SummerSlam Retro Report with “Mean” Gene Okerlund

Yeah, a bunch of people already e-mailed this thing.  WHY WAS THIS NOT ALL OVER RAW FOR WEEKS?!?

Real answer:  Because they kill ratings and that’s why they stopped doing them in the first place.  But goddammit, I’m a wrestling fan, I want the hard sell!  Convince me to spend my $9.99!  Kudos to Vince for pulling out the old intro voice as well.

PG Era Retro Rant: Saturday Night’s Main Event, 3.12.88

So
I brought up this show in the discussion part of my Raw Recap post
(see elsewhere), but I wanted to give it the full treatment. Then I
remembered Scott was doing his SNME archive binge and checked with
him first. Fortunately, he said “the more the merrier”, so
here’s my look at this shindig. Scott will be along with his later.

The
PG Era Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event, March 1988.
As
with all SNMEs of the time, we open with a Pulp Interview segment.
For those not around at the time, this basically means they cut from
wrestler to wrestler with quickie commentary on the night’s matches,
with no rhyme or reason as to the order of appearance. The “Pulp”
part – which I believe was first coined on Wrestleline, actually;
Scott can back me up if he remembers – is because ECW would do this
about once a month on their Hardcore TV shows in 1998-99, using
Misrilou (aka “That Surf Guitar Solo From Pulp Fiction”) as
background music. So today’s speakers are:
  • Randy
    Savage, who tells DiBiase that money doesn’t matter in the Danger
    Zone and he’ll get bounced like a bad check;
  • Ted
    DiBiase, who says he has class to counter Macho’s crazy;
  • Brutus
    Beefcake, who hypes his match with Greg Valentine;
  • Slick
    (on behalf of the One Man Gang), who mocks the US Olympic Team
    because Gang faces Ken Patera and promises Patera will lose;
  • Bobby
    Heenan and Harley Race, who promise Hulk Hogan will be on his hands
    and knees before the King;
  • and
    Hulk Hogan, who says that Harley Race will be crowned by a big right
    hand.
Live
from Nashville, TN.
Your
hosts are Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura, who spend the first five
minutes recapping Hogan/Andre from last month and looking at the
bogus count like it’s the Zapruder film. Each one accuses the other
of being delusional and saying the other twin is crooked. (McMahon
admits to being from the South here, while Ventura confirms Vince’s
neck is very red.) Luckily, the tournament for the vacated title
will be held at WrestleMania IV.
Backstage
to Mean Gene with Greg Valentine and Jimmy Hart. Hart puts over that
this is the Dream Team meeting. Hart says prime rib Valentine will
beat that rump roast Beefcake, while Valentine will tenderize
Beefcake with the Hammer (Elbow). According to Okerlund’s throw to
the booth, Valentine was go-nowhere after the Dream Team breakup
until hooking up with Jimmy Hart. Hart, by the way, more famously
manages Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man, who at WrestleMania
IV will face Brutus Beefcake. INTRIGUE!
Later,
Okerlund interviews Beefcake, who turns the whole interview into
barber puns to the point that even Okerlund makes one.
Greg
Valentine v. Brutus Beefcake.

Brutus chases Valentine to the outside with his hedge clippers
before the bell rings. Hebner removes the hedge clippers… then
sees Beefcake also has barber shears and has to remove them, too.
Valentine understandably is slow to enter. Lockup, and Beefcake
shoves Valentine down. Valentine gets a kneelift and forearms, but a
clothesline misses and Beefcake with a Harley Race Knee and bodyslam.
Big boot by Brutus and Valentine does a Flair Flop. Beefcake struts
and goes to town with rights before landing an atomic drop (complete
with hilarious sell by Valentine), then another. Beefcake with a
running jump elbow and jack-knife pin for two, which impresses
Ventura. Ten punches in the corner and Valentine gets another Flair
Flop. The ref breaks up a lockup in the corner, allowing Valentine
to land a forearm to Brutus’s head and some front elbows. Hammer
Elbow off the top floors Brutus, then he winds up and drops a forearm
for two. Valentine applies the Figure-Four right by the ropes, and
both men grab it. Valentine has til five, you know. Valentine kicks
Beefcake out of the ring, allowing Valentine to get in an argument
with the ref. Must be Earl Hebner and not Dave because the ref tried
to fight back. And then Honky Tonk Man steals the house mic to mock
Beefcake and promise Brutus will never cut his hair or take his
title. Hebner and the other referees escort Honky to the back as
Ventura imagines Brutus is demoralized and we go to break.
Hammer/Barber,
part two.

Hammer pulls Barber up and throws him back in the ring, dropping
another Hammer Elbow to the back of the head. More elbows to the
skull (which at this point is 0% metallic), then a slam setting up
the figure-four. Valentine with a headbutt to the, erm, gut, then he
hyperextends the knees. Hammer rubs his sole of the boot into
Brutus’s calf like he’s extinguishing a cigarette, but the
figure-four is blocked when Beefcake pantses Valentine. A second try
is kicked out of, and Beefcake recovers with a back elbow. Slugfest,
won by Barber with massive chops, and another back elbow floors
Valentine. Beefcake wants the sleeper, and he hooks it on as the
crowd loves it. Valentine makes the ropes, and both men tumble
outside. Hart revives Valentine, but Beefcake is up first with
Polish Hammers. Back in, but Hart attacks Beefcake which Barber
rightly no-sells to start a chase. He almost catches Hart, but
Valentine stomps on Beefcake when Hart dives into the ring. Back
suplex with a bridge ends it at 9:00 shown, but Beefcake’s shoulder
was clearly up at two. What gives? Oh, the ref was counting
Valentine’s shoulders down instead, so Beefcake wins. Eh, the double
pin spot has its place – such as after a long match with a
desperation move where both men are tired (Cena/Punk 2012 comes to
mind) – but this wasn’t it. Too bad, because it was a fun match
with a veteran heel against a fired-up babyface. **1/2
Ventura
is indignant at the decision because of course he is. Beefcake
steals a lock of Valentine’s hair as a reward, which infuriates the
Hammer. Beefcake protects himself with the shears, which causes
Hamer to freak out and run. Beefcake ALMOST catches Jimmy Hart
instead.
Back
to Gene Okerlund, who is with Bobby the Brain and Harley Race.
Heenan is told the vacated crowd is on Heenan’s shoulders, which
Heenan gleefully claims. He loved seeing Andre the Giant beat Hogan
and seeing the kids cry. And tonight, they’ll see even worse when
Harley Race humiliates Hogan by making him bow before the King. And
if you at home wish to bow, go ahead. Race says that Hogan was
proven mortal, and all mortals bow to the King. But wait, Heenan
says Hogan will go so far as to kiss the feet of the King.
Back
to Okerlund with Hogan now. Hogan refutes Hulkamania’s death, saying
that the juggernaut is running and Race is roadkill. Yeah, Heenan is
smart – he sold Andre to DiBiase because it was the only way Andre
could win. Hulk only bows to Jesus. And when Hogan’s done, Race
will be in pieces. Hogan tears his shirt backstage.
Harley
Race v. Hulk Hogan.

This is 1988, which is too bad because it’s a 1985 dream match. In
a neat bit of continuity, Hogan doesn’t replace his shirt between
interview and match, so it comes out pre-torn. If the storyline
didn’t make it clear, this match is like CM Punk and Curtis Axel last
year – a lesser member of the heel stable paying for the sins of
its ringleader. There’s a lot of fighting before the bell, so I’m
starting the clock on first contact. Hogan intimidates Heenan and
chases him halfway up the aisle. Race catches Hogan sneaking in with
elbows, but Hogan is in pure no-sell mode… until Race gets some
headbutts. One too many just gets wakes Hogan up, and he unloads on
Race with right hands. Of note: Hogan’s right fist is taped in this
match. Hogan rips his shirt as the bell rings 50 seconds in. Axe
Bomber to Race as Heenan returns. A second Axe Bomber and Hogan
clotheslines Race into the timekeeper’s table (which back then was
right next to the ring). On the outside, Race eats apron before
being sent into the post like he’s Rey Mysterio against Kevin Nash in
1996. Hogan has a chance to chase Heenan and gleefully does so, but
Race recovers and takes over with axehandles. Piledriver try by Race
on the floor, but Hogan backdrops out. Atomic drop, still on the
floor as they have been for well over a minute as the crowd is loving
it. Race eats more post, and Hogan rolls in and back out. Slam on
the floor, and Hogan stomps away. Back in, Hogan with a bionic elbow
and big chops. Hogan pounds away on Race’s temple as even Ventura is
impressed with how nuts Hogan is. Hogan chokes Race out with the
tape that was on his fist, then a clothesline into a blatant choke.
This is shades of Hollywood here. Hogan with right hands, then he
chokes Race against the ropes. The ref pulls him away, but that just
stalls for a second. Heenan tries to pull Hogan away, so Hogan
strangles Heenan until Race pounds Hogan from behind. Headbutt and
falling headbutt follow. Kneedrop softens Hogan up, and Race with a
belly-to-belly suplex. Another kneedrop, this one across the throat,
sets up a piledriver. Race stomps Hogan right on the forehead before
tossing Hogan outside. Race moves the timekeeper table into position
and sets Hogan on it, then goes to the apron for a falling
headbutt… but Hogan moves and Race smashes the table so hard it
craters! ECDUB! ECDUB! Anyway, Hogan can’t recover, so Race throws
him back in, though he’s worse for wear. Some clubbering follows,
then Race goes up for the diving headbutt. Race is as woozy as
Hogan, but recovers in time to cover for… two. Hulk Up time, and
Hogan doesn’t even block a punch, kicking Race in the gut and getting
two straight Axe Bombers before the Legdrop for the pin at 7:26.
Heenan attacks from behind, but that just gets Hulk angry. And you
won’t like Hulk when he’s angry! (I’ve been waiting for months to
write that.) Heenan manages to escape. **1/2
About that table spot: it was pretty clear the table wasn’t prepped
beforehand – the steel supports were still in – which wound up
doing a number on Race. In fact, internal injuries he suffered on
that spot basically convinced Race to hang them up.
Back
to Gene, who’s with Ted DiBiase and Virgil. DiBiase: “Hogan isn’t
quite the same without the belt, is he?” DiBiase doesn’t have it
either, but that’ll be settled at Mania. Earlier on – during the
Pulp Interview – DiBiase said he’d have something or someone worth
his weight in gold. DiBiase dismisses speculation and threatens
Savage, saying he (DiBiase) destroyed Hulkamania. Savage thinks he’s
macho for having a hot babe? Riches are macho. And he’s going to
learn that here.
And
now, the Macho Man’s rebuttal. He isn’t worried about the surprise
in his corner. DiBiase couldn’t buy the title or Hulkamania, and now
he’s going after Macho Madness. DiBiase’s like one of his checks:
he’s about to get bounced. Elizabeth is worth WAY more than her
weight in gold – she’s a platinum doll. So there. Let’s go cash
in!
Ted
DiBiase v. Randy Savage.

Vince says Ventura is the secret DiBiase has, but he denies it. By
the way, this is the main event of WrestleMania IV just three weeks down the line, but no one could predict that. And DiBiase’s
secret weapon: Andre the Giant in his corner. Savage sees Virgil
talk to Elizabeth and fires to the outside to beat him up, but
DiBiase attacks Savage and throws him in. Into the buckle goes
Savage, and DiBiase fires away in the corner. He chokes Savage
against the top rope, catapulting him back. Back elbow and DiBiase
trash talks Elizabeth before picking Savage up and sending him into
the corner headfirst. DiBiase works the gut in the corner, then
promises he’ll take the belt. DiBiase to the second rope, and he
drops a bionic elbow. Blatant choke by DiBiase, over and over, and
Andre adds a shove to Savage behind the ref’s back. Vince says the
Hebners have been fingerprinted to prevent shenanigans as Savage
reverses a Hammer Throw and gets an elbow and jumping kick. A knee
to the back sends DiBiase over and out, and Savage follows to get him
back in. Flying axhandle by Savage, and DiBiase begs off. A kick by
DiBiase is caught into a clothesline for two. Savage with his
Hotshot on DiBiase, and he returns with a big kick and running
elbowsmash. DiBiase falls out of the ring, and Savage INVITES HIM
BACK IN. Ha! DiBiase consults with Andre before stalling and making
his way to the apron. DiBiase comes in with a knee to the gut and
clubs away before dropping some Million Dollar Fists. DiBiase chops
Savage into the corner, but a blind charge eats knees. Savage with
an elbowdrop (from the mat, sadly) for two. Slam, but the kneedrop
misses. DiBiase with the spinning toe hold, but Savage kicks DiBiase
out of the ring again. DiBiase drags Savage out with him, but Savage
slams DiBiase into the apron. Suplex try, but Andre distracts Savage
and Virgil cheapshots him. The referee ejects Virgil from ringside,
with Andre telling him to just go and that he has it from here.
Savage/DiBiase,
part two.

DiBiase back in and to the second rope with an axhandle. Running
elbowdrop gets two. We hit the chinlock as we look over Elizabeth’s
shoulder. DiBiase does the Dolph Ziggler leg lift to add leverage,
but Savage gets the arm up on a KO check. DiBiase uses the hair to
maintain the chinlock, adding knees to the back. Savage fights to
his feet, elbowing out of it and getting a tackle. Criss-crossing
leads to a lariat by Savage, and a Hammer Throw is followed by a
bionic elbow and back body drop. DiBiase begs off but goes to the
eyes, and the referee is wiped out on a criss-cross. Savage dumps
DiBiase and dives off with an axhandle. Andre saunters over and
headbutts Savage down before sending him into the post. Elizabeth is
worried. DiBiase comes back in and wakes up the ref as Elizabeth
runs to the back. Ventura calls Liz an abandoner as Andre tosses
Savage left and right and chops away. Meanwhile, DiBiase wakes the
referee up and makes sure the referee looks ONLY AT HIM while Andre
pounds away. The crowd demands Hogan to make the save, but it’s too
late and Savage is done. Countout follows at 11:40 shown. ***
Andre continues the beating post-match, as does Virgil (hey, the
match is over, he’s not ejected anymore). Many-teaming continues
until Hulk Hogan returns with a chair and sends everyone scattering.
Elizabeth is with Hogan when he shows up, leading to the assumption
that Liz was off to get Hogan. Or because it’s suddenly safe with
Hogan around. Depending on which announcer you ask, of course.
Hogan helps Savage to the back.
Vince:
“Look at Savage and Elizabeth – with the Hulkster between them!”
Jesse:
“Yeah, the Hulkster might get between them at WrestleMania!”
One
year off, Jesse. One year off.
Anyway,
Ventura “races” to the back to interview Heenan (who is now in a
beekeeper’s outfit with a leash) and the Islanders. Oh, yeah, this
would be during the “Matilda is stolen” angle that was… just…
weird. It’s his tribute to the Wild Kingdom. The Islanders love
animals, as we can tell from their barking. The Bees will be down to
wax that Gene Okerlund will shine his head with.
Killer
Bees v. Islanders.

The Killer Bees as Jim Brunzell (who later became a great
enhancement talent in the early Raw era) and Brian Blair, famous for
being the subject of a YouTube rant that turned Iron Sheik into
everyone’s crazy grandpa. The Islanders are Tama and
THEMONSTERMENG… er, I mean, Haku. Ventura “races” back to
commentary, pretending to be out of breath as he arrives. Brunzell
attacks Tama and gets a slam and legdrop for two, brother. Blair in
with an elbow to the arm off the second rope, then a cradle for two.
Brunzell back in to continue the arm work, into a hiptoss and
armlock. Tama goes for the ride but misses a dropkick, allowing Tama
a headbutt as Vince and Jesse go on a sidebar about the tights being
worn. Back scratch and suplex by Tama, getting two. Haku in, and he
gets a clubbing blow and dropkick for two. He sends Brunzell into
Tama’s foot and makes the tag, but Brunzell fights out with an
inverted atomic drop. Haku tags himself in and chops away, but a
double clothesline follows. Tama in, but he can’t stop Brunzell from
reaching Blair. Blair with an atomic drop and Haku gets sent flying
too. Slam to Tama, then Haku, but Tama rakes the eyes to stop
momentum. Blair rolls up Tama, but Haku enters to save, but Brunzell
cuts him off, BUT that causes the ref to stop the count and clear the
ring. Haku lariats Blair, and Tama’s on top for the pin at 3:39.
*1/4
Okerlund
(getting paid overtime tonight) is with Slick and the Gang. Okerlund
brings up the US Olympic comments, and Slick re-iterates that the US
team is Losers with a capital L. And Okerlund should know – his
son was on the loser hockey team! (Wait, he was? [checks Wikipedia]
Dang, he was!) And besides, if they were such losers, why call in
George Steinbrenner? Okerlund: “He’ll help the team.” This
marks the last time any babyface said anything nice about
Steinbrenner on TV. Slick then says forget about the Olympic team –
who needs a team when you have a Gang?
One
Man Gang v. Ken Patera.

Gang attacks Patera as he’s removing his track pants, clubbing away
and choking him with the pants. He strangles Patera against the
ropes and clubs some more, adding right hands. Patera slugs back,
rocking the Gang, then kicks him in the corner and sends him across
the ring… before hooking on a bearhug! Even the announcers are
impressed. Patera even gets Gang off the ground – not far, and not
for long, but off the ground. Gang rakes the eyes to break, then
does more CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY! Patera ducks one and
gets the full nelson out of nowhere, but Gang makes the ropes.
Patera keeps up the offense with forearms and elbows, but Gang
reverses and softens Patera’s gut in the corner. More body squashes
by the Gang, but Patera reverses and works Gang’s gut instead. A
right hand sets up a corner whip and knee in the corner. It’s ten
punches from there, then he keeps up the striking, but Gang with a
Vader attack and he falls on top for the pin at 3:07. Was that match
cut for time constraints? 1/2*
Gang keeps attacking, but Patera knocks Gang down with a second-rope
forearm. He gets Gang up for a slam, but Slick enters with the cane
to wiggle Gang free.
Hulk
Hogan gets the last words with Mean Gene. He’s laughing maniacally.
Okerlund’s even concerned. But Hogan says he’s in Stark Raving
Maniac mode. As far as Hulk goes, everyone who was involved in the
payoff announced the rules no longer apply. Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum! Andre
the Giant, here I come!
Vince
and Jesse wrap things up, hyping the Championship Tournament.
THOUGHTS:
Hey,
for free TV we had a pretty darn good show! You got a long-overdue
tag team blowoff, you got a shockingly vicious brawl and Hogan
showing more fire than he had to, and Savage/DiBiase was just enough
of an appetizer for the house show circuit after WrestleMania IV.
Heck, even Patera and the Gang seemed motivated, even though it was
all punch-kick between them. It’s only an hour or so once they cut
out the commercials, so definitely worth a watch. One of the best
SNMEs, and one that wouldn’t be out of place as a SmackDown today…
assuming you threw in some angle advancement, of course.
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 34:52 over five matches
BEST
MATCH: Savage/DiBiase
WORST
MATCH: Gang/Patera
NIGHT
MVP: Brutus Beefcake for winning the feud and cutting Valentine’s
hair
FINAL
SCORE: 7.5. It’s too bad this show wasn’t in front of a better
WrestleMania, but it stands out on its own. The usual weak ending,
but no one was watching past the first three matches anyway, which
delivered in spades. Hey, I saw three (or four, if you include
Bees/Islanders) passable matches in an hour’s worth of watching.
That’s a great number even today!
Scott,
your turn.

The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Great American Bash 1991

The SmarK Rant for WCW Great American Bash 1991 Live from Baltimore, MD Your hosts are Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone and a whole lot of bad vibes. Scaffold match: PN News & Bobby Eaton v. Steve Austin & Terry Taylor So this kind of sums up all the problems they were having, and the match was hilariously dissected by Steve Austin on his podcast recently, as the people who built it made it too narrow for anyone to pass each other. Hell, I was watching the product weekly at this point and I couldn’t even tell how they ended up with this ridiculous combination for an opener. Would a normal tag match or two singles matches been too much to ask? So let me attempt to describe the “action” here. The guys line up single-file along the scaffold because they can’t go around each other, and Austin crawls around on his hands and knees menacingly while trying not to tumble to his death. The next highspot sees News laying on Taylor after a test of strength before the guys move as fast as humanly possible to the safe zones at the ends of the scaffold and pair off there. And thankfully, Bobby grabs the heel flag (sorry, did I not mention that you have to capture a flag to win the match? Because you totally did.) but Steve Austin sprays him in the face with hairspray. The announcers are remarkably unconcerned about someone walking around blind while 30 feet in the air, as Jim Ross is like “Wow, he’s blinded, that kind of sucks.” And then the match is just over and the babyfaces win at 8:00 for no adequately explored reason. Hell of a way to kick off the PPV! -**** Jim Ross explains that, yeah, Ric Flair is “no longer considered the WCW World champion” but we’ve got a hell of a show anyway! Lex Luger and Barry Windham, folks! How can that not be awesome? Meanwhile, Paul E. Dangerously and Arn Anderson cut a promo while they take the scaffolding down. Also, they’re now in a mixed tag match against Missy Hyatt and Rick Steiner for some reason. The announcers continue filling dead air while they take the stupid scaffolding down. The Diamond Studd v. Tom Zenk DDP with a mullet, plus bedazzled fanny pack, could not be any more clichéd 90s wrestler unless he was wearing Zubaz. WCW’s crack camera crew shows Zenk standing at the top of the ramp with his harem of cheerleaders, all of them standing there looking bored until it’s time for the entrance, at which point they all excitedly come down to the ring like they were excited the whole time. WCW, ladies and gentlemen. Zenk and Studd quickly brawl to the floor as I should point out that Scott Hall has “Stud” on his tights instead of “Studd”, which would be his name at that point. Because, you know, WCW. They slug it out in the ring and Studd gets an abdominal stretch, and judging by Hall’s physique DDP must have his fanny pack stuffed with steroids for him. Zenk tries a comeback and gets chokeslammed, and this would seem to set up the big finisher they’ve been hyping, but instead Zenk gets a sunset flip for two. Studd keeps punching and kicking, but Zenk hits a superkick and they continue this war on the floor. Back in, Zenk with a missile dropkick and he beats on DDP for some reason, allowing Studd to hit a backdrop suplex for the pin at 7:00. Not exactly a dominant PPV debut for the Diamond Studd. And they were actually TRYING for god knows what reason. How can I bash this show if the wrestlers are gonna make an effort? Some people are so selfish. Hall was probably too drunk to even realize Flair was gone anyway. ** The Great and Powerful Oz v. Ron Simmons OK, now I’ve got something to work with. No one ever accused Kevin Nash of trying too hard at anything ever. Ironically, back then he was dying his hair to make it MORE grey. So true story, Turner had recently purchased the rights to show Wizard of Oz on TBS, and wanted a wrestling character tie-in to take advantage of the brand. And this is what the combined brain power of Kevin Sullivan and Dusty Rhodes came up with: Kevin Nash in neon green tights. So Mr. Oz puts Ron down with a big boot, but Simmons takes him down with drop toehold and I think Nash tears a quad on it. They’ve found his one weakness: Taking simple bumps! Oz continues staggering around the ring until Simmons clotheslines him to the floor while one poor bastard keeps trying to start a “boring” chant. Oh, buddy, you have no idea what you’re in for later, you should save that. So with Nash having done his highspot for the match, they head back in for a test of strength. JR’s analysis: “It would favor the taller guy, unless the smaller guy is stronger.” So the test of strength favors the stronger guy? Fascinating. Oz with a sideslam for two and the Great Wizard (wearing slacks and sneakers underneath his mysterious robe) gets a cheapshot in. And now it’s time for Nash’s other highspot, the BEARHUG. Simmons thankfully escapes that predicament and comes back with shoulderblocks…which finish at 8:00. See? Nash’s one weakness, the simple bump. And that was that for Oz, never to be seen in the business again. * Wait, he went on to be World champion? Multiple times? WHAT THE FUCK, WRESTLING? The WCW Top 10! This WCW Top Ten and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this WCW Top Ten in error please notify the system manager. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this WCW Top Ten. Please notify the sender immediately by WCW Top Ten if you have received this WCW Top Ten by mistake and delete this WCW Top Ten from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. If you’re Ric Flair you’re pretty much fucked already, legally speaking. 10. Johnny B. Badd 9. Ron Simmons 8. Diamond Studd 7. Terrance Taylor 6. Arn Anderson 5. Bobby Eaton 4. Steve Austin 3. Sting 2. Barry Windham 1. Lex Luger And the World title, of course, is vacant. Ricky Morton v. Robert Gibson Some might have argued that the Rockers’ breakup was the most memorable of all-time, but I would argue that…wait, no sorry, I wouldn’t actually argue that. My bad. This was awful and no one wanted to see it. Also, Morton is still wearing the same tights despite the team breaking up, which I call Tito Santana-itis. IT’S A REAL THING. Look it up on Alexandra York’s word processor! Could she access Gopher on that thing, I wonder? They brawl on the ramp to start and Gibson gets a slam in the ring, sending Morton flailing to the floor in terror. Morton gets some advice from the computer, and it turns out to be an e-mail notifying him of late child support payments. Back in, Morton stalls as I ponder whose bright idea it was to take the most effective babyface in the history of tag team wrestling and TURN HIM HEEL. So Gibson slugs away, but Morton sends him into the corner to take over and goes to work on the injured knee. Yup, the dream clash of the Rock N Roll Express is one old dude working the knee on the other old dude. Jim Ross notes that he’s not an orthopedic surgeon, but that could be bad for Gibson’s surgically repaired knee. Whew, I was about to go put a guy wearing a leg brace in a figure-four on his advice, but at least now I can’t sue JR. So this match keeps happening and it’s literally all Ricky Morton working on the damn knee while they lie on the mat. So after ELEVEN MINUTES of that, Gibson tries a comeback, but Morton is still working on that damn knee. Alexandra York is so bored that she’s sexting Dustin Rhodes on her computer and people are literally sitting at ringside and yawning. Finally, Gibson tries another comeback, but Morton dodges a dropkick and…you guessed it…goes back to the knee. People are so bored that they start chanting for CM Punk, which is weird because he would have been in elementary school at the time, but obviously the crowd had enough time to collectively build a time machine and travel forward 20 years to watch good wrestling before returning to be annoyed by this shitty match all over again. And then after literally 15 minutes of Morton working on the damn knee, York distracts the ref and Morton just hits Gibson with the computer for the pin at 16:27. Some dude in the front row is so irritated by that stupid finish that he tosses garbage at the ring. Who booked this shit? DUD Elimination tag match: The Freebirds & Badstreet v. Dustin Rhodes & The Young Pistols Dustin’s pre-match promo where he says absolutely nothing is a thing of beauty. Thankfully he got much better at them and evolved beyond yelling “WE’LL SHOW YOU SOMETHING ABOUT ELIMINATION SIX-MAN TAG MATCHES!” while pointing at the camera. Dustin clears the ring with elbows as everyone bumps for the Knight of Nepotism long before he was any good. The Freebirds quickly take over with a cheapshot, giving Jimmy Garvin plenty of time to stall. They literally stand around posing while even the announcers question why Tracy Smothers is stupid enough to let them do it instead of, you know, hitting them. The Pistols bring Badstreet in and Steve Armstrong puts his own masked brother on the floor. Badstreet returns the favor and Garvin gets a cheapshot on Smothers and go to work on him. Hayes with a sleeper as I ponder WCW logic: The Freebirds need a third guy, so instead of getting another Freebird they put Brad Armstrong under a mask. Like, was Buddy Roberts REALLY asking for that much money? And Garvin doesn’t disappoint in sucking, going right to a chinlock. Badstreet comes in with a neckbreaker for two, but Smothers makes the alleged hot tag to Armstrong and it’s BONZO GONZO. Steve tries for Badstreet’s mask, but Hayes DDTs him and gets the pin at 13:47. And then he immediately throws the eliminated Armstrong over the top and gets DQ’d. Er, why? Never mind. I don’t really care. So now it’s just a total mess and Garvin DDTs Smothers for the pin at 15:19. Dustin then eliminates Garvin with a lariat at 15:32 and finishes Badstreet after a decent little sequence with a bulldog at 17:00. Why was this even elimination rules? *1/2 Bounty match: The Yellow Dog v. Johnny B. Badd The Yellow Dog actually brings a yellow dog to the ring with him, because WCW. Speaking of which, at this point the screen goes black and there’s a disclaimer from the Network that there was technical difficulties and this was the most complete version available. Dammit, we almost lost this match! And someone saved it. WHY? The Dog gets a suspiciously Pillman-like dropkick and chops Badd to the floor, and then a Pillman-like crucifix gets two. I’m starting to suspect that this mysterious yellow-clad figure is not who he represents himself to be. Badd attacks him on the floor and they slug it out in the ring, where the Dog botches a crossbody attempt. Good thing it’s not Brian Pillman because that would be embarrassing for him. Badd goes for the mask with no success, but the Dog comes back with a backdrop suplex. He goes up with a high cross, but Teddy Long runs in for the DQ at 6:00. Yeah. So this happened. * Meanwhile, Eric Bischoff goes to interview Missy Hyatt in her locker room, which seems a tad inappropriate. So Eric actually goes into the shower, clearly knowing that she would be naked, and he’s all shocked when she freaks out and kicks him out. And yet instead of getting fired for sexual harassment, he was made Executive VP two years later! Only in America. Lumberjack match: Black Blood v. Big Josh What is with all the shitty stipulation matches tonight? Josh is of course from the North Woods, although where in the North and which Woods are never specified. You might be thinking “Oh, Billy Jack Haynes v. Matt Borne, this should be decent” but OH HOW WRONG YOU WOULD BE. Black Blood is apparently a literal executioner, carrying a bloody axe to the ring after guillotining someone in France. Do you have to check that thing at the airport? Well, clearly now you would, but I guess it was a simpler time before 9/11. DAMN YOU TERRORISTS, robbing hard-working executioners of the ability to carry their tools. I feel like that’s the reason why the gimmick was dropped, because all things being equal he would have been World champion had the hassle of carrying the giant axe from city to city not overcome him. So anyway, Josh slugs away and the lumberjacks randomly brawl with each other. You know, if House taught me anything, it’s that Black Blood in his urine would indicate kidney shutdown, so perhaps Mr. Blood should see a doctor. Maybe that’s why the gimmick failed? And is Black Blood any relation to Ricky Steamboat? So Blood grabs the axe, apparently wanting to literally decapitate Big Josh to win a wrestling match, but luckily Josh gets a small package after assistance from Dustin Rhodes for the pin at 5:41. Ah, the old beheading trick, oldest heel move in the book. If only Henry VIII’s wives had known that you could small package the executioner to evade beheading, history would look a lot different. I believe his finisher was called the Robespierre, or at least should have been. DUD El Gigante v. One Man Gang Kevin Sullivan is working double duty tonight, seconding Gang as well as Oz. He was supposed to also be in Black Blood’s corner but was apparently too busy getting his skullet teased for this. I should note that even Big Josh gets a harem of women to accompany him, whereas Gigante gets four midgets as his posse. Thankfully, Kevin Sullivan beats them up. Gigante uses the WORLD’S LARGEST CLUBBING FOREARMS while poor Gang has to bump for him. Gigante misses a “charge” and “sells” it by staggering around like a drunk guy, allowing Gang to use a wrench to take over. Yes, an actual wrench. Why not just grab Black Blood’s giant bloody axe and use that instead? Unless airport security already made him check it with the baggage. DAMN YOU TERRORISTS! I remember when you could carry an Uzi on with you and then buy ammunition from the Skymall while doing coke with the hooker/stewardess. DAMN YOU TERRORISTS. I may be remembering it wrong, granted. Gang hits a splash and goes up and then stands there waiting for Gigante to remember his mark and slam him off. Line? Oh yeah, it was “WAAAAGH!” Gigante puts the claw on Sullivan, but Gang gets a bunch of powder, or salt, or something according to Tony, which Gigante kicks back in his face for the pin at 6:30. Shit, I bet those fascist airport guards wouldn’t let him carry that bag of blow on the plane with him, either. DAMN YOU TERRORISTS! -** Negative stars are starting to lose all meaning for me. Russian Chain match: Sting v. Nikita Koloff This actually was the one match on the show with good heat and backstory to it, so of course they ruin it with one of my least favorite stipulation matches. So yeah, they brawl around the ring and Sting manages two turnbuckles before Koloff clotheslines him and takes over on the floor. Sting runs him into the post, but Koloff wraps the chain around his arm and drops elbows on Sting. We get a dull heat segment and Koloff drags him around for three corners before Sting breaks it up. They do a silly bit where they fight in a bearhug and end up touching two corners at the same time, and then both guys go to the nuts, which kind of an allegory for this fucking show. And then both tumble into the third corner at the same time, because WHAT THE FUCK, but Koloff breaks it up and we’re still at 3 each for some reason. Sting dives in and knocks Koloff into the turnbuckle to give him the win at 11:50. Even by the low standards of the gimmick match this whole thing made no sense. * WCW World title, cage match: Lex Luger v. Barry Windham The dead space before the match just allows the crowd to get good and pissed off and chant for Flair, as it was now readily apparent that Ric Flair was not going to show up. Oh, and they spell Windham’s name wrong in the pre-match graphic. Because WCW. And the belt appears to be an old Western States title belt with “World Heavyweight Champion” superimposed via cheap gold plate. Because WCW. And now the hostility really starts from the crowd, as they unload with both barrels because WE WANT FLAIR. Man, that Flair, what a petulant child, leaving like he did just because Jim Herd wanted to cut his pay in half and dress him like a gladiator. So on the bright side, people liked Lex Luger, so at least they’d have a top babyface after this, right? They do the feeling-out and this crowd is just ready to HATE the match like they’re John Cena and Randy Orton. Slugfest and Windham gets a backdrop but the crowd would really rather see Flair. They continue having a match and Windham goes up with a flying elbow that misses, but Luger comes back with the clotheslines for two. The cage has played absolutely no part in the match thus far, by the way. Powerslam sets up the Torture Rack, but Windham manages to use the ropes and counter out, then hits a backdrop suplex as the crowd starts to get into it against their will. They fight to the top and Windham fights him off and follows with a top rope clothesline for two. Back to the top and a missile dropkick gets two. And now one of the great miscalculations in WCW history, as Harley Race and Mr. Hughes head to ringside, and Luger piledrives Windham for the pin and the title at 12:20. This was apparently supposed to be a heel turn for Luger, but fans cheer it anyway. And Luger of course went to be a giant flop as heel champion before leaving for the WWF in 92. Match was pretty decent despite the atmosphere and hostile crowd. But really, a heel turn in a main event where you should send the angry fans home happy? *** The Real Main Event: Missy Hyatt & Rick Steiner v. Paul E. Dangerously & Arn Anderson Thankfully, Paul is the one to break out the Zubaz and thus confim that it’s 1991. This was also pretty mind-boggling as the Maryland commission didn’t actually allow mixed gender matches so Missy wasn’t allowed to have any real involvement in the match. And indeed, Murdoch and Slater kidnap her, thus leaving Rick at a disadvantage. Without, you know, Missy Hyatt to depend on. They actually try a match for some reason, with the heels double-teaming Rick for a bit, but he quickly finishes Paul E. with a clothesline at 2:00. Pretty sure half the crowd had emptied out by then anyway. DUD JR & Tony recap all the carnage to end things. Tony notes that they’ve made a statement tonight. Oh, that they did. The Pulse Gotta say, it was bad no doubt, but not the giant flaming car wreck I remember from the 90s. I have actually seen much worse shows and would downgrade this one from Worst Of All-Time like it usually gets. It’s legendarily bad, sure, but the crowd was into some of the stuff and some of the guys were trying at least. It’s at best #2 behind Heroes of Wrestling on the list of most atrocious crapfests ever put on PPV. Now there’s some exuberant praise for you.

The PG-Era Retro Rant: WWF on MSG Network, 6-3-91

As promised, a look into nostalgia
heaven for me: the late 80s and early 90s are my favorite wrestling
time, and so…
The PG Era Rant for WWF on MSG Network,
June 3, 1991.
From New York City.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby
Heenan, and Jim Neidhart. As commentary goes, Anvil doesn’t really
add much, but he doesn’t detract either. He’s a clear third wheel,
there to stir the pot.

Opening match: Smash v. The Dragon.
Smash is on his own here. Dragon is a newcomer to the WWF who does
the fire-breathing trick from circus sideshows and is absolutely not
Ricky Steamboat no matter how much they look, talk, and wrestle
alike. Smash with a knee to the gut to start and he slugs away,
working the arm. Dragon reverses the arm and wrenches away, dropping
an elbow on the arm repeatedly. Dragon gets the best of a tackle,
but gets dumped, only to skin the cat back in. Not as well as
Steamboat would, but he makes up for it by dumping Smash. Back in,
Dragon hits an armdrag and works the arm some more. Gorilla wants to
see Dragon take on a Heenan Family member, which causes the Brain to
scoff. Dragon keeps working the arm and adds head chops, then slams
Smash off of a whip and goes to the armdrag again. Heenan praises
his armdrags, though they’re not as good as Steamboat’s. Anvil:
“Weasels don’t like fire, Gorilla.” Smash escapes the arm work
with an inverted atomic drop and a Hotshot. Smash pounds away some
more, getting a chokeslam and holding the choke. Back suplex follows
for two. Neck cranking follows, but Dragon gets to his feet. Smash
dumps Dragon to the outside, adding a big right and sending the
Dragon into the post. A slam on the floor as Gorilla complements the
cameraman. Smash slinghots Dragon back in. Backbreaker gets one.
Gorilla: “That wasn’t exactly a Hitman type backbreaker.”
Heenan: “How much does he pay you to sing his praises?” Gorilla:
“He’ll be here when you’re gone, Brain.” Anvil finds this
hilarious. Dragon fights out of the crank with some weak chops
(Steamboat’s are much better), but Smash with a series of
clotheslines to stop momentum. Sleeper by Smash. Gorilla notes the
lower arm is wrong. They test his arm once, twice, three times…
four times? See, Steamboat would never make a mistake like that.
The announcers are surprised there was no bell. Dragon remembers to
put the arm up on the fourth try, though. Dragon chops out in the
gut area, then the head, but Smash whips him only to put his head
down. Dragon with the comeback, dropkicking Smash to the outside.
Dragon dives onto him from the second rope. Eh, Steamboat would’ve
gone from the top. Smash catches Dragon and suplexes him back in for
two. Smash sends Dragon into the buckle, but a blind charge misses.
Dragon with the bodypress to finish at 10:15. *3/4
Okay, fine, it is Ricky Steamboat, but you’d never get Vince to
admit it.
Warlord
v. Koko B Ware. Anvil says “a definite size advantage for the
Birdman.” This is why he didn’t last long on commentary, I guess.
Heenan wants nothing to do with Frankie. Koko taunts Heenan to
start. Gorilla doesn’t see Slick and wonders if Warlord ate him.
Warlord throws Koko out of a lockup and poses. Gorilla and Anvil
claim Heenan skims some money out of Barbarian’s paycheck, saying he
lies and cheats. Gorilla: “You forgot steal.” Koko with
headbutts and he sticks and moves, with Warlord unable to keep up and
losing his cool. Koko slides out of the ring before slowly
returning. Warlord goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY to take
control. Koko to the eyes to get in control, though. Warlord visits
the turnbuckle, but Koko gets the worst of it. Gorilla and Heenan
agree on something, which scares them both. Warlord tries again, but
Koko blocks and fires back. Warlord no-sells a clothesline before
running Koko down with a big boot. Choking on the ropes follows,
then a shot to the kidneys. Bearhug follows, with Koko “picked up
like a bucket of chicken”. Heenan really said that. Heenan claims
that Slick is in a skybox with Diana Ross. Monsoon claims that was
just Slick in drag. Every time Koko tries to headbutt out, Warlord
adds a crunch. Koko avoids the KO and tries to squirm out, but to no
avail. He’s not allowed to choke Warlord to escape, but he rings the
ears to get out only to get clotheslined hard. Warlord with more
clubbing blows, but Koko cuts one off and works the head. Warlord
catches Koko and dumps him, however. He drags Koko to the apron and
smashes away. Koko gets a shoulder to Warlord’s gut and tries a
sunset flip only to get punched. Big slam follows, but an elbowdrop
misses. Koko with a small package for two. Blind charge by Warlord
misses, and Koko with a missile dropkick for two. Warlord with a
Stun Gun to win at 10:34. *1/4
Jim
Duggan v. Colonel Mustafa. Mustafa is, of coure, Sheiky Baby
repackaged as an Iraqi soldier, and given the history of Iraq and
Iran he could not have enjoyed that. Duggan sends General Adnan to
the floor through intimidation. Mustafa stalls to start as Duggan
tries to keep the crowd into it. Mustafa clubs him in the ropes, but
gets run over with clotheslines and bails. Heenan wonders why people
go to the fans when you’re the one wrestling. Gorilla: “Nobody
ever cheered for you.” Duggan wins a slugfest, complete with
Popeye punch to send Mustafa bailing again. More stalling. Mustafa
with a cheap shot off of a corner lockup, and he keeps pounding and
choking. More shots at Duggan while he’s draped on the apron, and
Adnan adds a shot of his own off-camera. Mustafa with another right
and into a chinlock. Duggan elbows out, but runs into an Iranian
Hammer. Mustafa loads up the boot, but Duggan reverses a suplex try.
Mustafa back in with throat shots, but Duggan gets a slam to
counter. Football lariat time, but Adnan trips Duggan and steals the
2×4 for good measure. Duggan chases him to the back, where Sgt.
Slaughter ambushes him for the countout at 5:46. Of note: Danny
Davis is seen on camera waiting about 10 seconds before trying to
stop the beating, but he’s Danny Davis so of course he’ll give the
heels some leeway. Iron Sheik was more or less done at this point.
-*
Barbarian
v. Bret Hart. Since Heenan is stuck at commentary, Mr. Fuji manages
Barbarian for this match. We have a Heenan Family member against a
Hart Foundation member, so don’t expect unbiased commentary or
anything. Hitman has his Skull and Wings jacket. Gorilla asks what
the insignia means, but Anvil says it’s personal. Barbarian throws
Bret into the corner on a lockup. Barbarian with a headlock, but
Bret shoots him off and gets run over. Bret falls right next to
commentary as Heenan shows he’s staying out of it. Back in, Bret
gets another lockup. Gorilla tells Anvil to keep an eye on Heenan.
Barbarian nails Bret hard with some shoulder tackles. Bret ducks a
back chop only to get slammed on the rebound. Elbowdrop misses and
Bret fires away, causing Barbarian to bail. Back in, Bret works the
arm, driving knees into the elbow. Barbarian backs Bret into the
ropes, but puts his head down and Bret goes back to the arm. Big
boot to the shoulder by Barbarian. Seated senton drop on Bret’s back
follows. Barbarian kicks away, nudging Bret to the floor. Barbarian
follows him and catches him, knocking him off the apron and ramming
his back into the post twice. Heenan: “I don’t see too much
Excellence of Execution here.” Bret slowly rolls in, so Barbarian
steps on Bret’s throat. Hammer Throw by Barbarian follows. Standing
punches to a prone Hitman follow, but a big boot misses and Bret…
runs into a bearhug. Bret escapes quickly. Barbarian with a chop,
then another Hammer Throw into another bearhug. Bret avoids the KO,
putting him one step up on Dragon, and bites Barbarian to escape.
Heenan: “I’d expect that out of you [Anvil], but not the Hitman.”
Barbarian recovers first with a sidewalk slam. Second-rope
elbowdrop misses. Heenan criticizes Fuji for not telling Barbarian
to go faster. Bret pops up out of nowhere to fire away on Barbarian,
getting an inverted atomic drop and clothesline for two. Ten punch
countalong follows in the corner, then a backbreaker. Second-rope
elbow by Bret connects, getting two. Heenan desperately wants to get
to the ring. Bret with a Russian legsweep for two, with the kickout
sending Bret out of the ring. Bret’s favoring his leg as Barbarian
drags him to the apron, suplexing him back in. Bret reverses and
tries a rolling cradle, but Barbarian shrugs him off and Fuji trips
Bret. Fuji goes onto the apron, but a cane shot nails Barbarian and
Bret gets the pin at 12:08. Heenan chews out Fuji in the ring as the
two managers nearly come to blows. Barbarian takes Heenan’s side on
this one. Anvil loves seeing the fight. This one picked up once
Bret got on offense and was pretty slow otherwise. **1/4
Jim
Quinn of the World Bobybuilding Federation is at ringside. Anvil:
“Look at the veins in that guy’s arms!” All the better to find
where to put the needle.
Bob
Bradley v. Jimmy Snuka. Bradley was a WCCW alum who is just a
jobber. Heenan unloads a racist tirade on Fuji. Bradley pushes
Snuka into the ropes and shoves him, which annoys Snuka. Snuka gets
shoved out of a second lockup. Bradley with a headlock, but Snuka
gets a criss-cross and leapfrog before Bradley bails instead of
getting the Island Chop. Snuka slingshots Bradley back in, then gets
a hiptoss after a long whip sequence, followed by the Island Chop.
Bradley gets a knee in Snuka’s stomach (Anvil: “That looked low.”)
before sending him into the turnbuckle… which only fires Snuka up.
Bradley maintains a headlock, tackling Snuka. Snuka with his reverse
leapfrog and another Island Chop, followed by a backbreaker.
Superfly Splash ends it at 4:04. Just a squash. 1/2*
Earthquake
v. Jake Roberts. No sign of Jimmy Hart in town. This, of course, is
after Quake killed Damian on an episode of Superstars. Jake hides
Lucifer – his replacement snake – under the ring and away from
Quake. Neither man waits for the bell, with Roberts getting a
kneelift and backing Quake into the ropes. The ref separates the
two, with Roberts telling the ref to make sure the snake stays safe.
Roberts dodges Quake and keeps him in the corner. A second dodge and
Roberts with some shots to the gut. He keeps sticking, moving, and
punching away. Quake tells the ref the fists are closed, and Roberts
tells the ref he’ll personally demonstrate. Quake backs Roberts into
the corner and slams his shoulder into Roberts’ ribs. Hammer Throw
and Quake with a goozle, but Roberts breaks and gets kneelifts to
double Quake over. DDT, but Quake hangs on to the top rope to stop
it. Quake stomps Roberts out of the ring, and Quake finds the bag.
The referee tells him to back off, which allows Roberts to get
another kneelift. Quake smashes Roberts into the corner, but a
running tackle misses and hits the post. Jake with a kneelift as
Quake returns, then a short clothesline. Another DDT try, but Quake
bulrushes Roberts into the corner. Gorilla says Jake needs to move
to the center of the ring. Quake steps on Roberts to keep control.
Gorilla threatens to leave and have Anvil and Heenan alone, which
freaks Heenan out. Quake measures Roberts and does another shoulder
ram. Hammer Throw and Jake falls to the outside. Quake goes up top
as the crowd freaks out, but Roberts bails out of range before Quake
can jump. Roberts rolls back in, only for another Hammer Throw to
follow. Quake plays to the crowd, which allows Roberts a right hand,
but Quake clubs him to knock him over. Roberts refuses to let the
ref stop the match, but Quake pulls him up and rams him in the gut
again. Another Hammer Throw follows. Roberts falls with his foot on
the rope, which means… something. Quake begs Roberts to come to
him, and Roberts slithers over and takes hold of his leg. A confused
Quake asks Roberts to keep crawling up, but when he does, Roberts
with a shot. Quake keeps control, but misses a clothesline and
Roberts clobbers him in the back of the head, felling Quake. Jake
tries another DDT, but Quake’s in the ropes again. Quake with a
single-leg trip and he drops the elbow on Jake’s leg… but Jake gets
the knee into the rib and both men are hurting. Quake is up first
and keeps control with more shoulders to the ribs, and Jake can’t
even finish an Irish Whip with his bad leg. Quake signals for the
Earthquake Splash, but Roberts bails. Roberts’ leg is hurt, so the
ref checks in on him. Quake takes the opportunity to drag the bag
into the ring and threaten to crush it. Roberts trips Quake this
time, and that’s enough to get Jake to pull Lucifer out. The ref
throws the match out at 10:59 as Quake bails. I know this match
sounds bad, but this needs to be seen in my opinion. It was basic,
but it was how they used their basic moves to build to the finish.
**
Sean
Mooney interviews Mr. Fuji about the events of earlier, and he
challenges Heenan to a tag match. Likely he means Orient Express
against Faces of Fear, but he doesn’t name any names.
Mooney
now interviews Big Boss Man about his upcoming match with the
Mountie. Boss Man respects law, order, and justice, and that’s why
he hates the Mountie, who allows Hart’s posse to beat up Boss Man.
Boss Man’s life flashes before his eyes whenever the Mountie zaps him
with the cattle prod, seeing all the men he’s arrested and put on
Death Row. Mountie’s on the Most Wanted List for his actions, and he
will serve hard time. Boss Man’s so furious he drops his nightstick
while twirling.
Mooney
is now with Sgt. Slaughter and General Adnan, who talk about the
Desert Storm Match they’ll be having with Hulk Hogan. He tells Hogan
to be ready for an ambush, like the one he put on Duggan. Hogan is,
by the way, the Immortal Slime in this promo. Mooney explains the
Desert Storm Match, which is basically an I Quit match.
Mooney
now is with Hulk Hogan, who is wearing a gas mask and military camo.
He says he saw what happened to Duggan, and now he has the green
light to break all the rules. He warns the little Hulkamaniacs that
Slaughter may have put napalm in their popcorn. He really said that.
He says it’s all-out war between the two, and though he won the
battle at WrestleMania, he’s got to win the war tonight. As long as
Slaughter is in the WWF, the war is still on. He has white sand from
Venice Beach, and he’s loaded with it and just about any weapon you
can think of. He doesn’t care about the title – it’s all about
ending Slaughter.
We
look back at how Hacksaw Duggan was ambushed and left laying by
Slaughter. Duggan was dazed by the attack (Heenan: “How could they
tell the difference?”) but he was more shaken up than injured and
very angry.
Mountie
v. Big Boss Man. The Mountie is a corrupt policeman played by
Jacques Rougeau who managed to do the unthinkable: get Canada upset.
Heenan makes a point that both men carry weapons as their police
issue items. Mountie won’t let Bossman in, but the ref yanks away
the cattle prod and Bossman’s ready to go with uppercuts. Fifteen
visits to the top buckle follow (Mountie adds two or three more in
momentum) and Bossman slugs away. Jumping rope straddle follows,
then a second one. Bossman with an Oklahoma Slam (dedicated to
Anvil) for two. Mountie bails out, but Bossman follows with a
running punch. Back in, Bossman shoves Mountie around and slaps his
back as Mountie turtles up. Uppercuts by Bossman and Mountie timbers
down. Bossman up top, but Mountie moves and Bossman gives himself a
Hotshot. Mountie with a shot to the throat as both men are dazed,
and Mountie drops an elbow on the outside. Mountie smashes Bossman
against the barricade and punches him in the neck. Jumping back
elbow by Mountie gets two. Slugest follows, which Bossman wins.
Mountie caught with a back elbow and big splash. Bossman punches a
defenseless Mountie, who falls out of the ring and grabs his cattle
prod. Bossman shoves the ref aside, and Mountie jams the prod into
Bossman’s stomach for the pin at 5:53. *3/4
Bit of a Raw match feel to this one, and with good reason: it was
setting up their SummerSlam match where the loser would spend the
night in New York jail. Mountie gets another zapping in, a long one
this time, as Bossman twitches and foams at the mouth.
Paul
Roma v. Animal. It’s supposed to be a tag match, but Hawk is absent
or injured or something, so it’s one on one. Roma wins the coin toss
to take the match. Anvil notes it’s too tag team specialists in
singles competition and that they may not be comfortable. Everyone
shoves everyone to start, and Roma jumps Animal and pounds away.
Animal reverses the whip, but after another whip, Animal catches Roma
in an inverted atomic drop and lariat. Hercules distracts the ref,
so Animal drops a headbutt to Roma’s groin. Ten punch countalong is
stopped at six as Roma dumps Animal. Hercules adds a shot or two on
the outside. Roma stomps Animal and throws him back-first into the
apron. Back in, Roma fires away and gets a mile-high dropkick. Roma
with three locomotion backbreakers on Animal, but he shows off
instead of covering. He goes up top, landing a single axhandle.
Animal fires away to regain momentum, then catches Roma in a back
suplex. Roma kicks Animal to stop him cold, adding a piledriver for
two. Animal hulks up off of that, and he begins the comeback. Roma
reverses a whip, but the blind charge eats boot and Animal with a
running punch. Animal gives Roma a merry-go-round whip… into the
referee. Animal with a dropkick and shoulder tackle for nothing
because the ref’s out. Hercules breaks it up and a double-team
begins. Hercules holds Animal, but Roman’s missile dropkick hits
Hercules and a powerslam ends it at 4:59. Another Raw style match.
*1/2
Main
event, Desert Storm match for the WWF Title: Hulk Hogan v. Sergeant
Slaughter. As a reminder, Desert Storm Rules mean there are no
rules, you can do whatever it takes, and there will be unconditional
surrender to decide the winner (as Fink puts it). Heenan questions
whether Hogan putting the belt on the line in a match like this was
smart. Hogan still has his military gas mask thing on. He throws
the belt in the ring, knowing Slaughter will try to hit him with it,
then throws the Venice Beach sand into Sarge’s face as Slaughter
tries to use the belt. Beltshot follows by Hulk, then a shot with
Sarge’s Army helmet. Hogan uses Sarge’s riding crop liberally. He
headbutts Sarge with the mask. Hogan tosses Sarge out to the floor
and follows, sending Sarge into the steps. Hogan chokes Sarge with a
TV cable and punches away. Another stiff right, and Hogan throws
Sarge back in. Hogan throws Sarge over the buckle and into the post.
Sarge blades at this point, so Hogan takes a Desert Storm flag and
chokes Sarge with it. Sarge slumps over by the broadcast table, so
Hogan sends Sarge into Anvil’s monitor. Hogan takes the house mic
and clocks Sarge with it. Hogan gives the Thumbs Down, then Hammer
Throws Sarge. Sarge is swinging blindly, so Hogan controls with his
running elbow. Hogan kicks away as Sarge is up to .4 Muta. Hogan
punches the cut in a ground and pound, then bites the cut. Even
Gorilla thinks Hogan is over-the-top violent. Hogan slingshots Sarge
into the post again, but Sarge finds the riding crop. Hogan is only
momentarily fazed, going back to a headlock and punches. Sarge kicks
Hogan off a backdrop attempt before punching away and raking the
eyes. Slaughter unlocks his utility belt and smashes Hogan with it.
He smashes Hogan a second time to send Hogan to the outside. Sarge
sends Hogan into the barricade, first his forehead, then his back.
Sarge with axhandles to Hogan’s back as the crowd starts a
spontaneous USA chant. Back in, Sarge finds Hogan’s belt and whips
Hogan with it. He chokes Hogan in the corner with the belt, putting
Hogan on his back in the corner. Both men are tired as Adnan throws
a chair in. Sarge gets it, winds up… and collapses from the blood
loss. Hogan uses the chair on Sarge’s back, then picks Sarge up and
punches away. Sarge ducks a right hand and gets a Russian legsweep.
Sarge pounds away on Hogan, then slams the chair into Hogan’s back.
Camel clutch try, but Sarge can’t hook the right arm. Sarge is
smothering Hogan’s face, so there’s that. Hogan slips out the back
door and sends Sarge into the corner, where he nails his shoulder
into the post. Sarge recovers and pounds away on the back, but he’s
exhausted. He goes up top, but he’s too tired and falls off the top.
Sarge tries again, but by this time Hogan’s up and slams him off.
Double clothesline follows for the double KO. Sarge is up faster,
but he’s punch drunk and falls back down. Sarge unties his boot to
use that as a weapon, but Hogan throws a fireball at Sarge to stop
him. Hogan rips the camo shirt and gets an Axe Bomber. He gets
Sarge’s boot and floors Sarge with it repeatedly. Now Hogan puts a
camel clutch on Sarge – a proper one, too, almost a Steiner
Recliner actually – and Adnan throws the towel in at 15:32. Hogan
throws sand in Adnan’s face to stop him from a sneak attack, then
clears the ring of opponents before beginning the posing. Man, who
doesn’t love a good street fight? **3/4
Hogan poses with a little kid who may be Nick for all I know.
FINAL
THOUGHTS:
This
was basically like watching what Raw would be in 1991. That’s not
necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but there wasn’t much angle
advancement and no feuds (Hogan/Slaughter, Quake/Roberts,
Bossman/Mountie, Animal/Roma) had what you’d call a feud ender. The
wrestling was very slow in places, which is too bad. Also,
commentary had a lot of kinks to work out, as Anvil really messed
with the chemistry of Heenan and Monsoon.
Still,
a blast from the past is fine, and it would be worth the $10 or
whatever I would have paid to go live. The street fight was a great
way to send the fans home happy, and although I would’ve liked to see
more effort out of Steamboat or Warlord, the last few matches helped
out quite a bit.
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 80:10 over nine matches
BEST
MATCH: Hogan/Slaughter
WORST
MATCH: Duggan/Mustafa
NIGHT
MVP: Hulk Hogan
FINAL
SCORE: Meh, 4/10. No good matches, but the last few at least had
good heat to them.
Okay,
guys, thanks for reading and nitpicking! I’ll see you on Monday for
Raw from my neck of the woods, DC!

The Princess Retro Rant for Wrestlemania XIV

Why the hell not? Besides you guys gave me 4,500+ comments last night so you deserve a reward.

The Princess Retro Rant for Wrestlemania XIV

From the Fleetcenter (now TD Garden Center) in Boston, Massachusetts.

Hosted by Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler

The opening to this Wrestlemania was just great. The only
thing edited was “M&M Presents” since I guess sponsors don’t get a double
plug.


15-Team Tag Battle Royale

Yeah I’m not going to list off the teams, you can certainly look on Wikipedia
if you want. There are a lot of Boricuas and NoD members in there along with
some old favorites like The Headbangers, The Quebecers and The Rock & Roll
Express. Really I think this was just a match to highlight the WWF’s shitty tag
division at the time. The repackaged LOD get the final entrance as they were the
“mystery team”. They gave them an overhauled look and Sunny and called it LOD
2000. The crowd seemed to like it or like Sunny, who was still pretty cute in
1998 although the fall from grace was coming soon. People not involved in the
match like Kurrigan and Barry Windham entered to prolong feuds that no one gave
a shit about. Things slow down a bit as LOD, The Godwins, The New Midnight
Express and the DoA are left. Godwinns eliminate Skull or 8-Ball and the other
one eliminates the other Godwinn. The farmers come back in and drop the LOD
with their slop buckets so we are down to two. The New Midnight Express was a
short-lived and poorly-conceived team of Bob Holly and Bart Gunn. Not sure why
they couldn’t pay to bring in Bobby Eaton. Bob and Bart sucked but either one
of them with Bobby Eaton and at least there’s some credibility. The purist in
me thinks Bob Holly and Bobby Eaton might have been a solid tag team. Hell
Bobby Eaton and my herb garden could be a solid tag team. Anyway LOD wins and
whatever. No rating needed but outside of Sunny there wasn’t much to see here.

Good lord there are a shit ton of (insert statement) 3:16 signs here.

They show all of the Wrestlemania weekend festivities including the DX Public
Workout. FanFest and the Hall of Fame hadn’t been created yet but they were
close.


WWF Light Heavyweight Championship: TAKA Michinoku vs. Aguila

Aguila’s main contribution to the WWF and mainstream wrestling society was
being repackaged as Essa Rios with a new manager named Lita sometime in early
2000. So it’s safe to say Aguila was the most important wrestler in the
division’s short history for that reason alone. He also wrestled sans mask as
Papi Chulo sometimes. Aguila starts hot with a moonsault to the floor but TAKA
responds with a crazy top rope cross body to the floor. TAKA hits a few low
dropkicks for a two count but Aguila backdrops him to the floor. TAKA climbs
the ropes slowly and Aguila hits a top rope arm drag and does like three more
with various flips to get TAKA out of the ring and there he hits a crazy
running hands free corkscrew plancha. Fuck that. TAKA goes for a corkscrew moonsault
and misses but Aguila hits a traditional one for two. TAKA responds however but
his splash hits knees. Poor guy has no luck tonight. Aguila sets TAKA on the
ropes and hits a solid top rope hurricanrana. TAKA comes back with a top rope
missile dropkick but the Michinoku driver is countered into a frankstieiner
which is countered into a powerbomb for two. TAKA misses a moonsault and Aguila’s
la magistral gets two. Aguila goes for a top rope something and gets caught
with a dropkick and then the Michinoku Driver hits for the three count.

(TAKA def. Aguila, pinfall, **1/2, total spot fest but they didn’t look sloppy
doing it. Short and sweet).

Gennifer Flowers interviews The Rock during his beta testing phase. The
charisma is there but the content isn’t quite what it would become. His answer
on how to solve the homeless problem is pretty funny. Plenty of jokes about
oral sex too, of course.


WWF European Championship: HHH vs. Owen Hart

HHH gets his first live entrance and there would be many more to come. Chyna is
going to be handcuffed to Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter to hopefully foil her
interference plans. Crowd is loving Chyna standing up to Slaughter and threatening to
whip his ass. Owen catches HHH with his back turned and goes to town with a
back body drop and a big clothesline. A corner clothesline and 10 corner
punches from Owen. Frankensteiner gets two. HHH comes back with a back elbow
and gets Owen out of the ring. Chyna tries to take a shot but she’s got
Slaughter to contend with, meanwhile HHH tries to attack but eats post instead.
Back in the ring Owen catches HHH and goes for the sharpshooter but HHH rakes
the eyes. Owen lowers the head too early and HHH hits the old knee smasher. A
clothesline follows and HHH roughs up Owen in the corner. Back the the center
of the ring and the Harley Race knee hits and gets two. Suplex from HHH and the
CLASSIC knee drop follows. Owen tries to fight back but a blind charge eats
boot. DDT from HHH gets another near fall.

Owen tries to rally again but HHH gets to the ankle, which Owen had sprained
several weeks ago. Step over toe hold from HHH as we see BLOOD. Owen looks like
he’s bleeding hardway from the nose. Back to the ankle for HHH as Ross notes
that Owen just took his cast off today. Owen tries to rally again with some
wide punches. He corners HHH and drives a couple of shoulders. Blind charge but
Owen ducks the boot and butterflies HHH in the post. Top rope dropkick from Owen gets a near fall. Awesome belly to belly overhead suplex gets two. Leg lariat
gets two. Enziguri from Owen hits but he does it to the injured ankle. Finally
he gets two. Another franksteiner attempt is countered into a powerbomb for two.
HHH posts Owen but Owen fights back and hits a top rope cross body for two. HHH
reverses the corner whip and goes for the pedigree but Owen counters into the
sharpshooter, however HHH kicks away and Owen hits the corner and falls with
his head “accidentally” dropping down low on HHH. Another pedigree attempt is
successfully countered into the sharpshooter but Chyna helps HHH get to the
ropes as Slaughter proves to be useless. Owen with some ground and pound and
the ref pulls him off and that allows Chyna to throw powder in Slaughter’s
eyes. She gets a low blow on Owen and the pedigree hits this time for the three
count. Tim White uncuffs Chyna and she beats the shit out of Slaughter for good
measure. Geez….Owen would have been better off on his own.

(HHH def. Hart, ***3/4, really liked this match a LOT more after 15 years.
Great action and near falls galore.)

They do a video sequence to set up the mixed tag match. This is a strange one
as Marc Mero does a heel turn and aligns with Goldust only to turn back when
Goldust put his hands on Sable to break up a fight between her and Luna. Crowd
was absolutely feeling Sable when she started fighting back.


“Marvelous” Marc Mero & Sable vs. TAFKA Goldust & Luna

Everyone knows how I feel about Mero’s “Marvelous” gimmick, it was truly
awesome and it sucks that he was so injured he couldn’t capitalize on it….that
and his now ex-wife kept powerbombing the shit out of him. Anyway, typical
mixed tag rules. The boys start and Mero with a head scissors take down and a
clothesline. Goldust tags Luna but she bails when Sable comes in and tags back
out. Tough luck. Boys time again and Mero back drops Goldust and tags Sable as
they pull a nice double team. Luna, once again, decides to take away from Sable
so it’s boys again and Mero does his boxing stuff but eats boot on a blind
charge and a big clothesline from Goldust. He gives Mero a hangman and Luna
adds a cheap shot. Mero back with a high cross body for two but he sets too
early and gets uppercut. Crowd wants Sable as the boys knock heads and start
the double count. Both tag and Sable with a double leg takedown and ground and pound on
Luna to a MASSIVE crowd pop. Holy shit I forgot how over she was. Hair whip for
Luna and Sable knocks out Goldust before clotheslining Luna over the top. She’s
on a fucking rampage. Luna makes the tag and Sable just punches Goldust out of
the ring. Mero sends him into the stairs and back in the ring but a slingshot
splash catches knees. Sable threatens Goldust which allows Mero to hit a low
blow but the TKO is countered into a DDT. Curtain call is countered into a knee
lift and Mero hits the Merosault for the first time in like a year, that’s a
springboard moonsault BTW. A blind charge hits elbow but Mero posts him and
hits a top rope frankensteiner for two! Man it sucks that he got injured
because he had the goods. Luna tries to get involved but more heel miscommunication
leads to a near fall. TKO hits but Luna stops the count so Sable tags in and
tries to pin Goldust her but the ref is distracted. Meanwhile Luna scales the
ropes but accidentally splashes Goldust. Powerbomb from Sable gets two. Luna
tries to choke as the crowd goes apeshit for Sable. They gotta send this home
quickly and shortly after I type that it’s TKO for Luna and a three count.
Story was that Sable was totally unprofessional and Luna and Dustin gave her
MUCH more than she deserved given how she acted. So in hindsight this is
annoying to watch but at the time they gave the people exactly what they wanted.
Mero’s face turn lasted until a week later I think.

(Mero/Sable def. Goldust/Luna, pinfall, ***1/4, damn near everything was clean
and Mero pulled out all his old stuff in his last good performance.)

Tennessee Lee (Rob Parker) introduces Gennifer Flowers and Jeff Jarrett. They
do a little spot that draws no response before she grabs the cue cards for her
ring introduction duties.


WWF Intercontinental Title: The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock

The Rock has Kama, D-Lo and Mark Henry with him but no Farooq. Shamrock goes to
town right away sending Rock to the floor. Rules state that Rock will lose the
title if he is DQ’ed. Shamrock follows the Rock outside and sends him into the railing.
Rock tries to send Shamrock into the steps but Shamrock reverses it. Rock
reverses a corner whip but gets clotheslined out of his boots. Ground and pound
from Shamrock but Rock sends him through the ropes. Rock follows him out and
sends him to the ring steps. Back in the ring and Rock hits the body slam and
the beta version of the People’s Elbow as it’s not officially named that yet.
Shamrock comes back and sends Rock over the top. Shamrock follows him out with
a clothesline and goes for a chair. He knocks the ref down and drops the chair
so the Rock hits him square in the face for two. Shamrock rallies back with an
elbow and a side leg kick. Powerslam from Shamrock gets two. Belly to belly
from Shamrock and it’s ankle lock time and Rock taps out immediately to a big
crowd pop.

(Shamrock def. Rock, submission, **, pretty easy work for Shamrock but he wouldn’t
get better until the Owen program.)

Shamrock with a belly to belly for D-Lo, one for Kama and an amazing one for
Mark Henry. And it’s back to the ankle lock for the Rock. Farooq comes down for
the save but nope he decides against it as the Rock is bleeding from the mouth.
Officials finally get Shamrock off the poor guy so he beats up three referees
and you see where this is going. Pat Patterson tries to calm Shamrock down as
the paramedics come out for the Rock. Referee overturns the decision because
Shamrock lost his fucking mind. So he goes back and beats up the Rock some
more.

(Rock def. Shamrock, referee decision to DQ, **, mostly a squash to give
Shamrock some heat).


Dumpster Match for WWF Tag Team Championship: New Age Outlaws vs. Cactus Jack
& Chainsaw Charlie

Actually it’s not Charlie this night, he’s 100% Funk U baby. Rules are simple,
first team to end up in the dumpster loses. I’ll assume this is a no
disqualification match with Texas Tornado rules. Cactus sends Road Dogg into
the side of the dumpster and hits him with a running knee. Billy Gunn with a
hangman on Funk. Dogg hits Cactus with a cookie pan as Gunn chokes away at Funk
on the inside. Cactus goes for a running tumble and misses, damn near breaking
his neck. Gunn sends Funk into the railing and they back drop him into the
dumpster. One down. Dogg with a vertical Russian legsweep that sends Cactus’
head into the dumpster. Cactus into the dumpster and the Outlaws double team
Funk and send him in the dumpster. They try to close the dumpster but Cactus
fights out with a mandible claw. Funk revives himself and hits Gunn over the
head with a baking pan. Back in the ring, neckbreaker from Cactus, hangman
neckbreaker from Funk. Cactus sends Gunn to the floor and hits the Cactus elbow
from the apron to the floor. In the ring Funk with a DDT. Cactus pulls out a
ladder to a crowd pop. Cactus and Gunn fight on the ladder and end up in the
dumpster. Gunn powerbombs Funk into the dumpster and they double team Cactus
Jack. More brawling and a few replays of the ladder spot gets us to the Outlaws
fighting Cactus in the back. They send him into some plunder but he rallies
back with a chair. Double armed DDT to Gunn on a pallet and Funk returns with a
forklift. Cactus stacks the Outlaws on the forklift and they dump the Outlaws
in a second dumpster and seal it shut for the titles.

(Funk/Cactus def. Outlaws, dumpster diving, **1/4, silly brawling but nothing
too offensive.)

Video review of the Undertaker-Kane feud and Paul Bearer is pretty damn good
with the rhetoric in this one.

Pete Rose trolls the shit out of the Boston crowd and we discussed that a few
weeks ago, how ‘bout it?


Undertaker vs. Kane

The Undertaker’s entrance is pretty damn elaborate even by his lofty standards.
Face off to start and Kane no sells some of the Undertaker’s offense because he
doesn’t do that yet. Kane tries to overpower Undertaker but a blind charge eats
boot. Kane with a short-armed clothesline but the Undertaker no sells that and
we’re back at square one. Kane tries to get the Undertaker in the tree of woe
but he’s a little too tall for that to be effective so he goes to the choke.
Kane’s slow, plundering offense continues, he suplexes Undertaker on the ropes
and hits a top rope forearm that sends the dead man to the floor. Punch. Punch.
Punch. Punch. Punch. Occasional choke. Punch. Punch. No sell. Repeat.
Undertaker jumps on Kane’s shoulders but Kane gives him an electric chair that
looked awful and could have broke Mean Mark’s leg. Kane sends ‘Taker into the
steps and then uses the steps as a weapon a few times. Back in the ring, Kane
with a suplex and finally the Undertaker responds with a clothesline but Kane
hits the chokeslam for two. Chinlock time so I make a phone call. Finally
Undertaker dumps Kane to the floor but he doesn’t go down, ‘Taker boots him to
the floor and goes for the hands free plancha but Kane sends him into WWE
Deportes. Top rope clothesline from Kane gets a near fall. We evolve to a
slugfest and a rope sequence allows Undertaker to catch him into a tombstone
but Kane reverses it for a two count. Undertaker hulks up and hits Kane with a
clothesline and then a chokeslam as the crowd wakes up. Tombstone hits and gets
two. Undertaker hits a the big legdrop but Kane sits up so Undertaker
tombstones him again for a two count. Top rope clothesline from Undertaker and
the third tombstone finally sends Kane to pasture.

(Undertaker def. Kane, pinfall, *1/2, boring as hell)

Post match Kane tombstones Undertaker on a chair. Still boring as hell.

Video review of the main event is mostly centered around this Mike Tyson fella.


WWF World Heavyweight Championship: Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin

Mike Tyson is your special enforcer and god bless him it looks like he’s having
the time of his life. The camera shows Steve Austin making that walk from the
dressing room and then the glass breaks and the pop is huge. The Tyson-Austin
face off makes me wonder how much more money they would have gotten if they
just ran with that match instead. Now we see Michaels, along with DX, take the
walk. HHH tells the camera he’s number one and Shawn says “this is for you
world” (actually he says Earl, as in Earl Hebner, which makes sense because he was sick…world didn’t make sense). Live music entrance for HBK just adds to the pre-match package.

HBK starts with a little stick and move stuff, mostly to frustrate the
challenger but Austin hits a huge axe and sends Michaels into the buckle twice
and back drops him to the floor where HHH shields some of the crazy bump. HHH
quickly gets involved and sends Austin into the railing which gets the referee’s
attention. He forces them to leave ringside and Austin attacks HHH as he leaves
but he walks into an HBK clothesline. Michaels grabs a cymbal stand and hits
Austin with it, then sends him into the side of a dumpster. Back to the ring
and Austin catches Michaels coming off the ropes and sends him flipping into
the buckle. Inverted atomic drop by Austin and it gets two. Austin goes to the arm
and later hits a stun gun for two. Stunner attempt is foiled but Austin sends
Michaels from the ring apron to the WWF Americana table. Ouch. Austin sends
Michaels into the steps and gives him a couple of elbows. Back in the ring,
elbow drop to the back of the head and then the FU elbow gets two. Chinlock by
Austin but Michaels counters with a jawbreaker.

HBK decides to go for the leg but Austin uses leverage and sends Michaels to
the post but Michaels back drops Austin over the security railing and hits him
with the timekeeper’s bell. Michaels clearly laboring in pain now as the
adrenaline and cortisone shots are wearing off. Back in the ring and Michaels
with some ground and pound. Snapmare from Michaels and he thinks about doing
something else but thinks better of it and goes back to the leg. Michaels flips
off the crowd and that wakes Austin up, who tackles Michaels and sends him
flying over the top rope. Michaels back to the leg and he wraps it around the
post this time. Back in the ring and Michaels continues the leg work but Austin
gets a near fall on a cradle. Back to the leg for HBK and he hits a sit down
splash on the leg that looks like it hurts him more than Austin. The challenger
takes a powder and HBK hits him with a baseball slide. Tyson sends Austin back
in the ring and HBK clips him from behind and slaps on the figure four. After a
couple of minutes Austin turns it over and forces the break.

Austin rallies again and catapults Michaels into the post and gets a rollup for
two. Sleeper hold by HBK. Austin tries to fight out and they accidentally
eliminate the referee. Austin back in control with a back body drop but
Michaels answers back with the flying forearm. Michaels slowly climbs the ropes and hits the big elbow although it’s clear he can barely move. Probably
got the go home sign a little early as HBK goes sweet chin music and Austin
counters into the stunner, HBK fights the first one off but the second one hits
and it’s time for a new era with Tyson making the three count. Austin and Tyson
make up and HBK is left laying.

(Austin def. Michaels, pinfall, ****, tremendous effort given what both men
were going through. Had they been 100 percent I have no doubts it would have
been a five-star match but they did all they could and made it work.)


The Bottom Line:
Kevin Nash said on Stone Cold’s podcast that Kevin Sullivan
predicted the WCW’s demise after watching this card. Hard to say exactly what
made this card work so well, maybe it was the fact that Michaels’ loss and his
departure from the promotion due to injury eliminated the last real remnants of
everything that had happened in 1996 and 1997. No matter whose side you were on
everyone could start fresh and there was no doubt that the right guy was chosen
to move forward. There wasn’t that one great match and not many “Wrestlemania
moments” but Wrestlemania XIV and the following night on RAW let the world know
that the WWF wasn’t going anywhere. 

PG WEEK: SmackDown En Mexico Retro Rant

So last night I got invited to a
holiday party and did that instead of continue PG Week. I think
you’ll all agree I made the right choice. As a result, TWO POSTS
today! First, the one I should’ve made yesterday as we look back on
a particularly favorite SmackDown of mine.
It’s the final show before Vengeance
2011, and we are making history tonight as SmackDown originates in
Mexico for the first time in history. We’ve been promised two
important matches tonight. In one, WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio
crosses over to SmackDown to face the Big Show, participating in his
first match since being injured at Mark Henry’s hands. In the other,
the two Sin Caras will face off in a Lucha De Apuesta, and the loser
will have to surrender the Sin Cara identity by unmasking. As normal
SmackDown reviewer Tommy Hall would say, let’s get to it.

The PG Era Rant for SmackDown En
Mexico. Original Airdate: October 21, 2011.
From Mexico City.
Your hosts are Josh Mathews on
play-by-play, with Booker T and EVIL MICHAEL COLE on color.
First out of the gate is Alberto Del
Rio to a BIG ovation. Michael Cole explains that he’s from a
wrestling dynasty, then goes to kayfabe by noting he owns a ranch in
San Luis Potosi that employs many Mexicans. Del Rio hands the belt
to Ricardo Rodriguez, then basks in the ovation. He says that this
Sunday he will face John Cena in a Last Man Standing match. Tonight,
he was SUPPOSED to face Big Show, but he’s not able to. We cut to
Raw to find out why: Cena announced his decision of a Last Man
Standing match by slamming Del Rio with the steps and counting to ten
before Del Rio could move. It’s too bad, because he was REALLY
looking forward to competing in his homeland, too. It’s all Cena’s
fault. So on Sunday, he will make Cena pay for that transgression,
and on Sunday he will confirm he is el mas grande Mexicano en todo
historia!
(The greatest Mexican
in all of history) Del Rio’s ready to leave, but Teddy Long
intercepts. He points out that, wait a second, Del Rio went to the
WWE medical office and got a clearance to compete. So, yeah, it
looks like Del Rio’s kinda scared of facing Big Show. All this
“perform in front of Mexico” is a front. The words infuriate Del
Rio, and he promises to make Big Show tap to the armbar tonight.
Long, who probably just suckered Del Rio in, decides to play to the
crowd by asking the people if they want the match. And of course
they do, so Long tells Del Rio to get ready. Del Rio is none too
happy, likely realizing he’d been suckered. Not a blowaway opening
segment, mind you, but they hit the talking points and got out. HHH
and Stephanie could learn from them. And before Del Rio can leave,
Mark Henry enters. Henry and Del Rio exchange wary glances, as Henry
is about to face John Morrison non-title.
Later
tonight, Pededor Sera Desenmascarado! (The loser will be unmasked)
It’s mascara contra mascara (Mask versus Mask) between the two Sin
Caras.
As a
reminder, Mark Henry faces Big Show at Vengeance.
Mark
Henry v. John Morrison. We see Mark Henry perform a catapult
finisher on Morrison from Raw on Monday. Henry outweighs Morrison by
a legit 200 pounds. Morrison had been told his contract would not be
renewed, so I don’t like his chances in this match. To show you how
2011 this is, Booker makes a Tim Tebow reference. Morrison slugs
away on Henry to start, but gets shoved over the top rope… from
about six feet away! Henry yells at Morrison to get up, then picks
him up and squishes his head against the post. Morrison then gets
choked while being thrown back in, and Henry slams his head onto the
apron. Back in, Henry kicks Morrison around and slugs him down. A
neck crank follows, as Booker notes that Henry is taking the agility
of Morrison out of the equation by staying close to him. Morrison
fights out, but runs into a back elbow. Henry runs into boot on a
blind charge, and Morrison goes up and gets a Mushroom Stomp and
Flying Chuck (which is now known as the Disaster Kick). Shining
Wizard follows, and Morrison goes up, landing Starship Pain for two.
Superman Punch by Morrisonin the corner, but Henry catches him
sliding underneath with a stomp, and a catapult World’s Strongest
Slam ends it at 3:20. *
It served its purpose of showing how awesome Mark Henry is, and
Morrison got in his offense only to put Henry over by bumping like a
pinball. This is how you use someone at the end of their contract.
Mark Henry has welcomed John Morrison into the Hall of Pain. That’s
not yet what he does, though.
Later
tonight, Cody Rhodes se dirige el universo del WWE (Cody Rhodes
addresses the WWE Universe).
Christian
is talking to Vickie Guerrero, who teaches her to say “Uno Mas”
to ask for a rematch. He was well in his “One More Match” phase.
They agree Teddy Long is awful, and Vickie announces Swagger/Ziggler
against the tag champs on Sunday. (Kofi and Bourne, in case you’re
wondering.) Long comes in and asks what the talk is all about, and
Christian says it’s because Long won’t give Christian what he wants.
But Long WILL give Christian a rematch… against Sheamus from Hell
in a Cell, NOT the World Champ. Long says Vickie got what she wants,
so now Long will get what he wants. He adds Ziggler/Ryder to
Vengeance for the US Title. Vickie realizes Dolph has to compete
twice, but Long leaves before Vickie can plead her case. Ryder
appears to rub it in, and Vickie screams in dismay.
We
recap the Sin Cara identity crisis, WWE version. When the match
comes around, I’ll provide more insight into why this story happened;
you really need to understand lucha libre to full appreciate this
one.
Wade
Barrett v. Daniel Bryan. Barrett is in the post-Corre, pre-injury
phase, and in fact the Barrett Barrage started in an inset promo
before this match, as Barrett regrets ever being a group leader and
is in it for himself. Daniel Bryan has the briefcase at this point,
not to mention he’s between the “classical” and “rock guitar”
version of Valkyrie themes with in-house music. The story here is
that Daniel Bryan has announced he’s cashing in at WrestleMania.
These two have a history with each other being the Nexus leader and
the one who got away. Bryan with a waistlock, but Barrett sucker
punches Bryan and lands a kneedrop for one. Barrett puts his head
down and is caught, and Bryan with a crucifix for two. He goes the
LeBell Lock (Yes Lock), but Barrett gets out and lands the
Scrapbuster for two. Barrett chokes Bryan in the ropes, tying him up
Bryan and booting him out of the ring. Barrett rams Bryan into the
apron, and back in, he gets two. Barrett to the chinlock on Bryan as
the announcers talk about Barrett’s potential and Bryan’s slump.
Bryan fights out, but Barrett throws him around until a blind charge
hits the boot. Bryan with a missile dropkick for two. Barrett holds
the ropes to avoid a roundhouse, and a charging boot gets two. Cole:
“The beard worked as a shield.” Barrett pounds away and
intimidates the ref before hitting the surfboard. Bryan tries to
reverse it, but Barrett kicks to break. Bryan gets the comeback
started and shakes the ropes to wake up. Cross-corner dropkick
follows, getting two. Barrett with the back gut kick on Bryan and a
pumphandle slam, getting two. Barrett kicks away on Bryan in the
corner and has to be pulled back, which allos Bryan to go to the
second rope… and dive straight into Wasteland for the pin at 5:13.
These two had great chemistry, and it baffles me Barrett didn’t get
pushed alongside Bryan. **1/4
Up
next, Sheamus and Zack Ryder team up against Dolph Ziggler and
Christian.
Sheamus
and Zack Ryder v. Dolph Ziggler and Christian. See? Up next.
Anyway, this was during that period in 2011 when we all thought that
Zack Ryder would be an awesome wrestler because he had a funny
internet show. Needless to say, I wasn’t on board. We get clips of
Sheamus against Del Rio the previous week, with Christian’s
interference giving Del Rio the win. Christian kept up the attack
after the match, but he could not keep Sheamus down despite many
spears. Vickie Guerrero says COMPRENDI SE (EXCUSE ME) to get heel
heat. She’s also dressed like a flamenco dancer. Cole points out
that Long had a vendetta against Ziggler dating back to January and
thinks that’s why the US Title match was made, since it requires
Ziggler to go twice. Interestingly, everyone’s assuming the tag
match would occur first (it did, but that’s beside the point).
Carlos Cabrera in the house! Dolph starts with Ryder, and Dolph
clubs away to start. Christian in, and he gets an uppercut to floor
Ryder, but Ryder with a cradle for one. He punches away, getting a
running elbow smash, but Christian leverages him to the floor and
Dolph adds a shot that causes Sheamus to race all the way around to
get him away. Dolph tags in and goes with the right hands and a
neckbreaker for two. Ryder tries a comeback, but walks into a
dropkick from Zigzag Man (tm Booker T) for two. Dolph does the
“front chancery and tag tease” spot, but Ryder with a cradle for
two. Dolph stops a tag chance and brings Christian in, and Christian
kicks Ryder in the head. Christian boxes Ryder in the corner, but a
blind charge eats boot from Ryder. Hot tag Sheamus, and Dolph is
floored with Polish Hammers and a slam. Dolph cuts off a charge, but
Sheamus recovers with the Irish Curse for two. Sheamus gets the
Cross Bomb set, but Christian stops it and races off. Ziggler tries
the Zig Zag, but he gets shoved off and the Brogue Kick ends it at
3:58. I do not understand the booking of this match. *1/4
I mean, why job out the US Champ? Christian or Sheamus should’ve
taken the fall. Not that the secondary titles matter in the modern
WWE.
During
the Break, Christian speared Sheamus for no reason.
Cody
Rhodes, Intercontinental Champion and wannabe Doctor Doom, is in the
ring. He takes us back to two weeks prior on Raw when he exorcised a
demon by taking out Randy Orton and putting the PAPER BAG OF DOOM
over his head. Oh yeah, the bag over the head gimmick, which wound
up backfiring because wrestling fans love free stuff from wrestlers,
even if it’s humiliation. Cody’s evil laugh needs work. The demon
had nothing to do with the attack with a ring bell from earlier,
either; it’s all about the psychological damage from well prior.
He’s been sick with the Viper’s venom since Legacy. Cody says that
Dusty tried to teach him of the basic goodness of man, but Cody
doesn’t buy it; man is basically twisted and selfish. Randy Orton
USED Cody Rhodes, then Punted him when he was of no further use.
Cody had to carry that knowledge like the albatross of myth. So when
he finally reversed the humiliation, it was like a load off of his
back. He could finally appreciate that he had taken the pride of
Orton instead of the other way around. In that one moment, the worm
turned; now Cody’s the one on top, with the title, the smile on his
face, and everything else. Orton is nothing more than an embarrassed
megalomaniac with no new tricks. The two have a non-title match at
Vengeance, but before then, Cody calls Orton out. He wants Orton to
admit he was wrong about Cody and made a mistake. Here comes Orton
to rebut. “Mistake!? Mistake??” No, the mistake was that he
left Cody still alive, since those attacks cost Orton the World Title
in matches against Mark Henry. Cody’s mistake was thinking that some
paper bag would cause Orton to run in shame. “You think that you
changed me, Cody? The only thing that you changed is the amount of
torture I will put you through at Vengeance.” Orton says that the
ring bell shot is nothing compared to Sunday… and they race to the
ring for a preview. Cody’s bag men cut Orton off, allowing Cody to
throw Orton into the post on the outside. In the ring, Orton is able
to reverse and start a slugfest, which he wins. Orton tosses Cody
out over the top and gets the Draping DDT on one bag man. He chases
Cody into the aisle, but Cody gets the advantage… temporarily.
Orton tries to stomp on Cody on the steps, but he settles for
crushing a bag man’s head that way. Cody races out, so Orton gives
the other bag man an RKO (he was in perfect Punt position, but the
RKO’s a bigger statement or something). This is how you do a teaser
brawl – heel runs away, uses numbers, and hopes to get an edge, and
the face takes out some flunkies to prove his point. This was a very
good segment.
Backstage,
Sin Cara removes his mask to reveal the dark mask. He tosses the
blue mask aside. That match is next!
Okay,
let’s pause here so I can do some teaching for those of you who
haven’t watched much lucha libre or aren’t well-versed in its tenets:
Lucha libre is essentially a giant morality play, even more so than
in America, and the wrestlers represent supernatural forces of good
and evil. It goes back to the Aztecs. They wear masks that infuse
them with the spirit of the being – at least, that’s the
explanation for the tradition. As such, getting stripped of your
mask causes you to lose that supernatural connection. If you’re
wondering why heels constantly grab at Rey Mysterio’s mask, and why
he ceases fighting and focuses on covering his face when they succeed
at yanking it away, it’s the same idea: he’s lost his powers, and
he’s humiliated the “spirit” he represents. Now, when two forces
are so at odds that there can clearly only be one, the Lucha de
Apuesta comes into play. The loser is forced to remove his mask and
never wear it again, and in fact lucha tradition says he’s not
allowed to re-mask for a good seven years. (And yes, this is why Rey
Mysterio’s WWE mask is different from his WCW mask, and why he didn’t
accompany the WWE to Mexico with the mask on until 2006 – seven
years after Kevin Nash unmasked him in WCW.) Once the mask is gone,
the luchadore is no longer a representation of the supernatural, but
a mere mortal – and in fact, his personal info (name, hometown,
etc.) all becomes public at that time.
So
that explains the mask portion of this match. But why a mirror
match?
That’s
actually another lucha tradition. If you go to the AAA or CMLL
history, you would see a lot of people with the names “Dark [x]”,
where [x] is another wrestler’s name. Every spirit can be for good
or evil – very few are pure forces one way or another. As such,
it’s not uncommon for a rudo (heel) to copy a tecnico (face) in look,
but give it a black tone and refer to himself as the Dark version of
the tecnico. It’s, in a sense, externalizing the internal: to become
a true hero, one must defeat the evil within himself. In this case,
the WWE even made a point of what the evil was: Mistico (at the time,
the real Sin Cara) was the second person to be Mistico, after Hunico
(the Dark Sin Cara) left the promotion in Mexico. So Dark Sin Cara
represents the identity theft that the original Sin Cara committed.
The
best part about this match is, all of this is known to the Mexican
fans and they totally get the symbolism; it leads to a very hot
crowd. Add in that Mistico is a major Mexican star, and you have a
match that should have main evented the show. In fact, it was taped
last as a go-home match; the matches here are out of order.
So,
with all that out of the way…
Loser
Must Unmask: Sin Cara v. Sin Cara. For everyone’s sanity, I’ll call
them “Mistico” and “Hunico” just so you know which is which.
The trampoline entrance is used by both men. There’s no countout or
DQ in this match. Cole tries to explain much of what I just said.
Mistico pumps up the crowd. Hunico gets the first shot and kicks
Mistico down. He smacks Mistico with a boot to the back and throws
him into the turnbuckle. Another soccer kick to the back, but
Mistico gets the Tajiri handspring and springboard headscissors.
Hunico bails, so Mistico gets his turnbuckle 20-foot-high crossbody.
The announcers namedrop Mil Mascaras, the most familiar old-time
luchador to WWE audiences. Mistico gets separation with a rope kick,
and a crossbody off the top gets two. Mistico kicks away, but Hunico
reverses a whip only for Mistico to get the around-the-world
headscissors toss. A few kicks and Mistico tries a springboard but
Hunico dropkicks him in mid-air for two. Mistico tries a sunset
flip, but Hunico picks Mistico up by the mask. Hunico wins a kicking
battle, but Mistico catches him and dumps him over the top rope as we
go to break. (Assume a 3:30 break here.) Back with Hunico hitting a
backbreaker on Mistico for two. Hunico goes to a camel clutch…
okay, that’s not fair. This is a lucha match. Hunico applies De A
Caballo. That’s better. Mistico turns it into a front chancery and
punches out, getting a running headscissors only for Hunico to pop up
with a clothesline for two. Hunico applies an armbar with a
half-nelson, trying to get a pinning predicament, but Mistico blocks
so Hunico switches to a leghold, then to a proper De A Caballo, which
gets MAJOR heel heat. Mistico flips Hunico out of it, but Hunico
stays on the advantage and gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two.
Hunico with a hammerlock backbreaker now for two, clearly working the
back. A chinlock with a knee to the back follows as Hunico is going
for the submission. Crowd chants for Mistico, who fights out but
airballs a front dropkick. Back to De A Caballo, and Hunico tries to
rip the mask off during the move, freaking out the crowd. (For the
record, given how important masks are, in lucha libre if you rip the
mask off during a match, it doesn’t count as unmasking someone AND
you’re instantly disqualified.) Mistico fights out of the hold and
adjusts the chin of his mask back on. Hunico adds an elbow to the
back of the neck and smacks Mistico hard. He gets a boot choke in
the corner, adding a slingshot dropkick. He tries a tumbling senton
but misses as Mistico escapes the corner. Mistico kicks away a the
calves to begin the comeback and gets the ropewalk armdrag, followed
by a Tajiri handspring into an armdrag. Straight rana gets two.
Prawn hold pinning predicament gets two. Both men slow to get up,
but Hunico pounds Mistico’s back and gets the Angle Slam for two.
Hunico with kicks to the head with malice, and he goes up, but
Mistico catches him and scores a Frankensteiner off the top rope. He
goes back up, but realizes Hunico is too far away, so he dropkicks
the prone Hunico and climbs the OPPOSITE turnbuckle instead. Either
way, Senton Bomb follows for two. Hunico slugs Mistico to stop him,
but Mistico flips out of a back suplex and gets La Mistica (the
tilt-a-whirl headscissors into a Fujiwara armbar) for the submission
at (if my calculations are correct) 13:46. Hunico balks at pulling
his mask off, but he’d never get out of Mexico alive if they didn’t
do it, so after a scuffle, Mistico grabs Hunico and yanks the mask
off himself. Booker T declares him ugly. Mistico adds a running
plancha for fun. THIS IS LUCHA! ****
I know this may seem high, but it’s a perfect introduction in to
what makes Mexican wrestling so special. If you need an intro to
lucha before watching, say, TripleMania with your friends, this is
what you get. And yes, the irony here is that Mistico proved to be
so injury-prone that Hunico re-donned the mask to play Sin Cara in
the US. I have no idea how they’ll handle this on their next Mexican
tour.
Coming
up later, Alberto Del Rio faces Big Show in Show’s return match.
We
get a video of Brodus Clay as a monster heel, about to debut on the
main roster. As you know, this was a bait and switch.
Beth
Phoenix (at this point Divas’ Champion) joins Natalya in the ring.
People claim they’re jealous of the “Barbie Doll divas” who get
magazine covers and walk the red carpet. But they’re not jealous or
angry at THEM; they’re angry at the fans who idolize them. But Beth
and Natalya are not just prettier, they’re dominant. We get a look
at Natalya’s new submission hold, Pin Up Strong, which is known for
causing the other Divas to cry in pain, which is their goal. Natalya
says that every time the other Divas cry, it’s a message: pain is
beautiful. She thinks seeing Barbie Dolls beg for mercy is so
beautiful. Beth sends a message directly to her Sunday opponent Eve:
it’s HER turn to cry, and she will scream like the others. This
brings Eve herself out. The announcers think he’s gutsy for coming
out alone. Eve addresses them (by facing the crowd) and says this is
all about looks to them. The irony is Eve thought they were
beautiful; but now, they’re ugly on the inside. Eve is NOT a Barbie
doll, and there’s nothing that will break her. Beth and Natalya try
to play Mean Girls to Eve and get in her face, demanding she break
down in tears. Eve refuses, and in fact she shoves Beth over (and
nearly out of her dress, not that I’m complaining). Eve walks off,
point made. Hey, remember when the heel champion made the
challengers look good before the match and showed a bit of weakness?
Big
Show is doing pushups. Here we go.
Main
even, non-title: Alberto Del Rio v. Big Show. And Ricardo Rodriguez
does the intro. In case you’re wondering, I don’t know what he says
either. His usual spiel is “Ladies and Gentlemen, I want you to
get on your feet as I present a great man! <Some form of cheap
heat here>! He is the essence of excellence and the man of
Mexico! He is… ALBERTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DEL
RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” But he varies it up
enough that I can’t quite translate it. I know he talks about the
Vengeance match here. Big Show is billed at 397, which makes him
lighter
than Mark Henry. Show charges Del Rio and throws him around, working
the back. He smacks Del Rio’s chest in the corner and slams him
down. A headbutt follows, and Del Rio tries to kick Show away. Show
uses Andre’s single-arm suplex and chokes Del Rio into the ropes,
almost playing heel here. He boxes Del Rio down in the corner, and
the crowd boos him. Makes sense, really. A big right to the gut
staggers Del Rio, who hasn’t gotten out of the box. Another one
follows, then a boot choke on the bottom rope. Ricardo towels off
Del Rio on the outside, but Big Show pulls him up from the floor to
the apron only to receive a Hotshot. Del Rio dives straight into a
chest chop, and Del Rio bails again as we go to break. We return
with Del Rio kicking away at Show’s legs, but Show catches him and
throws him down. Show then powers Del Rio over the top rope and goes
after him, but Del Rio kicks the steps into Show’s legs. Show chops
away at Del Rio, recovering quickly, and throws him in. Back in, he
slams Del Rio down, but a cross-corner charge is so slow Show can put
on the breaks, turn around, and clothesline Del Rio. Show with a
cobra clutch on Del Rio to wear him down. Show holds Del Rio down
and drops the leg for two. He picks Del Rio off the ropes and chokes
him against the corner. Del Rio dropkics the legs out of desperation
and kicks everywhere to keep him down. He grabs the arm and delivers
his double-knee armbreaker for two. He goes for a running kick, but
Show throws him aside and gets a big chest chop and bowls Del Rio
over repeatedly. Avalanche in the corner and a shoulderblock follow,
and Show wants the chokeslam. He holds the goozle, but Del Rio flies
behind and chop blocks Show from behind before applying the cross
armbar… sort of. Show’s on his stomach when he should be on his
back because he couldn’t do the rotation with Del Rio. It’s
essentially a Fujiwara armscissors, though, so it’s still effective.
Del Rio holds the armbar for a LONG time as everyone says he should
tap, but Show gets leverage and picks Del Rio up for a powerbomb.
After a double KO segment, both men are up at 7. Show gets the
goozle, but Ricardo jumps on his back for the DQ at 12:09
(presumably). You can actually see in this match that, had
dispositions been reversed, they would’ve put on a great series of
matches – and in early 2013, that’s exactly what happened. **1/4
Ricardo
and Del Rio both get KO’d in turn, and Mark Henry races in only to
get BLASTED with a right hand as well. Show stands tall as the
episode ends.
FINAL
THOUGHTS:
Now
the big thing about this is what a great go-home show this was.
Here’s the Vengeance 2011 advertised card:
John
Cena v. Alberto Del Rio
Big
Show v. Mark Henry
HHH
and CM Punk v. Miz and R-Truth
Kofi
Kingston and Evan Bourne v. Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler
Dolph
Ziggler v. Zack Ryder
Beth
Phoenix v. Eve
Sheamus
v. Christian
Cody
Rhodes v. Randy Orton
Seven
of those eight matches were given time to build up, either in passing
or in a match. Even though Kofi and Bourne weren’t there, that match
was built up too through the announcers – how is Dolph Ziggler
going to be affected by wrestling twice? The only match that was
absent from this show was the HHH/Punk v Awesome Truth match, and we
all know it’s because one of those men doesn’t work Tuesdays.
On
top of that, a PPV-quality match occurred on free TV, which is always
nice to have just before the big event. Seriously: if you give two
people who won’t be on the show a long time to put on a great match,
you’re sending the implicit statement that, when the PPV or major
show itself happens, the big names will get tons of time and will put
on matches as good or better. Add onto it that it had a full story
and one that the fans understood MUCH better than the PPV audience
would, and you had a match that almost saved Mistico’s career…
until he blew his knee out at Survivor Series and wasn’t the same
afterwards, but hey, points for effort.
Almost
every segment here built to the Sunday show. The only one that
didn’t, either directly or indirectly, was Barrett/Bryan, which was
meant to start up Barrett’s momentum going forward since he was
scheduled to be Randy Orton’s next dance partner. It’s amazing how
in two short years, the company seems to have forgotten how to build
a midcard. Such a shame.
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 38:26 over five matches (presumably)
BEST
MATCH: Lucha De Apuesta
WORST
MATCH: Henry/Morrison
NIGHT
MVP: It’s a tie between Sin Cara Mistico and Big Show
FINAL
SCORE: 8. This is a perfect example of a go-home show and how you
put one together.
I’ll
be back later today to review Tribute to the Troops!

PG WEEK: Retro PPV Rant for Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a
good retro rant! So, now the question: what’s my favorite retro
(non-WrestleMania) PPV? Well, it’s one that has a format that
desperately needs to come back. And it’s one they could do now,
because with the Network in place, they can afford to experiment on
major shows the way they used to. Ladies and gentlemen, I speak of:

Survivor Series 1990.
And now, through the glory that is
YouTube, I give you a full-on recap of that show. All wrestler ages
are as of the day of the show, and they and match times are from
Wikipedia. Why include wrestler ages? Because I want to. It’s kind
of fun to see who was in their prime, who hadn’t gotten there, and
who was past it.
Live from… hey, cool, this version
has the Countdown to Survivor Series attached! Let’s do that too!
Live from the Control Center of the
World Wrestling Federation.
Your host is Sean Mooney (31).
Mooney goes over the rules: it’s five
eight-man elimination tag team matches. In this case, the hook at
the end is that if you win, you earn a ticket to the main event of
the evening, known as the GRAND FINALE MATCH OF SURVIVAL. Win there,
and… you’re awesome, I dunno, Vince hadn’t thought this far ahead.
There will be five matches tonight, as
Mooney runs down the card. In addition to those and the GFMOS, we
are told that the giant turkey egg that Vince bought sometime in 1990
is going to hatch (probably) during the show.
The nice thing about this Countdown
show is that it reviews some of the major points along the way. And
we start by looking at The Warriors (Ultimate Warrior, Texas Tornado,
Legion of Doom) against the Perfect Team (Mr. Perfect, Demolition
Trio).
We see clips of the LOD squashing the
Orient Express as Mr. Fuji waves on to the locker room for some
reason. That reason being to call Demolition out. This leads to a
massive beating by all six men on the LOD. It should be noted that
this was during the Masked Demolition phase, when Demolition would
attempt the switcheroo on the referee. It didn’t last, largely
because Ax was near the end of his career, and largely because Ax and
Crush (the two who would switch out) are nowhere near similar in body
size.
Clips follow of Texas Tornado against
Smash in a non-title match, as Tornado was Intercontinental Champion
at the time. Mr. Perfect saunters to the ring, and Tornado
intercepts him and holds both off until Ax and Crush make it a
4-on-1. LOD and Warrior make the save. The great part about this is
Heenan acting like he’s going to do something about it on commentary,
then constantly changing his mind when one of the faces runs in. As
if he was ever going to DO anything.
First, comments from the Perfect Team,
as Perfect is confident because he has Demolition with him. Ax
promises it’ll short and ugly. Crush quotes 80s movies lore to build
up the Warriors, but says they’re not perfect. Smash asks for
Perfect to leave the LOD to Demolition. Perfect follows by saying
it’ll be a perfect night.
Over to the Warriors now, as Ultimate
Warrior says he’s found the gameplan for his opponents: NOTHING.
Tornado talks about how they’re the four most powerful men in the
sport. Animal says his team is focused on Survivor Series. Hawk
promises to make the Perfect Team very unperfect. “Good for us,
bad for you; what a rush!” Warrior paces around his teammates the
whole time because he’s Warrior.
Our next look-in is with the Alliance
(Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana, and the Bushwackers) against the
Mercenaries (Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov, and the Orient Express).
We see highlights from Saturday Night’s Main Event as Slaughter beats
Koko B. Ware with the ATOMIC NOOGIE OF DEATH before waving the Iraqi
flag… and Volkoff is in the interview area with the US flag,
leading to a wave-off.
Canned interview time, first with the
Alliance. Butch is excited to go into battle, especially since
they’ll be fighting under the US flag. Luke calls it a proud moment.
(Aren’t they from New Zealand? For real?) Volkoff speaks directly
to Slaughter, saying only his team will survive. Santana sums up
that they will make sure the American flag will fly high at the end
of the night.
Zhukov and Tanaka get the floor next,
and each one says they serve “another flag” but trust their
leader. Slaughter summarizes: as mercenaries, they all serve
different flags, but they will be united in battle to destroy the
Alliance. And Slaughter says the best thing is you’ll get to order
it! Destroy! And that’s an order.
Mooney reminds us to order now. Man,
where’s my phone…
It’s time to look at the Dream Team
(Dusty Rhodes, Koko Ware, and the Hart Foundation) against the
Million Dollar Team (Ted DiBiase, ???, Honky Tonk Man, and Greg
Valentine). This all started when DiBiase bought Sapphire’s loyalty
from Dusty Rhodes’ side. It got really bad when Rhodes was blowing
off his feud with Randy Savage. DiBiase and Virgil tried to buy
Dustin Rhodes’ ringside seat, but had to settle for sitting next to
him. Naturally, during the course of the match, a fight broke out at
ringside, and DiBiase and Virgil got the better of that. Dusty
abandoned the match to protect Dustin, giving Savage the win. But as
it turns out, Dusty lives on loyalty, and he proved it when he saved
the Hart Foundation during a title defense against Rhythm’n’Blues
(Honky and Valentine’s team name) on a Superstars episode.
The Million Dollar Team speaks first –
still without their mystery partner. Honky Tonk Man promises this is
their last song. DiBiase says that money talks and the rest takes a
walk. He’s paid all his teammates very well (including the surprise
partner). He says Dusty Rhodes will be humiliated on the show. Greg
Valentine calls the name “Dream Team” appropriate, since they’re
dreaming if they think they can win.
Bret Hart leads off for the Dream Team,
and says the opposition isn’t tough enough. Koko says it’s put up or
shut up time. Neidhart says they don’t care who the mystery partner
is. Rhodes says his team is loaded, with guns cocked, and their
opponents are in for a good butt-kickin. Yeah baby!
Now, before we get to Hulk Hogan, we
have one OTHER match to talk about. It’s the Vipers (Jake Roberts,
Jimmy Snuka, Shawn Michaels, and Marty Jannetty) against the
Visionaries (Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules, and Paul Roma). This
all began on the Brother Love Show, when Roberts was being
interviewed by Brother Love while Rick Martel was attempting to
clandestinely spray the snake with his cologne. Every time Roberts
turned around, Martel backed off, but Jake had had enough and dove
after Martel, who sprayed Roberts square in his left eye. (Side
note: this attack was so bad even Martel showed remorse at the time,
and Big Boss Man raced in from gorilla position to check on Jake.
Yes, this is kayfabe, I know.) Anyway, Roberts’ next appearance on
the Brother Love Show came with mocking from Brother Love, and
Roberts promised “an eye for an eye”. Martel came out to accept
the challenge, by which we mean mock Roberts’ blindness. Roberts was
so furious he attacked the first person he could get his hands on.
Fortunately, it was Brother Love.
Mooney informs us that Roberts is not
100%.
The Vipers speak first. Shawn is ready
to strike at the Visionaries, and says they’ll go down. Marty says
the team has a gameplan, and that it comes down to winning, which
they will do. Roberts says it’s hell for the Visionaries because
they must attempt to do the impossible and beat the Vipers, whose
confidence is at an all-time high. Snuka says nothing.
Martel speaks for his team and calls
the Vipers “the blind leading the blind”. Warlord says the
Visionaries will squash the Vipers. Roma says the team all came
together because they are the greatest athletes. Hercules says that
if the young girls are crying and you have nothing to be thankful
for, don’t blame them because only the strong survive, which they
clearly are.
And now, the last match: the
Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Big Boss Man, Tugboat, and Jim Duggan)
against the Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Haku, and
Barbarian). Haku, although this isn’t mentioned in the show, is
replacing the fired Rick Rude. This is essentially Hogan and friends
against Quake and friends, as the captains have the main issue ever
since Quake crushed Hogan’s ribs on the Brother Love Show. However,
there is a side issue: Big Boss Man has made a vendetta against the
Heenan Family, since Heenan has relentlessly dissed Boss Man’ mama.
The Natural Disasters are first. Quake
calls his team the biggest, strongest, and meanest, and promises they
will all go to the Grand Finale. Bravo gets even more specific,
saying they’ll eliminate the teammates first (Duggan, Tugboat, Boss
Man), and when Hogan’s 1-on-4, Hulkamania will die. SURVIVE!
SURVIVE!
The Hulkamaniacs talk. Duggan is
excited, and the hair is on end. He promises a long night for the
Disasters. Tugboat says they’ll unleash the full power of
Hulkamania. Boss Man says it’s about heart, soul, and justice, and
they will win. Hogan says he’s been outnumbered forever, but now the
sides are even, and so the Natural Disasters will look like a
disaster. Whatcha gonna do?
Mooney recaps the card quickly and
promises the Grand Finale and the turkey egg hatching. We begin in 3
minutes! Quick! Call your cable operator!
…okay, I called mine; they assured me
the event was 20 years ago and I’m a little late. Guess I’ll have to
settle for the YouTube airing.
The PG Era Rant for Survivor Series
1990.
From Hartford, CT. Original airdate:
Thanksgiving, November 22, 1990.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon (53) and
Rowdy Roddy Piper (36), as Piper informs us this is the first ever
WWF Pay-Per-View shown on the Armed Forces Network so that the troops
in Desert Shield can partake. He promises to charge Saddam Hussein
double the price. Man, $60 for a WWF show! What a jerk!
MATCH ONE: Mr. Perfect (32), Ax (42),
Smash (31), and Crush (26) vs. Ultimate Warrior (31), Hawk (33),
Animal (30), and Texas Tornado (30).
Okay, just so you know and can’t unsee
it: the face team is one giant inside joke. Of COURSE they’re the
Warriors; it’s Ultimate Warrior, Modern Day Warrior, and Road
Warriors. Now that that’s out of the way, the Warriors get time
backstage to cut a promo before their match. Hawk isn’t sure what to
think other than he’ll take it to the opponents. Animal promises the
team won’t quit. Tornado says it’s time to show what they can do.
And then Warrior… this deserves transcription, and transcription
deserves Capslock of course…
“WANTING NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING
CLOSE TO PERFECTNESS, I’VE ASKED ALL THE SKELETONS THAT HAVE ALREADY
MADE THE SACRIFICE TO FOLLOW ME AND THESE THREE WARRIORS, THE LEGION
OF DOOM AND THE TEXAS TORNADO, INTO THIS BATTLE! WHETHER TO WALK
FURTHER THAN ALL THE REST OR TO STAY BEHIND AND MAKE THE SACRIFICE,
it makes no difference mr perfect and demolition, FOR AS THE ULTIMATE
WARRIOR I SURROUND US IN THIS FORCE FIELD, AND WE HAVE BECOME ONE.
WE HAVE FORMED A BOND LIKE NO OTHER, AND NO ONE CAN BREAK WHAT WE
HAVE CREATED. THERE IS NO POISON, NO CREATION, AND NO MEDICINE TO
CURE WHAT WE HAVE! YOU, MR. PERFECT AND DEMOLITION, WILL NOT
SURVIVE!”
As always, his promos are poetry. By
which I mean Allen Ginsburg.
Piper is so intense on commentary that
Gorilla begins to question if Piper’s going to last the night.
Everyone mills about to start, faking in and out as to who’s
starting. Finally, Animal ends the tension and attacks Smash, going
ground-and-pound before that was a thing. He clubs Smash in the back
and throws him into the corner as all four faces get shots in. He
ducks down, though, and Smash smacks his head. Smash with a suplex
for two. He calls for a boot, and Perfect and Crush oblige. Perfect
in next, and he works over Animal in the ropes. Smash returns,
working the ribs, but a whip is reversed and Animal gets a powerslam.
Perfect races in, and he gets two atomic drops from the LOD, ducks a
claw from Tornado, and is clotheslined by Warrior before being
dumped. Tornado punches away on Smash but gets pulled into the wrong
corner and Ax takes over. Tornado throws him into a neutral corner
and gets the Iron Claw on him, and this allows Warrior to get two
shoulder tackles and the Ultimate Splash to eliminate Ax at 3:23.
The heels race in en masse and each get slammed by Warrior in turn
before Crush runs over Warrior. He stomps Warrior down and punches
away before bringing in Smash. Smash slams Warrior, and Crush
returns with a flying kneedrop. It gets two. Crush works over
Warrior in the corner, but a blind charge eats the boot and everyone
tags out. It’s Hawk and Perfect now, and Perfect’s punches are
blocked as Hawk throws him into the corner. Botch alert: Perfect
forgets the momentum swing spot and tries to reverse Hawk’s corner
whip, so when Hawk doesn’t comply, Perfect stumbles into the opposite
corner. They repeat the spot, and this time, Hawk charges and eats
the post. Smash in now, and he teases Animal before pounding away on
Hawk and switching off with Crush. Crush clubs down Hawk and slams
him. Perfect back in, and he works over Hawk in a neutral corner
with left hands. Smash returns, but Hawk fires away. Smash with a
drop toe hold to keep control, but Hawk with a flying tackle to gain
control, followed by a fistdrop. The announcers say he needs to tag,
but Hawk stays in, clotheslining Smash and getting the diving lariat.
Crush saves, Animal goes after him, and they won’t leave on the
ref’s instructions. Smash shoves the ref and Hawk kicks at him, and
that earns all four men a DQ at 7:36. Kind of a cheap way to thin
the herd, if you ask me, especially since Ax’s health issues meant
they never had a real blowoff. Both teams argue the ruling but to no
avail. So it’s Warrior/Tornado against Perfect, and everyone
regroups. Warrior uses the Vulcan Mind Meld to convince Tornado to
let him start, but Perfect demands Tornado, so Warrior emphatically
tags out. Perfect jumps Tornado (Piper: “Smart on Perfect’s
part!”), but it backfires when Tornado reverses into a Discus Punch
(Piper: Not so smart on
Perfect’s part.”). Tornado throws him across the ring, and Perfect
goes to converse with Heenan. Warrior declares the huddle time over
with a noggin-knocker and tosses Heenan into the front row because
that’s how he rolls. Gorilla: “It’s open season on weasels!”
Perfect uses the melee to remove a turnbuckle pad, but Tornado
catches him only to spear the post just as Hawk did. Perfect with
right hands and a kneelift, but he appears to be limping a little.
Tornado wins a slugfest, but Perfect goes to the eyes and slams him
headfirst into the exposed buckle (which Piper only now notices).
Perfectplex ends Tornado’s night at 11:02, and it’s one-on-one.
Warrior charges in with a Stinger Splash, but it airballs into the
exposed buckle. Perfectplex gets two, much to Heenan’s amazement.
Perfect slugs away and stays on Warrior, adding knee smashes and a
standing dropkick for two. Heenan is arguing with the outside ref
over the count. Perfect pulls Warrior to his knees and chops him
back down. A big clothesline off of a whip gets two, with Warrior
throwing Perfect off him and onto the ref (totally accidental).
Perfect rakes the eyes of Warrior with his kneepad, choking him on
the bottom rope. Warrior finally blocks a roundhouse right and gets
one of his own as he pumps up. Perfect goes flying on punches,
clothesline combos, and a shoulder tackle and Ultimate Splash end the
match at 14:20. Piper (trying to keep track of results): “I LOST
MY PENCIL! SOMEONE GET ME A PENCIL!” Warrior beats up Heenan in
accordance with Main Event Face Rules of 1990. **1/4
Kind of a cheap cop-out in the middle, but the Perfect/Warrior bit
makes me want to see them do a 10-minute match. Not sure why Tornado
got so little.
We
go backstage to Sean Mooney, who’s with the Million Dollar Team and
Jimmy Hart, who is ready to survive. Mooney notes the mystery
partner is still not there, but DiBiase assures us he’ll be there.
He promises a very big surprise. Koko is another bird that’ll be
stuffed on Thanksgiving, while the Hart Foundation will visit
Heartbreak Hotel. And Dusty Rhodes, the common man, will be begging
the rich man for mercy he won’t receive.
MATCH
TWO: Dusty Rhodes (45), Koko B. Ware (33), Bret Hart (33), and Jim
Neidhart (35) vs. Ted DiBiase (36), Honky Tonk Man (37), Greg
Valentine (39), and…
Either
you know who the mystery partner is or you don’t, but if you somehow
don’t, let Ted DiBiase school you:
“Like
I’ve said a million times before: Everybody’s got a price for the
Million Dollar Man. So without further ado, let me introduce to you
right now my mystery partner: led to the ring by his manager, Brother
Love, weighing in at 320 pounds, from Death Valley, I give you THE
UNDERTAKER.”
Yes,
if it isn’t the greatest mystery partner payoff in wrestling history,
it’s definitely in the top three. The only ones that come close are
Ricky Steamboat as Dustin Rhodes’s partner against Anderson and
Zbyszko in 1992 and Hulk Hogan as the third man in 1996. And
honestly, Steamboat’s only there because it led to a five-star tag
match. It’s this or Hogan, folks. It should be noted that
Undertaker is only 25 at this point, meaning that as a 26 year old he
was already WWF Champion (he’d win the belt exactly one year in).
And yeah, Paul Bearer wasn’t always his manager, though to be fair,
he was introduced shortly after and was by his side by Taker’s first
Mania match. And while most complete unknowns would draw either
indifference or residual heat, the crowd is watching this giant of a
man very nervously. Gorilla: “There’s only supposed to be 4
members on a team; this guy makes 4½, maybe 5!” Bret volunteers
to figure this guy out first, but he gets clubbed down before running
into a chokeslam. Neidhart tries his luck and runs into a scoop
slam. Koko is in next, but Taker just sidesteps him and Koko splats
into the ropes. One Tombstone later and Koko’s out at 1:39. Bret
returns and tries punching down Taker, who just calmly tags in
Valentine. Piper is openly cheering for Bret, which is no surprise.
So Dusty comes in to duel with Valentine. Valentine forces Dusty
into the corner but loses a chopfest and gets elbowed down. Neidhart
in, and he attacks the arm, clubbing away at it. Bret keeps working
the arm and sends Valentine into the corner. A blind charge hits the
knee, however, and in comes Honky to kick away at the gut. Honky
gets elbowed after stalling too much, but catches Bret with a knee.
He stops to taunt, so Bret tags Neidhart in behind his back. Honky,
as a result, runs into an Anvil powerslam and is sent packing at
4:16. DiBiase races in and attacks Anvil in the corner, but a whip
is reversed and Anvil clotheslines DiBiase down. A big slam, and
Dusty enters. DiBiase races to a neutral corner and eats ten elbows
in countalong. Dusty with a dropkick (!!) and he brings Neidhart
back in. A double back elbow gets two. Suplex gets two. Anvil
flattens DiBiase with a shoulderblock, but Virgil trips Neidhart and
DiBiase clotheslines him for the pin at 5:49. Bret races in and
punches away, adding a headbutt. DiBiase begs off (from a tag team
wrestler?) and gets sent into the corner. Then into Dusty’s elbow,
and there’s the tag. Dusty does flip, flop, and fly on DiBiase, who
recovers by raking the eyes. A clothesline from DiBiase and Taker is
brought in. He gets a leaping stomp on Dusty, adding a roundhouse
right. Bret comes in, and he gets sent into Valentine’s boot as they
tag. Taker chokes Bret for a count of four, Valentine adds elbows,
and DiBiase comes in only to get hit with some right hands. An
inverted atomic drop allows Dusty to get in, and they double-team him
with chops. Dusty elbows DiBiase into… the wrong corner, and Taker
tags himself in. He smashes down Dusty and adds a big knee to the
gut. He goes up, takes two steps across the top rope, and drops an
axhandle for the pin at 8:26. Dusty is dumped right by Brother Love
as Bret attacks Undertaker. Meanwhile, Brother Love adds some cheap
shots on the outside, which just wakes Dusty up and gets him to
corner the Brother. Undertaker sees this and attacks Dusty, fighting
him halfway down the aisle… and, because he was still legal,
getting counted out at 9:17. He kinda had to be, since it’s his
debut and all. Meanwhile, back in the ring, Valentine has Bret down
and out and goes for the figure-four, but Bret reverses to a cradle
to pin him at 9:57, leaving us with DiBiase vs. Bret. Piper is going
nuts on commentary, putting Bret over hard. Bret meets a frustrated
DiBiase and atomic drops him to the outside, following with a
slingshot plancha. DiBiase rakes the eyes on the outside, but Bret
throws DiBiase off into the post, then into the steps. Back in the
ring (Piper: “A six count! Get in the ring!”), and Bret has
Sharpshooter position, but that move doesn’t exist yet, so he just
stomps the gut. At least, it doesn’t exist in his arsenal yet.
DiBiase and Bret fight in the corner now, with Bret landing European
uppercuts but being sent across the ring chest-first by a Hammer
Throw. DiBiase gets two. DiBiase backs Bret into the corner and
works him over, adding chops, but he puts his head down and gets hit
with a backslide for two. Bret with a headlock, and on the
criss-cross, Bret trips and tweaks his knee… actually, no, he faked
it and gets a cradle for two. Virgil protests on the apron, so Bret
goes to take care of him and gets caught. DiBiase’s running knee
hits Virgil, however, and Bret with a schoolboy for two. Bret
follows with a backbreaker, then a second rope elbowdrop. That also
gets two. Crowd is into it. Piper’s going nuts. Bret ducks a
clothesline and gets a crossbody, but DiBiase rolls through and hangs
on for the win to advance at 13:54. Bret mouths a bad word, but he
gets the loser’s ovation in the ring. And well deserved, as this was
a fantastically booked Survivor Series match that made Bret Hart a
future star while allowing DiBiase to retain his heat. It introduced
a new monster heel and kept him strong, and everyone played their
notes perfectly. ****
Gene
Okerlund (just shy of 48) interviews the Vipers in the shower room
(for Damien’s sake). Roberts speaks for his team of survivors.
Shawn survived having his knee snapped by Power and Glory. Marty,
the tag specialist survived on his own. Snuka has the scars of time
written on his face, and of course he’s a survivor. And Roberts?
Well, his eye tells the whole story. They’re not lambs to the
slaughter; and don’t think you’re picking cherries, because Damien
will fall out of the tree.
MATCH
THREE: Rick Martel (34), The Warlord (28), Hercules (34), and Paul
Roma (30) vs. Jake Roberts (35), Jimmy Snuka (47), Shawn Michaels
(25), and Marty Jannetty (30)
Yeah,
Snuka was old even then. Piper (about Warlord): “On the hoof, 330
[pounds], baby! No fat. Except in the bean.” Gorilla: “The
bean?” Piper: “Between the ears, we got about, oh, 90-95% fat.”
Roberts is still “blind” in his left eye. Snuka was the
original Phenom, with Undertaker inheriting the moniker after beating
Snuka at WrestleMania VII. Marty and Warlord start. Marty ducks
Warlord and does sticking and moving, slapping Warlord on the back,
which just angers him. Warlord throws Marty around, but Marty runs
circles and goes for dropkicks that are brushed aside. Marty keeps
moving away from Warlord’s stomps then slides every which way, taking
out Roma and Martel as he does. The Rockers with a dropkick/sunset
flip combo for two. Warlord corners Shawn in the wrong corner and
tags in Martel, but Shawn sends him into a neutral turnbuckle. Shawn
reverses and armdrag and lands a dropkick and monkey flip before
bringing Jake in. Martel races to tag in Roma and leaves. Roma
works Jake’s back, and a high leapfrog just leaves him open. Jake
holds the arm and brings Snuka in, who headbutts Roma but gets his
eyes raked. It’s no-sold, so Roma brings Hercules in. Hercules
bowls over Snuka but runs into a Fiji Chop, making him bring in
Warlord. A standoff leads to Snuka running the ropes only to get
slammed. Snuka with a dropkick as he recovers, and he brings Marty
back in. Warlord goes CLUBBERIN on Marty and adds a bearhug, but
Marty escapes and lands a second-rope standing elbow. Warlord
catches the second try into a powerslam, though, and pins Marty at
5:03. Shawn enters and punches away, seemingly getting caught but
adjusting and getting a rana before bringing Jake in. Jake with the
short punches, but out of the corner a clothesline does nothing.
Warlord eats boot on a blind charge, and Jake gets the short
clothesline. Shawn gets two off of it, but gets kicked out out of
the ring. Roma enters and jumps Shawn. He kicks away at the
external occipetal protuberance, and then the head. Warlord in, and
he gives Shawn a HYOOGE back body drop (Piper acts like an airline
pilot to call it). It gets two for Hercules. Hercules adds a nasty
clothesline, which Shawn spins to sell. Martel in, and he drops a
knee for two. Martel clubs away in the corner and gets a rib breaker
for two. Roma enters next, and he clubs away on Shawn and throws him
into the corner for the flip corner bump Shawn does. Martel gets two
off of it. Martel goes on offense, but he too hits the post on a
charge, and it’s hot tag Snuka. He corners Martel and stomps and
kicks away. A back bodry drop by Snuka and Martel’s in trouble. A
flying coco butt gets two. Martel whips Snuka, who gets a reverse
bodypress, but Martel rolls through (with the tights) to eliminate
him at 9:28. In comes Jake, who corners Martel, but his dive to get
him allows Martel to tag in Hercules and everyone calls time. Shawn
fires up the crowd in the corner as Hercules and Jake jockey for
position. Hercules rams shoulders to the gut, but he puts his head
down and gets hit with a kneelift. DDT try, but Hercules escapes.
Jake is frustrated while Slick calls a huddle. Martel has an idea,
and the idea is to get on Jake’s blind side and nail him with a
clothesline from the apron. They get on his good side, but the plan
works anyway. Piper nearly curses Martel out. Gorilla points out it
WAS his good side. Roma in, and he clubs away on Jake, adding
stomps. Bodyslam sets up a flying fistdrop, but Jake rolls away.
Roma’s too busy going “Ow! My hand!” that he doesn’t stop the tag
to Shawn. Shawn with a leaping back elbow on Roma, then a suplex off
of a duck-down by Roma. Second-rope Heartbreak elbow gets two.
Atomic drop to Roma, who tags Hercules, which means when Shawn levels
him on the rebound, Hercules comes in and drops an elbow on Shawn.
Hercules pounds away on Shawn, giving him a lariat. Hercules with a
military press slam and he casually tags Martel in. Martel punches
down Shawn, then Hercules comes back and punches Shawn into the
corner. He knows it’s the end, so he sets Shawn up, tags Roma, and
it’s the PowerPlex (a superplex by Hercules into a big splash off the
top rope by Roma – someone NEEDS to make that a tag finisher) to
eliminate Shawn at 15:40. So it’s 4 on 1 now, and things look REAL
bad, but the crowd encourages Jake on. Jake calls them all on, and
Hercules tags in. Hercules kicks Jake during a test of strength,
then brings in Warlord. Warlord clubs away, throws Jake across the
ring, and locks in a bearhug. Jake fights out and knocks Roma off
the apron, and while Roma protests to the ref, Jake nails the DDT on
Warlord. Martel sees the ref is distracted and goes for his cologne,
but Jake avoids another eye shot and unleashes Damian. Jake and
Damian chase Martel out of the building, which is bad because Martel
isn’t the legal man and Jake is. Jake is counted out at 17:42, and
all four opponents advance. **3/4
I know this was effectively a squash and all, but at the same time,
the Rockers kept things interesting, Roma and Martel’s athleticism
(and arrogant attitude) played very well as heels, and the story of
Martel avoiding Jake carried the match. Don’t let the clean sweep
fool you – this is still a fun match.
The
Royal Rumble is on January 19, 1991. Don’t miss it. I admit that
message would’ve meant more back then.
Piper’s
so tired he needs a towel.
We
go backstage to the Hulkamaniacs. Hogan says each Hulkamaniac serves
a purpose on the team towards survival in this time of chaos. Duggan
and his 2×4 is a weapon. Tugboat is as strong as a battleship. And
things can get out of hand, but Boss Man will enforce the rules.
Boss Man says he’s survived all his life, and tonight, he’ll get his
hands on Heenan. Tugboat agrees he’s like a battleship – loaded
and ready. Duggan says it’s time for excitement. The blood’s
pumping hard. Oh, and he has yellow ribbons on his 2×4. As Hogan
explains, it’s for the troops in the Middle East (in 1990, yellow
ribbons became a symbol for supporting the troops), and when the
match is over, they volunteer to go serve in Desert Shield. I kinda
wish President Bush called Vince’s bluff on that one.
MATCH
FOUR: Earthquake (27), Dino Bravo (42), Haku (31), and Barbarian (32)
vs. Hulk Hogan (37), Big Boss Man (27), Tugboat (34), and Jim Duggan
(36)
Piper:
“Well, first off, this ain’t no beauty contest. We can say that
right now.” Piper, who has been slanting toward the faces all
night, openly admits he’ll stay neutral in this match because he’s
not a fan of any of the wrestlers. This kinda makes sense, since I
couldn’t see Piper ever
being a Hogan cheerleader. Boss Man is already sweating heavily just
getting to the ring. Piper: “What are they yelling? I can’t
understand them.” Gorilla: “Hogan.” Piper: “Hogan.”
(pause) “That may be the dumbest question I’ve ever asked.”
Duggan and Haku start. It’s a full-on slugfest, which Haku wins, but
a bodypress try is ducked. Duggan clotheslines Haku all over the
place, adding a back elbow and standing clothesline. An elbowdrop
misses, and Bravo comes in. He adds an inverted atomic drop on
Duggan and tags Barbarian. The Faces of Fear work over Duggan, but
Boss Man tags himself in. He punches away and knocks down Haku, who
reverses a whip and gets a dropkick. But Boss Man reverses and gets
the Scrapbuster to send Haku packing at 3:15. Barbarian quickly in,
but he eats a boot and elbowsmash. Heenan jumps on the apron and
pays for it, but Barbarian can’t take advantage until he reverses a
hiptoss to a suplex. Barbarian knocks Boss Man down and goes up, but
the ropewalk elbow misses. Duggan in, and he gives Barbarian a huge
back body drop. Barbarian tags Bravo in, and he clubs away, bringing
in Quake for a double clothesline. Earthquake corners Duggan and
squashes him until Duggan escapes and tries a slam, but yeah, no.
Duggan recovers and staggers Quake with shoulder blocks, but Jimmy
Hart lowers the top rope and Duggan spills out. Duggan chases Hart
and grabs his 2×4 for justice, but Hart races into the ring and
Duggan beats up Quake with it for the DQ at 6:12. Duggan regrets his
actions, but leaves, and Hogan enters and attacks Quake. The heels
race in and are slammed, and that leaves Quake. Despite Piper’s
protests, he succeeds in slamming Quake. Piper: “All right, that’s
the first time I’ve been wrong since ’54.” Hogan with the corner
Axe Bomber, and he goes for ten punches. Piper questions why he
didn’t try to pin Quake after the slam. Case in point: Quake pulls
Hogan off the corner and powerslams him. Bravo in with a running
elbowdrop or two, and he tells his team what to do, but that allows
Hogan to small package Bravo and pin him at 7:59. Hogan wisely tags
Boss Man in to face Quake. Quake reverses a whip but misses the
charge, and Boss Man goes up (!), only to be caught by Quake (!!!).
Hogan pushes the pile over, getting two for Boss Man. Quake no-sells
some shoulderblocks, and Barbarian kicks Boss Man in the back,
allowing Quake to get a slam and series of elbows for the pin at
9:08. Hogan races in and attacks Quake, getting the big boot and
lariat. He knocks over Barbarian and sends Quake into Tugboat’s
boot. Another Axe Bomber and Hogan tries another slam, but Quake
clubs out of it. Hogan tries again, and Quake falls on top for two.
Piper is surprised Hogan would make that mistake. Quake tries a
traditional big splash but misses, and Hogan brings in Tugboat for
the first time in the match. Piper notes they were saving Tugboat
for a situation like this, and Tugboat indeed comes in and attacks
Quake. He staggers Quake to the ropes, and Hogan pulls Quake out of
the ring. Everyone follows, and Quake shoves Hogan into the post.
Anyway, during the melee, the legal men (Quake and Tugboat) are
counted out at 11:33, leaving Hogan against Barbarian. Barbarian
takes advantage of Hogan’s bad back and clubs him down, throwing him
in. He slams his fist into Hogan’s back repeatedly and dumps him to
the outside. Hogan returns and gets stomped. Barbarian gets a
piledriver… almost, as Hogan’s head slid out as the announcers
note. It gets two anyway. Hogan buys some time with a double
clothesline, but Barbarian naturally is up first. Barbarian with the
Kick of Fear to Hogan and he goes up top, landing his diving
clothesline finisher for… well, two. Hulk up, yadda yadda yadda
Legdrop, it’s over at 14:49. Decent power match. *3/4
Hogan gets the honor of beating up Heenan, as per the rule cited
earlier.
We
cut to the interview stage, where Okerlund will interview Randy
Savage (just turned 38). Gorilla says it’s an intermission, but we
see the interview anyway. Savage is on the sedan carried by four
jobbers. Okerlund and Savage discuss a recent Brother Love show,
where Warrior was accosted by Queen Sherri asking for a title shot.
Warrior refused to answer, so Sherri slapped Warrior, hoping to get
him mad enough to attack her and open the door for Savage to
counter-attack. As it turns out, Warrior kept his cool (Savage: “The
Ultimate Chicken!”). This would lead to Savage smashing Warrior
with a scepter at Royal Rumble to get the belt on Sgt. Slaughter.
This in turn would lead to the retirement match, the greatest
career-on-the-line match in WWF history (although I’m willing to hear
arguments for Shawn/Taker II). Anyway, Savage calls himself the
greatest superstar ever, the past and future, and the man who owns
the WWF Title that Warrior has. Savage says he may retire as
champion after beating Warrior, since he’ll have nothing left to
prove. He promises that everyone will realize his greatness when he
meets Warrior.
MATCH
FIVE: Nikolai Volkoff (43), Tito Santana (37), Luke Williams (43),
and Butch Miller (46) vs. Sgt. Slaughter (42), Boris Zhukov (30),
Akio Sato (37), and Pat Tanaka (29)
Not
exactly a cavalcade of star power here, eh? Mean Gene catches up
with Slaughter, who cuts a promo taunting the troops over
Thanksgiving dinner being K-rations for them. He then promises he’ll
show what an Iraqi soldier is made of in the ring. The heels are all
wearing facepaint in sarge’s camo pattern. Piper is absolutely ANGRY
at Sgt. Slaughter. Butch punches away at Zhukov’s gut to start, and
the Bushwackers get a double clothesline. Tito enters, and it’s a
quick Flying Jalapeno to dispose of him at 48 seconds. Sato attacks
Santana early, adding a low jumping kick. Sato with Booker T’s arm
wrench kick and Tanaka’s in, but miscommunication disposes of Sato.
Butch runs over Tanaka, and he and Luke get the Battering Ram on Sato
to pin him at 1:46. Tanaka chops down Butch, but a Santino headbutt
misses and Santana lands another Flying Jalapeno to end his night at
2:13. Slaughter’s already 1-on-4, and Volkoff demands a chance to
punch him down. Volkoff with a whip and big boot, then a leaping
boot, but a second big kick is caught and Slaughter bowls him over.
Slaughter with elbowdrops as everyone chants USA for the Lithuanian,
Mexican, and two New Zealanders. A kneeling elbowsmash by Slaughter
keeps Volkoff down, and Sarge slowly wears down Volkoff. A series of
chops to the gut Big Show style stagger Volkoff, then Slaughter sends
Volkoff into the turnbuckle battering ram style. Sarge works a slow
pace on Volkoff, getting a dropkick (who knew) and spitting on him.
A snapmare and elbowdrop end Nikolai’s night at 5:25. Butch enters,
and the Bushwackers double-team Sarge with a double slam and double
clothesline. It gets ONE. Luke with a back elbow, but he goes up
top and hits the knees coming off. A gutbuster ends Luke at 6:30.
Butch charges in, but he gets Hammer Thrown and clotheslined down for
the pin at 6:53. So it’s Slaughter/Santana now, and Slaughter loses
count to celebrate allowing Santana to get him from behind. Back
body drop on Sarge, and a top rope forearm gets two. Santana with
repeated gut kicks, but Sarge blocks a monkey flip and Santana lands
hard. A swinging neckbreaker by Sarge gets two. Sarge with a rib
breaker for two. Tito fires off with rights from a kneeling
position, but gets cut off and Sarge gets a suplex for two. Sarge
tries to work the arm, but Tito escapes only to get bumped into the
ref. Fortunately, there’s two refs in these matches. Santana with
another Flying Jalapeno, but General Adnan slams the Iraqi flagpole
into Santana’s back. Referee #2 saw it and tells Referee #1, so when
Sarge applies the Camel Clutch, it’s all for naught because he’s been
disqualified at 10:52. Well, that was a downer of a match. 1/2*
I understand you need to keep Slaughter from losing cleanly AND
build him up AND make sure he doesn’t cross with Hogan or Warrior,
but is this the best you could do?
Sean
Mooney interviews the heel side in the finale. Martel brags about
surviving intact, living up to his “vision”. It’s about unity
and teamwork, and now that they have DiBiase’s resources, they are
destined to win. DiBiase has promised the Visionaries a hefty bonus
to them to make sure they survive. Tito Santana may be great, but
he’s in the right place at the wrong time. As for Hogan and
Warrior… well, heck, they just fought at WrestleMania VI, do you
really think they can be a team? And that’s why DiBiase’s team will
win.
Tomorrow
night, Warrior vs DiBiase for the WWF Title on Friday Night’s Main
Event!
Oh
geez, do I have to review this next bit? Oh, all right. Okerlund is
next to the big egg and speculates as to what could be in there. A
rabbit? Balloons? The Playmate of the Month? IF ONLY. No, what’s
in there instead is… the Gobbledy Gooker. The crowd boos it
heavily as they realize what a letdown THAT is. Then, in ten minutes
no human being will ever get back, he and Okerlund dance in the ring.
This happened. People paid money to see it. Fun fact: the Gobbledy
Gooker is the uncle of the Swagger Soaring Eagle. Piper offers to
make him the Survivor Series’ official mascot. Man, he’s taking this
show harder than I thought!
Sean
Mooney interviews the face side and asks if they’re worried about
being outnumbered. Hogan points out that the crowd’s on their side,
so really, the opponents are outnumbered. Hogan puts over Warrior’s
intensity and meteoric rise, then puts over Santana’s experience as
an original superstar in the WWF, there since Day 1. So officially,
WWF history begins in 1983. Santana gives a generic pumped up promo
promising to survive. Warrior continues the theme that the crowd is
on their side. “YOU, Power and Glory, are a reminder that we feed
off such things.” That’s a good line. Warrior tries to name each
wrestler’s fanbase (Hulkamania, Warrior Wildness), but realizes
Santana’s never had a nickname for his fanbase and makes one up
(Arriba-derci). Hogan finishes up with his catchphrase as everyone’s
ready to go.
GRAND
FINALE MATCH OF SURVIVAL: Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules, Paul Roma,
and Ted DiBiase vs. Hulk Hogan, Tito Santana, and Ultimate Warrior
This
is basically the closest that half the people in this match will get
to calling themselves main eventers. I think Santana’s here as a
lifetime achievement award. To be fair, Martel may be for the same
reason, though he was a former AWA Champion. The other Visionaries
are just filler. And to prove my point, Hogan slugs Warlord after a
cheap shot on Santana, and Tito recovers with the Flying Jalapeno to
eliminate Warlord in 28 seconds. Roma races in and attacks Tito,
getting a powerslam and bringing in DiBiase. DiBiase with a kneedrop
and suplex on Santana for two. Santana ducks a clothesline and gets
one of his own. He follows with a corner whip and back body drop.
Flying Jalapeno airballs, though, and DiBiase gets the Stun Gun to
pin Tito at 1:51. Hogan in, and he can’t be bought. Hogan with
rights in the corner, and a running boot in the opposite corner.
Hogan puts his head down, and DiBiase kicks him and knocks him down,
handing him off to Hercules. Hercules pounds Hogan’s back, adding a
standing lariat and bringing in Roma. Roma with a single axhandle
off the top rope for two. Roma clubs Hogan’s back some before Martel
comes in and continues working the back. Axhandles to the kidney
area keep Martel in control before bringing Hercules back in.
Hercules with a dozen or so right hands, backing Hogan into a corner.
One final right hand drops Hogan to one knee. Hercules then slams
Hogan’s head into the buckle over and over before bringing DiBiase
in. DiBiase with an axhandle off the second rope for two. DiBiase
does his fistdrops on Hogan, getting two for that. Hercules back in
with right hands to Hogan and he puts him in the corner. It’s
PowerPlex time, and Roma’s splash gets two. Roma thinks it’s three
and gloats, but he turns straight into an Axe Bomber and is pinned by
Hogan at 5:57. Martel races in and keeps the advantage on Hogan, but
puts his head down and Hogan kicks him. Hot tag Warrior, who kicks
Martel in the gut eleventy million times. Hammer throw and back drop
follow, and Warrior clears the corner. This gives Martel only a
temporary advantage, as Warrior slams Martel and facejams him. Hogan
back in, and it’s the punches and big boot. Hogan clotheslines
Martel out of the ring, and Martel says nuts to this and leaves at
7:17. DiBiase is understandably upset by this, and now it’s Hogan
and Warrior, working together, against DiBiase and Hercules. Hogan
overpowers DiBiase, getting a corner clothesline as DiBiase begs off.
Alley Oop corner bomb by Hogan, and DiBiase eats the usual and is
gone at 8:30. Hercules doesn’t stand a chance, and he gets slammed
by Hogan and tackled and splashed by Warrior to end the night at
9:07. Hogan counts along with the ref for fun. Hogan and Warrior
survive. *1/4
Eh, this was a harmless house show style main event used to show the
Hogan/Warrior issue is dead and buried.
FINAL
THOUGHTS:
Maybe
it’s nostalgia running wild here, but the concept of the Grand Finale
Match of Survival isn’t the worst in the world. It just needs a
reward at the end. Perhaps a title match at TLC or something would
be the order of the day, and if the Champ wins it, he gets the night
off. The final match added a nice wrinkle and allowed different
people to say they’ve main evented. As for the matches themselves,
they ranged from a waste of time to an underrated classic.
Still,
this is a must-watch in parts, if only for the historical impact of
seeing Undertaker’s debut. DiBiase and Bret have a fantastic
mini-match that carries their match, and Warrior and Hogan cutting
two promos on the night is always fun in a throwback way. Plus, the
seeds were sown for Warrior/Savage, and Hogan and DiBiase may have
FINALLY gotten their finish.
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 80:44 in only six matches (thirty-eight decisions, 29% of them
being countout or DQ)
BEST
MATCH: Dream Team vs Million Dollar Team
WORST
MATCH: Alliance vs Mercenaries
NIGHT
MVP: Hulk Hogan (with four pinfalls)
FINAL
SCORE: Well, I love it, but objectively, it’s about a 6.5. The
Dusty/DiBiase tag match is must-watch for just about every reason,
but the Gobbledy Gooker and the Slaughter match bring it down.
Still, definitely worth finding on YouTube like I did.
See
you tomorrow as PG Week continues with a few thousand words on then
and now in off-screen scandal.

The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Nitro–04.26.99

The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Nitro – 04.26.99 This show was posted to the blog via the YouTubes recently, so I figured, what the fuck, I’ll just review it and be done with it. By the way, Jon Jones is LUCKY. He should buy those judges a beer. 49-46? Really? Rick Rude gets the tribute treatment to really put this show on a pleasant note to start. And we start in the MENTAL HOSPITAL, where Ric Flair currently resides. There are just too many jokes to make and three hours of this show is not enough time to make them all. Meanwhile, Charles Robinson assumes the office of the President in place of Flair. Oh yeah, I forgot, this was during Nash’s tenure where he was experimenting with putting almost no wrestling in the first hour just to show people would watch anyway. Finally, we are LIVE from Fargo, ND. Yo, G, you peep that huge new WCW logo on the stage? You can feel the ratings turning around as we speak! The kids LOVE spiky logos! Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Mike Tenay Roddy Piper joins us, and he is the commissioner, not to be confused with the President (Flair) or the Vice-President (Little Naitch) or whatever JJ Dillon was at this point. So Piper points out that he’s the ONLY person in charge and he’s got decisions to decide. So Randy Savage is reinstated and faces Scott Steiner for the US title. Then he brings out DDP and books him to defend the World title against Sting. This crowd is amazingly pumped. You never see this kind of energy from RAW crowds now. DJ Ran gets all up in our areas. Brian Adams v. Konnan Adams is wearing nWo colors and honestly I literally would not be able to keep track of who was supposed to be representing which faction without a scorecard. Adams attacks, but gets bulldogged and dropkicked. I know there was baggage and shit with Konnan, but really they should have brought him into WWE in 2000 and let him join DX to revitalize the group, because he could have been dropped right in there. I mean, it’s FUNNIER that they told him to fuck off, but my own personal amusement isn’t always best for business. Anyway, Adams comes back with a press slam as this obviously coked up crowd goes crazy for this horseshit match for some reason. Adams with the world’s least devastating chinlock, but Konnan makes the comeback and gets a rollup for two. Adams with a powerslam for two, but Konnan hits the carpet muncher into the half-crab, which gives us the nWo run-in finish at 5:00. Oh yeah, that’s right, this was the B-Team era, with Steve Ray as the leader. ½* They sure managed to kill the “nWo Elite” gimmick right out of the gate, didn’t they? Scott & Steve Armstrong v. Raven This was supposed to be a tag match, but Saturn got jumped by the Horsemen. Raven goes it alone and takes Scott into the chair with the DROP TOEHOLD OF DEATH for two, and then the same for Steve to put the poor chair out of its misery. Raven keeps evading the Armstrongs and uses the No Mercy divide-and-conquer strategy for dealing with handicap matches before walking into a superkick from Scott. Scott superkicks his own brother and Raven DDTs him for two, but Steve hits Raven with the chair and Scott pins him at 4:09. ** Meanwhile, Charles Robinson calls Flair at the mental hospital, and then joins us in the ring to confirm that he is in fact the man in charge, not Roddy Piper. Ah, for the days of 1999, when pro wrestling figurehead was such a growth industry that people were fighting over it. Robinson’s facials are just tremendous reacting to Piper, as he is obviously a devoted student of Flair. Piper gets fired and hauled off in handcuffs. They should put Robinson in charge of RAW now, he’d be awesome. WCW World title: DDP v. Sting They slug it out and Page loses that battle, and they fight to the floor, then back in for clotheslines from Sting and the Stinger splash. Scorpion deathlock, but DDP makes the ropes and escapes again. Back in, Sting keeps pounding on him, but Page takes him down with a hammerlock. Sting fights up and Page puts him down with a clothesline, but Sting tosses him. So they brawl up the aisle, Sting further kicks his ass, and they head back in where Page finally goes low to slow him down. So DDP takes over with a backdrop suplex, but they collide and Sting does the goofy headbutt to the crotch spot. Page remains in control with a DDT and chokes him out in the corner, then slugs him down for two. Page goes to work on the knee and tries the Diamond Cutter, but Sting blocks with the ropes and comes back with a jawbreaker. Sting to the top with a flying splash that gets two. They head out and Page catches him with a necksnap on the way in, but Sting runs him into the turnbuckles (loudly calling a spot on camera) and Page gets the rotation powerbomb for two. Page misses a charge and Sting rolls him up for two, but Page comes back with a lariat. Sting with a small package for two and he hits a clothesline for two. Sting with an awkward piledriver for two. He tries a tombstone, and they each reverse until Sting hits it for two. Page with another DDT for two. Sting with a backslide, but Page goes low to block that. Page tries the Cutter, but Sting counters with the deathdrop to win the World title at 20:00. I was kind of losing the vibe at the beginning, but by the time they got to the counters and trading piledrivers at the end, it was a hell of a deal. **** Cruiserweight title: Psychosis v. Rey Mysterio I totally don’t remember Psy ever getting that belt. Were this match to occur today, it would be non-title and Rey would be attempting to get “back in the hunt” for a title match by beating the champion. I’m confused because the dude introduced as Rey Mysterio doesn’t have a mask, thus robbing the promotion in millions of merch dollars from mask sales, which would just be stupid. Psy takes over with a release powerbomb into the turnbuckles, and a suplex onto the top rope. Rey fights back with a rana off the apron that looks really dangerous, and speaking of dangerous, here comes Benoit and Malenko. Back in, Rey reverses a faceplant into a carpet muncher, and both guys brawl outside and disrupt the Horsemen promo. Psy with a powerbomb for two. Rey reverses another attempt into a DDT, and regains the title at 5:20. That’s probably why I didn’t remember Psychosis ever being champion, since it only lasted for a week. This was kind of a trainwreck. ** Benoit and Malenko put a pretty epic beating on Mysterio for fun. Kevin Nash is out to remind us that NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT HIM, and thus he needs to do something about it. So since he’s due for a World title shot at the PPV and won’t get it now, he challenges Sting, DDP and Goldberg to a World title match TONIGHT. Meanwhile, Flair continues commenting on the proceedings from the mental hospital. Of very minor note is the introduction of Asya as his nurse. DJ Ran continues mixing hip-hop beats for a group of people with mullets and Metallica t-shirts watching wrestlers who all use generic cock rock themes. Yes, WCW used to spend thousands on marketing and surveys and then ignored EVERY SINGLE THING they learned from it. Erik Watts v. Bam Bam Bigelow Watts takes Bigelow down with…something…and Bigelow is like “fuck this” and destroys him with the diving headbutt and Greetings From Asbury Park to finish at 1:00. Sting is out to accept Nash’s challenge for tonight. World TV title: Booker T v. THE MONSTER MENG Meng overpowers Booker, but runs into a forearm, and Booker gets a dropkick for two. Meng throws chops in the corner and gets a powerslam and choking, but Booker comes back with the axe kick and the ref is bumped. This brings out Stevie Ray as Meng gets the TONGAN DEATH GRIP, but Stevie helps his brother out with a slapjack to retain at 5:34. ½* Rick Steiner comes out to brawl with Stevie for some reason, and this leads to tension between Rick and Booker that leads to Steiner winning the TV title at the god-awful Slamboree PPV. Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan gets knee surgery. Don’t worry, he’d be back to get the World title from Randy Savage a few weeks later. I was really into this show for the first hour but there’s just so much crap and filler since the title change, with DJ Ran and the Nitro Girls and Flair booking matches from the crazy house, it’s really kind of a drag. HARDCORE MAYHEM: Brian Knobs v. Mikey Whipwreck v. Hak v. Horace Hogan Everyone has kendo sticks for some reason. Knobs quickly grabs a ladder and puts everyone down with it, while yelling “Nasty” every couple of minutes so you know he’s the heel. And even after all that filler, we still have to take a break in the middle of this match. Back with more pointless mayhem, including Hak hitting people with a giant bottle of SURGE. Hey, whatever happened to Chastity? She kind of disappeared off the face of the earth after WCW died. She’s kind of floating around ringside here and I don’t even remember who she was supposed to be seconding. Hak? More stuff happens. I should note that I found ECW One Night Stand 2006 (Cena v. RVD) in a DVD bargain bin tonight for $4 and figured I might as well pick it up, and I totally forgot that Barely Legal was included as a bonus disc! Be good and you might get a redo of that rant next week. So this collection of wacky hardcore spots continues and Knobs wins at 12:30 because, you know, Hulk Hogan. * His victory promo alerts us that we should prepare to taste the nasty sensation due to the gates of Nastyville being opened. Is that like code for a root canal? US title: Scott Steiner v. Randy Savage This show is turning into a trainwreck comprised of circus cars flying over a cliff and landing on a pile of dynamite with pieces of exploded clown splattering everything. Charles Robinson assumes refereeing duties and possibly fines Billy Silverman for flying first class as well. You’d think that Scott Steiner v. MACHO MAN and his harem of women would have been the easiest feud in the world to book, but they just never went there. Good god, the promos alone would have been legendary. Savage accidentally bumps into Robinson off the lockup and he calls for the DQ at 1:00. TRAIN FULL OF CLOWNS GOING OFF THE CLIFF AND BLOWING UP, I SAY. Little Naitch gets stripped to his boxers by Gorgeous George and he’s a stronger man than I for not getting a chubby on national TV as a result. Meanwhile, Medusa and the future Molly Holly train George in what would probably be the setup for a porn video in most other circumstances. WCW World title: Sting v. DDP v. Goldberg v. Kevin Nash We’re joined in progress after the break, as DDP is wandering around the crowd while the other three fight. Goldberg fights off both Sting and Nash, hitting Nash with a suplex for two. Sadly, at this point Nitro is so terrible that even YouTube can’t deal with it, and the video quality degenerates to sub-ROH levels and I have to shut it down. DDP regains the belt, only to lose it to Nash at the PPV for some reason. Oh yeah, Nash was the booker, that was the reason. The Pulse I was really into this show for an hour, but then the ghost of WCW took over again and I was reminded why I hated this show so, SO much. Expecting them to have enough good ideas and attention span to fill more than an hour is expecting a lot, I know. Holy crap did this show suck around this time, though. And we haven’t even made it to the Hummer and Dennis Rodman and the return of yellow Hogan and all that bullshit yet!