Inside Pulse Wrestling » Hart http://wrestling.insidepulse.com Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:51:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Inside Pulse Wrestling no Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Inside Pulse Wrestling » Hart http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://wrestling.insidepulse.com Blair’s Hart Family Legacy: Smith “Who The F Is Smith Hart” Hart http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/12/23/blairs-hart-family-legacy-smith-who-the-f-is-smith-hart-hart/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/12/23/blairs-hart-family-legacy-smith-who-the-f-is-smith-hart-hart/#comments Fri, 23 Dec 2011 11:00:59 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=130909 Smith Hart is seemingly one of the only normal members of the Hart family.

I imagine that Smith was raised separately from the rest of the Hart kids, which would explain this seemed normalcy. It’s possible that when shopping for groceries one Sunday, when attempting to corral his 12 kids, Stu could only find 11. Knowing that Helen would never notice because she was always drunk, he decided “fuck it” and left Smith there. If the kids asked any questions, he would take them to the basement. We all know what happened down there.

This allowed Smith to escape into the world, thus allowing him to not contract whatever disease it is that cause the Harts to go FUBAR. The family never realized, and Stu eventually forgot about it. Smith still shows up every once in a while, at family gatherings where he can blend into the crowd as well as make away with a present or two. Or events like WrestleMania 26, when Bret left a message with everyone with the last name “Hart” and offered a payday just for showing up for the match, even though for the msot part, nobody anywhere ever knew who the fuck was in the ring.

He wrestled in his father’s Stampede Wrestling promotion and in Puerto Rico’s World Wrestling Council in the 1970s. He also helped out behind the scenes at Stampede Wrestling.

Smith opened a “Hart Brothers Wrestling School” in Cambridge, Ontario which has trained many wrestlers including the Highlanders, which we all remember as one of the all time great tag-teams in wrestling ever, right along with The Headbangers, Well Dunn, The Godwins, Skip & Zip, Techno-Team 2000, Doink and Dink, and Buff Bagwell and his Mom.

 

In summary, Smith Hart has never done anything in wrestling, for anyone, ever. I couldn’t even find a picture of him on the internet. I love obscure stuff like this.

Maybe what fucks the Hart’s up beyond all recognition is fame. Smith was never famous, so he’s escaped death, near-incest, and other Hart trademarks like public vomiting and drug-rape.

Smith is the Michael Bluth of the Hart Family. He does not need a TV, all he needs to do to be entertained is watch the goings-on of the people around him.

There was an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry comes home and listens to a message on his machine. It’s Frank Costanza, screaming into his machine “JERRY IT’S FRANK COSTANZA MR. STEINBRENNER IS HERE GEORGE IS DEAD CALL ME BACK.” Jerry simply shook his head and erased it.

I imagine Smith received a lot of messages like this: “SMITH IT’S DIANA DAVEY LEFT ME FOR BRUCE’S WIFE BUT IT TURNED OUT HE WAS DRUG-RAPING ME SO YEAH FUCK HIM BUT I WON’T HELP BRET AND MARTHA SUE VINCE SO BRET THREATENED TO BURN MY HOUSE DOWN I’M A DUMB SLUT AND I THINK NATALYA IS FUCKING THAT WIERD KID THAT JIM ADOPTED WITH THE FUCKED UP HAIR CALL ME BACK.”

I imagine Smith simply shakes his head and erases the machine too.

Good for him.

 

I’ll be in my trailer. Merry Christmas.topstory120x120-http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x350/blairadouglas/dynasty-120×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x350/blairadouglas/hartfoundation_58849.jpg|topstory500x250

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Blair’s Hart Family Legacy: “The Rocket” Owen Hart http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/12/16/blairs-hart-family-legacy-the-rocket-owen-hart/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/12/16/blairs-hart-family-legacy-the-rocket-owen-hart/#comments Fri, 16 Dec 2011 11:00:36 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=130907 Owen Hart is a name synonymous with wrestling history. This record-setting started at an early age, as he was the very last of the Hart children to make the stomach-churning trip through Helen Hart’s well-travelled gut locker just before it imploded due to overuse, and collapsed in on itself. (This later became the inspiration for the climax of the movie “Independance Day”, where Will Smith had to fly his little pod out of the mothership just before it exploded.)

After this, the fetus factory that was Helen Hart went into retirement. The kids weren’t sure why they would no longer receive new brothers and sisters on a yearly basis, as they were too young to understand Stu’s repeated use of the phrase “hot dog down a hallway”. Nor could they understand what was meant by Stu telling Helen that he would just be using the back door from now on, but thanks to the sounds that came out of their room during said discussions, to this day, none of those children ever enter anywhere using a back door. Whether it be their houses, arenas, gyms… they will always find a front door, a side door, a heating vent, whatever is necessary to get into the building without using the back door. The Bulldog, being from outside the family, never understood this need to master alternate forms of entry and exit… hence his WCW trap door accident.

Naturally, Owen went into amateur wrestling in high school. This was so hard-wired into his DNA that he never considered the option to NOT do it. It was through this that he met his wife, Martha. Martha would state in her book that wrestling was not Owen’s first choice for a career. She says that Owen tried numerous times to find a profitable living outside of wrestling. If this is true, those attempts were obviously unsuccessful or not as lucrative. So Owen did what they all do eventually, go downstairs to the basement with a pair of boots to get the shit kicked out of you until your Dad gave you his approval to go get the shit kicked out of you professionally.

 

He debuted for Stampede Wrestling in 1986. He remained with them for the next couple of years while honing his skills. He won tag-team gold there with a no-name wrestler and was named the PWI Rookie of the Year in 1987. He also feuded with a more stable Dynamite Kid. In 1987, Hart branched out to Japan where he wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling on several tours. He had some amazing matches against Keiichi Yamada when he was under the Jushin Liger gimmick. Owen also defeated Hiroshi Hase for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.

Playing off this success, Owen entered the World Wrestling Federation in 1988. He debuted as the Blue… Angel? Now THAT’S irony. Anyway, this was alternative to being promoted as Bret’s younger brother. Owen was not overly pleased with his superhero Blue Angel gimmick, and the WWF, sensitive to it’s talent even back then, gave him an upgrade from Blue Angel… to Blue Blazer. The highlight of his first Blue Blazer run was his match against Mr. Perfect at WrestleMania 5.

Shortly after WrestleMania, Hart left the WWF to tour the world both with and without the Blue Blazer gimmick. He also returned to Stampede, until it shut down in December 1989. In 1991, he put his mask on the line in Mexico against El Canek, thus bidding farewell to the Blue Blazer gimmick, until… well, we’ll get to that.

Hart also had a short-lived stint in WCW, teaming with Ricky Morton. Hart had been engaged in contract discussions with WCW but the deal was never struck, as Owen was not willing to move himself and his entire family to WCW’s headquarters in Atlanta, which is only slightly more work than listening to Ricky Morton’s inane ramblings. So instead, he returned to the WWF.

 

By this point in the WWF, Bret had set out on a singles career. WWF, aware of Owen’s experience teaming with crazy people who don’t know how to save their money, decided they had the perfect angle for him – teaming with Jim Neidhart. They would form The New Foundation, an updated version of the Hart Foundation. The old Hart Foundation was good and all, but they lacked baggy pants and suspenders, so naturally the kids knew when they saw The New Foundation that they were in for a ride. Jim and Owen had feuds with The Beverly Brothers and The Orient Express, until Neidhart left the WWF.

Owen had a singles match against the stepladder-to-success at the time, Skinner, at WrestleMania 8, in which he was victorious. Owen, however, eaten up by Jim’s decision to leave the WWF and team with Junkyard Dog in WCW, decided he would show Jim “what’s up” by teaming up with Koko B. Ware. The duo formed High Energy. This did not last long, as even then Vince had a thing for throwing Harts to Samoan wolves, and the team was quickly and decisively bested by The Headshrinkers. The team was quietly dropped at the start of 1993.

In the middle of 1993, when Bret Hart’s feud with Jerry Lawler ignited, Owen stood by his brother’s side and fought against Lawler. Most of this took place in the USWA, where most of the WWF talent were considered heels. During this time, Owen won the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship from another stepladder-to-success, Papa Shango. Unbeknownst to everyone, it was at this point that Papa Shango placed a voodoo curse on Owen, a curse that would only rear it’s ugly head should Owen dare to step in the ring with Papa Shango again…

… but he never did.

 

Owen returned to the WWF in the fall of 1993, when the Hart / Lawler feud had reached it’s boiling point. The blowoff to this feud with Lawler was Bret bringing Owen and two of his other bros to face a team captained by… Shawn Michaels, because Jerry Lawler was busy dating children at the time, or something. During the match, Bobby Heenan gets in some of the best Hart jokes you’ve ever heard in your life. Anyway, Owen and Bret inadvertently crashed into each other, causing Owen to be eliminated from the team. Owen returned after the match, yelled at Bret and the rest of his family, and left. Helen cried. The following night, Owen adopted the pink and black tights, sunglasses and Sharpshooter finisher to send a message to his brother. The Bret / Owen feud had begun.

The two brothers faced off for the first time at WrestleMania X, where Owen cleanly pinned Bret in the only match capable of stealing the show from Earthquake and Adam Bomb. Later in the evening, Bret avoided the NUCLEAR BUTTDROP OF DOOM from Yokozuna to win the WWF Title while Owen stood by and watched in jealousy as Bret celebrated in the ring. Then, in an effort to show that he didn’t follow in Bret’s footsteps, he did exactly that by mirroring Bret’s King Of The Ring win from the year before. Owen won the tournament with the help of Jim Neidhart, who had returned to the WWF. This time however, the kids were shocked and hurt to find out that there would be NO racing suspenders to be had. This, of course, meant that they were heels. After the victory, Owen took the nickname “King of Harts.”

Owen and Bret had an epic cage match at SummerSlam 1994, which Bret won. They also had a lumberjack match which Owen initially won and was announced as the new WWF Champion. Then the match was overturned due to outside interference, because everyone knows the last thing that you want in a fucking LUMBERJACK MATCH is OUTSIDE INTERFERENCE. So, Bret won. At the Survivor Series, Owen struck the most damaging blow when, due to Helen’s alcoholism and prolapsed rectum medication, Owen was able to convince his old confused mother to throw in the towel on Bret’s behalf. The ploy cost Bret the world title to Bob Backlund, and Owen prevented Bret from regaining it again from Diesel a few months later as well. In the weeks after this, Bret and Owen clashed again with Bret soundly defeating his brother, thus putting an end to their feud for the time being.

Extremely adept at carrying fat tubs of goo by this point, Owen decided he could do so again, and teamed with Yokozuna. After the victory, Owen took Jim Cornette as his manager, as Cornette already managed Yokozuna. The team defended the title for 5 months until they lost them to Shawn Michaels and Diesel. Owen and Yoko regained the titles again, but lost them just as quickly. They teamed infrequently for a little while.

 

In 1995, Owen’s brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith turned heel and joined the Camp Cornette stable. In September 1996, Owen and Bulldog won tag-team gold after defeating the Smoking Gunns. They remained Tag Team Champions, but fought amongst each other over a whole lot of silly things. Then, as the two were about to have a match, in a shocking moment, the recently-turned-heel Bret Hart appeared at ringside and stopped the match. Bret appealed to both Owen and Bulldog, talking about the importance of family. They agreed to put their differences aside and join with Bret to form the new Hart Foundation, a terrorist stable that also included Neidhart and Hart family friend Brian Pillman.

After forming the Hart Foundation, Bulldog and Owen lost the tag straps to Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin. Owen quickly gained singles gold of his own as he pinned Rocky Maivia to win his first WWF Intercontinental title, at his WWF career’s ripe young age of 10. He began a feud with Austin, and at SummerSlam the feud took a nasty turn as a botched piledriver ended up injuring Austin’s neck. Owen lost his Intercontinental title to Austin and the weakest roll-up in history after the fact. Although it was an accident, the WWF decided to make it part of the storyline as Owen began wearing a t-shirt patterned after Austin’s that read “Owen 3:16 – I Just Broke Your Neck”.

Then Montreal happened, and we all know what that means. That’s right, Owen lost his Intercontinenal Title to Austin. There was another small incident that happened at the same event that is not worth mentioning, but Bret, Bulldog and Neidhart were all granted their release by WWF and went to WCW. There are conflicting reports over what happened with Owen – some (Bret, Martha, and others) state that McMahon wasn’t willing to release Owen from his contract. Some (Diana, Vince, and others) state that Owen wanted to remain in WWF. Nothing was ever said definitively about this, at least nothing that I can find. Wikipedia states that Vince wasn’t willing to let Owen out of his contract, so take that for whatever it’s worth.

At first, he feuded with DX for obvious reasons. Then shit got weird. Goldust dressed up as Triple H for some reason and the bowling-ball-sharp Commissioner Slaugher considered Goldust to be a legitimate replacement somehow. Then Owen decided to become a fake ultimate fighter and snapped Ken Shamrock’s ankle and started biting people. Then Owen joined a black militant gang. Then Owen was a redneck with Jeff Jarrett. Then the WWF wanted Owen to have an on-screen affair with Debra, but Owen was all “bitch, please.” Then Owen fake quit the WWF. Then he had an identity crisis and came back as the Blue Blazer but swore he wasn’t Owen. It’s almost as though they had no fucking idea what to do with him.

 

May 23, 1999. Owen Hart fell to his death in Kansas City at the Over the Edge PPV. Owen as the Blue Blazer was in the process of being lowered via harness and grapple line into the ring from the rafters of Kemper Arena for a booked Intercontinental Championship match against The Godfather. In keeping with the Blazer’s new “buffoonish superhero” character, he was to begin a dramatic entrance, being lowered to just above ring level, at which time he would act “entangled”, then release himself from the safety harness and fall flat on his face for comedic effect. This necessitated the use of a quick release mechanism. This really could not have gone much more sideways than it did.

Something went wrong with the stunt harness, apparently triggering the release mechanism early as he was being lowered. Hart fell 78 feet into the ring, landing chest-first on the top rope, approximately a foot from the nearest turnbuckle, throwing him into the ring. Following the fall, a dazed Hart managed to sit up in the ring, before losing consciousness. According to Bret Hart’s autobiography, Owen had initially planned to descend from the rafters with a midget wrestler scissored between his legs. Had this been the case, both men would likely have been killed. The idea was abandoned only hours before the event.

Jim Ross repeatedly told those watching live on pay-per-view that what had just transpired was not a wrestling angle or storyline and that Hart was hurt badly, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation. Hart was transported to Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, where he was pronounced dead on arrival; some believe he died in the ring. The cause was later revealed to be internal bleeding from a severed aorta.

Later, Jim Ross announced the death of Hart to the home viewers during the pay-per-view, but not to the crowd in the arena. While the show did go on, it has never been released commercially by WWF Home Video, and to this date no footage of Hart’s fall has ever been officially released.

 

A special RAW was aired the following night, entitled “Raw Is Owen” in which superstars did shoot interviews, saying whatever they wanted about Owen. The show ended with Stone Cold doing his beer-routine, leaving one in the ring “For Owen”. Shawn Michaels, in his Heartbreak and Triumph autobiography, notes that “Owen is the only guy you could have a 2-hour show for, and no-one would say a bad word about him.” The next day, WWF taped next weeks episode of RAW. During that show, Jeff Jarrett defeated The Godfather to win the Intercontinental Championship, the title Hart was booked to win at Over the Edge for the third time. Jarrett screamed Hart’s name as the belt was handed to him.

Then Bret and some of the family sued the WWF. Several sources, including his own sister, say that Bret believed that Vince actually intentionally murdered Owen. He wrote a big tirade against the WWE in his newspaper column, in which Montreal was referenced numerous times and Owen’s name was mentioned once. In his DVD set Bret “Hit Man” Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be, Bret said that he wishes he had been with the WWF the night Owen’s accident happened, as he would have discouraged Owen from performing the stunt. WWE settled, and the Harts got 18 million. Martha used $2 million of the settlement to establish the Owen Hart Foundation while retaining the rest for herself. Martha wrote a book about Hart’s life in 2002 called Broken Harts: The Life and Death of Owen Hart.

Since then, Martha has asked and legally demanded that the WWE not show any Owen Hart footage for any reason, ever. Bret was initially on board with this, until having recently sold out on everything he swore he would never sell out to. He has now taken a public stand against Martha and has said that Owen Hart footage should be made available for all his fans.

 

I’ll be in my trailer.topstory120x120-http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x350/blairadouglas/dynasty-120×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x350/blairadouglas/hartfoundation_58849.jpg|topstory500x250

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Blair’s Hart Family Legacy: Bruce “Sunglasses At Night” Hart http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/12/09/blairs-hart-family-legacy-bruce-sunglasses-at-night-hart/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/12/09/blairs-hart-family-legacy-bruce-sunglasses-at-night-hart/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2011 11:00:11 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=130904 Bruce Hart was the second-oldest and first-most-useless of the Hart kids. Stu put Bruce into Stampede Wrestling at a young age. Stu did this hoping that an accident or two in the ring would kill a couple of his less talented and dumber kids, to make the budget stretch a little further so that they could afford luxeries like milk and poutine. Bruce was pretty high on the list of the kids Stu hoped might die, but unfortunately, instead of the least-talented Hart dying in a ring accident, the most talented Hart did, and it was about 30 years too late.

Bruce’s “career” has barely anything worth mentioning. He teamed with Brian Pillman in Stampede Wrestling in yet another example of how somtiems the useful can die before the useless. In 1993, Bruce teamed in the WWF with Bret, Owen and Keith against close Hart family friend Shawn Michaels and his “Knights”. This was the jumping-off point for the Hart family feud, and Bruce was instrumental in this feud by sitting at ringside with his sunglasses on, completely expressionless.

When the Hart’s reuinted in the WWF at a Calgary PPV to take on Stone Cold’s team, Bruce was a key part of the match and it’s finish, because Vince figured why put over a guy who’s actually a wrestler? He scuffled with Austin, allowing Owen to score the pin.

He made a “comeback” to the ring in 1996 with Marty Jannetty. This is a rare occasion where something actually worked out better for Jannetty than whoever Jannetty was with, as Jannetty went on to sign with WCW. Bruce… did not. When he realized that he had nothing to “come back” to, he retired again and re-opened Stampede Wrestling. This also didn’t work.

 

The book “Ring of Hell” stated that Bruce was always abusive towards and jealous of Chris Benoit during his days training in the Hart Family Dungeon. This may have had something to do with the fact that Benoit was a good wrestler who kept finding work while Bruce was… well, not that. Bruce did an interview with Calgary Sun where he called Chris Benoit a “delusional juice freak”, saying he was not surprised at all by Chris’ eventual actions.

Bruce also showed up at WrestleMania 26 last year to help What’s Left Of Bret Hart win his match against Vince McMahon. He was the special guest referee. Even here, he was not above donning sunglasses indoors.

 

Hart substitute teaches for the Calgary Board of Education in various positions. Wiki tells me that he wears distinct cowboy boots when teaching “which makes for interesting conversation with the students.”

Hart is divorced from his former wife Andrea Redding, who decided she wanted to bang Bulldog until death do them part, literally. She and Bruce have five children.

Bruce married for the second time on January 18, 2007, at the age of 58, to Rachel Overholt… who is 28… AND… a former student of his.

Shudder.

She must REALLY have loved those ‘distinct’ cowboy boots. Bruce and Andrea’s first child was born in October of the same year. A picture of the happy couple can be found in the encyclopedia under the term “Shotgun Wedding”. (Do the math, you’ll see.)

 

I’ll be in my trailer.topstory120x120-http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x350/blairadouglas/dynasty-120×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x350/blairadouglas/hartfoundation_58849.jpg|topstory500x250

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Blair’s Hart Family Legacy: “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/12/02/blairs-hart-family-legacy-the-british-bulldog-davey-boy-smith/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/12/02/blairs-hart-family-legacy-the-british-bulldog-davey-boy-smith/#comments Fri, 02 Dec 2011 11:00:14 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=130902 Before the era of roided-up-dickheads that couldn’t work a match to save their lives, there was an era that very few people remember or know about to begin with – one where roided-up-dickheads actually COULD work matches, or at the very least, put some effort into maintaining that perception. That segues nicely into the subject of Hart family scrutiny for today.

Davey Boy Smith broke into wrestling in Europe when he was 15 years old, with his slightly older cousin, The Dynamite Kid. It was at this tender and impressionable age where Dynamite put ideas into Davey’s head about how to succeed in the business. As well as ideas about things like drug addiction, spousal abuse, rape, infidelity, and other things that would turn Dynamite into a crippled, babbling, drooling and incoherent shell of his former self.

A few years later, Davey spotted a man snorting coke while having sex with minors while wearing sunglasses indoors. This was the man we all know and love as Bruce Hart. Stu Hart, needing an excuse to get Bruce away from doing these activities on his own property as well as get him out of his own promotion for a while, sent Bruce to the UK to scout talent. This worked out well for Davey and Dynamite however, who both soon joined and became big players in Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling. In his most memorable feud there, Davey defeated Dynamite for the title with the most contradictory name in wrestling history: the Calgary Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Title. I didn’t make the name of that championship up. The old CSBCMHT.

It was also during his stay in Stampede Wrestling that he decided to dip his pen in the company ink by fucking the batshit insane Diana Hart. Bulldog was from outside the Hart family, and it was not hard to see how absolutely and completely fucked the family as a whole was, but in a move that most likely inspired the chorus lyrics “You’re Crazy Bitch, But You Fuck So Good I’m On Top Of It”, he began to date her as well. The two were soon married, and Diana states in her book that she was soon raped every single night that she was unlucky enough to have Davey at home.

During their Stampede Wrestling stay, they also went to New Japan to lose whatever green taint still remained on them. It was in Japan where Davey and Dynamite formed the tag team The British Bulldogs. Amazing story here – one day in 1984, drunk and stoned off his fucking gourd and not speaking a word of Japanese, Dynamite unknowingly drove himself and Davey to the wrong arena. Fortunately, this arena ALSO happened to be hosting a wrestling event. Unfortunately, THIS event happened to be with New Japan’s rival, All-Japan. All-Japan just decided to not correct them, and pointed them to the ring and their opponents while giggling. They worked the match for All-Japan, believing it was New Japan. I didn’t make that up either. Later that week, Davey and Dynamite were shocked to learn that they themselves had turned on New Japan in favor of All-Japan. They did not refute the story because jumping promotions felt kind of good. So good in fact, that Davey made a career-long habit out of it.

 

After this, they debuted in the WWF and feuded with Dianna’s brother Bret and his partner Jim Neidhart, who had also married into the Hart family. This produced some of the best tag-team wrestling of the era. The Bulldogs also feuded with Demolition, The Rougeau Brothers, Shiek & Volkoff, and the extremely aptly-named “Dream Team”, which consisted of, obviously, Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine.

Dynamite eventually started to feel eviscerated from his 3 friends Bret, Davey and Jim. You see, Bret was a Hart, and Jim and Davey had both married into Bret’s family directly. Dynamate had only married Bret’s WIFE’S sister, so he was one step more removed. This did not impair Dynamite’s inherited crazy gene from taking complete hold over him though, and his backstage problems started.

These problems got worse when Curt Hennig pulled a prank on The Rougeau Brothers. Amazing story here – Jaques Rougeau, known for making solid career decisions and being as exact a target shooter as they came, then took revenge on Curt Hennig by knocking out 4 of Dynamite Kid’s teeth with a roll of quarters. Anyone can see the kind of impact this would have on Curt Hennig. Dynamite was quick to respond while Rougeau was playing cards backstage. He snuck up on Jaques Rougeau, smacked him in the ear, then punched and kicked the living shit out of his face. He then beat the shit out of Ray Rougeau, who was on crutches at the time. Davey made the ultra-sound career decision to allow a drug-addicted cripple-beating bully speak for him, and the Bulldogs left WWF when Dynamite got pissed that the Rougeaus were not punished.

Curt Hennig was nowhere to be found during all of this, but was reported by peers to have said about the situation: “BEST. PRANK. EVER.”

 

The Bulldogs went back to Stampede Wrestling and All-Japan. Around this time, Davey, along with Ross Hart and Chris Benoit (who had taken Dynamite’s finisher as his own, a maneuver well-known for producing nothing but rainbows, puppy dogs, and positive long-term effects) got into a car accident. Davey, apparently having decided that seatbelts were for weiners and not wrestlers without a financially stable employer, slammed his head through the windshield and was thrown 25 feet onto and into the pavement. This required 135 stitches. Somehow, no one’s quite sure why exactly, Davey started taking pain pills around this time. This led to his relationship further deteriorating with Dynamite, who insisted that HE, not Davey, was the Hawk or the Joey Mercury of The British Bulldogs. The team split shortly thereafter, each one still determined to out-drug the other.

Path Of Destruction: Activated
Form Of: Drug Abuse

Davey returned to the WWF after this as a singles wrestler under the name The British Bulldog. He was a very popular wrestler in the States, and as over as anyone can get anywhere in the UK. The WWF held major supercards in the UK around this time, where their main events would consist of dream matches like The British Bulldog defeating Typhoon. Nikolai Volkoff, Ted DiBiase, IRS, and his good friend Jaques Rougeau. While wrestling in the States, Vince, obviously not prepared to give these kinds of main-event matches away just anywhere, decided he needed to give Davey something to do in between sending him to the UK to bring him back dump trucks full of money. So he threw a mask, a helmet, or some furry tights (really, whatever was sitting around unused in the WWF prop department) onto random wrestlers and fed them to Bulldog in the domestic markets. This led to Bulldog’s memorable feuds with The Barbarian, The Berzerker, and The Warlord.

But Vince could not get past how UK crowds reacted to Bulldog and Typhoon. It was as if the Brits thought they were seeing Hogan and Andre The Giant. Vince was perplexed by this, but smart enough to smell mad cashola in doing a big money PPV with The Bulldog winning the Intercontinental Title from Bret at Wembley Stadium. This match is widely regarded as the best of Davey’s career, and not just because they allowed the major draw that was Diana Hart into the angle.

 

Shortly thereafter, Smith lost the title to close Hart family friend Shawn Michaels on a Saturday Night’s Main Event. It was around this time that The British Bulldog, along with The Ultimate Warrior, decided they had grown weary of fucking themselves senseless on domestic drugs and decided to give the imports a try. It was a success, so the two had some fine chaps in Britain ship them the good stuff once a month. Both soon became as drug-fucked as any wrestler ever thought they could ever be. So much so, that they forgot to hide the shipments from WWF management. ANOTHER great story – legend has it that they actually had one of the shipments sent to the arena one night. Vince, facing a possible jail stint over a steroid scandal at the time, got a hold of the drugs and presumably blew his fucking stack. Warrior and Bulldog were fired. This was the second firing for both.

Long before this trend became cool, Bulldog went to WCW, engaging in feuds with Sid and Vader. He even wrestled Vader for the WCW Heavyweight Title at one PPV. He also formed a partnership with Sting that Wikipedia describes as “mildly successful”. But the unquestionable highlight of his WCW career came when Booker T, in his Harlem Heat tag-team, became injured, leaving Stevie Ray without a partner. WCW, using all the wisdom that made them successful, put Davey Boy Smith as Stevie Ray’s new partner. Given enough time, they should have been The REAL Dream Team that Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine COULD have been. However, they lost their match to the also-extremely-logical tag-team pairing of Road Warrior Hawk and Rip Rogers (presumably whoever was in the revolving door of WCW bookers had already given his 2-weeks notice but remained working for health benefit reasons), plus Bulldog beat the shit out of some guy in a bar for making a pass at Diana. This meant that Bulldog and Stevie Ray never reached the heights as a tag-team that we all know they could have. “Harlem Bulldogs” has a nice ring to it.

Vince and his lack of long-term memory (See: Hall, Scott. Hogan, Hulk. Roberts, Jake. Etc, etc.) brought Davey back to the WWF for a third stint, and put him in the Hart Family feud that saw him team with Bret against Owen and Jim Neidhart. Bulldog also competed in a Royal Rumble the following year, entering at the start of the match with Shawn Michaels, and lasting until the very end with Shawn before being eliminated. Bulldog them formed a team called “Allied Powers” with Lex Luger. They fought people who posed deadly threats to the US and UK, like The Blu Brothers, Owen and Yokozuna, and Men On A Mission. The team found it’s demise when the same thing that brought them together (a love of jumping promotions like there’s no tomorrow) tore them apart when Lex left for WCW.

 

Davey then did the two things that signify an epic heel turn – attack Kevin Nash and cut your hair. He did so, and joined Owen and Yoko in a stable managed by Jim Cornette. He beat up Bam Bam Bigelow for a while, and then fought Diesel for the WWF title but lost. He later fought Bret for the strap, but lost. He should have been all out of title shots after this, but he accused Shawn Michaels of raping his wife (before he had a chance to) so he got a title shot from Shawn as well, that ended how the others ended. He then lost to Yokozuna. Playing off this incredible singles success, he formed a tag-team with Owen. They got the belts and reigned over the tag-team division at the time, which consisted of The Smoking Gunns, Furnas & LaFon, Vader & Mankind, The Leigon Of Doom, and lest we forget Techno-Team 2000.

Vince then turned his smell-o-scope (watch Futurama) towards England and smelled more money. He created a belt called the European Title. Everyone was eager to see if Vince would put his shiny new European belt on the only singles European wrestler he had at the time, and of course he did. Interestingly enough, Davey defeated his own tag team partner, Owen Hart, also a heel at the time, in the finals, which made Smith a double champion. This was a match considered one of the best that year. According to Bret Hart’s autobiography, the title was awarded to Smith to appease him for unfulfilled promises Vince McMahon had made. I wonder if that explains TNA’s Legends / Global / TV Title?

Bret then became a terrorist and recruited Owen and Davey and brought back Jim. Their stable feuded with American wrestlers. Davey and Owen dropped the tag-team titles to Michaels and Austin in a series of good matches, then feuded with Dude Love and Steve Austin and lost again. Davey then feuded with Ken Shamrock, but eventually lost the European belt to Shawn Michaels at a British Pay-Per-View event. You want to see heat towards someone, watch that match and the reaction towards Shawn after he wins. This marked the only time Davey ever lost on a WWF card in the UK. It also marked the third title that Davey lost to Shawn Michaels.

Then Montreal happened. Blah blah, woof woof.

 

After the dust cleared, Davey Boy went to WCW with Bret. Rather than supporting Bret in his feud against (or with, who honestly remembers the timing of such things) the nWo, Davey set his heights on a much bigger target – Mongo. The storyline was based around Mongo complaining about wrestlers coming in from WWF. !!!SHOOT!!!

Neidhart showed up in WCW as well. One day, Davey was sitting around with Neidhart, Curt Hennig, and Brian Adams. The four of them agreed that all WCW ever wanted to do was sign talent from WWE – they didn’t actually know what to do with them after that. So the four decided they would do tag-team matches against each other. No one stopped them, as no one had any better ideas of what to put on TV since Leni and Lodi hadn’t worked out the way management was sure it would. The announcers didn’t even notice the 4 were putting on a match, at least not enough to bother calling said match. But in their defense, they were too busy covering who was in the building that night and what color of nWo t-shirt that our favorite stars would come out wearing… ah, you remember.

At the height of his WCW, nay, his wrestling career, Davey was set to team with Neidhart against Alex Wright and Disc(qu?)o Inferno. Unfortunately, WCW did not have the qualms that the WWF did about having foreign drugs shipped directly to wrestlers’ dressing rooms, and Davey got high with his old friend The Ultimate Warrior that night for old times sake. The Warrior knew that there was something that he was supposed to tell Davey before Davey went out for the match of his career, but… well, he was high. Then during the match, Davey landed awkwardly on a trap-door that had been set up for his good Warrior friend and completely fucked up his back. *Warrior snaps fingers* “THAT’S what it was! Boy is my face red!”. Eric Bischoff, in a show of the management style that made him so popular amongst employees past and present, fired Davey.

 

Davey then went back to the WWF for a FOURTH run. Vince figured what the hell, he wanted an excuse to piss Bret off, plus they had some money laying around that they didn’t have to use to pay Owen anymore because… well, you know. Smith joined the Attitude Era, and showed he was down with the kids and real with the people by wrestling in jeans. Davey won the Hardcore Title from Big Boss Man and gave it back to Al Snow. He’s good like that. Smith then does what every wrestler does after forfeiting a meaningless title, which is go after the World title. He was unsuccessful. After throwing a trash can at Stephanie McMahon in a locker room, he fought with D’Lo Brown for the European Title. Now that was a match he could win, and he did, and he won the belt along with it. He then defended the title against Val Venis in another match that he could win… but he didn’t.

Then he busted into Eddie and Chyna’s locker room one night screaming about how they weren’t treating the European Title with the respect it deserved… then they all lost their straight faces, busted out laughing, dropped acid and took pills until they all passed out. They had a match, but they were too fucked up and both were disqualified.

In some of the last matches of either’s career, Davey traded the Hardcore Title with Crash Holly. This didn’t work out too well for either one of them. Jim Ross once spoke about Smith’s difficulty to get over with the fans during his last run, saying: “How many times can you repackage a guy like the British Bulldog?”

 

Then in early 2000, he and Diana split, and Davey acted on the impulse we’d all like to: plow your sister-in-law. Fortunately, the brother-in-law that she was married to was Bruce, so no one cared all that much. Well, besides Bruce, but really, fuck Bruce. It was around this time that Vince put Bulldog into rehab.

Then he died of a heart-attack in BC because he took steroids. Bruce Hart took his revenge on Davey after Davey died, making the dick statement: “Davey paid the price with steroid cocktails and human-growth hormones.” After making the statement, Bruce straightened his sunglasses and went to do a kilo of blow with his wife, who is half his age.

Despite the troubles of his career, Davey Boy could definately work a match. He had great matches against Bret, Owen, Michaels, and Hennig, just to name a few. The company-jumping and the ending aside, his career path followed the exact blueprint of how a wrestlers arc should – tag team, babyface, bigger babyface, heel, new look, babyface. After that, things went downhill and that’s unfortunate for Davey.

But he did get involved with The Hart Family. So… there you go.

Oh, and one night while raping Diana, he forgot to pull out, so he’s DH Smith’s father too. The end.

 

I’ll be in my trailer.topstory120x120-http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x350/blairadouglas/dynasty-120×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x350/blairadouglas/hartfoundation_58849.jpg|topstory500x250

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Blair’s Hart Family Legacy: Teddy “Attitude Problems” Hart http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/11/18/blairs-hart-family-legacy-teddy-attitude-problems-hart/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/11/18/blairs-hart-family-legacy-teddy-attitude-problems-hart/#comments Fri, 18 Nov 2011 11:00:43 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=130900 I had a lot of fun learning about Teddy Hart. I had heard of his shenanigans, but I never looked up a complete history until now.

Teddy’s mother is Georgia Hart. I’ve never heard of her either, but she’s one of Bret’s sisters who actually DIDN’T marry a wrestler. She didn’t stray too far from the ‘norm’ though, because Teddy’s father did own a gym, is a fitness guru, and… oh, okay, he IS a former wrestler, but one of of complete un-notariety. His name was blowjob-something, I guess.

If history has taught us anything, it is that wrestling as a Hart child is a proven curse. It has led to such tragedies as death, bitterness, dating your sister-in-law, divorce, brokenness, dating your brother-in-law, wearing sunglasses indoors, and dating your adopted brother.

Conversely, if Teddy Hart has taught us anything, it’s that starting wrestling as the Hart child of completely unknown Harts is not only no exception to the Hart family curse, but is actually an entirely different kind of proven curse. While he has managed to master Hart talents like a mediocre wrestling ability that completely deluded him into thinking that he was the best in the world, AND avoid Hart traditions like near-incest and death, he apparently was not able to avoid growing up to be a first-class, grade-a d-bag.

Teddy debuted in 1995, teaming up with his brother Matthew to defeat David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd. He wrestled for Stampede Wrestling until it’s second collapse. In 1998, he became the youngest person in history to be signed to a WWE developmental contract, and was sent to train with Dory Funk Jr.

Then Teddy was released due to attitude problems.

 

In 2000, he wrestled for and was a key creative figure in the Matrats promotion, which was produced by Eric Bischoff. Bischoff and Teddy did what they do best – do their part to help bring promotions to their knees. Matrats had an even shorter shelf life than Stampede Wrestling’s second run.

Teddy then spent some time in Ring Of Honor. In 2003 at a show, the Special K faction mocked Teddy backstage for not being a good high-flying wrestler. He said to himself “I’ll show them. I’ll show EVERYBODY.” After a match, he proceeded to ‘show everybody’ by climbing the top rope and randomly performing several moonsaults and shooting-star presses from the top of the cage, rather than selling the moves he had taken less than a minute after being pinned. This was one of his first few outtings with the company.
(Editor’s Note: This is akin to a very well-known strategy when starting work at a new company: on your third day, do a backflip off your desk. If a co-worker breaks your fall… you want to work there.)

So basically, his plan to make other wrestlers like him was to not TELL the wrestlers that he was going to do flippy moves AFTER a match. Unfortunately, there was a wrinkle in this so-far-bulletproof plan. Babyfaces and heels alike, none of them having any idea that any of this was coming and were no doubt wondering what the fuck he was doing, had to break kayfabe to run and catch Teddy so he wouldn’t break his neck.

Later, the wrestlers involved no doubt sat down talked amongst themselves, regretting questioning his high-flying ability and hailing him as the next Owen Hart (whom Teddy later said the moonsault was an homage to).
(Editor’s Note: Teddy also paid homage to Droz by vomiting at ringside afterwards… actually.)

Oh, and then he forgot about his Owen Hart homage excuse, and told everyone that he had a concussion and didn’t remember performing the moves.

Then Teddy was released due to attitude problems.

 

Also in 2003, Teddy went to TNA. He defeated Johnny Storm, but quickly lost to Juvi Guerrera. He was also a member of Team Canada, which we all remember as the very first and most awesome anti-American heel stable in any promotion ever. CM Punk was also working for TNA at the time, and Teddy did not appreciate CM Punk’s LiveJournal tirade about his ROH antics. Like a couple of teenagers fighting over an “In A Relationship” status on Facebook, they got into a fight at a restaurant, and had to be separated by… Sabu.
(Editor’s Note: Much like the Warrior, when Sabu has to be the voice of reason… you’re in trouble.)

Then Teddy was released due to attitude problems.

Here’s something interesting I read – in 2004, his professional wrestling career on the skids for the most part, Teddy started moonlighting as a personal trainer in Calgary. Having burned every major bridge possible, Hart went to Major League Wrestling. Here, Teddy was labelled “Loose Cannon” as an tribute to Hart family friend Brian Pillman, several years after it would have been a lame but relevant “worked shoot” style nickname. Continuing on with the completely outdated worked-shoot thing, Hart defeated Daniel Bryan in a match billed as “Shawn Michaels’ top protege (Bryan) vs. the last student of the Hart family dungeon” (I would have loved to have seen the 12-word headline on that poster), again, many years after the issue was relevant. No doubt this led to a huge erection for Teddy, as well as probably more vomiting.

He went to Japan, and beat Homicide and B-Boy with help from Jim “drunk and stoned off my fucking gourd” Neidhart, because Japan is apparently the only place where they don’t check you for coke when getting off the plane. He later teamed up with Homicide, and they won tag belts.

 

Teddy went back to the States to continue to try and find work. During an independant match with Jay Lethal, Teddy did a moonsault off a vending machine, in an effort to illustrate the dangers of doing a moonsault off a vending machine. The match was stopped, and Teddy went into the parking lot to vomit and recover. He then recuperated, returned to the ring… and won the match. Not a good night for Teddy, but a much worse night for Jay.

Then Teddy was released due to attitude problems.

In 2006, because Steve Corino is awesome, he turned on Teddy. This culminated in a grudge match, where, because 9 years later, it was still as edgy as the day after it originally occured, he re-created Montreal AGAIN. The referee rang the bell on Teddy even though he didn’t submit. I couldn’t find where the feud went after that, but I imagine it involved vomitting and backflips.

He then did a whole bunch of other not-noteworthy shit, which included bringing his curse to the MTV Wrestling Society, which shut down very quickly. He had not lost his job due to being with a wrestling company that went out of business, for like… 5 years. So it was kind of a ‘throwback’ for him, as the kids say. Plus, it was a refreshing change from getting released due to attitude problems.

 

Then, one day, Teddy once again found work because his last name is Hart, and not just because he’s one of those losers with a good attitude or workrate. Vince McMahon was looking at the sales figures for his Bret Hart DVD, and went “HOLY FUCK!!! GET ME SOME HARTS!!! AND A BIGGER HOUSE!!!” and proceeded to masturbate himself to exhaustion until he was out of fuel.

As a result, Teddy got a developmental deal and was sent to FCW. He actually wrestled John Cena and lost, and he actually wrestled Crime Tyme with DH Smith and lost.

Then Teddy was released due to attitude problems.

He went back to Japan in 2008. He fought with LAX. He teamed with Samoa Joe.

Then he went to Mexico. He teamed with Sabu. He joined Konnan’s heel stable Legion Extranjera, because if there’s anything we Canadians resemble, it’s hispanics. Part of his villainous character was that he could not speak Spanish, so during his promos, AAA captioned his remarks in Spanish. That admittedly is pretty awesome.

At least it was, until Teddy was released due to attitude problems.

 

In 2008, Teddy attended WrestleMania XXIV as a guest of the owner of CBM Films, who was working on a documentary on Teddy entitled “Ted Hart’s Truth and Reality.”

Then this project was shut down by the creator, due to… yep… attitude problems.

He is currently working on the American independent circuit for promotions such as Jersey All Pro Wrestling and Dragon Gate USA, until… well, you get hte idea.

 

I am now ending this article due to attitude problems. Would anyone like to wish me the best of luck in my future endeavors?

I’ll be in my trailer.topstory120x120-http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x350/blairadouglas/dynasty-120×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x350/blairadouglas/hartfoundation_58849.jpg|topstory500x250

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Blair’s Hart Family Legacy: Introduction / Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/11/11/the-hart-family-legacy-introduction-jim-the-anvil-neidhart/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/11/11/the-hart-family-legacy-introduction-jim-the-anvil-neidhart/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2011 10:00:50 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=130842 Growing up in Calgary as I have, you hear a lot about the Hart family. Back in the day, they were the city’s celebrities, and were placed on a pedestal. Not just in Calgary – Canada as a whole.

Over time, however, even Calgary has realized that the Hart Family DVD should have been hosted by Paul Bearer, with him just going from coffin to coffin telling a story, sort of like “Tales from the Crypt”.

As we all know, Stu Hart laughed sadistically at the notion of stifling his precious semen within any kind of latex enclosure. As time went on and more kids were born, Stu was in awe of how anyone could give birth to so many babies and still fucking live. After the twelfth child, Helen began to doubt Stu’s claim that he could “almost always pull out sometimes”, plus she was likely completely barren by that point anyway.

This is a series devoted to many of those children of the Hart Family, people close to them, and all the humor, dysfunctionality and destruction therein. They may not be the most dysfunctional wrestlers in the world per SE, but they’re close, and they’re DEFINITELY the most dysfunctional family in wrestling.

Example: You know what was awesome? When the British Bulldog divorced his wife, who was Bret’s sister, Diana, and then Diana released a bunch of stories about Bulldog drugging and raping her. Bret wrote in the newspaper about what scum Davey Boy was, and that he’d kick the shit out of him if he ever saw him again.

Then Diana spoke out against Bret and Martha’s attempt to Sue Vince MacMahon (Owen’s wife) after Owen’s death. Bret, still classy after all these years, threatened to burn her house down.

Then, BRUCE Hart’s wife left him… for the Bulldog… Bruce’s brother-in-law… who had just divorced Bruce’s sister.

Then the Bulldog died a terrible drug-induced death, and Bret gave a touching tribute for him.

True story.

The Ultimate Warrior made fun of Bret on his website for saying Davey was a good guy months after he threatened publicly to knock Davey Boy out. “Davey was a good guy? Why then, was he banging his brother-in-law’s bimbo ex-wife?” You know it’s bad when Warrior is the voice of reason.

Anywhoot, I am going to start with Jim Neidhart. I will most likely conclude the series with a bio of the last man to ‘wrestle’ Vince McMahon. You know him as ‘What’s Left Of Bret Hart’.

Hope you all enjoy.

 

Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart

In a relatively early episode of 30 Rock, one of the female stars of the show starts to gain quite a bit of weight. She is not QUITE morbidly obese, but is definitely obese. The guy in charge of the company tells the producer “She needs to lose twenty-five pounds – or gain sixty. Anything in between has no place on television.” For the most part, this is true – one of the only exceptions to the rule is the subject of my Hart family scrutiny today.

“The Anvil” is an appropriate name for Jim. The significance behind it is twofold:

  • He once threw an Anvil farther than anyone else, at the Calgary Stampede games
  • He has spent most of his career being dead weight

Before he got into wrestling, Neidhart was a record-setting shot-putter. Unfortunately for Jim, no one in the world gives a flying shit about shot putting, so he tried to play in the NFL for the Raiders and the Cowboys. He never made it past practices and pre-season games, and never saw any actual field time.

After getting his release from the Cowboys, he travelled to Calgary to get the living shit stretched out of him by the sadistic old giant that lived in the basement of a mansion in northern Calgary. (Also known as Stu Hart.) He ended up working for Stu’s Stampede Wrestling promotion. He also married Ellie Hart, one of Stu’s daughters. Somehow, these two lepers gave birth to Natalie Neidhart. It’s a topsy-turvy world sometimes.

 

When Vince geneticly-jackhammered his way through the territories, Jim and Bret were picked up. Originally, Jim was to become a heel managed by Jimmy Hart, and Bret was supposed to be a cowboy. I for one, would have absolutely fucking loved to have seen how that would have played out for Bret, but it was not to be. Bret suggested they become a heel tag team called The Hart Foundation. Management didn’t like the idea, but allowed them to try it, and put Jimmy Hart as their manager, obviously. As we all know, it took off.

Much like most of Bret’s singles matches, their tag-team matches always followed a similar formula. As heels, Bret and Jim would pound on a wrestler, and Bret would be in the ring when that wrestler tagged out, so Bret could be the cowardly heel to whoever the fresh babyface was. As babyfaces, Bret would be the one that got beaten up, and Jim would make the save.

The Hart Foundation had some extremely memorable matches against The British Bulldogs, Demolition, The Rockers, The Nasty Boys… yes, the Nasty boys, and one particularly good one that I remember against Mr. Fuji’s Orient Express. Jim was instrumental in these matches by running around and clotheslining people, while Bret and whoever else Bret happened to be carrying the match with (ex: Davey Boy Smith or Shawn Michaels) were able to take a rest.

In all seriousness, despite this, Bret and Jim made a really good tag team. Bret was the technical workhorse, and Jim looked like a good big man wrestler next to Bret, even though he really wasn’t. In a few of the only non-dickish statements Bret has ever made, Bret always spoke very highly of teaming with Jim, and said that he missed it once they split the team. It is highly unlikely that Bret’s career ever would have reached the heights that it did without the tag-team with Neidhart. Especially not if Vince had gone ahead with his original “Smoking Gunns 0.5″ plan for Bret.

 

For some reason, Bret decided that carrying a cement-mixer to some good tag matches made him the very best in the world, and he decided to branch out into singles competition. You can say what you want about Neidhart, but the self-deluded state that seems to run rampant amongst blood members of the Hart family never really affected Jim all that much. He knew that if he entered the singles division, he’d be jobbing to the likes of Tugboat, Papa Shango, and The Berzerker until he would be quietly disappeared. So he went to do commentating. As we all know, when wrestlers commentate on a regular basis, it’s a shot in the dark. You’ll have great ones like Mr. Perfect, Johnny Polo (Raven), and Jesse Ventura, but you’ll likely also have bad ones like Randy Savage, and… well, Jim Neidhart.

I’m JUST old enough to remember this. Knowing Jim didn’t make a lick of sense on the best of days, they put him with one of the best commentating duo’s ever in Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan. It still wasn’t pretty. This is a line from Wrestilng Challenge in 1991 after The Mountie beat a jobber.

GORILLA MONSOON: What a win for The Mountie!!!
BOBBY HEENAN: You don’t wanna mess with this guy, Bossman! Watch out!!!
JIM NEIDHART: Anvil, baby.

 

After several months and several bloodshot eardrums, Owen Hart re-entered the WWF without the mask that would one day murder him. The Anvil, likely sensing termination again lest he didn’t get back into the ring, formed a tag team with Owen. The team was called “The New Foundation”. A great idea in theory, unfortunately the execution came up a bit short. As I remember it, Owen could carry the team in his sleep, but my memory is a bit foggy on this, just like everyone else’s. The explanation for our foggy memories is simple: we were way too distracted by the baggy-pants and racing-stripe-suspenders. They may have had good matches, I don’t know, but they definitely didn’t win any titles or “not the worst ring attire ever” awards.

Then Owen, selfishly not being willing to dead-lift Jim for 10 years like Bret had done, dumped him for an entirely different kind of dead weight in Koko B. Ware. I don’t know, Owen must have had a thing for parrots, so he formed “High Energy” with Koko. Jim, his feelings hurt, left the WWF shortly after this.

Interesting – Neidhart would go to WCW, and in an attempt to make Owen jealous, found his OWN black guy to team with in Junkyard Dog. You learn something new every day. Unfortunately, Jim forgot his cardinal rule when selecting tag-team partners – that he should find someone MUCH better than he was, not someone only slightly better. Jim’s team was disbanded extremely quickly, and Jim would go on to curtain-jerk for about a year before getting quietly released.

 

The Harts would bring Jim back to the WWF for a second run in 1994, as Bret’s cornerman in his title defense against Diesel, to balance out Shawn Michaels being in Big D’s corner. Jim interfered, costing Bret the match. Then BDC and HBK would beat the shit out of Bret, but Neidhart didn’t help him.

We would find out why later in the night, when it was revealed that Owen, having realized that Koko was not actually an improvement over Jim and striking out on his own against Bret, had Jim in his corner all along. Jim and Owen had forgiven each other for ditching out to team with untalented black guys, and Jim joined Owen’s crusade against Bret. He helped Owen become King Of The Ring. This would be one of Jim’s better runs, because he didn’t talk too much, and he didn’t wrestle. He followed Owen to the ring and helped him win matches.

Bret would eventually find some back-up in Davey Boy Smith, teasing a feud between Davey and Jim. Jim was fairly sure that Davey could carry him to his first good singles match. Management however, correctly concluded that if Davey and Jim were in the ring together at the same time, that the amount of narcotics in both’s systems would likely cause the first 6 rows to experience a kind of contact high not safe for children. Thus, the dream match was not to be, and Jim disappeared from the WWF with no explanation.

Wait, no he didn’t. In 1996, he had a very short stint as the masked wrestler named ‘Who’. Wait, actually? I totally forgot about that guy for obvious reasons. That was Jim fucking Neidhart? Holy shit. Okay then. In any event, this was a gimmick purely designed for commentators Vince and Lawler to make Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First?” jokes during his matches. Anyway, you’re all smart cookies, so if you don’t remember it, then you can guess how long this nonsense lasted.

Later in 1996 (see, I just told you how long it lasted!) Jim Neidhart wrestled for the independent UCW. UCW had a thing for bringing in low-carders well past their prime, if they ever had a prime to begin with. Consequently, Jim wrestled with the likes of Tatanka, his brother-in-law Bruce Hart, King Kong Bundy, and Marty Jannetty. So, in addition to learning about Jim Neidhart, if you were wondering what the fuck Marty Janetty did (besides acid) between 1994 and starting his illustrious WCW career, now you know.

Bret would AGAIN find Jim work in the WWF for a THIRD run in 1997, joining with Bret, who had re-united Owen and Davey to re-form The Hart Foundation into an anti-American heel stable. Brian Pillman joined them as well, meaning that the amount of drugs in the Hart Family locker room at this point rivaled the amount of a double-shipment from the Medellin Cartel.

Although never being a big fan of Jim’s on his own, I thought it was great that they brought Jim back for this Hart family storyline. And this was a really fucking cool angle for anyone who remembers it. Jim would actually find a singles match or two, and several tag-team matches – but not many. He was mercifully, mostly just used as backup.

 

In November 1997… SOMETHING… no one is really sure what… happened in Montreal. Details are sketchy, and no one ever talked about it afterwards. Whatever it was, Bret left the WWF.

Bret found Jim work AGAIN, this time in WCW. Vince would only release Jim after he completely humiliated him on TV, having him turn on the Harts and join DX… until DX turned on him and kicked the living shit out of him. If they really wanted to punish him, Vince should have just made him be “Who” until his contract ran out.

When Jim first got to WCW, he was pretty much Bret’s very own Brutus Beefcake, performing Bret’s promos on Ric Flair for him and being all “HAHAHAHAHAYEAHBABY”. Then Jim would form YET ANOTHER ill-fated tag-team with Bulldog, who also followed Bret to Turnerland. This actually could have produced some good matches, because Bulldog could work, and many of their matches were against Hennig and Crush. Although Hennig and Bulldog actually carried those matches to some pretty impressive and under-rated showings, none of us were paying any attention. We were all too busy wondering what color nWo shirt our favourite wrestlers would walk out wearing, not to mention whether or not Sid would show up to the building, and if he did, what that would mean for… well, you remember.

Bulldog fell through a trap door intended for The Ultimate Warrior, which is why they typically don’t put trap doors in rings. Bulldog’s pill addiction got way worse, plus he got an infection which nearly paralyzed him. Eric Bischoff dealt with this tragedy the only way he knew how – by firing him. This may sound harsh, but being released from WCW was actually considered an act of mercy at this point. Unfortunately, this left poor Jim on his own again, so it should come as no surprise that Jim was eventually released and returned to the independent circuit. The only surprise I registered over that was because WCW was spending way more money on way bigger wastes of time, and I would have thought that Bret would have been able to get him a stay of execution for sure.

 

Since 2000, he has mostly “worked” the independant circut, “wrestling” and flying to Japan for the express purpose of performing run-ins for his nephews, because apparently that’s the only place they don’t check you for coke when getting off the plane.

Turns out that Jim has made some novelty appearances over the last couple years too. On Raw’s 15th anniversary, Neidhart participated in the Battle Royal, eventually making it to the final five… before being eliminated by… Skinner. Ouch.

And… holy shit! Neidhart appeared in TNA in November 2009, WINNING against Jay Lethal in his open challenge thrown out to the “legends” of professional wrestling. I’m quite sure that’s the biggest name wrestler Jim ever beat in singles competition, making 2009 the height of his career. He should hit his peak any time now. Look for him to dethrone Austin Aries for the TNA Legends / Global / TV Title before the end of the year.

That might be tough though, because in September of 2009, he was found guilty of drug trafficking, grand theft, and burglary.

Anvil will be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame as soon as Vince decides he needs something else from Bret.

The end.

 

I’ll be in my trailer.topstory500x250-http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x350/blairadouglas/hartfoundation_58849.jpg|topstory500x250 topstory120x120-http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x350/blairadouglas/dynasty-120×120.jpg|topstory120x120

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The View From Down Here – Tell Me A Story http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/07/18/the-view-from-down-here-%e2%80%93-tell-me-a-story/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/07/18/the-view-from-down-here-%e2%80%93-tell-me-a-story/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2011 07:44:12 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=125557 Introduction

To many non-fans, wrestling is just a mindless pastime, a never-ending sea of grown men in spandex bashing one another with “fake” moves. They say it appeals to the lowest common denominator – the basest instincts of violence made palatable. Even if it is pointed out that it is designed to be entertainment, the non-fan will inevitably scoff and say, “Well, so’s watching paint dry to some people.” And should you dare to call it an art form… well, some of the feedback I have received for saying just that verges on the same stereotype they accuse me of being – the toothless yokels drinkin’ corn mash and sayin’, “FU!” every time some one disagrees with them.

 

But there is one thing that does make it more than just a mindless bash (most of the time) – wrestling has story-lines. Now, I could go on here about the stories in the matches themselves. And there are many fine examples. Flair v Steamboat with each knowing the other so well they know how to counter and watch out for each other’s signature moves. Savage v Warrior (WM7) where Warrior destroys Savage but every time he gets cocky and goes for a higher impact move, Savage makes him pay for it and takes over. Bret Hart at the 1994 Royal Rumble where he sold that leg injury the entire show. But unless you have really strong ring presences in there, most of the time the in-ring story is predictable. Either (1) the heel beats up the face until he makes a super-hero comeback and wins, (2) the heel beats up the face but then goes down to a fluke loss, or (3) the face beats up the heel but is beaten by nefarious means, or (4) the heel takes the loss by count out or by disqualification just to toy with the face’s mind. That’s it nowadays. Take scenario, add wrestlers, stir, repeat.

 

No, what I’m talking about is the external storylines. In the old days, stories were simple – I want to be champ so I have to fight my way to the champ, you cost me a championship chance so I must get revenge, you beat up my friend so I must get revenge, you’re stopping my friend from being champ so I must help him. Everything revolved around the championships. But in the past thirty-odd years the championship has taken more of a back seat in the whole scheme of things as more “interesting” story-lines have been brought to the fore.

 

1. Story-lines that work

Now, some story-lines (apart from the tried and true four just mentioned) always work, no matter what. The best of these is the “you injured me and so I want revenge” story-line. Sometimes it’s over too quickly, as in the recent Christian v Alberto Del Rio rivalry. Sometimes it is done very well – see HHH and Shawn Michaels after Michaels was ‘hit by a car’. It is a simple way to have sympathy for the face and make the heel seem even more evil. It gives the face time off to heel up. It serves all manner of purposes. And if you’re lucky, it can lead to a good match now and then.

 

The next is the pure revenge motif. Wrestlers tend not to be Hamlet and act all anguished when something bad happens; they go for the more Laertes-style kick ass and ask questions later form of getting revenge. This is a little different from the injury story, however. As an example, recently we have seen the “you treated me like crap” revenge story with Riley and The Miz, and the crowd has eaten it up. It still works so well. Well, most of the time. We’ll get to those other times later.

 

The next is a great excuse for a heel turn, but seems to be all but gone with the manager role taking on less importance. The “I wanted more money” storyline. From Ted Dibiase paying off Andre the Giant and the second Hebner, to Chris Adams joining Gary Hart in WCCW, some one turning to the dark side for cash works because we, the audience, know that, given the chance, we might not be able to say, “No,” either.

 

And finally there is the come-uppance story. This is yet another form of the revenge story, but tends to last longer and have a more satisfying ending. The heel is just a jerk all the time, until, finally, the crowd sees them get their come-uppance. Classic example would be the Honky Tonk Man. He lost a number of his Intercontinental Title matches by count out or disqualification, but retained the title. The crowd were rabid to see him finally lose that belt, and it made him a success. But they could not milk it forever, and so down comes the Ultimate Warrior and, seven seconds later, the title has finally changed hands. The explosion when that happened was not just cheers for the Warrior (though that was certainly there), it was seeing the heel get his. A more recent example would be Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler, but the end results were maybe too long in coming and more of a “thank God that’s over!” type situation. Although, Alex Riley and the Miz was done well. Swings and roundabouts.

 

2. Story-lines that have become clichés

There are some stories that have been done to death, and either need a good half a decade or more being ignored, or need some sort of twist or need really compelling characters to carry them off. So these aren’t bad storylines, but they need a rest for a while to make them relevant again.

 

The first is the most obvious – the evil authority figure who makes life hell for the plucky baby-face. Be it the company owner, the general manager, the commissioner, the sheriff, the boss, whatever, this has become as stale as last week’s bread. And this includes evil referees (never better than Danny Davis). And yet it is still being used again and again. It does make everything work towards a common goal, but it has happened so often that the permutations have all been done to death.

 

The next is that tried and true staple: the tag team wrestler who turns on his partner. It has been done well – Shawn Michaels superkicking Marty Jannetty through the props of a pseudo-talk show comes to mind. It has also been done not so well, for which we only need to look to recent history and the Hart Dynasty. This leads into the new cliché of tag team partners who actually don’t like each other and yet are successful, even if for a little while. Even if it is just quick in order to set a storyline feud along, it happens too often.

 

And then there is the contract signing. These things are never just done with two men and their agents signing a bit of paper, shaking hands and agreeing to settle it in the ring, like true gentlemen. No, one has to attack the other, normally using a chair or the table, and often with help from friends or comrades. Of course, there have been some recent changes, like a third party coming in to beat up both of the signees, but it’s still a contract signing that ends in chaos.

 

And how can we forget streaks? Winning streaks, losing streaks, DQ streaks, whatever – even the most naïve wrestling fan knows that the streak will one day come to an end. Sure, it can be done well so that the ending means something – see Ric Flair’s must win streak until he faced Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania – or it can be done well and then the ending comes to mean nothing (see Goldberg), or it can mean nothing at all (see Crimson in TNA). A streak is a story that the audience already knows the ending of, and so it takes something really special to pull it off.

 

And finally, brothers against brothers. The Harts? Excellent and well done story, with the ultimate reunification for the new Hart Foundation making sense as well. Sets a high bar which others have yet to match. The Steiners? Convoluted and confusing feud that seemed to end when Rick Steiner won the tag titles with Judy Bagwell and then joined forces with Scott again. Mimic and Grimm in RCW? Great build, great matches, but then all but forgotten in more recent times, and now apparently back on (which actually is okay as the feud has not ended, but they needed a break). The Hardys? Led to some surprisingly odd matches that seemed to have a lack of chemistry. But it’s been done so often that when we see real-life brothers we just know they are going to fight eventually.

 

3. Story-lines that should have been left on the desk

Oh, where to begin here? Feuding over a shampoo commercial? Check (Booker T v Christian). How about fighting over the paternity of a child? Check (Rey Mysterio Jr v Eddie Guerrero). What about eating some one else’s pet? Check (Earthquake and Jake Roberts). Yes, some stories would even be rejected for Days Of Our Lives, let alone professional wrestling.

 

But there are some that need to be completely chucked away. First, the Montreal Screwjob. That was a small slice of ‘reality’ in the wrestling landscape, with very real emotions and real conspiracies, etc. However, every attempt since to re-enact it is just a pathetic parody, and cannot match the original at all.

 

Oh, every storyline that involves miscarriage, they should never again blight our television screens. Especially when the acting is at sub-porno levels, making you think said miscarriage might just be a case of eating too many jalapeno peppers instead of something as earth-shattering and psychologically painful as losing an unborn child.

 

And finally, this one will be stated very shortly and without any further explanation: Katie Vick.

 

4. Story-lines that make little sense

Now, I’m going to avoid the little things here. Things like the way whenever some one turns face everything they did as par for the course as a heel is ignored, the way past feuds are ignored as soon as some one wins a match, little things without which wrestling would become the same two men beating each other up until one was dead.

 

No, these are things that stretch even the suspension of disbelief.

 

First is the parodying of real people. Be they Billionaire Ted with the Huckster and Nacho Man, or Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon, or (God help us all) Oklahoma winning the WCW Cruiserweight belt, why bother? It only makes the fans realise what they are watching is second rate crap or makes them miss the original people all the more.

 

How about battling God? Well, the McMahons named God as Shawn Michaels’ tag team partner. And won. Yeah, well, it happened. And then this brings us to all the wrestling religious people. Deacons and ministers and preachers and Mordecai. Because nothing says love for God more than beating the snot out of people.

 

But, to my mind, the things that make the least sense are those that come from real life. These surely would not result in fighting it out in a wrestling ring to sort out. Of course this brings to mind Matt Hardy and Edge with Lita. That could have been the blood feud for the ages… instead we had a few matches and that was it. I mean, come on, if that happened to you, would you be happy just pinning the other guy or escaping from a cage? Really?

 

Oh, and everything about the convoluted story-lines involving Undertaker and Kane, including murder, arson, torture, death, attempted murder, coffin stealing, urn stealing, different fathers, burial alive and lights coming out of urns. None of that makes any sense, never has, never will…

 

5. In Conclusion

Story-lines are important for all forms of entertainment, if at least to hang our emotional hats on. Yes, little kids may listen to songs because of the beat and catchy choruses but most good songs that last the test of time and that people listen to 20 years later actually have some sort of story behind them. Great songs have a strong message or meaning, or convey great emotion. Films and books are based on stories (although watching some Hollywood blockbusters, I do have my doubts some times) even if the execution is poor. Painting and the visual arts all have some sort of story or explanation behind them. Even dance tells a story the majority of the time.

 

And so it is with wrestling. It needs to have a story that the audience can relate to. Sure, there have been some misses – many misses – but there have also been hits. And when those hits hit well, wrestling as an art form becomes much more intense, much more real… much, much better.

 

And that’s another view.topstory120x120-http://media.insidepulse.com/zones/sports/uploads/2010/05/viewdownhere120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-http://media.insidepulse.com/zones/sports/uploads/2010/05/viewdownhere500.jpg|topstory500x250

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The View From Down Here – Cult Of Personality http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/05/30/the-view-from-down-here-%e2%80%93-cult-of-personality/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/05/30/the-view-from-down-here-%e2%80%93-cult-of-personality/#comments Mon, 30 May 2011 20:00:11 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=123504  The recent death of Randy Savage hit me surprisingly hard. I mean, I was knocked about a bit when Owen Hart died in a stupid stunt that, really, was “just one of those things”. Then Davey Boy Smith went and, while I was shocked, I was not surprised. Then came Curt Hennig, on a career resurgence and one of my favourites to watch. I fell strangely apart when I heard of Eddie Guerrero next. And then came Mike Awesome, another of my favourites, and this actually saw me take a step back. And then, a few months later, came Chris Benoit. When I first heard it, and saw the Raw that followed with its tribute (and, no, I don’t blame Vince for that at all – he did the right thing at the time), I was shocked. I enjoyed his work so much. But then the truth of the situation emerged and, well, I didn’t think another wrestling death would affect me because the whole murder-suicide thing made me numb. Sure enough, Kanyon died and I barely shrugged. But then Savage – my all-time favourite wrestler ever – died. And I was saddened so much more than I would have thought I would have been.

Now, I don’t want this to become yet another mawkish “Oh my God, look at all these dead wrestlers” style columns. There have been enough of these to fill a book… and enough books about them to fill a good few shelves in a public library. By the way, the pick of them is Scott Keith’s marvellous Dungeon Of Death (ignore the negative reviews, and the picture of Benoit on the cover – this is a book about death and wrestling) which I have recently re-read for entirely different reasons.

I started thinking about the current crop of ‘Superstars’. What will happen when they finally shuffle off this mortal coil? If one of them died suddenly next week, what would be their legacy? I don’t mean legends like Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan, who will be eulogised by wrestling fans and the mainstream media alike when they finally cark it. I mean the guys who have hit the big time, really, in the twenty-first century.

Well, we had a small taste of it recently when there was a bizarre report that John Cena had been killed by armed thugs. I wrote the report on this site that it was all a load of crap, but was still stunned to see just how many people with literacy issues and no internet etiquette wrote things like “Thank God he’s safe” and “Luv u 4eva Jon”. I laughed. But I also noticed very little eulogising on the matter from more serious pundits. When the rumours first emerged about Benoit being dead after no-showing a PPV, there were people already talking about his legacy. Cena? Just 12 year olds in love with a teenaged idol.

For a different matter (related to my reading of Keith’s book), I recently re-watched Triumph And Tragedy Of World Class Championship Wrestling. You want a tale of death? Christ, it’s depressing. But I have to say Kevin Von Erich has become the single strongest man I have ever seen. Not physically, but his dignity and his attitude are something to behold. I digress. Yet one thing stood out: the deaths of David and Kerry Von Erich, of Gino Hernandez, of Chris Adams, of Terry Gordy – they affected people. They really did. Would that happen nowadays if a modern era wrestler died?

First, I think it’s important to realise that this sort of outpouring of emotion most definitely does happen in this day and age. And you only have to go back a few years to the death of Michael Jackson to see that. Regardless of accusations against him, behaviours that appeared in some way odd, or the ever-changing appearances he affected, when he died there was a genuine feeling in the entertainment world that a great had passed. And the emotion of his fans of all ages was real and almost tangible.

However, with the way wrestlers / sports entertainers are portrayed nowadays, I do not think the twenty-first century wrestler would garner this sort of public reaction. The promotions have done their very best to put the promotion itself at the forefront of people’s minds, not the wrestlers. One only has to look at the treatment of Christian following his World Title win. Losing it so quickly and in the way he did was just a slap in the face to the supporters. Now, I know Christian is not a twenty-first century wrestling construct, but his treatment is symptomatic of what is prevalent in wrestling today – the personalities do not matter. The personalities are not allowed to connect with the fan-base… or stay connected. The personalities are portrayed as one-dimensional. They are barely personalities at all.

Either that or they try to force people upon the public that the audience is simply not prepared to accept. Michael Cole in WWE and Mr Anderson in TNA are two examples. Yes, Cole is hated, but it is real hate, and not for his character, but for him as a person. If he died tomorrow, it would be, “Oh, what a shame. But who cares?” Anderson has some people fooled, but if he died, they would sad for a week, and then he would be replaced by some other guy who can talk a little bit. Where is that connection, that genuine connection? Even some one who seems as over as Randy Orton – would his sudden death really be met with the outpouring of grief that came with Eddie Guerrero’s passing? Really? Sure, the 14 year olds in the audience might be sad, but they’d find some one else to replace him at the top of the roster pretty quickly.

And that is the problem. By building up and tearing down the wrestlers for so long both the big promotions have made their top tier guys essentially replaceable.

Now, on one hand, this is completely understandable. After the Monday Night Wars when people were jumping back and forth on what seemed to be a weekly basis, those who run the promotions grew scared. It was coming back to the old days where the only ones you could trust were family and yourself. Why were the Von Erichs always winning in WCCW, the Harts in Stampede, the Gagnes in AWA? Because you can trust family to not dump on you. And that is why HHH will always be a top tier guy in the WWE and Jeff Jarrett was there in TNA at its Jerry Jarrett inception – they are family. It has to be that way to avoid the situation of Madusa dumping the WWF Women’s Title in the bin on WCW Nitro, or Meng literally just giving the WCW Hardcore Title to Barbarian before making a bizarre one-off appearance at the Royal Rumble.

But on the other hand it does mean the product becomes dissociated from its fan base. A similar issue has been seen in football codes, and there it is treated quite differently. When quarterbacks change teams in the NFL, it is a big deal. When there are multi-million dollar transfer deals in soccer, it makes front page news in Europe. When the Gold Coast Suns in Australia’s AFL became the latest expansion team, the poaching of high profile talent was seen as a slap in the face to genuine supporters. But maybe that is a part of professional wrestling moving away from something of a sportive background into entertainment.

Then again, if the Rolling Stones suddenly lost Keith Richards, would they still be the Rolling Stones? Many say The Who have not been The Who since Keith Moon died. When The Beatles released Anthology they recorded new songs, but had John Lennon vocals on it, because without John it was not the Beatles. But this concept died in wrestling. It died in 1992 when Ric Flair turned up on WWF TV with some one else’s title belt. It was buried when Hulk Hogan paraded into WCW as a conquering hero. And it was over, kaput, never to be anything again when Mike Awesome, a WCW wrestler, lost the ECW title on an ECW show to Tazz, a WWF wrestler.

And this brings us back to the beginning. I think promotions and promoters have also become numbed by the ever growing list of those who died too young. Part of their rationale for not allowing anyone to develop a cult of personality is that it saves them a lot of heart ache, awkward questions, and media scrutiny down the line if (when?) the next wrestler dies young as a result of substance abuse, stupidity, suicide or any combination thereof. The crowd will go, “Oh no, Wrestler Q is dead! Ooh, look, something shiny,” not because they have the attention span of the proverbial goldfish, but because they were not all that invested in Wrestler Q to begin with.

It is the sheer number of young and early deaths that has created this. And so when a genuine legend like Randy Savage dies, and there is a genuine outpouring of grief, no one in wrestling is really sure how to handle it any more.

Death is a part of life, and an unfortunate part of modern life in the Western world is that many young people will die due to their own actions, made all the worse by the current age of instant media and everyone having access to that instant media from both sides (as makers and consumers). It is not something we like to think about, but it is the truth. Unfortunately, it has become such a part of life that it has lost a lot of its impact and its meaning. And never moreso than in the world of professional wrestling.

So I say, with all the conviction this fan can muster:

Vale, Randy “Macho Man” Savage. You will be missed.topstory120x120-http://media.insidepulse.com/zones/sports/uploads/2010/05/viewdownhere120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-http://media.insidepulse.com/zones/sports/uploads/2010/05/viewdownhere500.jpg|topstory500x250

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The Way Too Long Review of Legends of Wrestling: Jerry Lawler & Junkyard Dog http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2009/09/16/the-way-too-long-review-of-legends-of-wrestling-jerry-lawler-junkyard-dog/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2009/09/16/the-way-too-long-review-of-legends-of-wrestling-jerry-lawler-junkyard-dog/#comments Wed, 16 Sep 2009 09:17:49 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=91457 I’m going to  skip recapping the yawn-inducing round table.  I will say that Mike Graham could very well be the worse then Mick Foley in terms of his go-nowhere stories.  Plus, as anyone who’s listened to this yahoo on previous DVDs knows, he’s a bit of a liar.  This is one of the three discs included in the regular, non-Best Buy Legends of Wrestling release.  Let’s go.

Before I get to Lawler’s matches, all of which suck, I don’t want this review to suggest that I must hate Lawler’s ring work.  The problem is one of the few classic federations the WWE does not own the tape library of is Memphis and the USWA.  Since Lawler spent his entire career there, the WWE is stuck using his matches from the AWA where he lasted a cup of coffee or his WWE matches which all took place well past his prime.  The WWE still wants to buy the Memphis tapes but won’t do so until they know they can turn a profit on the purchase in a reasonably short order of time.  And let’s face it, Legends DVDs are hit and miss in sales.  The Warrior and Hogan sets did good.  The Piper/Rhodes/AWA/Billy Graham/WCCW/ sets bombed (especially the WCCW set, which I think is the lowest selling WWE DVD ever).  Given that most fans remember Lawler only for his WWE work behind the announce table, I wouldn’t think a set featuring Lawler would be bankable.  But I hold out hope.

Match #1
Jerry Lawler & Jimmy Valiant vs. Kerry Von Erich & Michael Hayes
1/22/89 AWA

Very interesting choice for the set.  And when I say that, it’s usually a bad sign.  Lawler was the AWA Champion here in what might have been his last match for the Gagnes, who apparently never paid him for any of his work for them.  Kerry looks a bit tipsy here.  Par for the course, really.  Kerry and Lawler start out.  Long feeling out to start.  Lockup and Kerry powers out.  This leads to another long stall.  Lockup, shoot off and Lawler gets a shoulderblock.  He struts a bit.  Fans seem like they’re not sure who to cheer for.  Another long stall, while I notice the timer bar on my DVD player shows we’re almost half-way done.  Ugh.  Lockup, and they end up breaking in the corner, only for Jerry to punch Kerry, leading to Kerry using the discus punch Lawler.  Kerry loads up for a piledriver, an odd move to use this soon in the match, but from what I’ve read Kerry was infamous for nonsensical match structure due to his drug problems.  Besides, the piledriver is banned, so the ref waves it off.  Kerry opts to try another discus punch, but misses and gets punched down.  Kerry totally oversells it and bails to the corner and we have another long stall.  This match sucks.  Lawler goes for a slam but Kerry turns it into a small package for two.  Lawler yanks Kerry down by the hair for two.  Kerry pops up and punches Lawler down.  Whip to the corner but Lawler gets a foot up and Kerry eats it.  Both guys throw a punch, knocking each other out for a double KO in a horrible looking spot.  Yea, another stall, but Lawler throws a dropkick out of nowhere leading to Kerry bailing to the corner. Kerry throws a boot and shoots off Lawler, then dropkicks him.  Cover for a loooong two as the referee appears to be terrible at his job.  Double dropkick that again looks awful and both guys are out.  Both guys finally tag out to end the pain.  Valiant rakes Hayes’ eyes, blocks a punch and kicks him in the balls.  Slam into Lawler’s boot, but Hayes dumps him to the floor.  Valiant’s selling here is embarrassing.  They take the fight to the floor, and things break down, leading to the ref scrubbing the entire match on a double count out.  Holy shit, you have to be kidding me.  Everyone brawls after the match, with Kerry decking the referee as well.  Lawler gets the best of Kerry and knocks him out cold with some brutal looking punches.
DUD I’ve been reviewing these WWE DVDs for a couple years now and I have to say this was one of the most terrible selections I’ve ever seen.  As a match, it was a total failure in every way possible.  Psychology, pacing, actually hitting the moves correctly, and even the referee was awful.  It makes me wonder if the WWE timed every match in their video library then has a computer select the matches based on the time required.  No doubt that computer was supplied to them by Skynet as part of their destroy the world plan.  A total abortion, one of the worst tag matches I’ve ever seen.

Match #2
Jerry Lawler vs. Owen Hart
7/6/93 Wrestling Challenge

This is more like it.  I think.  Owen was a plucky babyface here.  His heel turn didn’t begin until the 1993 Survivor Series about five months later.  And once again I must stress that Owen Hart had some of the ugliest tights the business has seen.  Lawler gives Owen a chance to bail on the match, provided that he kisses his feet.  Owen chooses to spit on his feet instead, then bitch slap him. Lawler bails, while Owen, still fairly green at this point, tries to rally the crowd.  Lawler returns and gets a punch in, which makes him overly arrogant.  Owen backdrops him, leading to Lawler bailing to the corner and acting like a cowardly bitch.  Man, Lawler was great at that shit.  Lawler brawls Owen to the corner but again gets smacked about by Owen.  Lawler decides to ask the ref to stand down so they can slug it out.  Lawler misses a big round house and Owen beats him around, then dropkicks him.  Lawler crawls quickly to the referee.  Lawler catches hell from the crowd, then checks his tights like he has something hidden in them.  Owen rams Lawler into the turnbuckle, but Lawler loads up his hands with brass knucks and KOs Owen.  He tosses the knucks but decides not to cover.  Instead, he punches Owen around and drops a fist.  Choke on the ropes, then a shoot off but Jerry lowers his head and Owen uppercuts him.  Spinheel kick and a backdrop.  Owen climbs and hits a missile dropkick for two.  Owen misses a charge in the corner and eats post.  Lawler loads up a piledriver and covers with a handful of tights for the pin.
DUD Well, my optimism was misguided.  A nothing match with no real structure.  Boring from start to finish, and Lawler’s comedic overselling did nothing to make Owen look good.

Match #3
Jerry Lawler vs. Roddy Piper
6/19/94 King of the Ring

Kill me.  Believe it or not, this was the main event for this pay per view.  The WWE Championship match with Bret Hart defending against Diesel was actually the fifth match of the ten match card.  Piper brings out a fan who was humiliated by Lawler during the setup for this feud.  Piper grabs the stick to say they’re here to kick ass and chew gum, and they’re out of gum.  Piper, despite looking ancient, appears to be in decent shape here.  He throws his kilt on Lawler and slugs it out.  Piper is only forty years old here, but looks much older.  Piper mounts him on the ropes and bites away, then slings Lawler to the ground.  Lawler begs off but gets smacked around.  Big wind-up punch by Piper and Lawler tries to bail on the match.  Piper catches him in the aisle, then gives the fan a free bitchslap.  Back in, Piper throws some punches at Lawler, then mounts some punches, then bitches at the ref who tells him to lay off the punches.  Headlock, shoot off but Lawler ducks for a leapfrog and gets stomped in a horrible looking spot.  Lockup and a shoot off.  Lawler goes for a stomp but gets caught.  He holds the foot for what seems like forever, then gives Jerry an atomic drop that sends him flying out of the ring.  Lawler tries to chase the fan or something but Piper catches him and chops him against the guardrail.  Lawler goes for a punch but gets caught and punched some more.  Lawler tries to grab the fan but Piper saves, leading to Lawler actually landing a punch.  Lawler goes back for the fan, takes out Piper again, then drags the fan in the ring.  He goes to stomp the fan but Piper jumps on top of him to take the stomps himself.  Jesus Christ, what a shitty match.  Lawler goes to stomp the fan in the corner but again Piper puts himself between the fan and Lawler’s foot.  The fan falls out of the ring.  Lawler slugs it out and chokes away.  Fist-drop gets two.  Shoot off and Lawler grabs a sleeper.  Piper collapses to the match, while I collapse into a coma.  The hand drops twice, but Piper lives.  He gets to his feet but Lawler prevents a shoot off and punches him.  Piper throws a wild punch and misses by a mile.  Lawler loads up the driver, hits it, celebrates for a while, then finally covers for two.  Lawler doesn’t even sell the kick out with shock.  Lawler punches Piper down.  Piper to his feet and he asks for more.  So Lawler punches him down.  Piper to his feet again where he spits and Lawler and asks for more.  They trade punches, with Piper winning out.  Bulldog by Piper, then another that looked like pure unfiltered shit.  He goes for a third but Lawler shoves off and Piper wipes out the referee.  Lawler pulls out brass knuckles and knocks out Piper with them.  Referee recovers slowly while Lawler puts his feet on the ropes.  It gets two as the fan throws Lawler’s feet off the ropes.  Lawler goes to jaw with the fan leading to Piper hitting a shitty back suplex and a pathetic looking cover.  This leads to a very long three count.
DUD A contender for worst WWE Pay Per View main event ever.  Painful to watch from start to finish.

Match #4
Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler
5/14/95 In Your House

Back story: Bret Hart won an award for most popular wrestler in the WWE magazine.  Lawler, who always hated Bret, got in Japanese star Hakushi’s ear about how the vote was rigged by Bret to prevent Japanese people from voting, and that Bret was racist.  So Hakushi attacked Bret, leading to the opening match of this same show being Bret vs. Hakushi.  Bret hated Lawler for calling him a racist so he offered to face him after the Hakushi match.  Bret beat Hakushi in the first match, but then appeared to blow out his knee jumping out of the ring.  He decided to still face Lawler.  It’s mother’s day, so Bret dedicated this match to his mother.  Lawler decided to bring his ‘mother’ with him.  Some hot thing likely twenty years younger then him.  It’s kind of disturbing picturing Lawler in bed with her calling her mommy.  I’m going to have nightmares.  And the announcers, especially Vince McMahon, are acting like total idiots.  “That can’t be his mother.  This has to be a joke.”  No shit, Sherlock.  Backstage, Bret gets interviewed and reveals the leg injury is bullshit.  They should have saved that part for the match.

Match starts and Bret brawls Lawler around and slams him into the guardrail, then the stairs.  In the ring, Lawler grabs the ref and begs for mercy.  One would think that should count as a submission, but it’s wrestling logic.  Legdrop by Bret and a shoot off, but Bret lowers his head into a piledriver.  Jerry celebrates, but Bret springs straight up.  Ugh.  That’s one move that should not be no-sold.  Bulldog by Bret and then a piledriver.  Elbowdrop and then a choke on the ropes.  Bret rakes his face up against the ropes but Lawler rakes his eyes and slams him.  Lawler climbs but gets caught coming down with a punch.  Shoot off and a backelbow.  Headbutt between the legs and some mounted punches, but Hakushi’s manager Shinja comes down to distract.  Shoot off knocks the referee out of the ring, with his foot getting caught in the ropes.  Backbreaker and an elbow off the second rope, but Hakushi comes down and drops a fist off the top rope onto Bret, then a diving headbutt off the top rope, then another.  Lawler uses a jackknife cover and gets the pin after about five minutes.
3/4* Pretty abysmal.  Lawler was well past his prime by time he hit the WWE and his over-exaggerated heel shtick was kryptonite to good matches.

Match #5: Kiss My Foot Match
Jerry Lawler vs. Bret Hart
6/25/95 King of the Ring

Vince McMahon declares that if Bret actually loses this match, his career is over.  Which really is one of the worst on-commentary burials of a wrestler’s ability (in this case, Lawler) I’ve ever heard.  Lockup and Bret takes Lawler to the corner and slugs it out, leading to Jerry bailing.  Bret catches him and tosses him into the guardrail.  Rake against the ropes and the announcers won’t shut up about being worried that Bret will get himself DQed.  More punches in the corner and a headbutt from Bret.  Lawler bails again, so Bret gives chase and brawls him on the outside, but gets tossed into the stairs.  Lawler stalls a bit then brawls Bret around on the outside a bit more and the announcers are STILL bitching about a DQ.  What the fuck, serpico?  It’s annoying as hell.  Back in the ring Lawler fires off a piledriver and stalls.  Then he fires off another and gloats some more.  Nothing more lazy then the overly cocky heel who struts instead of making the pin.  It’s played to death, even in 1995, and not believable in the slightest bit.  He fires off a third piledriver and covers… for two.  Fans didn’t buy it one bit.  Bret tries to fight back but gets his eyes raked and dumped through the ropes.  Lawler takes off his boot and exposes his sock, which filthy.  He smacks Bret with a boot and covers for two.  The announcers are selling it like the stinkiest shit ever.  Michael Hayes acts like he’s gagging from the smell.  Vince McMahon follows with “the stench must be horrible.”  Consistency, gotta love it.  Bret catches a kick from Lawler, takes him down and headbutts him in the gut.  Lawler grabs the boot and smacks Bret with it again.  Fist-drop off the second rope gets two.  Lawler goes to crotch Bret on the ring post, but Bret uses momentum to sling Lawler into it.  BUT WAIT~!  Here comes Hakushi and Shinja.  Hakushi misses a punch on Bret and hits Lawler.  Bret takes control in the ring with the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM~!!  Punch to the gut, Russian legsweep, backbreaker, elbowdrop off the second rope, and the sharpshooter finish the match.  Bret takes his boot off, Hakushi fails to make the save again, and then Bret sticks his foot in Lawler’s mouth.  He then takes Lawler’s own unwashed foot and sticks it in his mouth.
*1/4 which makes it the best Lawler match in this set.  Although it should in theory lose point for setting up the debut of the evil dentist Dr. Isaac Yankem.

Match #6
Jerry Lawler vs. Marty Garner
6/8/96 Superstars

What the hell?  Garner is known as Chris Pain these days.  This was part of the build to his match with the Ultimate Warrior at the 1996 King of the Ring.  The less said about it, the better.  Lawler whips Garner into the ropes and slugs it out.  Garner springs off the ropes and gets a crossbody for two.  Lawler misses a punch and slugs it out.  Ten punch but Lawler shoves him off .  Face-first body drop and a fist off the second rope, then the piledriver finishes.  Well that was brisk.
DUD Though I must say, if Garner had a good body or was a couple inches taller, he likely would have made something of himself in the big leagues.

Onto the JYD section, and as a preface, I was never a big fan of his.  He was very charismatic, and the first black wrestler to be a true national mega-star.  The problem is he was also a serious drug user and by time he ended up in the WWE in 1984, he was so heavy into it that his ability all but disappeared and he started to get out of shape.  The WWE really did intend to go all the way with JYD.  McMahon brought him in intending to use him as a backup champion in the event that Hogan got injured at some point, and had him penciled in for an IC title win at the first Wrestlemania.  Sadly, he could never stay clean enough to be reliable for such roles.  He was bounced from the company in 1988 and never got clean enough to come back even for a one-time spot.  He died in 1998 in a car crash coming home from his daughter’s high school graduation.

Well, I feel like shit just for typing that.  Onto the matches.

Match #7: Tornado Tag Match
Junkyard Dog & Sgt. Slaughter vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff
11/10/84 Spectrum Show

Doesn’t sound too bad.  Fans *hate* the heels and pelt them with garbage just for having the nerve to step into the ring.  Ahhhh, for the old days where fans would wad up their programs and do that without fear of being thrown out of the building.  If it wasn’t for dickheads throwing batteries and stuff like that, I wouldn’t mind seeing the garbage tossing return at some point.  JYD and Slaughter get a huge pop.  Fans don’t really care who’s in the match as long as they kill the heels.  Match starts with a big brawl and the heels bail.  Sarge takes his helmet off and smacks the Sheik in the noggin with it.  Shoot off and a clothesline with his crop.  JYD chokes with his dog chain and the heels bail again.  Heels back in but they miss a charge and wipe out each other in comically bad fashion.  Grounded headbutts by the faces, more punching.  JYD bites the Sheik while Slaughter brawls with Volkoff on the outside.  Back in, Slaughter stomps the Sheik and covers for two.  Heels fight back with some horrible punches, while Sheik slams Slaughter into the turnbuckle.  Nikolai chokes JYD and there’s nothing the ref can do about it.  JYD fights back and knocks out the Sheik on the turnbuckle, but Volkoff saves with a kick.  Sheik dumps Sarge through the ropes, with the underrated Slaughter bumping like a nut to make it look decent.  Shoot off to the Dog and a double back elbow.  Another shoot off and a fucking TERRIBLE double something to the Dog that was feeble to the point that Mr. Burns would blush at it.  Slaughter tries to save but gets dumped in another huge bump that the camera missed.  Camel clutch to JYD and the heels won’t let Slaughter back in.  Dog should be dead by now.  Slaughter finally blocks a shot from Nikolai and fights him off, then takes his sweet time making the save on JYD.  Heels double team Slaughter now, beating him in the corner while JYD at least takes some time to sell the clutch.  He finally comes in and makes the save, but fails and the heels whip JYD and Sarge into each other.  Sheik grabs a belt and whips Sarge with it.  They dump JYD and double-backdrop Sarge.  Choke with the belt and some punching.  The heels miss a double clothesline and Sarge takes them both down.  Volkoff gets dumped and Sarge slaps the Cobra Clutch on the Sheik  Volkoff grabs a chair but JYD saves Sarge, leading to the Sheik submitting.  Fans are happy.
* Wouldn’t have been bad if the heels offense had not been so awful looking.

Match #8: Intercontinental Championship
(c) Greg Valentine vs. Junkyard Dog
3/31/85 Wrestlemania

Junkyard Dog’s music is overdubbed on the DVD.  JYD barks Greg into the corner.  Really.  Awkward looking lockup, JYD gets a lazy wristlock and headbutt.  Headbutt and punch by the Dog.  Valentine gets an elbow but misses a forearm and he does his stupid headbutts.  Valentine wins a wristlock sequence then starts to work the leg.  Valentine tries to put a half-crab on JYD, then gives up after forever and drops down.  Man, that looked bad.  Headbutt, stomps, but JYD fights back.  Big headbutt, then JYD gets distracted by Jimmy Hart.  He attacks Hart, then Valentine KOs Hart by accident, but JYD fails to do anything and Valentine covers him for the pin with his feet on the ropes.  But wait… here comes Tito Santana, who convinces the referee to restart the match.  Which he does.  Yeah.  Then the ref counts out Greg Valentine.  Uh, why?
1/2* Bad match, bad ending.  Drugs had already destroyed JYD as a performer at this point.  I assure you at one point he wasn’t THAT bad.

Match #9: Wrestling Classic Tournament Finals
Junkyard Dog vs. Randy Savage
11/7/85 Wrestling Classic
As Seen On: The Greatest Superstars of the 80s

This is the finals of the tournament that was aired on the WWE’s official first pay per view only show.  Savage uses Liz as a human shield to start, then bails and grabs a chair.  He throws the chair at Dog, but Junkyard catches it.  Savage comes in the ring to break the ref’s count, then bails again.  Savage ends up jawing with the fans, then finally comes in and gets powered out of a pair of lockups by JYD.  Headbutt to the back by JYD.  Atomic drop followed by a bearhug, but Savage rakes out of it.  JYD slugs the back some more, and Savage ends up going to the ropes to cover up.  Headbutt and foot choke by Dog, but Savage fights back with a weak clothesline for two.  Junkyard Dog gets dumped, and Savage hits an axehandle off the top rope.  Zzzzzzzzzzzz Savage rams JYD into the ringpost and hits another sledge off the top rope.  Savage grabs another chair and smashes JYD, but the ref doesn’t DQ him.  Savage chokes him on the guardrail’s guardrail (don’t ask), then dives in the ring to beat the count.  Ref tells him off, but JYD dogs up.  Headbutts, pancake off the ropes, headbutt and Savage is tied in the ropes.  Savage fights off with an eye gouge, but JYD backdrops him out of the ring to win the match and the tournament via countout.
* Another horrible match.

Match #10
Junkyard Dog vs. Adrian Adonis
3/1/86 Saturday Night’s Main Event

JYD sends Adonis into the corner, then headbutts him into the ropes, leading to him being tied up.  JYD gets some free shots in, then slings him back into the ring.  Shoot off and a clothesline for two.  JYD drops his weight on Adonis’ neck, then prevents him from fighting back and shoots him into the corner, sending him up and over to the floor.  Jimmy Hart goes to help Adonis so JYD comes over and headbutts them both.  JYD drags Adonis into the ring, with Jimmy Hart holding on to him.  So he headbutts Adonis and then slings Hart into him, sending them both over the top rope and to the floor.  We cut to a commercial.

We come back and JYD punches Adonis down for a close two.  Adonis distracts the referee while Jimmy Hart ties JYD up in the ropes.  Adonis an elbow, then Hart distracts again while Adrian chokes away.  They keep running distractions, with Jimmy getting some shots in himself.  Finally the ref has enough and drags Adonis by the hair off of JYD.  Adrian oversells that, in a good way, then drops a flying knee on JYD for two.  JYD barely moved during this entire sequence, like he was taking a nap in the middle of the match.  Adonis goes for a piledriver but JYD’s feet knock the ref out.  Jimmy Hart sets up JYD to get hit with the Mega Phone, but JYD reverses a whip and Adonis eats it instead and JYD covers for the three.  After the match, Adonis gets his heat back by hitting JYD with the megaphone.
**1/4 Which is match of the set.  Good intentions, but it never really got going.  I’ve always felt Adrian Adonis is one of the most underrated wrestlers of all time.  It’s a shame the WWE felt the need to bury him because of his problems with weight.  Considering all the guys in the 80s in the WWE who were full-blown junkies, weight issues would have seemed like a welcome change of pace.  Even when he was heavy he was still one of the best bumpers on the roster and a guy who was good at getting the babyfaces over.  I was really sad when I was a little kid in 1988 and heard he died in a car crash.  He was always one of my favorites.

Match #11
Junkyard Dog vs. Harley Race
1/3/87 Saturday Night’s Main Event
As Seen On: WWE Hall of Fame 2004 Induction Ceremony

JYD gets distracted by evil referee Danny Davis and ends up getting punched down by Race.  Kneedrop gets two.  JYD fights back and sends Race into the ring post shoulder-first.  Punch and a headbutt by JYD but Davis rides him some more, leading to a belly to belly suplex.  Diving headbutt by Race to JYD’s head proves to be a dumb move as JYD’s gimmick was he had the hardest skull in the business.  As a result, Race knocks himself out.  Another pair of headbutts, then JYD sends him to the corner where Race goes up and over to the floor.  JYD grabs Race’s robe and crown and puts them on.  He then beats up Bobby Heenan a bit, but Race comes off the ropes with a sledge.  The bell rings and JYD is awarded the match by DQ, while Davis watches Race and Heenan beat up the Dog.
1/4* Pretty awful.  Set up the Wrestlemania III match which only was slightly better.

Match #12
Junkyard Dog vs. Harley Race
3/29/87 Wrestlemania III

Slugoff to start.  JYD goes after Bobby Heenan instead of fighting his opponent.  Always hated that spot.  Big headbutt sends Race down, but Harley doesn’t really sell it and dumps the Dog.  Harley then goes for a flying headbutt off the apron but lands HARD on the ground and misses.  Ouch.  JYD ties up Race, hits a neck cruncher, then dumps him to the outside in another sick bump by gutsy Harley Race.  Back in, abdominal stretch.  Race fights out tries the diving headbutt, hits it, but JYD has a hard head and thus it knocks out Harley instead and Race gets dumped to the floor by the Dog.  Back in, Race hits a belly to belly suplex for the pin, even though JYD clearly kicked out.  JYD has to bow to Race, but doesn’t do it.
* well, it was short, and Race sure bumped for JYD like a madman.

BOTTOM LINE: Ladies and gentlemen… your winner… and NEWWWWWWW Worst WWE DVD Ever… Legends of Wrestling: Jerry Lawler & Junkyard Dog.  This was an abomination.  This one gets a big stinky thumbs down and let us never speak of it again.

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The Way Too Long Review of the Best of Saturday Night’s Main Event http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2009/08/12/the-way-too-long-review-of-the-best-of-saturday-nights-main-event/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2009/08/12/the-way-too-long-review-of-the-best-of-saturday-nights-main-event/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2009 02:10:41 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=89721 This is the longest review I’ve ever written.  So stop right here if you don’t want to read the wrestling review version of War & Peace.  That said, a lot of the material is not about the actual matches but rather the weird builds and angles that were going on at the time of each show.  It’s a long read, but a fun one.  Heck, print it out and take it to the bathroom the next time you have to shit.  According to about 20% of my readers, you should be wiping your ass with it anyway.

And once again, a reminder: under my scoring system, three stars represents 60% of the of the total possible score and thus the match gets a passing grade.   There will be a lot of three-star matches in this set.  That’s the nature of a fast-paced, well choreographed wrestling show.  And that’s what Saturday Night’s Main Event was.  NBC even gave the WWE guidelines on what kind of stuff they wanted wrestlers to avoid in matches, such as excessive rest-holds and stalling.  The results speak for themselves.

DISC ONE

Match #1: WWE Championship
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. Bob Orton
5/11/85 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Hogan gets a seriously amazing face pop and needs police escorts to get to the ring.  In a very weird, homoerotic moment, Mr. T (in Hogan’s corner) rips off Hogan’s shirt for him, and vice versa.  Considering Mr. T isn’t even in the match, that struck me as very odd.  Fans pop for it, and Vince McMahon marks out on commentary.  I’ll let you guys write your own jokes.  Orton’s got his arm in a cast, of course.  They slug it out to start, with Hogan getting the best of him and Orton bailing.  Hogan gives chase so Orton returns to the ring and Hulk stumbles getting back in.  Hogan catches Orton with a backdrop and three scoopslams, leading to Orton bailing again.  Back in, Orton misses a charge into the corner, and Hogan being the good sport that he is goes after Orton’s casted arm.  He throws shots and it and rings it around.  Not content with simply exploiting a person’s debilitating injury, he bites Orton in the face.  Pray, Vitamins, Cheating.  Jesse Ventura is aghast on commentary, while Vince McMahon ignores this blatant lack of sportsmanship.  Hogan then snaps it off the ropes, then rings it on the post.  In theory, Orton should be crippled but he hits a very awesome flying knee (that looks like a dropkick) to Hogan to take control.  He ignores selling the arm altogether.  He brawls Hogan around with various punches and an atomic drop for two.  Kneedrop that looked quite wussy, then a face-slam on the canvas.  Pace is slowed to a crawl while Piper and Mr. T jaw at ringside.  More punches by Orton while the camera crew clearly doesn’t have their shit together, showing some awful angles where the action is mostly being missed, while at the same time being exposing to the business.  Hogan begs off like a bitch, then Hulks Up.  Three big punches, high clothesline and an elbow for two.  Headbutt by Hogan and a shoot to the corner for a ten punch.  Orton turns it into an atomic drop.  Orton sets up for the superplex, which is his finisher.  Fan attempts to stop him and all the security guards catch him before he even makes it over the guardrail.  You can’t see anything, just the guards moving into position.  Anyway, Hogan fights off and hits an elbow off the second rope.  Legdrop would get the pin but Piper reaches in and hits Hogan for a DQ before the ref counted three.

Why even bother with the DQ finish?  He hit the legdrop, the fans know Orton had jobbed, so just let the pinfall happen and let Piper attack Hogan afterwards.  I mean come on, this was the first Saturday Night’s Main Event.  A clean pinfall would have made the fans and viewers happy and presumably they would continue watching.
** for the match, it was just your typical, by the numbers Hogan match with nothing different at all about it.

After the match, Paul Orndorff makes the save, making him over like Jesus and setting up one of the biggest drawing heel turns in wrestling history.

-Uncle Elmer’s Wedding from 10/5/85 is next.  Believe it or not, this was a legitimate wedding, and despite doing a storyline with Piper, he did marry his longtime girlfriend Joyce Stazko.  They stayed married until his death from diabetes in 1992.  Jesse Ventura cracks wise during the ceremony and totally buries the whole thing.  Piper’s interference isn’t much more then saying the segment sucks.  During the reception, Hogan throws Ventura into a cake.

Match #2
Paul Orndorff vs. Roddy Piper
10/5/85 Saturday Night’s Main Event

This was the start of Orndorff’s run as a face, which led to his run as a record-drawing heel turn against Hogan.  Slugoff to start, fans going crazy as Paul Orndorff kills Piper.  Roddy fights off with a clothesline and a big kick.  Piper rams Orndorff into the canvas.  They roll around, trying to kill each other.  DDT (!) by Piper and a running stomp.  To the outside, where Piper tries to smash Orndorff with a chair but misses.  Piper throws the chair in the ring, but gets smashed with an elbow.  Backdrop suplex by Orndorff, but Piper pokes the eyes to take advantage.  Shoot off the ropes and double shoulderblock knocks both guys down.  Piper goes for a splash but Orndorff gets the knees up.  Crossbody sends both guys to the outside.  Slugoff starts and both guys get counted out.  They fight under the announce table, then to the dressing room, where the cameras follow them.  This is 1985, mind you, a good decade before these types of things weren’t a regular occurrence.  Piper gets into room and locks himself in.  That’s that.
** Stiff ass brawl, didn’t really lead anywhere.

-A Trip to the Zoo 10/5/85 is up.  Mean Gene takes a trip to the zoo to search for George “The Animal” Steele.  He finds him hanging out with camels.  Steele takes Gene to the Elephant, and does a quick impression of one, trying to keep a straight face.  He calls a lemur “Heenan” and a hippo “Bundy.”  Lame segment.  Should have ended with someone shooting him with a tranquilizer and putting him in a cage or something.  Skip it.

Halloween Costumes from 11/2/85.  Much like the Simpsons these days, the WWE celebrates Halloween after it’s already over and people are sick of it.  Iron Sheik is Batman.  Tito Santana is the Lone Ranger.  Mean Gene is the Grand Wizard.  King Kong Bundy is Abe Lincoln.  Hogan is Caesar.  Piper is Superman.  Savage & Liz are Tarzan & Jane.  They have a pie eating contest, bob for apples, pumpkin pass, and trick-or-treating tips from Roddy Piper.  He seems to be on speed during this segment.  After fucking around with some kids by dropping bowling balls in their bags (causing the them to break and the candy to go everywhere) they trick him into eating a chocolate covered red pepper.  He brilliantly oversells this.

Match #3: WWE Championship
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. Terry Funk
1/4/86 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Junkyard Dog is in Hogan’s corner, and he quickly puts Jimmy Hart in his place.  Lockup, and they reverse each other a bunch.  Hogan wins out and knocks Funk out of the ring.  They’re billing Funk as “middle aged and crazy.”  In 1998 they billed him as that.  Hell, in 2006 they billed him as that.  How many 120 year old guys do you know?  Funk gets back in only to get punked out again and tossed to the outside.  Funk gets knocked down and Hulk keeps running over him.  Cool visual.  Funk throws a chair in the ring at Hogan so Hulk sits down on it.  Funk gets back in and slugs away, but Hulk quickly shrugs him off and beats him down, then sends him head-over-heels into the corner.  Hulk sling Funk into the ring and gives him a backdrop suplex for two.  Funk goes low to take advantage, but it’s short lived as Hulk catches him climbing and shake the ropes.  Funk gets crotched, and Hogan follows it up with an atomic drop.  Clothesline by Hogan and an elbow drop.  Funk shoots Hogan off the ropes and Jimmy Hart tries to trip him up, so Hulk chases him.  Hart hides under the ring.  Back in, Funk chokes Hogan with some tape.  Piledriver for two.  Mounted punches by Funk and a foot rake.  Hulk up time.  Three punches, backelbow, and a big boot sends Funk out of the ring.  Jimmy Hart grabs a branding iron and whacks Hogan with it and Funk covers for two as Hulk gets his foot on the ropes.  Hulk drops Hart then clotheslines Funk for the pin and the victory.
*** Fun, comedyish match.

-Randy Orton talks about his father’s match with Hulk Hogan from the first SNME.  Um… that was three matches ago.  I didn’t get the point of this segment, but then we cut to Hogan tricking Roddy Piper into signing to face Mr. T in a boxing match.  As a warm up, Bob Orton faces Mr. T on Saturday Night’s Main Event.

Match #4: Boxing Match
Bob Orton vs. Mr. T
3/1/86 Saturday Night’s Main Even
t

Pretty sure I never watched this one.  I didn’t get into boxing until I got Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! for the NES the following year.  T has Hogan with him, while Piper is with Orton.  Orton jumps Mr. T from behind to start the match.

Round One: Shots look stiff and solid to start, then quickly end up looking like shit.  To their credit, it actually looks like a boxing match.  They use liberal use of long shots and wide shots so you can’t see how bad the punches look.  I’m guessing this is what led to them having Piper and Mr. T start their match at Wrestlemania as a shoot.  Of course, they didn’t expect Piper to knock Mr. T goofy right off the bat either.  Anyway, Orton thumbs the eye of T and all the trainers check on him but he’s good to go.  The first round ending and the ref breaks them up, so Orton throws a cheapshot, which of course would be a DQ in a real boxing match, especially since he made contact with the ref as well.

Round Two: Orton showboats a bit while Mr. T looks bored.  T starts to hit some punches so Piper distracts the ref and Orton hits a knee and a sledge while T is down on all fours.  T fights back, knocks Piper off the apron, then punches Orton out of the ring, leading to him winning by count out.  Seriously, they couldn’t even do a clean finish to build to his match with Piper at Wrestlemania?   After the match, Piper challenges T to a bare knuckle boxing match, but Orton jumps him from behind and they both kick the crap out of him.  After the heels think they’ve done enough, they both leave the ring.  T then no-sells the beating and gets back up.  Ugh, horrible.
No Rating, but a pretty dull segment overall and not well put together.

And we’re four matches in and have one clean finish.  Yea?

-Meanwhile, Mean Gene points out that most TV matches before SNME came along were squash matches designed for the stars to show off their big moves against jobbers.  Saturday Night’s Main Event was the first time they pushed competitive matches between big stars on free TV.  This leads to highlights of what set up the Jake Roberts/Ricky Steamboat feud.  Namely the sickest bump in wrestling history, Jake’s DDT to Steamboat on the concrete.   If you haven’t seen it, it’s included here.  If you want to count the cobra bite that Randy Savage got from Jake Roberts as a bump, it would rank #2.   I actually met Jake Roberts a few years back and asked him why all the biggest bumps taken from that period were given by him.  He says he tried to talk both Steamboat and Savage out of the respect bumps he gave them.  He said he was given that spot because he could carry a feud as the only person talking while the babyfaces were off to sell the injuries.  Makes sense.

Mach #5: Snake Pit Match
Jake Roberts vs. Ricky Steamboat
10/4/86 Saturday Night’s Main Event

The WWE had been running exact clones of this match all around the country, including at the Big Event in Toronto about five weeks prior to this show.  All that was needed to set this up was have Steamboat take an unprotected DDT on an actual concrete floor.  Nothing big.  We get a recap of the whole feud at this point, including the result of the Big Event, which Steamboat won.  Interesting.  It’s no DQ as Steamboat chops away and gets an overhead wristlock takedown for two.  Armdrag and an armbar by Steamboat, who has some seriously ugly tights tonight.  Body drop by Steamboat and Jake bails.  Back in the ring, Steamboat gets another armdrag into an armbar.  Jake inches over towards the bag Steamboat too to the ring with him, and it moves.  Jake gets all scared.  Jake misses a charge and eats the turnbuckle.  Slingshot into the turnbuckle and then a diving chop while Jake falls.  Didn’t look to hot.  Steamer climbs and goes for a big splash but Jake gets his knees up.  Jake goes for his bag, so Steamboat goes for his.  Jake panics and goes after Ricky to give him a gutbuster for two.  Shoot off and a punch to the gut, which Steamboat sells kind of comically bad.  He must not have been feeling it tonight.  Jake slugs away while Steamboat continues to oversell the gut shot.  Clothesline for two, and the ref sucks so bad that even Vince McMahon, the babyface announcer here, is bitching about the heel getting the shaft.  Jake knees him in the guts and fires off a blatant choke.  Steamboat tries to fight back, but Jake no sells it and hits a kneelift.  Steamboat returns the favor by no-selling it.  Jake hits him in the neck, then hits a snapmare for two.  Atomic drop by Jake.  Shoot off and Steamboat gets a crucifix… for the three?  Well that’s fucked up, yo.  After the match, Jake brings out his snake to cover Steamboat with him, but Steamboat recovers and pulls out a baby alligator, called a ‘dragon’ by Vince McMahon.  Jake bails, the end.
* They couldn’t seem to find a rhythm.

-Jake Roberts talks about feud with Steamboat, the one we just watched.  The structure to this DVD is very weird.  We then move on to his feud with Randy Savage.  Apparently Jake’s matches on SNME up to this point had been met with low ratings, so Dick Ebersol told Jake if his segment bombed this time, he wouldn’t be allowed on NBC again.  Jake calls it one of the best matches of his career, and says that Randy Savage’s father told him it was the best match of Randy’s career.

Match #6: Intercontinental Championship
(c) Randy Savage vs. Jake Roberts
11/29/86 Saturday Night’s Main Events

Jake was not working out as a heel so they set the wheels in motion to turn him here.  Technically they’re both heels here.  Snake pulls out Damien, so Savage backs away like a little bitch and uses Elizabeth as a human shield.  Both guys try to jump each other behind their backs to start, but that goes nowhere.  They finally lockup and both guys take turns cheating on each other, yanking their hair.  Lockup and a headlock by Jake gets taken down to the canvas where both guys continue to pull the hair.  They break it up and Jake goes for a DDT so Savage bails.  Back in the ring, Jake catches a charge with a boot and goes for the DDT but Savage rams him into the corner.  Jake shoots him into the other corner but Savage gets a foot up for two.  Face first slam on the canvas gets two.  Stomp to the back of the head gets two.  Snapmare and a kneedrop gets two.  Jake tries to fight back but Randy hits him in the head with an elbow, then drops an elbow for two.  Jake chokes him on the top rope then slings him off for two as Jake gets a foot on the rope.  Savage pulls him away from the ropes and covers for two.  Sledge to the back of the head gets one, then another one.  Jake fights back but Savage stops him again and ties him in the ropes, then grabs the bag with the snake in it and puts it under the ring.  Jake escapes and catches Macho Man with a knee to the face as he gets back in the ring.  Jake grabs Damien and puts him back in the corner.  Short-arm clothesline gets two.  Jake fires off a pancake suplex for two.  Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura mark out for it on commentary, as that move was not common back then.  Jake punches Savage and shoots him off, but lowers his head into a kick.  Savage misses a bunch and Jake goes for the DDT, but Savage grabs at the ropes.  Savage bails and again uses Miss Elizabeth as a human shield.  Jake charges but gets tossed into the ring post.  Savage climbs the ropes and drops a sledge on Jake on the outside.  Back in the ring, Savage drops another sledge for two.  He climbs and goes for a third sledge but Jake punches him coming down.  Jake puts up his dukes and slugs it out, but Savage knees him in the gut and to the floor.  Jake pulls Savage out to punch him.  Savage back in and he stomps at Jake getting back in the ring.  Both guys take turns shoving the referee because he won’t let them fight, and the match is scrubbed.  Savage grabs a chair so Jake grabs Damien, causing Savage to bail and Jake’s face turn to begin properly.
**** Very fun, fast paced match.  This is one of the few times I’ve seen the heel-heel dynamic work right, with both guys acting like villains and cheating through-out.  I’m suddenly doubtful anything on this set will top this one.

-To the Hogan/Orndorff feud, with Mean Gene explaining that cage matches are special draws for wrestling.  Thanks, didn’t know that.

Match #7: WWE Championship Steel Cage Match
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff
1/3/87 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Orndorff whips Hogan with the championship belt to start.  He goes for the door but Hogan saves.  Elbow drop by Paul, then back to the door, but Hogan dives for the save.  more elbow drops, and now Orndorff climbs the cage and gets out, but Hogan barely saves, grabbing his hair.  Jesse Ventura notes that Hogan would not be the champ if Orndorff was bald.  Heh.  Hogan gets Paul back into the cage and he chokes away with his headband.  Orndorff stops Hogan from escaping the cage and stomps away on Hogan’s face.  Orndorff misses a couple elbows and Hogan is up, throwing some big punches that knock Paul down.  Hogan goes for the door but Bobby Heenan locks the door.  Good stuff there.  Orndorff fights Hogan off the door, then headbutts Hulk on the mat.  Orndorff tries to ram Hogan into the cage, but Hulk blocks and throws Paul into the cage.  Both guys get up and climb opposite sides of the cage, hitting the floor at the same time.  Pretty original finish that hasn’t been done before or since, to the best of my knowledge.  Orndorff sneaks up and attacks Hogan on the outside, while the announcers speculate on what the finish was.  The referee declares it a tie, and since cage matches can’t end in ties, the match is restarted.  We go to a commercial.  Back, and now Orndorff hits a stomp off the top of rope.  Orndorff drops a couple knees and fists.  Short clothesline by Paul.  Fist drop.  But now Hogan is hulking up.  Three big punches, chops, rams into the cage, big punch, ram into the cage, backbreaker, legdrop.  Hogan starts to climb, but Bobby Heenan makes the save.  Orndorff tries to escape, so Hogan beats on Paul, KOs Heenan, and climbs out the cage before Orndorff makes it to the door to win the match.
*** Pretty good, with one of the most memorable false-finishes in wrestling history.

-We move on to discussion about Andre the Giant and his feud with Hulk Hogan.

Match #8: Battle Royal
Participants: Andre the Giant, Ron Bass, Demolition (Ax & Smash), Bill Jack Haynes, Hillbilly Jim, Hulk Hogan, Honky Tonk Man, Hercules, The Islanders (Haku & Tama), The Killer Bees (Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell), Blackjack Mulligan, Paul Orndorff, Lanny Poffo, Butch Reed, Sika, Nikolai Volkoff, and Koko B. Ware
3/14/87 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Never seen this one funny enough.  This I assume is the hard-sell for Wrestlemania 3.  Weird camera angle as Andre the Giant makes his way to the ring makes him look as tall as Bobby Heenan.  Andre the Giant blocks Hogan’s entrance to heat the match, while everyone else backs off.  Suddenly the bells rings, with all the faces jumping Andre and all the heels jumping Hogan.  Hogan fights them off and dumps Honky Tonk Man.  Andre dumps Sika.  Mulligan and Hillbilly Jim double team Andre but get noggin-knocked.  Haku gets dumped as well.  Headbutt to a pre-Genius Lanny causes him to blade and he gets dumped.  I’m shocked someone bled during this, as I figured NBC would make that a no-no.  It’s a mighty blade job by Poffo too and he gets a stretcher job.  Haynes gets dumped by Hogan.  Ax and Smash try to dump Jim while Mulligan gets dumped by Andre with a hiptoss.  Hogan dumps Volkoff.  Blair gets dumped by Andre.  I have to admit, this is a good way to solidify why Hogan and Andre are the top two guys in the company, using only them to dump everyone else.  Orndorff and Hercules whip Hogan into Andre to set up the big confrontation. The fans start to buzz… maybe.  The actual crowd shots show people not even moving, smiling, or anything.  I know that most of the audience reaction is SNME was edited in after the show, but come on.  Hogan punches Andre about but it lasts maybe three seconds before Orndorff and Ax cut him off.  Hogan dumps Orndorff, but this distraction is enough for Andre to headbutt Hogan and push him out of the match.  Well, this leaves little doubt to the ending.  Andre motions to Hogan like it was nothing.  Hogan bitches and points at Andre, who tells him to bring it while he casually swats away at everyone who tries to touch them, like they were flies or something.  Cool stuff.  Brunzell tries to body-press Andre and he causally gets tossed.  Suddenly everyone teams up on Andre, heels and faces.  He fights them for a while but they do manage to dump him.  What the fuck?  Are you serious?  The big show before Wrestlemania and they job out both guys in the main event in a battle royal with nothing but scrubs left in the ring?  Man, I hope that doesn’t hurt the buyrate or the aura of the Hogan/Andre match.  Hercules dumps Tama, while Hillbilly Jim dumps Ax.  He tries for Smash but gets dumped instead.  Butch Reed gets knocked out by Koko.

FINAL FOUR: Smash, Hercules, Koko B. Ware, and Billy Jack Haynes.  Well that fucking blows.  I mean it’s cool that it’s unpredictable, but still.  Hercules fights off Koko and dumps him.  Smash and Hercules team up and beat up Mr. Oregon Billy Jack Haynes, the best drug mule in professional wrestling.  Or so the legend goes.  Hercules tells Smash he wants to do the damage.  Haynes ends up dumping Smash.  Bobby Heenan gets on the apron to distract Haynes, which allows Hercules to dump him and win the battle royal.  Well that was unexpected.
1/2* I think they should have just had Hogan and Andre throw out everyone else and have Hogan get dumped clean at the end by Andre to really put the doubt in people’s minds that Hogan could beat him at Wrestlemania.  Not that it seemed to hurt the buyrate or anything.  Still… Hercules?  Really?  I mean, if this led to a post-Wrestlemania feud for Hogan I could see it.  They actually used the ending to springboard a Haynes/Hercules match at Wrestlemania 3 and even then didn’t use it as a blow off, as the match ended in a shitty double countout.  So what was the point here?  Very strange booking.  Almost random it would seem.  Anyway, battle royals suck and this one was only slightly better then the average one.

-We talk about the Hard Foundation/Bulldog Feud.  Natalya Neidhart talks about how cool it was to watch.  I know she’s third generation so it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I just want to say how refreshing it is to see one of the Divas talk about being a fan of wrestling back in the day as opposed to something that pays you for the sake of being a nice looking girl who is willing to pretend fight someone else.

Match #9: World Tag Team Championship: 2 out of 3 Falls
(c) The Hart Foundation vs. The British Bulldogs
5/2/87 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Well, this could be awesome.  First Fall: Davey starts with Bret.  Davey flips around a wristlock and takes Bret down with it, then works the arm with kneedrops.  Bret counters it with a headlock.  Dynamite looks like absolute shit on the apron.  Very unhealthy.  Bret shoots Davey off but Smith grabs a crucifix for two.  Kitchen sink kneelift by Bret and a tag to Neidhart who whips Davey Boy by his hair.  Clubbing blows by the Anvil, then he takes Davey to the Hart corner so they can cheat.  Neidhart slugs away and tags to Bret, who fires off a backbreaker for two.  Legdrop by Bret, then a shoot to the corner but Davey gets a foot up and tags Dynamite who seems to have loss some mobility.  He slings Bret by the hair and clotheslines him for two.  Snap suplex gets two.  Diving headbutt but Neidhart breaks up the pinfall, then Bret and Neidhart double team him while Danny Davis goes after Dynamite.  Tito Santana is in the Bulldog’s corner and he saves, while the referee disqualifies the Hart Foundation for the first fall.

Second fall and Dynamite is still trashed from the beatdown he got, making him the face in peril.  Neidhart beats up on him and puts a front facelock on.  Tag to Bret who hits a second rope elbowdrop on Dynamite off Neidhart’s knee for two.  Dynamite fights back with a headbutt and some punches, but Bret holds a leg to stop the tag and reaches Neidhart for one of his own.  Neidhart cuts off Dynamite, who appears to have a broken nose.  Bret runs into draw Davey Boy away from the tag.  Davey chases Bret around while Neidhart holds a blatant chokehold.  Neidhart slugs it out and tags Bret, who punches away at the gut.  Bret ties Dynamite in the ropes, but misses a charge and wipes out into the ropes very hard in what is a truly sick bump if you know how much those ropes hurt.  Dynamite makes the tag.  Dropkicks for all.  Clothesline to Neidhart for two.  Delayed suplex gets two.  Davey Boy lowers his head after shooting off Neidhart, allowing the heels to double team him.  Neidhart misses a charge and knocks Bret off the apron.  Then Tito runs in the ring and clotheslines Danny Davis off the apron.  Tag to Dynamite, then Davey press-slams him into Hart for the pin… but not the titles because the first fall was a DQ.  Vince sulks and admits he’s right.  Of course, the deciding fall was by pinfall and that’s all that should matter, but logic rarely interferes with lazy booking.  Oh well.
***1/2 I don’t think it’s possible for these teams to have had a bad match.  Even today, with Dynamite in a wheel chair, Bret not too far behind him, and Davey Boy dead, I’m sure they would somehow pull it together and make at least **1/2.  This was fairly punchy-kicky but still well paced and pretty fun to watch.

Match #10: Intercontinental Championship
(c) The Honky Tonk Man vs. Randy Savage
10/3/87 Saturday Night’s Main Event

No, this is NOT the match that caused the breakdown of all long-term planning the WWE had been doing to this point.  That would come later.  Long lockup to start, with Honk Tonk punching the nose to break it up.  Shoot off but Honky lowers his head into a kick.  Diving hangman by Savage, who takes control.  Back in, snapmare and a kneedrop come from Savage, followed by what looks like a blatant choke in the corner.  Backelbow by Savage while Jimmy Hart threaten Elizabeth.  Savage goes to stop him, leading to Honky Tonk hitting a sledge from behind.  His comeback doesn’t last as Savage hits a running elbow in the ring, then some left jabs.  Elbowdrop misses and Honky Tonk takes advantage with a few axehandles.  Snapmare and a fist drop off the second rope, but Honky Tonk bails to hit on Liz instead.  Savage comes to live and beats on Honky Tonk, then drops a sledge off the top rope and to the floor.  Small Package gets two as Jimmy Hart puts a foot on the rope.  Back suplex gets two as Jimmy Hart gets in the way again.  Sledge off the top rope gets two again with Jimmy Hart interference.  Savage has enough and drags in Hart to knock him out with a punch.  Honky goes for a sunset flip but can’t turn Savage over.  Honky Tonk bails to check on Savage, and the Hart Foundation comes out to follow.  Savage drags him back in and chokes away.  Savage punches him out of the ring but that doesn’t help as Honky bails on the match to help Jimmy Hart back to the ring.  Honky Tonk tells him to wait in the ring, he’ll be back.

Well that’s an interesting way for a commercial break.  When we come back, Honky returns and gets smacked around by Savage.  Savage misses a charge in the corner, and eats a backdrop.  Double leg takedown by Savage gets two.  Not sure that spot was intentional.  Honky punches him down and goes for a ten punch.  Snapmare and Honky climbs to the second rope but misses a fist drop.  Huge overselling follows.  Big elbows by Savage and a backdrop.  Honky begs off, but Savage hears none of it and punches away in the corner.  Shoot off and a backelbow gets two.  Vertical suplex gets two.  Honky rakes the eyes and tosses Savage out to the Harts for them to double team him while Honky distracts the ref.  They toss him back in and Honky casually drops an elbow… for two.  Savage hulks up with a scoopslam and hits the flying elbow, but Bret breaks up the pinfall to draw the DQ.  Triple teaming follows, with Elizabeth crying at ringside.  She keeps looking at the entrance ramp, as if she wants someone to come and help.  Honky loads up his guitar but Elizabeth gives on someone else saving and gets in the ring to make the save.  Honky almost hits her with the guitar, but instead jaws with her.  Honky shoves Elizabeth out of the way to draw huge heat, some of which is piped in for no good reason.  Elizabeth runs backstage in tears, Savage is still out apparently, so the Hart Foundation holds him, Honky teases, teases, then teases some more.  I’m waiting for the run in to start, but instead Honky does break the guitar over his head.  After Savage has already eaten the guitar, Elizabeth drags Hulk Hogan to ringside to make the save.  He does, and the faces clean house, then shake hands.  And the Mega Powers are born.
***1/4 Much better then I thought it would be, and the big moment at the end was pretty cool, if a little too late.

And you get the piledriver music video.

Match #11
Randy Savage vs. Bret Hart
11/28/87 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Savage bails to start to protect Elizabeth from Jim Neidhart and Jimmy Hart.  Savage chases the Hart Foundation off then elbows Bret and tosses him into the corner.  Hart catches a breather while Savage is in the ring.  Bret returns only to get elbowed in the face and choked in the corner.  They trade whip reversals with Bret winning out and sending Savage into the corner where he brawls him and grabs a blatant choke.  Snapmare and an elbowdrop.  Shoot off but Savage hits a backelbow followed by a running elbow.  Savage pulls at Bret’s hair on the apron, but the ref pulls him off.  So Savage decides to ram Bret off the apron and into the guardrail in one of Bret’s favorite and most suicidal spots.  Neidhart stalls for Bret who might be legitimately injured.  Jimmy Hart gets on the apron too so Savage throws them into each other.  He climbs and goes for a sledge off the top but Bret stops him with a punch to the gut.  Neidhart tosses Savage into the ring for Bret.  Shoot off and a kick by Bret.  He stalls a bit then drops a meager leg.  Bret puts Savage in the tree of woe and kicks away at him.  Piledriver gets two.  Elbow but Bret misses a charge and eats the corner.  Savage picks him up and throws him shoulder first into the opposite turnbuckle.  Snapmare and the sledge off the top gets two.  Punch to the gut by Bret and a backbreaker, but the elbow off the second rope misses.  Knee to the face by Savage and the diving hangman gets two.  Bret backdrops Savage over the top rope, and Randy starts to sell the ankle.  Elizabeth checks on him.  After a long stall, Bret comes over to attack but the ref stops him and we cut to a commercial.

We’re back and instead of counting out Savage, the ref lets it continue.  Bret gets cocky and celebrates early while Savage hobbles around the ring.  Bret finally attacks after what seems like forever and starts to attack the injured ankle.  Savage’s boot isn’t even on when Bret rings his foot around the ringpost.  Spinning toehold by Bret but he only does two turns before Savage kicks him off then snaps Bret off the ropes for two in a fairly weak move to take over with.  Bret continues to work the foot like a bastard and slaps on a half crab.  Snapmare by Bret but Savage starts to rake the face.  He crawls to the apron where he gets snatched up by Bret.  Bret tries to slam him back into the ring but Savage rolls through it… for the pin.  Well that was out of nowhere.  Heels all try to kill Savage but he grabs the megaphone from Jimmy Hart and the heels bail.
***3/4 Hated the abrupt ending, but loved the entire ankle injury segment.  This was close to greatness but Bret wasn’t quite at a level to make this special on his own yet.

BONUS MATCH

Why bonus matches in a DVD I’ve already paid for?  What makes them bonuses?

Match #12
Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, & Mike Rotundo vs. Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, & George Steele
5/11/85 Saturday Nights’ Main Event

This is the first ever SNME match.  And let the record show that the change from what the WWE’s previous production standards were to this were something of a revelation at the time.  I wasn’t quite yet four-years-old when this originally aired, but I still have very vague memories of this being like a second Christmas, and the anticipation for this was awesome.  Sheik starts with Windham.  Lockup and they get tied in the ropes.  Windham blocks a cheapshot and slugs it out.  Windham reverses a hiptoss and hits one of his own.  Sheik to the wrong corner, then walks into a scoopslam.  Tag to Rotundo, then a tag to Steamboat for some double team stuff.  Steamboat starts to work the arm of course.  Rotundo and pairs up with Steamboat for a double elbow.  Scoopslam gets two.  Rotundo does nothing for a bit then tags in Steamboat who goes to the arm.  Shoot off and the Sheik gets an abdominal stretch out of nowhere, but Steamboat turns it into a hiptoss.  The other heels run in and instead of armdragging them, Steamboat fires off a couple more hiptosses and the heels bail.  It’s commercial time.

We’re back with Steamboat hitting a powerslam on Sheik and climbing for a missile dropkick that looks crazy stiff and sick.  Crossbody off the top gets two.  Volkoff saves, and Windham kills him for it.  Volkoff tags in only to be tossed into the babyfaces.  Windham tags in and Nikolai eats a double dropkick.  Tag to Rotundo and this time Nikolai eats a double elbow.  A pair of legdrops hit but Steele tosses him off.  Rotundo turns his eye off the ball and Nikolai is free to punch him, but gets rolled up for two instead.  Backslide gets two for Rotundo.  They get tied up in the corner on a third pinfall and have to break.  Tag to Windham who brawls it out.  Shoot off and Nikolai misses a clothesline and Windham gets a sunset flip for… nothing as they’re too close to the ropes again.  Steele finally tags in to a huge pop.  Windham is a house of fire on him, so he goes to tag out.  Sheik and Volkoff bail on him to complete Steele’s face turn, but Windham still rolls him up for the pin.  After the match, the heels beat on Steele, and the babyface team doesn’t even attempt to save him.  Hell, he doesn’t need it, and fights off the tag champs himself.  Lou Albano talks him out of his rage.  He then jumps the heels in the middle of their interview.
** Total squash for the babyfaces, but still somewhat entertaining.

-We get the (kind of surreal) music video for Real American.

-We also get highlights of Junkyard Dog celebrating mother’s day with his mother, Bertha.

Jesus Christ, I’m only one disc in?  Yeesh.

DISC TWO

-Hulk Hogan jobs via countout to King Kong Bundy two months previous on Saturday Night’s Main Event.  Bobby Heenan demands a rematch.  And this time, he has Andre the Giant with him.

Match #13: WWE Championship
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy
1/2/88 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Good visual having Andre trail Bundy to the ring and show how damn big he is.  Hogan cuts a crazy, sweaty, maniacal promo before the match and talks about how Ronald Reagan is a Hulkamaniac.  Later in life, Reagan moved on to believing he really was Hulk Hogan.  The amount of sweat on him was insane.  It’s like he spent three hours before this jerking off.  But then in a rare (ha) bit of WWE lacking continuity, Hogan is NOT sweating when he comes out seconds later.  Horrible edit.  We start with a big lockup.  Hogan shoves off right off the bat, then side-steps a charge and beats Bundy from pillar to post.  Shoot off and a big boot sends Bundy to the outside.  Andre comes over to give him advice.  Unless that advice was “When he starts Hulk Up, don’t just keep punching him.  That only makes it worse” then it’s not going to be helpful.  Bundy comes back in only to get killed again, this time with a clothesline.  I guess Andre wasn’t very helpful.  Fans don’t heat up on Bundy’s stalling, which tells me this was likely around the period that it stopped being effect.  Continuity from my Judgment Day 2009 review.  Andre offers more advice, but it proves even worse as Hogan takes him down in the center of the ring with some punches, then grabs a wristlock.  Hogan doesn’t then check for the time, so I guess Lou Thesz was wrong about him not knowing the difference between a wristlock and a wrist watch.  He elbows at the arm, but then Bundy reverses it and yanks Hogan down by what’s left of his hair.  This is weird to watch these guys actually wrestle.  Hogan gets to his feet and fights out of the hold with a shoulderblock.  Another one hits but Bundy still doesn’t go down.  Another one by Hogan but he runs into an awesome backelbow, which Hogan bumps pretty good off of.  You know, this ain’t bad.  Bundy sends Hogan to the corner, then goes back to the wristlock.  Hogan bitches at the referee about how Bundy pulls his hair, which distracts the referee and allows Bundy to pull him down by the hair.  Irony.  Bundy turns this into an armbar.  By the way, worth mentioning the fans are seemingly nuts over this match, though the WWE would often pipe in noise during Saturday Night’s Main Event.  Even if that’s true, it’s effective.  Nothing worse for me then recapping a match that is dead silent.  Someone asked me what was the most boring match I ever recapped.  Easy answer that usually surprises people: the Luchador match from the 1997 Royal Rumble.  60,000 fans announced in attendance and they go over ten minutes without making a single sound.  It was actually kind of impressive on their part.  Even during Eddie Guerrero and Owen Hart’s ten bell salute you would occasionally hear someone scream out something to break up the silence.  Anyway, my point is I will take canned crowd reactions to silence.  Sorry for the tangent, back to the match.

Hogan fights off the armbar and scoopslams Bundy.  He still sells the arm injury, then misses an elbowdrop using the injured arm.  Scoopslam by Bundy who then misses a few elbowdrops.  Hogan sadly ends the coolness of this match by ignoring the arm injury and hitting a clothesline in the corner.  Whip reversal by Bundy sends Hogan leapfrogging over the referee and into the corner.  The ref goes to tell Hogan he’s okay, only for Bundy to avalanche them both in the corner.  Bundy misses his big splash, while the referee appears to have passed away.  Hogan punches Bundy out of the ring and knocks him out, while another referee comes out and calls a timeout to get the other referee out.  Jesse Ventura, sensitive guy that he is, says “This will work out for Bundy while they scrape that guy’s carcass out of the ring, he gets a time out.”  Hilarious how casual he said that.  Commercial while they start to plan the funeral.

We’re back and the ref starts to quickly count out Bundy on the outside.  He comes back in and starts to kill Hogan with a series of punches and a clothesline.  Big splash hits for two.  Hard chop sends Hogan to the floor.  He gets up on the apron but gets chopped down again.  He finally lets Hogan back in, only to stand on him while pushing down on the ropes.  Shoot off and a big shoulderblock.  Lazy fist drop/kneedrop thing but Bundy gets two, then he goes to a chinlock.  I will say this about Bundy, he had a good looking chinlock.  And Hogan was good at selling them.  Of course he was.  He took enough of them.  Andre bitches at the ref saying he heard Hogan quit.  Bundy lets go and sends Hogan into the corner to hit the avalanche.  He’s not satisfied, so he hits another.  Bundy demands the referee give him a five count, while Jesse Ventura cries on commentary that his shoe is touching Hogan’s shoe and that should count as a pin attempt.  After stalling like a fucktard, Bundy finally covers… for two.  And it’s Hulk Up Time~!  Punch, no-sell, punch, no-sell, punch, no-sell, whip reversal sends Bundy to the corner, legdrop, pinfall.  After the match, Andre refuses to attack Hogan, then somehow sneaks up on Hulk while he’s posing and slaps a blatant choke.  BUT WAIT~!  Here come the British Bulldogs to try and save Hogan.  He gets rid of them both.  And thus the rest of the babyfaces come out to make the save.  Andre celebrates with the championship belt while they haul Hogan to the back.  Andre’s hand is so big it looks like he’s holding up a championship belt you would put on an action figure.
***1/2 Shocker of shockers, this match was pretty good.  Well paced, good psychology, neat change ups to go against Hogan’s formula, and really good (possibly phony) heat.  Worth your time.  And way, way better then the Wrestlemania 2 main event.

-This leads to what is allegedly still the most watched match in wrestling history.  Televised on a Friday, thirty-three million viewers tuned in to watch this one.

Match #14: WWE Championship
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
2/5/88 The Main Event

The most shocking match of the 80s.  Dave Hebner is the referee.  Hogan kills Ted DiBiase and Virgil to start.  Then he goes after Andre, who can barely move at this point.  Hogan throws Andre into the corner and rams his head a couple times.  Running elbow, big punches, running elbow, but Andre won’t go down.  Hogan gets pissed and stomps DiBiase’s hand, which sends money flying.  Funny.  Running kick and Andre is still on his feet.  Big windup punch and Andre won’t go down.  Hogan rakes the eyes, then climbs the ropes (!), but Andre catches him and throws him off the top.  Headbutt misses and Andre is out.  Ventura screams “It took Andre to knock himself down!”  Andre grabs a chokehold, while referee Dave Hebner yells at him.  Andre stomps Hogan’s hand and bodyslams him.  Headbutt, and a chop.  Andre needs to hold onto the ring ropes to prevent himself from falling over.  BIG punch and a chop, then a headbutt.  Andre grabs a blatant chokehold, which the referee breaks up.  Andre gets a big boot on Hogan, falling over himself when doing it.  Andre then takes his over-the-shoulder strap and chokes Hogan with it.  Well, that’s resourceful.  More blatant choking by Andre, but Hogan is feeling it.  He hulks up.  Knee to the gut, chops, eye-rake, clothesline off the second rope (!), legdrop but the referee is jawing with Virgil.  Andre is up and he gives Hogan a headbutt and a horrible suplex thingy that was his finisher if I’m not mistaken for a one count… which the referee turns into a three count, giving Andre the championship.  This was the most shocking finish ever for a wrestling match.  Vince McMahon is besides himself, saying what a stupid mistake it was.  He raises Andre’s hands and gives him the belt.  Mean Gene goes to interview the new Champ, and he surrenders the belt to Ted Dibiase.  Hogan is crying like a total baby.  Meanwhile, even Jesse Ventura concedes that giving the title away like that might not be legal.  I always thought this angle made Andre and DiBiase look like idiots.  Why not just wait for DiBiase to get a match with Andre and do a fingerpoke or something.  That seems to have worked for WCW.

At this point another referee comes down to yell at Dave Hebner.  That referee was… Dave Hebner!  What the fuck?  Well, the referee of the match was actually Dave’s twin brother Earl, who it seems has a talent for ringing the bell a little too early.  Hogan ends up destroying one of them, even if he can’t tell if he’s beating up the good referee or the evil one, and tosses him into the heels.  The storyline was that Ted Dibiase found some guy and gave him plastic surgery to make him look like Dave Hebner.  Because evil twin brothers is SO 1970s.  Soon after, WWE President Jack Tunney ruled the following.  One, the referee’s decision is final… even if that referee was an imposter and presumably not employed by the company… so Andre beat Hogan for the Championship.  Two, the champion can give up the title at anytime, so Andre was no longer the champion.  Three, championships can’t be awarded from one champion to another, so Dibiase was NOT the champ.  This set up the Wrestlemania IV tournament which was won by Randy Savage.
** for the match.  It honestly wasn’t that bad, and considering the ending, it’s pretty significant.

-Ted DiBiase Jr. talks about how cool it was to watch his dad get handed the championship.  Of course, he didn’t really get to keep it, so he made his own championship belt.  Junior remembers asking how much the Million Dollar Championship belt cost.  “More then our house and cars combined.”  He plans on bringing it back someday.

Match #15
Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase
3/12/88 Saturday Night’s Main Event

This match was a test-run of sorts to see if these two really should be in the main event of Wrestlemania IV together, and especially if Savage should be the champion.  There were actually still doubts about Savage, as the bookers perceived DiBiase to be Hogan’s foil.  McMahon had cut a deal with Savage to give him the championship at Wrestlemania, but was having a case of buyer’s remorse.  Savage was popular, but not really a traditional ‘sympathetic’ babyface.  He was drawing good reactions from the crowds but there were also issues about his ability to draw ratings and house shows.  The WWE was on a huge roll, and although they knew the Hogan train was losing some steam here, changing the championship to Savage was a huge risk.  I don’t know what the plan was if they decided to abort after this match, or even if they had a plan, but presumably they were at least cautious enough to entertain the possibility that Savage would walk from the company if they changed their minds.  Man, this DVD is awesome for all the weird stuff associated with the industry.

To the match, where Savage jaws with Virgil and gets kicked in the back of the head.  DiBiase takes him into the ring and beats him in the corner, then slings him off the ropes.  Shoot off and a back elbow.  Stomp to the face and some ramming in the turnbuckle.  Shoulderblocks now and DiBiase is proving to be insanely aggressive.  DiBiase pauses to jaw with the crowd, then sledges Savage off the second rope.  More jawing with the fans, and let me say that Ted DiBiase had insane heat with the crowd.  Blatant choke by Savage, while Ventura worries about referee Dave Hebner.  McMahon assures him they’re using finger prints to confirm it.  Slam into the turnbuckle by DiBiase, but Savage reverses a whip and hits a backelbow.  Another whip and DiBiase lowers his head into a kneelift.  Flying knee to the back sends Ted to the outside.  Savage tosses him back in, then sledges him off the top.  DiBiase is so good at bumping for the faces.  He’s very unsung for his ability to make the heroes look good.  Diving hangman by Savage, sold only like DiBiase is capable of doing, then a kick to the chest and a running elbow which sends DiBiase outside.  He tries to catch a breath, and Savage actually holds the ropes for him to get back in.  He takes a powder instead.  Back in, DiBiase takes out Savage and drops a few fists to huge heat.  Chops and a sling to the corner, but Savage gets his feet up and then lays down on the top rope, all in one motion.  Elbowdrop gets two.  Slam into the turnbuckle and a scoopslam.  Kneedrop misses for him and DiBiase slaps on a spinning toehold.  Savage quickly kicks him off of it and through the ropes.  One of my biggest gripes with Savage is his timing was always off on submission holds, as he never allowed the heel a proper amount of time to heat the match up with such moves.  He always countered, or in this case, made his comeback off of them too quickly.  Savage goes to catch his breath but DiBiase pulls him to the outside.  Savage fights off his attack and slams him into the turnbuckle.  Savage loads up a suplex but Andre the Giant scares him off the move, then Virgil jumps Macho.  The referee ejects him as we go to commercial.

We’re back with DiBiase climbing to the second rope and hitting a sledge.  Running elbowdrop, another move that DiBiase did so beautifully that it should be studied in wrestling schools.  It gets two.  Chinlock now, with Ventura telling McMahon “since you’ve never been in the ring, you wouldn’t understand why this move is used, so I’ll explain it to you.”  Years later, Vince McMahon would hold both the WWE Championship and later the ECW Championship.  Makes you want to cry, no?  Anyway, DiBiase works the hold instead of just laying there like he’s taking a nap, then yanks Savage down by the hair to cut off his comeback.  Ventura mocks the referee for asking DiBiase if he pulled the hair.  “Oh yeah right, like he’s going to say ‘yes I did’.  Yeah right.”  I miss Ventura on commentary.  Then again, these days he would likely bitch about ‘inside jobs’ and various other bullshit.  Chinlock goes on for a bit, Savage fights back with a backelbow and a sickly stiff clothesline.  Whip to the corner, then Savage seems to change his mind on doing a spot there, so he shoots DiBiase off for a backdrop.  DiBiase fights back but ends up shoulderblocking the referee.  Savage dumps Ted to the floor then hits the sledge off the top and too the floor.  Having just watched Savage’s DVD, I did notice that he usually pulled that move off a little too early in his matches.  His timing in doing it this match was spot on perfect.  Sadly he didn’t stick to it.  Anyway, Savage goes to toss DiBiase back in the ring, but Andre the Giant comes over and beats up Savage.  He whips him into the ring post.  Elizabeth freaks out and bails to the back.  Andre continues his assault while DiBiase distracts the ref.  Once Andre is done, DiBiase tells him to start counting.  It works, and Randy gets counted out.  Huge heat.  DiBiase continues the assault, and Virgil returns to help with it.  BUT WAIT~!  Here comes Hulk Hogan, armed with a chair, to chase the heels off.  Makes you wonder why everyone was so shocked weeks later when Elizabeth fetched Hogan at Wrestlemania IV.  Also makes you wonder why Hogan didn’t come out with Savage in the first place during the championship finals.  Oh well.
****1/4 This now tops Roberts/Savage as the highlight of the set so far.  Awesome, extremely peppy match.  Aside from the chinlock, they kept up a fast pace through out.  Savage cemented his spot here as the guy to carry the belt, and he deserved it.  And Ted DiBiase is a total savant and making guys look godly in the ring.  Major props here, this was awesome.  Sure, the ending wasn’t clean or anything, but it set up the storyline for Wrestlemania perfectly.  And I never score against an ending that is out of the control of the wrestlers.  You have to feel bad for the two guys though, as they set a standard here they could have never lived up to at Wrestlemania with the time constraints, horrible venue, and the toll the previous matches they wrestled had taken.  Anyone who watched this then had to have been let down during the actual big show.

-From later in the same show, Andre shows his amazing ability to make his facial hair grow in record time.  Actually it’s not the same show, but the supreme fuck-ups that write the WWE DVD inserts these days couldn’t be bothered to double check something simple, like a date a match happened, and just said it’s the same show.  Actually, the date is October 29, 1988.  Here, Jake Roberts threatens Andre the Giant with his snake.  Andre gets scared shitless.  Jake tosses the snake at Andre, who sells it like he’s Superman and just had a hunk of Kryptonite thrown at him.  Andre ends up fainting.  It’s the first time Andrew was shown to be threatened by something.  Other then bodyslams and legdrops I guess.

Match #16
Hulk Hogan vs. Harley Race
3/12/88 Saturday Night’s Main Event

If the WWE hadn’t fucked up so bad with Harley, this could have been quite the dream match.  But Race got saddled with a horrible gimmick.  Hogan chases Bobby Heenan away to start.  Race catches some elbowdrops as Hogan gets back in the ring, but Hogan no-sells them.  He hits a few headbutts.  They haven’t even cut Hogan’s music yet.  Three punches knocks Race down.  Clothesline.  A second clothesline sends Race over the top rope and onto a table.  Man, that looked sick.  Hogan picks up Race and throws him into the ring post.  Bobby is back, so Hogan chases him.  Race goes for a piledriver on the outside but Hulk backdrops out of it.  Atomic drop on the outside.  Hogan breaks the ref’s count, then slams Race on the outside.  Hogan chops at Race then clotheslines him.  Hogan chokes with some tape.  Jesse Ventura is freaking out on commentary and McMahon denies any cheating.  It’s disturbing how the babyface announcers always justified or outright denied Hogan’s horrible sportsmanship.  I guess “Train, say your prayers, take your vitamins, and cheat and deny” doesn’t sound good on a Wheaties box. Hogan goes after Heenan again, so Race takes control with some headbutts.  Belly to belly suplex and a kneedrop.  Piledriver and some stomps.  Race sets Hogan on a table, but misses a splash through it.  The table breaks a little.  Wow.  This is 1988, mind you.  Race doesn’t really sell it and throws Hulk back in the ring.  Diving headbutt off the top rope for two as it’s Hulk up time.  Three punches, whip to the corner, clothesline, clothesline, legdrop, see ya.
*** Typical Hogan match from the period.  Race bumped like a madman to make it worth watching.

Match #17: WWE Championship
(c) Randy Savage vs. Andre the Giant
11/26/88 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Savage tries to jump Andre to start, but it doesn’t work, and Andre smacks away at him.  Savage goes all nuts and slugs it out and fires off elbows, but Andre fights him off and grabs a front chancery.  Knees and a shoulderblock, then the big butt ramming in the corner.  You know, I need another name for that.  It sounds like a something that would take place in a wrestling match in Oz or something.  Savage smiles over how easy it is to manhandle Savage, then he again no-sells Randy’s comeback attempt and grabs a front facelock.  To a headlock now, and the referee gets distracted by Bobby Heenan while Andre chokes away at him with the strap of his singlet.  More brawling, but Savage somehow maneuvers Andre to the corner and throws some shoulderblocks.  That too is no-sold.  Man, Andre must have been pissy on this day or something.  Savage grabs at some hair, but it doesn’t work.  Big headbutt by Andre, then a blatant choke.  He slings Savage off the ropes, then grabs a traphold.  Savage tries to fight back so he turns it into a clutch hold.  Savage thrusts his head into Andre in what I guess is technically a jawbreaker.  Andre sells this temporarily, likely because it really did hurt, and Savage starts to slug it out.  Andre starts to no-sell again and grabs a blatant choke.  Vince McMahon speculates on commentary that Andre might have swallowed a few teeth.  Eh, no worries.  Even if he did he still has, like, 194 left.  Savage goes to fight back and hits a running elbow, then a ram into the turnbuckle.  Sledge off the second rope by Savage sends Andre to his knees.  More attacking by Savage and the fans are fucking NUTS over this.  Or maybe it’s because Jake Roberts is out with Damien.  The ref tells Jake to leave, then Savage and Roberts talk it over while we go to a commercial.

We’re back, and Savage is beating on Andre, who’s more concerned with Damien’s location then fighting back.  Andre chops Savage down, then rams him in the head.  Another headbutt takes Savage down.  He sits on Randy’s face, then asks Heenan if he’s found Damien yet.  Jesus, why’s it so hard to find the snake?  We saw Jake come out with it, we saw exactly where he stashed the bag with it.  It’s not like he walked all the way around the ring.  Horrible idea.  Meanwhile, Andre slaps Savage back in the ring, but Savage’s boot catches Andre while he flips over the ropes, legit knocking him goofy.  It doesn’t matter, as Heenan finds the snake.  Heenan comes in the ring and the match is scrubbed.  Andre is bleeding where Savage’s boot caught him.  Andre gets tied into the ropes, then Jake returns and pulls out the snake to scare Andre some more.  The ref and Bobby Heenan free Andre and he bails.
DUD Horrible match.  Andre really stuck around as an active wrestler too long.  He should have just been a bodyguard at the end of his career.  Anyway, after looking over the remaining match listing, I think there is only one match in the set that is likely to suck more then this did, but for the most part the worst is over.

-Hacksaw talks about how cool it was to wrestle on NBC.  We get highlights of his flag match with Boris Zuckoff.  Thankfully, it’s just highlights.

Match #18: Intercontinental Championship
(c) The Ultimate Warrior vs. The Honky Tonk Man
1/7/89 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Jesse Ventura predicts a totally different result from the Summerslam match.  Honky bails to start, but the Warrior catches him and press-slams him back into the ring.  Big boot by Warrior, then Jimmy Hart gets on the apron to offer some sage advice, presumable “try not to get hit.”  It doesn’t work, as Warrior gives them a noggin knocker.  Shoot off and a backelbow.  Double choke into a throw, then a ten-punch.  Running shoulderblock into the corner.  Shoot to the corner and Warrior misses a stinger splash.  Hart passes Honky the megaphone, then distracts the referee while he beats Warrior with it.  Punches and stomps, then some choking from Hart.  Punches and kicks in the corner, but Warrior feels the power.  Scoopslam hits but an elbowdrop doesn’t.  Honky tries to ram him into the turnbuckle, but Warrior turns it into a ten-ram.  Clothesline and Warrior goes for the splash but Honky Tonk gets his knees up.  He covers but Warrior power kicks out at two.  Clothesline by the Warrior, then Honky misses a clothesline and Warrior hits a flying shoulderblock for the pin.  That really should have been his standard finisher as his big splash looked like shit.
1/2* Not good.  Makes you appreciate what they did at Summerslam.

-Highlights of Brutus Beefcake’s feud with Ron Bass, which ended with hair match that Beefcake won.  For no damn reason, we don’t get to see the final result of the haircut.  I get that this was a semi-famous moment and thus warranted mentioning, even if the match was horrible, but without showing the finished haircut there was no point in having this on here.

-Meanwhile, the Mega Powers were pretty over.  But then, they ended up facing the Twin Towers, Akeem and the Big Bossman.

Match #19
Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage vs. The Big Bossman & Akeem
2/3/89 Saturday Night’s Main Event

By this point, both the bookers and the two wrestlers had bungled several attempts to heat up the Mega Powers angle and start to tease a riff.  Some very minor things had been done, and then the first major incident at the Royal Rumble was handled horribly.  It seems like relatively simple booking.  Put Hogan and Savage in the Rumble, have Savage do something underhanded to eliminate Hogan, or have Hogan eliminate Savage and then have Savage get pissed and come back to cost Hogan the match later.  Easy right?

Wrong.  The WWE has Hogan, who was always portrayed as the more virtuous member of the team, dump Savage who was occupied with Bad News Brown.  Despite numerous instances of poor sportsmanship, fans still bought Hogan as the heroic do-gooder of the WWE and to dump Savage the way he did made him look like a coward, even in the ‘everyman for himself’ environment of the Rumble.  They did have Savage jaw with Hogan over his fair and square elimination, which the announcers played off like sour grapes.  But then it all goes to hell.  With nobody left in the match to have his back, Hogan gets double teamed by the Twin Towers and dumped fair and square by them.  No sarcasm there.  They just double teamed him, splashed him, and then casually tossed him out like any other wrestler.  To this, Hogan acted like a spoiled child.  He cheated and attacked the Towers, then whined to the referee that he should be let back into the match up.  Even worse is that babyface announcer Gorilla Monsoon agreed with him and argued for it on commentary, despite the fact that he was talking about what a baby Savage was earlier.

How on Earth was this supposed to get Hogan over as the babyface and Savage over as the heel at going into Wrestlemania?  The WWE has treated fans like morons before, but it was never more blatantly obvious then that day.  And despite the fact that wrestling fans are in general pretty stupid, even some very dense marks didn’t buy into this.  What was the result?  Instead of the fans choosing sides (preferably Hogan), everything remained in stasis for the angle.  Even though the announcers tried a hard sell on a growing riff between the two, the fans didn’t go along with it.  Why should they?  Hogan and Savage were so much alike, they were made for each other.  And a minor backlash was some fans turned on both guys, necessitating the WWE to actually censor fan attempts at bringing signs to the arena that said “Mega Whiners” among other things.  It got to the point where the WWE was dropping the audio when the Twin Towers were making their entrance, because they were getting decent pops.  And why not?  Despite having the still-hated Bobby Heenan as a manager, they won their matches fair and square (can’t say the same about Hogan & Savage) and eliminated the biggest star in the company fair and square, after which he reacted like a child.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that the fans were booing the Mega Powers and cheering the Twin Towers.  But a minority did take notice.  That minority grew into what is today the smart mark.  But the WWE never really concedes defeat.  Just look at John Cena, who should have been turned heel years ago.  Imagine if Hogan was the champion in today’s environment and pulled the kind of stunts he did at the ’89 and ’92 Royal Rumble.  It would put the negative heat Cena gets to shame.

So anyway, after fucking up the Mega Power tear that was supposed to start way back in August of 1988, Wrestlemania V was closing in fast, the WWE had already advertised the match even if it wasn’t announced officially yet, but there had been practically no progress in development because it was one giant fuck up after another.  This match was to be the ‘let’s get it right this time’ moment.  Let’s get on with it already.

They get it right from the get go with Savage telling Hogan in a crazy, wide-eyed manner that he can handle starting the match.  Good, good.  He starts with the Bossman, who wants Hogan.  And then Savage does let Hogan start.  One step forward, two steps backwards.  Bossman rakes the eyes, but Hogan takes him out and clears the ring of the heels all by himself.  Unbelievable.  Then Savage runs in and gives Hogan a big hug.  I’m seriously looking into cutting now.  The heels regroup and the Bossman starts to slug it out.  Hogan blocks a ram into the corner and starts to ten-ram him, then rams him in the opposite corner.  Bossman bails, only for Savage to ram him into the stairs.  Bossman beats the count in at eight.  Tag to Akeem while Ventura bitches that Savage hasn’t gotten a tag because Hogan is a glory hog.  McMahon says that Hogan doesn’t need to make a tag… … … right now.  Nice save, Vinnie.  Hogan gets Akeem into his corner and the faces take turns punching him.  Tag to Savage who drops a sledge off the top onto him.  Akeem won’t drop.  Ram to Hogan’s foot and tag to Hulk, who drops a sledge off the second rope.  Akeem clubs Hogan in the back some more, but Bossman gets the tag and takes Hogan out with a clothesline.  He then doesn’t waste anytime firing off a piledriver, and a nasty looking one at that.  Tag to Akeem who sledges at Hogan while doing his silly white guy jiving like a black guy shtick.  Bossman back in, only to get backdropped over the ropes by Hogan.  On the outside, Hogan rams Bossman into the stairs.  Back in, Slick grabs Hogan’s leg, which allows the heels to take control.  Shoot off the ropes and Bossman hits a nice spinebuster for two.  Hebner counts slow, it’s obvious, Ventura calls him on it, and Vince McMahon denies it.  No wonder Ventura is a truther these days.  After dealing with the delusional babyface announcers in the WWE, I’m not shocked that he’s seeing conspiracies everywhere.  Akeem in to hold Hogan for some free shots, but Hogan ducks and Bossman punches his partner.  Savage in to hit the diving hangman and a sledge off the top rope for two as the Bossman saves.  Referee gets distracted and slick hits Savage in the back with a club.  Tag to the Bossman who smacks Savage around.  Tag to Akeem and the heels hit a double elbow.  Brawling by Akeem, who then dumps Savage over the top and to the floor in what was a really decent bump by Savage.  Elizabeth goes to see if he’s okay, but he ends up back in the ring, where Akeem again dumps him, this time through the ropes… and into Elizabeth.  And this is ain’t no sissy, glances off of her thing.  It’s straight into her.  Huge bump for both Savage and Elizabeth, drawing a huge gasp from the crowd.  Elizabeth is out cold and the fans are going crazy.  Savage recovers while Hogan attends to Elizabeth.  And now they finally start to do something with this angle, as Savage gets pissed that Hogan’s attending to Elizabeth.  Not that he’s jealous, but that Hogan is not paying attention to the match.  And thus they begin to turn Savage into a cold-hearted ass who’s only concern is winning no matter who gets hurt in the process.  It somewhat makes up for the six months of botched pushes, but the desperation hard-sell of it all still kind of sticks out like a sore thumb.  Savage continues bitching at Hogan, then gets dragged back into the ring and destroyed by the heels, including a double team suplex, but they miss a double elbowdrop.  Savage rams the heels into each other while a tearful Hogan carries Elizabeth to a stretcher and bails on the match.  And now the shittiness continues, as we don’t get enough time to see Savage rage at Hogan for bailing, and instead cut to Hogan following the stretcher to the back and begging for someone to help.  We see Elizabeth hooked up to the IVs while Hogan prays over her body.  “Randy didn’t mean it, I swear he didn’t!”  Well no shit, she was standing right there and saw Akeem fling him into her.  Besides, she’s out cold.  We cut to a commercial.

We’re back, and Savage is all alone and getting killed by the heels.  But we cut to the back where Elizabeth is awake and tells him she’s okay, and to go back and help Randy.  Back in the ring, Savage is choked on the ropes, then slung off.  Bossman in with some mounted punches.  Akeem in with some punches.  Then Bossman in with some punches.  Double backbreaker, but the Hogan low-bridges Akeem and Bossman misses a splash.  Sledge off the top, but Savage won’t tag.  Instead he dumps the heels, then bitches at Hogan.  He then bitchslaps Hogan.  I guess it technically counts as a tag, so Bossman slings him into the ring and beats on him with some punches.  Savage starts to bail on the match, jawing with fans while he’s at it.  The heels miss a double splash in the corner, then Hogan rams them into each other.  He then starts to yell at Savage, who grabs the championship belt and bails.  Meanwhile, Akeem splashes Hogan, but it’s hulk up time.  Oh dear.  No sell, no sell, no sell, punch punch punch, big boot to Akeem, punch to Bossman, legdrop to Akeem and it gets the pinfall.  Jesus, this match really called for Hogan to job.  Bossman jumps Hogan, who fights him off and handcuffs him to Slick.

After the match, we see Savage talk with Liz about Hogan being jealous of him.  History would later seem to prove him correct, given all the times Hogan showed up to usurper Randy’s big moments.  Anyway, then Hogan shows up and the crazy stupid shit really begins, as Hogan says “you knocked her down Randy.  I know it wasn’t your fault but…”  and I’m thinking to myself, what the fuck was Savage supposed to do?  He was thrown into her by a guy twice as big as him.  Was he supposed to defy gravity and float away from Elizabeth?  Savage then tells Hogan that Macho Madness is getting bigger then Hulkamaniac, and that he’s number one.  Hogan starts to build a quiet rage over this, while Savage continues to tear him down, saying that Hogan never asked for a title shot against him because he’s scared.  Savage then challenges Hogan to a title match, basically telling him to bring it.  Then it gets really nutty.  Hogan tells Elizabeth to talk some sense into Savage.  What does he expect her to tell him?  “Randy, I know we’re an item and everything, but you have to admit, you’re nowhere near as big as Hulkamania.  And you know if you give Hogan a title shot, you’ll lose.  So stop being a twit and just keep riding coattails.”  Savage loses it over the ‘talk sense’ comment and nails Hogan with the title belt.  So then Elizabeth goes to check on Hogan.  Savage tells her “I’m going to splatter you right onto him.”  She still doesn’t move, so he enters full abusive husband mode and slings her all the way across the room in brutal fashion.  Amazing they let this shit on NBC, when the WWE was supposed to be a family show at this point.  Very unnerving stuff, and not just the insane logic of it all.  Brutus Beefcake makes the save and the segment ends.

DUD For the actual match.  I actually wasn’t going to rate this, given that so much attention was focused on the angle. but the truth is what wrestling was here was dogshit and that deserves to be DUDerized.  As for the angle, hooray for hard sells I guess.  And while what was here was in fact quite epic (if demented), the stink of desperation is all over it.  It reminds me of the week after the infamous “Tacoma Raw/Smackdown” where the WWE botched the WCW Invasion angle so bad that the next week they ended up blowing months work of twists and turns in a single episode of Raw just because they had fucked up so bad it was time to totally shift gears.  In this case, they had Savage go from 0 to 200mph so fast by time the segment was over he was wearing his own asshole around his neck.  Sure, it got things going in time for Wrestlemania, but apparently, from my understanding, they previously didn’t intend to go as far as they did here with Savage.  Because of all the previous missteps, they had to basically shoot their wad with him right here.  And although they finally progressed the Mega Powers angle, I think they ruined Savage’s overall run as a heel.  The character they created for him here just didn’t fit in with the overall product, and for the next two years it really was kind of painful watching them try to shoehorn him into feuds.  It wasn’t until the angle with the Ultimate Warrior that he recovered, and he ended up turning face as soon as that was over with.  Anyway, this thing was worth checking out, if for no other reason to try and wrap your head around how bad things must have been for them condense what should have been a carefully planned slow-burn into a twenty minute segment.

Match #20: WWE Championship, Steel Cage Match
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. The Big Bossman
5/27/89 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Apparently people still talk about this match like it’s the stuff of legends or something.  I’m not holding my breath.  Bossman has Zeus with him, who clubs Hogan with some really horrible punches.  Just think, that tool would go on to play a small but very important role in the second biggest blockbuster movie of all time, The Dark Knight.  Anyway, Hogan is dead and thus we take a commercial.

We’re back and Bossman is all arrogant and evil in the ring.  He drags Hogan in and rips off Hogan’s shirt, then chokes him with it.  Oh come on, it’s a tear-away shirt.  Whip to the corner, which Hogan barely touches but sells like death.  Headbutt and a rake of the back by the Bossman.  Hogan reverses a whip and clotheslines him, and the Bossman bumps terribly off it.  Attempt at ramming by Hogan, but the Bossman blocks.  Hogan rakes the eyes and shoots off for a big boot.  He climbs but Bossman catches him and pulls him off.  Scoopslam and a big splash, then Bossman slowly strolls for the door, but Hogan lunges and grabs a foot.  Shoot off and the Bossman hits a spinebuster.  Bossman climbs and ends up on the other side of the cage and almost all the way down, but instead of dropping down he waits for Hogan like a douche.  Hogan catches him, drags him back in the ring, then superplexes him off the top of the cage in what in all honesty was likely the biggest bump in Hogan’s career.  Huge pop for this.  Both guys appear to be dead.  The referee comes in and starts to count both guys.  Hogan actually gets up on the count of eight, so the ref bails again.  Hogan crawls for the door but the Bossman catches him.  Hogan rakes the eyes, but the Bossman throws Hogan’s timing off then clotheslines him.  Slick tosses Bossman a chain, who then begins to choke Hogan with it.  Instead of waiting for Hogan to pass out, he lets it go and wraps it around his hand. Hogan stops him from punching him with it and both guys ram each other into the cage.  Bossman lands closer to the door and starts to climb, but Hogan stops him and rams him into the turnbuckle.  He grabs the chain and punches the Bossman out with it.  He picks him up and hits him again.  Bossman blades a bit off this, then gets slammed into the cage three times.  Legdrop hits and Hogan starts to climb, so Slick takes out the referee and stops Hogan from climbing.  Bossman starts to climb but Hogan crotches him on the ropes.  Hogan cuffs the Bossman to the top rope, then starts to climb out.  Slick has the handcuff key and tries to free the Bossman, but Hogan escapes to win.
**1/4 This is the big, stinky, legendary SNME cage match that some people still talk about?  Yeah right.  Wow, standards were low in the 80s.

Match #21: Best 2-out-of-3 Falls
The Rockers vs. Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson
11/25/89 Saturday Night’s Main Event

This could be sweet.  Tully and Marty start.  Lockup by Marty, shot off by Tully.  Marty blocks a hiptoss and scoopslams him, then dropkicks him and armdrags Tully into an armbar.  Tully keeps yanking him down by the hair but Marty springs back up and hits a back elbow and goes back to the armbar.  Now a front chancery.  Jannetty knocks Anderson off the apron, then Tully takes him down.  Blanchard misses a couple elbows and Marty goes for a sunset flip.  Arn holds Tully to prevent Marty from turning him, but Shawn comes in and kicks them apart.  Marty turns him over and gets the pin.  Well, that was quick.  Bobby Heenan bitches at the Brainbusters after the fall.

Second fall and the Heenan is still bitching at the heels, so the Rockers both roll them up for two.  Double dropkicks and the Busters bail, which causes Bobby Heenan to quit.  Anderson and Michaels are in the ring now and brawling in the corner.  Shoot to the corner by Anderson but Michaels back flips over him.  Armdrag to Arn, then a rana and mounted punches to Tully.  Double dropkicks to both guys again and the heels take another powder.  Back in, Shawn tags Marty and they double armdrag Anderson, then both drop elbows on him.  Tully tags in only to get atomic dropped, then reversed and punched about.  Tag to Shawn, who hits a kneelift for two.  Hiptoss by Shawn, but the heels double up and hit a hot-shot on Michaels for the second pin.  Commercial time.

Third fall and Shawn is still hurt, so Tully mounts some punches and sends him to Arn, who tags in.  Shoot off and the spinebuster by Arn gets two as Jannetty saves.  Knucklelock pin by Anderson gets two.  Shawn catches Arn in a body scissor, but Arn turns it into a catapult for two.  Tag to Tully who draws the official in.  Doesn’t really get him any free shots and he only manages to dump Shawn.  Back in, Shawn hits a crossbody off the top for two.  Shawn reaches for the tag but Anderson cuts him off.  Front chancery gives Shawn a chance to muscle for the tag.  Anderson goes to smack Jannetty off the ropes and gets punched himself.  He ends up overselling the move and injuring Michaels in the process.  Shawn is legitimately knocked goofy by this, so he makes the hot tag.  Punches for all.  Scoopslams for all.  Dropkick to Tully, then things break down.  Michaels pulls Tully out of the ring but gets sent into the post.  Anderson goes for a piledriver on Marty but Shawn comes off the top rope and gets a crossbody for the pin.
***1/4 Basically a quick version of all their previous matches.  Still hot, but in a fast-food kind of way.

DISC THREE

-Hogan ends up losing to the Genius via countout, which was a catalyst for Mr. Perfect’s feud with him… and likely Randy Savage’s current mental state.  Man, that’s got to sting.  You become famous for jobbing to Hulk Hogan every time you match up on TV, then your jobber brother gets a win over him on NBC.  Anyway, this leads to the promo where Mr. Perfect and Lanny take a hammer to the WWE Championship belt, which would allegedly go on to become the Hardcore Championship.  Not sure what purpose this served.  I mean, it’s not like the belt couldn’t be replaced.  Besides, Mr. Perfect wanted the belt, so why would he break it?  Anyway, the WWE ends up putting ALL the promos for this one here.  I have no idea why they did this, but it eats up about six minutes that could have been used for another match or a more entertaining skit, because as far as promos rank, these are pretty boring ones.

Match #22
Hulk Hogan & The Ultimate Warrior vs. The Genius & Mr. Perfect
1/27/90 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Back story: the WWE kind of, sort of knew from around the Summer of 1989 that they were going to go with the Ultimate Warrior as the new champion starting with Wrestlemania VI.  They didn’t have 100% faith in him, but they knew Hogan was leaving to film more movies and rest his aching knees.  There was slim-pickings on the babyface side of the table, and the Warrior was the only choice that was over enough to justify getting the title but also was still in the mold of Hulk Hogan.  The WWE wanted to figure out a way to get the title off of Hogan to set up someone for Wrestlemania VI to challenge Warrior, and it sure looked like it was going to be Mr. Perfect.  Perfect amazingly over as a heel and it made sense to have the main event be a traditional face/heel scenario.  So they began building the Hogan/Perfect feud for a few months.  It didn’t work.  The fans weren’t buzzing over it the way the WWE hoped, and live gates went down.  Finally, a Perfect/Hogan main event failed to draw a sellout at Madison Square Garden and the WWE hit the panic button.  Then Pat Patterson allegedly said “Well, why not just have Hogan drop it to him?”  The WWE wanted to see if the fans would choose sides so they did a tease during the 1990 Royal Rumble to see what kind of reaction they would get.  When the fans split 50/50, Perfect was out, and Hogan was in.  But they still had Hogan and Perfect feuding and had invested a lot of time, effort, hammers, and title belts into it and didn’t want to just drop it like a hot rock.  Plus they had to build up the Warrior and Hogan in a way that would keep the fans equally divided.  This was new territory for them and one wrong step could fuck everything up.

To the match.  Hogan starts with Perfect, presumably to give the Warrior a chance to get his wind back from his entrance.  You know, someone should have told him to stop running to the ring.  He actually was a decent wrestler as long as he wasn’t gassed.  Anyway, Perfect stalls forever, then locks up and gets hiptossed.  The Genius runs in and it’s scoopslams for all, leading to the heels bailing.  Hogan tags Warrior to give chase.  Noggin knocker and a ram into the turnbuckle for the bad guys.  Back in, the Genius gets shoulderblocked and then Perfect gets slung into the ring and whipped into Lanny.  Warrior then dumps Perfect with a clothesline.  Hogan gets the tag and Perfect returns to the ring.  Perfect punches away at Hogan on the outside and chops away.  Big back elbow sends Perfect to the floor, where Hogan whips him into the guardrail.  Meanwhile, the Genius grabs his pen and a notebook to write a poem on the ring apron.  Multi-tasking makes it’s wrestling debut.  Hogan whips Perfect into the corner and then clotheslines him down.  Ram into the corner by Hogan, which Perfect oversells with insane gusto.  Scoopslam and some elbowdrops by Hogan, then a mounted punch.  Shoot off and Hogan big boots Perfect out of the ring.  Lanny passes Perfect the metal clipboard that he was writing the poetry on, which Perfect uses to smash Hogan with.  Attempted murder with a chair doesn’t work but Hogan is still out of it and gets sent in the ring.  Stompery follows, but a scoopslam gets countered by Hogan into a small package for one.  More stomping and some chopping, then a clothesline.  Neck-snap and a tag to the Genius for some kicking, then a tag to Perfect who hits a sledge off the second rope.  Perfect stomps away while the Genius prances around on the ring apron to piss the Warrior off.  Perfect fires off the Perfectplex, but lets go himself at two so he can tag in the Genius for the pinfall.  Genius climbs but misses a second rope moonsault (in 1990 WWE!) when Hogan gets his knees up.  Perfect climbs to hit something but Hogan gets his foot up on him.  Hot tag to Warrior.  Genius gets killed with some punches, then Perfect, then Genius again, then a kneelift to Perfect.  Clothesline sets up the press-slam.  Warrior goes for the big splash but Hogan makes the blind tag.  Perfect knocks out the Warrior but Hogan is the legal man and hits the legdrop for the pin.  After the match, the Warrior fights off both the heels, then accidentally clotheslines Hogan.  When Hogan comes to, he’s pissed and shoves Warrior off.  They get nose-to-nose and start jawing with each other, then pushing again.
*** Good tag match, pretty much what I expected in terms of structure.  I think they might have played it a little too safe building the feud and shouldn’t have saved all the other stuff for after the match.

-Jerry Lawler laughs and admits that he enjoyed watching Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura ride in on their high horses during Saturday Night’s Main Event.  Another weird choice.

Match #23
Mr. Perfect vs. Hulk Hogan
4/28/90 Saturday Night’s Main Event

And this would be the blow off to the feud, roughly a month after Hogan dropped the belt to the Warrior at Wrestlemania.  Hogan cuts a down-right tame (by his standards) promo before the match.  Lockup to start, and Hogan shoves Perfect into the corner.  Perfect just flies into it, like he was shot by a cannonball.  Lockup and Perfect gets a hiptoss.  Hogan is all shocked.  They lockup again and Hogan gets a hiptoss, followed by a pair of scoopslams and Perfect bails.  Back in, Perfect slugs it out and hits a hard whip on Hogan into the corner.  Shoot off is reversed and Hogan goes for the big boot, but Perfect sees it coming and bails.  Hogan gives chase and brawls Perfect on the floor, then whips him into the post.  Back in, Hogan slugs it out.  Clothesline in the corner by Hulk, then more brawling.  Running forearm by Hogan, then a running elbow in the corner sends Perfect up and over to the floor.  Hogan gives chase and beats on Perfect, then fights off the Genius.  Lanny ends up in the ring to distract the ref, which gives Perfect a chance to hit Hogan with the scroll and beat him up on the floor.  We get a commercial.

We’re back and Hogan gets kicked around on the floor.  Back in, Perfect stomps away then hits a snapmare into a neck-snap.  He grinds Hogan against the top rope, then slings Hogan off it.  Elbowdrops by Perfect, but he uses too many and Hogan rolls out of the way.  Whip to the corner and a clothesline by Hogan.  Shoot off but Hulk lowers his head into a kick and a clothesline.  Perfect loads up the Perfectplex and hits it for two.  It’s Hulk Up time.  No-sell, no-sell, no-sell, crazy dance, finger wag, punch, punch, punch, big boot, legdrop, see ya.
***1/2 Realistically I could have copied my review of the Hogan/Perfect match from Madison Square Garden off of my Mr. Perfect DVD review, pasted it here, and then changed the ending to Hogan hitting the legdrop and getting the pin instead of hitting the big boot and then getting counted out via cheating.  So same match, same rating, but if you like your falls to be clean, this is the one to go with.

-The ad for Rick Martel’s ‘Arrogance’ is shown.  Oy, this set’s choices for skits and promos has fallen apart during the third disc.

Match #24
The Rockers vs. The Hart Foundation
4/28/90 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Awesome.  Both teams are babyfaces here.  Sounds like the winner gets a shot at Demolition for the tag belts.  Marty and Bret start.  Lockup, shoot off, and trading lead to Bret getting a hiptoss, but Marty taking control with a kick and a tag to Shawn.  Crossbody off the top is rolled-through by Bret for two.  Tag to Marty and a weak double knee by the Rockers, then a double Russian-legsweep.  Neidhart can’t watch so he comes in and clotheslines them both.  Tag to Neidhart, who gets a big shoulderblock on Jannetty that sends him flying into the ropes.  Shoot off and Jannetty gets a drop-toehold.  Tag to Shawn who gets a shoulderblock that doesn’t work.  Jim blocks a slam only to get dropkicked.  Neidhart catches Shawn bouncing off the ropes and slams him.  Tag to Bret who hits an atomic drop and a clothesline.  Stomp between the legs and a tag to Neidhart.  Shoot off and Bret gets a knee to the back when the ref isn’t looking.  Shoot off and a backdrop by Neidhart.  Tag to Bret who hits a snapmare and an elbowdrop.  Hard whip to the turnbuckle and a tag to Neidhart who clubs away.  Shoulderblocks in the corner and a tag to Bret.  Bret whips Neidhart into Shawn for two.  Wasn’t Bret tagged in there?  Bret gets tagged, this time presumably for real, but Shawn gets a sunset flip for two.  BUT WAIT~! because here comes Demolition to watch the match.  Thus we watch them instead of the match.  Backbreaker by Bret, who then gets distracted by them.  Shawn dropkicks Bret over the ropes and into them as we cut to a commercial.

We’re back with Bret pounding on Shawn.  Demolition is allowed to stay as long as they don’t interfere.  Bret slugs out Shawn in the corner, but we’re busy looking at the backs of Demolition.  Elbowdrop off the second rope misses for Bret.  Hot tag by Shawn.  Jannetty slugs it out and hits a big back-elbow to Bret.  Powerslam to Bret and a superkick gets two.  Bret reverses a whip and sends Marty to the corner, but eats a sunset flip for two.  Jannetty lowers his head into a neckbreaker and Bret makes his hot tag to Neidhart.  Bret slings Neidhart over the ropes, but misses Jannetty.  Tag to Shawn who eats a huge shoulderblock for two.  Shoot off and Shawn counters a backdrop by… I’m not exactly sure how he did it, but he hits a back-elbow afterwards for two.  That might have been a botch.  Shawn springs off the ropes but gets caught by Neidhart.  He wiggles his way into tripping Neidhart down for two.  Power-kickout sends Shawn to the floor where Demolition pick him up.  Jannetty gets pissed and attacks Demolition, and their fight spills into the ring where we have a big clusterfuck brawl.  Match gets scrubbed.
***1/2 I loved everything about it until the shitty ending.  The problem is they never even got to a real finishing sequence.  It’s like they ran out of time and had to cut short all the false-finishes before the double DQ.  That sucks, because both teams had a real good rhythm going.  I wanted way more.

Match #25: Intercontinental Championship
(c) Mr. Perfect vs. Tito Santana
6/28/90 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Apparently the WWE is now censoring it’s old style WWF logo as well as the attitude era’s scratch logo.  Weird.  Lockup and Tito is a house of fire right from the start.  He reverses a whip and gets a hiplock, armdrag, then a dropkick that sends Perfect to the floor.  Tito gives chase and chops Perfect on the floor, then back in they trade wristlocks.  Shoot off but Tito lowers his head into a kick and a nasty clothesline.  Kneelift by Perfect, some brawling and a dropkick.  Neck vise now by Perfect, and then Bobby Heenan distracts the referee so Perfect can turn it into a choke.  Huge heat for this.  Nice spot, due for a comeback.  Tito grabs at the hair to fight off.  To their feet where Perfect chops away.  Whip to the corner but Tito gets a foot up on a charge and clotheslines Perfect down.  Windup punches by Tito causes Perfect to land on the referee, who hurts his leg.  Tito takes out Perfect’s feet, then slaps on the figure-four.  Perfect gives it up, but the referee is injured.  Tito holds onto it forever, while Perfect screams in agony.  Tito lets go to check on the referee, then hits the flying forearm.  He covers and the referee is slow to recover and only gets to two.  Fans are SUPER DUPER HOT for Tito.  It’s insane.  Santana climbs and hits a clothesline off the ropes but again the referee is nursing his broken leg and doesn’t count until Perfect is safe and it gets two.  Tito gets pissed at the referee and asks for another.  A new one comes down and we cut to a commercial.

We’re back just in time to see Perfect fight back and beat up Tito.  Clothesline misses for Perfect and Santana hits a crossbody for two.  Perfect slugs it out and snapmares Tito into the neck-snap.  Stompery, then some punching, but Tito fights back.  Thrust kick to the face by Perfect, then the thigh master by Perfect.  Silly move, but I sort of miss it.  Tito fights back and hits some piston punches that sends Perfect to the floor.  Tito to the floor for a big chop, then back in the ring he slings Perfect down by his hair.  Perfect tries to bail out of the ring and ends up crotching himself on the post.  Oopsie.  Actually a good cover for Perfect not sliding far enough on the whip by the hair.  Atomic drop from the front, then the back and a clothesline for two.  Shoot off and Tito lowers his head into the Perfectplex, but he counters it with a small package for two, but Perfect rolls it over and gets the three.
**** Awesome match, especially if you consider what they accomplished in a relatively small amount of time.  And this is proof that when you have a really, really hot crowd that guys can make magic happen even if under considerable time pressure.  Great stuff.  This set continues to surprise me by pulling out some really remarkable short but fun matches.

-We celebrate Oktoberfest on Saturday Night’s Main Event.  The Genius presides over a sausage stuffing contest.  They can’t determine a winner, so everyone wins.  Except Pat Patterson, who was disqualified because he misunderstood the point.  Then a big food fight breaks out.  Surreal.

Match #26: 20 Man Battle Royal
Participants: Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty, Earthquake, Tugboat, Kerry Von Erich, Big Bossman, Jim Duggan, Greg Valentine, Jake Roberts, Haku, Mr. Perfect, Davey Boy Smith, Kato, Paul Roma, Warlord, Tanaka, Jimmy Snuka, Hercules, & Barbarian
4/27/91 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Big brawl to start.  I suck at recapping Battle Royals but will give it the old college try.  Hogan brawls Quake to the corner, then Jake Roberts joins him to get revenge for Damien.  Jannetty eliminates Roma, who then pulls Marty out with him.  Then more random brawling that goes on forever.  Davey Boy gets dumped by the Warlord of all people.  Tanaka gets dumped by someone, then Snuka gets dumped.  Jake gets dumped by Quake.  Then everyone teams up Quake, then Jake puts his new snake, Lucifer, into the ring.  This causes the ref to call a break.  Commercial time.

We’re back, after missing nothing.  Tugboat and Hogan have a moment and they start to attack each other.  I’m guessing this set up the formation of the Natural Disasters.  Hogan dumps the Warlord.  Von Erich.  Quake dumps Duggan.  Hogan dumps Earthquake.  Hogan dumps Kato, then Tugboat dumps Hogan.  Wow, didn’t see that coming.  Hogan cries like a bitch, of course.  Shawn Michaels dumps Tugboat.  Hercules somehow falls over the top rope as well.  Bossman fights it out with everyone but Perfect dropkicks him out.  Perfect and Haku go off on Michaels but Shawn escapes and dropkicks Haku out.
FINAL FOUR: Shawn Michaels, Mr. Perfect, Greg Valentine, and Barbarian.  Shawn almost dumps Perfect, then dropkicks him.  Shawn gets sent to the apron and eliminated with a back elbow.  Barbarian and Perfect double team on the currently-babyface Valentine.  Valentine tries to dump Perfect but can’t do it and the heels end up double teaming him.  Perfect misses a dropkick on Valentine and ends up hitting Barbarian, who then gets dumped by Valentine.  Hennig starts to chop away on Greg in the corner, but Valentine reverses and chops away.  Shoot off and a big chop, then an atomic drop and a standing elbow.  Big elbowdrops by Valentine, which is how he got his nickname.  Valentine goes to dump Perfect, but only gets him to the apron, then back in.  Valentine gets back on him and keeps pushing on him, leading to both guys going over the top, but only Greg falls to the floor, and Perfect wins.
DUD A very mildly peppy final four could not save what is a typical battle royal, or as I like to call them, “Nothingness Exhibitions.”

Match #27
Ted DiBiase vs. Bret Hart
4/27/91 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Not the same match as the one featured on Bret’s DVD.  This is the start of Bret’s singles push, after a couple years worth of delays and false-starts.  Lockup to start, then a clean break on the rope is not so clean and DiBiase slugs it out.  Shoot to the corner is reversed by Bret, who fires off a hiptoss and a pair of clotheslines.  A third one sends DiBiase to the floor.  Plancha by Bret, then some mounted punches on the floor.  Bret scares Sherri Martel off, then sends DiBiase back in the ring.  Headlock-takeover gets two, then DiBiase shifts his weight and gets two on Bret.  Shoot off and Bret gets a shoulderblock.  Sherri tries to trip up Bret, so Bret goes after her and drags her to the apron.  DiBiase charges but misses and knocks her off the apron, and Bret gets a rollup for two.  Shoulderblock by Bret, then he gets caught charging and DiBiase turns it into a hotshot.  Piledriver by DiBiase gets two.  Bret goes for another rollup but DiBiase shifts his momentum and sends him to the floor.  On the outside, DiBiase slams Bret into the stairs, then ties up the ref to serve up Bret for Sherri.  Back in, DiBiase stomps and chokes away.  Sherri gets her own choking in, then DiBiase goes back to it.  He ties up the referee again so that Sherri can punch Bret in the throat.  DiBiase sends Bret to the corner, then hooks in the Million Dollar Dream.  Bret backs him into the corner to escape, then catches Ted coming off the ropes with a punch to the gut.  Bret slugs it out with him, then moves into the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM~!!  Atomic drop and a back-elbow gets two.  Russian legsweep gets two.  Backbreaker and an elbow off the second rope gets two.  DiBiase fights back and Sherri tries to trip up Bret again.  Bret bails to chase her around, giving DiBiase a chance to drop a sledge off the apron on him.  BUT WAIT~!! because Roddy Piper bails on commentary to go after Sherri.  Meanwhile, Bret gives DiBiase a face-buster.  We don’t get to see anything else because the focus is now on Piper chasing Martel around the ring.  He grabs a broom from under the ring, swats her away with it, then rides it around at her.  It looks like he’s chasing her with a large, erect, red penis.  She bails to the locker room.  DiBiase and Bret end up fighting in the aisle and the referee counts both guys out.
***1/2 Bret proved here that he was ready for the big singles push that had been promised and denied to him a few times starting in 1988.  All the roughness of his previous singles matches was gone, replaced by a crisp, steady workrate and pace.  It’s proof that fools rush in, and the WWE should remember Bret when it comes to giving guys like John Morrison a big push before they are totally ready for it.

-NBC cancels Saturday Night’s Main Event because the ratings had bottomed out. Saturday Night’s Main Event was a hot commodity and thus the WWE leaves NBC by it’s own free will and signs on with Fox.

Match #28
Hulk Hogan & Sid Justice vs. Undertaker & Ric Flair
2/8/92 Saturday Night’s Main Event

This match holds a special place in my heart.  As many people know, I’m a Sid mark.  I can’t really help it.  It’s like a psychological condition.  I was ten-years-old when this match aired, and all my friends were big Hulk Hogan fans.  Not me.  I’ve been a ‘smart fan’ since I was really young, long before the internet came around, and I had just about grown sick of Hulk Hogan.  The town I grew up in had just gotten it’s first Fox affiliate right on time to see this, so I had some friends stay over to watch it.  It was pretty cool.  Anyway, my friends were pretty pissed at me by time this match was over.

Sid starts with Flair, who doesn’t want to lock up and bails to the ropes.  Lockup and Flair rakes the eyes, but gets send to the corner and backdropped.  Hiptoss by Sid and Flair bails.  Tag to Hogan.  Backdrop to Flair, then a hiptoss.  Taker comes in and gets slammed, then rammed into Sid’s foot.  Tag to Sid, and I guess Undertaker is now the legal man somehow.  Taker tries to slam Sid but gets reversed and slammed.  Just think, you have the main events for Wrestlemania VIII and XIII in this match.  And it’s the two worst main events ever.  Tag to Hogan.  Slams for all.  Clotheslines for all.  Tag to Sid, who gets a free shot on Taker.  Shoot of but Sid lowers his head into a punch.  Flair tags in and the heels hit a double clothesline for two as Hogan saves.  Double atomic-drop to Sid and Taker covers for two, with Hogan saving again.  Flair and Taker go for another double team, but Hogan comes in to stop it and the faces clean house, both hitting big boots to Flair, then dumping Taker with a clothesline.  Hogan starts to pose like a tool and it pisses Sid off.  Commercial.

We’re back as Undertaker goes to town on Sid, taking him to the corner.  Tag to Flair who chops away.  Flair ties up the referee so Taker can choke at Sid.  Tag to Taker who drops a chop off the top rope.  Taker smacks away at Sid, then draws Hogan in to tie up the referee.  The referee actually catches them, but it doesn’t matter because Sid turns it into a noggin-knocker.  Tag to Hogan.  Punches for all, but Perfect trips him up and Flair hits a knee cruncher into the figure four.  Hogan escapes and tries to tag in Sid, but Sid won’t have it.  The fans ‘boo’ this, when in fact the boos were piped in.  Hogan catches Flair climbing and tosses him off the top.  He again crawls to Sid, who doesn’t reach for the tag.  Blatant choke by Flair, then some chops in the corner, but Hogan starts to no-sell it.  The heels whip Hogan to the corner but he explodes out of it with a clothesline.  Hogan again crawls for the tag, and this time Sid fakes interest and then bails on the match.  Brutus Beefcake gets pissy with this, but his face is all mangled due to his boat accident and thus can’t get into it with Sid.  The heels double team on Hogan, then Flair shoves the referee to get a DQ.  Well that was a fucking lame cop-out.  Even lamer, Hogan then manages to take out the heels single handedly.  I wouldn’t want Hogan to seem vulnerable or anything.
** Not a great match, but I was marking out for Sid’s heel turn then and I still love it now.  I still hate how the WWE never allowed Hogan to seem like he was in real danger.

-The Mountie goes around zapping everyone with a cattle prod.  This leads to highlights of the Mountie/Piper match, where Piper wore a ‘shock proof’ life vest.  Horrible.

Match #29: Intercontinental Championship
(c) Davey Boy Smith vs. Shawn Michaels
11/14/92 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Circle, lockup, and Bulldog shoves off.  Another lockup and another shove off.  Fans are hot for this.  Headlock by Shawn, shoot off and a shoulderblock by Davey.  Shawn tries to knock Davey down but can’t so he dives between Davey’s leg and slugs away.  Hiptoss fight, but Shawn rakes the eyes, headscissors takedown and then a short-arm scissors.  Shawn has Davey grapevined in a very strange way, having his entire body wrapped around Bulldog’s arm to the point that it makes Shawn look much smaller then he is.  Crazy!  Davey ends up lifting Shawn like a weight and slamming him down.  Shawn gets up and gets dumped to the floor.  Shawn gets back in and locks it up.  To the corner where Shawn slugs away.  Davey ends up getting some leg-lace takedowns that look awful and an armdrag into an armbar.  Davey turns it into a wristlock ringer but Shawn slugs out and elbows away in the corner.  Shoulderblock by Davey to pump up the crowd but Shawn would sidestep a charge and dump Davey through the ropes.  Shawn exposes the turnbuckle, and it takes a while.  Commercial.  When we come back, Shawn is still adjusting the turnbuckle pad.  Snapmare and a kick with a delayed sell by Davey.  Knees to the back and stomping.  Abdominal stretch by Shawn.  Davey hiptosses out of it but misses an elbow drop.  Shawn covers for two.  Shawn slugs away on the back.  Stomp to Davey’s knee, shoot off the ropes and another abdominal stretch.  Davey powers out of it after a couple minutes and this time hits the elbow drop.  Face buster on the canvas and then he sends Shawn hard into the turnbuckle.  Clothesline and a catapult into the turnbuckle (not the exposed one) and another clothesline for a close two.  Delayed suplex for two.  Shawn reverses and Davey lands back first into the exposed turnbuckle.  Davey uses the ropes to get up but he’s still got a bad back.  Shawn ends up on the top rope and Davey goes for a superplex but his back gives out and Shawn wins his first IC title.  Crowd is pissed.
***1/2 Really good if you consider that Davey did pretty much nothing, just like what happened with Bret Hart at Summerslam of 1992.  Shawn didn’t have the time to build to a match of that caliber, but if he had been given it, he would have.

-And that’s it for Saturday Night’s Main Event, until NBC fell off it’s nut and decided to bring it back in 2006.

Match #30: Street Fight
Shawn Michaels vs. Shane McMahon
3/18/06 Saturday Night’s Main Event

Can Shawn Michaels drag a good match out of Shane?  I’ve never seen this one as I completely ignored all the modern SNME shows.  Brawl next to the entrance to start.  To the ramp where Shawn shrugs off Shane’s embarrassing punches and takes him down some more.  Shawn grabs a chair and smacks Shane with it, then preps slowly preps a table.  Shawn goes to drag Shane over to it, but gets thrown into the post.  Shane grabs a ladder and slugs away at Shawn, then picks him up and rams him into ring post some more.  He goes into the ring and sets up a ladder, then Vince places Shawn on the tables.  Shawn fights off and climbs the ladder to stop Shane.  He fights off Vince and then superplexes Shane off the ladder, over the ropes, through two tables and to the floor.  Double knock out follows, which leads to a commercial break.

We’re back with Shawn clotheslining Shane down.  Shawn’s back is killing him, but he still throws a scoopslam.  He preps the ladder and climbs it.  He gets ready for the elbow but Vince comes in with a kendo stick to beat Shawn in the back and make him fall off of the ladder.  Long double KO follows, with multiple replays of the table spot shown.  Shane grabs a ladder and smacks Shawn in the back with it a few times and covers for two.  Battering ram with the ladder gets two.  Elbowdrop to the back and a surfboard by Shane.  Shawn tries to stand up but eats a knee to the back.  Shawn finally fights back and turns it into his own windmill, but he takes his eye off the ball and goes after Vince.  He turns around and eats a DDT from Shane for two.  Steel chair to Shawn’s head and Shane sets up for the Van Terminator.  Shawn moves out of the way, and this somehow kills Shane.  Not sure how it would make a difference whether or not he hits it, as he’s landing the same way.  Wrestling logic!  Shawn hulks up and moves into the FIVE AND A HALF MOVES OF DOOM~!  Flying forearm, nip-up, atomic drop, clotheslines, a scoopslam, and the flying elbow off the top hit.  Shawn tunes up the band and hits Sweet Chin Music, but Vince yanks the referee out at two.  So Shawn tosses Vince into the ring.  The power of Christ compels Shawn to kill Vince, but Shane fires off a low blow and then hooks in a sharpshooter so Vince can ring the fucking bell.  Ooooh, how edgy.
** Which might be good enough to make it Shane’s best or second best match.

-Randy Orton feuds with Hulk Hogan, and this leads to… nothing.  According to the DVD insert, this was supposed to be the segment where Orton gets his freak on with Brooke Hogan, but it’s not shown.  In fact, Brooke Hogan isn’t even mentioned.  Good job, production fuckwits.

Match #31: 5 on 2 Handicap Elimination Match
Shawn Michaels & Triple H vs. The Spirit Squad
7/15/06 Saturday Night’s Main Event
Special Stipulation: When you eliminate someone, they have to be placed in a holding cage.

The Squad are the tag champions here, but naturally their titles are not on the line.  Shawn starts with Mikey.  The Squad has Shawn in their corner so Mikey stomps away, then tags in Mitch.  Things break down and Shawn ends up taking out everyone with a megaphone.  So the Squad all bails for a conference, where Trips honks an air horn in their faces.  Mitch comes in and eats a superkick for the pin and we go to a commercial.

When we get back, DX is still dominating.  Spinebuster to Johnny causes him to get pinned.  Kenny actually gets some offense on Shawn, then bails when it looks like Shawn might fight back.  Shawn gives chase and takes him up to the stage, but Vince McMahon comes out of nowhere and chairs him.  Kenny brings Shawn back to the ring, then tags Nicky, who is known these days as Dolph Ziggler.  Flying forearm to Shawn gets two.  Headlock by Nicky but Shawn turns it into a back suplex.  Nicky tags Kenny who goes for the guillotine legdrop but misses.  Tag to Trips.  Punches for all and the flying knee to Mikey.  Facebuster to Nicky, then the spinebuster.  KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~! is broken up by Mikey, but both guys gets clotheslined and Nicky eats the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~! for the pin.  Sweet chin music to Mikey and he’s gone.  Scoopslam to Kenny and the flying elbow by Shawn. Shawn tunes up the band and hits the DX SPECIAL EDITION SUPERKICK~! on Kenny.  It’s named as such because instead of dropping someone, it makes them stagger into Triple H who is free to hit the pedigree.  Sure enough, he does and it gets the win.  After the match, DX buries the tag champs some more.
1/2* You know, these team had a really, really good match at Vengeance in 2006.  I don’t get why after that they had to continue to bury them after that.  This served no real point and wasn’t even structured to be like a match or anything.  Bad choice for the set.

Match #32: WWE Championship
(c) Edge vs. John Cena
7/15/06 Saturday Night’s Main Event

We’re finally at the final match of the set.  This fucker was a monster.  Edge tries to bail to start but Cena catches him and tries to brawl him.  Thumb to the eye by Edge, but Cena hangs him up as he gets in the ring.  Cena charges but gets low-bridged and stumbles out of the ring as we already cut to a commercial.

We’re back with Edge catching Cena with a clothesline.  Brawling leads to Edge setting up for a superplex.  He then proceeds to botch it.  Awesome.  Man, this set just went completely to hell once the classic shows were dropped in favor of the modern stuff.  This leads to a double knock out.  Both guys are up and Edge gets a clothesline and a kick to the face for two.  Slug out follows, with the fans doing the ‘yea-boo’ stuff.  Guess who gets the boos.  Hulk up by Cena.  Clotheslines, shoulderblock, protoplex, five knuckle shuffle, and the FU.  It gets two as Lita yanks the referee out of the ring, injuring him in the process.  Cena gets butt hurt by this and shoots Lita a nasty look.  Cena side-steps the spear and slaps on the STFU.  The ref goes to climb back in the ring and so Lita yanks him down and bitch slaps him.  The ref gets back in the ring, sees Edge tapping out, and then calls for the bell and DQs Edge.  Worst ending I’ve ever seen on free television.  So if the referee is pissed at Edge and his bitch, why would he not want to award the title to Cena, especially when he sees Edge tapping out?  Just stupid and insulting.  After the match, Cena kills Edge with some monitors and FUs him off the stairs and through the announce table.
1/2* Horrible match structure.  This was given no time and was just a cop-out from start to finish.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Alfred Hayes & Mean Gene go on Safari, Shawn Michaels talks about winning his first title, and Matt Hardy talks about boxing Evander Holyfield.  I’m guessing they’re saving that last one for the inevitable ‘celebrity wrestling’ set.

BOTTOM LINE: Easy thumbs up.  You get your value here and then some, with lots of fun, fast paced matches and some real lost classics throw into the mix.  I think some choices were questionable but otherwise this set is one of the better, more comprehensive ones the WWE has ever put out.  Get it and get it now.topstory500x250-http://media.insidepulse.com/zones/wrestling/uploads/2010/02/hulkhogantna500.jpg|topstory500x250 topstory120x120-http://media.insidepulse.com/zones/wrestling/uploads/2010/02/hulkhogantna500-120×120.jpg|topstory120x120

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Charlie Reneke Reviews the Life & Times of Mr. Perfect – The Matches http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2009/05/24/charlie-reneke-reviews-the-life-times-of-mr-perfect-the-matches/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2009/05/24/charlie-reneke-reviews-the-life-times-of-mr-perfect-the-matches/#comments Sun, 24 May 2009 21:35:38 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=86780 For those of you interested in my thoughts of the main feature, check out Scott Keith’s review of this set, as my write up of the feature is what he used.

Match #1
Curt Hennig vs. Eddie Gilbert
11/21/82 WWE from Madison Square Garden

This is Gilbert’s debut in Madison Square Garden.  I believe the plan had been to make him an upper-midcard star, but a serious auto accident and an addiction to painkillers that resulted from it put those plans to a halt.  Circle to start, lockup and a clean break.  Another lockup and Curt fires off a hiplock.  Another hiplock, then another one off a shoot off.  Flying body press by Eddie is rolled through by Curt for two.  Hammerlock by Hennig turned into a drop toehold by Eddie into a cross ankle lock.  A sloppy roll through type sequence leads to Curt making a cover for two.  Waistlock takedown by Curt countered into a snapmare by Eddie, and we’re at a standstill again.  Fans aren’t exactly peppy.  Another lockup and they fight over a top wristlock, with Eddie taking control.  Curt fights out of it with a scoopslam, but Eddie holds the arm and rolls through it.  To their feet where Gilbert fires off an armdrag then holds the armbar.  Curt finally gets a reverse and holds a hammerlock, then tries to work a crossface into it.  Snapmare by Gilbert but Curt rolls through it, then fires off an indian-deathlock style hold, only he’s attacking the arm instead of a leg.  Curt shoots the half nelson and rolls him over for one.  Side-headlock takeover sequence, but Gilbert gets pissed and punches Hennig.  Shoot off leads to Curt getting shoulderblock.  This leads to a push-off, then a shoot off for double dropkick and a double KO spot.  Nice.  Test of strength now.  Eddie grabs a crazy reverse sunset flip type move for two.  Headlock by Hennig, a shoulderblock, then another headlock, into a takeover for two.  Eddie sends him face first into the turnbuckle with a horrific ‘thud.’  Eddie tosses Curt down then hits a head scissors.  Crossbody misses and Gilbert wipes out hard and lands in the corner, tumbling to the outside.  Curt suplexes him back in for two.  Sunset flip for two.  Scoopslam and an elbowdrop for two but the fifteen minute time limit expires.
*** Decent match, but it took them a little to long to get the tempo up.

Match #2
Curt Hennig & Scott Hall vs. Steve Regal & Jimmy Garvin
11/26/85 AWA Championship Wrestling

Steve Regal is not to be confused with William Regal.  Scott Hall looks a lot like Magnum TA, and even funnier, he looks a lot older here then he did in the 90s during his WWE run.  Regal & Garvin are the champs here, but this is non-title.  Long stall to start, with Precious refusing to get out of the ring.  Regal starts with Hennig.  Lockup, and Regal brawls Hennig to the corner only to get reversed and backdropped.  Regal bails on the wrong side of the ring and clips his back on the announce table.  Back in, lockup and a headlock.  Regal brawls out and hits a shoulderblock, only to bounce off the ropes and run into an armdrag into an armbar.  Scott Hall gets the tag and elbows the shit out of Regal’s arm.  Garvin gets the tag only to get his arm mangled too.  Hennig tags in and sledges Jimmy’s arms from the second rope.  Wristlock by Hennig, shoot off by Garvin but leads to Curt getting a sunset flip for two.  Hammerlock reversal sequence leads to Regal getting the tag.  Regal grabs a wristlock, but Hennig reverses it into one of his own.  Regal gets onto the apron, only for Curt to drag him into the ring.  He grounds Regal to his knees with the hammerlock, then chops him when he gets close to making the tag.  Rake of the eyes by Regal gives the heels advanage.  Garvin tags in and slugs away, then hotshots Curt for two.  Slam into the turnbuckle and some knees for two.  Hennig is bleeding a bit.  Front facelock by Garvin while Regal unties the top turnbuckle.  Kitchen sink kneelift by Garvin, tag to Regal who hits an elbow off the ropes.  He stomps away and tags Garvin back for more brawling.  Snapmare into a chinlock.  Garvin slams Hennig into Regal’s knee then tags in Regal who hits a kneedrop for two.  Scoopslam by Regal but an elbowdrop misses.  Hot tag to Hall.  Big punches and a hard whip to the corner as things break down.  Garvin sprays Regal with the hairspray by accident, and Hall finishes the match with a bulldog for the pin.
***1/2 Good tag match.

Also on the first disc, we get Hennig’s Hall of Fame induction, the Rap is Crap music video from WCW, and most of his Mr. Perfect vignettes.

Disc Two

Match #3: AWA Championship
(c) Nick Bockwinkel vs. Curt Hennig
11/15/86 AWA on ESPN

Bockwinkel shakes hands with Hennig, then dropkicks him when he turns his back.  Scoopslam gets a two and Hennig quickly bails.  Hennig comes back in and they lockup into a clean break.  Another lockup leads to another clean break.  Third lockup leads to a waistlock by Nick, reversed into a takedown by Curt.  Annoncers say this ain’t going sixty minutes.  Lockup, clean break.  Lockup and Bockwinkel gets a schoolboy for two.  Lockup and they fight for a hammerlock.  Lockup and Bockwinkel reaches for a hammerlock but they end up in the ropes.  Lockup and Bockwinkel gets a headlock takedown that leads to a couple counts.  Hennig to his feet.  Shoot off but Bockwinkel gets a shoulderblock, which Hennig pinball bumps for, then another headlock takedown.  And instead of just laying on the mat with it, both guys sell the damn move.  Bockwinkel fights to keep it on, Hennig fights to get him off.  That’s wrestling, folks.  To their feet, shoot off by Hennig, into a pair of shoulderblocks into a headlock takeover.  Storyline is flawless, with Bockwinkel as the done-it-all veteran and Hennig as the plucky newcommer trying to beat the champ.  This is like Sting/Flair from Clash of the Champions, only it doesn’t suck.  Hennig to the ropes for a break.  Lockup and and Hennig gets a headlock takeover into a head-scissors.  He grinds it in too, working the match.  This is seriously one of the best feeling-out sequences I’ve ever seen.  Bockwinkel rolls through it, and we have another standstill.  Lockup, headlock takeover by Bockwinkel.  Hennig tries to bend himself into getting a headscissors, but isn’t quite able to get it.  To their feet, Hennig shoots him off and gets shoulderblocked.  Botched spot sees Hennig blow his end of a hiptoss.  He covers it well by turning it into a kneelift, and Bockwinkel goes with it.  He then fires off the hiptoss.  Nice cover.  Wrestling is 95% improvisation, and Curt Hennig and Nick Bockwinkel showed how to do so properly.  People will blow spots, but you can cover them up if you’re good.  Bockwinkel recovers from it and slams Hennig.  Hennig up and he slams Nick.  A pair of armdrags into an armbar and the fans are with Curt.  Ten minutes in and this is already looking better then Michaels/Bret’s Iron Man Match.  Nick to his feet and tries to push off the armbar, but Curt holds on.  He manages a shoot off but Curt fakes him out and armdrags him back to the armbar.  He turns it into a keylock.  Bockwinkel tries to shoot off, but Hennig tumbles with him to hold onto the armbar.  He drops a leg on the arm and hooks it back in.  Working the match, gotta love it.  Droptoehold by Bockwinkel but Curt rolls through that and mounts a hammerlock.  Indian Deathlock on the arm, as seen in the first match on this set, then back to the hammerlock.  He brings the arm and slaps on a half-nelson to roll him over for two.  Nice.  Bockwinkel is up and backs Curt to the corner, a quarter of the way through the match.  He fires off elbows to escape, but misses a charge and Curt wristlocks him down to the canvas.  Love this match.  You can see a star being born here.  To their feet, Bockwinkel shoots Hennig off and gets a kitchensink kneelift.  A pair of bodyslams but Hennig is up and armdrags Nick down and grapevines an armbar.  He grinds the arm down and really cinches in on it.  Bockwinkel flips out of it and rolls up Curt for two, then Hennig flips him back down into the hold.  Another flip through by Bockwinkel for two, then back down by Curt.  Mind you, Nick Bockwinkel is 52 years old here.  Bockwinkel is running out of ideas so he starts to slowly pry Hennig’s legs apart to free his arm. Curt responds by hooking his leg around Nick’s neck.  Nick responds to that by hooking in a standing ankle lock, then turns it into a spinning toehold… the slow, mean version of it.  And he’s using one of his feet to keep Curt’s free foot pinned to the canvas.  Subtle touches make a big difference.  Bockwinkel quickly uses this to slap on a kneebreaker.  This is all fundamental wrestling, folks.  Basic holds, basic moves. It’s not WHAT you do, but how you do it.  Hennig to his feet, and he fires off a couple elbows to the back of Nick’s head.  To the corner where we do NOT get a clean break.  Instead, Nick fires away and hits a snapmare into a front chancery.  Curt turns this into a wristlock takedown into the keylock again.  Bockwinkel looks distraught.  He tries to roll through it but Curt is ready for it this time and rolls with him.  Bockwinkel tries something different and gets a pin for two with a handful of trunks.  Hennig is pissed now so Nick bails to catch a breather 25 minutes in.  Now we have a ram’s duel in the center of the ring, but Nick turns it into a headlock.  Shoot off and a shoulderblock by Hennig, but he bounces off the ropes and into a droptoehold, into a kneebreaker.  Bockwinkel becomes super arrogant and grinds Hennig’s leg in a circular motion while supporting the biggest shit-eating grin.  What an ass… god I love him.  Wrestling needs a new Nick Bockwinkel style heel.  Stuff like that is exactly what Chris Jericho should be doing in the ring.  Hennig gets out and stomps away, but the leg is hurting hm.  Kneedrop to Bockwinkels arm hurts Curt more then Nick.  Bockwinkel takes advanage of this by going for the leg and hooking in a grounded indian deathlock.  Hennig slugs away then manages to grab Bockwinkel around the waist and roll him to the ropes for the break.  Nick fires off some knees and kicks Hennig to the floor.  Hennig limps back into the ring and gets pushed to the corner, where Bockwinkel shoots him into the opposet corner and then hooks in his big sleeperhold.  Hennig sells this like death, but grabs the rope and manages to pull himself, Bockwinkel, and the referee out of the ring in a sickly cool visual.  Both guys try to catch a breath and there’s no referee to count them out.  Hennig slams Nick into the ring apron and chops away.  Hennig in the ring and he drags Bockwinkel with him.  Shoot off the ropes and a big chop gets two as the ref recovers.  Wristlock by Hennig and he goes to the apron and snaps Bockwinkel’s arm off the ropes.  He rings the arm around the post, then fires off some elbows.  Shoot off by Hennig but he lowers his head and Nick kicks him in the face.  Bockwinkel tries for some grounded move but Hennig fights him off and tosses him away.  Another attempt by Nick, and another toss.  Hennig to his feet but Bockwinkel slugs the gut and covers for two.  Shoot off by Bockwinkel, but Curt ducks the clothesline and hits a crossbody for a very close two.  Armbar but Bockwinkel leverages Curt out of the ring and slams his head on the canvas.  Hennig tries to shake it off but Nick bounces his head off the ring stairs.  Hennig tries to get back in but Bockwinkel stomps his head.  Ring announcer notes that 37 minutes have gone by.  Wow, that’s an odd mark to announce.  Hennig gets pissed and drags Bockwinkel’s leg to the post and then ‘barely’ beats the count back in… at seven.  AWA announcers took hyperbole to new levels.  Hennig goes for the injured leg and hooks in a toehold.  Bockwinkel fights back and slings Hennig off the ropes.  Scoopslam but his leg gives out on him and Hennig lands on top for two.  Shoot off by Bockwinkel and a kitchen sink kneelift leads to a short double KO.  Bockwinkel loads up a piledriver and hits it for two as Hennig gets his foot on the rope.  Grounded toehold by Bockwinkel, and he uses the ropes for leverage.  Hennig uses a headbutt to escape and starts to kick Bockwinkel in the mid-section.  He drops his weight on him and then hooks in a camel clutch.  Bockwinkel grabs the ropes, but the ref kicks him off twice in what I presume is a blown spot by the ref.  A third one breaks the hold.  Legdrop by Hennig, between the legs, then a punch to the face.  Cover for Hennig by two.  Kneelift but Bockwinkel bounces off the ropes and KOs Hennig with a big punch that looks solid.  Hennig grabs a double leg takedown and turns it over into a boston crab.  45 minutes in now.  Bockwinkel rolls it into a two count, countered into a two from Hennig.  Shoulderblocks in the corner by Curt and a series of chops, followed by a small package for two.  Piledriver from Hennig looks vicious but only gets two as Nick gets a foot on the ropes.  Both guys connect on eachother with an uppercut for a double KO.  Side headlock by Hennig, turned into a backdrop suplex for two as all Curt has left is to grab the ropes.  Bockwinkel celebrates a little early and Curt pounces on him, rolling him up for two.  Elbowdrops by Curt get two.  Knees to the back by Curt and a boot to the head.  Hard whip to the corner and some chopping, then his big standing dropkick, at the time considered the best in the business, gets two.  Shots to the gut and one to the throat by Bockwinkel gets two.  Ten minutes remain in the time limit.  Shoot off by Bockwinkel leads to him hooking in an abdominal stretch.  Hennig gets to the ropes.  Shoot off and a kitchen-sink kneelift, then another gets two.  Hennig grabs a spinning toehold, but Bockwinkel kicks him off and to the floor.  Hennig is busted open by falling to the concrete.  Bockwinkel slugs at him as he tries to get back into the ring.  Hennig to the apron, where Bockwinkel punches him off.  Nick slams his head onto the apron again, then punches the wound some more.  Hennig back into the ring, where Hennig is just barely hanging on.  A slam into the turnbuckle with seven mintues to go.  Hennig is bleeding a ton now, and both guys are covered in blood.  Bockwinkel punches him down and covers for two.  Hennig tries to fire off some punches but he’s fading and gets punched down for two.  Hennig is selling this amazing.  Hennig hulks up and shoots off Bockwinkel and nails the Big Axe (elbow smash) twice, but he’s not aware enough to make a cover.  Bockwinkel blades too.  Another axe by Hennig but instead of covering he mounts some punches.  Kicks to the face by Hennig with five minutes to go.  Head of steam and another big axe for… nothing as Hennig can’t see due to the blood in his eyes and doesn’t notice that Bockwinkel fell face down, so his pinfall is for zero.  And it turns out that Bockwinkel had a tooth knocked out by one of those shots.  Yep, this match is bad ass.  Ten slams into the corner with three minutes to go.  Suplex by Hennig but he barely has anything left and takes too long to cover for two.  Hennig boxes the ears and hits a kneelift, with two minutes to go.  Running front kick and an elbowdrop gets two.  Figure-four leglock by Hennig, which was likely a bad idea because Bockwinkel holds on until time runs out.
***** One of the best matches I’ve ever seen.  You’ll notice that there was nothing complicated about this match.  Every move was fundamental, every spot was first-term wrestling school stuff.  These guys took basic ingredients and created something better then the sum of it’s parts.  And they actually wrestled the full sixty minutes, unlike Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart who were content to slap on a hold and lay down for five minutes.   This was seriously awesome in more ways then one could describe, and worth the $20 price of the DVD alone.

Match #4
Curt Hennig vs. Terry Taylor
7/31/88 Wrestlefest

Commentary by Michael Cole and Mick Foley.  This was a dark match, and the funny thing is, this is the match that the WWE used to decide who would get the Mr. Perfect gimmick.  Which goes against what was said on the DVD feature.  Lockup and Hennig gets a slam while Foley makes fun of Taylor.  Hennig fights it out a bit but Taylor gets a bunch of dropkicks and Hennig bails.  Back in, lockup and they trade a headlock takedown into a headscissors into a stalemate.  Lockup and Taylor gets an armdrag and a headlock takedown.  Hennig shoots off Taylor and hits a backdrop suplex.  Double sledges to the back of Taylor and a hard whip to the corner.  Meanwhile, Mick Foley relays a story he heard about Hennig using fart spray under the ring while he and the nWo waited for the cue to make a surprise attack.  Funny stuff.  Taylor gets a backslide for two, which only pisses Hennig off.  He slugs Taylor around and does a gripslide takedown.  Love that move.  Shoot off into a sleeper, but Taylor escapes.  Fake out by Taylor on the ropes and he gets a crossbody for two.  Punches to the corner and a shoot off but Hennig springs off the ropes and hits a clothesline… for three?  Weird.
* Not a whole lot of meat here.  Weird choice for the DVD.  I have to chalk this one up to having a ‘cool off’ match like the WWE does when they book a hot undercard match.  Seriously though, this is a DVD.  Don’t do that.

Match #5
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect
4/24/89 Madison Square Garden (taped for home video)

The WWE was testing the waters with Bret here.  This would be aborted singles push #2 for him.  The first coming in 1988 following Wrestlemania IV.  Lockup, nothing.  Lockup, nothing.  Bret was clearly on the gas here.  Major league puffiness.  Lockup, headlock-shootoff by Bret, who hits a shoulderblock and a choppy looking hiptoss.  Lockup and a headlock by Bret.  Shoot off and he hits a shoulderblock, then sidesteps some kind of takedown by Perfect.  Lockup and a headlock by Bret.  Shoot off and Bret gets a crossbody for nothing as he slips off to the apron.  Sunset flip for two, then a headlock takedown.  Perfect to his feet and he gets Bret to the ropes.  Shoot off but Bret grabs a crucifix for two.  Headlock takeover again.  Perfect up and to the ropes, where he shoots off Bret.  Bret catches a kick, takes Perfect down and stomps him in the gut.  Shoot off by Curt to the corner and a slam, but Perfect slams him.  Bret up and he slams Perfect, then slams him face first, then dumps him to the floor with a clothesline.  Bret is still really sloppy here.  Hennig stalls on the outside.  After forever, with Hart doing the “I’m bored” pose in the corner, Hennig gets back in.  They tease a lockup but don’t.  They finally do and Hennig stomps away and hits a super-duper stiff kneelift to take Bret down.  Damn, that looked sick.  More kicking and stuff by Perfect, all stiff as hell, and I wonder if he’s a bit pissed at Bret.  To the outside, where Bret gets thrown back-first into the apron.  Hennig in the ring and Bret gets to the apron, only to get caught and slugged around a bit.  Hennig slings him off the ropes and into the guardrail.  Hennig kicks away at Bret, drags him in the ring, then tosses him out again.  Hennig wants to chase him but the ref stops him.  Bret in the ring, and he slugs it out, but Perfect reverses the whip and Bret eats the turnbuckle face first for two.  Standing dropkick followed by a baseball slide to knock Bret out of the ring again.  Perfect appears to not take Bret very seriously.  Hennig places Bret’s head between his legs and does a neckbreaker style twist from there.  Hennig axes Bret and scoopslams him for two, then hooks in a spinning toehold.  Bret kicks off of it and sends Perfect shoulder-first into the ringpost.  Hennig sells this like death, and the fans go nuts.  Bret goes after the injured shoulder, sending him back to the corner shoulder first.  Bret slugs away at it, then firing off a hammerlock slam.  Legdrop to the injured arm and a keylock by Bret.  He slugs away at the arm and rings him down for some elbows.  Shoot off and Bret goes for another crucifix but Hennig turns it into a samoan drop.  Perfect tries to shake some life back into his arm, then drops some knees in Bret’s back.  His arm is disabled so he chops with the good one.  Shoot off, and both guys fight over an abdominal stretch.  Bret appears to win out, but Perfect hiptosses him.  Shoot off and Perfect rolls him up for two, but Bret’s kickout sends him flying out of the ring.  Plancha by Bret catches Perfect.  In the ring, FIVE MOVES OF DOOM~! time.  Atomic drop and a suplex get two.  Backbreaker and an elbow off the second rope gets… nothing as the bell rings and the time limit is up, thus we have a draw.  Bret challenges Mr. Perfect to five more minutes, but Hennig declines… or not.  He dives back in the ring and when Bret’s back is turned and lays a beating on him.  The match is still over.  Scoopslam by Perfect and he climbs, but Bret catches him and punches him down. Bret kicks at the legs and Perfect is in full pinball mode now.  Hard whip to the corner and then a shoot off the ropes and a backelbow finishes the post-match beating.
***1/4 Pretty good match.  A sign of things to come for sure.  As far as Bret’s aborted pushes go, Bret marks still bitch about them to this day, but the truth is Bret wasn’t very good at this point.  He was rough and uncrisp.  His singles push that worked hit at the right time.  He was ready then.  He wasn’t here.

Match #6: WWE Championship
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. Perfect
1/15/90 Madison Square Garden (taped for home video)

The Genius treats us to a poem dedicated to his man love for Mr. Perfect.  There seem to be audio problems through-out here.  Circle and lockup goes nowhere and Perfect bails.  Lockup #2 and Hogan muscles Perfect into the corner, leading to another bail.  Lockup #3 and Hogan hiplocks Perfect then slams him a couple times and Hennig bails again.  Hogan catches him on the outside and gives him a noggin knocker into the Genius.  He slams both of them into then scoopslams the Genius onto the floor.  He tosses both back in, where they double team him.  Hogan fights back, tosses Hennig into the ropes leading to him being hanged.  He atomic drops the Genius and sends him to the floor, then smacks Perfect around some more, then bails to toss the Genius into the ring post.  Hennig is free so Hogan enters to the ring to smack him around, then elbow him in the corner sending Hennig up and over to the floor.  He catches Hennig and again slams him into the Genius.  Back in, Hogan clotheslines Perfect, then slams him into the turnbuckle.  Hennig has his flying shoes on for this one.  Then again, he had his flying shoes on every match.  Hogan lowers his head on  a shoot off and Perfect clotheslines him down and stomps away.  Hennig chokes at Hogan on the ropes and then slings him off the ropes.  Perfect dumps Hogan to the floor, where the Genius takes his time waiting for the right moment to whack Hogan with his mental clipboard.  It never comes, and so Hennig bails, only to get thrown into the ring post a couple times.  Hennig to the apron where he kicks Hogan and throws him into the ring post.  Hennig climbs but gets caught.  Hennig thumbs Hogan in the eye and drops a sledge on him.  It takes over a few seconds to collapse off the sledge.  Ugh.  Now a sleeper from Hennig.  Hogan tries to fight back so Hennig grounds it to the mat.  This goes on for over two minutes.  Hogan fights back but Perfect leverages him into ramming himself into the turnbuckle.  Hennig jaws with the fans and climbs, but Hogan shakes the ropes to crotch him.  Hogan picks him up by the head and crotches him a few more times in a move you don’t see very often.  Hogan rakes his back then picks him up off the ropes and gives him an atomic drops.  Hogan kicks away at the back of Hennig’s legs, with Perfect overselling it with gusto as only he could.  Hogan goes for an elbowdrop but it misses.  Hennig loads up the Perfect Plex and hits it… for two as it’s HULK UP TIME~!  No-sell, no-sell, no-sell, shaking, no pointing sadly, punch, punch, punch, big boot that knocks Hennig to the floor where they slug it out.  Perfect gets a chair and swings to kill Hogan against the post.  It misses and Hennig stings himself up.  Hennig back in, then Hogan grabs the chair and gets on the apron, where Hennig punches him with brass knucks to knock him out.  I’m thinking it’s a count-out, but it’s not and Hogan gets to the apron.  Hennig misses with the brass knucks, Hogan gets the knucks, knocks out Perfect, and drops the leg.  BUT WAIT~!!  The referee disqualifies Hogan for using the knucks and awards the match to Mr. Perfect.
***1/2 A little better then your typical Hogan match.  It went against the typical structure and they didn’t just go through the motions.  Perfect bumping like a mad-man for him helped.  FUN FACT: The WWE was considering moving the title to him so he could job to the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 6 instead of Hogan so as not to divide the babyfaces’ fan bases.

Match #7: Intercontinental Championship
(c) Kerry Von Erich vs. Mr. Perfect
11/24/90 Madison Square Garden (taped for home video)

Roddy Piper is the special referee, with the highly underrated Honky Tonk Man on color commentary, along with Jimmy Hart.  Very weird.  Lockup, with Kerry tossing Perfect into the turnbuckle.  Lockup #2 and Piper forces a clean break in the corner.  Another lockup and Hennig grabs some hair, so Piper prevents him from punching Von Erich, allowing Kerry to get a free punch on Curt.  Perfect jaws with Piper, allowing Kerry to grab a wristlock.  Hennig fights back with some chops in the corner, but Kerry fights back with a discus punch to the gut.  Hennig bails and Piper gives him a quick count.  Hennig keeps breaking the count, so Von Erich bails and gives him another discus punch on the outside.  Back in, Kerry pulls Perfect out of the corner and rings his arm up.  Perfect grabs him by the hair and maneuvers him into the corner. Kerry shoots him into the corner but gets reversed and eats it.  Perfect rips off the top turnbuckle pad, then attempts to whip Kerry into it.  Piper stops him and tries to tie it back on.  Perfect is impatient and whips Kerry at it anyway.  Kerry reverses and Piper moves out of the way so Perfect can eat his comeuppance.  Von Erich fumbles his way into slapping on a Boston crab, but he’s too close to the rope and Hennig gets a break.  Shoot to the corner but Perfect gets his foot up and Kerry eats it.  Chops in the corner and a standing dropkick that sends Kerry to the outside.  Von Erich to the apron where Hennig punches him and tries to slam him into the turnbuckle.  Kerry blocks so Perfect opts to kick him off the apron again.  Back in, Perfect shoots him to the corner and grabs a sleeper.  The arm drops twice but Kerry is still alive.  He muscles his way out of the hold and fires off a discus punch, but Perfect sees it coming and counters with his own punch.  Perfect slugs it out in the corner and knees him in the chest.  Small package by Hennig gets two.  Punches to the gut by Von Erich gets no comeback heat from the crowd.  Weird.  Hennig cuts him off anyway, only for Kerry to whip him into Piper.  Piper bumps down but is made of sterner stuff then the average referee so he gets up in time to count for two.  Horrible looking spot where both guys run into each other to cause a double KO.  That looked like poop.  Discus punch by Kerry and he’s feeling good and calls for the claw.  He locks it into Hennig’s skull, but Perfect gets his foot on the rope to draw the break.  Kicks to the gut by Hennig and some chopping.  He goes for a slam but his back gives out and Kerry hooks in the claw again.  This started hot but the pacing is all over the place now and it’s downright messy.  Chop gets two for Hennig.  Back suplex, sprung off the ropes… gets the pin?  What the filth?  It looks like Perfect scored the pin, but Kerry allegedly lifted his shoulder up and wins the match.  I hate any ‘do the move but don’t get your own shoulder up’ ending.  In theory, according to the ‘rules’ of wrestling, only a person executing an offensive move can get a pinfall attempt.  The ‘double suplex with the idiot doing the move getting pinned’ rule is stupid because many moves involve having your own shoulders on the canvas, including Hennig’s Perfect Plex.  I’ve never seen anyone who enjoys this ending, except bookers who don’t want to be original when they fuck the fans over.
** Started okay, got incredibly sloppy by the end.

Match #8: Intercontinental Championship
(c) Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart
8/26/91 Summerslam

Lockup, nothing.  Another, shoulderblock, hiplock and Perfect slides out of the ring.  Lockup, headlock by Bret.  Shoot off the ropes, and Bret gets a crucifix for two.  Headlock, Curt fights out with a handful of hair, so Bret returns the favor and holds on.  Knee to the gut by Curt, clothesline misses and Bret hits crossbody for two.  Sunset flip for two, and Bret grabs the headlock takeover again.  Mr. Perfect is clearly in pain here.  Chop by Perfect, Bret catches a kick and does his stomp to the gut.  Whip to the ropes, reversed, and Perfect hits a slam, but Bret fights off and hits one of his own and dumps Curt with a clothesline.  Curt’s had enough and he heads to the back, so Bret rips apart Kurt’s singlet and throws him back in the ring.  Bret mounts in Curt in the corner for the 10 punches, but Curt begs off and Bret gets pulled off by the ref.  Lockup to the corner, and Bret is forced to clean break, so Curt throws a big punch, then kicks Bret to the outside.  Chop by Curt on the outside. Bret gets up to the ring apron but gets knocked off by Curt.  Again, and this time Curt whips him far off the ring and into a photographer.  Bret slugs off in the ring, rollup gets two, but Bret gets slugged down to the canvas.  Another whip into the corner, and Curt chops away.  Hard whip to the corner for two.   Perfect Neckbreaker and a bridge for two.  Bret goes to backdrop him but gets kicked in the face, and a dropkick sends Bret flying to the outside.  Slugoff again, and Bret tries to get in the ring but Perfect cuts him off.  They fight up to the top turnbuckle and have a slugoff up there, but Bret gets tied into the rope.  Perfect flops off the top rope onto Bret for two.  Into a corner, and Curt bitchslaps Bret a couple time, then hits a nasty looking hair-whip.  Curt snags the biggest sleeper I’ve ever seen in my life, nearly breaking Bret’s neck putting it on.  Christ man, ease up.  Bret goes for another crucifix but Curt turns it into a Samoan Drop for two.  Chops to the corner, and Curt gets a huge whip into the corner, with Bret spraining his neck upon impact, for two.  Perfectplex… gets two.  First time anyone kicked out of it (unless you count Hogan).  Atomic drop, atomic drop, headbutt, hairwhip posts Hennig.  Suplex gets two.  Smallpackage gets two.  Russian Legsweep gets two.  Backbreaker, elbowdrop off the second rope gets two.  Rollup by Perfect gets two.  They fight to the outside, and Bret throws Curt into the post.  Back in the ring, Bret starts kicking the legs.  Sharpshooter attempt, but the Coach distracts Bret.  Perfect sneaks up with a lowblow.  Legdrop, another legdrop, but Bret catches the legdrop for the sharpshooter and the ref rings the bell before the hold is even on, not because the ending was botched but because Curt’s back couldn’t take the move.
**** Great match, lots of drama, good pacing, but the psychology was spotty.

Match #9: Intercontinental Championship
(c) Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Perfect
8/30/93 Summerslam

This was hyped as the greatest IC championship match of all time months before it ever happened.  With as much hype as they gave it, there was no way it could ever live up to expectations.  And hell, given what the ending is, the WWE was really scummy to make people get so worked up here.  Lockup and Shawn takes him down by the arm.  Circle and lockup leads to Hennig taking Shawn down with a hammerlock into a snapmare.  Lockup #3 leads to Shawn getting a headlock.  Shoot off attempt but Michaels holds onto the head.  Shoot off and both guys botch their end of an armdrag, with Shawn landing face first.  Hennig tries to cover by kneeing at Shawn in the back, then holding onto a hammerlock.  They trade it a few times, with Shawn sprining off the ropes then missing an elbow and we have a standstill.  Lockup and Shawn takes Perfect to the corner to slug it out.  Chops by Perfect and then we have another miscommunication that leads to an ackward looking back elbow by Michaels.  Shawn springs off the ropes allowing Hennig to hit a weak looking clothesline, oversold by Shawn for two.  Armbar by Hennig, but Shawn takes him to the corner with some shoulderblocks.  Whip to the corner but Hennig misses a charge.  He climbs but Hennig armdrags him off the top, then fires off another armdrag for two.  Back to the armbar, which goes on too long.  Shoot off ends with Hennig catipulting Shawn over the top and to the floor.  Perfect bails to take it on the outside, but gets distracted by Diesel.  When he turns around, Shawn hits him with the superkick (pre-finisher) and then comes off the apron with a sledge.  Back in, Shawn knees Perfect in the back and drops nearly a dozen elbows.  He struts around the ring, then gives Hennig a hard whip to the corner.  Big clubbing blows to the back, then another hard whip to the corner.  Shawn stands on the injured back of Mr. Perfect, then drops his weight on it.  Backbreaker into a submission, but Hennig fights back.  Shoot off leads to a beautiful dropkick by Hennig, then a backdrop.  Hennig hits a kneelift and an atomic drop for two.  Chopping by Hennig and a shoot off into a clothesline for two.  They fight over a backslide, but instead Hennig hits the Perfect Plex for two as Diesel pulls him out of the ring.  Hennig fights off Diesel, then stops Shawn from dropping a sledge off the ropes.  Diesel recovers and rams Perfect into the ring post, leading to him getting counted out.
* After months of crushing hype, the WWE released the Phantom Menace in wrestling form.  Shawn Michaels has since attributed it matching up two guys who’s best trait was making their opponent look good.  That theory doesn’t sit well with me.  I mean, Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect shouldn’t be able to have a good match with each other, and yet they had many.  The truth is they just had no chemistry together.  Additionally, their timing was horrible and many spots were blown right at the beginning of the match.  No pacing, no flow, no psychology, no selling really… just a huge mess.

Match #10
Bret Hart vs. Curt Hennig
3/15/98 WCW Uncensored

We close out Mr. Perfect’s DVD set with an example of what was wrong with Bret Hart’s run in WCW.  After being handed a golden oppertunity to make Bret the most sympathetic babyface on the roster, they waste their time with stuff like this instead of giving Bret a shove at the top guys in the nWo.  In reality, the WCW simply reverted back to what they usually did when WWE guys jumped ship before the nWo angle started: rehash all their old WWE feuds.  In this case, they tried to bring back the magic that Hennig and Hart had.  Except of course, that magic was from the early 90s and now instead of being the arrogant, unbeatable Mr. Perfect, Curt Hennig was just a low guy on the nWo totem pole.  Both guys were past their prime here and this feud had been already been played.  Before this, Bret was feuding with Ric Flair.  He never really got to face anyone fresh for the first year in the company.

To the match.  Curt steals a Canadian Flag from a fan at ringside, then does nothing with it.  Well that’s… heelish I guess.  Hennig isn’t even wearing the nWo colors, and neither is his manager, Rick Rude.  Why even bother having him in the faction?  Lockup, nothing.  But Hennig does bitch that Bret’s hair is too greasy.  Lockup and a side-headlock takeover by Bret.  To their feet, Bret gets a shoulderblock and another headlock.  Hennig pulls the hair to escape it.  To the corner where Hennig chops away, only to be tossed in the corner and hit with another headlock takeover.  Hennig again pulls at the hair to escape.  Ugh.  Shoulderblock by Bret and then a throw by Bret, leading to Perfect bailing.  Rude gives Perfect some words of encouragement.  Hennig already looks gassed.  Hennig to the apron, where Bret slams his head into the turnbuckle and goes for a suplex.  Hennig flops out of it, only to get caught in the sharpshooter in the center of the ring.  Rick Rude runs in and punches Bret, and somehow the referee doesn’t see it.  Bret sells the punch like death.  Hennig ties up Bret’s leg and drops his weight on it.  Hennig springs over the ropes and drops his weight on the leg again, then kicks at it in the corner.  Rick Rude gets his shots in while Perfect distracts the ref.  To the post, where Hennig rings Bret’s leg.  More distracting the ref while Rude really torques on Bret’s leg against the post.  Hennig grabs Bret by the hair and slings him to the mat.  He smacks Bret a few more times and slaps on the figure four.  Rude adds leverage, while Bret survives a few near falls.  The ref catches Hennig cheating and makes him break.  He goes back to stomping at the knee, but Bret fights back in the corner.  Hennig with a lowblow, and it’s uncensored so it’s NO DQ… makes you wonder why Rude couldn’t help him then… and more stomping at the knee.  Hennig with a stepover toehold.  Legdrop between the legs by Hennig, then a scoopslam.  He climbs, but Bret pops up and crotches him.  Bret kicks away at the leg, then slings Hennig down by the hair, leading to him getting crotched on the post.  Atomic drop, clothesline, and a small package gets two.  Russian legsweep gets two.  Bulldog gets two.  Backbreaker and the elbowdrop off the second rope gets two.  Fans have been cold through out this whole match.  Hennig reverses a whip and sends Bret into the corner.  Hennig loads up the Perfect Plex but it only gets two.  Fans pop for that.  Rude on the apron so Bret can send Hennig into him and roll him up, but Hennig reverses and grabs the tights… for two.  Sunset flip attempt by Hennig is countered into the sharpshooter and Perfect taps before Rude can save.  After the match, Bret gets beatdown by these members of Hogan’s part of the nWo.  So naturally Bret would join them a few weeks later.
*** Not bad but the crowd was cold and these two could never have hoped to bring back the magic they once had at this stage of their careers.

BOTTOM LINE: In some ways I’m disappointed.  Of the ten matches you only get one that’s five stars (though it’s one of the best matches ever) and one that is four stars.  Everything else ranges from okay to awful.  The documentry is intresting but a little obnoxious on how they spend no time focusing on what Curt Hennig threw away to drugs.  I’m giving it a mild thumbs up but this DVD is far, far removed from perfect.

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DVD Review: The Greatest Stars of the 90s http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2009/04/20/dvd-reviews-the-greatest-stars-of-the-90s/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2009/04/20/dvd-reviews-the-greatest-stars-of-the-90s/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2009 11:32:22 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=85367 Hello, I’m Charlie Reneke, the new kid on the block here at Pulse.  Those of you that have read Scott Keith’s work will be familiar with me as the guy who does the documentary portions of his DVD reviews these days.  Well after getting some good feedback (along with “oh you didn’t go there” comments when I crack a Chris Benoit joke) I figured I would throw my hat into the ring and try for a gig at the bestest, coolest, most awesome wrestling website in the world.

But, after getting rejected by the Observer, I was hired here instead.

Before we start, I wanted to mention the format to this set is unlike the DVDs featuring the Greatest Superstars of the 80s.  Instead of having the biographies spread over the course of the three discs, the first disc contains one giant feature-length documentary that covers everything.  It runs two hours and fifteen minutes.  This is one of those sets that came at us with little warning, kind of like the last Ric Flair set that didn’t exactly set the world on fire.  Let’s see how things go here.

Your host is Tazz, making this DVD outdated before it was even released.

-Up first, it’s Shawn Michaels.  We ignore the Rockers phase and start off with him tossing Marty Janetty through a window.  We get chopped up clips from his own DVD Feature, Heartbreak & Triumph.  Mr. Perfect comes up with “The Heartbreak Kid” on commentary.  Brief clips of him taking the IC title from Davey Boy Smith.  That quickly leads to clips of the Wrestlemania X ladder match.  Chris Jericho reminds us that a moonsault was a big move back then, so seeing guys fly off a ladder was unlike anything else.  From a personal stand point, I think the Summerslam ’95 rematch is the one that aged more gracefully.  Funny enough, that was the match where they were forced to tone down the violence, which actually led to them being more creative.  This leads to the Iron Man match, which Shawn calls the highlight of his career.  Vince McMahon says he held the company together during a rough time.  Mick Foley agrees, saying Shawn was an excellent champion.  Jim Cornette and Pat Patterson call him the best performer of the 90s.  Jim Ross talks about how he was the best guy to introduce stuff like the ladder match and Hell in a Cell to the masses.  Next up, DX.  We get clips of them being obnoxious.  Shawn actually was quite obnoxious at this stage of his life, so I guess that makes him a method actor.

We see the spot that put him on the shelf, clipping the casket ever so slightly on the lower back.  It didn’t look so bad, and even Shawn didn’t think it was that bad.  Then he woke up two days ladder and couldn’t move.  He herniated three discs.  He actually gutted it out and had a match with Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 14 that really speaks volumes on how much Shawn Michaels NEEDED to put on good matches.  Despite being crippled, more or less, he took superman bumps and managed to even do a nip up.  Various people put over how he made it through it.  CM Punk calls him the best star of the 90s.  Chris Jericho takes it a step further and calls him the best wrestler ever.  Jim Ross and Vince McMahon agree with that.  I agree with that.

-We go from the smallest champion of the decade to the largest.  Or if you want to be mean, like me, the best champion to the crappiest.  Yokozuna is up and we start out by talking about growing up in the Samoan wrestling family.  Boy, did he grow.  Jim Ross says he’s the best super heavyweight ever.  As opposed to… who?  Haystack Calhoun?  Heck, I think Mabel was a better worker during his Big Daddy V phase.  Jim Ross follows this up by putting over Yoko’s legdrop, the only move he did that didn’t look like shit.  We get clips of his Royal Rumble win, which featured an ending so embarrassing that my cable feed of the pay per view cut out as soon as it happened in 1993.  Randy Savage dropped the flying elbow on Yoko, then… covered him… for the pin… in the Royal Rumble.  For real.  At which point, Yoko did a power kick out so devastating it sent Randy Savage onto his feet and somehow made them take a life of their own, jumping over the top rope and to the floor.  At least that’s what it looked like.  Onto the Wrestlemania 9, where Yokozuna wins the championship, more or less fair and square from Bret Hart, only to lose the belt less then three minutes later to Hulk Hogan in a move people still bitch about today.  Allegedly Yoko and Hulk was supposed to go five minutes or so, but the WWE thought the clock was running out on their satellite feed and they wanted to make sure Hogan had an ample amount of posing time, so they went 10 seconds instead, with Hogan winning after Mr. Fuji threw salt in Yoko’s eyes.  This served to make Bret look like a chump, Hogan look like a pussy, and Yoko look like an idiot.  Bravo, WWE.  A triple bank shot!  Three total burials in one match.  Back to Wrestlemania 9, where Gerald Brisco puts over how well Yoko moved.  He wins the WWE Title back from Hogan at the first King of the Ring pay per view, then goes on to ‘dominate’ the WWE.  If by dominate they mean look like a pussy in every subsequent pay per view that followed.  Let’s count.  At Summerslam ’93, he lost to Lex Luger via count out.  At the Survivor Series in 1993, he was counted out while brawling with the Undertaker.  At the 1994 Royal Rumble, he beat the Undertaker in a casket match only after ten guys came down to help him.  He beat Lex Luger by DQ after crooked referee Mr. Perfect screwed Lex over, then jobbed the title to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 10 after knocking himself out.  Oh yeah, total domination.

We move to Yoko’s morbid obesity.  It was hardly noticable.  Jim Ross talks about how he couldn’t get licensed in some states because he was too big.  Ross sent him to Duke University’s weight loss center.  It was an impatient program, but they weren’t guarded and he wasn’t in there for a felony, so he could come and go at night and presumably go to fast food places.  The WWE gave up on treating him and just brought him back to be Owen Hart’s tag partner.  Although he was fatter then ever, as a tag wrestler the WWE could avoid using Yoko in states like Maryland, Ohio, and Washington that don’t allow obese diabetics to wrestle.  They win the tag belts at Wrestlemania 11.  Jerry Lawler calls him ‘great in the ring, but only in short spurts.’  Yoko gained too much weight and the WWE had to let him go.  I remember in 1997, every week Dave Scherer of 1wrestling.com insisted Yoko would be back any time and join the Hart Foundation.  But he never returned and sadly he died on October 23, 2000.  May he not fall from heaven and crush us all.  I’m not trying to poop on this or come across like an ass, but I just never got Yokozuna.  He was the only WWE Champion in my lifetime that bored me to tears.  If he could have just shed a little weight, I think he would have been something special.  But let’s face it: any Yokozuna match that went ten minutes featured at least five minutes worth of nerve pinches.  Discounting guys like Stan Stasiak, who held the title for a week in the 70s, I would call Yokozuna the worst worker to hold the WWE Championship, easily.

-From one Samoan to another.  Yokozuna’s cousin, the Rock.  Actually if I read their family tree correctly they’re not biologically cousins, but it’s the thought that counts.  Rock talks about how he knew his football career was over, but his father didn’t want him to become a wrestler.  Rock strong-arms him into training him, and then he cons Pat Patterson into coming down to have a look at him.  He has his first match with Steve Lombardi, making his ‘at least one appearance per a DVD’ requirement.  Lombardi says that he did everything well.  Rocky makes his debut at the 1996 Survivor Series as Rocky Maivia.  Rock hated the name, and hated the character in general.  Not as much as the fans did.  They completely turned on him after having them shoved down their throats.  CM Punk notes that society had changed and they just wouldn’t put up with the baby-kissing glad hander heroes.  Funny enough, Punk currently plays the same character, more or less.  The fans break out the “Rocky Sucks” chant at Wrestlemania 13, causing Vince McMahon to turn to Pat Patterson and say “Where did we go wrong?”  Rocky gets injured and comes back to join the Nation of Domination.  Jim Ross comes up with just changing his name to “The Rock.”  It didn’t work at all and he faded into obscurity.  Actually, he did pretty well for himself.  Mr. Kennedy puts over his hilarious promo from Over the Edge 1998, which is still hilarious.  Rocky makes fun of how people in Milwaukee drink beer and eat bratwurst, only to concede that it’s a better option then dating their fuggly women.  Sadly, we don’t get Jerry Lawyer’s hilarious line to go with the promo.   After the Rock finishes destroying the crowd and the ugly women of Wisconsin, the camera shows a… how do you say it… mature woman in the crowd, and Lawler quips “Oooh, there’s one!” causing Jim Ross to legitimately get pissed off.  Back to the feature, where William Regal says Rock’s delivery is so good he could have gotten heat by reading the phone book.  CM Punk says when he was able to act so over the top, the fans went back to him.  Rocky wins his first world title at the 1998 Survivor Series.  This segs to his feud with Steve Austin.  Jeff Hardy calls him phenom on the microphone.  At Wrestlemania 15, they match up.  Jeff Hardy says he misses that era.  Not as much as Vince McMahon does, I’m sure.  Rocky says he was lucky to accomplish everything he did in the WWE, and he kind of misses all those crazy things he did in the WWE.  But I’m sure those $10 million a film deals ease his pain on that front.  Jerry Lawler calls him the biggest star of the 90s.  That’s it for his segment.

-Onto the Women of the 90s, as they grow from being valets and side-show wrestling acts to skimpy-dressed sex symbols… and uh, side-show acts.  Clips of all the Divas from that era.  Even Alundra Blayze and Chyna.  Well hell, if Randy Savage is allowed on DVD, I don’t see why they wouldn’t be.  I guess Chris Benoit is all alone in DVD-ban land.  We get clips of Chyna’s somewhat remarkable run of 1999 as she earns a spot in the Royal Rumble, is briefly the #1 contender to the WWE Championship (in reality an excuse to get Mick Foley into the Summerslam ’99 main event so Austin wouldn’t have to job to Triple H), and her IC Title win over Jeff Jarrett in a match that no doubt had some people rolling in their graves.  And that’s it for the chicks.  Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of women’s wrestling and especially of Rena “Sable” Mero, but to deny that she was one of the biggest stars of the 90s… at least 1998… is outrageous.  She was, in my opinion, the only female wrestler ever who could lay claim to being a legitimate main-stream draw in professional wrestling, even if her run at the top lasted only a few months.  She likely deserved her own segment.

-Onto Kevin Nash.  We start with clips of him as Oz.  William Regal talks about how none of the gimmicks they stuck him with worked, but it was a learning process for him.  Jim Ross says WCW miscast him.  Shawn Michaels actually liked the Vinnie Vegas gimmick and arranged for Nash to scam his way out of his WCW contract and end up in the WWE as Michaels’ bodyguard.  CM Punk notes that Shawn Michaels was cool, and anyone associated with him was cool by association.  Jim Ross notes that Shane McMahon came up with the name Diesel.  Never was a big fan of the name.  I was talking to the Honky Tonk Man one time when he started ranting about how single-name wrestlers never get as over as guys with full names, and used Nash as an example.  Although he was popular in WWE, the name “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel wasn’t very catchy to casual fans and thus he never became a house-hold name.  Where as in WCW he was “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash and part of the hottest angle going, and many casual fans or non-fans knew of him.  He went on to point out that even guys who were not super big stars, like Jake “The Snake” Roberts or Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat were house-hold names while guys who were the focus of the company like “Yokozuna”, “Kane”, or “Batista” are not.  Interesting logic, can’t really argue with the point.  The only exception I can think of is the Undertaker.

Back to the show, where we skip the moment where he truly became a star, the 1994 Royal Rumble where he tossed out seven guys in a row.  We skip basically everything leading to his house-show WWE Championship win, where he pinned Bob Backlund in six seconds.  Jim Ross credits Diesel’s rise to Shawn Michaels, who got his mind into the wrestling game.  We get brief shots of the Madison Square Garden Curtain Call, which leads to the nWo.  We get shots of him power bombing Eric Bischoff through a table and tossing Rey Mysterio into a trailer like a lawn dart.  Everyone puts over how cool the nWo angle was.  CM Punk says that the WWE was too cartoonish and fans got sick of it and sought out the cool wrestling that was on Nitro.  Well, that was the most refreshingly candid anti-WWE statement I’ve seen on one of these WWE DVDs.  Expect Punk to lose his money in the bank title shot and start jobbing to Funaki on Superstars if Vince McMahon ever pops this disc in.  We seg from the nWo to the Wolfpac crap that never made any sense to me.  I mean, why would Sting or Lex Luger be in the Wolfpac when they were supposed to be company loyalists?  Or why would Bret Hart be the official recruiter for nWo Hollywood if he wasn’t a member?  Anyway, Nash kills Goldberg’s winning streak, along with the entire promotion, at Starrcade 1998.  Jim Ross puts over how huge it was for Nash to beat Goldberg, while Mean Gene Okerlund notes how big a star Nash was to have the WWE and WCW put their full force behind him.  You know, I’m actually not as big a hater as most smart marks of Kevin Nash, but seriously, he booked himself to win the championship.  You can’t really credit him for doing anything to earn the title.  Speaking of Goldberg, he is NOT one of the stars on this disc.  Whether you’re a fan or not, to deny his status as one of the top stars of the decade of the 90s is preposterous.  The man was the only reason WCW had a fighting chance by the summer of 1998.  Beth Phoenix and Jim Ross put over how popular he was.  Jim Ross says he’s towards the top of the list of top 90s stars.

-Up next, Owen Hart.  I’ll try to avoid tasteless jokes, but no promises.  Tazz calls him the smallest man on this list despite the fact that he was bigger then Shawn Michaels.  We get clips of his tag team with Jim Neidhart, wearing the fuggliest tights in the history of the business.  He turns on Bret Hart at the 1994 Royal Rumble, then pins him cleanly at Wrestlemania X.  Jim Ross says the expectations were high for that match, and that Owen proved he was something speical.  Best opening match to a pay per view ever, hands down.  They turn that into the best cage match the WWE ever did at the 1994 Summerslam.  Bret points out that cage matches are usually bloody affairs, but instead they put on a technical exhibition and the cage just happened to be a prop for that.  He wins the 1994 King of Ring and becomes, in my opinion, the king of obnoxious celebrations.  He wins two Slammy Awards (one that he wasn’t even nominated for, Best Bow Tie if I’m not mistaken).  He cuts hilarious promos at both ceremonies.  He wins the IC title and the Tag titles.  CM Punk says he was vastly underrated.  We get clips of Owen teaming with Davey Boy Smith and Jeff Jarrett, with people calling him a tag team specialist.  Bret reforms the Hart Foundation, but they glance over that period (and his feud with Steve Austin) faster then you can say “quick release mechanism.”  NO BAD CHARLIE!  My apologies.  Owen joins the Nation of Domination, trying to out-do his crappy New Foundation tights by dressing like a road sign.  He came up short.  Quite frankly, the New Foundation tights deserve their own Wrestlecrap induction.  Of course, Owen died during a stunt at Over the Edge 1999.  Everyone talks about how underrated he was, with Triple H saying he never reached his full potential.  In my opinion, there’s a difference between never reaching full potential and being used to his full potential.  One day they’ll admit the difference.  Bret says he thinks Owen Hart was satisfied with his wrestling career.  Jim Ross talks about how Owen was always playing jokes on people.  We get a clip of one he played on Vader, live at the Slammy Awards, where he dumped a drink on Vader, causing him to give chase but trip and fall, Shockmaster style.  Funny stuff.  I heard about the after effects and they were equally as funny.  To avoid getting his ass kicked the next night at Wrestlemania, Owen offered to pick up Vader’s tab on his rental car later that week.  When he did, they met up on the way to a show to stop and eat.  At some point, Owen excused himself to syphon out all the gas in Vader’s tank, then leave stranded at a diner.  I’m guessing there was never a dull moment when he was around.  Jerry Lawler says he’s not just one of the best wrestlers of the 90s, but rather one of the best wrestlers ever.

-Ric Flair’s turn, as he joins Hulk Hogan as the only wrestlers to be profiled in both the 80s and 90s sets.  Naturally, they start off with clips of him from the 80s.  Come on WWE DVD guys, is it really that hard to keep up continuity?  Flair talks about how he made his deal with the WWE on a handshake and a promise he’ll make at least as much as he would in WCW.  They actually focus on his non-feud with Hulk Hogan and his run as the “Real World Champion”.  This disc has the Hogan/Flair match from Madison Square Garden.  Triple H talks about how the feud was so hot that when they matched up at house shows, it was standing room only.  Actually, according to WWE canon, their expected Wrestlemania 8 match was killed because they didn’t sell out Madison Square Garden.  Onto Flair winning the WWE Championship in the 1992 Royal Rumble.  The DVD botches the date and lists him winning the 1993 Royal Rumble instead.  Ugh.  Flair says he wants to be clear, he felt like he was on his game when he came back to WCW.  He beats Vader at Starrcade in 1993 for yet another world championship in his home down.  Loved the match expect the ending was total crap, making Vader look like a pussy.  Jim Ross says you can’t pick out Flair’s best match from the 90s.  Of course, he already did that, naming his match with Ricky Steamboat from Wrestlewar as the best match ever.  They actually show clips of his shitty feud with Roddy Piper from 1999.  Jim Ross says comparing Flair of the 90s to the Flair of the 80s is like comparing Brett Farve of the Jets to the Brett Farve of the Packers.  Was he as good?  Of course not, but he was still the best in the game.  OK, that comparison was downright embarrassing.  He could have thought of a better one.  Maybe Fat Elvis vs. Young Elvis or something.  John Cena puts over Flair’s staying ability, along with every other top level star they could dig up.

-Mick Foley is next.  He debuts in WCW early in the 90s as Cactus Jack.  We get clips of all the insane bumps he would take on a regular basis.  People who knew him only from his WWE run never really got a taste of how high-impact a wrestler he was in his early career.  His potential goes unnoticed in WCW and thus we skip his entire second run there and cut straight to ECW.  Joey Styles points out that Mick was so good at psychology that he figured out the best way to get heat was to do the exact opposite of his normal style, intentionally having boring matches with long headlocks.  Then we cut quickly to his WWE run where we get his debut as Mankind.  Gerald Brisco calls it the darkest character the WWE had done to that point.  It was truly unnerving stuff.  Foley says that whether he likes it or not, his name is forever tied to Hell in a Cell.  Joey Styles says he thinks Mick knew that he would immortalize himself in that match, but didn’t consider the toll it would take on his body.  According to Foley himself (in his books, not on this disc), he thought the match would stink, and only started on top of the cage and allowed himself to be thrown off of it because Terry Funk suggested it.  They talk about his different gimmicks, but the underdog Mankind was the one that brought him the most success.  He pulls off what he was told would never happen, winning the WWE Championship.  Joey Styles says he got over because he looks like everyone else and is out-matched physically but can overcome the odds and find a way to win.  John Cena says despite all his big bumps, he’s most famous for the guy who pulled a sock out of his pants.  Socko clips follow, complete with Vince McMahon’s finest moment, where he says in disgust “Mr. Socko” and inadvertently unleashed a phenom.  Onto the Rock & Sock Connection, with the go-nowhere “This Is Your Life” segment with the Rock that was NOT funny, had NO ending, and led to NOTHING! And to this day it’s still the highest rated quarter-hour segment in the history of Raw.  Ugh.  Foley finishes his full-time career with Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match, officially making Triple H the man.  Trips calls it a huge honor.  Jim Ross says that Foley was named after Mickey Mantle, Jim Ross’ personal hero, and that the two were exactly alike.  I wasn’t aware Foley was an alcoholic wife-beater.  You learn something new everyday.  Actually, he meant that they were both team players, worked hurt, loved the fans, and was a genuine, good human being.  I know that Jim Ross is a big Mantle fan, but the words ‘genuine, good human being’ and ‘Mickey Mantle’ are only appropriate to say together if used in the following sentence: “I would have to be a fucking nut job to say that Mickey Mantle was a genuine, good human being.”

-Up next: Shitty gimmicks.  The Goon, Mantar, Oz, Yeti (which was actually a Mummy), Shockmaster, and more.  Baston Booger gets about 20 seconds, and we see him doing his gimmick, basically an uncouth slob.  T.L. Hopper: Evil Plumber gets twenty and we get clips of him using his plunger on some jobber’s face.  Man Mountain Rock, The Berzker, the Oddities, and REPO MAN~! get some clips.  So does Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, one of the only ‘occupational gimmicks’ the WWE did at the time that I actually thought worked.  Max Moon, also known as Konnan, gets just enough time to have his outfit made fun of.  Upon quitting the WWE, Konnan threw such an epic temper-tantrum that he was blacked-listed from the company.  WCW gets some love to with Glacier.  He was actually part of a hair-brained idea to rip off Mortal Kombat, using Glacier as Sub-Zero, Chris Kanyon’s Mortis character as Scorpion, Ernest Miller as Johnny Cage, Yugi Nagata as Liu Kang, and Wraith as Shao Kahn I guess.  They would fight in some kind of tournament to claim a mystical cup that would grant them the ability to never be beaten or some such nonsense.  It was called “Blood Runs Cold” and was going to include Goldberg (pre-overness) at a later point but it bombed worse then a North Korean missile test and was shelved.  Shockmaster is seen falling through a wall.  The Oddities gets some some more love, despite the fact that as bad as it was it got all parties involved fairly over.  And that’s it.  The Legends of Wrestling series on WWE 24/7 (now WWE Classics) did an episode devoted to crappy gimmicks and all you sadists out there who hate my guts can cross your fingers that the WWE does a second run of LoW DVDs and includes it among them, forcing me to review it.

-Hulk Hogan’s 90s run is featured next.  We actually do start with his 90s run, unlike we did with Flair.  Hogan jobs the title in 1990 to the Ultimate Warrior in what was supposed to be the wind-down of his run on top.  Warrior bombed as champion (not entirely his fault, in my opinion, as the WWE didn’t book him with opponents that catered to his strengths), so they brought him back again and again.  Hogan said he still had eye-of-the-tiger, but was not the king of the fight and he admits that fans were getting sick of him.  Hogan says he faded away from the WWE before the fans got totally sick of him.  I would say WRONG to that but what’s the point?  Nobody does revisionist history better then Hulk.  So Hogan leaves the WWE and starts doing a show called Thunder in Paradise.  I’m about to lose whatever pathetic credibility I have left with the internet wrestling community because that show honestly wasn’t that bad.  It was poorly acted and had ridiculous plots, but damnit, it was a decent and at times pretty entertaining action show.  I also think Suburban Commando was a good flick.  Easily the best film he did.  Anyway, Thunder in Paradise is located close to the set WCW used to film it’s TV show, so Eric Bischoff, with an assist from Ric Flair, lands Hulk Hogan.  They get a slight bump in the ratings but draw a MASSIVE buy rate for Bash at the Beach 1994.  That was the last entertaining pay per view they did for a few years, as 1994 and most of 1995 was filled with Hogan’s past-their-prime cronies from the 80s, something they don’t admit here (hopefully to be covered in the upcoming Rise and Fall of WCW set), and the fans turn on Hogan.  The truth is, the fans turned on Hogan right out of the gate.  The only reason the fans didn’t tar and feather him at Bash at the Beach is because they held it in Orlando, comfortably outside of WCW’s normal stomping grounds.  But the fans never got behind Hogan, and Jimmy Hart notes you have to give the fans what they want.  So they turn Hogan heel, and he totally reinvents himself as a character.  Sadly, he still was washed up as a wrestler, but it didn’t really matter.  He was over like Evil Jesus.  Fans pelted him with garbage at every show.  Hell, they pelted him with garbage even when he was about to lose matches.  The addition of Hogan leads to WCW winning the rating war for over two years.  Jimmy Hart says it became too cliquish, because everything became about the nWo.  Couldn’t agree more.  The mistake was watering it down as bad as they did, adding too many no-named losers.  To the best of my knowledge, the only wrestler who outright told the bookers he didn’t want to join the nWo was Chris Jericho, who in his book talked about how he would instantly get lost in the mix and would never get any alone-time in the ring to cut promos, where as he was a featured attraction when he was by himself.  Every person but Hogan, Hall, and Nash (maybe Scott Steiner to a lesser degree) just clustered up and never had any individuality about them.  Back to Hogan, Jimmy Hart says that it’s proof that you have to reinvent yourself.  We get the end-of-segment blow jobs, with Jimmy Hart claiming Hulk doesn’t know how big he was.  Hilarious hyperbole there.  Hogan knew he held all the cards and when he didn’t those in charge assumed he did.

-Triple H’s segment is up, even though he’s more a 2000s star.  Actually, the only point he was truly over in the 90s in his desired role as a heel was around November of 1999 when he married Stephanie McMahon during Test’s wedding and finally managed to catch people’s imaginations.  As a worker, he didn’t really get top-level good until 2000, when Mick Foley gave him two straight five-star matches on pay per view and good wrestling stuck with him, more or less, from that point forward.  But I’ll play along and pretend he was something big in the 90s.  We get one of his pre-debut vignettes as the blue-blooded aristocrat.  He wins the IC title on Raw, then wins the King of the Ring, then forms Degeneration X.  That’s about as fast as they glance over his early career.  Trips says that DX got white hot, with the ridiculous stuff they did.  Then Shawn retires and Triple H needs to carry it on.  Everyone wanted Trips to drop DX, but he talked them into bringing in Sean Waltman instead and merging with the New Age Outlaws.  What do you know, they get over as babyfaces.  He had fun with it, but couldn’t get to a main event level, so he broke it off, pissing off the other three members of the group in real life, but he had a goal and he stuck to it.  Mick Foley gives him credit for stepping out of his comfort zone, noting that a lot of guys don’t do that.  Hey, Triple H has fucked Chyna.  I don’t think comfort was ever a big deal to him.  Everyone talks about how he lives and breathes wrestling.  Steve Austin says he studies tapes and took the best parts of those who came before him.  Jim Ross says he took parts from Harley Race, Ric Flair, Jack Brisco, Ray Stevens, and Pat Patterson, among other people.  I’m the guessing the parts he took from Pat Patterson explains how he could sleep with Chyna without throwing up bloody vomit.  Everyone puts over what a professional he is.  Edge says his stuff with the Rock worked because they were polar opposites in style and delivery.  Foley takes credit for getting him over as a tough guy, because his original snobbish gimmick didn’t lend itself well to that.  His hardcore match with Cactus Jack on Raw featured him giving as well as he took.  Don’t necessarily agree with that assessment.  The first time I, along with most fans, bought Triple H as the dangerous bad ass was his match with Mick Foley at the Royal Rumble in 2000.  His run from March of 1999 until the Rumble I looked at as a miscasting.  I honestly didn’t think he could play the part.  Glad he proved me wrong.  We get clips of his first WWE Championship win on Raw the night after Summerslam 1999.  Not mentioned here The backstory on it was Steve Austin didn’t want to put over Triple H, not out of spite but because he wanted to save any one-on-one match with him until Wrestlemania.  Austin also felt he owed Mick for all the jobs Foley did for him, so he put him over clean, the first person to beat Austin in such a manner since May of 1997.  Shortly afterwards, Austin figured out that his neck wasn’t going to allow him to make it to Wrestlemania and so he took a match with Trips at No Mercy in 1999 so he could have one final, potentially high main-event payday.  Back to the feature, Trips notes that it was their way of saying “we trust you to be the man” and it was a big honor, but concedes that he had a long way to go towards being good.  Not mentioned is he jobbed the title to Vince McMahon a couple weeks later.

-Bret Hart is featured next.  We start with him beating Mr. Perfect at Summerslam, then his match with Davey Boy Smith at Summerslam the next year that some people call the best match ever.  I feel it’s a tad overrated.  Still a great match, but I wouldn’t actually go five-stars on it.  You have to tip your hat to Bret though for getting a great match out of a guy who hit the wall less then a minute into the action.  The amount of talent Bret had was unreal and there’s no better proof then that.  Then, with little warning Bret wins the WWE Championship in a taped-for-video match against Ric Flair.  Flair to this day talks about how the match sucked due to an inner-ear problem he had that had his balance out of whack.  It doesn’t show at all.  Onto the King of the Ring, where Bret had three completely different matches with three different guys.  Jim Ross brings up how Bret’s international popularity rivaled any champion they ever had, even Hogan.  This segs into the iron man match again.  Bret says he’ll never take anything away Shawn Michaels, but he was most proud of how hard he worked to keep up with the little bastard.  I can’t believe the hype this match gets.  I hated it then, I still hate it now.  Shave off the first forty minutes and it’s actually pretty good, but taken as a whole, it’s a sleeping pill.  Onto his feud with Steve Austin, which turned Bret heel because the fans grew sick of Bret’s goody-two shoes persona.  Vince McMahon says that any wrestler who had a match with Bret came out better because of it.  Clips of the submission match from Wrestlemania 13, and his heel turn.  Jim Ross talks about the uniqueness of Bret being a heel in the United States but a babyface pretty much everywhere else.  Bret loved the reactions he got in Canada at that time.  Onto the Survivor Series in 1997 where nothing of significance happened.  Bret put over Shawn cleanly and left in a classy fashion befitting of a true hero.  Okay, so he got screwed and threw a temper tantrum on the way out.  He arrives in WCW and they somehow manage to fuck up what should have been a no-brainer run on top.

In his book, Eric Bischoff blames their inability to give Bret one single decent storyline on Bret, saying, quote, “Eric Bischoff, Vince McMahon, Steven Spielberg, an independent film maker nobody has ever heard of – we can only do so much when creating a role for someone.  It’s really up to the performer.  He or she brings life to the role.  I’m not suggesting that we had the best ideas for Bret Hart.  But regardless of our shortcomings, Bret came to WCW with baggage because of Montreal.”

Bull.  Shit.  Look, I am FAR from being a fan of Bret Hart’s real life persona.  Quite frankly, I think he’s a total twatwaffle. Regardless of that, he’s on my list as one of the top five wrestlers I’ve ever witnessed.  After Montreal, he was a hot property.  The WWE was able to take advantage of Montreal and turn Vince McMahon into the biggest heel of the decade.  Logically this means WCW could have turned Bret Hart into the biggest babyface of the decade, at least in WCW.  Was Bret down in the dumps mentally because of Montreal?  Sure.  Whether or not you find it absurd for someone to get that worked up over losing a fake wrestling match, to say Bret was incapable of being motivated is total horse shit.  They gave him NOTHING to get motivated over.  Right off the bat they made him look like a moron by having him restart the Hogan/Sting abortion from Starrcade after Sting lost cleanly to Hogan on a botched finish.  Then they put him in go-nowhere matches with Curt Hennig and Ric Flair, guys who were at the bottom of the card from a storyline perspective.  He should have instantly been put into a position to chase for the title.  Instead, someone decides Bret is damaged goods and gives up on him.  It took almost a full year before they stuck him in a match that didn’t rehash some crusty old feud he had in the WWE, putting him with Sting.  What should have been a dream match was instead a total after-thought against Goldberg vs. DDP and especially the abomination that was Warrior vs. Hogan II.  Can anyone honestly blame Bret Hart for being unmotivated during this period?  He was totally booked into oblivion.

Back to the feature, we get the one good angle WCW did with Bret… or at least started… getting speared by Goldberg on a Nitro being held in Canada.  Only Bret reveals that he had a metal plate under his hockey jersey.  This was the type of simple, straight forward stuff that leads to big cash matches on pay per view.  Naturally, they dropped it immediately by having Bret ‘retire’ on the spot.  It’s not covered on the DVD, but somehow this led to him being booked to wrestle Kevin Nash on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, but the day before the scheduled encounter was the day of Over the Edge 1999.  No explanations needed.  When he came back, he got to wrestle Chris Benoit on Nitro, which isn’t covered here obviously, then wins the WCW title against the same guy in the finals of a title tournament.  Sounds good, except if you consider the tournament itself was a joke.  It even featured female wrestler Madusa.  Twice.  And in the finals, Bret and Benoit could NEVER hope to capture the magic they had during the Owen Hart tribute and the match was considered a let down.  The next month, Goldberg superkicked Bret right into strokesville, ending his career.  There’s a happy ending of sorts, as Bret got over his bitterness enough to accept an invite to the WWE Hall of Fame.  I really wish Bret would take a more active role in the WWE, if not on camera then backstage.  Regardless of my dislike for him, the guy is unquestionably one of the most creative minds in the business and he could likely contribute greatly to the wrestlers.  Nobody should feel unwelcome in the WWE lockerroom.  For some reason, it actually breaks my heart that guys like Bruno Sammartino, the Ultimate Warrior, or Bret Hart can’t put aside bad feelings and show up at events to mingle with the new generations.

-We move onto the owners/presidents/rubber check signers.  A segment dedicated to Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman, and Vince McMahon.  Or as some would call them, “See no evil, Hear no evil, and Evil.”  We get clips of the evil Mr. McMahon persona, only with many of the risque stuff censored.  Welcome to the watered down WWE of 2009, where even the word ‘ass’ is censored.  Then onto Bischoff’s evil persona.  Internet marks tended to rage on Bischoff for making himself a character, but I always thought he made an effect heel and mouth piece and he did get many of the angles over.  Paul Heyman’s turn features him doing a voice over putting over ECW and putting over the loyalty of the wrestlers he was paying with McDonalds coupons.  And that’s it for the segment.

-Lex Luger gets a spot on the list, much to my surprise.  They put over his football background and his physical presence.  Jim Ross says he went further on look then anyone he can think of.  I’m sure some will say Sid Vicious, but I always thought Sid’s wild charisma is what got him over more then his look.  We get clips of Luger winning the WCW Championship after Flair was dumped from the company.  They try to make it out like it was a great moment, when it fact it bombed horribly due to some moron deciding to turn him heel to win the title.  Couple that with the fact that the 1991 edition of the Great American Bash was, at that time, the worst pay per view any major promotion had put on and that should give you an idea how well Luger’s title run was received.  We move on to the… HOLY SHIT~!! The World Bodybuilding Federation shows up on a DVD!  I would have sooner bet they would release the Chris Benoit tribute from Raw then that.  They actually show Vince McMahon, in a WBF shirt, with Luger.  Luger was to be the face of the company, but the WBF turned out to be the worst miscarriage carried out this side of Ctrl+Alt+Del.  I’m sure that joke will go over the heads of many.  Luger never actually had a chance to participate in the WBF anyway due to a motorcycle accident.  By time he was healed, the WBF was dead and buried.  Vince McMahon talked Luger into making a run in the WWE, and he debuted as the Narcissist.  Some feel the gimmick bombed.  I actually think it had legs, maybe the last chance the vanity gimmick had at working in this day and age.  They pretty much used the same gimmick with Chris Masters over a decade later, and it got him no heat.  Jerry Lawler says nobody fit their character as closely as Lex did as a guy in love with himself.  Harsh.  It lasted less then seven months before Lex Luger was turned into a completely generic patriotic character to replace Hulk Hogan.  Scott Keith once said that Vince McMahon did with Hulk Hogan what every jilted ex-lover does: try to recreate the magic with someone else.  Couldn’t put it better myself.  I will give the WWE credit for at least kicking off the feud in perfect fashion.  On July 4th, 1993, n the U.S.S. Intrepid, a wrestling ring was set up and Yokozuna was issuing a challenge: anyone who could body slam him would face him at Summerslam.  After every WWE star failed, Lex Luger arrived via helicopter and pulled it off to a huge ovation.

As a curious side-note, before Lex was chosen for this role, the original person booked to slam Yoko and then take the championship at Summerslam was… you won’t believe this… Brian “Crush” Adams.  He had entered 1993 on a bit of a hot streak and had a unique look, so they figured, why not?  But a combination of sub-standard wrestling ability and the fact that he was mishandled from a booking stand point (even jobbing to Doink at Wrestlemania 9) ended whatever chance he had at getting the main event push.  At least, as Scott Keith would point out, his hair was in EXCELLENT shape.

Lex slams Yoko and thus began what was and still is the biggest hard-sell push in wrestling history.  The WWE bought a bus, christened it the ‘Lex Express’ and had him tour the country to kiss babies and glad hand the fans.  John Morrison puts it over, and even Jerry Lawler says how much work Luger put into it, but the fact is it didn’t work as much as the WWE needed to trust Lex with the title.  So at Summerslam 1993, instead of winning the belt, he beat Yokozuna by count out.  This was a trend for Luger’s wrestling career, always blowing the big title matches.  The decision to not put the title on Lex was made the day of the show.  For some reason, the WWE decided to play a music video of Lex in the same manner you would if he had actually won the title, despite the fact that he had just blown yet another big one.  CM Punk points out that Lex looked like what a wrestler was supposed to look like.  He was big, muscular, had a mullet, smiled, kissed babies… and as a kid, he saw through it and felt that Lex was a total fraud.  “Sorry Lex.”  The rest of his WWE run is skipped and we go onto him double crossing Vince McMahon by agreeing to re-sign with the company who would take another kick at the can with Lex as a main eventer.  Unbeknownst to McMahon, Lex had been negotiating, through his best friend Sting, to return to WCW.  Eric Bischoff was not a big fan of Lex’s attitude or ability and tried to appease Sting by offering Lex a deal while at the same time completely low-balling him.  Lex’s WWE offer was $500,000 a year.  When he left WCW in 1992, he was making $750,000 a year.  Bischoff’s offer: $150,000 for one year.  If Lex behaved himself, he could earn more.  Lex took the offer, and Bischoff used him as a template for the anything goes feel of Nitro.  On it’s first episode, Lex showed up out of nowhere and helped Nitro be instantly competitive with Raw.  Jim Ross says it left a bad taste in some people’s mouth, while William Regal puts it over as a good move.  The rest of his career is ignored and we go to the final words on Lex.  Jerry Lawler says despite being a guy who’s not well liked by his peers, Lex was one of the biggest stars of the era.  Jim Ross says that he was a big muscular guy in an era where everyone was a big musclar guy.  He’ll only be remembered as a guy who never reached his full potential, despite some moments of greatness.  Mean Gene calls him one of the top stars of the 90s.  My personally feeling on Lex is that prior to his motorcycle accident, he was a fairly underrated worker.  He had great matches with great workers and even dragged some good matches out of guys that were not so good.  And despite the venom most in the industry direct towards him these days, nobody can deny that during his run in WCW in the late 80s and early 90s, he was pretty much booked into oblivion and made to look like a guy who could not win when it really counted.  I think he’s underrated.

-Sting is next.  Magnum T.A. calls Sting the first guy in many years he saw in the industry who had natural charisma.  Jim Ross says he got over because he actually put in effort.  Sting wins his first championship at the Great American Bash in 1990, with Flair saying he never had a bad match against Sting.  Flair actually got fired from the booking committee for putting over Sting, as the company’s choice was Lex Luger but Flair made a promise to Sting and refused to break it.  John Cena says that he was thrilled with the title change because Sting was his guy as a kid.  I personally was never a fan of him and feel he’s overrated as a worker, but there’s no denying he was over like Jesus.  William Regal says Sting was magic, plain and simple.  We cut out everything after his title win and go to the Crow look, but I’ll fill in the gaps.  Sting’s entire first run as champion was handled about as poorly as possible, with the ultimate insult being the Black Scorpion angle, a first ballot candidate for worst idea ever.  Look it up on Wrestlecrap.  After that, he kind of drifted around with no direction until feuds with Cactus Jack and Vader lit a fire under him and he suddenly was stealing shows with good matches.  He was set to reclaim his spot as the featured star of the company in 1994 until Eric Bischoff secured Hulk Hogan, at which point Sting was completely cut out of the main event picture and pretty much buried doing midcard, sometimes even undercard matches.  Then the nWo angle hit.  Sting was teaming up team WCW to face the nWo in a War Games match.  Hogan and the nWo teased that Sting would join them, then hired a fake Sting to fool his teammates.  Because they didn’t trust him, he attacked them after he attacked the nWo and retreated to the rafters.  Scott Hall came up with the idea to turn him into “Scary Sting” after seeing the movie the Crow in a hotel room.  He dyed his hair jet black, wore black and white face paint, a black trench coat, and carried around a baseball bat.  Instead of the spunky, energetic Sting fans had grown to love, he became a dark, brooding character who never talked and would pop down from the rafters for random assaults from time to time.  He didn’t have a single match for over a year.  WCW stars begged him to stop it and help them fight the nWo, but they could never count on him.

And then it all goes to hell in one match.  Starrcade 1997.  A day which will live in infamy.  They actually ignore the botched finish, which is fine.  I’m sure they’ll have a field day with it in the upcoming WCW Sucks DVD they’re working on.  But here are all the wacky theories as to why the match was so horribly fucked up.

(1) Why was the match a squash for Hogan?  Well, according to Hogan, Kevin Nash, and even guys not connected to the abomination like Scott Norton, Hogan practically begged Bischoff to let the match be a three minute long squash where Hogan would quickly hit the big boot and the legdrop, only for Sting to no-sell it, Stinger splash him a dozen times and slap on the scorpion deathlock for a quick submission.  Eric Bischoff was against it because he wanted to borrow from the Montreal Screwjob that had helped the WWE start to get a buzz about it.  Some also speculate that Hogan changed his mind on letting Sting have the squash because he showed up out completely out of shape, with a pouch and devoid of a tan.  It’s true that Hogan was pissed at Sting being unkempt, but I doubt it made him change his mind about putting Sting over in a huge fashion.  Besides, I never got the tan thing myself.  He was supposed to be a guy who was brooding in the shadows, not hanging out at the beach.

(2) What was up with the “non-fast fast count” finish?  Some say Nick Patrick made a mistake.  Some say it was the result of a series of three simultaneous brainfarts.  In this scenario, the finish was Hogan hitting a legdrop and covering Sting, only to get a two count.  He would argue at the ref and cover again, and this time referee Nick Patrick would do a quick three count, with Sting kicking out shortly after the three.  After a few seconds of celebrating, Bret Hart would come out and restart the match.  How Bret had the power or authority to do this was never explained, but I’ll roll with it.  What actually happened Sting forgot to kick out of the legdrop, the referee forgot not to count to three, and Bret Hart jumped his cue (not his fault, Terry Taylor sent him out too early) and had already started to enter the arena before Hogan did the legdrop.  This is actually the theory I buy.  The only thing that’s known 100% for sure is Bret jumped the gun and came out too soon.  I believe when Sting and Nick Patrick saw Bret jump his cue it threw their timing off.  Quiet frankly the planned finish sucked no matter which you look at it.  A bad finish beget bad timing.

(3) Because the internet wrestling community loves to make Hogan out to be a cross between Dr. Claw and Hitler, the fringe morons swear to this day that Hogan paid Nick Patrick off to slow count intentionally when he was supposed to do a fast count.  Why on earth would Hogan, a guy with creative control, need to do something that had no apparently benefit for him?  Hogan could be at times an asshole and an egomaniac, but he was also a very smart business man and wouldn’t do something that offered so little benefits.  Some said it was done so he would have an excuse to have a rematch.  Folks, that rematch was set in stone long before this match went down.  Hogan was taking the championship back by hook or crook. And also, Nick Patrick was a total professional and wouldn’t do something like this. He was a company loyalist.

Anyway, the whole thing was an abortion.  In many ways it led to the downfall of WCW more then any brainfart booking decision in 1998 did.  As bad as Jay Leno wrestling, the return of the Ultimate Warrior, or the Finger Poke of Doom was, paying off an angle that ran for fifteen months by having the hero get totally squashed and beaten fair and square only to win the match on a flimsy reset… I don’t think Uwe Boll could have done any worse directing this travesty.  Back to the feature, Jim Ross puts over Sting as the only big star WCW had that was home grown.  Lawler says he was a good wrestler and a good showman.

-Hey yo, it’s Scott Hall’s turn.  We get clips of his early run, looking like a Magnum T.A. ripoff, then a brief shot as the Diamond Studd.  He shows up in the WWE and asks for a gimmick similar to Al Pacino’s character in Scarface.  Thus, he becomes Razor Ramon.  Jerry Lawler notes what I’ve heard everyone say, that he was Razor Ramon 24 hours a day, complete with toothpick, mannerisms, and cheesy Cuban accent.  Beth Phoenix notes that he was the first guy to not change his persona at all and have the fans turn him babyface.  Same actions, but he was received as good instead of evil by the fans.  He wins the vacant Intercontinental Championship against Rick Martel, then defends it against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania X.  We’ve already seen these highlights on this disc.  Ugh.  Razor goes on to have three more reigns as IC champ, but then jumps ship to WCW to kick off the nWo angle.  He shows up on Nitro using the Razor Ramon mannerisms, and the fans suddenly think the WWE is invading WCW.  Brilliant storyline that was followed by some epic lawsuits.  CM Punk points out that it was the first time the two companies crossed over.  *COUGHrealworldschampionCOUGH*  Scott would win a couple US Championships and take a few tag titles with Kevin Nash as well.  Jim Ross puts over his mic skills and wrestling ability… and that’s it.  Wow.  They completely ignored his personal problems, which is understandable as around the time this DVD was being put together Hall had a complete mental breakdown and attempted suicide.  It’s a real shame because by all accounts when he was clean, he was one of the most creative minds in the business.  Among his ideas: the Razor Ramon gimmick itself, Sting’s crow gimmick, Goldberg’s winning streak, and the Hummer angle.  Okay, well… 3 out of 4 ain’t bad.

-The Undertaker’s turn.  He makes his debut at the 1990 Survivor Series, legitimately scaring the crap out of the children in the audience.  Lawler puts over how well he played the gimmick, combined with all the visual effects and the mystique.  A year after his debut, he takes the WWE Championship at the Survivor Series.  Mean Gene says he was shocked that someone could rise to the top as fast as he could.  CM Punk says he looked like a corpse, and that you didn’t really want to look at him because it was scary and disturbing, but you had to, like a horror movie.  I just had a sudden thought: if they ever turn Undertaker heel again, they should bring back the urn, and claim it now contains the ashes of Chris Benoit.  That’s instant heel heat there.  Of course, I’m likely getting a one way ticket to hell just for thinking of such a thing.  CM Punk puts over his athleticism, and so does John Morrison.  They talk about his ability to move like a cruiserweight but still maintain that larger then life persona.  I miss that old, zombie looking Undertaker.  It was the tattoos that killed it for me.  Jim Ross puts over Taker’s gimmick matches, the Buried Alive and Casket matches, plus the Hell in the Cell.  Jim Ross says he raised the bar for every super-heavyweight from here to infinity.  Jim Ross says he will be the yard stick that all superstars are measured by.  Morrison puts over his entrance while Ross says he’s never met anyone who better represents the professionalism and integrity of the business.  Just as long as you don’t have the misfortune to be brought into the company as the result of a buy-out, in which case you have to job to whoever is his wife at the time.  Ross says there will likely not be another person as long as Ross is around with his level of influence and respect. Another brief segment.

-We finally wrap up the feature with Steve Austin.  Vince McMahon says most of the success of the company falls on Austin because he grabbed the company by the throat.  Austin grew up a wrestling fan and signed up for Chris Adams’ wrestling academy.  He quickly ended up in WCW.  We go to the Hollywood Blonds, which of course gets more over then it was supposed and they get split up.  Onto his run in ECW where he cuts some seriously awesome promos.  That’s it for that, as we move onto the WWE and his promo at the King of the Ring.  The day after the promo, there were hundreds of Austin 3:16 signs all over the arena.  Jim Cornette says they knew then they had something.  Mick Foley says the match that cemented him as the guy in WWE was the submission match with Bret Hart.  He quickly became the most popular wrestler in the company.  Onto Summerslam 1997, when Owen Hart breaks Austin’s neck on a botched tombstone piledriver.  He was paralyzed for a short period of time, but became more popular because he spent his recovery time cutting promos and raising hell.  He gives Vince McMahon his first stunner of what I would guess is around 1,000 stunners in September of 1997.  Austin spends the next couple years making Vince McMahon’s life a living hell.  Austin couldn’t wait to go to work to see what stuff they would come up with for him next.  We get to see all the crazy stuff he did with beer trucks and cement trucks, etc etc.  Vince McMahon calls him the biggest star in the history of the business, eclipsing Hulk Hogan by far in terms of total sales, buy rates, ratings, revenue, etc.  We cut backwards to Wrestlemania 14, where Austin talks about winning his first WWE Championship.  He loved the business growing up, loved being part of the business, and it was a total honor to be the top star.  And… that’s it for Austin’s part, and the entire feature.  Okay.  I’m guessing they ran out of time or something.

My thoughts?  It was fun at times, but really this felt like a sampler.  Most of the interviews and segments were rips from other DVDs.  I thought the biographies were better made then the ones from the 80s sets, which were quite dry and boring.  A few guys got screwed, including Vader, Warrior, Sid, Goldberg, and Sable.  They might not be the best workers, but neither was Kevin Nash or Lex Luger and they got their spots.

We do get some bonus features on the first disc.

Razor Ramon Restaurant Vignette (1:45): A promo early into Razor’s run where he eats like a slob and refuses to pay the bill.  “What do you want from me next, to mop the floor?  Clear the table?”  He does clear the table, slinging all the food off.

Undertaker Builds a Coffin for Yokozuna (2:45): Paul Bearer talks about the double wide double deep casket Undertaker is making for him.  A really creepy spot shows Undertaker wishing him a Merry Christmas with frost coming out of his mouth with every “ho ho ho”.  I miss THAT Undertaker.

Bret Hart New Generation Vignette (0:50): The commercial where the kid screams out Bret’s name and tells him to go get ‘em, champ.  Bret gives him his glasses and proceeds to tell him about that time he was screwed at the Survivor Series.  Not really.  You know, this whole piece is ripe for parody for Charlie Haas.

Owen Hart Inside a Steel Cage (3:50): Owen cuts a promo to build to his Summerslam 1994 cage match with Bret.  I’m a big Owen fan but I never liked him when he did these kind of promos.  I thought he was better at doing improvisational stuff.

Shawn Michaels Press Conference Before Wrestlemania XI (3:50): As boring as the title suggests.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley – “Riff Raff” (1:10): A pre-debut promo by Helmsley, smoking a pipe and talking in a horrible upper-crest accent.  Who would have ever guessed this guy would go on to be one of the biggest and most powerful stars in the business?

Mankind – “And God Created Mankind” (1:10): A pre-debut promo by Mankind, who at this point was supposed to be a cast-away childhood piano prodigy who’s mother grew disgusted by him and slammed the piano lid onto his fingers, crippling them, then sending him to live in the sewers and be raised by rats.  Yeah.

Kevin Nash & Scott Hall – Modern Gladiators (2:30): One of those edgy nWo informercials they used to run on Nitro, this one from the night after Hog Wild 1996.  Surreal stuff that actually worked.

The Hart Foundation Reunites (6:15): From Raw, March of 1997.  Bad editing makes it out like Bret is attacking Davey Boy Smith.  In fact, Bret was breaking up a match with Davey and Owen, telling them that they’re doing what the fans want.  He says the fans have kept fighting for years, when they don’t know the first thing about family values.  He turns this into an anti-American speech.  Epic stuff that led to some amazing matches and incredible heel heat.

D-Generation X Reenacts the Montreal Incident (4:25): From Raw in November 1997.  Shawn Michaels brings out Bret Hart.  Only it’s a midget wearing a Bret Hart mask.  Triple H absolutely buries Bret on the stick.  “We all knew Bret was short on charisma, short on talent, but this is ridiculous.”  Shawn holds the midget at bay, then puts him in the sharpshooter for the submission.  Fans are totally cold to this.  After they’re done, they slap a WCW tag on the midget’s ass and give him a gentle kick to send him on his way.  Big time controversial back in the day.

The Rock Reads Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Eulogy (7:35): I’m of the opinion that Rocky’s babyface promos have aged horribly, while his heel stuff is timeless.  This is no exception as he cuts a scathing promo on Austin that is hilarious.  Austin returns and kicks his ass.

Stone Cold Remembers the Shockmaster (0:55): We see the Shockmaster fall on his ass again, while Steve Austin laughs.

Time for the matches.  For those of you not familiar with my philosphy on star ratings, I think of one star as two points.  In school, a passing grade is at least 60% (D), so in my line of thinking, a three-star match would be a passing grade.  Four-stars would be a B, Five-Stars an A.  I don’t think a match needs to be absolutely perfect to earn five-stars, just entertaining from start to finish, with a uniqueness about it that makes it something special.  I also rarely score against matches ending on a DQ or some other screwjob.  Seems wrong to fault the workers when they can’t help the booking.

Disc Two

Match #1
Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair
11/30/91 Madison Square Garden

The WWE should have likely held it’s wad until Wrestlemania, but instead they started going for the quick bucks by having this main event house shows.  After selling out a few venues, they come up a few thousand fans short of a sell-out here and the whole feud is cancelled as a result.  Grumble.  Flair’s the “Real World Champion” here, but even with the censorship you can see he’s actually holding a tag team belt.  Hogan had just lost the WWE Championship to the Undertaker at the Survivor Series and was given this as a tune up to his rematch at a special one-time only pay pre view called Tuesday in Texas.

Long stall to start.  Hogan grows impatient and chases Flair around the outside.  Flair stomps Hogan as he enters the ring and chops away.  Hogan thumbs the eye and slugs it out, then fires off his own shitty chops.  Clothesline in the corner sends Flair down to the canvas with a flop.  Hogan bites Flair in the face, then tries a ten punch but the referee pulls him off while Flair flops again.  Shoulderblock by Hogan, then he blocks a hiptoss and hits a clothesline, then another clothesline to dump Flair to the outside.  Hogan slams Flair around on the outside, taking him to every side of the guardrail. Chop against the rail by Hogan and then a suplex on the floor.  I’m actually marking out for this.  Hogan punches him into the seating area, then tosses Flair back into the ring.  Flair begs off, then kicks Hogan and hits a back suplex.  Hogan no-sells it and clotheslines him, then sends him up and down in the corner.  Thumb to the eye by Flair and another chop, but that only pisses Hogan off.  He tries to slug it out but Hogan kicks him in the corner a few times, then sends him up and over to the apron, where Flair gets knocked down to the floor.  Flair tries to bail on the match, but Hogan catches him and tosses him back in the ring.  Flair tries to hang up Hogan on the top rope, but Hogan no-sells that as well.  Flair thumbs the eye again but runs into a shoulderblock.  Another thumb by Flair but he gets caught climbing and tossed off the top.  Clothesline by Hogan, then the three big punches, the big boot, and the legdrop… for two?  Yep, Flair gets his foot on the rope.  Hogan thinks he’s won and celebrates, allowing Flair to sneak up on him and kick away at the legs.  BUT WAIT~!!  Here’s Mr. Perfect to distract the ref while Flair wraps Hogan’s leg around the ring post.  Perfect takes a turn doing it as well.  Flair goes to work on the left.  He ties it up in the ropes to knot it up, then chops a few more times.  Perfect slams his leg on the apron, then Flair drops a knee, then kicks at the knee.  He slaps on the figure-four, and Mr. Perfect offers a helping hand to give him leverage.  Hogan calls to his fans for help and manages to reverse the hold, and Flair breaks.  Perfect loads up Flair’s hand with a knuckle duster, which he uses to KO Hogan.  He covers… and gets the pinfall!?  Holy poop!  BUT WAIT~!!  Some officials from the back come out and find the brass knucks in Flair’s trunks.  Hogan comes to life and takes out the trash, while the refs reverse the decision and give the match to Hogan by DQ.  Those bastards.
***1/4 Pretty entertaining for what it was.  This was wrestled more along the lines of the type of match Flair would have in Mid-Atlantic, giving the babyface 90% of the offense and using dastardly tactics to steal the win.  What was here was total non-conformist in comparison to your average Hogan match against anyone and it was a welcome and refreshing change of pace.  Makes you wish they had gone all the way with the feud, while it still might have meant something.

Match #2: WWE Championship
(c) Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
11/25/92 Survivor Series

This is a pre-hatred match between the two.  This signaled the changing of the guard, and the first the WWE Championship was contested on pay per view without either Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, or the Ultimate Warrior in the title match.  Bret is fairly over with those fans in attendance.  Shawn is the Intercontinental Champion here but his title is not on the line.  I haven’t watched this in years but I recall this being the only Bret/Shawn match I actually liked.  Here we go.  Lockup to start.  They end up in the corner, with Bret refusing a clean break.  Shawn bitches about it.  Lockup and Shawn gets a shot in and a waistlock takedown, but Bret reverses it and Shawn bails to the ropes.  Shawn shoves Bret, then Bret shoves back harder and the fans love it.  They trade arm-ringing, with Shawn yanking the hair for advantage.  Bret nips up and takes it to Shawn, grabbing a top wristlock, then turning it into an armbar.  Shawn tries to yank at the hair.  Bobby Heenan says it’s not physically possible with 65lbs of oil in it.  Shoot off and Shawn gets a drop toehold, but Bret reverses him into a hammerlock.  He drops some knees into him.  Shawn gets to his feet and reverses for his own hammerlock, but Bret shifts his balance and sends Shawn flying to the outside.  Shawn to the apron, where Bret slings him back in and grabs the armbar again.  Shawn shoots off, then Bret counters, and we end up with Bret getting a crossbody for two, with Bret flying out of the apron on the kickoff.  Bret comes back in with a sunset flip for two, then fires off an armdrag into an armbar.  Pretty good match thus far, but unlike anything the fans were used to in a world championship match in the WWE.  Shawn clips Bret with a stiff punch to the jaw, then another, with Shawn selling his own hand on it.  Pretty cool.  Shawn counters an armdrag but gets hit with a clothesline for two, and Bret goes back to the arm.  Shawn to his feet and he reaches for the ropes, but Bret yanks him to the center of the ring.  They’re making a big deal of an armbar, and I love it.  Shoot off and Bret gets a shoulderblock, but ends up getting hotshotted onto the ropes in a vicious spot.  Bret sells it like death, and believe me when I say nobody sold a move like death quite like Bret Hart.  The best ever at it.  Bret tries to fight back but the hotshot took something out of him.  He manages to reverse a shoot to the corner but he misses a charge and rams his own shoulder into the ring post.  He’s really selling it now, while Shawn continues to sell the arm injury.  These guys were such studs at this point.  Totally thumbing their noses at the feeble roid-heads that previously main evented shows.  Shawn shakes off his arm injury and gives Bret a single-arm takedown, then blatant punches to the face.  Stomp to the face, then a hardwhip to the turnbuckle, with Bret bounces like a pinball for two.  Heenan puts it over perfectly on commentary.  Rear chinlock by Shawn that is among the sickest versions of the hold I’ve seen.  Shawn torques up on it and the look of agony on Bret’s face is flawless.  Bret tries to fight out but Shawn grabs the hair to take him back down.  He continues to work the chinlock while Bret grimaces in pain.  God I love this match.  Shawn gets to his feet while holding the limp Bret by his chin.  Bret finally fights back and bounces off the ropes only run into a dropkick in the face for two.  Backbreaker for two, then back to the chinlock, with extra torque.  This is totally making everyone who uses lazy chinlocks look like wanks.  It just takes a little effort.  Bret fights back again and ducks a clothesline, then catches Shawn lowering his head and gives him a swinging neckbreaker for a short double KO spot.  Both guys get up quickly only for Shawn to punch Bret in the throat and stomp away.  Shawn with a front chancery now, but Bret’s arm only drops twice.  Bret gets to his feet and rams Shawn to the corner, firing off a few shoulder blocks.  Shawn reverses a whip to the corner, but misses a charge and Bret fires off a bulldog.  Elbowdrop off the second rope misses for Bret and Shawn covers for two.  Shoot off by Shawn and a flying reverse elbow for a close two.  Back to the front chancery, which Shawn works instead of just lying there like a lump.  Again, the contrast between these two young, smaller, athletic wrestlers and the meatheads that had populated the main event scene couldn’t be more clear.  A new era had begun here.  Bret’s arm drops twice, but he’s still alive and gets to his feet and small packages Shawn for two.  Michaels brawls Bret to the corner but misses a charge and gets back suplexed for a double KO spot.  Shawn bounces like a rubber ball for the suplex.  Shawn goes for a Thesz Press but gets caught and catapulted into the turnbuckle and we have another double KO spot.  Fans are going NUTS for this.  Bret to his feet, causing Shawn to beg off to the corner.  Bret slugs it out and sends Shawn to the corner.  Bret kicks him, causing Shawn to get crotched on the ropes.  Bret takes Shawn on the ball-killing rodeo, then fires off a backdrop for two.  Russian legsweep for two.  Backbreaker and elbow off the second rope for two.  Superplex knocks out both guys, while Bobby Heenan freaks out on commentary.  Bret recovers and drapes an arm over for two.  Shawn misses a clothesline and Bret grabs a sleeper, only for Shawn to back Bret into the corner, wiping out the referee in the process.  Only the ref recovers quickly.  A series of reversals leads to Shawn using momentum to take Bret to the outside and into the guardrail.  Shawn can’t win the belt on a count out so he bails to break the count, then sends Bret into the time keepers table.  He breaks the count again and scoopslams Bret on the outside.  He breaks the count again, then sends Bret into the ring.  Hard whip to the corner gets two.  Backdrop gets two.  Shawn bitches at the ref and gets rolled up by Bret for two.  Superkick by Shawn but it’s years before it was established as his finishing move.  He picks up Bret and sets up for his finisher, the tear-drop suplex (in reality little more then a back suplex).  Bret flips out of it, but Shawn does end up hitting it for two.  Weak move.  Years later Scott Hall and Kevin Nash said he should just use the superkick because it was the most explosive and visually awesome move in his arsenal.  Shawn’s overness instantly climbed.  Shoot off and Bret gets a forearm, causing Shawn to be tied up in the ropes.  Bret tries for a head of steam but Shawn escapes the ropes and Bret wipes out huge.  Shawn climbs and goes for a dropkick, but Bret catches him and slaps on the sharpshooter in the center of the ring for the submission.
***** I challenge anyone to tell me why this isn’t a five-star match.  Perfect pacing, awesome near falls, and it established both guys as top-level wrestlers.  This was a defining moment for both men, their way of announcing to the world that ‘we’re here.’  Sadly, fans were conditioned to believe that bigger equals better and thus Bret bombed as champion and they moved the title to the completely talentless freakshow Yokozuna.  Speaking of which…

Match #3: WWE Championship
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna
6/13/93 King of the Ring

Hogan’s last appearance in the WWE for nearly ten years.  Of course, the legend (mostly fueled by Dave Meltzer and Bret Hart) is that Hogan had refused to put over Bret Hart at Summerslam.  In reality, by all accounts outside of Bret’s, the WWE had given up on Hart and was going to try and create a new Hulk Hogan.  Wrestlemania 9 was to end with Yokozuna walking out as the champion, but Hulk Hogan convinced Vince McMahon that a babyface should walk out of the big show with the belt.  Namely him.  He promised to put over Yokozuna in huge fashion at the King of the Ring, then leave the company.  Bret has since kind of conceded that this story is true, although Vince McMahon never outright told him that he was cut out the plan.  The late Bad News Brown insists that Bret was crazy to the point that his brain wouldn’t process any news related to him not getting a push.  Regardless, we have this match.  Most internet fans in the early days of Rec.Sports.Pro.Wrestling and anyone who had access to the Wrestling Observer knew this was it for Hogan, but that left 99.9% of the fans who figured this would just be another routine title defense for Hogan.  Boy were they ever wrong.  In fact, Hogan never once defended the championship after winning it at Wrestlemania 9.  Things were pretty bitter between Hogan and McMahon, with the pressure of a federal drug trial looming on Vince and Hogan not wanting to be dragged into it and forced to admit that he was a steroid user.  Hogan was actually off the gas by the King of the Ring, and as a result he had suffered an amount of shrinkage not seen since my grandmother walked in on me jerking off when I was 14.  He looked to weigh about 240lbs or less at the time.  Because of the weight loss, he did seem more spry, but he certainly didn’t look that tough anymore.  Anyway, Vince and Hogan weren’t even talking by time the show came around and Jimmy Hart was basically acting as a liaison between Hogan, who walled himself up in his dressing room, and the bookers and Yokozuna as to how the match would go.  Randy Savage on commentary brings up how some people felt it should have been Bret Hart vs. Hulk Hogan here, which likely contributed to the rumors that Bret was screwed out of a spot here that was never in the cards to begin with.  As nutty as it sounds, they really were committed at this point to putting Crush over as the next Hogan by Summerslam.

To the match.  Stall and circle leads to a lockup.  Neither guy can muscle out of it.  Long lockup leads to Yokozuna muscling Hogan out of it.  Yoko smacks away at Hogan and fires some chops and back rakes.  Headbutt and some karate stuff by Yoko, then a clubbing blow to send Hogan to the ground.  Scoopslam with ease for Yoko, then more brawling.  Despite clearly being more limber, Hogan still bumps like a pussy as Yoko whips him to the corner.  Yoko goes for the big ass splash in the corner but Hogan moves out of the way and slugs it out.  Ten punch by Hogan and some biting, then Hogan threatens to knock out the referee.  What a sport.  Big clothesline in the corner, and through the use of clever camera effects it looks like it moves the ring.  He goes for a slam but his back gives out and Yoko slugs it out some more.  Hogan fights back and goes for a slam again, but only manages to get one leg up before Yoko takes him out.  Match kind of sucks but it did set up the hot angle with Luger slamming him on the 4th of July.  Yoko brawls him some more but misses a couple clothesline and Hogan gets one of his own.  Another clothesline by Yoko doesn’t fall.  A third one misses and Yoko takes him down.  Yoko goes for a big splash but that misses.  Big shoulder block but Hogan bounces off of Yoko, who slings Hogan off the turnbuckle and slaps on a bearhug.  Bobby Heenan puts over how Hogan’s weight loss means Yoko can apply the move even tighter then he ever would have.  Heenan was the best ever at putting over the psychology of a match.  The bearhug goes on forever.  Better then a nerve pinch, I guess.  Hogan finally fights back and slugs it out, but his back is screwed up and Yoko nails him with a back elbow.  Belly to Belly suplex by Yoko, which Hogan oversells, but it’s HULK UP TIME~!!  No-sell, no-sell, no-sell, shaking, finger point, punch, punch, punch, but big boot only staggers Yoko.  Another big boot still fails to knock down Yoko.  A third one does take him down, and Hogan drops the leg… for two.  Hogan can’t believe it.  Mr. Fuji gets up on the apron but gets taken out by Hogan.  Then a camera man gets up on the apron.  Hogan gets close to him, and his camera shoots a fireball in Hogan’s face.  Yoko hits a throat-chop to take Hogan down and drops a huge leg for the pin and the championship.  Areba dircha, Senor Hogan.  Just to make a point that Hogan is finished, Yoko clotheslines him once more and then hits the Banzai Drop.  When Bobby Heenan declares Hulkamania dead, it’s not hyperbole.
*3/4 Yoko looked incredible in victory here, and that was kind of the point.  After the match, the announcers put over how Hogan could not slam Yokozuna, that Yoko kicked out of the legdrop, and that he beat Hogan with his own move.  Of course, it would have been better for Yoko to win cleanly, but otherwise they couldn’t have done a better job of making a case for Yokozuna to be the next big thing.  Not a great match or anything, but it’s a must view.  Yoko was only meant to be a transitional champion for Crush, and after that was aborted, Lex Luger.  But the best laid schemes of mice and men most often go astray.  In this case, nobody got over enough to take the belt off of Yoko (except Bret Hart, who had failed to draw in his brief run as champion) and he went on to stink up the main event scene for the next nine months and kill ratings and buyrates way worse then would have ever happened under WWE Champion Bret Hart.  But that’s just my opinion.

Match #4
Bret Hart vs. Owen hart
3/20/94 Wrestlemania X

Lockup, they draw nothing, so Owen celebrates.  Fireman’s Carry by Owen, into a head scissors by Bret, but Owen nips up and celebrates some more.  Waistlock takeover by Bret, but Owen gets a break.  Waistlock takeover by Owen, but Bret sandbags him out of the ring.  Owen gets back in and bitch slaps Bret, then begs away into the corner.  Owen Hart was always a brilliant cowardly heel.  They trade hammerlocks, Owen works in a drop toehold into a headlock, but Bret turns it into a mounted hammerlock.  Flippy wristlock sequence, Owen pulls the hair for advantage, but Bret nips up.  Rollup by Bret for two, then armdrag into an armbar.  Into a hammerlock, but Owen elbows out.  Leapfrogs and Bret ends up hitting a monkey flip, then dumps Owen with a clothesline to the outside.  Owen tries to bail on the match, Bret throws him back in the ring, then tells him to get to his feet.  Push-off, Bret returns the bitch slap from earlier then schoolboys Owen for two.  Back to the armbar, Owen shoots him off but Bret hits a crucifix for two, then back to the armbar.  Owen shoots off and gets a spinning heel kick for two.  Owen stomps away.  To the outside, Owen picks up Bret and rams him into the post.  Headbutt, whip into the buckle, stomping, backbreaker, and camel clutch by Owen.  Bret elbows out of it, but Owen catches a belly-to-belly suplex for two.  Crossbody by Owen is rolled through by Bret for two.  Back to the chinlock by Owen, but he gives that up and tries for a slam, but Bret falls on top for two, then bails.  German suplex, legdrop for two by Owen.  Small package by Bret gets two.  Tombstone piledriver by Owen, then he climbs, but misses a big splash off the top.  FIVE MOVES OF DOOM time!  Atomic drop, clothesline for two by Bret.  Russian legsweep gets two.  Backbreaker, elbow for two.  Owen catches an enziguri, then goes for the Sharpshooter.  Bret fights out and goes for one of his own, but Owen rolls through.  Rollup by Owen gets two.  Plancha by Bret, but he hurts his knee.  Owen starts to work the leg with some dragon whips, and then he posts the knee a few times.  Legdrops and a sort of figure-four.  More leg whips, then a true figure-four.  Bret reverses, so Owen rolls to the ropes.  Owen goes back to the knee, kicking Bret on the ropes, but Bret fights back with an enziguri of his own.  Hard whip to the turnbuckle by Bret, legdrop gets two.  Bulldog gets two.  Vicious looking piledriver gets two.  Superplex off the very top gets two.  Sleeper by Bret, but Owen gets a low blow to fight out of it.  Sharpshooter by Owen, reversed into a Sharpshooter by Bret, but Owen catches the ropes.  Bret goes for a victory roll, but Owen lays down on it for the clean pin.
***** The best opening match to any pay per view ever, and one of the best matches of all time.  Nothing more I can say about it, really.

Match #5: Intercontinental Championship
(c) Razor Ramon vs. Diesel
4/13/94 Superstars

Brawl to start.  Fans are super duper hot for this one.  Razor wins the slugout and sets up for the Razor’s Edge right off the bat, but Diesel backdrops him.  Big boot misses and Ramon punches him around some more, knocking him out of the ring.  Razor catches him on the apron, but Diesel hits a hangman, then returns to the ring with a clothesline.  Big elbows in the corner, then whips to the corners and a sidewalk slam for two.  Snake eyes by Diesel and the head of steam as we cut to a commercial.  We’re back with Diesel hitting an elbow for two.  Head vise now.  This goes on for a while, but Razor fights out by actually giving the huge Diesel an electric chair for a long double KO spot.  Ramon recovers first and covers for two.  Slug out.  Ramon gets a foot up in the corner and hits a face buster off the ropes for two.  Scoopslam gets two.  Shawn to the apron, only to get knocked off by Ramon.  Diesel takes advantage now but gets slung into the corner, into Shawn Micahels again, who flies off the corner but takes the top turnbuckle pad off with him.  Diesel reverses a whip to the corner, causing Ramon’s back to eat the exposed turnbuckle pad.  KICK WHAM POWERBOMB~!! finishes for Diesel to give him the IC title.
3/4* Diesel was not ready for prime time at this point, but the WWE almost always strikes while the iron is hot and Diesel was getting seriously over.

Match #6: WCW International World Heavyweight Champion (aka the Big Gold Belt)
Big Van Vader vs. Sting
5/22/94 Slamboree

Although both Sting and Vader were really hot going into this match, this was basically their last hurrah on top of WCW as Hulk Hogan was set to come in a couple months later and there was only room on top for him.  Title is vacant here as Rick Rude was bounced from the company again.  Lockup and Vader takes Sting to the corner but breaks clean and does a Japanese bow.  Weird.  Long circle with a small section of fans turning Sting a bit, chanting “Sting must die!”  Vader starts to beat the crap out of Sting in the corner with lots of stiff shots, causing Sting to bail.  More punching by Vader and Sting falls to the canvas again.  Nasty clothesline, then a long stall, allowing Sting to come back with some punches and a low-looking kick that causes him to fall down to the apron.  Vader pulls off his mask and HOLY SHIT, LEON WHITE IS VADER!  This is a major revelation.  What a treat.  All that’s left for me to do is find out Mr. America is and my life will be complete.  Stall session, and then back in Sting teases a suplex… and actually hits it.  You know, they really should have saved that spot for later in the match and built to it a little more.  Vader ducks a clothesline and smashes Sting in the face with his body boxer.  Vader stands on Sting’s face, then hits the pump splash off the rope for two.  Another pump splash gets two as Sting grabs the rope.  Shoot off the ropes and a body boxer into an variation of a deathlock.  He turns it into a modified STF and then mounts some punches.  Vader kicks away at the leg, then ties up Sting’s leg in grapevine leglock.  It gets a couple near falls.  More punching by Vader but Sting goes nuts and drops him with some solid punches.  Big elbowdrop leads to a double KO.  Vader recovers first.  This match is like an old woman: no flow left in it.  Vader drops an elbow on Sting then shoots a cover, only he doesn’t hold it on and drops a big elbow in the gut for two.  This is such a strange match in how lethargic these guys are moving.  Sting pokes him the eye but misses a flying clothesline and wipes out the referee.  HUGE one-handed chokeslam by Vader gets nothing as the ref is out.  Harley Race to the apron with a chair.  He swings and Sting but misses and feebly hits Vader.  Looked like poop.  Sting hits a DDT and covers for two.  Sting dumps Vader to the floor with a clothesline, then suplexes him over the ropes and back in the ring.  Then he clotheslines him out the other side.  Vader climbs back in the corner, allowing Sting to go for the Stinger Splash.  Vader catches him and powerslams him, but Harley Race demands something more evil for the finish.  Vader climbs for the MOONSAULT THAT SHALL NEVER HIT~!! which of course misses.  Sting covers while Harley Race climbs the ropes.  He dives for a headbutt but Sting moves out of the way and he hits Vader with it.  Sting climbs and hits a big splash off the top for the pin and the title.
** Very strange match with weird pacing, no flow, no psychology… this was a total phone in effort, but both guys were so good together that even when they half ass it they pull off something better then three quarters of the shit WCW would replace them with later in the year.

Match #7: WWE Championship
(c) Diesel vs. Bret Hart
1/22/95 Royal Rumble

Bret tries to out wrestle Diesel and manages to do it, so Diesel decides to turn it into a slugoff, which he wins out on.  Bret goes for a crossbody but gets caught and slammed.  Elbow misses for Diesel but he fights Bret off and dumps him to the floor.  Bret to the apron and they slug it out there, which Bret loses.  Bret can’t win a slugout with Diesel, so he grabs his leg and rings it around the post.  Bret pounces on the leg, dropping elbows and slamming it on the mat.  Diesel to his feet but Bret stays on him like a pitbull.  Figure-four in the center of the ring.  Sadly, Diesel’s “moans of pain” look more like yawns.  He manages a rope break, but Bret doesn’t let go right away, then goes straight back to the legs.  Another figure four, but Nash isn’t exactly selling it like Razor Ramon did earlier.  Plus, half the fans want Bret to win and half want Diesel to win.  Another rope break, and Bret holds it for a little extra time.  Suicida through the ropes, huge pop for that, and Bret slugs away.  Bret slams him into the ringpost, but Diesel sends Bret into the ring stairs.  Diesel whips Bret into the corner, and he’s being pretty spotty in his selling of the injured leg.  SICK sideslam for two.  Huge pop for that.  I mean damn, it’s usually a pretty mellow move.  That time, it was with gusto.  Backbreaker into a hold.  Bret slips out of it so Diesel covers for two.  That was weird.  Diesel isn’t even bothering to sell the leg now, and Vince McMahon points it out on commentary.  Bret gets whipped hard into the turnbuckle again and Diesel goes for the powerbomb but it’s not the powerbomb, it’s a standard backbreaker hold.  Bret slips out and grabs a sleeper, but Diesel shoots him off and plasters him with a big boot and a legdrop for two.  Bret fights back with a kick to Diesel’s face and a diving clothesline for two.  Diesel catches Bret climbing and goes for a press slam but Bret falls on top for two.  Bret pulls Nash’s legs out of the ring and ties them together using his wrist tape.  Sort of a silly gimmick, but the fans loved it. The ref unties Diesel after Bret gets some free stomps in.  FIVE MOVES OF DOOM~!! Bulldog for two.  Russian Legsweep for two.  Backbreaker and an elbow off the second rope for two.  Diesel up and Bret dumps him to the outside.  Plancha by Bret is caught by Diesel and Bret gets smacked into the ringpost.  Bret’s out of it, so Diesel calls for the powerbomb.  Fans *boo* Diesel.  Powerbomb to Bret… for two as Shawn Michaels breaks up the pin.  The official decides the match will continue, with both guys knocked out.  So Diesel should have won by DQ.  Bret goes after the leg which was injured and no-sold fifteen minutes ago.  Bret looks like a total chump now, for no decent reason other then they didn’t want Diesel to win clean.  Figure four again by Bret and now the fans are clearly bored.  Hilarious bit on commentary… Vince McMahon accidentally calls Diesel “Big Daddy Tool.”  I’m still laughing.  Nash slugs out of the move but Bret ties his leg up in the ropes, then doesn’t let go of it, which should be another DQ finish.  It’s strange booking to say the least, as it looks like everything is being fixed for Bret.  What’s the point of this?  Sure, it would pay off later in the year the Survivor Series, but at this point it seems like they’re trying to turn Bret heel.  But the fans are clearly in favor of Bret.  Strange.  Diesel slugs out of it and gives Bret a gutwrench suplex.  Running big boot in the corner misses for Diesel and Bret rings Diesel’s leg into the post.  Bret grabs A CHAIR AND HITS DIESEL’S LEG WITH IT, and now the fans are booing Bret.  The referee doesn’t DQ Bret on the spot, so he slaps on the Sharpshooter, but Owen Hart runs in and attacks Bret.  Owen removes the turnbuckle pad and whips Bret into it.  However, the referee rules the match MUST CONTINUE!  This is beyond stupid booking.  Both guys look like huge chumps now.  Diesel limps his way into a cover for two.  Diesel tries to smash Bret into the exposed turnbuckle but Bret manages to smash him instead.  Bret actually slugs down Diesel, and the fans behind Bret again.  Diesel slugs it out and Bret’s foot gets caught on the ropes.  Diesel jumps off the ring apron, which should be painful, what with his injured leg.  Diesel grabs a chair but Bret gets out of the ropes.  Bret fakes an injured leg, then rolls up Diesel for two.  Another move that would payoff at the Survivor Series.  The ref gets wiped out by accident and suddenly Michaels, Backlund, Owen, Jeff Jarrett, and the Roadie run in and the match ends in a huge clusterfuck double DQ.
*** The wrestling honestly wasn’t that bad.  The booking on the other hand, was total garbage. It did more to hurt the WWE then any single match did, pretty much ever, making the hot upstart champion Diesel look like a scrub who couldn’t beat a guy half his size.

Match #8: Women’s Championship
(c) Bull Nakano vs. Alundra Blayze
4/3/95 Raw

Given Madusa’s status on the WWE black list, the fact that any match featuring her would make it’s way to a compilation DVD shocks the shit out of me.  Nakano had beaten Blayze in Japan the previous November for the belt and wasn’t expected to keep the title for long.  Five months later, she would finally drop the belt back.  Bull jumps her to start and takes her down.  She climbs to the second rope but Alundra catches her with a hand-stand head scissors.  Nakano slings Alundra by the hair a few times, which Alundra sells pretty good.  Legdrop gets two.  Bull grabs a half-crab, so Alundra grabs the ropes.  Bull rides Alundra face first on the canvas, but Blayze becomes a house of fire with multiple clotheslines and a kick to the face.  Dropkicks off the ropes by Alundra gets two.  Sunset flip attempt but Bull sits down on it for two.  Bull ties up Alundra like she’s going to put on a sharpshooter, but then lifts her up off the ground with her arms in a human muffler.  She lets go of it and hits a piledriver for two.  Bull climbs but Alundra dropkicks off the corner and to the floor.  Blayze hits a crossbody off the top and to the floor, but in the ring she gets caught in a rana with a powerbomb by Nakano for two.  Scoopslam and a legdrop off the top rope gets two.  Waistlock by Bull is turned into a rollup by Alundra for two.  Another waistlock by Bull is turned into a german suplex… for two.  I figured that was the finish.  Another gets two.  Alundra climbs but gets pushed off the top, hitting her arm on the stairs on the way down in a move that really had to hurt.  Alundra fights back on the floor and hits a german suplex out there.  She gets reversed on a whip and sent into the stairs.  Back in, Scoopslam by Nakano but her moonsault misses and Alundra Blayze hits another german suplex for the pin and the title.
**1/4 Not bad actually, even if it made Blayze’s finisher look weak.  The way they did it I’m guessing was meant to make Bull Nakano look strong, but it failed.  Still, an entertaining and fast paced match.

Disc Three

Match #9: WWE Championship, Tag Team Championship, & Intercontinental Championship
(WWE Champion) Diesel & (Intercontinental Champion) Shawn Michaels vs. (Tag Team Champion) Yokozuna & (Not actually a tag champ) Davey Boy Smith
9/24/95 In Your House
Stipulation: Whoever gets pinned loses their title.  Can you see the screwjob coming?

Death Percentage: 50% by May of 2002.  Throw in Owen Hart and it’s 60%.  Horrible.  Owen Hart is ‘injured’ here and thus Davey Boy Smith takes his place.  Apparently Diesel and Shawn are collectively known as the “Dudes with Attitude” here, which is also the name of a fairly infamous Nintendo Entertainment System game made by American Video.  Most know it as one of the ‘worst games for the system.’  Actually, despite it’s extremely basic and crude graphics and horrible sound effects, it’s one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  I would call it ***1/2.  Everyone has a few crappy games  they like.  It’s one of mine.  Anyway, Michaels starts with Davey Boy.  Lockup and Davey grabs a headlock into a hammerlock.  They trade it around, with Shawn flipping out of a suplex attempt.  Shawn counters a few takedowns, then backdrops Davey and dumps him to the floor with a clothesline.  Yokozuna comes in but Shawn manages to punch him out too, then Diesel helps him and dumps him to the floor as well.  Yokozuna is seriously fat here, likely weighing close to 600lbs.  Yoko tags in, and Diesel says “yo little dude with attitude, you ought to tag me.”  But Shawn is like “big dude with attitude, I’ve got this guy.”  Shawn challenges Yoko to a sumo match, but slides under his legs and slugs it out, only to be killed with a backelbow.  Long stall by Yokozuna, followed by a scoopslam.  Yoko misses an elbow and Shawn tags Diesel, who gets killed with a clothesline.  Shoot off and Diesel misses a clothesline and hits a flying one of his own.  Big boot sends Yoko to the floor.  Diesel reaches down to pull Yoko in, but Davey Boy comes in without a tag and slugs it out.  Welcome to amateur hour as Davey goes for his delayed suplex but starts to lose his grip so he lays Diesel down ever so gently on the canvas, then does it properly.  Davey slugs it out in the corner and throws some shoulderblocks.  Snapmare into a chinlock.  Davey cuts off a comeback and slams him in the corner, then goes for his running powerslam but Diesel fights out and brawls him from corner to corner.  Tag to Michaels who climbs, then hits a flying splash on Davey Boy for two.  Davey picks up Shawn in a press slam and then crotches him on the ropes.  Tag to Yoko who elbows Shawn off the ropes and to the floor.  Davey slams Shawn into the stairs then tosses him back into the ring, where Yoko chokes him with his foot.  Punching in the corner, then a whip to send Shawn up and over to the apron.  Yoko stomps Shawn off the apron and to the floor, where Davey slams him.  Davey with the tag.  He brawls Shawn around then hits a high backdrop for two.  Jim Ross points out how Shawn and Diesel never actually lost the tag titles the first time they held them.  Davey with a chinlock but Shawn fights out and gets a sunset flip for two.  Crossbody for two but Davey gets up quick and clotheslines Shawn down.  He jaws with Diesel to draw him in the ring, allowing Yoko to come in without a tag and get smashed around.  Snapmare by Yoko into the dreaded (for the fans) nerve pinch while Davey waves the Japanese flag.  Shawn tries to fight back but Yoko takes him down with a headbutt.  Yoko goes for the Banzai Drop but misses.  Jim Ross claims he has a sixth sense.  A sixth sense?  I’d venture a guess that if you could read Yokozuna’s mind, the only thing you would hear is “FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD” and in that case what’s mind reading going to do for you?  Besides, if Shawn had a sixth sense he would have known better then to go bar hoping with Davey Boy and Sean Waltman.  Anyway, tags around.  Diesel brawls Davey Boy around and backdrops him.  Snake eyes in the corner and a head of steam. Sidewalk slam, then Yokozuna comes in the ring.  The Dudes use their attitude to whip the heels into each other.  Yoko falls on top of Davey Boy and starts to suffocate.  Shawn wipes out Jim Cornette while Yokozuna gets a Samoan Drop on Diesel but Shawn hits him with sweet chin music to send him out of the ring.  Bulldog with the powerslam to Diesel but Shawn saves him with that with an elbowdrop off the top rope.  BUT WAIT~!!  Owen Hart is alive and well… well at least he was back then… and he comes out to make the save by going for a sledge on Diesel, but gets caught and it’s KICK WHAM POWERBOMB~!!  to Owen Hart… not actually in the match mind you… for the pin and the tag titles.  Ohhhhh kay.
** Very weird tag match that was devoid of a good heat segment for the babyfaces and some really weird pacing issues.

The next night on Raw, the titles were given back to the heels because Owen, although a tag champion, was not actually in the match.  So the WWE, which claims the golden rule is ALWAYS give the fans the matches as advertised, screwed the fans over twice.  Once by giving them the significantly less good Davey Boy instead of Owen, then chumping out on actually changing a title, which was GUARNTEED going into the show.  Following Raw, a very large amount of fans who ordered the show were calling their cable companies demanding their money back.  It was a mess.  And man, what a horrible finish to the actual match.  I always pictured a bunch of WWE executives watching WCW Uncensored from that year where Hulk Hogan won a strap match against Vader by beating Ric Flair and someone saying “What an ingenious way to screw over the paying fans and bury one of their best workers in the process.  Gentleman, we have to steal it.”  They then went back to twirling their curly mustaches and drowning kittens while laughing in maniacal ‘muwahahaha’ fashion.

Match #10
Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart
2/18/96 In Your House

Winner faces the champion at Wrestlemania 12.  This is the match to payoff the ENZIGURI OF DEATH storyline where the WWE followed the real life Syracuse beatdown of Shawn Michaels by having Owen Hart kick him in the head and short circuit his brain.  This was actually a brilliant storyline and the one that put Shawn in a position to be the champion as his reactions following it were insane.  To the match, where Owen starts by saying he’s going to kick Shawn in the head again.  Shawn is all like “don’t think so, bro!” and they have a showing match.  Shoot off and Shawn slides under Owen’s feet and bails to high five all the ringside fans, including kissing some fuggly chicks.  “Last time I saw a face like that it was on an iodine bottle… and he kissed it!” says Lawler in disgust.  Back in, Owen grabs a headlock but Shawn shoots it off and Owen bails this time.  He reaches for high fives from the fans, who are cool enough to play along with the idea and leave Owen hanging.  Hilarious stuff.  Owen doesn’t really get a chance to ham it up too much because Shawn climbs and hits a crossbody off the top and to the floor.  More high fives from the fans to Shawn.  Back in, Shawn climbs and hits sledge off the top for two.  Shawn takes down Owen and prances around on his back.  Owen up only to get grabbed in a headlock, and man, Shawn kind of looks like a dick here.  Headlock goes on forever, until Owen tries to shoot off.  Shawn cuts it off by grabbing Owen by the hair and yanking him back into the headlock.  Ref tells him he has to break it, so Shawn lets go for a half a second then reapplies it.  Jim Cornette is aghast at ringside and bitches at the ref.  While the ref isn’t looking, Shawn starts shaking Owen by his hair, then slaps on the head like while nobody is looking.  Fun spot, big smiles from all the fans.  They do it again and the fans are laughing.  Cornette bitches on the apron while Owen shoots off.  Shawn gets a shoulderblock only to walk into a head lock.   Both guys nip up, then Shawn hits a frankensteiner and some mounted punches.  Shoot off by Shawn but he lowers his head, leading to Owen shooting him off and hitting a belly to belly overhead throw.  Stomping by Owen and a backbreaker, then more stomping.  Shoot to the corner and a neckbreaker for two.  Owen tries for the sharpshooter but Shawn fights him off.  Owen keeps the stomping up and then pulls back on his arm and head.  Camel clutch by Owen.  Jerry claims he invented it.  The sharpshooter too.  I miss Jerry Lawler pimping Owen Hart.  He always came up with outrageous stuff to say about him.  Shawn fights back but Owen hits a kitchen sink kneelift and a jackknife cover for two.  Chinlock now.  Shawn elbows to escape but Owen connects with a spin heel kick to the head that looked sick but miserable fuckwit Kevin Dunn had the wrong camera angle for it.  They fight for a suplex on the apron, with Shawn winning out but Owen landing on his feet.  Shawn dives for a crossbody but Owen catches him with a powerslam on the floor.  Owen rolls him back in and climbs.  Missile dropkick hits for two.  Uppercuts in the corner, then Owen shoots him across the ring but Shawn rolls him up for two.  Owen tosses Shawn to the corner, sending him up and down, where Owen meets him with a sick clothesline.  Owen lightly kicks at his head like he’s checking for signs of life, then slaps on the sharpshooter.  Shawn reaches for the ropes but Owen pulls him to the center of the ring.  Shawn crawls again and makes the ropes.  Scoopslam and some snot rockets by Owen, but Shawn rolls him up for two.  This leads to Owen hitting the enziguri, and the announcers start to use their sad voices.  Shawn falls out of the ring and the referee starts to count, but Owen is feeling cocky and tosses him back in the ring.  He wants to win by pinfall and covers for two.  Fans didn’t buy it as the finish at all and what should have been a big dramatic moment goes over like a fart in church.  Owen tosses Shawn in the corner but misses a charge.  Atomic drop gets two.  Flying forearm and a nip up.  Punches and a flying back elbow.  Scoopslam and the flying elbow off the top, causing Jim Cornette to get on the apron.  Shawn knocks him off and goes for Sweet Chin Music.  Owen catches his foot and goes for the enziguri again, but Shawn ducks this time and hits the superkick for the pin.
**** Excellent match, good way to put over Shawn being fully recovered from the original injury, even if I think it was a mistake to do so.  I think it would have made the iron man match better if Bret Hart was given the option to work Shawn’s injured head, but the WWE felt that would make Bret look too heelish and decided he needed to be fully recovered from the head injury angle by Wrestlemania.  Not the way I would have gone, but if they must end the angle, this was the best way to do it.  This set is really quality so far.

Match #11: WWE Championship
(c) Shawn Michaels vs. Vader
8/18/96 Summerslam

So as the legend goes, Shawn refused to put over Vader here.  It’s not actually true, but who has time for facts when smart marks need fuel for their blind hatred?  The truth is Shawn had bombed as champion and the WWE was just waiting for someone, anyone, to get over enough to take the title off of him.  They thought it would be Vader but he didn’t work.  Then they tried Mankind, and although they had what was, for my money, the match of the year in 1996, Mankind wasn’t over enough to take the title.  Then Sycho Sid caught fire and they could actually justify moving the title off of Shawn, if only for a bit.  Anyway, I haven’t watched this match in over ten years, but I remember it being awesome.

Vader enters and shows what a tough guy he is by picking of the stairs and slamming them.  Well, the stairs likely weigh only a little less then Shawn, so I guess he made a point.  Six minutes after clicking the match on the DVD, we get to the first lockup.  It goes nowhere.  Second lockup but Vader unloads with his nasty ass punches and a short arm clothesline. Shoot off but Shawn catches a big boot and sweeps his legs out.  Dropkick to the face by Shawn and then some kicks Vader’s head while he’s on the canvas.  More punches by Michaels and this match is already totally non-conformist to Shawn’s normal style.  Shawn gets out of a backdrop then uses momentum to swing Vader to the outside.  Shawn then baseball slides Vader and hits a no-hands plancha on the floor.  Shawn comes out of the ring to spook Jim Cornette away, then tosses Vader back in to drop a sledge off the top.  Frankensteiner by Shawn and he gets up on Vader’s shoulders and ranas him to the floor, skinning the cat to get back in.  Not a bad match by any means but man is Vader looking like a pussy here.  That ends when Shawn ends up on Vader’s shoulders on the outside but this time he can’t get the rana and Vader powerbombs him in the floor.  Vader takes some time to recover, then scoops Shawn up and walks him up the stairs, dumping him like a sack of shit over the top rope and back in the ring.  No real point to that other then to show that Vader has Shawn physically.  Vader punches Shawn in the corner, then kicks him in the gut to knock him out.  Suplex by Vader but he doesn’t cover.  He takes Shawn to the corner and clubs away at him.  Vader whips Shawn from pillar to post, sending Shawn up and over to the floor.  Shawn to the apron where Vader headbutts him down, then shoots him off and backdrops him.  Vader feels good but Shawn tries to fight back.  Vader yanks the hair, but Shawn flips out of a backsuplex and slugs it out some more.  Vader gouges the eye to stop him and shoots him to the corner, but he misses the body boxer.  Clothesline doesn’t miss, and the crowd groans.  Another suplex attempt but Shawn flips out of it and slugs it out with him.  Pretty obvious that’s not the best strategy here.  Vader side-steps a charge and sends Shawn over the ropes, but Shawn grabs on and skins the cat, trying to grab Vader in a rana, but Vader overpowers him and simply launches Shawn face first onto the canvas for two.  Clutch neck vise by Vader that looks like poop.  Shawn fights back and hits a running knee to the gut.  Clothesline doesn’t effect Vader at all.  Shawn tries to slide under him but Vader catches him with his feet.  He goes for an ass splash but Shawn gets a knee up to hit him in the balls.  Clothesline again and this time it takes Vader down and calls for the flying elbow.  This part was discussed in Shawn’s book.  He wanted to do something he hadn’t done before, so the plan called for him to go for the flying elbow, have Vader roll out of the way, yet have Shawn land on his feet and then hit him with an elbowdrop.  Only Vader forgot to move out of the way.  Shawn lands on his feet, nothing from Vader, so Shawn gets pissed and legitimately stomps Vader in the face and screams at him to move.  Goddamn, that looked vicious.  Vader is audibly and visibly pissed, but the match continues.  Should be interesting from here on out.  By the way, Shawn noted in his book, “I shouldn’t have yelled at Leon.  I liked him and he was good.”  Take that for what you will.  Shawn shoots Vader off but gets reversed, only to hit a flying crossbody that sends both guys over the top and to the floor in a pair of sick bumps.  Shawn’s in a foul mood now so he smacks at the camera when it gets too close to him.  Vader picks up Shawn then and press slams him onto the guardrail, then returns to the ring… and wins via countout.

BUT WAIT~!!  Jim Cornette is pissed that Shawn keeps the title, calls him a pussy and demands he returns to the ring.  Shawn agrees to and the match is restarted.  Vader doesn’t wait for Shawn to get away from the aisle and takes him out there.  Jim Cornette smacks Shawn in the back with the loaded tennis racket while he’s at it.  Back in the ring, Vader hits the body-boxer splash in the corner and hits a belly to belly for two.  Fans seem to have bought that as the finish.  Vader calls for the powerbomb but Shawn punches him down on it.  Flying forearm, nip up, and Shawn tunes up the band.  Jim Cornette grabs at Shawn’s feet and tosses the racket to Vader, but Shawn gets it first and beats on Vader and Cornette with the racket.  Vader grabs a chair, but the referee has already disqualified Shawn Michaels.

BUT WAIT~!!  Jim Cornette claims that Shawn intentionally got himself DQed so that he wouldn’t lose the title and wants the match to continue.  Shawn agrees and Gorilla Monsoon orders the match to continue.  Vader misses a butt splash and Shawn hits a flying elbow, then drops the elbow off the top.  He tunes up the band and hits Vader with Sweet Chin Music… for two?  Holy poop.  Fans are stunned.  Shawn tries for a bulldog, but Vader shoves off and the referee gets wiped out.  Vader hits the powerbomb and covers, but there’s no ref.  Another ref is close by and comes in to counts for two.  Vader drags Shawn to the corner and goes for the pump splash off the ropes, but Cornette tells him to go to the top for the MOONSAULT THAT SHALL NEVER HIT~!!, which misses.  Shawn climbs and hits a diving moonsault onto the standing Vader for the pin.  Lots of officials enter the ring as they saw things break down between them early and given Vader’s reputation from WCW, wanted to make sure things didn’t go bad after the match.
****1/4 This was a period when Shawn I believe was physically incapable of getting less then four stars on pay per view.  Big man vs. little man matches are my favorite type and this was no exception.  Hard hitting, unique ending that doesn’t piss me off as much as some, and even some shooting.  This is the set that keeps on giving.

Match #12: Steel Cage Match
Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
8/3/97 Summerslam

These two had been feuding since the 1997 King of the Ring, and this was going to be the blow off.  However, it was decided that Mick should wrestle Triple H as Cactus Jack at Madison Square Garden a month later.  Again, this is an escape-only match, using the big blue cage.  Triple H starts by diving for the cage door, but Mick saves.  Mick brawls him.  Trips tries to escape, but Mick pulls him down.  It’s so weird to watch Triple H circa 1997… he’s so much smaller then he is now.  Mankind brawls him in the corner, and hits the Cactus knee smash.  Stump puller piledriver by Mick.  He  goes for the door, but Chyna is there to stop him, so he decides to go back to Trips.  Mick gets the claw on, but Chyna climbs the cage and chokes Mankind with her… uh… choker.  Foley fights off and climbs the cage, but Chyna climbs up and punches him in the butt, which was meant to be his balls I guess.  Triple H gets a super-Superplex off the top of the cage, nearly missing it and killing himself.  Trips goes for the door, but decides to punish Mick, and rams him full force into the cage, which doesn’t give.  He repeats into a different side, and this time the cage almost gives out.  A third cage ram, and Mick is just going high impact here, and the blue cage sucks ass for getting your head rammed in it.  Ouch.  Trips pounds Mick into the cage.  This looks brutal.  Triple H tries to escape, but Mankind grabs his foot.  Trips fights off, but Mankind saves again.  Mick whips him into the corner, and hits a knee.  Chyna again interferes, and punches Mick.  Trips hits an atomic drop, but Mick hits one of his own and gets a clothesline.  Triple H works in his facebuster, and goes for a suplex, but Mick reverses and hangs Trips upside down on the cage, then splashes him.  Neat.  Trips gets rammed into the cage a couple time.  He goes for a clothesline, but gets backdropped into the cage.  NASTY looking.  Trips climbs the cage, but Mick saves and crotches Trips on the ropes.  Trips gets his foot tied up in the ropes, and Mick goes for the cage.  However, Chyna absolutely slams the door into Mick’s head, severely injuring him legit.  Mick called it the second most painful injury of his career.  It wasn’t Chyna’s fault.  Mick told her that he likes to do things full force, and his wife verified it.  Not in those words.  Chyna throws a chair in the ring, and Trips goes for the pedigree, but Mick reverses and slingshots Triple H into the cage, knocking Chyna out.  Double-Arm DDT on the chair for Mick, and he starts to climb, but the crowd is chanting Superfly.  Mick almost escapes the cage, but the crowd gets to him, and he takes off the mask.  He pulls off his shirt, to reveal… nothing.  It was supposed to be a heart, representing Dude Love, but instead of using paint, they used magic marker, which had run off due to sweat.  Smart people.  He drops the big elbow on Triple H, then escapes the cage to win.
**** Good match, pretty dang high-impact.  It wasn’t a technical masterpiece, but Triple H and Mick Foley were always good together, and this match showed it.

Match #13: WCW Championship
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. Lex Luger
8/4/97 Nitro

Luger was set to face Hogan for the championship six days later at Road Wild, but had somehow earned a title shot here as well to celebrate the 100th episode of Nitro.  Pretty much everyone figured this was going to be your average Nitro main event, turning into a giant clusterfuck with Tony Schivoani screaming to “BUY THE PAY PER VIEW!” while they faded to black.  Instead… lockup to start.  Luger counters a hammerlock with one of his own and they break on the ropes.  Lockup and Luger shoves off.  Stall, circle, and lockup that goes nowhere.  Hogan starts to brawl and takes Luger down in the corner.  Choke with the foot, elbow to the throat, then a clothesline and a few elbow drops.  Hogan rakes his foot across Luger’s face, then clotheslines him in the corner.  Scoopslam and a blatant choke.  Slam into the corner, then another, but Luger blocks a third and does a ten-slam on Hogan. Luger kicks and punches away from Hogan in the corner, but gets his eyes poked as we go to a commercial while Hogan grabs a chinlock.

We’re back as Hogan has Lex in a bearhug.  Luger escapes, but Hogan keeps stomping away.  Suplex gets two.  Back suplex gets two.  Punches and a chop and Hogan covers for two.  More chops from Hogan that are about 100 times better then the ones he did against Flair in the first match of this set.  Hogan keeps pounding away at Lex and hits the big boot for two.  He whines to the referee, then scoopslams Lex.  Legdrop hits and he covers… for two.  Hogan doesn’t really sell it as much as he should, and instead pretty much goes instantly for a second legdrop.  It misses and Lex is alive.  He clotheslines Hogan, BUT WAIT~! because here comes Scott Hall and Kevin Nash and Randy Savage .  Luger clotheslines him and tosses him into Nash.  He catches Savage coming off the top rope and dumps him, then throws on the torture rack to Hogan… for the submission!!  Fans go completely ape shit.  I can say that in over twenty years of watching wrestling and being a ‘smart fan’ more or less since I was very young, I have seldom been floored by any outcome of a match.  But this one really shocked me.  All the WCW wrestlers run out to celebrate with Lex in what was a truly great moment, likely the highlight of Lex Luger’s career and the first time the nWo really was made to look bad.  He would drop the title six days later on the pay per view.
***1/4 Not a masterpiece or anything, but one of the better matches Hogan had during his run as a heel, and likely the last good match Luger ever had.  The commercial break actually helped in this case, cutting out a couple rest holds and making it look like they were keeping up a fast (for Hogan and Lex) pace through-out.  I enjoyed it, though I’m sure some out there will bitch at me for it.

Match #14: WWE Championship
(c) Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker
8/30/98 Summerslam

I’m of the opinion that Austin and Undertaker had no chemistry together, which sucks because then were matched together about five million times on pay per view and another dozen or so times on Raw.  Even worse, Austin was knocked out cold on his feet at one point in this match, so I’m fearing the worst.  Brawl to start, with Austin taking it to the corner so the Undertaker can reverse it like he does every single match.  Taker shoots off Austin into the corner and covers for two.  Austin is pissed and flips off Taker.  They lockup up and Austin grabs an arm ringer.  They trade reversals on it and Austin schoolboys Taker for two.  Drop toehold by Austin and a grounded wristlock.  Austin holds onto the arm for a while, then Taker shoots him off.  In the spot that knocked Austin out goofy, Taker lowers his head, Austin kicks him in the face, Taker swings his head up and catches Austin right in the chin with it.  Austin falls back, and according to him the referee leaned over and asked if he was okay.  “Where am I?”  Austin said.  “At the Garden.” said referee Earl Hebner.  “Really?” said Austin.  Taker picks up Austin, who is all rubber-legged and woozy.  He would continue to be so for the remainder of the match.  Austin kicks away and fumbles his way through a suplex, but Taker quickly reverses it.  He drops some elbows while Austin gets his wits about him.  Austin slugs it out with some weak looking punches.  Austin goes for the Thesz Press but Taker turns it into a hotshot for two.  Austin is still seeing stars from the botch earlier, while Taker smacks him around.  His timing is all off as Taker brawls him around.  Shot to the throat by Taker and some kicks.  Shoot to the corner causes Austin to collapse.  According to him, he was trying to buy himself some time but Taker kept coming at him.  Austin says “fuck it” and rolls to the outside, then catches Taker’s leg and starts to whack it around and ring it on the post.  Back in, Austin brawls him around but eats the flying clothesline and a blatant choke.  Taker rings Austin’s arm and goes for the rope walk, but Austin yanks him off and starts to stomp away.   BUT WAIT~!!  Here comes Kane.  But Undertaker doesn’t want his help and sends him to the back.  So Austin brawls him around some more, then chases Kane off, then starts to whack Taker’s leg again on the apron.  Taker catches Austin and chokeslams him over the apron and into the ring.  Taker gets up, then Austin clotheslines him to the floor.  On the outside, Austin brawls him around and they take it into the stands.  Never could stand these spots as the fans always have to reach out and slap them, never giving them room to work.  The camera can’t catch any of it either, and they get completely lost in the mob.  Automatic loss of at least one star in my final rating.  Austin loads up a piledriver, which Taker reverses with a backdrop on the concrete, but we can’t see it because the miserable fans have to hold up their fucking signs instead of watching the goddamn match.  I’m in favor of banning signs for everyone with floor seats.  Tell your congressman today.  Back to the ringside area, where Austin blocks getting rammed into he ringpost, so Taker just tosses him back in.  Austin slugs it out and it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER~!! but Taker escapes and bails out of the ring.  He catches Austin coming at him and rams him into the post.  Back in, Taker brawls away in the corner, then side-steps an Austin charge and sends him to the floor.  Taker preps the Spanish announce table, then tosses Austin onto it.  Blatant choke on the table, while Undertaker gets in the ring and climbs.  He drops a leg off the top and onto the table, which does not give and both guys slide off.  Austin had to be fucked up after this match.  Taker recovers and tosses Austin back in the ring and covers him for two.  Austin is spitting up blood as Taker tosses him into the corner, but misses a splash.  Austin is out and can’t fight back, so Taker brawls him around some more and tosses him into a corner.  Austin gets a foot up this time but still can’t follow it up and Taker brawls him some more.  Shoot off and a double clothesline leads to a double KO.  Taker recovers at seven and covers for two.  Slugout in the middle of the ring with Austin winning out and smacking him into the ropes.  Thesz press and FU elbow.  Shoot to the corner is reversed by Taker and Austin bounces off the turnbuckle, backing up into Taker.  He tries to apply the Stunner but Taker falls back on it, taking Austin with him in a spot that looked like shit.  Austin covers anyway for two.  This match sucks.  Undertaker loads up a chokeslam and calls for the end.  He sets up for the Tombstone, but Austin wiggles out so we can get more horribly executed spots.  In this case, he goes for the stunner but Taker catches him, then seems to draw a blank on what to do.  He ends up crotching Austin on the ropes and hitting a Russian leg-sweep… for a double KO?  Oh, so he could do the zombie sit-up.  I see.  He winds up Austin for the rope walk, but Austin punches him in the balls on the way down and hits the KICK WHAM STUNNER~!! for the pin.  Taker grabs the belt after the match and hands it to Austin out of respect.  Considering which direction the storyline would take, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but whatever.  Kane comes out to watch with his brother as Austin celebrates.
* Sloppy match, though after Austin got his bell rung a minute or so in that was to be expected.  After that, every spot was messy looking and their timing was way off.  Not a good choice at all for the DVD.  Only redeeming value for me is now I don’t have to write a recap of it ever again.  Of course, the sad news is there are twenty or more Austin/Taker matches I haven’t had to sit through yet.  I live in constant fear and break out into a cold sweat every time I check a new DVD’s match listing.  Even sets that have nothing to do with these guys.  I’m always afraid the WWE will throw in a Taker/Austin match just to fuck with me.

Match #15: United States Championship
(c) Bret Hart vs. Sting
10/25/98 Halloween Havoc

A dream match that should have been treated with reverence and an ungodly amount of hype, right?  WRONG! This was third, maybe forth, on the hype priority list for this pay per view.  Well, at least their match was aired for the pay per view feed was cut off in most of the markets.  Always a silver lining.  Sting is part of Wolfpac here, and looking like a total douche with the red face paint.  I never thought it was becoming of him.  Bret bails up the aisle way before the match even starts.  Bell finally rings and Bret bails again to huge hate hooing.  He then jaws with a fat chick at ringside.  Bret stalls forever on the outside, and Sting grows as impatient as the fans do.  He catches Bret on the aisle at the exact moment a soda hits Bret right in head.  Sting tosses Bret in the ring and stomps away.  Ten punch follows and a clothesline.  Sting tosses Bret into the turnbuckle, then again, and Bret is moving kind of slow here.  Atomic drop gets two.  Punch to the face by Sting but Bret fights back with some punches and a rake across the ropes.  DDT gets two.  Atomic drop and a clothesline by Bret as the fans chant “Bret Hart Sucks!”  Headbutt between the legs by Bret and a legdrop gets two.  Headbutts to the lower back, then some weak choking against the ropes.  Elbowdrop gets two and Bret grabs a chinlock.  Sting charges but catches an elbow to the gut and another choke on the ropes.  Bulldog by Bret and a stomp off the ropes into a choke with the foot.  Small package by Sting gets two.  Russian-legsweep by Bret and he goes for a dropkick or something off the second rope, but Sting catches him and hooks in the scorpion deathlock, but Bret is right next to the ropes.  Sting stomps away and slings Bret to the center of the ring for two.  Mounted punches while some moron at ringside is holding his sign upside-down.  Shoot off seems to knock Bret out as he claims he blew his knee out.  The ref breaks Sting away from him, giving him a chance to load up his hand with some brass knucks.  Sting clotheslines him to get the Knucks, but the referee catches him and takes the knuckledusters, allowing Bret to get a low blow.  Stomp between the legs by Bret and a backbreaker sets up the elbow off the second rope.  He hits it for two.  This match is so lifeless.  Bret dumps Sting to the floor and brawls him up the aisle.  He drops Sting on the guardrail and celebrates in the ring.  Bret’s hair was seriously out of control at this point.  Throw some brown paint on him and he would have looked like Haku.  Sting to the apron where Bret clubs him.  The ref taps Sting on the shoulder to see if he’s okay, leading to Sting elbowing him.  Oops.  Bret follows that up with a legdrop on the official that made me laugh, along with the crowd.  It was just so random.  Sting comes back and starts to kick at Bret.  Shoot off and a clothesline that looked vicious.  Sting goes for a ten punch but stops at one.  Sting charges but Bret gets a foot up.  The referee is wiped out in the center of the ring and giving these guys no room to move.  What a train wreck.  Sting catches Bret climbing and superplexes him off the top, with the referee’s foot going up Bret’s ass upon impact.  Big groans from Mike Tenay, seeing what happened.  That’s gotta hoyt.  Wouldn’t be shocked if the ref’s foot was broken on that either.  Stinger splash by Sting hits… only he gets too high on the jump and knocks himself out in the process.  Oh my god, this is comedy gold.  Anal penetration and Sting knocking himself out.  What next?  Bret grabs Sting’s baseball bat and beats on Sting like he was wearing Vince McMahon face paint or something.  Bret drops the bat on Sting from the second rope, then revives the referee, still knocked out cold from the legdrop.  If it’s that powerful Bret should just use the legdrop as his finisher.  Bret shakes the referee to life and then slaps on the sharpshooter for the knockout victory.
*1/2 Total garbage.  Poorly paced, fairly heatless, slow, and some really poorly conceived spots.  A dream match that turned into a nightmare.

Match #16: Strap Match
Triple H vs. The Rock
7/25/99 Fully Loaded
Special Stipulation: Winner gets to face the champion at Summerslam in a one-on-one match assuming the champion is willing to do the job.  Well that’s an oddly specific stipulation for a match.

Rocky runs down Triple H on the stick before the match starts, asserting that he was held back from 1996 to 1999 because he sucked, not because of the MSG incident.  This isn’t a traditional strap match, as the winner is by pinfall instead of by corner touching.  Rock slugs it out to start without hooking in the strap.  Trips rolls out of the ring, so Rocky grabs the strap and slings him into the post.  Rocky puts the strap on and grabs some fan’s camera to take a picture of the situation.  Trips comes back and slugs it out, but misses a whip with the strap and Rocky smacks him on the table.  More brawling, with both guys giving and taking.  Trips drops Rocky on the announce table and then smacks him on the back of the head.  We finally get into the ring, where Trips slugs it out.  Rocky fights back with a punch and a clothesline.  Clothesline by Trips and more punching.  Borrrrrrinnnnnnngggggg.  Trips keeps smacking Rocky around, then takes it to the outside for more punching.  Rocky fights back by whipping Trips into the steel stairs in a pretty good bump.  Rocky slams his head into the stairs, then tosses Trips over the guardrail and into the seating area.  Thankfully the fans don’t swarm them.  Trips fights back and drops a punch to the back of Rocky’s head.  Mounted punches and then more crowd brawling, but Rocky fights back and uses the strap to sling Trips over the guardrail and to the aisle.  More punching, but Trips uses the strap to ram Rocky into the guardrail.  Rocky fights back with that with more punches and stuff.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz Trips whips Rocky into the entrance structure and clotheslines him on the concrete.  Trips starts to whip Rocky across the back and face, then stomps him.  Christ, this match reminds me why I was so terrified of Triple H winning the championship.  Rocky reverses a suplex with one of his own on the floor and covers for two.  Triple H throws Rocky into the guardrail for two.  Back to the ringside area, finally, where Trips whips Rocky onto the stairs and mounts some punches on it.  Back into the ring, where they slug it out only to have Triple H catch the flying knee.  BUT WAIT~!!  Chyna finally comes to the ring to help.  Chyna up on the apron, which pisses Triple H off in an angle I don’t remember at all.  Trips jaws with her and then turns around right into the Rock Bottom for… nothing as the referee is jawing with Chyna now.  Trips fights back with a low blow and we have a double KO.  More punching from Trips, then he takes forever to set up a lynching of Rocky in the corner.  He spends the next couple minutes murdering him, but Rocky apparently doesn’t need air and is able to recover and sling Trips off the top.  Rocky fights back with a clothesline and a Samoan drop for two.  Trips tosses Rocky to the outside, then takes the strap off.  They’re not really using it too much anyway so who cares at this point?  He brawls Rocky up the aisle and grabs a chair, but Rocky fights back with the strap and whips away at him.  He takes him back in the ring, where they slug it out.  Roundhouse DDT by Rocky gets two.  BUT WAIT~!!  Billy Gunn runs in and hits Rocky in the head with a club… for two.  Trips brawls him around, KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~!! but Rocky counters and hits the people’s elbow for two as Billy Gunn pulls Rocky off.  Rock Bottom to Billy only for Trips to hit the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~!! for the pin.
1/2* Boring match.  Way too much punching, hardly any use of the strap, and just as far from entertaining as possible.  And thus what was one of the best WWE DVDs in years goes out on a trio of low notes.

BOTTOM LINE: Discounting the horrible final three matches, this is still a pretty good set.  You get five matches that are **** or better, two of which are five-star perfection.  Nothing gets totally offensive to the senses until the Austin/Undertaker Summerslam disaster.  You get a few lost gems like Shawn/Bret from the Survivor Series and Hogan/Flair from MSG.  It’s not perfect, but at $20 it’s an easy thumbs up.topstory500x250-http://media.insidepulse.com/zones/wrestling/uploads/2012/03/Undertaker-500×250.jpg|topstory500x250 topstory120x120-http://media.insidepulse.com/zones/wrestling/uploads/2012/03/Undertaker-120×120.jpg|topstory120x120

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Alternate Reality by Vin Tastic – The son also rises… http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2008/09/08/alternate-reality-by-vin-tastic-the-son-also-rises/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2008/09/08/alternate-reality-by-vin-tastic-the-son-also-rises/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2008 12:00:22 +0000 http://pulsewrestling.com/?p=77290 In any profession, there’s a special interest in sons and daughters who carry on in the family business a generation later. Although these legacies were bred for success from the moment they were conceived and likely grew up learning the ins and outs, sometimes the expectations of them are so great and the spotlight so bright that nobody could ever live up to the massive amounts of hype. But when one of them does make it big, their careers are truly special to behold.

TODAY’S ISSUE: Family legacies.

Due to the publicity surrounding pro sports and its wild, global popularity, the restaurateur who takes over his family’s dining establishment and continues successfully will never be highlighted on such a grand scale as the athlete who succeeds his parents. Nor will the fourth-generation military man or the great-grandson of a mason who goes into construction ever taste the fame as that of a child who follows his mother or father into the glamorous world of professional athletics. The sporting world loves to watch a legacy carry on the name, and see how well the mantle suits them.

Peyton and Eli Manning have done their father Archie proud, and Laila Ali, the daughter of “The Greatest” had a very successful (if a bit controversial) run as a professional boxer, including a match against another legacy, Jackie Frazier-Lyde, in what some dubbed Ali/Frazier IV as a reference to the famous trilogy of bouts between their legendary fathers. There are countless other examples, but what’s pertinent here is that fans and critics have a special place in their hearts for the children of warriors from a previous era.

Pro wrestling isn’t immune to this phenomenon; it’s always exciting for fans of the elder stars when their children lace up boots of their own and attempt to follow in those big footsteps. Consider the old days when kayfabe was strictly enforced, before fans knew wrestling matches included pre-determined outcomes or that the grapplers were actually working together to put on a good show and protect each other as much as possible. In this tight-lipped environment, family members had the ideal opportunity to see how each “trick” was performed from behind the curtain. In fact, many successful stars from my childhood were second-generation wrestlers. With the business in their blood as children, and legends playing with them and babysitting them all their lives, these ring warriors seemed to have every advantage in learning and excelling at the most unique hybrid of performance and perspiration known to man.

Ted DiBiase, Macho Man Randy Savage, Barry Windham, Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig, the Von Erichs, Cowboy Bob Orton, Greg the Hammer Valentine, Jake the Snake Roberts (and his less famous half-brother Sam Houston and half-sister Rockin’ Robin), Greg Gagne, and countless other stars from that era are included on the list of wrestlers whose parents donned the tights before them, and men like Eddie and Chavo Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Jeff Jarrett, Dustin “Goldust” Runnels, and Brian Christopher (Lawler) carried that tradition through to the next era.

An extensive and very successful Samoan wrestling clan, the Anoa’i family, includes Afa and Sika, Fatu and Samu, Yokozuna, Umaga, Rosey, Tama, the Rock (in some, perhaps non-blood related way), and several other less famous pro wrestlers, not to mention pro boxer David Tua. Even reigning TNA world heavyweight champion Samoa Joe claims familial connections to this phenomenal gene pool of wrestling talent. While the exact family tree can be a bit dicey to decipher, somebody’s carrying on in the proud tradition of his father in that family, and hopefully having more children as well. The business will never tire of talented Samoans.

Unfortunately the list of second-generation performers who underachieved (at least on the national circuit) is substantial, including but not limited to David Sammartino, Bobby Duncum, Jr., Leaping Lanny Poffo, David Flair, Kevin Christian (Lawler) and Erik Watts. They just didn’t explode onto the major league scene like several other children of former stars were able to do. One has to wonder what makes one legacy a success and another a failure. Perhaps it’s lack of talent, lack of interest in the business, lack of support from promoters, lack of physical gifts, or lack of a superstar look. In any event, it’s a loss to the industry when somebody with that much knowledge and pedigree doesn’t have a long, prosperous career and spread the seed of their father’s successes to another age of performers.

In Mexico and Japan, it’s a great honor when the identity of a retiring legend is passed down to another wrestler. Lucha libre is replete with “juniors” like Rey Mysterio, Jr. and El Hijo del Santo (son of the Saint), and puroresu will sometimes feature a masked grappler with a Roman numeral after his name, such as Tiger Mask IV. Eddie Guerrero shares no DNA with Silver King or Rocky Romero so the passing of the Black Tiger torch, while entertaining, isn’t the same as Ray Mendoza passing down his “Villano” name to his five sons, who each added a number when taking the title, as in Villano II, Villano III, et cetera. Many of these successors are not actual biological descendents of the original, but there’s a greater emotional significance when such a bequest stays in the family.

And when you talk about keeping things in the family, you have to mention Stu Hart. Patriarch of one of the most successful wrestling families ever and a legendary performer, trainer, and promoter, Stu and his wife Helen raised twelve children in Calgary. All four daughters married wrestlers, and seven of the eight boys became pro wrestlers, while the eighth worked as a referee. Stu’s most famous son, Bret the Hitman Hart, led the family charge and stood for the things Stu himself believed in throughout his storied 24-year career. Bret won championships all over the world and was a key figure in one of the WWF’s most talked-about eras.

Tragically, Stu’s youngest son Owen quite literally died for the business. In addition to being one of the genuine good guys, some feel he was well on his way to eclipsing the Hitman. Owen certainly possessed all the tools of the trade, and he knew how to work a crowd. Taken way too soon, his death was a horrible loss for so many who loved him so much. With their rich contributions, there’s arguably no other family in the history of professional wrestling that made as much impact on the landscape of the industry as the Harts. This legacy lives on in the long list of successful, famous pros trained in the infamous Hart family “Dungeon” wrestling school.

Anyone who reads me regularly knows I’m no McMahon fan, but even I must admit that Vince Jr. took his father’s company from a successful, if relatively humble outfit to a global phenomenon, whether I agree with his business tactics or not. Vince’s third-generation offspring Shane and Stephanie didn’t do too badly either. Shane-O-Mac was far better in the ring than he had any right to be, hanging with some of the best ever and holding his own in countless big-time matches, while Steph did a great job as the on-screen wife of Triple H, then later as the General Manager of SmackDown! for a time.

You’ll notice I made no mention of Steph’s in-ring wrestling career… trust me, some things are better left unsaid. There is nobody who grew up more deeply involved in the business than these two siblings, and it shows. They clearly inherited their father’s charisma and ability to whip a crowd into a frenzy, either in support of the silver-spooned ones, or in hopes of seeing them get the spankings good old JR speculates they didn’t get as children.

In what can only be described as good for the business, there’s currently an influx of next-generation talent in McMahon’s one-ring circus known as World Wrestling Entertainment. In a nod to his father’s “Million Dollar Man” gimmick, Ted DiBiase, Jr. dubbed himself “simply priceless”. DiBiase is one of several third-generation grapplers in the modern era, including the Rock, Randy Orton, Nattie Neidhart, and the perfect son Joe Hennig, who’s being trained by none other than multi-time former world champ Harley Race (and Joe’s even taken to wearing a “Mr. Perfect” style singlet). Joe’s sister Amy is also under a developmental deal, so we may one day see the “Perfect Combo” on WWE television.

This new batch of progeny succeeding their famous fathers has a lot of long-time fans very excited, and the prospect of some sort of “Children of Legends” stable is starting to become more and more likely, especially with the recent interaction on RAW between Orton, DiBiase, and his partner Cody Rhodes, the son of another living legend, the American Dream Dusty Rhodes. Cody’s older, half-brother Dustin enjoyed a modest run or two in the biggest promotions in the land (as well as a couple of disappointing stints in TNA), but he never seemed like the breakout superstar that his younger brother Cody will become. The kid has it all, and McMahon really seems to like him. Stay tuned to see how Rhodes and his pals fare in WWE. Most fans agree that any faction consisting of next-genners will be a great deal of fun to watch.

When legacies burst onto the scene, proudly bearing their last names like badges of honor, there’s both a feeling of nostalgia and a sense of carrying on traditions, making these wrestlers very special to lifelong fans. They have the world at their feet, and a leg up on all their competitors vying for top television spots. We are literally seeing the future of the business develop before our eyes, and that’s a rare treat. The wrestling world is quickly becoming the land of the rising son.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.

p.s. – “Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.” – Deuteronomy 24:16

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Elsewhere on Pulse Wrestling this week…

WWE’s Unforgiven ppv included three major title defenses in their new concept match, with two of the straps actually changing hands. Did our staffers predict them or not? Check out the Rasslin’ Roundtable to find out, then compare to Steve Murray’s live coverage. Thomas Daniels also adds his two cents with 10 Thoughts on Unforgiven.

Mark Allen discusses finishing maneuvers in his latest installment of Historically Speaking.

Figures guru PK provides Pulse Wrestling’s official rankings for the WWE, TNA, and ROH rosters.

David Brashear discusses the tag team known as the Destruction Crew in this week’s Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past.

In his Cult of ROH column, John Wiswell scribes a phenomenal opening chapter in the complicated, highly unusual life and times of the cult leader and once love-struck emo-puppy Jimmy Jacobs. A must read!

Mark Buckeldee is all over puroresu once again this week with his third installment of Puro Shukan.

ROH Ace Pulse Glazer analyzes the ring entrances of their major players in Ring of Honor Weekly.

Mark Neeley takes a rare look at what WWE developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling brings to TV.

Finally this week, IWC icon Scott Keith takes a look at Greg Gagne’s turn in the hot seat on Guest Booker.

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