Ahmed Johnson vs. Vader & Triple-H vs. Jake (and other KOTR Qualifying Matches!)

Austin 3:16- The Most Iconic Promo Ever Happened 25 Years Ago Today

Beating a bunch of midcarders and you change the business forever. Wrestling is weird.

WWF KING OF THE RING QUALIFYING MATCHES (1996):
* You might have heard of this tournament before. So by this point, the tourney was kind of up in the air after Mabel’s failed Main Event push. It could have even poisoned the “King” title, in fact. Hopefully THIS year’s winner makes more of a go of it.

So the backstory here was that the crown was meant to go to the “Next Big Midcarder”, more or less- mid-tier heel Hunter Hearts-Helmsley was expected to win it. But instead, he was one of the few guys the WWF could punish for doing the infamous “Curtain Call” (the Kliq members all coming out for a group hug in the ring, “exposing the business” by confusing fans at an MSG house show). And so he had his big push taken away and they threw it on some other guy. Thus giving HHH a lifelong persecution complex and an obsessive need to look smarter and better than everyone else, covering his own ass at every opportunity. But who knows what effect THAT had on the business?

This review is comparatively massive, because I decided to put the trio of Quarterfinals in the same review instead of splitting them up. Easier to look at the tourney as a whole that way! Hopefully it’s not too long, haha.

HENRY O. GODWINN (w/ Hillbilly Jim) vs. JUSTIN “HAWK” BRADHSAW (w/ Uncle Zebekiah):
(WWF Superstars)
* Weirdness abounds as tag wrestler Godwinn is out there with absolutely ZERO chance, taking on rising midcard guy Bradshaw, then a super-green Stan Hansen wannabe in red trunks and a ponytail managed by Zebekiah. At this point, the future JBL was nowhere near as protected as he would be even as part of the Acolytes, but he was protected enough.

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WWF WrestleFest ’88 (Savage vs. DiBiase & Hogan vs. Andre)

Arcade Longplay [244] WWF Wrestlefest - YouTube

No, not THIS WrestleFest. But damn, that game was awesome.

WWF WRESTLEFEST ’88:
(July 31, 1988, Milwaukee Coliseum)
* So while looking for more Dream Matches, I found this interesting card. It’s been covered on the Blog in the distant past, but it seems fun. This was one of those times Vince “My philosophy is help yourself; don’t hurt the other guy” McMahon deliberately booked a super-show specifically to hurt the other guy, as Great American Bash tour was kicking off in Milwaukee the next night, so Vince is like “HEY HAVE A STADIUM SHOW WITH ALL MY BIGGEST STARS!” putting the hot World Title program and Hogan/Andre in a goddamn Steel Cage in the Main Event slots. The obvious reason being to make the WWF look awesome and the NWA look like shit, and to make fans spend money and hype on this show instead of that one. And I guess it worked.

This show is kind of scattered around the ‘net, as they didn’t quite air the whole thing at once- the openers were taped for regular TV shows and the Title Match is on DailyMotion, so this is scattered between YouTube and DM. But it’s an interesting time for the company, as things are hot as hell 3+ years after the Hogan Era began and the Mega Powers era is in full swing. Your hosts are Lord Alfred Hayes, Sean Mooney & Superstar Billy Graham, which is an, um, odd assortment of B & C-Team announcers.

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Bret vs. Misawa, Savage vs. Tenryu & Hogan vs. Hansen (and other Dream Matches!)

 

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Hogan & Hansen: Main Event in the making!

WWF/AJPW/NJPW WRESTLING SUMMIT:
(Tokyo Dome, April 13th, 1990)

* This is a pretty wild and wacky card, full of the kind of “Dream Matches” you’ll never see again- I’m really shocked it’s not more famous. I mean, it’s a triple-show with All Japan, New Japan, AND the WWF all at once! In the Tokyo Dome! Apparently highlights were aired on Japanese TV, but complexities with the rights led to the full event never being shown in its entirety (which might be why it’s so obscure). The biggest matches are Hulk Hogan vs. Stan Hansen, Macho Man vs. Genichiro Tenryu, and the Ultimate Warrior vs. Ted DiBiase. The WON awards declared this the “Best Major Wrestling Show” of 1990!

“TL;DR” Version: So come see Bret Hart vs. Mitsuharu Misawa in the most disappointing Dream Match of all time! Hogan with his “Japan working boots” (where he’s more “Unstoppable Monster” than the Technically-Gifted Powerhouse I was led to believe he was) on against Stan Hansen in one of his greatest matches ever! Macho King & Queen Sherri doing their schtick against a stoic top-tier Japanese legend in a befuddled Tenryu! Grumpy ol’ Jumbo Tsuruta dealing with hard-working heels in Martel & Perfect!

The show had two dark matches- Dan Kroffat, Doug Furnas & Joe Malenko beat Samson Fuyuki, Tatsumi Kitahara & Toshiaki Kawada in (11:56), and Jushin Liger beat Akira Nogami in (8:37). An extremely shaky fancam of the latter exists- it’s mostly hold-trading. They trade corner moves and Liger hits a surfboard and a rock-the-cradle. They trade flash-pins and Nogami hits a very good plancha and German Suplex for two, but Liger dropkicks him coming off the top and hits a Tope Con Hilo to the floor! He misses a roundhouse kick but gets a powerslam and finishes with a Moonsault Press. Looks **1/2-ish but holy god am I not gonna go move-for-move with such a shaky vid.

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Dream Matches: WWF Survivor Series Showdown 1989

Survivor Series (1989) - Wikipedia

WWF SURVIVOR SERIES SHOWDOWN 1989:
(Nov. 12, 1989)
* So this is largely a card of JUST Dream Matches, and I Bayless already covered this ages ago, but whatever- these cards fascinate me. I guess they were on the USA Network and were used as hype shows for the Survivor Series, mixing up the guys in the matches against each other. So we’re in the post-WrestleMania V era, with “Macho King” being slid down to an “Upper Midcard” position, Hogan as Champion again with Zeus as an arch-enemy, and more. And this YouTube video includes the COMMERCIALS, complete with advertising. Hm, Dyanetics or video games made by Acclaim- which is more evil to advertise to children?

Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan & Roddy Piper are our hosts, and Monsoon actually lays it out- every team member would put their names into a hat, drawing names out until one one guy remained- those guys would fight each other. This is why it looks so “random” (ie. big stars are fighting tag team wrestlers so that they can win while not hurting anyone’s push).

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Bret Hart & The Ultimate Warrior vs. Kamala & Papa Shango (and other Dream Matches!)

UNRELEASED Tag Match, Ultimate Warrior & Bret Hitman Hart Vs Papa Shango & Kamala 13th Oct 1992 - YouTube

Ugh, it’s SINGLET Warrior- that’s always death.

It’s time for more Dream Matches! Including the weirdest “final bout of the House Show” tag match ever! The ultimate battle of WCW Saturday Night: Hole In One versus LIGHTNING FOOT! An odd and very rare Heel vs. Heel Tag Title match on RAW! And a very interesting match featuring 1992 Sean Waltman & Jerry Lynn in a bout featuring a ton of Luchadors!

As always, WWE-owned clips are non-kosher to post here, but they’re all on YouTube.

THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR & BRET “HITMAN” HART vs. PAPA SHANGO & KAMALA (w/ Dr. Harvey Whippleman & Kim Chee):
(WWF Unreleased, Oct. 13th, 1992)
* Oh man, this is weird. Ultimate Warrior (in his “Brick Wall Singlet” era, no less!), just about done with the company, is teaming with the single WWF wrestler least like him against a guy they both have an issue with- Papa Shango possibly “cursed” the Hitman and he lost the IC Title, while he made the Warrior bleed black and puke his guts out on TV in one of the most bizarre, amazing, fantastic angles of 1992… before everyone was kind of just done with that gimmick. And Kamala’s teaming with him because he needs an extra guy, I guess (I mean, voodoo has its roots in African religions, but I doubt the booking team knew that). They’re clearly going with an “Undertaker” vibe with Shango, doing close-ups of “disturbed”, frightened children, but it’s just not taking- the gimmick’s too out there. Who would have guessed that the secret to Charles Wright was to make this 6’6″, 300-lb. tattooed guy a smiling babyface instead?

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Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XXXI

Taped from Terre Haute, IN

Airdate:  November 14, 1992 (taped 10/27)

Attendance:  4,300

Hosted by Vince McMahon & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Can Papa Shango become WWF champion? Will the Ultimate Maniacs achieve tag team gold? How will Michaels fare against Smith for the IC title? It’s a triple-crown show so let’s find out!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF Summerslam ’92

WWF Summerslam ‘92

Taped from London, England

Airdate: August 31, 1991 (taped 8/29)

Attendance:  78,927 (75,000 paid)

Hosted by Vince McMahon & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Can Bret retain the IC title against home country favorite Davey Boy? Will Warrior recapture the WWF title from Savage? In whose corner will Mr. Perfect occupy? Let’s find out!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF Summerslam ’91

Live from New York, NY

Airdate: August 26, 1991

Attendance:  20,000

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan & “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

With matches made in both Heaven and Hell, will Vince go to Purgatory? Also, three title matches support the undercard. Read on!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XXIX

Taped from Omaha, NE

Airdate:  April 27, 1991 (taped 4/15)

Attendance:  9,400 (7,000 paid)

Hosted by Vince McMahon & “Macho Man” Randy Savage

Can both Undertaker and Bret Hart make a big splash on network TV? Read on!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF WrestleMania VII

Live from Los Angeles, CA

Airdate: March 24, 1991

Attendance:  15,500

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Wait a minute! This was supposed to be at the L.A. Coliseum! Vince must have hired Special Ops to keep the venue change so tight-lipped. Read on!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF Main Event IV

Taped from Fort Wayne, IN

Airdate: November 23, 1990 (taped 10/30)

Attendance:  unknown

Hosted by Vince McMahon & “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

Let’s finish Thanksgiving week of 1990 with a rather infamous show. In case you’ve been on vacation, this is the third wrestling supershow in the same week. I’ve even included a BONUS match for reasons that will materialize. Read on!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF Survivor Series 1990

Live from Hartford, CT

Airdate: November 22, 1990

Attendance:  16,000 (13,000 paid)

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon & “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

A mere two days after Clash XIII, this show occurred LIVE on PPV. Oh. My. God. What in God’s creation is in that EGG? Read on!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF WrestleMania VI

Live from Toronto, ON

Airdate: April 1, 1990

Attendance:  64,287 (sold out)

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

It’s time for the Ultimate Challenge! Can the Warrior freight train derail Hulkamania? Read on!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XXV

Taped from Chattanooga, TN

Airdate:  January 27, 1990 (taped 1/3)

Attendance:  unknown

Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Can Hogan avenge his countout loss to Genius with help from Warrior? Will Duggan regain the crown from Savage? Read on!

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