was signed to a 10 year deal, and immediately pushed. None of it worked. Nothing. The only bright spot of the bunch was Shawn Michaels carrying everything on two legs to **** matches at every turn, and even that could only go so far because of Vince’s reluctance to give a smaller wrestler like Shawn a proper run as champion. And so finally on Memorial Day, 1996, Scott Hall showed up on the first two-hour edition of Nitro, kicking off the nWo angle, and essentially shovelling the last bit of dirt on the WWF’s grave, as WCW grabbed the ratings lead and didn’t let go of it until 1998. The World Wrestling Federation, 1984-1996, RIP. Now, let’s cut open the body and see what the causes of death were… Part Five: Garbageman By Day, Wrestler By Night. If you could boil Vince’s major problems (and there were lots) down to one simple reason, it is this: Gimmicks sell t-shirts, characters sell tickets. (That’s the one lesson that Vince Russo actually learned and put to good use.)  Vince’s inability to make that distinction cost him dearly as fans became smarter and expected a different product as a result. See, the problem was Hulk Hogan. For years before the big crash, Vince could just stick some guy out there with a dumb gimmick, put him against Hogan, and the fans would have a reason to hate them right there. He’s fighting Hulk! Boooo! Easy, right?  (Yup.  Sounds simple, but it worked for FOUR YEARS.)  Well, now Hogan was gone and fans needed another reason to care. Want an example of what I mean? Take Bob Holly, for instance. When he started in the WWF, he was called “Sparky” Thurman Plugg, which is a semi-clever play on “STP” and “spark plug”. Hah hah, right? But just looking at that gimmick, do you cheer him or boo him? And why?  (You boo him because he’s a dick, although we didn’t know how much of one at that point.)  It was that “why” that really got to the fans. Because Vince would just keep sticking guys out there with silly names and silly costumes and pretty soon no one cared anymore. Vince produced the evil martial artist Kwang, who didn’t get a reaction because he didn’t do anything particularly evil. So he repackaged him as the good Caribbean legend Savio Vega, and again he didn’t get much of a reaction because he didn’t do anything particularly good. Vince, ironically, was the last to “get it”. The fans were asking “Why should we boo a plumber? Why should we cheer a garbageman? Why should even bother to care one way or another about Jerry Lawler’s evil dentist?” The WWF’s answer was basically “Because we told you so” and that’s where it all went bad. (Doesn’t THAT sound familiar?)  Because now they had to TELL the fans what they wanted to see, when in fact the fans were already telling the WWF what they wanted, and it was Shawn bumping like a madman for Razor Ramon, or Bret Hart going 30 minutes with his brother, or Mankind and Undertaker beating on each other in a boiler room. The fans didn’t care about the backstory for Mankind (he was a prize-winning piano prodigy as a child, but he never met the lofty expectations of his upper-class parents, and one day his mother slammed the lid shut on his fingers and sent him to live in the sewers and be raised by rats…just in case you were wondering), they cared because he was a dominant heel, and oh my god did he just BEAT THE UNDERTAKER? The people knew who they cared about all along — it was those who had characters they could relate to, or personalities they could connect with. It didn’t matter what color the tights were or what profession they held (and why would someone as well-paid as a plumber bother with wrestling, anyway?) outside of wrestling, it was the wrestler that counted. That’s why Sunny got over and the Bodydonnas are a footnote of history, and that’s why the Goon was doomed to only doing a couple of RAW tapings before getting shuffled out of wrestling history. And most tellingly, that’s why fans at the 1996 Slammy Awards chanted “Kill the Clown” when Vince had Doink make an unscheduled (and unwelcome) appearance during the course of the show. But most telling and sad of all is the treatment endured by the WWF’s brightest star during this whole period, and the one who could have saved them all along… Part Six: This Week On RAW: Bret Hart v. Barry Horowitz! No, not Barry Horowitz. Following Bret’s loss to Bob Backlund in 1994, he was almost immediately de-pushed into the mid-card at the request of the Clique, who didn’t want their heat to be reduced via Bret. And so Bret got to face Backlund in a boring rematch at the biggest show of the year, Wrestlemania XI. Then he got to put over newcomer Hakushi and Jerry Lawler. Then he got to have “Kiss My Foot” matches with Lawler. Then he got to wrestle Lawler’s evil dentist Isaac Yankem in his first match at the second biggest card of the year, Summerslam. Then it was off to a feud with the evil pirate Jean-Pierre LaFitte. Man, can’t you just FEEL the excitement Bret must have had all year with that lineup?  (An unmotivated Bret is not a pretty sight.)  Thankfully, Vince came to his senses in late 1995 and decided that Diesel was doing his company more harm than good, and jobbed him to Bret Hart at Survivor Series 95 to end the Clique Era once and for all. Bret ended up being a transitional champion to Shawn Michaels, a situation which enraged him so much that he ended up taking 6 months off and nearly jumped to WCW in the process as the famed “third man” for the nWo. (That is not correct.  Bret was never even considered for it.)  Hindsight says that Bret probably should have left when he had the chance in 1996. (Well, Owen for sure.)  The two obvious questions, “Why was he treated so badly?” and “Why did he then stay?” are harder to deal with, but both answers, whatever they may be, speak volumes about Bret’s loyalty to the sport in general and to Vince McMahon specifically. When Bret finally returned in the fall of 1996, with the WWF far behind WCW in the war, he was put into a program with upstart WWF newcomer Steve Austin, and then, finally, Vince McMahon made the decision to start listening to the fans, one that would slowly but surely swing the balance the other way and cause the WWF to rise from the grave like Lazarus and wreak vengeance on those who put it there. But that’s another rant. Part Seven: Checkmate. The death was slow and painful — from mid-1996 until early 1998, the WWF was essentially a zombie, a walking corpse that no one had noticed was dead yet. It took a total cleansing of the heel-babyface system, the gimmick system, the lockerroom, and a reinvention of what weekly episodic TV (ROYALTIES!  I FUCKING WANT ROYALTIES!)  was with regards to wrestling in order for the WWF to return to it’s former glory. Had ECW not been around to provide a template, it’s sketchy at best as to whether or not Vince would have known how to go about recreating himself and his promotion, and it’s even sketchier whether the WWF fanbase would have been receptive to those changes. In fact, given how close to total bankruptcy the WWF was at the point where Diesel lost his title to Bret Hart, it’s sketchy as to whether they could have even survived another year.  (I still think Vince overstates his own financial woes around that time in order to make himself look like the poor underdog against big bad Turner.)  But with wrestling, as with the stories crafted for it and upon which they are based, it is often darkest before the dawn for the protagonist and there is usually much soul-searching and spiritual realizations to go through before redemption can be found. I’m sure Shakespeare would agree. In fact, he’d probably be watching RAW, too, and wearing an Austin 3:16 t-shirt…