A shocking betrayal, the debut of “Ravishing” Rick Rude, the Four Horsemen strike again, and we say bye-bye to Buddy Landell and Bulldog Bob Brown. That and more on this edition of the Saturday night staple..
Back on February 18, to separate themselves from the National Wrestling Alliance (and Jim Crockett Promotions in particular), World Class defected from the NWA and became the World Class Wrestling Association (WCWA). Additionally, they differentiated by waiving the disqualification and countout results to keep a title.
Unlike their regular TV tapings at the Sportatorium, this event was held at Reunion Arena which used to host games for both the Mavericks and Stars. While the Sportatorium was demolished in 2003, Reunion Arena’s demolition occurred in 2009.
Similar to the WWF with WrestleMania, WCCW with the Parade of Champions, AWA with Superclash, and JCP with Starrcade, Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF) created Battle of the Belts as their supershow to showcase the best wrestlers of the Sunshine State.
This week we leave the confines of Titan Towers and head
over to Bill Apter’s side of the wrestling magazine universe. Launched in 1999, WOW Magazine was an alternative to other wrestling magazines, which
largely kept kayfabe alive. WOW catered to smart fans, using the
terminology of “face” and “heel,” and even tried to smarten up younger fans by
providing a vocabulary list of “smart wrestling terms.” WOW also
featured more color photographs, had more pages, and was larger than
traditional wrestling magazines.
Unfortunately, the magazine did not produce enough sales to remain
profitable and it folded in the summer of 2001.
The magazine chosen for this week’s review is the July
1999 edition of WOW, just the third
issue of the magazine to hit newsstands.
I remember buying this edition on a school field trip when we went to a
mall for lunch. Going over to one of the
bookstores, I picked out the magazine. I
really enjoyed WOW since it was much
more detailed and fun than WWF Magazine,
but there was no way my parents were going to purchase a second wrestling
magazine subscription for me. So, the
only time that I was able to buy WOW
is when I cobbled together enough money on my own, made even harder by the fact
that I did not receive an allowance.
Looking back, I may have purchased this magazine (which
the sticker says cost me $5.95 before tax) more for what is on the back than
the cover. I was a big Dawn Marie fan
and loved her stuff in ECW.
Immediately upon opening the magazine, which has a
foldout cover, we get some of the colorful pictures of WOW. One is of an unmasked
Rey Mysterio, Jr., another of Sabu, and then of course the guy that helped
In his first editorial, Editor-in-Chief Bill Apter lets
us know in his “Apter Thoughts” column that he is glad to be publishing a
smart-style magazine. He says that he is
tired of “protecting the business.” He
also laments the death of Rick Rude, who had recently passed away from a heart
attack. We get quite the contrast of
photos in the column as Nicole Bass chokes out Apter in one shot and a young
Apter argues with Jesse Ventura in the image alongside it. No word on whether Bass filed harassment charges against Apter at a future date.
Every magazine has to have a “Letters to the Editor”
section and WOW was no
different. This month’s issue sees
William Zariske criticize Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair for taking up the spotlight
and not following other pursuits.
Another fan, Frank Recchia, says that he admires technical wrestlers
like Dean Malenko and Curt Hennig, but they do not hold a candle to Lou Thesz
and Bruno Sammartino. He notes that
Thesz and Bruno were superior because they “could hold a title for a year or
more, which rarely happens today.” And
all those signs you used to see in the 1990s at wrestling events? Well, James Reddyk of Peterborough, Ontario
is angry about them because he was not able to see the action from his close
seats at SkyDome for at a WWF event because of them. He demands the WWF do something about
this. I am sure Mr. Reddyk loves
attending live events these days, when there is hardly a sign to be seen. There are also a few fans that praise the
magazine for being different, especially because it had a website, which many
other publications did not have in the late 1990s. One fan comments that the Internet is the
future of the sport because there are “thousands of e-feds and fantasy
wrestling sites.” Are there even more
than 1,000 operating today?
Blake Norton’s column “The Welcome Mat” praises Diamond
Dallas Page for becoming WCW World Champion, something I think was a sign of
the company’s decline because Page was nowhere near as over as he was when he
faced Goldberg at Halloween Havoc the previous year. Norton blasts fans who fear that Kevin Nash
is about to give himself another title run and sends a shout out to Davey Boy
Smith, who was facing a career-ending back injury at the time after falling on
a trap door at Fall Brawl. He also
criticizes the WWF for becoming more of a soap opera than a wrestling
product. Lord only knows what Norton
would think the company has become today.
A review is provided of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Professional Wrestling. The book is praised for providing some of
wrestling’s history. For example, it
discusses how carnivals of the nineteenth century were the origins of the sport
and how a champion wrestler would take on all comers. This led to the rise of men such as Toots
Mondt and Frank Gotch who knew various holds to submit all kinds of opponents
in shoot fights. The book ultimately
receives a recommendation, but educated fans are told that they do not really
need it. An interesting tidbit? Gorgeous George ran for president in 1952.
The cover story of this issue concerns the Rock’s rise to
the top of the wrestling industry, or as Jim Varsallone calls it, “the sports
The article recaps the Rock’s family history, which
readers of this site are likely familiar with.
However, for a smart magazine this piece is still filled with kayfabe,
as the Rock is quoted as saying that he initially turned heel over the “Rocky
Sucks” chants and that he joined the Nation of Domination because he could
“express himself.” Varsallone even
posits that the Nation collapsed because the Rock and Faarooq could not get
along since they came from Miami and Florida State! If you want some facts about the Rock’s
football career, though, this piece has you covered, meaning that Jim Ross
bought this issue when it hits newsstands.
It closes by saying that the Rock is not bothered by kids watching an
adult-oriented RAW product because their parents have to monitor what they are
doing. I should also point out here that
Apter mags traditionally never interviewed wrestlers and made up quotes (WWF Magazine did much of the same thing
before Vince Russo came aboard), so whether the Rock was actually interviewed
for this piece or not is open for debate.
And in case the Ultimate Warrior’s odd comic books were
not enough for you, you could have bought some $3 comic books about the
Undertaker in 1999!
The next piece provides a career recap of “Ravishing”
Rick Rude, who passed away on April 20, 1999 at the age of forty.
At the time, Rude was training for an in-ring comeback,
presumably to return to the WWF since he was trying to get out of his contract
with WCW. Written by Dave Meltzer, it is
a fine article that recaps Rude’s Tough Man days and his eventual wrestling
career in the major promotions. These
articles are where I learned wrestling terminology as terms such as “booker,”
“heat,” and “promo” are thrown in. We
can laugh now at fans not knowing those terms, but back then Meltzer might as
well have been speaking Latin to me. One
of the sad things about these magazines is you come across pictures of people
no longer with us, such as this one, where Ric Flair is the only person in it
that is still alive:
WOW was also
really good about following non-major promotions in North America and Richard
Berger’s article talks about the relaunch of Stampede Wrestling in Calgary in
early April 1999.
Bruce and Ross Hart were behind the idea and the
relaunched product lasted until 2008.
The first card documented here drew nearly 2,000 fans and there is some
unintentional humor when it documents the statements fans were making before
the opening bell such as “Tatanka is in the main event!” For some reason I think that fan probably
said that without much enthusiasm. The
show was indeed headlined by Tatanka, the North American Heavyweight Champion,
who went on to defeat Jason “The Sledgehammer” Neidhart in a two-out-of-three
Since Steve Austin was also on the cover, he is also
profiled in an article with some nice art.
It just recaps Austin’s career, but does have some words of wisdom: “…make sure to enjoy [Steve Austin] while he
is around, because no matter how many people try to copy him, they will never
even come close to the main himself.”
Hence, the WWE’s inability to recreate the magic of Austin-McMahon
despite rotating various people out of Austin’s role over the last two decades.
We then get some WCW news, which includes results from TV
tapings and house shows.
There is a discussion of the severity of the British
Bulldog’s back injury, which is reported as career ending per the orders of his
doctors. The Bulldog had recently been fired
from WCW. It would have been better for
the Bulldog’s health to stay retired, as his 1999 run back in the WWF did very
little for him or his career legacy.
Bischoff is commented as making an allusion to the Bulldog’s drug
problems, quoted in a “WCW Live” report on WCW.com as saying that prior to his
termination that the Bulldog “has had problems in a number of different areas
in his life.” It is also reported that
WCW is looking into creating a Hardcore division, which it eventually did. I always saw that as a poor move since it
came off as WCW blatantly copying a WWF idea.
At least it gave us Screamin’ Norman Smiley. Oh, and at a house show in Tampa, Florida,
Jimmy Hart beat Bubba the Love Sponge by disqualification when Randy Savage
accidentally hit Hart.
Konnan is the subject of an interview piece in this issue
of the magazine.
He takes a dig at WCW, saying that guaranteed income
makes guys reluctant to work while injured or put on good matches. He also criticizes the politics of the
company, which he feels are holding him back.
One of the best points of the interview, which is of a shoot style, is
Konnan referencing how spending time at basketball courts, youth hangouts, and
watching television made him aware of pop culture phenomenon and helped him
stay current. It is a vision that is
sorely lacking in today’s wrestling product.
And what would an Apter mag be like without
rankings? Here are WOW’s rankings of WCW for the spring of 1999. It simply evaluates the top ten men on the
roster, with no regard for their championship status. I have a hard time buying Rey Mysterio as #1
at this time, but his defeat of Kidman, who is ranked #2, is the justification
given for him having the top spot. The
rankings are critical of the WCW’s booking of Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko,
saying that the confusion over whether they “were heels or faces killed their
Blake Norton’s next column highlights some of the
concerns pervading WCW in 1999 and boy is it spot-on.
It talks of Eric Bischoff’s tenuous position in the company
and how the booking power of Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash spells trouble. Also highlighted are WCW’s declining ratings
relative to the WWF. The resurrection of
the tag division is criticized for only creating “makeshift tag teams” such as
Kidman and Chavo Guerrero and Bobby Duncum and Mike Enos as is the company’s
decision to make Barry Windham and Curt Hennig their new champions instead of
Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit. However,
some bright spots are highlighted, such as the cruiserweight division having
better matches and the spotlight going less to authority angles.
The great thing about 1999 was that you had three
prominent wrestling promotions getting coverage, so ECW gets a section of the
magazine, albeit smaller than WCW and the WWF.
We are told that Chris Candido may have reinjured his neck against Taz
at Cyberslam 1999 and that Nova has returned to the tag team ranks with Chris
Chetti. Here are the ECW rankings:
Hard to say that Taz was not the #1 ECW wrestler in early
1999 with Rob Van Dam as the clear #2.
They would eventually fight at November to Remember when Taz was headed
out of the company. We are told that Taz
puts fans into ‘mark’ mode when he makes his entrance.
The ECW Insider column discusses how other companies are
trying to imitate ECW’s hardcore style.
In one of my favorite digs in the magazine it says that “In the G-rated
WCW, somewhere in between ‘Days of NWO Lives,’ Nash-friendly-booking, and the
5,278,189th showing of Konnan’s video, Bam Bam Bigelow calls himself
the ‘king of hardcore.’” It laments that
if WCW gets a Hardcore title that it will just put it on the Booty Man. It also predicts that imitations of ECW will
not hurt the company’s viewership, which might have been true, but it was never
able to use its hardcore status to overtake the other big two wrestling
The WWF news and notes makes us aware that a whole lot of
people were given their pink slips on April 13.
This included Golga, Blue Meanie, and Gillberg. Evidently, Meanie was rehired back a day later
because of an online “Save the Meanie” campaign, which I vaguely remember. There are also rumors that Steve Blackman is
going to get a more Attitude-style gimmick and that the Legion of Doom are
hankering for one last run. Thank god
that did not happen. A Triple H-Rock
feud is discussed for the summer, as well as yet another Austin-Undertaker
feud. So, WOW will bash WCW at will, but no jabs at the WWF for returning to
that feud? Ken Shamrock is also rumored
to be a possible contender for Austin’s title, but he was shunted down the card
Here are the WWF rankings:
Owen Hart makes his last appearance in the rankings at
#6. His excerpt talks about how he and
Jarrett are going to go “full heel” soon by splitting with Debra. The Undertaker receives some criticism for
“uninspiring” matches recently against the Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock. It questions whether the WWF will shelve the
Undertaker persona for good, which ended up coming to fruition at Judgment Day
the following year when the Undertaker appeared in his American Badass gimmick.
Backlash and Spring Stampede are given smark-style recaps
by Blake Norton. They do not provide
star ratings, but it does break down the story each match tried to tell and
crowd reaction. Backlash is criticized
for being mediocre, while Spring Stampede is called “a terrific pay-per-view
event.” I liked these recaps much more
than WWF Magazine, which really
stopped caring about them at this point
A summary of ECW’s Cyberslam is provided, especially its
event for fans at the Holiday Inn.
Justin Credible tells author Brad Perkins that he loves
ECW because “there’s no one better to book Justin Credible than Paul
Heyman.” I cannot say that I disagree,
especially when the alternative is Aldo Montoya. Taz has some good foreshadowing, telling a
fan that even though the WWF or WCW would give him a fresh start they would not
push him as hard as ECW has.
Another interview piece is provided in the magazine, this
time with New Jack
New Jack lets us know that he never had any professional
training and discusses his former career as a bounty hunter. Teaming New Jack and Steve Blackman up to
rope in criminals would be quite the show for WWE Network. He also has some stories of giving back to
fans, such as calling fans who give him their number or meeting kids after shows. He also trashes parts of ECW, saying that it
is just as corrupt and political as the WWF and WCW. New Jack indicates his desire to get into
movies, thereby ending his wrestling career, but that never came to fruition.
In happier news, we are told of Hacksaw Jim Duggan
recovering from kidney cancer. A simple
career recap is provided for fans who may not be aware of his football prowess
and wrestling accomplishments in the 1980s.
WOW also had a
regular trivia feature. If you click on
the image it should magnify it for you and you can see how many you can get
correct. The answers are on the bottom
(upside down) of each section of the quiz.
Other random news and rumors are provided, letting us
know that Torrie Wilson is leaving WCW due to the fact that she was not given
more creative control over her character.
It also informs us that Shawn Michaels has married the Nitro Girl
Whisper. It questions whether that
marriage will last, but thankfully for both of them it did and it was probably
a big part in why Michaels did not die of a drug overdose in this period. Kevin Nash is also identified for bringing Madusa
back to WCW.
We get an interview with Frye of the Nitro Girls. If you have no idea who this is, here’s a
We are told that the Nitro Girls were not professional
dancers and selected from different backgrounds. Frye was just “athletic” when she was picked
out for the team. She says she was not a
wrestling fan before coming to WCW. She
is also excited about the Nitro Girls possibly being in some storylines in
2000. Skepticism is expressed about the
Shawn Michaels-Whisper marriage because they knew each other for only thirty
days before getting married. Frye’s
dream is for the Nitro Girls to “explode like the Spice Girls.”
The magazine also provided lots of “Bombshell
photos.” I remember when I saw the one
of Tammy Sytch in this magazine that she was in bad shape contrary to a slogan
that says she is getting better:
The “Indies and International” section informs us that
Vader recently won the 19th Champion Carnival on April 16, defeating
Kenta Kobashi. This made Vader the first
American to win the tournament since Stan Hansen in 1993. It also lets us know that Mitsuharu Misawa is
taking over the booking for All Japan following the death of Giant Baba. All Pro Wrestling, run by Roland Alexander,
is profiled, with stars such as Vic Grimes and Michael Modest profiled. APW was featured in Beyond the Mat. Grimes is
dubbed as a “future WWF star.” If you
can find his tryout match on YouTube it worth a look as he and a smaller
opponent tear the house down.
WOW could also
have some fun. Its “Ring-Zingers” column
highlighted some of the funnier parodies about wrestling from ScoopTHIS.com.
The best story is how Sting has taken a vow of poverty
after finding religion. Little did WOW know that Sting would find religion
and enact his vow of poverty by wrestling in front of high school gyms and
empty baseball stadiums more than a decade later. The piece says that Sting has given his
fortune away to the less fortunate “beginning with the Disco Inferno, who has
since put away his run-down 1970s clothing in favor of the more contemporary
khaki cargo pants and loose-fitting shirt.”
Other funny stories talk about ECW wrestlers nearly
revolting at Paul Heyman’s Philadelphia office after they found out wrestling
was fake on NBC and how hundreds of WWF fans were injured “in what’s been
called the worst wrestling disaster since the return of the Ultimate Warrior”
in a fire in San Francisco. Evidently, a
fan’s sign that said “Debra Has Tasty Cakes” caught on fire after Kane’s pyro
and spread through the sea of other signs in the arena. During the fire, Mick Foley and Terry Funk
jumped into the flames and rolled around in glee, each suffering a third degree
burn. Ron Simmons also turned in his
resignation after the Undertaker’s symbol caught on fire. After Steve Austin could not douse the flames
with beer, Jeff Jarrett and Tiger Ali came down to the ring, which really
cooled things down.
Another parody piece pits a “fantasy match” of the
Ultimate Warrior against Mankind, simulated with a Dude Love and Rey Mysterio,
Jr. action figure.
Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone do the commentary on the
pages of the magazine and the Warrior keeps disappearing during the match,
frustrating Mankind. Mr. Socko turns on
Mankind, sporting its own “One Warrior Nation” t-shirt, but Mankind rebounds by
pulling out a can of Chef Boyardee and shoving it in the Warrior’s face. The newly fattened Warrior cannot make it
through the trap door anymore and the Undertaker proceeds to do a run-in,
although he takes his time and Ross and Schiavone argue over whether the
Undertaker’s symbol is a cross, even after Mankind is nailed to it. This read like a fantasy booking scenario
Finally, Dutch Mantel’s column “The World According to Dutch”
closes out the magazine. He shills his Dirty Dutch’s Little Handbook for Wrestling
Junkies, which will be autographed and have some “special clip art of
wrestlers” for $20. You have to pay with
a money order, though. He also gives his
list of the top five bleeders in professional wrestling. It is no surprise who is #1 on the list:
Overall, this was a very detailed and fun magazine. It did a much better job shedding light on
what was happening in the wrestling world in the spring of 1999 than any other
wrestling magazine on the market. For
next time, I will review the first edition of RAW Magazine. I figured that
during this cold winter we could all use some “Sunny days.”
As you may already know Eric Bischoff prides himself more as
a television producer than a wrestling promoter. The seeds of such thought were
planted back in the summer of 1993 during his first year as Executive Producer/Vice-President
Instead of the darker, papered crowd atmosphere in Macon, GA
or Dothan, AL Bischoff wanted to put bright lights, glitz, and glamour on WCW’s
television programming. For instance, from January to April of 1993 WCW
Worldwide was taped 9 times in seven different locations. The programs, while
entertaining, looked bland and boring compared to the higher production values
of WCW’s competitor, the World Wrestling Federation.
From July 7-10, WCW taped FOUR months of WCW Worldwide in
front of a papered (mostly tourist) crowd at the Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando,
Here is a list of the current champions heading into the
WCW World Heavyweight champion: Big Van Vader
NWA Champion: Barry Windham
US Heavyweight champion: held up after a controversial match
between “Ravishing” Rick Rude and Dustin Rhodes
World TV champion: “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
WCW World tag team champions: The Hollywood Blonds
(“Stunning” Steve Austin and “Flyin’” Brian Pillman)
Let’s break down the highlights day by day:
Day 1 (7/7/1993):
For the August 28th episode Arn Anderson and Paul
Roma were taped as WCW World Tag Team champions in spite of the fact they had
not yet won the titles. Their title victory would take place on August 18 at
the Clash of the Champions as Lord Steven Regal had to be substituted for Pillman
due to an ankle injury.
Additionally, for the September 4th episode “Nature
Boy” Ric Flair was involved in a match as the NWA champion against Big Sky. In
actuality, he won the belt at the Beach Blast PPV over Windham on July 18. This would not sit well with the NWA.
For the September 11th episode Ricky “The Dragon”
Steamboat was featured as the World TV champion against Denny Brown although he
was not yet the champion. He won the belt at the August 18 Clash.
Day 2 (7/8/1993):
During the September 18th episode Dustin Rhodes
was featured as the US Heavyweight champion in a tag match with Sting against Orndorff
and Chris Benoit. Rhodes actually won the belt against Rude on August 30 in
On the September 25th episode Regal defended the
World TV title against Keith Cole. He defeated
Steamboat for the belt on September 19 in Houston, TX.
Also featured on that show were the WCW World tag team
champions the Nasty Boys. They won the titles from Anderson and Roma on
September 19 in Houston, TX.
On the October 2nd episode the Hollywood Blonds
were featured in a tag match but did not bring their title belts to the ring.
On the October 9th episode Rude was featured as
the new World Heavyweight Champion (formerly NWA champion) in a match against
The importance of this match derives from the withdrawal of
WCW from the NWA in September. The NWA felt that these tapings were a breach of
kayfabe. WCW withdrew their affiliation from the NWA making the belt worthless
in the process.
Day 3 (7/9/1993):
However, in an attempt to legitimize Rude’s championship,
WCW renamed the title the International World champion on its October 30th
episode. Rude would defeat Brady Boone on this show.
For the November 6th show Regal successfully
defended his not-yet-his TV title against Johnny B. Badd.
Day 4 (7/10/1993):
Also on the November 6th episode Rude won a
non-title match against Frankie Rose. While describing the match Tony Schiavone
recognized Rude’s title as a World title rather than just a “Gold Belt.”
On the November 13th episode despite being the
current TV champion Orndorff won a match while not showcasing the title since
Regal would be champion by this point. Furthermore Steamboat won a match but
did not possess a belt in spite of winning and losing the belt between the times
this match took place and when it would finally air.
For the November 20th episode the Nasty Boys were
featured again as WCW World tag team champions.
So, in spite of three PPV and two Clash of the Champions
broadcasts, WCW gave away months of booking plans within this 4-day span.
Although I cannot locate the specific instance, it has been documented that Sid
Vicious was taped as WCW World Heavyweight Champion. This video was supposed to
air after Starrcade ’93; however, on September 19 Sid and Arn Anderson were
involved in an infamous late night brawl overseas involving safety scissors.
Subsequently Sid was fired after several wrestlers threatened to quit. Flair
was inserted in Sid’s place.
While money was saved in the process of filming these shows WCW
had two problems on their hands. The first problem was fulfilling the title
changes. The Regal substitution on August 18 stands out as a glaring example of
what can go wrong. The second problem was the wrestlers’ attitudes after the
tapings. Since title plans were already put into place during the tapings, the wrestlers
who would not hold titles held grudges instead and their work ethic in matches
suffered. At the very least WCW would learn from this mistake and not tape wrestlers with titles for Worldwide in the future.
WCW lost $23 million in 1993 not because of the Disney
tapings but due to overestimated revenue. Having seen the extremely low
attendance figures for the house shows I can safely say that WCW lost money
whenever they stepped into a gym or an arena. Amazingly, they even cancelled a show at the
Omni on July 3 dubbed “The Great American Bash.”
Wrestling in 1993 was no longer a mainstream product. The
positive mainstream attention wouldn’t resurface until 1996; however, the
negative stigma was due to the WWF steroid trials. With such a black mark on
the industry it was difficult for WCW to make a profit. The Disney tapings only
served to facilitate further losses.
–A video package
highlights how the British Bulldog has become a wrestling ambassador for Great
–Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from
Birmingham, England. The setup was
pretty cool, with WWF logos in the middle of the Union Jack and attendants in
British dress flanking the entrance ramp.
–Dude Love talks in
a British accent and says that he does not miss his teeth.
Contest: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna)
defeats Dude Love with the Pedigree at 12:53:
The crowd is hot for the opener, with the usual British
gimmick of having people in the audience with air horns. I would really hate to be seated by those
fans during the show. The announcers do
not talk about Foley’s prior feud with Helmsley since he is wrestling under a
different gimmick. The announcers also
hype Helmsley’s “cerebral” nature and how he is the smartest man in the
business. The first five minutes is a
pretty good technical wrestling exhibition, with Love working the leg with an
Indian death lock. Helmsley bails to
avoid Sweet Shin Music and that is Chyna’s cue to start interfering to keep Helmsley in control. Helmsley and
Mike Chioda do the “push the referee, referee pushes back spot” after Chioda
breaks up Helmsley using the ropes on an abdominal stretch and the crowd loves
it. Love pulls out an arm drag off of
the second rope (?!?!), but Chyna puts Helmsley’s foot on the rope after Love
hits Sweet Shin Music and that distraction enables Helmsley to
steal the victory. This was a fantastic
opener, with very little resting and it used great pacing to keep a hot crowd
engaged. Rating: ***¾
–The crowd gives
its opinion on who is going to win the main event between the British Bulldog
and Shawn Michaels. There are a
surprising number of Michaels supporters, but a thirteen year old kid has the
best line of the segment: “What has
Shawn Michaels done in the last year except for whining about losing his
–Sunny comes out to
do guest ring announcing duties.
–Tiger Ali Singh
(w/Tiger Jeet Singh) pins Leif Cassidy after a Tiger Bomb (flying bulldog) at
This was one of the few appearances of Tiger Ali Singh in
1997, despite him being heralded as a big acquisition earlier in the year, and
was the first sighting of Cassidy on a big show in more than six months. Before the match, Singh gives a weird promo saying
that he is a proud Arab Canadian that is drug free and hopes to set the world
on fire. The crowd boos all of it,
especially when Tiger Jeet gets on the mic.
The match is a disjointed mess, as Cassidy bumps around a lot for the
rookie, but Singh fails to pull off a hiptoss and cannot adequately get himself
on the top rope when Cassidy tries to suplex him on there to set up the
finish. The crowd reads right through
Singh’s lack of ability and Ross got so bored during the contest that he bugged
Lawler about his relationship with Brian Christopher. Rating: ½*
–Footage of the
Headbangers winning the tag team titles at In Your House: Ground Zero is shown.
–WWF Tag Team
Championship Match: The Headbangers
(Champions) defeat Savio Vega & Miguel Perez when Mosh pins Perez after a
Mosh Pit at 13:33:
The Headbangers have not scored a clean win on a big
television show since becoming the champions, but I like their chances of
getting one here. The Boricuas play the
heel role well, despite constantly reverting to nerve holds when they cannot
think of anything else to do. Thrasher
is placed in peril for ten minutes and when all hell breaks loose, Savio
prevents Miguel from getting pinned off of a super hurricanrana and a
powerslam. However, Mosh surprises Perez
with the Mosh Pit after he powerbombs Thrasher and the Headbangers retain the
titles. The heat segment was a little
long without enough believable near-falls, but this was a proficient tag team
match that the crowd was into throughout. Rating: ***
The British Bulldog tells Jim Ross in a taped interview that he is dedicating
tonight’s match to his sister, who has battled cancer.
–The Patriot beats
Flash Funk with the Uncle Slam at 8:46:
Shades of gray!
The Patriot gets booed, since he is waving the American flag in a
foreign land. McMahon tries to say it is
a mixed reaction, but there are no audible cheers to be found anywhere. The match has its moments, but both men’s
styles are so different that they do not complement each other well. Funk does not utilize a lot of high flying
offense, but he does hit a splash off the top rope for a believable near
fall. However, a moonsault eats knees
and the Patriot finishes and gets booed out of the building. The finishing sequence was just enough to
keep this from ending up below average. Rating:
–The Legion of Doom
tell the Godwinns that they are going down and Hawk recites some weird poem
about a bird doing its business in his eye and saying that cows don’t fly.
–The Legion of
Doom beat The Godwinns when Animal pins Phineas after a Doomsday Device at
The recently debuted Uncle Cletus is nowhere to be found and Henry is still mad about his broken neck and this feud continues. Both members of the LOD are placed in peril,
but the Godwinns offense consists mostly of rest holds so it is tough to watch.
They tease you with a finish about
seven minutes in when Hawk eats a Slop Drop, but he kicks out and the match
A myriad of clotheslines put the LOD back in control and they capture
another victory over the Godwinns, thereby continuing to dominate this
feud. Phineas takes a nasty bump off of
the Doomsday Device, as he seems to crash down on his head, but he appears to be okay. Rating: *
Ken Shamrock, who has suffered internal injuries in his match against Faarooq
on RAW. As a result, he has been pulled
out of his match against Owen Hart on tonight’s show and Vader will take his
place. Shamrock says that he is
disappointed that he cannot compete and Rockabilly comes out. Rockabilly makes fun of Shamrock’s situation
and slaps him, but that leads to Shamrock taking him down and applying an ankle
lock before WWF officials intervene. You would think that Billy would learn to counter that by the time he feuded with Shamrock in 1999.
WWF Champion Bret Hart, who says that he still hopes that the British fans
support him and even though he is fighting a fan favorite in the Undertaker
that he is going to give his best effort tonight. McMahon presses Bret on the fans booing him
and Bret sheepishly says that he cares about his fans. This was a really awkward interview for all
parties and made Bret look really bad. This will become a common booking pattern for Bret’s last month in the company.
–Vader pins Owen
Hart with a powerslam at 12:14:
Owen is really excited to be cheered by half the crowd
and an entire barricade nearly falls over because the fans want to touch him. After Vader showcases his weight advantage in
the early going, Owen uses a hurricanrana to escape a powerbomb and teases a
Sharpshooter, but can’t turn Vader over.
Vader seemingly kills Owen with a Samoan Drop and a second rope splash,
but Owen kicks out and then proceeds to outdo his brother’s chest-first bump
into the corner. The crowd, which was
equally divided at the beginning, starts to cheer Owen since he’s the underdog,
but it makes little difference as Vader pounds away. Owen catches Vader off guard with an enziguri
and applies a Sharpshooter, which is a great spot because the enziguri can
legitimately knock anyone out, but Vader makes the ropes. Owen then slams Vader, which gets Hulk
Hogan-type reaction, but that only gets two.
Vader Bomb eats knees and Owen hulks up.
However, he makes the fatal decision to try a flying body press and
Vader spikes him into the canvas to pick up a hard fought win. It was surreal to see Owen play the plucky
babyface role, but this is a match you have to see if you are an Owen fan. Easy match of the night so far, with HHH-Dude
Love a close second. Rating:
–Footage of the
ending of the SummerSlam main event between Bret Hart and the Undertaker is
cuts a taped promo where he says Bret Hart has one night to prove himself
worthy of being WWF champion and since Shawn Michaels is not the guest referee
he is going to have to beat him one-on-one.
Match: Bret “the Hitman” Hart (Champion)
defeats The Undertaker by disqualification at 28:34:
Back in 1997 there were no immediate rematch clauses, so
the Undertaker is getting his rematch with Bret at this show. You would think that because they are on
foreign soil that the crowd would be behind Bret, but he gets a John Cena-type
reaction. The early stages of the match
are an Attitude Era-style brawl, as both men tear into each other and brawl up
the entrance ramp, with the Undertaker getting the better of it. Bret gets whipped chest-first into an exposed
turnbuckle and the Undertaker works the upper chest with a series of heart
punches, which displays some unique psychology.
The Undertaker even uses a crucifix pin to secure a near-fall. Bret fights back by working the right leg and
gets booed out of the building when he applies the ring post figure-four. Bret pulls out the Mr. Perfect counter from
SummerSlam 1991 to put the Undertaker in the Sharpshooter, but the Undertaker
powers out and rallies. Bret tries to
use the ring bell as a weapon, which the Undertaker blocks with a big boot, but
when he tries to use it the referee grabs it and Bret chop blocks the
Undertaker’s injured leg. Bret ends up
hung in the ropes after fighting out of a Tombstone and when the Undertaker
will not stop his attack, the referee disqualifies him. A lame finish for what was a great match, but
the Undertaker’s refusal to sell the leg near the end of match always brings
these matches down I mean,
the Undertaker should have barely been able to stand near the twenty-one minute
mark, but he walks out of the match as if nothing happened to him. Still, the interesting psychology in the
early going and the divided and vocal crowd make this the best Undertaker-Bret
match that I have ever seen. After the
match, the Undertaker chokeslams the referee and Gerald Brisco, who has come to
get Bret out of the ropes. Rating:
says that he is going to become the first Grand Slam champion in WWF history.
Championship Match: “The Heartbreak Kid”
Shawn Michaels beats The British Bulldog (Champion w/Tracy) via submission to a
figure-four leg lock to win the title at 22:53:
The European championship was never intended as a
long-term WWF title, as it was more of a prop for the Bulldog, but this match
changed that. This is also the first and
only time that a European title match headlined a pay-per-view. The Bulldog dominates the early going with
his usual power offense and Michaels bumps like a pinball. If Michaels really wanted to rehash the
issues between these two he would walk over to Diana and hit on her, but on
second thought he was innocent of those accusations in the summer of 1996. Rick Rude wanders out ten minutes in and
immediately gets involved by interfering in a Bulldog roll up, tripping him
when he runs the ropes, and tossing the Bulldog into the ring post. Michaels opts to keep the match grounded, but
the Bulldog mounts a second rally, which brings out Hunter Hearst Helmsley and
Chyna. Now, this never made sense to me
because Owen and Bret Hart are backstage, so why are they sitting around and
not coming to their comrade’s aid?
Michaels hits two flying elbow drops, but misses Sweet Chin Music. However, Rude prevents the Bulldog from
hitting a running powerslam. The battle
spills to the floor, where the Bulldog tries to give Michaels a running
powerslam, but his foot slips off of the stage the outside mats are on and he
eats Sweet Chin Music. With the
referee’s back turned, Rude and Helmsley damage the Bulldog’s knee further and
Helmsley hits a Pedigree for good measure.
Inside, Michaels takes off the Bulldog’s knee brace, tosses it to Diana,
and applies a figure-four, with Helmsley and Chyna assisting in leverage, and
Rude prevents the Bulldog from reaching the ropes. Faced with four-on-one odds, the Bulldog
eventually passes out and Michaels becomes the first Grand Slam champion in WWF
history. The original booking of the
match called for the Bulldog to win in triumphant fashion in his hometown over
a long-time rival that he had never defeated on the big stage, which is why he
dedicated the match to his dying sister Tracy, but Michaels vetoed the
finish. Under these circumstances and
Michaels behavior at the time it does make you sympathetic to Bret’s case about
why he refused to job to him at Survivor Series. The heel interference was great for crowd
heat and made the Bulldog appear strong, but I never care for this match. Maybe it’s because I know the political games
played behind the scenes or the fact that the Bulldog really should have gone
over here, but this is a tough contest to stomach. Rating: ***½
–After the match,
Michaels gets on the house mic and gloats about his victory as trash begins to
fill the ring. Michaels taunts Diana and
then reapplies the figure-four until Diana and Owen Hart hit the ring and force
the heels to flee.
The Final Report Card: A Bulldog victory, where the Hart Foundation
stormed the ring and helped fight off D-Generation X, would have made this one
of my favorite WWF shows of all-time.
Despite the political games of the finish, this is a very solid show
that is worth checking out if you have never seen it. The opener is great, the tag team
title match is better than expected, and the last three matches are
fantastic. In some ways, I think this
pay-per-view is on the same level as Canadian Stampede and could easily be
considered the WWF’s best pay-per-view outing of 1997, even if the United
States did not have access to this show.
Also, random aside for my readers, but would you like me to start posting two reviews a week (say Tuesday at the regular time and on Saturday) or just keep it at one?
–A video package hypes tonight’s feature
match between the Undertaker and Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
–Jim Ross and Dok
Hendrix are doing commentary for tonight’s show. This show looks to be taped from the same
place as last week’s episode.
Contest: The Patriot beats Owen Hart by
disqualification when the British Bulldog interferes at 6:08 shown:
Owen comes out to his old theme, which has not happened
much since he joined the Hart Foundation.
Hendrix emphasizes throughout the match that the Patriot is not a “goody
two shoes” but is instead a “really cool dude.”
Ross just prefers to emphasize the Patriot’s collegiate football
background. The storyline they should
have emphasized for this match is Owen taking out the Patriot’s legs for Ground
Zero to help Bret’s title defense, but there are not any segments prior to the
match to play up that point. This is a
standard back-and-forth match and you can tell Owen wants to work a faster
pace, but the Patriot moves very slowly when transitioning between spots. The Patriot appears set for victory at the
six minute mark, but the British Bulldog blindsides him for the predictable
disqualification finish. Decent TV fare,
but these guys did not complement each other well. Rating: **
–After the match,
Bret Hart comes down to inflict some damage and he puts the Patriot in the
Sharpshooter, but Vader runs out and takes out all three guys by himself. He whips Bret into the Patriot, who delivers
Uncle Slam before WWF officials pour out and put a stop to these
Sergeant Slaughter announces that the WWF is not willing to allow Steve Austin
to compete before he fully completes his physical rehabilitation. Slaughter announces that Austin is suspended
indefinitely and will be forced to forfeit his share of the tag team
championship at Ground Zero.
–Steve Austin tells
a camera crew to take a seat outside his residence so he can complain about a
care package that the WWF sent him.
1-900-737-4WWF to find out Brian Pillman’s plans for Marlena if he wins his
match at Ground Zero.
–Sunny comes out to
do guest commentary and she says that she plans on interviewing Rick Rude and
Shawn Michaels tonight.
–Steve Austin shows
the camera crew a FedEx package that the WWF sent him, which has a hilarious
set of media photographs of Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Gorilla Monsoon that
are signed and wish Austin well. Austin
has one of the camera people put the photographs on a deer model, which an Owen
Hart picture on the rear end, so he can shoot at them with a compound bow. Austin says he would defend the title every
night if he could, but the WWF is too scared he is going to sue them. The WWF really played the Austin injury well,
as they kept him on screen, gave him cover to be out of action for months, and
Austin’s promo work kept his character hot.
–Ross asks Dude
Love how he feels about having to forfeit the tag team titles at Ground Zero,
but before Love can finish his thoughts, the British Bulldog attacks him.
Match: Dude Love beats The British
Bulldog (European Champion) by disqualification when Owen Hart runs in at 5:35
Ross announces during the match that the Headbangers have
been added in place of Steve Austin and Dude Love in the tag team championship
Fatal Four Way match at Ground Zero.
Ross also keeps hyping Foley’s Cactus Jack persona, which makes the
debut of that persona less of a surprise in retrospect. The highlights of this match are Love taking
his usual brutal bumps into the guardrail and the steps, but there’s not much
else. Like the opener, Love hits Sweet
Shin Music and a double arm DDT, but Owen runs in to prevent his partner from
losing the match. Rating: *½
–After the bell,
Owen Hart gets on the mic and promises to break Love’s neck to send a message
to Steve Austin, but Love is saved by the Legion of Doom. Love tries to get the Legion of Doom to dance
with him, but they are not down with that and leave.
–A video package
hypes the Brian Pillman-Goldust match at Ground Zero.
Pillman, who says he is not going to make Terri do anything with him that she
has not already done after he wins her services at Ground Zero.
WWF Champion Bret Hart, who says that he takes pride in destroying American
heroes and when he destroys the Patriot it will be like destroying each and
every single American wrestling fan.
Bret just has nothing to work with in this feud and it has turned him
into a generic anti-American character.
Rick Rude, who hits on Sunny and reinforces his “insurance man” gimmick. Rude fit this role really well and it is a
shame that his run did not last very long.
to get your copy of Cause Stone Cold Said So for $19.99 (plus $6
shipping & handling)!
–Ross and Hendrix
recap the entire show far. The benefit
of watching these things in retrospect is that you can always fast forward…
defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) by disqualification when Shawn
Michaels interferes at 4:33 shown:
It takes less than two minutes for Rick Rude to walk out
and distract the Undertaker, which gives Helmsley an early advantage. The Undertaker rallies after selling for a
few short moments, but Shawn Michaels interferes and chop blocks him for our
third screwy finish of the night. This
was simple time filler. Rating:
–After the match,
the not yet named D-Generation X does a beatdown of the Undertaker, until he
revives and chokeslams a security guard and a WWF official in frustration as
D-Generation X flees.
–Sunny catches up
with Shawn Michaels, who is leaving the arena, and Michaels promises that he
will draw last blood from the Undertaker at Ground Zero.
–The Legion of
Doom wrestle Jesus & Jose to a double disqualification when the Godwinns
come to the ring at 2:32:
Hendrix says that Jesus and Jose have lots of quality
wins and deserved to be in the Fatal Four Way at Ground Zero, but I am having a
hard time thinking of a single quality win they have on their resume. On paper this is an enhancement talent match,
but Ross’s delivery on commentary takes it to another level. The Godwinns wander out after two minutes and
Animal hits a nice plancha onto them. I
am assuming that this one ended up as a double disqualification because a
winner was never declared and there did not appear to be a count out and the
Godwinns did not directly interfere in sight of the referee. However, I’m really getting tired of all the
–After the match,
the Disciples of Apocalypse, Los Boricuas, the Godwinns, and the Legion of Doom
brawl all over the place.
–A video package
hypes the Patriot’s skills and his college football career at South Carolina.
appearance at Camp Cool J is shown. Ross
tells us that he will be back in action in three weeks.
defeats Salvatore Sincere via submission to the ankle lock at 5:19:
Shamrock puts on a submission clinic, putting Sincere in
leg locks and armbars. Sincere manages a
prolonged offensive sequence, but Shamrock kicks out of a Northern lights
suplex at one and that’s a clear sign to the marks that Sincere has no chance
at all. A hurricanrana and ankle lock
put Sincere away. Rating: *¾
–A video package
hypes the light heavyweight division.
Exhibition: Scott Putski beats Steve
Casey with the Polish Hammer at 3:49:
Putski is facing Brian Christopher is a light heavyweight
contest at Ground Zero, so this is meant to showcase him and keep in the public
eye of top talent in the light heavyweight division. Putski runs through some power moves for a
light heavyweight, like an overhead suplex, and Casey has a small offensive
set, but his moves lack believability because he hits Putski so softly. A Casey hurricanrana is blocked by a Putski
sit out powerbomb and its lights out for Casey soon after. Putski really needed another finisher because
the Polish Hammer was so 1970s as far as a finishing move was concerned. Rating: *½
Paul Bearer, who says that Vader’s allegiance should be with him and not the
United States. He says when Kane comes
it is going to help him.
Match: The Interrogator (w/The
Commandant, Recon & Sniper) defeats Sonny Rogers & Jerry Fox when he
pins both men at 2:20:
The WWF really wanted the Interrogator (a.k.a. Kurrgan)
to be the focal point of the Truth Commission so he would usually have handicap
matches against jobbers on the company’s B and C level shows. Kurrgan runs through some basic moves on both
guys, suplexes Rogers on top of Fox, and then pins them with one foot.
defeating Salvatore Sincere tonight is the Stridex Triple Action segment.
–A music video
package that recaps tonight’s show plays us out.
The Final Report Card: This was the very definition of a filler show
as run-ins occurred in every match and kept the gears going for the Ground Zero
pay-per-view. I understand some of the
finishes, like the end of the Patriot-Owen, but running four disqualifications
in a row is too much and viewers tire of it very quickly. Thumbs down this week.
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are in Atlantic
City, New Jersey. There are lots of ECW
fans in the house and you can see their signs everywhere in the audience. There are so many signs that they practically
coat the floor audience.
Rick Rude, who claims that he is a mercenary and is willing to provide
insurance to anyone willing to pay for it.
He pledges that once he is paid he makes sure to give the intended
victim a “Rude Awakening.”
–Owen Hart and the
British Bulldog deliver a taped promo against the Legion of Doom, where they
promise to deliver some punishment in advance of the Ground Zero Fatal Four
Sergeant Slaughter is shown arguing with Shawn Michaels in the locker room, but
no audio is provided.
Contest: Owen Hart & The British
Bulldog defeated The Legion of Doom when Owen pins Animal after Henry Godwinn
hits Animal with a slop bucket at 4:57:
These two teams have wrestled several times in 1997,
mostly when Owen and the Bulldog held the tag team titles and both teams are
vying for the “favorite” label heading into Ground Zero. This is your standard television contest and
when all hell breaks loose in the ring, the Godwinns interfere and give Owen
and the Bulldog the victory. After the
match, the three teams brawl with each other to emphasize that every team will
be for themselves at Ground Zero.
Evidently the Godwinns-LOD issue is building for a house show taking
place in Chicago this Saturday. Rating:
–Mankind cuts a
pre-taped promo saying that he is not sure if the Undertaker can trust him in
their match against Shawn Michaels and Hunter Hearst Helmsley tonight.
tells the announce team that he is tired of being painted into a corner. He says that he is not supposed to face the
Undertaker until Ground Zero and that he does not want to team with Hunter
Hearst Helmsley because they are not partners.
–Sunny comes out to
be the guest ring announcer for our next match because she has nothing better
says that his loss to Taka Michinoku a couple of weeks ago was a fluke and to
prove it he is going to beat Flash Funk.
–Flash Funk says
that he is not a stepping stone.
–Flash Funk pins
“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher with the Funky Flash Splash at 3:40:
The sound crew messes up the ring entrances, as they play
Flash Funk’s theme music for Christopher and it does not fit Christopher’s
entrance mannerisms. The problem with
the light heavyweight division is on display in this match as expanding the
weight limits and categories could have involved some previously established
superstars like Funk. Of course, that
may not mean much since Funk hardly wins matches anymore, but it would at least
give some guys something to do. When
Christopher goes for the Tennessee Jam, Lawler leaves the announce table and
tells Christopher to go for the piledriver and this distraction allows Funk to
crotch Christopher on the top rope and finish him off. Funk has racked up a two match RAW winning
streak, but the bookers still do not have anything for him to do. Rating: **
–After the match,
Sunny consoles Lawler over his son’s loss as McMahon and Ross hype the house
show circuit, as well as the Monday Night Raw coming from Madison Square Garden
on September 22nd.
says his patience with Shawn Michaels has run out and he will settle the score
with him before Ground Zero and if Mankind gets out of line he will be taken
out as well.
and Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna are showing arguing backstage, but like
Michaels segment earlier there is no audio.
beats The Sultan (w/The Iron Sheik) via submission to the ankle lock at 3:16:
Shamrock survives a some token resistance from the
Sultan, which includes the Iron Sheik breaking his Iranian flag across
Shamrock’s back, and then gives both of them belly-to-belly suplexes. A hurricanrana and ankle lock get the
victory. Rating: *
–The announce team
talks about tonight’s tag team main event.
–The Nation of
Domination, with their new acquisition Rocky Maivia, come out and demand that
Jim Ross interview them. The crowd works
up a “Rocky sucks” chant and Faarooq tells the crowd that Ahmed Johnson was
kicked out of the Nation because he was a token black man. Maivia says he got tired of the crowd
chanting for him to die and he became a part of the Nation for respect. Maivia says that the Nation are not racist,
but the Disciples of Apocalypse are, and the Nation will win the respect of the
WWF through any means necessary. Maivia
is still a little raw on the mic, but he sounds natural and conveys intensity. The DOA appear on the Titantron and Crush
challenges the Nation to come out to the parking lot for a brawl and the Nation
Marlena are shown playing with their daughter Dakota on the beaches of Atlantic
–Dok Hendrix hypes
the Madison Square Garden Monday Night Raw show, which will feature a triple
threat match between Bret Hart, the Undertaker, and Steve Austin. I need to see if there is footage of that match. Shawn Michaels will also be in attendance and
there will be a 25 man battle royal, with the winner to face the WWF champion
at the next Madison Square Garden show.
Helmsley and Chyna tell the announce crew that they are tired of paying for
Shawn Michaels crimes and Helmsley tells McMahon that if he wants a fight then
he has one.
Chyna’s interview is cut off as the Disciples of Apocalypse and the Nation of
Domination brawl in the parking lot, but as the groups brawl, Los Boricuas
steal DOA’s motorcycles and drive off.
–“The Real Double
J” Jesse James defeats “The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman by disqualification
when Goldust interferes at 1:46:
James gimmick is so played out that he does not bother
singing on his way to the ring anymore.
You can tell when Ross calls these matches that he thinks this whole
storyline is ridiculous since he knows what Pillman used to be capable of in
WCW. James plays around with Pillman, by
lifting his dress and “fondling” him, which is a little distasteful. Pillman appears to have another match won,
but Goldust runs out, carefully elbow drops James, and costs Pillman the match.
interviews Goldust on the entrance ramp and Goldust says he wants Pillman to
wear a dress for another week because he looks so beautiful. Pillman grabs the house mic and asks Goldust
to give him one more match and if he loses that match then he will leave the
WWF forever. However, he says that if he
defeats Goldust then he gets Marlena as his personal assistant for thirty days. When Goldust refuses, Pillman says that
Dakota is his love child and Marlena accepts Pillman’s challenge.
Goldust is not happy with that at all.
Pillman’s craziness was well suited for this feud, but unfortunately it
never came full circle.
–Vader says that
the next segment will see “Vader Time.”
defeats Vader (w/Paul Bearer) with Uncle Slam at 5:00:
The ECW-like crowd takes to Vader and cheers loudly as he
tears into the Patriot. The Patriot hits
the Patriot Missile as Bret Hart wanders out and Vader blocks a sunset flip
with a sit down splash and focuses his offense on the upper sternum, which is
quite unique. The Patriot blocks a Vader
Bomb with his knees and then surprises Vader with Uncle Slam to capture another
big win. An okay big man match, but this
had several blown spots that were hard to mask. Rating: **
–After the match,
Bret Hart distracts the Patriot and Vader does a beat down. Vader prepares to give the Patriot a Vader
Bomb, but Bret enters the ring and drapes a Canadian flag over the
Patriot. Vader does not like this,
breaks the Canadian flag over his knee, and starts brawling with Bret until the
Hart Foundation interfere and do a beat down on him. This segment makes Vader a face and he will
remain in that role until he leaves the company.
1-900-737-4WWF to hear updates about Steve Austin, Mark Henry, and Ahmed
Johnson, a possible managerial shakeup in the company, who is soliciting Rick
Rude’s services, and why Shawn Michaels has been seen with Brakus.
WWF Champion Bret Hart, who says that he is not scared of Vader and prefers to
face him sooner rather than later.
–Owen Hart’s spinning
heel kick on Goldust on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Stridex Triple Action
–A video package
recaps Steve Austin’s neck injury.
–A taped interview
between Jim Ross and Steve Austin in Philadelphia, where Austin will be
medically checked out tomorrow. Austin
says that he was temporarily paralyzed at SummerSlam and Owen Hart has hell to
pay. Austin says that he does not care
what the doctors say because he will be back and he will be at Ground Zero.
to get your VHS copy of SummerSlam 1997.
It will cost you $23.95 (plus shipping & handling)!
–Mankind & The
Undertaker defeat “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels & Hunter Hearst
Helmsley (w/Chyna) by disqualification when Michaels hits the Undertaker with a chair at 8:29:
The atmosphere surrounding this match is like a Lethal
Lottery tag match, with no one appearing to trust who they are partnered
with. Michaels avoids the Undertaker for a while and after the Undertaker shrugs
off some of Michaels offense, Michaels bails and calls out Rick Rude, who
slowly walks to the ring when we head to a commercial break. Mankind is placed in peril, but this match is
nowhere near the quality of last week’s singles match between Michaels and
Mankind. A funny announcing moment
happens during the double KO segment, when Ross compares it to a mugging on the
Boardwalk, which destroys the peaceful image of Atlantic City that McMahon has
been at pains to explain during the entire show. When all hell breaks loose, Rude attempts to
hit the Undertaker with a chair, but the Undertaker turns around and stops that
and stalks Rude into the ring. However,
that leads to Michaels picking up the chair and smashing the Undertaker over
the head with it for the finish This match never felt like it got going until the sick chair shot that
ended it. Rating: *½
–After the bell,
the Undertaker gets up and reveals a nasty blade job, where you can see a clean
cut above the Undertaker’s forehead with blood dripping out. Michaels hits the
Undertaker with the chair a second time, but the Undertaker stirs from that so
Helmsley, Rude, Chyna, and Michaels all head for the locker room.
The Final Report Card: There were some decent storyline developments
on this show, like Vader’s face turn, Rick Rude explaining who he was, and the
Pillman-Goldust feud going to a whole new level, but the main event was really
disappointing. Still, most of the
matches were decent and that’s enough to give the show a neutral rating, since
it was nowhere near good, but was also not terrible. By the way, due to the U.S. Open, RAW did not
air for the next two weeks, but we will review the August 29th
“Friday Night’s Main Event” that aired on USA.
–Jim Ross narrates
a video package that recaps the big events on last week’s show.
tells a camera man to get away from him in the backstage area as we go on the
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Ross are doing announcing duties tonight and they
are broadcasting from Biloxi, Mississippi.
Shawn Michaels, who comes out to a chorus of boos. He still high fives fans, though. Michaels reiterates that he does not care how
the fans feel about him and criticizes McMahon for not telling him that he
would be wrestling Mankind tonight. The
fans work out a “Shawn is gay” chant and Michaels responds by telling them to
ask their mothers and sisters how gay he is.
Michaels alleges that there is a conspiracy in the WWF against him and
he warns Commissioner Sergeant Slaughter not to steal his spotlight. This obviously brings out Slaughter, who says
he is getting into Michaels business, and Michaels mocks him and tells
Slaughter that he has an insurance policy to deal with Mankind and the WWF
officials trying to mess with him tonight.
This opening segment went too long and it closed awkwardly, but it did
continue Michaels momentum as a quasi-heel character.
–The Biloxi fans
share their thoughts about tonight’s Shawn Michaels-Mankind match. Most fans think Michaels will win.
–Hawk whips a Raw
is War barrel in the locker room to prepare for tonight’s “country whipping”
match with Henry Godwinn tonight.
tells the announce team that he can’t wait to whip the skin off of Hawk’s back
Whipping Contest: Hawk (w/Animal)
defeats Henry Godwinn (w/Phineas Godwinn) at 3:48
In this match each competitor has a strap and they can
use it as much as they please and it is no disqualification. The winner is the first man who can send
their opponent out of the ring. The
British Bulldog and Owen Hart are on commentary and they hype the Fatal Four
Way tag team match at Ground Zero, which will be for the tag team championships. This contest starts with some decent
intensity, but quickly dies because of the limitations of the competitors. That said, I do admire both guys for taking
some nasty strap shots to the back. Hawk
modifies his flying clothesline finisher with the strap, but this brings
Phineas into the ring to interfere. Of
course that brings Animal into the ring and he sends the Godwinns out of the
ring by using one of their slop buckets and it ends the contest. They should have just made this a tag match
after going with that ending. Rating:
reminds Brian Pillman that because he lost last week that he will have to wear
a dress this week.
Exhibition: Scott Putski defeats Tony
Williams with a Polish Hammer at 3:28:
Before the bout begins, Goldust and Marlena come down to
the ring for commentary and Goldust says that he and Marlena have a big
surprise and they show a hidden camera of Brian Pillman’s locker room in the
split screen. It is basically GTV and
Pillman is shown having difficulty getting into a dress for tonight’s match and
he throws a tantrum. Aside from the
extracurriculars, Putski puts on a good match with Williams, which Ross tries
to bring attention to, and he wins to build some momentum for his Ground Zero
clash with Brian Christopher. Rating:
–After the match,
Sergeant Slaughter confronts Goldust and tells him and Marlena to head to the
warns Shawn Michaels that he will be watching his match with Mankind tonight
and that an insurance policy will not help him at Ground Zero unless that is
–Brian Pillman is
shown leaving the locker room in his dress, although all we see of him are his
–Ross hypes an
article in RAW magazine about Goldust’s identity.
–Flash Funk beats
“The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman with a small package at 3:15:
It is somewhat eerie to hear Ross talk about how making
Pillman wear a dress is going to push him over the edge when you know that
Pillman will only be alive for another two months. As Pillman dominates the early action, Ross
hypes the ECW Hardcore Heaven pay-per-view and Sergeant Slaughter appears in
the split screen and says that the Patriot and a mystery partner will face the British
Bulldog and Owen Hart later tonight.
Pillman uses his knees to block a Funk moonsault, a move that always
seems very brutal to take, but when he appears to have the match won, Goldust
and Marlena come out and put Pillman’s locker room footage on the
Titantron. This leads to the predictable
finish and gives Funk his first RAW victory in what seems like ages. The other result is that Pillman has to wear
a dress next week on RAW. Rating:
–Some kids are
shown chanting for Dude Love.
to get your VHS copy of SummerSlam 1997.
It will cost you $23.95 (plus shipping & handling)!
–A video package
covers the lingering Steve Austin-Owen Hart feud.
Dude Love, who had arguably one of the best themes in the company at the
time. Love says that Austin will soon be
back in action and gives his opinion about the Legion of Doom, the Godwinns,
and Owen Hart and the British Bulldog, who will be in the Fatal Four Way tag
team match at In Your House. Love
predicts that Mankind will triumph over the “would be hippie” Shawn
Michaels. Michaels appears on the
Titantron, calls Love a “nimrod,” which is his new favorite word, and hypes his
insurance policy. After the promo,
Love’s groupies from last week hit the ring and Love dances with them.
–More fans give
their opinion on tonight’s Shawn Michaels-Mankind match. Mankind still does not get a lot of love from
the fans. The winning response is a
blonde that says Michaels will win because he’s a “sexy boy.”
–The Patriot is
shown talking with his mystery partner, who we cannot see, and he says it is
time for them to kick butt tonight.
–The Stridex Triple
Action segment is the Patriot winning a 20 man battle royal on Shotgun Saturday
–The Patriot &
Ken Shamrock defeat Owen Hart & The British Bulldog when the Patriot pins
the Bulldog after Uncle Sam on a chair at 8:01 shown:
After a small battle between the America, Canadian, and
British flags, Ken Shamrock is revealed as the Patriot’s mystery partner and he
gets the loudest pop of all the participants.
One of the stories that they sell in the match is that the British
Bulldog is afraid of tussling with Shamrock.
Bret Hart comes out to watch the match by the entrance as Shamrock is
placed in peril. Shamrock escapes that
predicament with a cross body to both of his opponents. The Patriot hits the Bulldog with the Patriot
Missile, but Owen breaks it up as Bret teases coming down to the ring. When the referee tries to deal with some of
the chaos, Owen tosses a chair into the ring, but the Patriot delivers Uncle
Sam on the Bulldog on it and that gets the duke. An entertaining tag match that is by far the
best match on the show tonight. Rating:
1-900-737-4WWF to hear about why Ahmed Johnson was kicked out of the Nation of
–A video package
shows Bret Hart’s return to Toronto as WWF Champion and fans there spew some
pro-Bret and anti-American language.
–Shawn Michaels is
shown talking to his insurance policy, who is standing in a suit
backstage. Any educated wrestling fan
would know who it is by their hair cut, but I’ll save the reveal for later in
–The Patriot tells
the announce team that he has beaten Bret Hart once before, but before he can
finish his jingoistic promo he is attacked with a chair by Bret.
–Footage of the Nation
of Domination expelling Ahmed Johnson on last week’s show is played.
Chainz after Rocky Maivia gives Chainz a Rock Bottom at 3:03:
The problem with wrestlers debuting as parts of faction
is that they sometimes lack an independent personality and that is the big
problem with Chainz. It would have been
better for them to bill him as Brian Lee, but I suppose they either wanted a
trademarked name or something that was a cute fit for the Disciples of
Apocalypse. Both men work a surprisingly
brisk pace, but Chainz blows several spots and you can tell that Faarooq
potatoes him after he gets up too early from a spot where Faarooq crashes onto
his back with his rear end. The referee
gets bumped on a collision between both men and Rocky Maivia comes out of the
crowd, revives the referee, and then surprises Chainz with a Rock Bottom,
enabling Faarooq to win. After the
match, Faarooq and Maivia give the crowd the Nation salute. Rating: *¾
-A cameraman in the
locker room records Maivia talking to members of the Nation of Domination and
the Disciples of Apocalypse trying to break into the Nation of Domination’s
locker room as WWF officials, including Sergeant Slaughter, try to restrain
–Sable comes out
and gets in the ring, but the Patriot interrupts her small dance and says that
he wants Bret Hart. Bret obliges and the
Patriot attacks him and “builds momentum” (Ross’s words, not mine). It does not take long for the Hart Foundation
to hit the ring, though, and they pummel the Patriot and choke him with the
Canadian flag before WWF officials intervene.
to really hurt Shawn Michaels tonight.
–Brakus tells us
that he is ready for the World Wrestling Federation.
Kid” Shawn Michaels defeats Mankind with Sweet Chin Music at 8:41 shown:
For any WWE 13 fans, this is the beginning of the
Attitude Era mode of that game. Mankind
brings a garbage can to the ring, but Michaels nails him with it, puts it on
him, and then delivers a flying double axe handle to it. This crazy battle then spills to the floor, where Mankind hot shots
Michaels onto the guardrail and a young black kid gives Michaels a hug, which
he reciprocates. That’s a true fan right
there. Michaels backdrops Mankind onto
the announce table and follows up with an elbow drop off the apron, but the
table fails to break. Michaels goes for
Sweet Chin Music, but Mankind counters with the Mandible Claw, so Michaels
counters THAT by falling to the floor and smashing the back of Mankind’s head
into the ring post several times. He
then gives Mankind a side suplex onto the announce table and it STILL won’t
break. Neither guy is probably happy
about that because those table bumps have not been cushioned at all. Before the commercial break, Hunter Hearst
Helmsley and Chyna wander out and when we return from break, Michaels has taken
Mankind’s mask off and is pounding him with it.
When Mankind begins seizing the advantage, Rick Rude, the man in the
suit Michaels was talking to backstage, wanders out and Chyna distracts the
referee as Helmsley trips Mankind when he runs the ropes and Rude bashes Mankind
with a chair. All of that interference
makes the match academic. It is
impossible to top the classic that these two had at In Your House: Mind Games from 1996, but they put on an
amazing match here that completely saved the show. The physicality displayed was amazing and
both guys came out looking good. It
would not be a stretch to say that this is one of the best RAW matches, if not
the best, of 1997. Rating: ***¾
–After the match,
the Undertaker comes out, but Paul Bearer appears on the Titantron and warns
the Undertaker that Kane is coming and that he is going to burn in hell. Fire appears near the entrance way and the
show goes off the air.
Final Report Card: Hour one was a snoozer, but everyone turned
the switch into the “on” position for hour two and the main event makes the
show an easy “thumbs up.”
Mankind-Michaels is definitely worth checking out as it is something of
a lost RAW classic and because of that match we have the origins of D-Generation