wXw Shotgun #336-340

Shotgun is the weekly show on wXw Now, featuring an hour of the best matches from their never-ending tours of Germany with promos and skits to advance the plots and feuds. It’s comparable to ECW’s Hardcore TV because even the un-important matches are high-level indie quality.

I’ve missed all of them this year so figured I’d type up as I catch up as wXw can be rewarding if you’re paying attention. This is pretty abridged but I’ll go back to normal David Hume-levels of word count when I’m watching one show a week like a normal person.

Read morewXw Shotgun #336-340

WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: February 22, 1997

LIVE from the depths of Shawn Michaels’ ass-crack (hey, I found his smile!) – it’s Shotgun Saturday Night! Of course, we’re not actually live, because we scrapped this show’s format weeks ago. But … it’s Saturday night! Taped on some other night!
VINCE MCMAHON and JAMES E CORNETTE welcome us to Some Unclear Location in front of … well, a fairly big crowd all told.

THE BRITISH BULLDOG (1-2-0) vs. CRUSH (3-2-0) (with Clarence Mason)
Someone appears to have doodled a penis on Crush’s forehead.
Cornette takes offense to the crowd chanting “Jailbird” since the folks in attendance look like “they’ve spent a few nights slummin’ with the warden”. Yes – but were they tattooed with phallic scribbling? That’s the real key to knowing if you’ve truly been on the inside. PG-13A WELL DRESSED MAN, and D’LO BROWN head down to ringside to support Crush, which is a double cross of Clarence Mason’s clients – and before we can find out what happens, we take a commercial break.
OWEN HART and his Slammy have come down to even the odds, and in fact play peacemaker, shaking the hands of his good friend Clarence. Crush doesn’t need the help anyway, as a belly to belly suplex sets up the dreaded nerve hold of eternal damnation. A big boot only gets 2 – shocking considering the eternal damnation of that nerve hold he just felt. A backbreaker gets 2, but only because Crush took about 8 years to go for the pinfall after hitting the move. Gotta keep on top of your man – prison should have taught you that! The black power fist sets up an elbowdrop, but it misses and Bulldog hits a neckbreaker. A standing vertical suplex (6 seconds!) dizzies Crush, and Bulldog dumps him before throwing a cheap shot at a Nation member on the apron! Back to Crush, Bulldog suplexes him back in, but SAVIO VEGA hooks his leg, tripping him up, and Crush falls on top for the pin at 8:22. *1/2
Bulldog freaks out, and calls Clarence Mason back to the ring. “Whose side are you on? And whose side are YOU on?” – glaring at Owen on that second one. Bulldog fires Mason no fewer than 8 consecutive times, to really get his point across. Owen completely disagrees, but stays loyal to family.
TL HOPPER (0-1-0) vs. GOLDUST (2-4-0)
Marlena’s absent of course, still tending to injuries from the unnamed Amazon woman who shook her like a martini on Monday night. Hopper looks exceptionally confused by the concept of Goldust, and Cornette helps us out by pointing out “they don’t have things like Goldust down in Tennessee”. Of course, mind games aren’t expected to work here because “Hopper doesn’t even have the game pieces”. Cornette’s so on fire tonight he’d ignite Jake Roberts’ breath if he got too close. Goldust wins with the Curtain Call at 4:39. DUD
After recapping the entire saga of Monday Night’s attempt to run the title match between Bret and Sid, SYCHO SID hits the live arena to share what’s on his mind with KEVIN KELLY. Dear god yes, Kevin, please don’t miss a beat here! I need to know how he feels about all the hottest topics of 1997. Does he agree with Princess Diana’s stance to ban land mines? What do we make of the rise of Microsoft as the world’s most valuable company? Does he enjoy Savage Garden? Is Tony Blair truly the best the UK can do? Does the prosecution have a tighter case for OJ’s civil trial? Was he really at McDonalds with Kato at the time of the murders? Is the golfing world ready to accept Tiger Woods? Did he consider taking a bit part in the summer hit “The Full Monty”? Come on Kevin, don’t let me down. Unfortunately, Kevin Kelly is still Kevin Kelly, and he does the second best thing – just let Sid ramble about whatever he feels like. He circles the ring while screaming words that vaguely tie in “Undertaker” “Sid” and “I’m The Man”. Whatever the case, Sid doesn’t seem remotely concerned about his upcoming series with Taker – an unlikely candidate to ever shit his pants in the presence of the phenom.
THE HEADBANGERS (3-1-1) vs. THE GODWINNS (1-3-1) (with Hillbilly Jim and Cletus T Judd)
Jesus Christ, can we PLEASE stop running out this combination on every second edition of this show? When the main eventers aren’t in the house, this roster is *terrible*. Thankfully, we aren’t subjected to this, when two homosexual cowboys, allegedly “BARRY WINDHAM” and “JUSTIN HAWK BRADSHAW”, run in at 1:26. They beat the piss out of the swine farmers, and Vince calls for a commercial break.
THE HEADBANGERS (3-1-2) vs. THE NEW BLACKJACKS
Brokeback Mountain got themselves booked in place of the Godwinns, who’ve … simply vaporized, apparently? There were 4 of them, they just openly agreed to leave? Why aren’t more fans storming the ring during every Godwinn appearance then? We’d be rid of them in no time! Bradshaw is billed as the son of Blackjack Lanza, because apparently the truth (he’s his nephew) would simply kill his credibility. As stupid as Bradshawk looks, Windham looks positively ridiculous with the jet black hair and wispy moustache. I’m all for changing up your look; in fact, Bradshaw underwent one of the finest transformations of all time when he became JBL, but trading out your trademark blonde mop for a handful of shoe polish and a 70’s prison pussy probably isn’t the smartest of career moves. THE GODWINNS return to break this up at 2:17.

Paul Heyman’s phone call from RAW is replayed. Will ECW actually show up on RAW in the Manhattan Center? That’s the big question between now and then – and we’ll be headed over there after an exciting episode of Superstars, so hold on to your socks boys and girls, it’s gonna be a big one.

WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: February 15, 1996

Normally this is where I’d change over to ECW Hardcore TV, but after the Shawn debacle I think we’ll keep on the WWF through RAW before cycling back to see what the other guys are up to.
I got over 100 responses to the Thursday RAW piece, and as many as 4 of those comments didn’t come from HartKiller_09. To address a few of the points:

To the guys who figured we’re lumping all injuries together as one; at no point did I ever suggest that Daniel Bryan or Edge should have laid down for the next guys in line. Bryan probably could have, seeing as how he was healthy enough to get tombstoned all over the arena on his way out; but his situation was unique in that the WWE officials thought he’d be back within 60 days. They rolled the dice, and when they realized they’d come up lame, they were left with no choice. Edge, on the other hand, was perfectly content to drop the strap to Alberto del Rio, but the powers that be made the decision to let him retire as champion. And there’s the difference; Shawn gave the company no choice.
Fat, Ugly Inner-City Sweathog made the fantastic point that they could have easily run a Pillmanizing angle, or *something* to get heat on the SOB who took Shawn out. But that’s simply not how the 90’s edition of Shawn Michaels operated. Everything he did was part of a personal quest to ensure that nobody was ever able to overshadow him. Even the most notorious politician of all time, Hulk Hogan, let friggin’ Earthquake send him on vacation, because he had the strong enough sense to recognize that his triumphant return to beat the awful monster was enough to run a pay-per-view.
Shawn had absolutely no credibility at this point. He had ducked doing the job for Shane Douglas because he didn’t personally like him, he managed to win the Iron Man match without laying down because he didn’t want to hurt his new championship status by having taken a pinfall, and he’d bullied Chris Candido so viciously that it would have driven a lot of people to suicide.
I admire the fact that Shawn was able to get off the drugs, re-invent himself and change his life for the better – but it doesn’t change the fact that he was an insufferable asshole throughout the 90’s. The stunt he pulled on Thursday RAW Thursday was a breaking point for a lot of people, because being the most talented performer on the planet doesn’t entitle you turn to put yourself ahead of everyone else. And that’s exactly what he did; he was asked to take a fall, so he thumbed his nose at the locker room, at the fans, and drove his ass home. This had nothing at all to do with Bret Hart, no matter how you spin it.
And speaking of the boy toy – his bare asshole remains an integral part of the opening to Shotgun Saturday Night. TODD PETTENGILL welcomes us to a Very Exciting Edition, which features … the best of Shotgun. Wow, don’t strain yourselves looking for footage guys, putting together a show of this magnitude might take as long as 75 minutes.
We’re first “treated” to the Sultan vs Goldust match from the January 4th show, which of course features the infamous Topless Marlena stunt.
From the same show, Crush vs Ahmed Johnson is given significant time as an excuse to show poor unnamed D’Lo Brown taking the Pearl River Plunge on a parked car in the street.
From January 11, Todd Pettengill sings karaoke with the Honky Tonk Man. We have very different opinions on what’s classified as Best Of. Earlier that night, Marc Mero and Rocky Maivia had Issues and threw punches.
Zipping ahead to January 18, we get our first good edition of Shotgun. You wouldn’t know it initially, because they start by showing the Honky Tonk Man cheating midget Mexicans out of their paycheques at the blackjack table. However, they smartly air a ton of the Austin / Funk confrontation, which made for television magic. It’s a damn shame they didn’t keep Terry around as a placeholder feud for Austin, but they had bigger plans of course.
More quality stuff on January 25, where Bret Hart and Mankind squared off, while Owen whined about his “lousy brother Bret” on commentary. Mankind also discovers he has a taste for the ladies, while Bearer screams about his Mankind being corrupted by sex and liquor.
Of course, it wasn’t all fun and games that night, because Savio Vega turned heel and put on an embarrassingly bad match with Rocky Maivia. Many of Savio’s extended nerve holds are covered here.
For god knows what reason, we’re now watching last weekend’s Superstars, which the last time I checked was NOT part of Shotgun Saturday Night. Vader and Steve Austin is highlighted. There’s still 20 minutes left in this show, and they’ve already run out of footage?
February 1 is highlighted now, which was essentially the Mick Foley show. Mick’s commentary about not being in the right mindset to inflict violence because he’s a party animal now is fantastic.
Finally, The Undertaker, flanked by a little Ozzy Osbourne, rode into the February 8 show. He took on Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and while he was unsuccessful in capturing the Intercontinental title, he did tombstone Triple H down an escalator. And, because everyone loves watching Triple H get his ass kicked, it’s replayed again in slow mo as the show heads off the air.

No pay-per-view hype at all seems like a missed opportunity. But, then again, so does having your jerk-off injury faking champion drop the belt in the middle of the ring, so we’re 0-2 this week.

WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: February 8, 1997

WARNING: The following program contains action of a Graphic Nature.
Viewer discretion is advised.
(Translation: The following program is taped from Vince McMahon’s upper
lobe. Viewer discretion is advised.)
THE UNDERTAKER has taken over
an Amtracks train, and is driving us straight to hell. THIS … is Shotgun
Saturday Night.

Tonight’s show comes LIVE form Penn Station in New York City. SUNNY and VINCE MCMAHON man the commentary booth as usual. Is this seriously
the best use of Sunny they could find at this point?
 
THE GODWINNS vs. THE
NATION OF DOMINATION (with Clarence Mason, D’Lo Brown, and a Well Dressed Man)
The Godwinns get the prestigious “already in the ring” treatment, while
no fewer than 80 hobos have taken advantage of the warmth from “under the
ring”. Sunny brags about being the most downloaded celebrity on AOL, and
implies Phineas spends his nights pleasuring himself to her 1.4 million photos.
Give me a break; Phineas couldn’t possibly configure a dial connectoid, there’s
no chance. Mason joins the commentary team, and, interesting fact of the day:
after leaving WCW about 15 years ago, he headed south to Florida to work as an
actual attorney, which he still does today. The fans take to this match right
away, starting up a “BWO” chant that continues throughout the entire match.
After the Godwinns clear the ring, and a “NATION SUCKS DICK” chant breaks out,
we turn to…
TODD PETTENGILL, who is
interviewing a toothless black man in the front row who he claims is his dentist.
Just … why?!?
SAVIO VEGA heads down to
ringside, which Mason celebrates because the Nation always sticks together. Off
to commercial!
Back to the Station, Faarooq is slamming a heavy trunk over the back of
Henry, and he’s rolled back to Crush for 2. Crush does a whole lot of nothing,
before he turns things over to Faarooq who helps the attack with a boring pile
of nada. After far too many minutes of this, Phineas gets the hot tag and the
fans fall asleep. Vega interferes, so Phineas grabs him by the throat, but
Crush saves. The Slop Drop is attempted, but Faarooq clotheslines him behind
the referees back and Crush gets the pin at 10:00. Negative stars are becoming tradition on this insipid
program. -****
THURSDAY RAW THURSDAY!
A limo pulls up to the arena, and HUNTER
HEARST HELMSLEY
struts towards the building. TODD PETTENGILL asks him if he’s afraid of losing his title
tonight? Hunter figures he’d sooner ride the Subway than lose a match to the
Undertaker.
HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY vs.
THE UNDERTAKER (for the WWF Intercontinental title)
Vince asks Sunny about the prospects of her hooking up with Hunter, but
she claims a distaste for men with long hair. Sunny, honey, even Chris
Candido’s gullible ass isn’t buying that line. You know, the Undertaker’s
mystique is one of the finest pieces of show business in wrestling today; but
something’s taken away when he arrives to a Subway station in front of about
200 fans, and enters the ring area via an escalator. The Dead Man charges the ring,
but Hunter’s waiting and throws a series of forearms. Taker shrugs that off,
and launches him with a double handed choke. A whip to the buckle sees the
referee get demolished, and he appears to be in a coma. Triple H upends Taker
with the IC belt, and we take a break.
The referee, stumbling around in a drunken haze like a member of the
audience, is back to calling this one. Hunter drops a knee, and nails a
facebuster to remain in control. A neckbreaker draws a pretty slow count from
the ref, and that little bit of extra time gives Taker the energy he needs to
just hammer Hunter with a soup bone. Hunter slams Taker’s face to the buckle,
but that’s no sold, so Hunter hits a desperation swinging neckbreaker for 2.
Triple H grabs his belt again to defend himself, but Taker steals it away and
smacks Hunter in the face for the DQ at 4:20.
The fans call for the tombstone, but Taker compromises with a chokeslam, and
drapes the belt over the fallen champ. As he’s leaving, he changes his mind,
and figures he’ll tombstone him anyway. Triple H runs like hell, but gets
caught and tombstoned on the escalator – where Helmsley slowly rides back down
into the arms of a couple of referees. This was super spirited from both guys,
shockingly good given the time restraints and the tiny audience. ***
ALDO MONTOYA vs. SAVIO
VEGA (with Clarence Mason, D’Lo Brown, and a Well Dressed Man)
Mason joins the announce booth, while the human jockstrap dropkicks Vega
to the floor. A plancha staggers Savio, and he’s nailed with a crossbody as he
rolls back in, getting 2 for the Portuguese Man of War. Vega comes back with
some loud ass chops, and whips Montoya into the corner with some oomph. Vince
asks Clarence if the Nation is planning on expanding, and Clarence says yes.
Hundreds of superstars (hundreds? There’s like all of 25 guys on the roster!)
are calling daily, but only a select few will be selected. And they chose Savio
Vega? Their scouting reports need a little work; wrestling SABRmetrics would go
a long way.
In the crowd, some guy named TERRY
shows his Vince McMahon action figure to TODD
PETTENGILL
, which he’s had since 1985. Todd: “You were, what, 40 at the
time?”
FAAROOQ and CRUSH make their unwanted appearances,
while Vega drops Montoya with a superkick. Aldo fights back, showing “shades of
Sugar Ray Leonard” (dah fock Vince?!?), but a clothesline stops that short. THE GODWINNS and their slop buckets
come down the staircase. I can’t imagine slop is in high demand down at Penn
Station, but I’m willing to bet feces are over-stocked, so I’d tread REAL
carefully if I were the Nation, lest they want the plague or whatever the hell
else you’ll catch down there. Vega works a nerve hold, and I’ve seriously had
enough of him. Do we honestly have another full year of this guy to worry about
before he’s gone? The Nation tries to get involved, but the Godwinns stop them
short, and they pose with their new friend Aldo. We’ll call this a no contest at 8:20 since we never got a closing
bell, and head right into…
THE GODWINNS and ALDO MONTOYA
vs. THE NATION OF DOMINATION (with Clarence Mason, D’Lo Brown, and a Well
Dressed Man)
Yessir, it would appear that Vince flew in all of 8 wrestlers for this
particular program, so everyone’s pulling double duty just to flesh out an
entire hour of programming. Aldo hits a DDT on Crush, while we check in with …
TODD PETTENGILL, with SOME WOMAN. She’s calling out some OTHER CHICK who allegedly stole her
man, and they start to throw down! This *looks* fake, but I won’t rule out a
real fight from this particular trashy group.
Back in the ring, we’re right back to where we were before the break,
with Vega working his crappy offense over Montoya. Faarooq tags in and eat a
neckbreaker. Montoya comes up a half inch short of the tag before Vega cuts him
off. He and Crush double team him with what can only be described as
wheelbarrow dry humping, and the fans give them a well-deserved “BORRRRRING”
chant. Vince: “Clarence, what can you say about the fact that the fans here are
bored with the Nation of Domination’s act?” Clarence: “It’s not the Nation,
it’s Aldo Montoya.” Vince: “I don’t think so.” This could get real ugly.
Faarooq goes for the Dominator, but Montoya slips down with a backslide for 2.
To counter the fans boredom, the Nation slow down the action. Vega hits an
enzuigiri for 2. Aldo tries to fight off a front-face lock, and he makes the
tag, but it comes as the referee is tied up with the Nation and he refuses to
allow it. They repeat the front-face lock spot again, but this time Montoya
escapes with a slam and heads to the top rope because he’s got coleslaw for
brains. A missile dropkick gets 2 before all hell breaks loose between both
teams, and everyone pairs off. Phineas grabs the slop to chase off D’Lo Brown
who was looking too comfortable, while Vega finishes Aldo with a spinning heel
kick at 8:51. Much better than the
opener! -*
Up in the production area, Phineas keeps the chase on, but he misses his
shot with the bucket, and nails PAT
PATTERSON
who’s been directing traffic. Vince takes one look at the rainbow
colored sweater of Patterson, and quips “that sweater’s been slopped before”.
Outside, CURTIS LEE who
founded the Guardian Angels, chats with TODD
PETTENGILL
. He threatens to give the Nation a wake-up call.

Vince replays Patterson covered in a sticky white mess, yukking it up one last
time, as the credits roll.
This was pretty much the end of this disaster of a program. The bar /
subway station concept was scrapped as soon as this show went off the air, and
because they had nothing planned for next week, a “Best of” special is planned,
looking back at all the greatest moments of these last 6 weeks. Following that,
it’s arena content moving forward.
The arena stuff is probably the right choice, but the intimate
environment they were playing with did have its quirks. Had they been able to
massage their nonsense with tighter work, like what we’d seen out of Steve
Austin and Mankind on this program, they’d have been able to out-do ECW’s own
concept. Unfortunately, Vince was far too obsessed with shocking people, and
running Savio Vega out every week for 10 minute matches, and that kind of
format wasn’t going to work out in the long run.

Still, this gave us the earliest peaks at the fact this company wasn’t
afraid to push the boundaries of the TV constraints they were handed, and come
hell or high water, Vince was going to do it his new way, or fall on his sword
trying. More on that, on Thursdays RAW. 

WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: February 1, 1997

Last week on wrestling’s biggest trainwreck…
Cultstatus: It’s a shame we never got a proper Foley/Bret feud. No
two guys had better psychology.
That would have been absolutely beautiful. While an unmotivated Bret is
amongst some of the worst TV imaginable, he was a huge Mick Foley supporter and
I have very little doubt a full-fledged blood feud would have generated some
incredible stuff. Heading into the fall of 1997, Dude Love trying to capture
his childhood dream of winning the WWF title against a guy he (kayfabe)
idolized in the mid-80’s versus a grouchy old anti-American gets my blood
tingling. But, French Canadian cities ruin everything.
TODD PETTENGILL can’t believe
we’re back at the Mirage, home of the first laughably bad edition of Shotgun
Saturday Night! Walking around the streets of New York is PAUL BEARER with the urn. His beloved Mankind has been missing for
2 hours. A smart phone could have solved so many problems in the 90’s. MANKIND emerges from a dark alley and
nearly gets run over by a car. VADER
angrily grills him about his whereabouts, which is when Mick confesses that
last week’s grinding, dancing, and sex has created a new Man(Kind), and the
club is his calling. His sick, half-crazed grin just seals this segment,
Mankind is the boss.

A grunting VINCE MCMAHON and SUNNY welcome us to the club. They
quickly run down the card, but I’m not one to spoil these things! This show
looks like it was filmed in the dark ages, with half the crowd smoking indoors
and nobody giving it a second thought.
VADER (with Paul Bearer)
vs. AHMED JOHNSON
MANKIND beats Vader
into the building, and starts crawling around the stripper stage before
spotting Sunny at the announce table. She beats it out of there faster than
Usain Bolt, so Mick takes over commentary. He admits the headset feels
comfortable against his missing ear. Vince invites him to stay, and Mankind is
happy to oblige, rocking back and forth in the guest chair while Sunny holds
her nose to cover up the vile smell. Vince cheers on Ahmed’s decision to carry
a 2×4 as “the great equalizer”, but Mankind calls him a coward. “We are NOT the
Nation of Domination, and might I mention Uncle Paul is a man of peace! So I
say for Ahmed Johnson to carry that weapon in here should be an automatic
disqualification, and a disgrace to people like me!” Why wasn’t this guy put on
commentary, he’s awesome. I’ll need to get in Vince’s ear and make it happen.
Vader shows off his enormous arms and pounds Ahmed in the corner, and Mankind
declares Johnson on “queer street”. “HIT HIM FOR ME BIG MAN!” Ahmed no sells a
number of clotheslines, and begs Vader to hit him again. Vader obliges, and
Johnson hits the mat faster than Gabby Jay. Still, he gets up with some rage in
his eyes, and he clobbers Vader in the corner. Vince tries to set Sunny and
Mankind up together, and Sunny nearly vomits before Mick lays the smack down:
“Don’t flatter yourself hunny, I have eyes for that girl who had eyes for me
last week!” Vader is kicked to the floor, so Mankind hits the ring to “keep the
peace” as we take a break.
On return, Mankind has returned to the booth after apparently having
taken a bit of a beating from Ahmed. He’s livid, because even though Ahmed has
a pea-sized brain, he figures it should have been clear he wasn’t looking for a
fight considering he’s wearing his Sunday Best (consisting of a ratty old
jean-winter jacket, green pants he likely found in a dumpster, and a cheetah
print tank top underneath a black t-shirt – with the mask, of course). In fact,
he’s feeling so good he probably won’t even change his clothes tomorrow either.
I don’t even care about the match, I just want to listen to Mankind give us his
views on every single hot button topic in the WWF. Vader goes to finish with
the Vaderbomb, but Johnson stops that with a punt to the goods. Ahmed goes for
the Pearl River Plunge, so Mankind rushes in with a chair for the DQ at 6:05. Both guys tease heel
miscommunication, but they pull up short each time. Regardless, Ahmed steals
the chair and smacks both guys. Mankind, pride hurt, crawls back to the
announce table to put the headphones back on because the soft earpieces are a
newfound comfort that he has no interest in giving up. *
Elsewhere in the club, THE
HEADBANGERS
are pouring hot wax on themselves for self-entertainment.
THE BRITISH BULLDOG vs.
MANKIND (with Paul Bearer)
Mankind refuses to leave the commentary booth, reminding Vince he’s only
here for a good time. He tells Vince to call in anyone else, figuring Aldo
Montoya would probably kill for a little TV time. Vince tells him to get his
ass in the ring, but he won’t – he needs to take his mind to a dark place to
inflict violence and he isn’t interested in hurting Davey today. Bulldog runs
over and rips Mankind’s clothes off, but Mick won’t fight back. They head into
the ring, and Bulldog works him over with more attention to detail than an
Asian masseuse. He kicks Mankind out of the ring and poses … completely missing
that Mankind is crawling right back to the commentary booth. “I JUST WANT TO
TALK!!!!” Davey kicks him in the face, so Mankind finally has enough and starts
hitting some throat thrusts. Back in, Mankind works to put Davey to sleep, and
you have to assume he’s just trying to get rid of him quickly so he can go back
to party. Bulldog backdrops Mankind over the top, and he lands leg first on the
stage in a particularly awkward looking position. He angrily grabs some TV
cables and chokes Bulldog down while Bearer wails.
TODD PETTENGILL heads into the
crowd to talk to SAVIO VEGA, but
he’s ordered to get the hell out of his face NOW. Back to action!
Mick drops a leg as VADER
starts lumbering down to ringside. A backdrop gets 2. Vince: “ANOTHER COOKOUT!
Wait, kickout. COOKOUT LATER!” That seems as fine a time as any for a
commercial break.
We come back just in time to see Mankind take a sick backdrop on the
hard floor. It’s amazing he didn’t retire with ridiculous amounts of kidney damage.
They head back in and Bulldog goes to finish, but Mankind trips him up and
sends him outside. Vader gives Bulldog a couple of snake eyes shots across the
guardrail, and he’s rolled back in for the easy Mankind win at 6:42. Vader and Mankind pummel Bulldog
for awhile until AHMED JOHNSON saves
with his 2×4. The heels scatter, and Johnson sweats like a waterfall.
TODD PETTENGILL wants to talk
to Paul Bearer about what happened, but while he squeaks and carries on about
his Mankind and Vader, Bulldog has apparently taken exception to Ahmed’s
presence. Ahmed picks up half his broken 2×4, and Bulldog snatches the other,
but neither guy has the stones to take the first shot.
Sunny’s night fails to improve, because while HENRY GODWINN checks out the dancers, PHINEAS GODWINN takes over commentary.
SAVIO VEGA vs. JESSE JAMES
Savio rambles about his loyalty to Da Nashon Awf Domeenashon until
Double J hits the ring. Of course, he stinks, and Savio’s trying to tear his
face off within seconds. Savio somehow botches a snapmare, but James sells it
anyway and finds himself locked in an armbar. Savio goes for a ton of
consecutive pinfalls, but it’s no more successful the 4th time than
the 1st. A dangerous looking stuff piledriver connects; and it’s
amazing this thing didn’t cause more broken necks than … well, we’ll save that
for later in the year. A rear chinlock chews up more time off the clock, while
Phineas starts talking about Sunny’s slopping. She bats her eyes at Phineas and
tells him “we don’t want to talk about that, do we?”, and he turns beet red,
changing the subject immediately. James escapes with a jawbreaker, but Savio
claws the eyes and sits on James’ head while screaming at Phineas about the
power of the Nation. Phineas: “Is he speakin’ English?” Savio misses a blind
charge, and James nails a clothesline. Shake, rattle, and roll, strut, and
backdrop. The pumphandle slam is blocked, and Savio nails the spinning heel
kick for the pin at 8:36. If you
love 8 minutes of Absolutely Nothing, you’d dig this. For the rest of you, it
should come as no surprise to learn these guys *SUCK*. -***
Just off the dance floor, MOSH
throws up on THRASHER, and they eat
it off each other. For fuck sakes …
THE HEADBANGERS vs. THE
GODWINNS
The Godwinns wait until the dancers stop moving before making their way
to the ring. This was actually the first match
they held on the first show
, and it came in at a whopping -**, so we’ll see if
these teams can improve upon that tonight. Phineas bites Mosh, and I’m getting
a sinking feeling. Henry comes in and hits a backdrop, and for some reason Mosh
sells his eyes. A hiptoss is enough for Mosh, and Thrasher reluctantly makes
the tag. Still, he manages to gain control on Phineas, and a double team
clothesline has Mosh dancing around as we head to commercial.
Back from a quick break, Mosh flies off the top with an elbow for 2.
Thrasher goes low, but Henry saves the day. Phineas gets wheelbarrowed across
the top rope, and Mosh hits a leapfrog … buttsplash I guess? He rolls to the
corner to get the hot tag to Henry (to absolutely ZERO reaction), and he takes
Thrasher to the floor where he’s slammed in front of the drunken clubbers. A
double countout is called at 5:07,
and it’s JUST in time because we need to get this show off the air NOW! DUD
This was a tale of two shows. The first half was Mankind’s finest
“hour”, putting on what was easily amongst my favorite work of his that I’ve
seen. The match was nothing special, but he knows *exactly* who Mankind is and
how he wants to play him, never once breaking his twisted character. This was
an early template to the Vince/Mankind love-affair we’d seen in about 18
months.
However, the roster is lacking some serious depth, and beyond a handful
of prime-cut players, it’s just the dregs. Jesse James is barely someone you
can call a professional at this point (blood be damned), the tag-team division
is a disaster beyond maybe two teams (neither of whom were here tonight), and
the entire Nation of Domination really needs to go the hell away because the
whole group is just death to entertainment.

With the exception of Rocky Maivia; it’s clear who the big breakout
players are going to be, because they stand head and shoulders above everyone
else and it’s not even close. Mankind is God! The rest are peasants, and they
need to begone.

WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: January 25, 1997

Last week, the WWF failed to Shock Us with topless managers, sex with Todd Pettengill in an Elmo costume, or the ever present threat of Goldust giving birth. Instead, they bored us with Steve Austin running rampant around San Antonio for an hour, getting into both a verbal and physical showdown with Terry Funk. Somehow, this turned out amazing. Have we learned anything? Or will heading back to New York ruin it for all of us?
We are LIVE from Webster Hall, because THIS stupid show is the one show that doesn’t need to be taped. SUNNY is dancing on a stripper podium, while VINCE MCMAHON and OWEN HART handle commentary duties.

MANKIND (with Paul Bearer) vs. BRET HART
Mankind spies the dancers on the way to the ring, and simply can’t help himself. Years of being locked in a basement learning to become a piano player and living off rats have made him hornier than a federal inmate, and he starts humping one of the podiums like a dog. Slowly, he corners one of the girls, but Bret pops out from the shadows and starts to kick his ass. “HE’S HAD HIS SOCKS ROCKED!” screams the hipper than hip McMahon. Owen wants to know why Bret’s even allowed here since “he quit on Monday, I heard it with my own ears!” Vince blows it all off as a misunderstanding. Owen hypes the Final Four match coming up next month, even though he could beat all the guys by himself. Owen starts talking down the hos that distracted Mankind, but Sunny joins commentary and tells him to watch his mouth in the presence of a woman. Owen: “That’s fine, but I don’t see any women around here.” Bret and Mankind find themselves throwing punches in front of the announce table, and Bret gives him a vertical suplex right on the unprotected club floor! Mankind grabs Bret’s face and starts clawing and squealing. Sunny starts accusing McMahon of being the puppetmaster of the WWF, seeing as how Gorilla seemed to be doing whatever Vince told him to on Monday night. Vince says he was just trying to smooth things over, and then quickly changes the subject by screaming “WORLD FAMOUS WEBSTER HALL LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!” Mankind runs a knee into Bret’s face, and Owen apologizes to mom for Bret’s new mangled face. An elbow is launched right into Bret’s mouth, but Mankind misses the Cactus clothesline and crashes to the floor. A little dazed, he finds his focus by crawling back towards the sluts, and Vince calls for an immediate commercial break.
The traffic has been redirected to ringside by the time we’re back, and Bret drops Mankind across the guardrail, right on the beans. That must have smarted, especially given his violent erection. Bret pulls them back in, while TODD PETTENGILL stops to talk with A SLUT dressed like Princess Leah. They have an awkward discussion about her fuzzy bra, while Mankind drops Bret with the double arm DDT. He misses a charge in the corner, and Bret drops him with the Russian legsweep. Fistdrop sets up the bulldog, and Bret gets 2. Owen calls for a DQ because Bret had a handful of hair, apparently. The swinging neckbreaker gets 2. Mankind is hit with the backbreaker, and having gone through his repertoire, Bret goes to the Sharpshooter. Owen leaves the broadcast location to attack Bret, and we have a DQ at 10:32. Bret feeds it right back, and both guys brawl to the backstage area. **
PAUL BEARER cries to TODD PETTENGILL that he knew this would happen in an environment filled with sex and liquor. “OHHHHHH MY MANKIND! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HIM?” But it’s too late; Mankind has worked his way back to the stripper stage and is desperately trying to fit in with the ladies, just like his role model Shawn Michaels.
ROCKY MAIVIA vs. SAVIO VEGA
Apparently Vega turned on Ahmed Johnson at MSG earlier in the day, and is now a member of the Nation. Vega offers Rocky the hand of friendship, while the fans start chanting for the BWO. Rock snapmares his Puerto Rican opponent, and Vince feels it would be a “major upset” if Rock won this match. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Major Upset, since Rock never really loses. Sunny offers her body to Vince, who blows her off. What planet is this show taking place on? There is NO way Vince is turning that down, then OR now. FAAROOQ and CRUSH come down to ringside, and give Savio the salute. Vega acknowledges it, and pounds Rock into the mat. Rock comes back with a crossbody block, but barely gets a 1 count. TODD PETTENGILL tries to find out what’s going on with the Nation. “ASK CRUSH!” Crush advises Pettengill to get out of his face if he wants to keep it, and Todd scatters like a cockroach. Vega works a nerve hold, but Rock fights to his feet and schoolboys Vega for 2. Vega fires back with a roundhouse kick, and Rock is seeing stars. Back to the nerve hold, but Rock escapes again and they start trading punches. Vega stops any momentum with a boot to the face, and that gets 2. And, because he really doesn’t know very many moves, Vega goes to the nerve hold for a 3rd time. And a 4th. Despite the fact I’m bored out of my mind, the fans blame Rock, chanting “ROCKY SUCKS” with a great deal of vigor. Rock delivers some hard chops in the corner, but Vega gives it right back. And yes, if you guessed a 5th nerve hold was coming, you win the prize. “It’s doubtful Savio Vega will defeat Rocky Maivia in this manner” says Vince. You mean the fact it didn’t work the first 4 times wasn’t telling enough? Vega dumps Rock to the outside, in front of the particularly vocal group who hate his guts. Since this is a horrible match, there truly is only one way to end it … with Rock failing to respond to the 10 count at 12:00. TWELVE minutes?!? For THESE guys?!? Vega pulls Rocky back into the ring afterwards, and beats the snot out of Rocky. Where was THAT in between the half dozen nerve holds? Faarooq heads in, and whips Rocky like a government stepchild. I never want to see these guys wrestle again. -***
Backstage, JAKE ROBERTS French kisses his snake.
HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY joins the announce table.
JAKE ROBERTS vs. SALVATORE SINCERE
Triple H starts riffing on Vince’s confused commentary; “Great match with Rocky Johnson earlier tonight, eh McMahon?” Sincere pokes Jake in the eyes, but Roberts responds with a hard whip to the corner and Sincere begs off. Jake locks on a headlock, but Sal makes the ropes to break. Sincere misses a charge and eats post, and Roberts takes his head off with a short clothesline. A DDT finishes matters at 3:04. Sincere has Jake’s “sloppy snake” (per McMahon) dropped on his prone body. DUD
During the break, Helmsley stormed the ring and gave a Pedigree to Sal for the hell of it.
CRUSH vs. SYCHO SID
Sid enters through the crowd and gets a heroes’ welcome from this group. A bunch of clotheslines have Crush staggering, so Sid easily disposes him over the top. He follows off the apron with an axehandle, and his ankles hold up. FAAROOQ and SAVIO VEGA saunter down, but I doubt Sid notices or cares. We head to commercial as he hits Crush with a flying shoulderblock.
We return to Crush gnawing on Sid’s face, and that seems to take him down a peg. Still, the fans chant his name, Sid looks every which way, and he’s right back in this. Crush slams him, and shares a little black power with Faarooq. The Heart Punch is blocked with a Chokeslam, and Sid asks the crowd if they want a powerbomb. Of course they do, so Sid obliges, but he doesn’t go for the pin because he can smell the cavalry and he rolls outside. He grabs a steel chair, and starts wildly swinging at the Nation who disappear … but then he cracks Crush anyway for the hell of it and gets DQed at 5:07. With time at a premium, Sid simply stands there to soak up the adulation of the pro-ECW group, and the show heads off the air in a hurry. 1/2*

Nowhere near as good as last week’s wild showing, but the WWF seems to have found a niche with Shotgun, upping the violence and language, and eliminating the stupid ratings stunts that do nothing for the storylines. They have a solid group of mid-carders who seem hungry for opportunity recognizing (rightfully) that outside of Bret, Taker, Sid, and Shawn that there’s a lot of room at the top of the card. As a result, everyone’s showing a little extra aggression and doing whatever it takes to get noticed, with Triple H and Owen killing it on commentary tonight, and Mankind having a little fun with his character. Overall, a nice palate cleanser from nWo Souled Out, as we head into the Monday shows.

WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: January 18, 1997

Greetings from sunny Florida, where my wife and I am vacationing for the next week. Updates through our timeline may be sporadic, dependent on how much writing I can get done in the early mornings on the veranda – but I’ll be back at it full tilt before long.
Last week on Shotgun Saturday Night, nobody had a match go above *. But it’s not about the wrestling, because Sunny “made love”, according to Todd Pettengill, to Fondle Me Elmo. Elmo, showing all the resistance of a young man in bed with … well, 1997 Sunny, lasted about 4 seconds.
This week, Goldust gives birth, and there’s a good chance I’ll say some bad words in response to it. ALL THAT AND MORE!
Live from Shawn Michaels’ ass-crack in San Antonio, the site of the Royal Rumble, we have a pretty loaded show. Goldust takes on Steve Austin, while Triple H and Rocky Maivia meet (for the first time? A glimpse into our future?). VINCE MCMAHON compliments JIM ROSS on his lovely new cowboy hat; a gimmick he wasn’t taking a particular liking to but would wind up being his defining trait. SUNNY dances on a nearby bar, potentially getting liquored up for a date with Bert and Ernie later. Boy is SHE gonna be disappointed.

HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY vs. ROCKY MAIVIA (in a non-title match)
TODD PETTENGILL stops Hunter on his way to the ring, and in light of his title defense against Goldust tomorrow, he calls this one a “Tuna Match”. Enunciation is nobody’s friend in Texas tonight! A huge “ROCKY” chant takes over the bar, with everyone plastered enough to forget they hate everyone’s favorite Sunshine Boy.
The elbow Kleenex is a particularly fine touch. Rock powerslams Hunter, and takes over with an armdrag. “HOWSE O FIRE!” crows Vince McMahon, while a mustachioed BLACKJACK BRADSHAW pounds on the apron in support of something. Hunter gets to his feet, but misses an elbow and winds up stuck in that firey house armdrag again. Atomic drop changes matters, but running in is JAKE “THE SNAKE” ROBERTS with the snake in hand. Vince screams that Hunter is afraid of snakes, completely ignoring the fact that Rock bounced out of there at warp speed. This calls for a commercial break.
Back from a timeout, Jake has joined the commentary team, and Hunter has Rocky trapped in a headlock. Apparently Jake has an exceptionally large snake ready to debut at the Rumble – oh my! How was he never offered a spot in DX with talk like that? He’ll be competing in his record 6th Rumble, how weird does THAT sound now? Hunter uses the high knee, but Rocky kicks out to loud cheers. A headlock features a little cheating via Helmsley’s feet on the ropes, but he’s caught and told to knock that off by the referee because using that position from a horizontal base adds absolutely no advantage at all. While Hunter ponders this theory, Rocky powerslams him, and that brings out MARLENA. She’s working over a lit cigar, and Jake offers to show her his snake. I ain’t putting nothin’ past THIS show. The boys hit the floor, and after Rock is slammed into the ring steps, Hunter puts the moves all over Marlena. GOLDUST charges in, because apparently Helmsley is far too stupid to spy a set up, and he takes off into the street for the count out at 9:30. This was clearly a rough draft of their future wars, the kind you’d bring to your boss and be told “start over, this is garbage”. 1/2*
SUNNY does the Macarena with SEVERAL IMBRED LOCALS.
Over at a Blackjack table, THE HONKY TONK MAN is dealing to MINI MANKIND and HISTERIA, who are rapidly losing their formerly fat stacks. Honky cleans them out by flipping over a 25 on the final hand; a fine Blackjack score if I ever saw one. I’d be real curious to find out what the story behind all the copy-cat mini wrestlers was. Just the result of too many lines of cocaine, or an actual effort to put the midgets over with Genuine WWF Gimmickry.
BOB BACKLUND is back in New York City, stopping traffic and wondering where the hell Shotgun Saturday Night went.
MINI MANKIND and HISTERIA vs. MASCARITA SAGRADA and VENOM
TODD PETTENGILL asks Mankind for his strategy, which is delivered completely in Spanish. The wrestlers are given by-lines here, such as Mankind’s “How big is his Paul Bearer?” and Sagrada’s “2-Parts tequila, 1-Part lime juice”. Neither Venom nor Histeria are midgets, and appear to be far taller than the likes of Rey Mysterio Jr or Billy Kidman on the other channel. Venom snaps off a rana on Histeria, and follows with a springboard headscissors takeover that sends Histeria to the floor. Venom is rapidly behind with an Asai Moonsalt, and Sagrada is finally tagged in to a big pop. He armdrags Mankind to the floor, and is right behind with a plancha off the top. Back to the big guys, while STEVE AUSTIN joins the announce booth. Steve’s tired of being censored on RAW, and explains he uses 4-letter words so that there’s no way to misconstrue his messages. Austin: “Now what the hell is this in the ring? Are these cats in the Royal Rumble? I wish these guys were in the ring, because that’s the most colorful garbage I’ve ever seen in my life.” JR starts sucking his kneecaps, to no surprise. Max Mini hits a super rana on Mankind, and follows with a triple jump senton from the apron to the floor, and a HUGE pop. Great crowd tonight. Histeria finishes Venom out of nowhere with a powerbomb, and for the first time that I EVER remember, Max Mini’s on the losing end of a match at 6:01. *1/2
In the Alamo Dome, WWF Superfans GEORGE and ADAM have taken their seats and are holding up their signs, with their energy level set to their usual “near seizure”. I’m fairly sure they’ve been waiting for the Rumble for going on 6 weeks now? Yikes.
TERRY FUNK comes bursting through the crowd, set to make his WWF return in the Rumble tomorrow night. Funk: “This is my state!” Austin: “Wrong!” Funk: “This is my town!” Austin: “Wrong!” Funk: “This is where I wanna be!” Austin: “Ain’t gonna be here very long!” Austin needs a permanent job behind the desk, let’s start by replacing JBL. He prefers to know what number he’s going to be given, and ideally he’d start at #1 and be the last man standing. Austin: “Don’t let yer teeth fall out.” He says there’s nobody in the WWF, and none of the “snake sucking scumbags” in WCW that want a part of him. He challenges TODD PETTENGILL to a fight, and calls his mother a whore. Austin: “Shut up you old bag of wind.” He starts looking for the “Okie Asshole”, before setting his eyes on Austin. Austin: “He’s a senile old man, don’t cross the guardrail stupid! How ‘bout a couple of Geritol tabs son? You don’t need to lay down for me son, I’ll knock your ass down.” Eventually Steve has enough of his mouth, and gets all up in Funk’s grill. Funk starts bitch slapping him and asking to rumble, so Austin obliges by beating the ever loving shit out of Terry before the referees knock it off. Fantastic stuff, Austin is so much money at this point, putting out even better stuff than his eventual (and much more fondly remembered) babyface work a year later.
FAAROOQ (with Clarence Mason, Kona Crush, and D’Lo Brown) vs. DOUBLE-J
Faarooq and Crush have absolutely no desire to chat with TODD PETTENGILL when asked, piefacing him. Faarooq “Loves Vowels” according to his by-line. Jesse’s microphone fails to start properly, making for an embarrassing live karaoke session of “With My Baby Tonight” with Todd on his way in. Which is fine with me, I don’t need a third week of the Todd Pettengill Karaoke Power Hour. James drops Faarooq with a backdrop suplex, while Vince theorizes we’re not likely to see a lot of “scientific wrestling” here. Dominator quickly finishes at 1:54. DUD
GOLDUST (with Marlena) vs. STEVE AUSTIN
The boys lock up, and Goldust holds on JUST a little too long, causing Austin to flip out and stomp his ass in the corner. Goldust fires back with an elbow, and drops Austin with a clothesline. Austin goes low, right into the Golden Globes, and spears Goldust repeatedly in the corner. This crowd is decidedly pro-Austin, which is interesting considering they were playing by the “rules” by giving Rocky a hero’s welcome earlier in the night.
After a quick break, Austin’s reading the referee the riot act for god knows what reason, giving Goldust a chance to sneak up and deliver an uppercut. TERRY FUNK rushes back in for the early DQ at 3:10, and while he brawls with Austin, bloody EVERYONE hits the ring. THE HEADBANGERSTHE GODWINNSFAAROOQROCKY MAIVIA, and SAVIO VEGA all start brawling. HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY sneaks up on Goldust with a pool cue and smacks him over the back of the head. Austin and Funk start trading punches in the beer tent, and in the grand tradition of WCW, WE ARE OUT OF TIME!

This was easily the best of the Shotgun series to date, with more emphasis on trash talking and storyline progression, and ZERO mention of Goldust’s alleged giving of birth. Just centre more shows around Austin, and we’re rock solid.

WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: January 11, 1997

It’s False: Is Marlena pulling her top down the most underrated moment of the pre-Attitude era? It’s barely a blip on our radars today, but I remember this being a huge deal at the time.
It’s definitely on the list. I actually hadn’t even thought about it for over a decade, and I can’t even remember the last time anyone talked about it on a message board or blog post. I was 14 when it happened, so forgive me if my mammary memory is a little biased, but I distinctly remember all the Hot Newz websites exploding in a collective orgasm of “DID I JUST SEE IMPLIED TITTIES?” If nothing else, it changed everything we knew about divas for the next 10 years.
The only question is whether or not Sunny is going to top that with her promised sex tape? If she delivers the goods, the ratings for this show might hit near Superbowl numbers seeing as how she was already AOL’s top downloaded woman. Also, the WWF is probably going to face lifetime bans from every cable channel in existence, but sometimes, it’s worth the risk.

THE HONKY TONK MAN is in … what, a barber shop? He’s seated next to SOME DUDE whose face is covered by the New York Post. Is this his protégé? And why does seeing a headline about Kenny Rogers in pinstripes make me feel 100 years old?
Arriving to the show are SABLE, and WCW Executive in charge of Prime Relations, JOHNNY B BADD.
LIVE from the All-Star Café in New York City, THIS is Shotgun. Yes, through the infinite wisdom of Vince, somehow he decided that rather than take RAW live more than once a month, that he’d be better served to give that kind of treatment to his new top B-show. And speaking of, VINCE MCMAHON and DANCIN’ SUNNY are your hosts. She reminds us that she has a sexy home video for later tonight. “Just like Mookie Wilson did when he hit the baseball through Buckner’s legs!” says TODD PETTENGILL; who is about as likely to appear on Sunny’s home video as I am.
Earlier today, THE SISTERS OF LOVE were arrested for solicitation in front of the Disney Store in downtown Manhattan. This could have only been better if they’d been making jazz hands.
NOT DIESEL vs. MARC MERO (with Sable)
The Mero’s need a ton of security, because, and you won’t believe this, drunken bystanders start trying to grope Sable as she makes her way through them. I didn’t see it coming either. In all seriousness, I never actually got the whole Sable thing, even as a teenage walking hormone. She always looked trashy, like she’d just finished her shift at Pinky’s House of Grind, and probably smelled like a mix of cheap vanilla perfume and whiskey. Sunny came across as the real deal, and there was no contest in my household. (We’ll let the next 100 comments that follow this article sort it out on a mainstream level.) Diesel gives chase to Sable right away, and she shoves her creampie in his face. Whoops, sorry, that was cake. Blinded by icing, Mero’s able to capitalize with a faceplant. He’s such a wild man! Diesel comes back with a big boot, while Pettengill checks in with Sable. “DIESEL TAKES THE CAKE!” she tells us. Sunny responds by suggesting she performed with Mero in her sex-tape; Marc, not Rena. I’m only okay with this if he awkwardly offers her a mustache ride to set up the scene. Diesel knocks Mero to the floor, and NOT RAZOR RAMON rushes in to stomp on Mero. ROCKY MAIVIA saves the day by the power of his Chia Hair, as we take a commercial break.
DOK HENDRIX YELLS.
Diesel is working over Mero, but because we can’t go 3 seconds without Sportz Entertainment, THE HONKY TONK MAN is given split screen time. And why? FOR NO REASON AT ALL. He promises to play music, which is the GREATEST thing Vince has ever heard if his reaction is to be believed. Diesel delivers a vertical suplex and beats Mero down in the corner. However, that pesky Mero just won’t give, because he’s WILD! Diesel heads up top, which completely destroys any illusion that he’s supposed to be anything like Kevin Nash. Clothesline connects, and Mero starts hobbling around. A completely botched and awful sidewalk slam gets 2. He goes for another, but Mero snaps off a quick rana. A clothesline knocks Diesel to the mat, and he heads up – nailing a Merosault! No time for a pin, however, because he spies Honky Tonk with his lady, and apparently is so threatened by a 60 year old fat guy in an Elvis jumpsuit, that he HAS to rush down and get involved. Diesel pulls him back in and finishes with the Truckstop at 12:17. So let’s sum this up: You have Marc Mero, fresh off an IC title run, and sitting with the highest guaranteed contract in the entire company. He’s facing a green, and absolutely awful Kevin Nash impersonator – which is some sort of giant rib against WCW stealing their stars or something (you’d have to check with Vince). You put them together, giving them 12 minutes, on your secondary show, and the PUNCHLINE spends the entire match on offense and wins cleanly. I don’t even have the words for the boneheadedness of everything I just saw. -***
The Mero’s fight after the match, which makes Sunny horny. Rocky Maivia returns to save the day, and a brawl erupts. The referees break that up quickly, while the fans chant “LET THEM GO!”
Some fine mugshots of The Sisters of Love are shared.
SAVIO VEGA vs. FAAROOQ (with PG-13, Clarence Mason, and D’Lo Brown)
Considering the edge the WWF was adopting at this point, it’s a little surprising they never pushed the envelope to have the Nation wear colors; but then, that might have been crossing the line a little too far into real life and putting the performers lives in jeopardy. Still, it would have been downright balls to have Faarooq come out with a blue bandana, and force Rocky to change his name to The Rocc. A commercial airs during the entrances, and we return with Faarooq working over Vega on the mat. Vince suggests we whip out our VCR’s and set them to record, because Sunny’s sex tape is coming up.
In fact, TODD PETTENGILL is with fans to discuss “who do you think Sunny is making love with tonight?” Making love?!? For god sakes Todd. One young guy starts shaking uncontrollably and wishes it was him. I’m assuming, just looking at him, that rule applies to any woman and not just Sunny.
Back in the ring, Vega gives Faarooq the electric chair, but he kicks out at 2. The fans are really into this, screaming “NWO” with great enthusiasm. Vega chops Faarooq in the ropes, and follows with a superkick for 2. Wolfie D starts getting into it with the referee, allowing JC Ice to come off the top with an axehandle to give the advantage back to Faarooq. Snap suplex gets 2, and Faarooq angrily barks at anyone white. Vega retaliates with a jawbreaker, but misses a Stinger splash, and the Spinebuster gets the win for Faarooq at 5:55. He’ll be taking on Ahmed Johnson at the Royal Rumble. 1/2*
And now, following all the hype … it’s SUNNY’s Lair of Love. She’s lying in a bathrobe, with the hottest Christmas gift in the world – Tickle Me Elmo. After some quick teases, she introduces her lover.
It’s not Tickle Me Elmo; this is Fondle Me Elmo. And, after promising to take him to “Space Mountain” (oh Jesus), she claps off the lights, and following a cartoon “BOINGGGGGG”, they start screaming like the tail end of a Shania Twain song. Elmo, showing the gusto of a 17-year old virgin, lasts about 14 seconds.
“The Energizer Bunny has nothing on you”, coos Sunny. “Where’s Fondle Me Elmo’s pants?” asks the muppet, waiting a moment, and pondering further. “Where’s Fondle Me Elmo’s … (BOINGGGGGGG)?”
So I think we need a minute to digest this. Following the debut of this show a week earlier, which featured Marlena taking off her top and showing off her very real (well, “real”) breasts to the audience, the WWF spends a whole week hyping a bigger, badder, raunchier show the following week, with the number one Spank Bank model in the company. Now, of course this is a company that once baited us with the Gobbledygooker, but you would HOPE in the 6 years since then that they’d learned a little something about bait and switch. Granted, if anyone was stupid enough to tune in specifically thinking they were going to witness Sunny’s adult debut for FREE, on a CABLE network, they probably got exactly what they deserved. But for the rest of us, this is mind-numbingly embarrassing crap that pretty much keeps our wrestling viewership a secret from the rest of civilized society. Sleazy, stupid ratings ploy, and all involved should be taken out back and shot.
And what does Vince McMahon think?
“HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! TODD PETTENGILL TAKE US AWAY!”
THE HONKY TONK MAN promises to sing; but in fact it’s TODD PETTENGILL who takes over the song. This is two weeks in a row; if Todd is so itchy for karaoke amateur hour, can I suggest he ask McMahon for weekends off and tackle his newfound hobby at bars that aren’t taping wrestling television?
ROCKY MAIVIA vs. NOT RAZOR RAMON
Rocky hits a sweet series of dropkick that remind just how flexible he used to be, before the 180 pounds of muscle were added. The fans start chanting “WE WANT HALL” which Vince tries to talk over loudly thinking it’ll go away. We take a commercial break as Honky starts skulking around ringside.
“Razor has been battering Rocky Maivia!” is how we’re welcomed back. Sunny cites Razor’s years of experience. For fuck sakes, now they’re pretending he’s the SAME guy he used to be? A few noticeable fans start a “ROCKY SUCKS” chant, which is unfortunate, as he’s a man of the people. McMahon gives us our Todd Pettengill update: he’s on his way to Times Square. This is good news, I’m not sure what I’d have done if I wasn’t getting my round the clock Rodd updates. Rocky is sent to the floor where Honky gets in a few cheapshots. Back in, Razor goes to finish with the Razor’s Edge, but Rocky slides down off the back and finishes with a shoulderbreaker at 5:02. I can’t decide if that was an upset or not. Match of the night. *
TODD PETTENGILL is in the middle of Times Square, and feels like Dick Clark, but “without the ball dropping”. Check your pants, Todd. He’s found a homeless box, where they have “cable” and “heat” apparently. Inside is NIKOLAI VOLKOFF. Is this supposed to be funny? Any of this? Who is this appealing to? Anyone old enough to remember Nikolai is too old to be amused by homeless jokes (or whatever they’re doing), and anyone young enough to giggle at “BUMS ON THE STREET LOL” have no idea who on earth he is. This show has to be a contender for one of the 10 worst of all time, right? I may need to poll you, the audience at a future date to make a list; but I can’t think of any night more cringe worthy than everything I’ve seen here thus far. Of course, I’ve got a mental block on anything Russo.
                                                           
Annnnnnd … The hits just keep on coming:
He will give birth LIVE on Shotgun next week. DUDE NO. JUST STOP.
DOUG FURNAS and PHILLIP LAFON vs. THE HEADBANGERS
We’re joined in progress for this one, watching Mosh get thrown across the ring with an overhead belly to belly from Furnas. “ECW! ECW!” shout the loyal crowd. Thrasher blows something or other, and gets the requisite “YOU FUCKED UP” chant, and well deserved. And on the topic of blowing, Sunny figures she’s due to have sex with Doug Furnas. “BWO! BWO!” Off to commercial.
Todd brings us back by celebrating in Times Square about god knows what, with a bunch of drunken Yankees fans. In the arena, Furnas kills Mosh with a jumping DDT – and lest you want a finish, WE’RE OUTTA TIME!!!

If you can make lemonade out of this pile; then be my guest.

WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: January 4, 1997

While we have just completed the entire run of sometimes great, sometimes awful, but never dull WCW programming in 1996, it’s easy to forget there was still another game in town. Over at Titan Towers, things were not promising.
RAW was in the dumps, regularly drawing less than 5000 fans per crowd. They’d managed to crawl out of the rock bottom high school gyms of 1995, but they still had a long way to go. Many of their top draws had run off to the greener pastures of WCW, and they were left with a bare bones staff of wrestlers who were hungry, and happy to be employed. WCW cast-offs like Steve Austin and Mick Foley were finding themselves under new characters, and enjoying success. Brian Pillman was a shell of himself physically, but his charisma was off the charts. They had gone all-in on Shawn Michaels through 1996, and while ratings fell further as WCW monopolized the Monday Night Crowd, it was through no fault of his effort; able to put on a **** match with himself if he needed to.
Bret Hart had sat out most of 1996, taking some time to heal up after 13 consecutive years on the road, and figure out his future. Ultimately, he chose loyalty over money, and signed a 20 year deal to keep himself in the WWF for the rest of his life. Not everyone was happy to see him, however, and Bret was immediately tested by the young upstarts who were waiting to get their hands on him; specifically in the guise of a pissed off Steve Austin.
The trouble with the WWF was, after all the defections, the company didn’t really know who they were anymore. The campy 80’s had clearly passed them by, and WCW was putting on a smarter product every week, with strong undercard wrestling, and a hot nWo storyline. They needed a full-fledged makeover. Shows like Jerry Springer were all the rage on TV, and the WWF, in a desperation attempt to reclaim their lost fanbase, decided to move in a trashier direction. If it failed, they were cooked. But if they were right … the sky was the limit.
Queue Shotgun Saturday Night; a late night concept devised from the insanity we know as Vince McMahon. By moving the show to a late night slot, they had the creative freedom to do more “adult oriented” content than the norm. As such, this is the debut edition. On with the show.
A graphic violence warning is provided, before cutting over to the lineup of fans (all 30 of them?) waiting to get into the Mirage Nightclub in New York City – home of Shotgun Saturday Night. An amped BOB BACKLUND encourages everyone to go home, due to the sexual activity, violence, and crime taking place inside. “WHO’S THAT GOOD FOR? IT SHOULD BE BANNED! NEW YORK CITY SHOULD BE BANNED! SATURDAY NIGHT SHOULD BE BANNED!”

Who’s to say he’s wrong? Cue the opening montage, featuring all sorts of adult activities such as porno theatres, Sunny, Shawn Michaels’ bare ass, and the Undertaker who apparently lives in the sewer now.
A grunting VINCE MCMAHON and dancing SUNNY are your hosts from inside the night club. The wild scene is unlike anything you’ve ever seen in pro wrestling to this point; with a smaller ring than your typical WWF fare sitting in the middle of a dance party. And I’m not talking about this kind of dance party, I mean a legitimate Saturday night out on the town.
A completely out of place TODD PETTINGILL has managed to track down a handful of wrestling fans, who excitedly check out a couple of Klan members in the middle of the ring. Sorry, my mistake, they’re a new tag-team apparently, and they look ridiculous.
THE FLYING NUNS vs. THE GODWINNS (with Hillbilly Jim)
The Nuns are “Sister Angelica” and “Mother Smucker”, decidedly non-Catholic I’d reckon since they start throwing punches at the hog farmers. Sister Angelica starts with Phineas, drawing a “HOLY SHIT” chance for some reason. The ever hip McMahon agrees: “Holy cow indeed, ha ha ha!” Henry tags in and hits Angelica with a shoulderblock. Smucker gets the tag, and they give each other the sign of the cross – what the hell man? Phineas tries to woo Smucker until Henry smacks sense in to him. We’re like 4 minutes into this match, and absolutely nothing has happened, with the exception of the rowdy fans who’ve started a “GO TO HELL” chant. BROTHER LOVE hits ringside, and the Nuns hit the deck to kneel before him. Thankfully, we take a commercial break.
We’re back, and the “fight” is back on, and Henry hits a backdrop to FINALLY give us something resembling a wrestling match. Angelica prays for Henry, and the Nuns return for a conference with Brother Love. Angelica comes off the top with a karate chop to the shoulder, and the Nuns stomp down Henry in the corner. The fans start an “ECW” chant, which seems apropos since this is completely low rent indy garbage. The Nuns continue their double team work on Henry, drawing the ire of the referee who yells a lot and does absolutely nothing about it. Smucker goes to finish with the guillotine legdrop, but Henry rolls away (all 18 inches) to his corner to get the hot tag. The fans completely turn on this, and start booing it. Not to worry though, because the Nuns inject Phineas with the Holy Spirit, stopping him in his tracks. A dropkick, and a shot from Brother Love’s giant bible is all it takes for the Nuns to score the upset at 9:28. For those of you who weren’t around in 1997 to see it; the Nuns are a still relatively new “Headbangers”. If this is what the WWF had in mind to kick off its hot new edgy program, then this show’s already on death watch. -**
TODD PETTINGILL asks Brother Love what the deal with the Nuns are. He loves them because they’re virginal, having never been touched by anyone but their own hands. Going forward, they’ll be known as the Sisters of Love, and all tag-teams best watch their back.
ROCKY MAIVIA is hanging out with all the young cats down in the VIP lounge, but so are GOLDUST and MARLENA. An irate BOB BACKLUND bursts in on the scene to scream that neither one of them are beautiful, demanding Marlena cover up and asking where her mother is? “THAT’S CLEAVAGE LADY! KEEP THAT OUT OF YOUR LIVES!” This is what the RTC needed in 2000. Give that man a World Title!
GOLDUST (with Marlena) vs. THE SULTAN (with Bob Backlund)
Goldust knocks Sultan to the floor and rubs his nipples. Vince notes that a number of ex-champions have endorsed the Sultan to this point, which may have him on the fast track to the big belt himself. I think he actually believes this stuff. Goldust hits a clothesline for 2. A sleeper is applied, and the announce crew tries to get a word with Backlund. “I CAN’T HEAR WITHOUT MY GLASSES ON!” Sultan clotheslines Goldust, and splashes him in the corner. A couple of kneedrops to the face, while Vince spews his favorite tagline: “You never know what will happen in the World Wrestling Federation!” Sultan drops a leg, getting 2. A powerslam gets all of 1, and Goldust goes into his cat pose. Sultan works a nerve hold, while Mr. Bob works to repair the fabric of America. The fans start getting into this, with a rowdy “FATU SUCKS” chant. Goldust hits a butt butt, and misses an axehandle. Sultan nails a falling headbutt for 2. They head to the outside, and Sultan grabs a chair but the referee is quick to take it away. They head back in, where Sultan misses a blind charge and takes a neckbreaker. Goldust gets a 6-count of punches in the corner, but he can’t get to 10 because he desperately feels the urge to rub himself. Is he on ecstasy or something? A bulldog looks to finish, but Sultan kicks out because this match is never going to end apparently. A hard clothesline gets 2. Sultan turns things around with a Samoan drop, and slaps on the camel clutch. Marlena jumps to the apron, and takes off her top causing Sunny to start making high pitched screams. Backlund goes completely insane, flapping around like he’s gone into a seizure, and Sultan hits the floor. Goldust appears to start masturbating through his tights, while Sultan is counted out at 9:39. Who the hell gave these two 10 minutes? Pettingill declares the winner of this match to be Marlena. DUD
Sunny loses her business, reminding us she’s still the sexiest woman in the WWF and promises a special surprise to all her fans next week; one of her personal sex tapes. “That’s right Vince, I’m gonna show you all a tape of me doing the wild thing baby! If Pam Anderson can do it, so can I.”
KONA CRUSH (with Clarence Mason) vs. AHMED JOHNSON
With 15 minutes left on the show, there’s an excellent chance we won’t see any positive snowflakes tonight. Johnson spears Crush, and powerslams him. Crush is tossed to the outside, but this ain’t WCW so it’s legal. Crush is dropped face first on the guardrail, while Vince gets shooty: “Crush is doing some hard time in there with Ahmed Johnson”. Crush is sent back in, and Ahmed rears back from the dance floor, and manages to jump from the floor, over the top rope and hit a flying clothesline. Crush throws a couple of punches to gain control, while Clarence Mason is asked about his relationship with Crush. He feels Crush has been used and abused, but today’s a new day, and the Nation of Domination will overtake the WWF. The fans start a “JAIL BIRD” chant, while Crush applies a full nelson. Ahmed breaks out of the hold with little effort, and hits an axe kick. Ahmed sets up the Pearl River Plunge, but D’LO BROWN attacks and we have a DQ at 4:00. 1/2*
Ahmed kills D’Lo with a spinebuster, but can’t get the Pearl River Plunge because Crush clotheslines him from behind. They double team Ahmed, and Crush grabs a chair, smacking him full force in the face. GOLDUST and THE GODWINNS dive into the ring to protect Ahmed from any more abuse … except Ahmed’s back up and chases the Nation right out the back door. Out on to 56th Street, the fight continues, and poor D’Lo Brown is given the Pearl River Plunge on the roof of a parked car!
MASCARITA SAGRADA vs. MINI VADER (with Jim Cornette)
Sagrada was on Nitro this past Monday, but has since come to terms with the WWF. Quite frankly, they can have him. Before the match, Sunny joins her favorite midget in the ring, and they do the Macarena while Todd Pettingill makes up his own lyrics.
He comes from a place where you shouldn’t drink the water /
Not much taller than my two year old daughter /
He’ll bite later, like a gator /
When he steps into the ring with Mini Vader /
He’s no igit, he’s a midget /
And his favorite TV show is Pitch It /
He’s got the powers and the quickness of a cheetah /
Small enough to swallow like a human picadita /
He’s getting more attention than Madonna in a Evita /
He’s Mascarida /
His only preparation is to drink a margarita /
He’s Mascarida … HEY!
I … just … well … sigh. It should come as no surprise that this is the funniest thing Vince has EVER heard. Vader finally has enough and kicks Max in the face. A senton misses, and Max hits a springboard armdrag. Another armdrag sends Vader to the floor, while Cornette joins commentary and complains about Vader being the biggest pain in the ass he’s ever dealt with. With that, he hits the ring, and calls time-out. And thus we do, with a commercial break.
We return with Max flying to the outside with a springboard plancha. Back in, Vader hits a superkick that Max takes about 3 seconds to start selling. Vader hits a clothesline, and nails a powerbomb. A corner senton misses, and Max comes off the top with a rana that sends Vader to the floor. A 360 corkscrew plancha is on point, but it hurts Max more than Vader. Back in, Max nails a Frankensteiner, and follows with a missile dropkick for the pin at 3:54. Match of the night! *
Cornette tosses Vader out of the ring, and challenges Max to a brawl himself. Vader gets back in and lies in wait behind Jimmy, while Max shoves him backwards to trip him up. And since ANYTHING can happen in the World Wrestling Federation, they rip his pants off.
Let’s not kid ourselves. If this aired today, it would widely be recognized as the worst concept in wrestling history. They’re still trotting out the same stupid gimmicked characters of yesteryear, but trying to put them in an adult environment, and it simply doesn’t mesh. The only people who could even remotely appear to be with this kind of snuff environment were Goldust, Marlena, and Sunny. (And of course, an outraged Bob Backlund is never a bad idea.)

However, the WWF was in dire straits, as we noted at the top – and I’ll give them credit for trying anything different as opposed to rolling over and letting WCW walk all over them. They were on the right track by recognizing they had an untapped adult audience that was waiting for them; but it was simply a matter of figuring out how to massage the product to them. This DEFINITELY wasn’t it, but we’re headed places.