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Alamodome – San Antonio, Texas – Sunday, January 19, 1997

Vince McMahon, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Intercontinental Championship Match – Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Goldust

Helmsley has been the Champion since 10.21.96, and this is his seventh defense. He has his new “butler” Mr. Hughes with him, while Goldust of course has Marlena in his corner. Goldust attacks the Champion in the aisle and the fight is on. They make it to the ring but are quickly back outside again as Goldust is dominating. Goldust uses the steel steps as a weapon, but doesn’t get disqualified. Back in the ring Helmsley tries making a comeback but Goldust has an answer for everything he does. The champ gets the advantage on the floor, but then tries a running knee and Goldust moves, causing the champ’s knee to hit the steel guardrail. Goldust then hits the knee with the steel steps, once again with no disqualification. Back in the ring Goldust continues to focus on Helmsley’s knee, also throwing in some outside the ring attacks as well. Helmsley ducks a cross body block and Goldust crashes to the floor. We actually get a break from the action for Todd Pettengill to interview country singer Colin Ray in the picture-in-picture. Oy. After several minutes of Helmsley in control, Goldust is able to make the comeback. Goldust goes up top and misses an elbow drop. Hughes gives Helmsley the Intercontinental Title belt, so Marlena distracts the Champion with a kiss. That allows Goldust to get control of the belt and deck Helmsley with it. Goldust covers but Hughes pulls Helmsley out of the ring. While the referee and Goldust get distracted with Hughes, Helmsley hits Goldust with a clothesline. Helmsley then hits the Pedigree to get the pin and retain the title at 16:50. That felt even longer than it was, and these two never had chemistry as opponents. The finish also took forever and seemed a little bit overdone.
Rating: **

Comments from the Rumble participants

Roll call – Bret Hart and Mankind. That’s it for now.

MATCH #2: Faarooq vs. Ahmed Johnson

Faarooq’s entourage was enormous at this point. Ahmed rushes in and attacks right away. He is dominating (no pun intended) the early going and Faarooq seeks solace on the floor. There is no solace found though, and Ahmed hurls Faarooq into the ring post. Back in the ring Ahmed continues to control the fight, even whipping Faarooq with a belt. Much like the first match, the referee is allowing a lot of leeway. Faarooq comes back and uses a steel chair to take control, again with no disqualification. Back in the ring Faarooq focuses on the kidney region, which is where he originally injured Ahmed, costing him the Intercontinental Title. Ahmed starts to fight up but Faarooq cuts him off with a spinebuster. That doesn’t do much damage though, as Ahmed pops up and hits a spinebuster of his own. That brings the Nation of Domination into the ring and the referee finally calls for the bell at 8:44. That was pretty dull stuff and kind of a lame finish. I get that the feud needed to continue, but it just kind of came out of nowhere.
Rating: *¾

After the match Ahmed beats on whatever Nation members he can get his hands on. Ahmed sets up the steel steps and delivers a Pearl River Plunger to an unnamed member through the French Announce Table.

Comments from the Rumble participants

Roll call – Terry Funk. That’s it. They cut over to Todd Pettengill, who is with the Nation of Domination. Both Faarooq and Crush will be in the Rumble match later, along with Ahmed Johnson.

MATCH #3: Vader vs. Undertaker

Both of these men will also compete in the Royal Rumble match later on. These two behemoths start out slugging right away. They go back and forth, with Vader using his power and Undertaker sitting up and stuff. The brawl spills to the floor and both men are cutting a pretty impressive pace given their size. Undertaker actually hits a Fame-Ass-Er! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do that before. The two pro wrestlers continue to have a stiff match as Pettengill talks to some rubes in the crowd. I hate that – talk to the fans in between matches. Vader has actually controlled a bulk of the first 10 minutes, using his size to keep Undertaker on the mat. Undertaker fights back with a back suplex and both men are down. The Dead Man gets to his feet first but misses an elbow drop. Vader tries to capitalize by going to the second rope but Undertaker catches him with a powerslam! That was impressive. Undertaker next shrugs off a Powerbomb and hits a flying clothesline. He goes up and hits Old School. Paul Bearer makes his way out as Undertaker hits a Chokeslam. Undertaker gets distracted but is still able to knock Vader to the floor. He goes out and decks Bearer, and then throws him into the ring. Vader makes his way back to the fight and Bearer is safe for now. Undertaker and Vader spill to the floor, where Undertaker tries to leap off the steel steps but Bearer pulls Vader out of the way, causing Undertaker to hit nothing but guardrail. Bearer drills Undertaker with the urn. Back in the ring Vader hits the Vader Bomb to score the upset pin at 14:21. Vader and Bearer leave together and Undertaker beats up the referee before threatening Vince McMahon. The match was a pretty good power struggle in the beginning, but then collapsed under the weight of too much Paul Bearer. Vader would have looked more impressive getting a somewhat cleaner pin, but it was still pretty clean for beating Undertaker.
Rating: **¾

Comments from the Rumble participants

Roll call – Stone Cold Steve Austin cuts his usual awesome promo from this time, and then the British Bulldog promises to win the Rumble because he’s bizarre. I don’t get it either.

MATCH #4: Six-Man Tag Team Match – Fuerza Guerrera, Heavy Metal & Jerry Estrada vs. Perro Aguayo, El Canek & Hector Garza

In the interest of full disclosure, I do get access to a lucha TV show where I live, and I tried to watch it for a number of weeks but I just could not get into it. Lucha is just not my favorite style but I promise to give this match a fair shake. Metal and Garza start the match with some mat wrestling. They make tags to Aguayo and Estrada, and they exchange holds. Aguayo dumps Estrada to the floor and teases a dive but doesn’t go through with it. Guerrera (Juventud’s father) and Canek tag in for their turn. Not much happens there and we’re back to the two young guys, Garza and Metal. They fly around the ring at a rapid pace and wrestle to a standoff. Aguayo and Estrada tag back in, but Canek gets in before any more contact is made. Okay then. Neither team gains any kind of sustained advantage, as they continue to exchange moves and things. Guerrera gets bumped to the floor and Aguayo teases another dive but once again doesn’t go through with it. Finally the Technicos isolate Metal and focus on his right leg. The match breaks down and becomes a little tough to keep up with. Estrada gets sent to the floor and Garza wipes him out with a corkscrew plancha from the top rope. In the ring Canek slams Metal to the mat, and Aguayo sort of hits a double stomp from the top rope. Aguayo adds a lame elbow drop and that’s enough to get the pin at 10:58. Even by my Lucha standards that was pretty bad, with no flow at all, botches all over the place, and an exceptionally weak finish. I can see why this didn’t exactly catch on with WWF fans.
Rating: *

MATCH #5: Royal Rumble Match

They are going with 90-second intervals this year. Crush is entrant #1, and Ahmed Johnson got #2! That’s bad news for Crush. Crush attacks right as Johnson slides into the ring and the Rumble is underway. Next up at #3 is “Razor Ramon.” He lasts about five seconds before Ahmed throws him out. Faarooq comes out to distract Ahmed, who foolishly jumps over the top rope, eliminating himself. Next up for Crush at #4 is Phineas Godwinn. They brawl for a bit and then Stone Cold Steve Austin is #5. Crush tries telling Austin what to do and it backfires. Phineas eliminates Crush, and then Austin hits him with a Stunner and throws him to the floor. Bart Gunn is #6 and Austin makes quick work of him for his second elimination. Jake “The Snake” Roberts is making his sixth Rumble appearance at #7. These two have history, as Austin beat Jake to win the King of the Ring in 1996, the night Austin 3:16 was born. Austin eliminates Roberts. One of Austin’s chief rivals, the British Bulldog is #8. Bulldog hits the Running Powerslam. Next up is AAA superstar Pierroth at #9. The Sultan comes out at #10, and he’s got The Iron Sheik with him. Not much happens and the legendary Mil Mascaras is the #11 entrant. Intercontinental Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley is the #12 man in the ring. Bulldog eliminates Sultan. More random brawling happens and lucky #13 is Owen Hart. Bulldog goes to eliminate Austin and Owen sneaks up from behind and dumps Bulldog out! Goldust is #14, and he has unfinished business with Helmsley. WE reach the halfway point with the 20-year-old Cibernético at #15. Cibernético lasts less than two minutes before Mascaras and Pierroth dump him out. Marc Mero is #16. Mascaras then dumps Pierroth, and then executes a dive from the top rope, effectively eliminating himself. What an idiot. Then again that rule changes year-to-year so who could blame him for trying. Goldust clotheslines Helmsley to the floor. Next up is Latin Lover at #17. Oen eliminates Goldust. Faarooq comes out with the #18 draw. He quickly eliminates Lover, and then gets clobbered by Austin. Ahmed Johnson then makes his way to the ring with a giant 2×4 and chases Faarooq out of the ring with it. Owen and Mero fight near the ropes and Austin eliminates both of them at the same time. Savio Vega is #19 and he goes right after his formal rival Austin, the only other man left in the ring. Austin makes quick work of Vega and is all alone in the ring. Jesse James comes out at #20 and Austin gets rid of him too.

Then shit gets real as Austin’s blood rival Bret “Hit Man” Hart is #21! This is phenomenal booking. The two enemies tear into each other and the crowd is losing it. Bret dominatesthe tired Austin until #22 is announced, and it’s Jerry “The King” Lawler. King gets up from the commentary table and gets in the ring, and Bret immediately eliminates him with a hard right hand. The #23 man in the ring is “Diesel.” Middle aged and crazy Terry Funk is #24. Rocky Maivia coems out with the #25 draw. Mankind is #26 as the ring is filling back up. Things get Funky as Flash Funk is #27. I wonder if he’s related to Terry. The Mastadon Vader is #28. Hog farmer Henry Godwinn is #29. The field finishes up with Undertaker at #30. Vader dumps Flash to the floor. Undertaker removes Godwinn from the match. Mankind eliminates Maivia, and then Terry Funk. Undertaker gets rid of Mankind. Funk and Mankind get into a fight on the floor and the referees try to break it up. We’re down to the Final Five – Bret Hart, Stone Cold, Vader, Undertaker, and “Diesel.” Something tells me one of those guys shouldn’t be there. Bret eliminates Austin, but the referees don’t see it! Austin sneaks back in the ring to eliminate Vader and Undertaker at the same time. Bret eliminates Diesel and then Austin eliminates Bret, and this time the officials see it and Austin wins the Rumble at 50:27! This one had some dead spots, but Austin being out there for most of it really helped it get through those dead spots. As soon as Bret came out this match was golden, and the finish is arguably the best in Rumble history.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #6: WWF Championship Match – Sycho Sid vs. Shawn Michaels

Sid has been the Champion since 11.17.96, and this is his third defense. The Champion shows off his power in the early going. Michaels fights back with his spee and tenacity. He kicks Sid to the floor. He goes out after him and tries a whip into the apron but it gets reversed. Back in the ring Michaels goes up top and Sid catches him on the way down with a powerslam for two. Sid then makes Michaels humble with the Camel Clutch. Michaels gets out of it but is quickly overpowered and dumped back to the floor. Sid focuses on the back and just abuses Michaels in inhumane ways. This goes on for quite some time, and whenever Michaels tries to make the comeback Sid cuts him off. Eventually Michaels finally does make the comeback, bodyslamming Sid and following with a flying forearm. Michaels goes up top and hits Hail to the King. The band tunes up but Sid catches it and dumps Michaels to the floor. Sid follows him out and delivers a Powerbomb on the floor! Jose Lothario and his kid try to get involved but Sid will have none of it. Back in the ring Mihcaels fights back right away and the referee gets bumped. Sid hits a huge Chokeslam but there is no referee to count. A second referee comes out but can only get to two. Sid strikes the second official just for fun. Jose gets up on the ring apron to distract Sid, allowing Michaels to use one of the ringside cameras as a weapon. That’s called a receipt, kids. The original referee crawls over to make the cover but Sid kicks out! Moments later Michaels hits Sweet Chin Music to get the pin and regain the title at 13:49. Shawn was legitimately battling the flu during this match so it definitely felt substandard and not to the level of their Survivor Series match. It was a decent David versus Goliath match with a foregone conclusion for a finish, but 1997 Shawn is still amazing so there is fun to be had in watching this.
Rating: ***topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF Royal Rumble 1996 (Shawn Michaels Diesel) Wed, 07 Jan 2015 17:00:37 +0000 rumble 93-97

For an easy-to-search archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

Selland Arena – Fresno, California – Sunday, January 21, 1996

Vince McMahon and Mr. Perfect are on commentary. On the Free-For-All before the pay-per-view broadcast, Duke “The Dumpster” Droese beat Hunter Hearst-Helmsley, and as a result Droese will enter #30 in the Rumble and Helmsley will enter at #1. This match is not on the DVD despite what the box says. I feel cheated!

MATCH #1: Jeff Jarrett vs. Ahmed Johnson

I was a HUGE Ahmed Johnson fan at this time. This match was set up when Jarrett attacked Ahmed after his match with Buddy Landell at last month’s In Your House 5: Season’s Beatings. Ahmed charges the ring and the fight is on. Jarrett tries to bail but Ahmed chases him around the ring. Back inside Jarrett tries to capitalize but Ahmed simply overpowers him. Ahmed charges at Jarrett but misses, making contact with the ropes. That gives Jarrett the advantage he needed. Jarrett throws Ahmed into the steel steps. Back in the ring Jarrett presses the advantage but Ahmed starts to Hulk Up. Ahmed catches Jarrett coming off the second rope with an inverted atomic drop. He follows with a hard clothesline. Ahmed lands the spinebuster, usually the setup for the Pearl River Plunge. Jarrett wisely rolls to the floor and Ahmed takes him out with a suicide dive. Ahmed goes up to the top rope and misses a somersault senton, hurting his knee in the process. Jarrett puts on the Figure-Four Leglock, and Ahmed powers his way out. A frustrated Jarrett grabs his guitar and goes to the top rope, and he brings it down hard on Ahmed’s head for the disqualification at 6:38. The action was fine while it lasted, but it was pretty pointless in the end, and I don’t think this feud was ever resolved.
Rating: *½

Todd Pettengill Interviews Diesel

Diesel is getting ready for the Rumble and looks supremely confident. Pettengill mentions the debuting Vader, and Diesel says it feels more like “Big Daddy Cool Time.” Diesel says in the end he wants his belt back and it doesn’t matter if he faces Bret Hart or the Undertaker.

MATCH #2: World Tag Team Championship Match – The Bodydonnas vs. The Smoking Gunns

Billy and Bart Gunn have been the Champions since 9.25.95, and this is their seventh major defense. Skip and Zip have Sunny in their corner of course. Billy and Skip start the match. They cut a fast pace and Billy seems to be in control but misses a clothesline and tumbles to the floor. Skip and Zip throw Bart outside as well. The Gunns quickly make the comeback and give the challengers a taste of their own medicine. We reset back in th ering with Billy and Skip again. That goes Billy’s way, so tags are made. The Gunns continue to frustrate the Bodydonnas at every possible turn. Sunny gets up on the apron and gets knocked down when Skip sends Billy into the ropes. Billy is a good cowboy so he checks on her, allowing Skip and Zip to attack, igniting a brawl on the floor. Sunny is apparently fine, and her men now have control of the matchup. After several minutes of abuse Billy is able to make the tag. Bart is a house afire, and nBIlly has regained some strength as well. The Gunns hit Zip with the Sidewinder but Sunny has the referee distracted so no count is made. Skip comes off the top rope with an elbow on Bart and covers him for two. The Bodydonnas go for a double suplex on Bart but Billy takes out Zip with a Spear and Bart grabs Skip in an inside cradle to get the pin at 11:13. The tag team division was a bit of a mess at this time, but these two teams were pretty solid and went out and did the tag formula thing just fine.
Rating: **¾

Billionaire Ted’s Wrasslin’ War Room

This is a rather famous skit in which Hulk Hogan (“The Huckster”), Randy Savage (“The Nacho Man”), and Mean Gene Okerlund (“Scheme Gene”) are portrayed as old has beens that the WWF was better off without. It also shows Ted Turner as an out of touch jerk who just wants to buy everything. No one ever accused Vince McMahon of being the most mature person in the world.

MATCH #3: Intercontinental Championship Match – Goldust vs. Razor Ramon

Ramon has been the Champion since 10.22.95, and this is his fourth major defense. Goldust has Marlena and his usher in his corner. Ramon dominates the early going, as Goldust has angered him with his homoerotic antis in recent weeks. That continues here, as Goldust executes a go behind and feels Ramon up. This is pretty crazy stuff for 1996. Ramon continues to be aggressive and Goldust continues to play mind games. Out on the floor Marlena distracts Ramon long enough for Goldust to finally take the advantage. Back in the ring Goldust continues going to work, wearing Ramon down. The mind games have paid off handsomely I’d say. Goldust uses a sleeper to try and put Ramon out, but that backfires when Ramon gets the referee out of position and kicks Goldust in the junk. Oddly it’s Goldust crawling over to make the cover, and he gets two. Back on their feet Ramon has fired up, and he hits a Chokeslam for two. Ramon follows with the Fallaway Slam for another two-count. Goldust pokes Ramon in the eyes and goes up top but Ramon knocks him down. Ramon hits the belly-to-back superplex, but Marlena is in the ring distracting the referee. The 1-2-3 Kid sneaks in and drills Ramon with a spin kick from the top rope, and that’s enough for Goldust to get the pin and win the title at 14:17. The match was decent, but Goldust was all gimmick at this point and not great in the ring (which is strange given how much fun he is to watch now). Granted the gimmick was unique and working, so the match was fine enough.
Rating: **½

Comments from Rumble Participants

Here’s who they deemed important enough to get pre-Rumble comments: Owen Hart, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Barry Horowitz, Vader, and Shawn Michaels.

MATCH #4: Royal Rumble Match

Hunter Hearst-Helmsley of course drew #1, and his rival Henry O. Godwinn is #2. Godwinn takes the early advantage and throws Helmsley around the ring. Next out at #3 is former two-time WWF Champion Mr. Bob Backlund. Not much happens and Jerry “The King” Lawler is #4. The three heels try to slop Godwinn with his own slop bucket, but Godwinn is crafty enough to get control of his own bucket. Backlund, Lawler, and Helmsley run to the floor (but not over the top rope), and Godwinn throws the slop on them! That is gross. Next up is Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly at #5. More royalty comes out next, with #6 being the gigantic King Mabel. The random brawling continues as no one has been eliminated when Jake “The Snake” Roberts comes out at #7! This is his first match in WWE since 1992. Roberts has a new snake with him and all the wrestlers try to bail, but the unlucky Lawler ends up with the snake all over him! Lawler crawls under the ring and the match resumes. Nxt up at #8 is the legendary Dory Funk Jr., and McMahon actually mentions that he is a former NWA Champion, and that Terry Funk was also invited to compete tonight. I wonder why he didn’t. It’s interesting to see Funk and Backlund in the ring together. The biggest man in the match, former two-time WWF and World Tag Team Champion Yokozuna, is #9. Yokozuna immediately tosses Backlund for the first elimination. The #10 entrant is the 1-2-3 Kid, and Razor Ramon is close behind, still furious at Kid for costing him the Intercontinental Title earlier. Officials herd Ramon to the back and Kid joins the fray. For some reason All Japan’s Takao Omori is #11. I believe this is his first and only WWF appearance. Roberts knocks Yokozuna off his feet and gets a nice pop for it. Savio Vega is #12. Yokozuna single-handedly eliminates Mabel, and Roberts dumps Omori. Lucky #13 is Vader, and he goes right after Holly, curiously not eliminating him for some reason. Vega eliminates Funk. Doug Gilbert of the USWA is out at #14. Perfect talks about Doug’s brother Eddie, as the commentary continues to blow my mind. Roberts hits Vega with a DDT, but seconds later Vader eliminates Roberts with a hard clothesline. Another odd entrant, Squat Team I is #15. Vader elimiantes Gilbert and then tosses half of the Squat Team. The creatively named Squat Team II is #16, and the elimianted brother decides to get back in the ring. Vader throws one of them to the floor and Yokozuna eliminates the other one. Next up at #17 is Owen Hart. Yokozuna and Vader work together on Vega. The odds-on favorite Shawn Michaels is #18. Vader eliminates Vega. It’s worth mentioning that three Clique members are in the ring at the same time. Finally Vader and Yokozuna come to blows, and when they fight up against the ropes Michaels is able to eliminate both of them! Michaels tosses the Kid next. Next to the ring at #19 is Hakushi. Meanwhile Vader beats up Yokozuna on the floor. Vader gets back in the ring and beats on Michaels, press slamming him over the top rope to the floor. He throws everyone to the floor, causing complete chaos. WWF President Gorilla Monsoon and other assorted officials come out to try and get control. Monsoon and Vader face off but there is no confrontation yet. All of Vader’s post-elimination eliminations don’t count, even though in other years people have been able to eliminate others after they were out, but whatever. Tatanka is #20.

Hart eliminates Hakushi as Aldo Montoya reveals himself as the #21 entrant. For some reason Michaels goes out to the floor to retrieve Lawler, who has been hiding for well over 20 minutes I think. Michaels tosses Lawler out and then Diesel comes out at #22. Tatanka dumps Montoya to the floor. Diesel gets rid of Tatanka. Kama is #23. Next up is some jobber called The Ringmaster at #24. Ringmaster goes after Holly and fights with Diesel. He’s able to eliminate Holly. Jobber extraordinaire Barry Horowitz is entrant #25. Diesel unceremoniously dumps Helmsley to the floor about 48 minutes in. Fatu makes a difference at #26. Next man out at #27 is Isaac Yankem D.D.S., Jerry Lawler’s personal dentist. Owen dumps Horowitz to the floor. Diesel and Michaels join forces to eliminate Owen, Shawn’s chief rival at this time. Speaking of Shawn’s rivals, his former partner Marty Jannetty is #28. It takes a minute and even though they are both babyfaces now, Michaels and Jannetty do tear into each other. The British Bulldog is #29. He goes right after Michaels. Diana Hart is watching on from the crowd. Lunatic. Bulldog dumps Jannetty to the floor. Fatu clotheslines the Ringmaster out, and then Fatu is next to go courtesy of Yankem. Finally the field is complete when Duke “The Dumpster” Droese makes his way out at #30. Michaels and Bulldog go through the ropes and fight on the floor, and Owen Hart makes his way back to help his brother-in-law. Back in the ring Michaels eliminates Yankem and Kama eliminates Droese.

That leaves us with a final four of Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Kama, and British Bulldog. Michaels quickly eliminates Bulldog, and Diesel helpfully gets rid of Kama, and then Michaels superkicks Diesel to the floor to win his second straight Rumble at 58:47. Outside of Shawn Michaels coming back and Vader destroying everyone, there weren’t really any interesting stories in this Rumble. There also was very little drama in the end, as the Final Four segment lasted all of about 30 seconds. All that makes this one of the weaker Rumbles. After the match Diesel is angry and attacks Bulldog in the aisle. He goes back to the ring and gives Shawn a high five.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #5: WWF Championship Match – Undertaker vs. Bret “Hit Man” Hart

The angry Diesel is still making his way to the locker room as Undertaker starts his entrance, and they get into a fight in the aisle! Officials are able to break it up before anything too serious happens. Bret has been the Champion since 11.19.95, and this is his third defense. Undertaker is wearing the protective face mask because Mabel and Yokozuna broke his face a while back. McMahon mentions that this is Bret’s forty-third pay-per-view appearance. They just don’t mention cool little stats like that anymore.

It starts off as a slug fest, which does not go well for the Champion. Undertaker dominates the early minutes with his size and power advantage. This goes on for several minutes until Bret makes the comeback and sends Undertaker to the floor. Bret follows him out with a house show dive. He tries a dive off the apron but Undertaker catches him and rams his spine into the ring post. The fight continues on the floor as the referee is being very liberal with the count. Momentum shifts back to Bret, and he targets the knee, always a good strategy against a big guy and when your finishing move is the Sharpshooter. This goes on approximately forever before Undertaker makes the comeback. Undertaker throws Bret to the floor and chokes him with a TV cable and even uses a chair. Back in the ring Bret is able to fight back and reusme work on the leg and knee. Undertaker fights back. Yawn. Bret hits a DDT for a two-count. He goes for the Sharpshooter but Undertaker avoids it. Both men hit a simultaneous clothesline and both men are down. Back on their feet Bret is able to remove Undertaker’s protective mask. Bret concentrates on the face, ramming it into an exposed turnbuckle. Undertaker gets angry and hits the Tombstone Piledriver but Diesel returns and pulls the referee to the floor before a count can be made. That’s obviously a disqualification at 28:28. This is one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen between two great wrestlers. It went on forever and never got out of first gear, they just did stuff back and forth and it never went anywhere. Not to mention going that long for THAT finish is insulting. It also makes Bret, the Champion, look like a giant pussy. What a disaster of a main event.
Rating: *½topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF Royal Rumble 1995 (Shawn Michaels, British Bulldog) Tue, 06 Jan 2015 17:00:51 +0000 rumble 93-97

For an easy-to-search archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

USF Sun Dome – Tampa, Florida – Sunday, January 22, 1995

Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Intercontinental Championship Match – Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett

Ramon has been the champion since 8.29.94, and this is his fifth major defense. He easily controls his challenger in the early going, even busting out a chokeslam. Jarrett powders and comes back in with a little bit of offense and can’t help but gloat. Ramon soon regains control and Jarrett powders again. His stalling is almost at Zbyszko level. He finally gets back in the ring and they go back and forth, with the Florida crowd fully in support of the champion. Jarrett takes control and wears Ramon down, eventually going to the sleeper. Ramon escapes it but Jarrett gets a neckbreaker and tries using the ropes for leverage on the pin cover but Ramon kicks out anyway. Jarrett stays one step ahead of Ramon, and dumps him to the floor. Ramon appears to have injured his knee, and the Roadie makes it worse when he clips it from behind. Ramon can’t make it back to the ring and gets counted out at 11:45.

Jarrett appears upset about the countout since that means he doesn’t win the title, but then why didn’t he even try to get Ramon back into the ring? He challenges Ramon to come back to the ring and re-defend the title. He calls him yellow, so Ramon comes back to the ring and we restart the match at 14:34. Jarrett wisely goes right to work on the leg. He eventually puts on the figure-four but Ramon punches his way out of it. Ramon valiantly fights back with right hands. He goes for the super back suplex and Jarrett falls back on him, but Ramon reverses his reversal and gets a two-count. He motions for the Razor’s Edge but his leg gives out and Jarrett capitalizes with a small package to get the pin and win the title for the first time at 20:54. The match was pretty bland most of the way through, and the stop and restart didn’t really catch on with the live crowd.
Rating: **¼

Stephanie Wyand interview update

Wyand is waiting for Jeff Jarrett to arrive, and while she waits she throws it over to Todd Pettengill, who is fawning over Pamela Anderson in her dressing room. Back over to Wyand, and she’s with Jarrett and The Roadie, and they are gloating about the big win tonight.

MATCH #2: Irwin R. Schyster vs. Undertaker

IRS has Ted DiBiase in his corner, while the Undertaker has Paul Bearer. They stall forever at the bell. When the finally make contact Undertaker levels IRS with a boot to the face. Undertaker absolutely dominates the early minutes and IRS takes a frustrated powder. DiBiase brings out some Druids, who interfere to try and give IRS the control but they are not able to do so. Eventually the numbers game does take over and the Druids halp IRS take his first advantage of the match. The Druids continue to interfere but Undertaker fights them all off. That gives IRS the chance to hit the Write-Off and both men are down. Undertaker simply sits up and delivers the Chokeslam to get the pin at 12:21. That was dreadfully boring and felt like it went on forever.
Rating: *¼

After the bell the Druids continue to attack, but Undertaker fights them off with ease. King Kong Bundy makes his way out to join in the attack, allowing IRS to steal the urn. That gives Bundy a huge advantage and he beats Undertaker down, leaving him laying. Undertaker staggers to the back, looking worse for wear.

Todd Pettengill interviews Diesel and Bret Hart

Earlier tonight, Todd Pettengill tried to get words with Diesel, who says that now is not the time to talk. Elsewhere, Pettengill tried to get words with Bret Har, who is a little more verbose. Bret says he has been focused on getting the title back since losing it at Survivor Series.

MATCH #3: WWF Championship Match – Bret “Hit Man” Hart vs. Diesel

Diesel has been the Champion since 11.26.94, and this is his second major defense. The Champion immediately uses his power advantage to show the Hit Man who’s boss. Diesel clotheslines Bret to the floor. Bret wisely pulls Diesel’s legs out from under him and rams them into the ring post. That gives Bret the opening to attack the legs with vigor. Bret uses the Figure-Four Leglock to weaken Diesel and keep him on the canvas. Diesel is so tall though that he is able to reach the ropes. He tries to seek refuge on the floor but Bret wipes him out with a suicide dive. Bret tries to whip Diesel into the stairs but Diesel reverses it and Bret crashes into the steps. Back in the ring Diesel has the momentum on his side now. Diesel works on the back, even using a Canadian Backbreaker on the Canadian Hero. Take that, Canada! Bret counters with a Sleeper but Diesel quickly throws him down to the mat. Diesel lands a Big Boot to really take control back. He charges into the corner and Bret gets hits boots up. Bret goes to the second rope and hits a clothesline. He goes back to the floor and trips Diesel up again, and this time he takes off some wrist tape and ties Diesel around the ring post! Bret unloads on Diesel as the referee unties him. That little trick has given Bret a huge advantage, and he hits some of the Moves of Doom but can’t put Diesel away yet. Bret clotheslines Diesel to the floor and tries another suicide dive, but this time Diesel catches him and rams his back into the ring post! Back in the ring Diesel hits the Jackknife and Shawn Michaels runs out to break up the cover! The crowd LOVES Michaels, by the way. I didn’t hear a bell ring, it should be noted. The referee decides that since this match is so important, he won’t let Shawn’s interference ruin it, and the match will continue!

After the distraction, Bret has recovered enough to go right back to Diesel’s legs, using the Figure-Four Leglock again. Diesel tries going after Bret’s injured ribs and back, but the Hit Man is tenacious. Bret wraps Diesel’s legs around the ring post and smashes his knee with a steel chair! For some reason the referee does not call for the bell. McMahon surmises that Bret may have missed. Either way the fans boo, but quickly turn to cheers when Bret puts on the Sharpshooter. Owen Hart comes out to break it up! He removes a turnbuckle pad and throws Bret into it sternum first! Once again the referee elects to let the match continue. Diesel crawls over to make the cover but only gets two. He tries to ram Bret into the unprotected turnbuckle but ret reverses it and sends Diesel to the buckle instead. They start trading heavy strikes and Diesel wins that battle. Bret feigns a knee injury and Diesel buys it, almost getting pinned with a small package. The referee gets bumped when Bret tries an O’Connor Roll. The ring fills up as Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart, Bob Backlund, Jeff Jarrett, and The Roadie all come out to attack both men. Finally the referee calls for the bell at 27:19. Eventually, Bret and Diesel are able to clear the ring and they show each other respect. This was a tremendous match between two fan favorites both doing everything in their power to win the title. Bret’s aggression added a needed element that made the match more intriguing. The finish even made sense given the time period and both men’s status as fan favorites, as well as their current feuds and the lead up to WrestleMania XI.
Rating: ****

Todd Pettengill in Pamela Anderson’s dressing room

Pettengill is snooping around while Anderson attempts to get changed. His mullet and earring are a pretty spectacular pairing.

Stephanie Wyand interviews Bob Holly & 1-2-3 Kid

Kid and Holly replaced The Smokin’ Gunns in this tournament, and they are both just happy to be here. They are grateful for the opportunity and look very nervous.

MATCH #4: World Tag Team Championship Match – Tatanka & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Bob Holly & 1-2-3 Kid

The titles have been vacant since 11.23.94, when Champions Shawn Michaels & Diesel decided they could no longer function as a team. Bigelow & Tatanka beat Men on a Mission on the 12.17.94 episode of Superstars and then beat the Headshrinkers on the 1.14.95 episode of Superstars to get to the finals. Holly & Kid beat Well Dunn on the 1.7.95 episode of Superstars, and then beat the Heavenly Bodies on the 1.14.95 episode. The winners of this match get to face The Smokin’ Gunns tomorrow night on RAW.

Tatanka and Holly start the match, and that doesn’t go well for the Spark Plugg. Holly catches Tatanka with a flurry of offense, including a few of his vaunted dropkicks. Bigelow tags in and he bulldozes his way through both of his much smaller opponents. Every time Kid and Holly try to mount some offense, Tatanka and Bigelow are able to cut them off and keep them down. Even with their pronounced size and strength advantage, Bigelow and Tatanka use some cheap tactics to ensure they stay in control and win the titles. Holly gets trapped in the ring for quite a long time and gets beaten down without mercy for several minutes. Finally Holly is able to catch Tatanka with a cross body block at the same time as getting hit with one himself, and that’s enough to make the hot tag. Kid is a house afire on Bigelow, flying all over in and out of the ring. Bigelow comes back and press slams Kid to the floor. Back in the ring Bigelow goes for the Moonsault but Tatanka bounces off the ropes and knocks Bigelow down. Holly takes Tatanka out, and Kid eventually crawls over and pins Bigelow for the huge upset at 15:47! This ran a little bit long for the story they were telling, but for the most part this was a very solid David versus Goliath tag team match. The finish would have been more effective had Kid made a quicker cover.
Rating: **¾

Tatanka and DiBiase leave Bigelow on his own, and he is getting taunted by the fans at ringside. Bigelow crosses paths with NFL great Lawrence Taylor at ringside, and he thinks Taylor is mocking him. Taylor extends his hand but Bigelow shoves him! This of course would lead to Bigelow versus Taylor in the main event of WrestleMania XI.

1994 Royal Rumble Highlights

Last year at the Royal Rumble, Diesel went on a tear by eliminating seven men in a row. It took a cadre of superstars to throw him out, including his supposed best friend Shawn Michaels. In the end it came down to Lex Luger and Bret Hart, who eliminated each other at the same time to be declared co-winners. Michaels and Luger cut promos both promising to win the Royal Rumble match tonight.

MATCH #5: Royal Rumble Match

Before the match can begin, The Fink introduces Pamela Anderson, who struts out looking hot and sits at ringside to continue looking hot. The #1 entrant is Shawn Michaels! He certainly has an uphill battle ahead of him. So does the #2 entrant, the British Bulldog. Michaels wastes no time going to work. The intervals are only a minute this year so entrants will be coming out very quickly. Eli Blu is #3, making his first major appearance in WWE. Next up is Duke “The Dumpster” Droese at #4. Bulldog and Blu do battle while Michaels and Droese take it to each other. “Gigolo” Jimmy Del Ray of the Heavenly Bodies is #5. Next up at #6 is Headshrinker Sione. Seconds later Bulldog scores the first elimination by dumping Del Ray to the floor. Bummer for Del Ray, because his fellow Heavenly Body Tom Prichard is #7. So far almost everyone has teased eliminating Shawn Michaels. Doink the Clown is #8, as the ring is filing up a bit. Kwang makes his way out at #9. Rumble veteran Rick Martel is #10, so we’re a third of the way through the entrants. Next up at #11 is Owen Hart, and before he can even get to the ring he is attacked by his brother Bret! By the time Owen makes it to the ring Bulldog quickly clotheslines him right back out! Timothy Well is #12, and I don’t think McMahon or Lawler really even know who he is. Michaels eliminates Droese. Bulldog gets rid of Well, Sione eliminates Martel, and Michaels elimiantes Prichard. That clears out a little bit of space. More space is cleared as Kwang eliminates Doink, Sione eliminates Kwang, and then Sione and Eli eliminate each other. Bushwhacker Luke is #13 and Michaels quicky dumps him to the floor. We’re left with just Michaels and Bulldog, the two men that started the match. Jacob Blu is #14 and Michaels quickly sends him back to the locker room as well. We reach the halfway point with King Kong Bundy at #15. Mo from Men on a Mission is #16 and Bundy elimiantes him in a matter of seconds. Mabel is #17 and he goes face to face with fellow behemoth Bundy. They slug it out as Bushwhacker Butch comes at #18. Mabel throws Bundy to the floor all by himself. Michaels tosses Butch out. Lex Luger is #19 and he immediately gets rid of Mabel. Bulldog and Luger work together on Michaels now. Mantaur brings us two-thirds of the way through at #20.

Aldo Montoya is #21, looking as ridiculous as ever. Henry Godwinn is the #22 entrant. Not much happens and Billy Gunn comes out at #23. Bart Gunn is next at #24. The brawling continues, and then former two-time WWF Champion Bob Backlund makes his way out at #25, and Bret Hart attacks him just like he did his brother Owen Steven Dunn is #26 and the commentators barely know who he is either. When Backlund finally does get in the ring he is dumped out by Luger! Bret and Backlund then brawl to the back. Next up is veteran and former World Tag Team Champion (with Adrian Adonis in 1984) Dick Murdoch at #27. When this show first happened I admit I had no idea who Murdoch was. Adam Bomb comes out at #28, the second straight year he drew a really good number. Headshrinker Fatu, one of last year’s Final Four, is #29. Luger gets rid of Mantaur. The final entrant is Crush at #30. He and Murdoch work together to elimiante both Billy and Bart, who were fighting each other. Montoya elimiantes Dunn. Murdoch foolishly tries to headbutt Fatu and hurts his own head in the process. Crush sends Bomb over the top rope. Michaels dumps Montoya out. Crush ends Fatu’s night. Godwinn eliminates Murdoch while almost getting eliminated himself. We’re down to just five now. Luger dumps Godwinn out, so the final four is Luger, Crush, Bulldog, and Michaels. This is the first time any of the first two entrants have lasted to the end. Luger delivers mounted punches in the corner to Crush, and Michaels comes from behind and helps Crush dump him out. I totally thought Luger was winning this when it happened so this bummed me out. Michaels and Crush team up on Bulldog, and then Crush tries to press slam Michaels to the floor. That doesn’t work, and Bulldog is able to clothesline Crush out. We’re down to the last two, who are also the first two. Bulldog is a house afire and is throwing Michaels all over the ring. He press slams him crotch first on the top rope, and then clotheslines him (he thinks) to the floor. Bulldog’s music even plays but Michaels had held on and only one foot touched the floor. Michaels sneaks back in and dumps Bulldog to the floor to win the Rumble at 38:42! That’s still the shortest Rumble ever, but it was quite a bit of fun. I love the story of Michaels and Bulldog lasting the entire time, and the finish was pretty awesome. I really liked the angle of Bret attacking both Owen and Backlund, causing their eliminations. The only thing dragging this one down is the preponderance of jobbers and deadweight, but I think this Rumble is a little overlooked.
Rating: ***¾topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF Royal Rumble 1994 (Bret Hart, Lex Luger) Mon, 05 Jan 2015 17:00:23 +0000 rumble 93-97

For an easy-to-search archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

Providence Civic Center – Providence, Rhode Island – Saturday, January 22, 1994

Vince McMahon and “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Tatanka vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

Both of these men will compete later on in the Royal Rumble match. Bigelow is replacing the injured Ludvig Borga here. He tries to attack from behind before the bell but Tatanka is ready for him. Tatanka unleashes a flurry of offense and then keeps Bigelow on the mat. He hits a nice DDT and goes up top but misses a high cross body block. That gives Bigelow the advantage and he makes the most of it. Every time Tatanka tries to build some momentum, Bigelow is able to cut him off. Finally Tatanka fights up and they collide mid-air with simultaneous cross body block attempts. Back on their feet Tatanka is doing the war dance but Bigelow slices him down with an enziguiri and then mocks him. Bigelow goes up top for the moonsault and he misses it. Tatanka goes up top and hits a cross body block for the win at 8:13. That was a perfectly acceptable opener between two well-matched opponents. As a kid I Was really annoyed that Borga wasn’t in this match, but I think it was probably better this way, despite not getting the Borga/Tatanka blowoff.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #2: World Tag Team Championship Match – The Quebecers vs. Bret & Owen Hart

Jacques and Pierre have been the Champions since 1.17.94 and this is the first defense of their second reign. McMahon calls Bret and Owen the greatest tag team ever. Bret and Pierre start the match, and Bret takes the early advantage for the Hart duo. Jacques and Owen tag in, and the results stay the same. The Quebecers try to cheat to take control but the Harts run them both to the floor. Much like the opening match, both Hart brothers will compete in the Royal Rumble later on tonight. Pierre catches Bret with a nice powerslam and now the Champions take control for the first time. Pierre goes to the second rope but jumps right into Bret’s boot. That allows Bret to make the hot tag and Owen is a house afire. Owen locks Jacques in the Sharpshooter but Pierre gets the referee distracted by Bret, and he’s able to then break up the hold. Moments later Owen dropkicks both Quebecers at the same time and then makes a tag. The crowd is super-hot for everything Bret and Owen do by the way. Bret is unleashing some of the Five Moves of Doom, and looks like he’s ready to win the titles. The Champs use some chicanery to send Bret crashing hard to the floor on his knee. Jacques and Pierre smell blood in the water and viciously attack Bret’s knee. Things are not looking good now, as Bret can barely stand. The Quebecers isolate him but they miss the Cannonball. Bret selfishly tries to put on the Sharpshooter rather than go for a tag but he can’t put any weight on his knee so the referee calls for the bell at 16:46. The finish was a little anti-climactic, but it plays perfectly into the storyline and gives a good reason for the post-match antics. The match before the finish was really good, a classic tag team encounter helped greatly by the crowd’s love of Bret and Owen. This is probably the best Quebecers match out there.
Rating: ***¾

After the match Owen is furious with his brother for not tagging him, and chooses not to help Bret get to his feet. As soon as Bret stands up Owen kicks his leg out of his leg, completing one of the best executed heel turns I’ve ever seen. The crowd is shocked to say the least. On his way to the back Owen acknowledges that Bret was hurt, and says that he just should have tagged him. Owen says Bret is just too damn selfish. Todd Pettengill gets a further word with Owen backstage, and he’s still fuming. Owen blames the loss on Bret, chastising him for being selfish. It’s a great, impassioned promo by Owen until he drops one of the most famous flubs, telling Bret that’s why he kicked his leg out of his leg. Owen promises to win the Royal Rumble later on and earn a WWE Title shot.

MATCH #3: Intercontinental Championship Match – Irwin R. Schyster vs. Razor Ramon

Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon take over on commentary for this match. Ramon has been the Champion since 10.11.93 and this is his third major defense. He throws his toothpick at IRS and gets slapped in the face for it. That just fires up the Champion and he chases the challenger to the floor. Back in the ring IRS goes to work with some brawling tactics. That’s a losing battle against a guy like Razor Ramon. IRS takes a powder to regroup. It takes a minute to pay off, as Ramon unloads a flurry of offense for a near-fall. Moments later IRS is able to sidestep a charging Ramon and dump him to the floor. IRS follows him out and throws him into the steel steps, and then flattens him with a clothesline. Ramon makes it back to the ring before the count of 10. IRS pounces and immediately tries to put Ramon away. He keeps Ramon on the mat with a reverse chinlock. Ramon powers up and hits the Fallaway Slam for two. The referee gets in the way and takes a bump. IRS tries to hit Ramon with the briefcase, but it backfires and Ramon lands a shot with the foreign object. But the referee is down so there can be no count. Ramon puts IRS on the top rope and hits the belly-to-back superplex. He signals for the Razor’s Edge and Shawn Michaels runs out and drills Ramon with his version of the Intercontinental Title belt. Now all three men are down. IRS and the referee show signs of life and IRS makes the cover and gets the pin! The bell doesn’t ring though, which is important. Referee Earl Hebner comes down to tell original referee Joey Marella what happened, even showing him the second title belt. In the confusion, Ramon hits IRS with the Razor’s Edge to get the definitive pin at 11:46. That was a perfectly adequate midcard match that also helped build toward one of the greatest matches ever at WrestleMania X, so I have no issues with this.
Rating: **½

MATCH #4: Casket Match for the WWE Championship – Yokozuna vs. Undertaker

Yokozuna has been the Champion since 6.13.93, and this is his fourth major defense. Undertaker fires right away, taking Yokozuna down with a clothesline and uppercutting him to the floor. The Dead Man continues to dominate both in and out of the ring. Yokozuna tries to use a chair but it backfires and Undertaker uses it instead. Finally Yokozuna subdues Undertaker with a handful of salt to the eyes. The Champion gets to use the chair now, and Undertaker is in rough shape. Back in the ring Yokozuna continues using his immense girth to keep Undertaker on the canvas. Yokozuna shoves Undertaker into the casket and tries to close the lid but Undertaker isn’t ready to go down yet. They trade shots and Yokozuna grabs a belly-to-belly suplex. Undertaker sits up and delivers a (sort of) Chokeslam. He hits a DDT and puts Yokozuna in the casket, but before he can close the lid Crush comes out to attack. Crush is soon joined by Kabuki, Tenryu, Bam Bam Bigelow, Adam Bomb, Jeff Jarrett, the Headshrinkers, and Diesel. Undertaker valiantly tries to fight them all off, but the numbers game is just too much for him. Somewhere in all the mess, Yokozuna takes the urn from Paul Bearer and removes the lid, at which point green smoke starts pouring out. Apparently that’s the power of the Undertaker, because he succumbs to the 11-on-one beatdown and they lock him in the casket to give Yokozuna the win at 14:25. People dump on that match, and while it’s not great it’s far from horrible. They were having a decent brawl before the heel locker room came out, and at the time this was unheard of in WWF and blew my 11-year-old mind. I mean why wouldn’t you try to get 10 extra guys to help you beat the Undertaker? And this also helped explain his absence until August.
Rating: **

The real fun part though, is after the match when the Undertaker pops up on the Titan Tron from inside the casket. Undertaker cuts a silly promo and then ascends out of the Titan Tron and apparently up to heaven? I think this certainly hurts peoples’ perception of the match, because it truly is one of the dumber things WWE has ever put together.

MATCH #5: Royal Rumble Match

Scott Steiner drew #1, and Samu is #2. The intervals are going to be 90 seconds this year. Scott and Samu brawl for a bit and then Rick Steiner comes in at #3. That doesn’t go well for Samu, who quickly gets eliminated. Kwang (a replacement for Ludvig Borga) is #4, and he spits green mist into Rick’s eyes. Scott comes to the rescue and beats on Kwang in between checking on his brother. Owen Hart is #5 and he goes right after the weakened Rick and eliminates him. Bart Gunn comes out at #6. Not much happens and then Diesel makes his way out with lucky #7. Diesel tosses Bart and then Scott. Owen is next to go, and then Diesel tosses Kwang to have the ring all to himself. The crowd is going nuts, and the term “Diesel Push” is born. The veteran Bob Backlund is #8. Backlund tries to go after the legs but Diesel quickly dumps him out. Billy Gunn is the #9 entrant and he goes right after the big man. Diesel will have none of that and hurls Billy right out. Backstage, Lex Luger is attacked by Tenryu and Kabuki, leaving his status in question. Next up at #10 is Virgil (a replacement for Kamala), and Diesel makes short work of him for his seventh straight elimination. Finally some real competition comes out as Randy “Macho Man” Savage is #11. They fight back and forth and neither man can eliminate the other. Jeff Jarrett is the #12 entrant, and he attacks Savage rather than Diesel. Jarrett thinks he eliminated Savage, but the Macho Man skins the cat and dumps Jarrett to the floor. Next up at #13 is Crush, the mortal enemy of Randy Savage. After surviving Savage’s initial onslaught, Crush and Diesel work together on the former WWE and Intercontinental Champion. Doink the Clown is out next at #14. Crush eliminates Savage just before Doink gets to the ring. Doink is content to watch Diesel and Crush fight each other. The big men take exception and Doink attacks them with shenanigans. That doesn’t last too long, and Bam Bam Bigelow brings us to the halfway point at #15. Bigelow quickly press slams Doink to the floor. The three big men brawl for a bit but can’t eliminate anyone.

We start the second half with Mabel at #16. Mabel cleans house. Sparky Plugg (replacing The 1-2-3 Kid) is #17, and I believe this is his debut. The self-proclaimed Shawn Michaels is the #18 entrant. Michaels’ bodyguard Diesel looks like he’s going to go after him, but they shake hands instead. That allows Mabel, Bigelow, Crush, Plugg, and even Michaels to eliminate the juggernaut, who gets a huge ovation on his way to the back. Next up at #19 is Mabel’s partner Mo. Men on a Mission try work together, which can be a helpful strategy. Michaels is so good that he makes it believable that Mo could possibly eliminate him. Former Intercontinental and World Tag Team Champion Greg “The Hammer” Valentine is #20. Not much happens until Tatanka comes out at #21 and goes right after Michaels. The Great Kabuki is #22, and the ring is looking pretty full now. It takes Valentine, Tatanka, Kabuki, Crush, Bigelow, Plugg, and Michaels (everyone in the ring except Mo) to eliminate Mabel. Lex Luger comes charging out at #23 and he is a house afire! Luger immediately throws Kabuki to the floor and then turns his attention to Crush. Next up is Tenryu at #24, and he will be operating without his partner Kabuki. The buzzer rings for #25 and nobody comes out. McMahon speculates that this was Bret Hart’s spot but he is too injured to compete. Rick “The Model” Martel is #26. He has had some success in past Royal Rumbles. The crowd explodes as Bret Hart is #27! Hart gimps his way to the ring and that injured knee has a huge bulls eye on it. Headshrinker Fatu is #28 and the ring is really full now. Luger, Plugg, and Bret are able to eliminate Crush. Marty Jannetty is #29 and he goes right at his former partner Michaels, hitting him with a superkick. The final entrant at #30 is Adam Bomb, and McMahon declares that he will be the winner. Bret and Michaels eliminates Plugg. McMahon notes that Bastion Booger was feeling “a little sick” so he did not come out in the twenty-fifth slot. Martel eliminates Valentine and Tatanka eliminates Martel. Luger dumps Bomb to the floor and Bigelow gets rid of Tatanka. Next to go is BIgelow, courtesy of Luger. Michaels gets the better of Jannetty yet again and eliminates him. Luger and Bret eliminate Tenryu, and we’re down to the Final Four!

Bret and Michaels pair off while Luger and Fatu do battle. Michaels and Fatu look a little fresher and they take control, even working together to try and eliminate Luger. That doesn’t work just yet and Luger gets all fired up. Michaels and Fatu both get whipped toward a corner and get simultaneously eliminated by Bret and Luger, who are now the final two. They slug at each other briefly and Luger picks Bret up, but Bret uses momentum to send them both tumbling to the floor at the same time. No bell rang, but they hit the floor at about 55:05. The referees are confused about who hit the floor first. Referee Joey Marella declares Luger the winner, but Earl Hebner disagrees and declares Bret the winner. WWF President Jack Tunney makes his way out to sort it out, as McMahon and DiBiase look at the instant replays. To me it looks like Bret hit the floor first, but they did a good job of making it look close. After much hemming and hawing, Howard Finkel announces that both Hart and Luger are the winners, putting the WrestleMania X title shot up in the air. At any rate, this was a really fun Rumble with lots of great talent. They had a great story with Luger and especially Bret overcoming the odds to make it to the end, and the co-winners is not that bad of an idea.
Rating: ****topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF Royal Rumble 1993 (Yokozuna, Randy Savage) Sun, 04 Jan 2015 17:00:50 +0000 rumble 93-97

For an easy-to-search archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

ARCO Arena – Sacramento, California – Sunday, January 24, 1993

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Beverly Brothers vs. Steiner Brothers

The Beverlys are sans Genius, and I don’t remember if they ever wrote him out or if he just stopped appearing altogether. Scott and Beau start the match, and just take a guess as to how that goes. Beau takes a powder to regroup with his brother. Back in the ring Blake tags in and Rick does likewise. Blake hits a powerslam but Rick comes right back with a slam of his own. Scott tags back in. He starts hitting suplexes, but the Beverlys cheat to take control. After a few minutes Rick gets the hot tag and cleans house. Rick hits Steiner-lines on both Beverlys but referee Bill Alfonso is having a hard time keeping control of the match. Scott is able to hit Blake with the Frankensteiner to get the win at 10:46. That was standard formula stuff and a very un-interesting pay-per-view debut for the Steiner Brothers.
Rating: **

MATCH #2: Intercontinental Championship Match – Marty Jannetty vs. Shawn Michaels

Michaels has been the champion since 11.14.92. Sensational Sherri is at ringside, as she’s been an integral part of this feud, but they’re not saying whose side she’s on. Jannetty starts off hot, with an answer for everything the champion tries. Michaels takes a powder and he’s able to gain control on the floor. He picks Jannetty up and slams his shoulder directly into the ring post twice. Back in the ring Michaels works over the injured body part, hitting a shoulderbreaker. Michaels continues wearing Jannetty down for several minutes. Jannetty makes a brief comeback but Michaels pitches him back to the floor. Michaels tries to suplex Jannetty back in but Jannetty reverses it and drops Michaels all the way to the floor! That would probably be the first time I ever saw that happen. Sherri appears to be helping Michaels, but instead she slaps him right across the face! That gives Jannetty the advantage and he seems poised to win the title. Jannetty hits a powerslam and follows up with a DDT but it only gets two! The crowd bought that one. Michaels tries the Superkick but Jannetty ducks it and hits one of his own for another two-count. A series of reversals ends with Jannetty catapulting Michaels into the ring post for a near-fall. The referee gets bumped and Jannetty holds Michaels for Sherri to hit him with her shoe, but Michaels ducks and she hits Jannetty instead! Michaels picks Jannetty up just to hit him with the Superkick to get the pin at 14:20. These two generally had pretty good matches together, and this one was no exception.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #3: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Big Boss Man

This was soon after Bigelow’s re-debut with the company, and Boss Man was on his way out the door. Bigelow dominates in the opening minutes, but Boss Man shows his toughness and tenacity by fighting back and taking Bigelow off his feet. Bigelow fights back with a belly-to-back suplex, but then misses a headbutt. Boss Man hits a modified bulldog, but then charges and Bigelow ducks, sending him crashing to the floor. Back in the ring Bigelow pounds away. Bigelow hits a Stun Gun for two. He then puts on a waistlock for what seems like forever. Boss Man comes back with a sort of suplex, but Bigelow brushes it off and hits a headbutt to the back. Finally Boss man makes a real comeback and hits Bigelow with a flurry of offense, including the sliding punch. Bigelow catches a charging Boss Man with a boot to the face and then hits a clothesline. He goes up top and hits a diving headbutt to get the pin at 10:09. That was a decent power match but also had a lot of squash tendencies.
Rating: *¾

MATCH #4: WWE Championship Match – Bret Hart vs. Razor Ramon

Bret has been the champion since 10.12.92. In an awesome move, Razor throws his toothpick at the kid Bret gave his sunglasses to. Stu and Helen Hart are at ringside, by the way. Razor controls the first minute or so, and then misses a flying knee in the corner, and Bret goes right after it. Bret focuses on the knee, putting on a Figure-Four Leglock. He continues assaulting the leg until Razor comes back by whipping Bret ribs-first into the steel post. Now Razor focuses on the ribs and back of the champion. Bret comes back and dumps Razor to the floor and follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring the champion brings the fight to the challenger but can’t put him away. Razor fights back and goes for the super belly-to-back suplex, but Hart flips out of it and hits his own suplex. Bret goes up top but jumps right into Razor’s boot. Razor goes for the Razor’s Edge but Bret slips out and gets a backslide for two. Bret gets a sunset flip from out of nowhere, and then while lying on the mat Bret is able to lock on the Sharpshooter and Razor gives it up at 17:58. Razor hadn’t quite hit his peak yet as a wrestler but this was a really good showing for him and an all-around solid match.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #5: Royal Rumble Match

This is the first Rumble where the winner official received a shot at the WWF Championship at WrestleMania. Ric Flair is #1 and Bob Backlund is #2, and that would make the first time that two former WWE Champions begin the Rumble together. Flair and Backlund trade holds and it’s too bad they never got a chance to have a match in WWE at this time, since Flair was on his way out. Monsoon and Heenan put over how old Backlund is, but Flair is older than him by almost six months. Papa Shango is #3, and he’s quickly eliminated by Flair. “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase is #4. He’s one half of the World Tag Team Champions. Flair and DiBiase double-team Backlund. Brian Knobs is #5, and he cleans house on DiBiase and Flair. Virgil is #6 and he goes right after DiBiase. Knobs charges and DiBiase pulls the top rope down to eliminate him. Jerry “The King” Lawler makes his in-ring WWE debut at #7. Max Moon is #8. I think it was Paul Diamond at this point rather than Konnan. Lawler eliminates Moon and Genichiro Tenryu comes out at #9. Like last year, everyone goes after Flair as soon as they hit the ring. That’s especially true of #10, Mr. Perfect, the man Flair will face in a Loser Leaves Town match tomorrow night on Raw. Flair goes right to Perfect’s eyes, but it has almost no effect. The crowd is going ballistic for Perfect. Flair goes to the top rope and gets slammed down. Everything Flair tries Perfect has an answer for. Skinner is #11 and Perfect eliminates Flair. Koko B. Ware comes out at #12. Perfect eliminates Skinner, looking strong so far. Lucky #13 is Samu. Berzerker comes out at #14. Perfect eliminates Lawler and Berzerker tosses Virgil. Lawler then helps DiBiase and Ware eliminate Perfect, majorly deflating the crowd. Undertaker is #15 and he was definitely one of the favorites to win this thing. Berzerker and Backlund fight on the floor while Undertaker eliminates Samu and then Tenryu. Terry Taylor is #16, and he struggles with Koko near the ropes. DiBiase dumps both of them to the floor, and then turns right into an Undertaker Chokeslam. Undertaker then clotheslines DiBiase out. From out of nowhere, the Giant Gonzalez makes his WWF debut accompanied by Harvey Wippleman. Undertaker tosses Berzerker out, and then comes face to face with this monster of a man in the worst ring gear ever devised. Damian Demento is the official #17, but he’s in no hurry to get to the ring. Gonzalez knocks Undertaker to the floor to eliminate him. That’s not fair. Gonzalez continues the beating as Irwin R. Schyster comes out at #18. Tatanka comes out at #19 to wake the crowd back up. Nasty Boy Jerry Sags is #20.

Typhoon joins the fray at #21. Not much happens and Fatu is #22. Earthquake is #23 and he goes right after Typhoon and is able to eliminate him quickly. A “youngster” named Carlos Colon makes his way out at #24. For whatever reason, that’s become a rather famous gaffe for Monsoon, since Colon was 44 at this time, older than both Backlund and Flair. Even so, Colon is able to eliminate Demento. El Matador is #25 as Backlund eliminates Fatu. Rick Martel is next at #26 and he goes right for El Matador. Earthquake dumps Schyster out. The monstrous Yokozuna is #27. The former sumo champion quickly eliminates Tatanka and Colon, and then faces off with Earthquake. Owen Hart is #28. Yokozuna is able to single-handedly eliminate Earthquake. Repo Man comes out at #29. Everyone in the ring tries to eliminate Yokozuna but they can’t. The last entrant, #30, is Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Yokozuna tosses El Matador out. Owen dropkicks Sags to the floor but then gets tossed out by Yokozuna. Savage tosses Repo Man. The final four are Backlund, Martel, Yokozuna, and Savage. Two of them are former WWE Champions. Backlund tosses Martel and the crowd is into him. He then foolishly charges and Yokozuna dumps him out to a chorus of boos. Backlund is awesome. Yokozuna dominates Savage, but the Macho Man won’t give up. Savage is able to avoid a charge in the corner and he quickly goes up top to hit the Flying Elbow. For some reason he goes for a pin, likely because he was disoriented from the beating he received, and Yokozuna simply presses him all the way to the floor at 66:36. I generally like the Rumble and this was sort of fun, but they squandered what little star power they had by dumping Flair, Perfect and Undertaker so early. They made up for a little with Backlund being awesome and Savage sticking it out to the end, but this isn’t one of the best Rumbles.
Rating: ***topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF Royal Rumble 1992 (Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair) Sat, 03 Jan 2015 17:00:24 +0000 Rumble 88-92

For an easy-to-search archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

Knickerbocker Arena – Albany, New York – Sunday, January 19, 1992

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan are on commentary.

MATCH #1: The Orient Express vs. The New Foundation

Kato and Tanaka are accompanied by Mr. Fuji. Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and “The Rocket” Owen Hart are accompanied by their awesome puffy pants. Hart and Kato start the match with some chain wrestling. Monsoon announces that due to injuries, Marty Jannetty and Nasty Boy Brian Knobbs are being replaced by Nikolai Volkoff and Haku in the Royal Rumble match tonight. Hart takes control and tags Neidhart, who throws Kato around. Tanaka, appearing to be in horrible shape (wearing a t-shirt) tags in. Monsoon tells the story of how Bret Hart lost the Intercontinental Title two days ago but was so sick that The Mountie was able to defeat him and capture the gold. Meanwhile, Bret’s Brother Owen, who is wrestling in the match currently going on, has taken control of Tanaka. Owen and Anvil work together to keep Kato and Tanaka down. Finally the Express is able to gain control with a little help from Fuji. Owen makes several comeback attempts but continually gets shut down. Of course the comeback eventually does happen, and Anvil cleans house. Kato gets dumped to the floor and Owen wipes him out with an impressive dive. Anvil slams Tanaka and then they hit the Rocket Launcher to get the win at 17:19. That was too long for what they had to say, but it was a solid opener otherwise, just not up to the level of what Kato and Tanaka pulled off last year.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #2: Intercontinental Championship Match – The Mountie vs. Roddy Piper

Mountie has been the champion since 1.17.92, and this is his first defense. He’s accompanied by Jimmy Hart. The match was supposed to be Bret Hart defending the title against Mountie, but Bret must have been injured or something (I don’t recall), so he dropped the belt to Mountie at a house show and Piper is stepping in to take his place here as the challenger. Piper goes right after Mountie before the bell. Hart interferes on the floor to give Mountie a brief advantage before Piper fights back with his most prolific offensive weapon – the punch. Piper hits a bulldog but it only gets two. Mountie cuts him off and takes over with his boring stuff. Piper fights back with a sunset flip for two. He hits even more punches and a back body drop. Piper thinks he throws Mountie to the floor, but Mountie skins the cat, only to accidentally knock Hart off the apron. Then Piper locks on the Sleeper and Mountie is out at 5:22! That is Piper’s one and only singles title in his WWE run, and it led to the best match of his career. At least good things happened because of this match; because on its own it was pretty bad. Piper is the first man to wrestle twice at the Rumble, and also the first man to ever get a shot at both the Intercontinental and WWE Championships in the same night.
Rating: *½

MATCH #3: Beverly Brothers vs. The Bushwhackers

The Beverlys are accompanied by the Genius, who recites a poem before the match. The Bushwhackers are accompanied by Jameson, who does nothing. They stall forever to start, as it takes almost three minutes before any contact is made. Beau and Blake take the first control but are soon thwarted by Butch and Luke’s unorthodox offense. Back in the ring they all stall some more. Once again the Bushwhackers come back with their usual stuff and the Beverlys bail again. The Bushwhackers outsmart the Beverlys continually, which is just absurd. Finally the Beverlys take control on Luke, keeping him in their half of the ring. Outside the ring, Genius bullies Jameson, slapping him across the face. That leads to nothing. After what seems like an eternity Luke hits Beau with a clothesline and makes the hot tag. Butch is a house afire. The referee loses control and I’m losing patience. Beau hits Butch with a double axe handle off the top rope and Blake gets the pin at 14:57. That was simply rotten.
Rating: ¼*

After the match, the Bushwhackers and Jameson get their heat back by abusing the Genius and licking each other. Is anyone else disturbed by Luke and Butch licking young kids at ringside? That’s all kinds of disgusting.

MATCH #4: World Tag Team Championship Match – Legion of Doom vs. The Natural Disasters

Earthquake and Typhoon are accompanied by Jimmy Hart. Hawk and Animal have been the champions since 8.26.91. Typhoon and Hawk start the match. They try to out-power each other, and Hawk wins that battle with a clothesline off the top rope. Earthquake tags in and he actually tries a dropkick but it misses. Animal tags in and they size each other up. Johnny Ace’s brother tries a bodyslam but Earthquake falls on top. Typhoon tags in and Animal comes right back. It’s sad that Hawk and Animal barely even sell for guys like Earthquake and Typhoon. Hawk tags back in and now the Disasters take control for real; Hawk even sells for them so I take back what I said earlier. Of course Hawk comes back and makes the hot tag and the referee loses control. All four men spill to the floor to continue brawling. The referee starts the count and Typhoon barely sneaks back in the ring to get the countout win at 9:23. That was pretty dull and the finish was puzzling, given that the makeshift team of Ted DiBiase & IRS won the titles from the LOD a few weeks after this anyway.
Rating: ¾*

MATCH #5: Royal Rumble Match for the WWE Championship

The title has been vacant since 12.7.91, after two controversial matches between Hulk Hogan and Undertaker. As a result, Hogan and Undertaker both got to pick numbers between 20 and 30. I love little touches like that. British Bulldog (who recently won a 20-man battle royal in England) draws #1 and “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase with Sensational Sherri picked #2. They start off hot, both going for a quick elimination. That goes well for Bulldog, who dumps DiBiase to the floor. That was certainly quick. Ric Flair comes out at #3! That’s huge. Bulldog goes right after Flair, and when Jerry Sags with Jimmy Hart comes out at #4, he helps Flair. Even so, Bulldog is able to come back and eliminate Sags. Next up is Haku at #5. Bulldog also eliminates Haku as #6 Shawn Michaels makes his way out. Tito Santana is #7. The action continues at a fast pace given the talent of all four men in the ring. Barbarian comes out at #8. Kerry Von Erich is #9, raising the death toll in this Rumble to two. Repo Man brings us to the one-third mark at #10. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine is #11. Flair is everyone’s target, which makes Heenan crazy on commentary. Nikolai Volkoff comes out in the #12 spot. He’s a babyface but draws mostly boos from the sounds of it. In one corner of the ring Valentine locks Flair in the Figure-Four Leglock and Barbarian breaks it up. Repo Man dumps Volkoff for another quick exit. Big Boss Man is #13, raising the death roll to three. Repo Man tosses Valentine. Who would have thought Repo Man would eliminate anyone in the Rumble, let alone two guys? Just as I type that, Boss Man hurls Repo to the floor. Flair eliminates Bulldog after an impressive 25-plus minute performance, and then dumps Von Erich out as well. Hercules is #14 and that bumps the death toll to four (seven if you count the undercard). Hercules dumps Barbarian, Boss Man dumps Hercules, and Flair dumps Boss Man to be all alone in the ring! That’s awesome. New Intercontinental Champion “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is #15 and that’s just great booking right there. Piper’s reaction to having Flair all to himself is priceless. Flair runs to the floor (but not over the top rope) and Piper follows him to continue the assault. Piper utilizes the airplane spin and the Sleeper. Flair is in trouble here. Jake “The Snake” Roberts is #16. He even goes after Flair. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan comes out at #17 to a monster pop. Irwin R. Schyster is #18. Not much happens until Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka makes his way out at #19. Rounding out the first two-thirds is Undertaker with Paul Bearer at #20.

Undertaker immediately tosses Snuka. “Macho Man” Randy Savage is #21 and he is laser focused on finding Roberts. He gets his hands on his hated rival and eliminates him. Savage then stupidly goes over the top rope to continue beating Roberts up. He should be eliminated by the rules – even Monsoon says so – but the referees rule that you have to actually be thrown over the top rope by another competitor. Okay then. Berzerker is #22, and Virgil is #23. Col. Mustafa with Gen. Adnan comes out at #24, and he’s technically a former WWE Champion since he used to be the Iron Sheik. Rick Martel, who set the longevity record last year, is #25. Hulk Hogan makes his way out at #26. He goes right after Undertaker and Flair, sending Undertaker to the floor with a clothesline. Berzerker is the next one to go and then the shirt gets ripped. Duggan and Virgil eliminate each other. Skinner is #27. Former WWE Champion Sgt. Slaughter is #28. Martel eliminates Skinner, and moments later Flair sets the record for longevity, crossing the 53-minute mark. Sid Justice is #29. Hogan and Flair fight on the floor as Warlord with Harvey Wippleman is #30. Sid eliminates Slaughter. Piper eliminates Schyster via his tie. Hogan and Sid eliminate Warlord. Sid then pushes Piper and Martel to the floor at the same time. We’re down to the final four – Sid, Savage, Hogan, and Flair. Sid eliminates Savage, and then watches Hogan beat on Flair. He then sneaks up from behind and eliminates Hogan completely fairly. Hogan then grabs Sid’s arm and helps Flair eliminate him, and Ric Flair wins the Rumble at 61:59! The lineup in this Rumble was amazing, and the booking was perfect all the way through. That was a great performance from Flair, and this is still the best Rumble match of all-time.
Rating: *****topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF Royal Rumble 1991 (Hulk Hogan, Earthquake) Fri, 02 Jan 2015 17:00:50 +0000 Rumble 88-92

For an easy-to-search archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

Miami Arena – Miami, Florida – Saturday, January 19, 1991

Gorilla Monsoon and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper are on commentary.

MATCH #1: The Rockers vs. Orient Express

This is the Kato and Tanaka version of the Orient Express, and they’re accompanied by Mr. Fuji. Tanaka knocks Jannetty to the floor to start the match right away. The Express tries to go to work on Michaels but they don’t get too far before Jannetty comes back in and the Rockers send them scurrying to the floor and then wipe them out with suicide dives. The match settles down a bit and they trade control back and forth a couple of times, and the pace is very quick, especially for 1991 WWE. Michaels busts out a Moonsault. You know, he might be the first guy I ever saw do that. The Express tries to regroup on the floor but Michaels and Jannetty take them out with simultaneous cross body blocks off opposite turnbuckles. Back in the ring Kato and Tanaka use some chicanery to take over on Michaels. Fuji even gets a couple of cheap shots in behind the referee’s back. After several minutes of abuse Michaels is able to make the hot tag. Jannetty is on fire and so is the crowd. The Rockers try a Rocket Launcher but Tanaka breaks it up. The Express seems to be in control until Jannetty surprises Tanaka with a sunset flip to get the pin from out of nowhere at 19:14. That was a HELL of an opener and one of the Rockers’ best matches ever, which is saying something.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #2: Big Boss Man vs. Barbarian

This was part of the awesome storyline where Boss Man was running through the Heenan Family members to get revenge on Heenan for all the mean things Heenan said about his momma. Boss Man is all fired up so Barbarian stalls on the floor to start. That proves wise, as Barbarian takes first control when he gets in the ring. Boss Man comes back with a big boot and a back elbow to send Barbarian back to the floor. This time Boss Man goes out there too and whips Barbarian into the ring post. They get back in the ring and Boss Man quickly clotheslines Barbarian right back out. Boss Man brought his working boots tonight. Barbarian fights back with a vertical suplex. He now goes to work, dissecting the Boss Man, focusing on the back. After several minutes Boss Man fights out and hits an enziguiri of all things. Boss Man follows up with a Stun Gun and Barbarian just barely gets his hand on the bottom rope. Barbarian goes up top and hits the Clothesline, but Boss Man gets his leg on the bottom rope. Moments later Boss Man hits the Boss Man Slam and once again Barbarian gets his hand on the bottom rope. Barbarian comes back with a piledriver and goes up top. He tries a cross body block but Boss Man rolls through to get the pin at 14:16. Boss Man was on fire here and it turned out to be a good power match.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #3: WWE Championship Match – Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter

Warrior has been the champion since 4.1.90. He comes in a house afire as usual, clotheslining both Slaughter and Gen. Adnan to the floor, and then breaking the Iraqi flagpole over his knee and ripping up the flag. To say the crowd is in support of the Warrior would be an understatement. With Warrior firmly in control, Queen Sherri makes her way out to ringside to try and fire Slaughter up. Sherri grabs Warrior’s leg and baits him to chase her down the aisle. From out of nowhere the Macho King Randy Savage levels the champ with a clothesline and then hits him with a piece of equipment. Slaughter makes sure Warrior doesn’t g0065t counted out, and goes to work on him back in the ring. After a few minutes Warrior makes the big comeback and Slaughter is in trouble. Sherri makes her way back out to distract the champion again, and he pulls her into the ring. Warrior picks Sherri up and throws her onto Savage, who had made his way back out, and they’re both down. Slaughter drives a knee into Warrior’s back and then distracts the referee, allowing Savage to blast Warrior in the face with his scepter! That gives Slaughter carte blanche to hit an elbow drop and cover Warrior for the pin at 12:45. The crowd was hot for Warrior but the match was pretty dull. It set up for a great match at WrestleMania VII though, so at least some good came out of it.
Rating: *½

MATCH #4: Koko B. Ware vs. The Mountie

Mountie, who is accompanied by Jimmy Hart, stalls a lot in the opening minutes. The crowd is pretty pissed after the last match so these two have an uphill battle ahead of them. Koko gains the early advantage and Mountie fights back with punches, and then dumps Koko to the floor. Back in the ring Mountie continues slowly working Koko over and cutting off his comeback attempts. Mountie dumps Koko to the floor again and struts. Again, Koko makes his way back in the ring, and Mountie goes on offense. After an eternity Koko finally makes a comeback and lands a flurry of offense. Koko hits a missile dropkick and lands on his feet, which I think is impressive. He goes for the cover but Hart distracts him. Koko is able to come back and hit a turnaround cross body block off the second rope for two. He then charges into what looks like a shitty chokeslam and Mountie gets the pin at 9:12. That felt twice as long as it was.
Rating: ¼*

MATCH #5: Dusty & Dustin Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase & Virgil

The tension had been building between DiBiase and Virgil, with Piper trying to convince Virgil that pride is worth more than money. The Rhodes family immediately sends DiBiase and Virgil to the floor, where they regroup. Back in the ring Dustin goes to work on Virgil, sending him back to the floor with a dropkick. When DiBiase finally tags in he’s able to take control on Dustin. That doesn’t last long before Dustin comes back with some of his father’s offense, and then makes the tag to the Dream. Unfortunately, when Dustin tags back in, DiBiase and Virgil are able to isolate him and work on his knee. Virgil accidentally clotheslines DiBiase, and he receives a beating from his own partner for it. DiBiase dumps Virgil to the floor and then rolls Dusty up for the pin at 9:58. That was perfectly adequate.
Rating: **

The real juice is after the match, as DiBiase verbally berates Virgil, and tells him to get the Million Dollar Belt and put it around his waist. DiBiase reminds Virgil about his mother as Piper pleads with Virgil to stand up for himself. When DiBiase turns around to gloat, Virgil picks up the belt and hits DiBiase right in the face with it to one of the biggest pops I’ve ever heard in my life. One of the all-time great babyface turns, but too bad Virgil straight sucked in the ring.

MATCH #6: Royal Rumble Match

Bret “Hit Man” Hart is #1, and Dino Bravo, with Jimmy Hart, drew #2. Neither man can eliminate the other by the time Greg “The Hammer” Valentine comes out at #3. Valentine is a recent cast-off from Jimmy Hart’s crew, so he goes right after Bravo and quickly dumps him to the floor. Next up is #4, Paul Roma with Slick. Roma and Valentine double-team Hart but then quickly turn out each other. Kerry Von Erich is #5 and he gets a huge pop. Not much happens and Rick Martel is out at #6. Saba Simba is #7 as no one has been eliminated since Bravo. #8 is Bushwhacker Butch. Martel is able to eliminate Simba. Next up is Jake “The Snake” Roberts at #9. Roberts goes right after Martel, who blinded him several months ago. Martel runs to the floor but wisely goes out under the bottom rope. Hercules is #10 and he helps out his tag team partner Roma. Tito Santana is #11 and he goes right after his former partner Martel. Meanwhile, Roberts eliminates Roma. Undertaker with Brother Love is #12. He immediately eliminates Hart. Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka gets lucky #13. Next is British Bulldog at #14. Smash brings us to the half-way point at #15. Martel is cleverly able to eliminate Roberts from the apron. Hawk is #16. Shane Douglas in neon orange is #17. Undertaker eliminates Von Erich and Hawk dumps Snuka. For some reason, no one comes out at #18 so we just move on. Animal is #19 and they join together to eliminate Undertaker. Martel and Hercules then clothesline Hawk out. Crush is #20.

Former winner “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan is #21. Next up is Earthquake with Jimmy Hart at #22. Earthquake eliminates Animal, and then focuses on Duggan. Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan is #23. He tosses Duggan out pretty quickly. Hulk Hogan is #24 and everyone goes after him of course. Hogan tosses Smash first and then goes after Earthquake. Haku is #25. Next is Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart at #26. Earthquake tosses Santana. Bushwhacker Luke marches out at #27 and Earthquake immediately tosses him out to set a new record for shortest time in the Rumble. Brian Knobbs is #28. He eliminates Hercules and Warlord comes out at #29. Hogan eliminates Crush. He then eliminates Warlord just as Tugboat comes out at #30. That means “Macho King” Randy Savage was the one who didn’t show. Knobbs eliminates Douglas. Hogan eliminates Tugboat and Bulldog eliminates Perfect. Martel dumps Neidhart and Bulldog dumps Haku. Then Martel foolishly goes to the top rope and Bulldog knocks him down, but not before Martel set a new longevity record at 52 minutes. Earthquake and Knobbs quickly eliminate Bulldog and focus on Hogan. After Earthquake hits the Vertical Splash, Hogan Hulks up and dumps Knobbs to the floor. Hogan hits Earthquake with the Big Boot and some punches, and then punches Hart off the apron. He then goes for the bodyslam but he can’t hold the weight. Earthquake hits the big elbow drop and the powerslam, but Hogan Hulks Up again. Hogan hits another Big Boot and this time completes the bodyslam. He clotheslines Earthquake to the floor to win his second straight Rumble at 65:14. There was some fun stuff throughout this one, but it just felt lacking in star power and the Hogan win was even more predictable than usual with less suspense.
Rating: ***topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF Royal Rumble 1990 (Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior) Thu, 01 Jan 2015 17:00:51 +0000 Rumble 88-92

For an easy-to-search archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

Orlando Arena – Orlando, Florida – Sunday, January 21, 1990

Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura are on commentary.

MATCH #1: The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. The Bushwhackers

The Rougeaus are accompanied by their manager Jimmy Hart. The match starts with stalling… lots of it. Luke and Butch bring their particular brand of comedy, which I loved when I was a kid. The capacity crowd in Orlando apparently agrees with the younger version of me because the Bushwhackers are crazy over here. The Rougeaus are able to ground Luke and they keep him in their half of the ring. The Bushwhackers’ offense consists primarily of biting. After what seems like an eternity Butch gets the hot tag. The referee loses control as all four men are in the ring. Hart tries to help his charges and he almost pays dearly for it but the Rougeaus rescue him at the last minute. Finally the Bushwhackers hit both Jacques and Raymond with the Battering Ram at the same time and Butch pins Jacques at 13:35. That felt like it was never going to end.
Rating: ¾*

MATCH #2: The Genius vs. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake

If I’m not mistaken, this is the Genius’s only match ever on pay-per-view. Genius is SO good at being effeminate it’s hard to believe that he’s Randy “Macho Man” Savage’s brother. Beefcake dominates in the early going and Genius stalls and tries to avoid him. Genius tries fighting up but Beefcake has an answer every time he does. Beefcake tries the Sleeper but Genius fights out of it and puts on a headlock, and when Beefcake shoves him off, Genius collides with the referee, who tumbles to the floor. With the referee out Beefcake locks on the Sleeper, and the Genius starts sawing wood. Beefcake grabs his scissors and preps Genius for a haircut. Mr. Perfect runs out to save his manager and the referee wakes up to call for the disqualification at 11:03. Perfect assaults Beefcake with a chair as referees come out to pull him off. As a setup to Beefcake versus Perfect at WrestleMania VI this worked, but as a match it was pretty dull and today would be the kind of thing on TV instead of pay-per-view. The official verdict is a double-disqualification, by the way.
Rating: *

MATCH #3: Submission Match – “Rugged” Ronnie Garvin vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine

Valentine is accompanied by his manager Jimmy Hart. Neither man gets an entrance, which I find odd. I believe this is the first submission match on WWE pay-per-view. Both men are wearing braces no their leg, which allegedly make their finishing moves, the Figure-Four Leglock and the Sharpshooter, more effective. Garvin goes on offense first and tries a cover but of course there are no pins here. Valentine fights back and these two are working pretty snug together. They both keep trying pin covers to really hammer the point home that yes, this is a submission match. Valentine is the first one to go for a submission, locking on the Figure-Four. However, the “Hammer Jammer,” the brace on Garvin’s leg, protects him from feeling the pain of the hold. They continue slugging at each other, and Garvin gets his first submission attempt, the Indian Deathlock. The battle spills to the floor, where they continue to hit each other with stiff strikes. Garvin goes for a piledriver but Valentine reverses to a back body drop. Back in the ring they knock each other down, and Hart takes the opportunity to pull the Hammer Jammer off Garvin’s leg. Valentine wisely puts on the Figure-Four Leglock but Garvin turns it over! They roll into the ropes to break the hold. Valentine goes to the rope and Garvin slams him down. Now Garvin removes Valentine’s leg brace, the Heartbreaker! Valentine foolishly goes for ANOTHER pin. Okay guys, we get it. Garvin ties Valentine up in the ropes a la Andre the Giant. Hart tries to interfere and Garvin brings him in the ring and threatens him with the Hammer Jammer. Valentine tries to sneak up on Garvin with the Heartbreaker, but Garvin turns around and blasts him with the Hammer Jammer! Garvin then locks on the Sharpshooter to get the win at 16:52! The crowd popped pretty big for that. I think this match is underrated, and without the pin attempts late in the match I would have rated it higher.
Rating: ***

MATCH #4: Big Boss Man vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

Boss Man is accompanied by the “Doctor of Style” Slick. He also has his Corporate theme music instead of Jive Soul Bro, which makes me sad. These two bruisers start slugging at each other right away. Duggan knocks Boss Man to the floor but pays for it when he runs into the ring post. He avoids a charge though and Boss Man runs into the steps, so tit for tit. Back in the ring they continue throwing bombs at each other. Boss Man takes control, trying to keep Duggan down. He even uses a bearhug, but Duggan headbutts his way out of it. Duggan clotheslines Boss Man to the floor and Boss Man gets right back in the ring, only to get caught with mounted punches in the corner. Boss Man fights back with a clothesline. He goes up top but misses a splash. Both men rise and clunk heads and fall down. Slick tries to interfere but it backfires. Boss Man then grabs the nightstick and cracks Duggan with it to get himself disqualified at 10:23. That was an okay-ish back and forth power brawl.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #5: Royal Rumble Match

In a great nod to last year’s Rumble, in which he drew number thirty, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase has drawn #1. Koko B. Ware is #2, and he comes out to the Piledriver song instead of Birdman. That’s #Blasphemy. DiBiase attacks right away and eliminates Koko before the next entrant can come out. Marty Jannetty is #3 and he comes in guns blazing. Unfortunately it’s not enough and DiBiase eliminates him. Jake “The Snake” Roberts is #4. This is a confrontation the fans have wanted to see. Roberts is all over DiBiase, hitting him with the short clothesline. Next up at #5 is “Macho Man” Randy Savage and he goes right after Roberts. They double-team Roberts until “Rowdy” Roddy Piper comes in at #6 to even the odds. Warlord is #7 as the brawling continues. A new rule this year is that managers can stay at ringside until their clients are eliminated, so Virgil, Sensational Sherri, and Mr. Fuji are all at ringside. Next up is Bret “Hit Man” Hart at #8. The ring starts to fill up as #9 Bad News Brown makes his way out. Savage is able to eliminate Roberts. Dusty Rhodes is next up at #10, and he goes right after his rival Savage and dumps him to the floor. One half of the World Tag Team Champions, Andre the Giant, with Bobby Heenan, is #11. He immediately tosses Warlord out, and Heenan almost gets into a fight with Fuji. Red Rooster is #12. Piper eliminates Bad News. Unfortunately, Bad News doesn’t take too kindly to that and he pulls Piper to the floor! I guess that counts as en elimination. Piper and Bad News brawl all the way to the back. This year’s lucky #13 is Ax of Demolition. Andre tosses the Rooster and then gets beat on by Ax and Rhodes. Next up is Haku at #14, and he immediately helps his Tag Team Championship partner Andre. Next up at #15 is Smash, so now the Tag Team Champions and the number one challengers are all in the ring. Akeem is #16, and eight men total are in the ring. That doesn’t last long as Rhodes eliminates Hart. Seconds later, Demolition works together to eliminate Andre! That’s tremendous. Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka is #17, and he takes Akeem out. Dino Bravo is next at #18. Bravo’s partner Earthquake is #19. Earthquake eliminates Rhodes, and then tosses Ax. Jim Neidhart of the Hart Foundation is next up at #20.

Everyone in the ring wisely decides to gang up on Earthquake and they get him over the ropes. Even Bravo adds a little assist. #21 is the Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior, and the crowd goes ballistic. Warrior immediately eliminates Bravo. Rick Martel is #22. Haku eliminates Smash. Next up is #23, Tito Santana. He goes right after his former tag team partner Martel. How did those two never have a singles match on pay-per-view? Honky Tonk Man is #24 as Warrior, Martel and DiBiase eliminate Neidhart. That seems like a lot for just the Anvil. Warrior finally eliminates DiBiase after about 45 minutes to a big pop. The WWE Champion Hulk Hogan is #25 and the crowd loses it. Hogan eliminates Snuka and Haku. Warrior eliminates Santana. Shawn Michaels comes out at #26 to a big pop as Hogan eliminates Honky. Warrior dumps Michaels and Martel, leaving an epic showdown between the WWE Champion Hogan and the Intercontinental Champion Warrior. They criss-cross and clothesline each other. Both men are down and the crowd went nuts for that. While both men are down Barbarian comes out at #27 and starts picking the bones. “Ravishing” Rick Rude jumps the gun and comes out at #28 well before he should have. Barbarian and Rude try to eliminate Hogan, and for some reason Warrior saves him. Then Rude and Barbarian start eliminating Warrior, and Hogan helps them out. Before he leaves, Warrior gets back in the ring and clotheslines Rude and Barbarian, but not Hogan. That’s weird. Hercules is #29. As we all know, Mr. Perfect is the last man in at #30. Hercules eliminates Barbarian and we’re down to the final four – Hogan, Rude, Hercules, and Perfect. Rude eliminates Hercules. Perfect and Rude try to double-team Hogan, but it backfires and Perfect accidentally eliminates Rude. A weakened Hogan gets hit with the Perfect-Plex, but that of course just gives him the chance to Hulk Up. Hogan catapults Perfect into the ring post and ping-pongs him around the ring before tossing him out for the win at 58:41. That’s an awesome and perhaps underrated Royal Rumble, with tons of talent and some awesome booking throughout the match. I know a lot of people think Mr. Perfect should have won, but as he was on his way to face Brutus Beefcake at WrestleMania VI I don’t think it would have helped him in any significant way.
Rating: ****¼topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF Royal Rumble 1989 (Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage) Wed, 31 Dec 2014 14:00:39 +0000 Rumble 88-92

For an easy-to-search archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

The Summit – Houston, Texas – Sunday, January 15, 1989

MATCH #1: Two out of Three Falls Match – Dino Bravo & Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan & The Hart Foundation

Bravo and the Rougeaus have Frenchy Martin and Jimmy Hart in their corner. Sadly Duggan does not get a chance to reprise his Royal Rumble match win from last year. Bravo and Neidhart start the match. They do some easy back and forth that the crowd appreciates. These are the two powerhouses of the teams I guess, although Duggan fits that bill as well. Speaking of Hacksaw, he gets the tag and the crowd goes nuts. Bravo tags Raymond, and that doesn’t go well at all. Hart tags in and the babyfaces continue to control the action. Duggan and the Foundation stack all three opponents in the corner and execute a triple battering ram. Raymond is able to pull down the top rope and Hart crashes to the floor. Back in the ring Bravo hits the Side Suplex and the Rougeaus hit La Bombe de Rougeau to win the first fall at 5:25. Raymond and Hart have to start the second fall and the “Hit Man” is in rough shape. Hart sneaks in a few hope spots that he is so good at, but the Rougeaus and Bravo keep him on the mat. Finally, after a really, really long time Hart is able to hit an inverted atomic drop and makes the tag to Duggan. The crowd loses it. The referee completely loses control of the match and Duggan drops an elbow on Raymond to win the second fall at 13:56. Duggan and Raymond of course start the third and deciding fall. The heels take over on Duggan in their corner for a while. They foolishly let him make a tag to Hart, who goes to work on Bravo. The referee gets distracted with Neidhart and the Rougeaus, allowing Duggan to hit Bravo with the 2×4 and Hart gets the pin at 18:41. If anyone pays attention to my writing, they know that I think the world of the brothers Rougeau, and I also love Duggan and the Hart Foundation. This was a good choice for an opener.
Rating: ***

MATCH #2: Women’s Championship Match – Rockin’ Robin vs. Judy Martin

Sensational Sherri challenges the winner of the match before they can start. That’s curious, because Robin just beat Sherri in a title match six days prior on Prime Time Wrestling. Robin has been the champion since 11.8.88 and this is her second televised defense. Sherri also joins the commentary team and she seems biased towards the challenger, who controls the early going until Robin comes back and puts on a Boston Crab. Martin powers out of that but Robin goes right back on offense. Robin goes for a dropkick but Martin hangs on to the ropes. Now the challenger goes to work as Sherri and Ventura try to team up on Monsoon but he’s not having any of it. Meanwhile Robin comes back with a DDT (Ha!). Martin pretty much shrugs it off and tries an elbow drop but misses. Robin tries a bodyslam but Martin reverses to one of her own for two. Martin executes a backslide for two. She goes for a back body drop but drops her head too soon and Robin kicks her in the chest. Robin gets a small package for two. Martin whips Robin into the corner and Robin hops up onto the second rope, head-fakes Martin, and then hits a cross body block to get the pin at 6:25. That was not so very good.
Rating: *½

MATCH #3: King Haku vs. Harley Race

Race, the former king, dumps Haku off the chariot that the Kings used to get carried to the ring on, which is an awesome spot. It looks like Fred Ottman was one of the guys who carried Haku. The bell rings while both men are still outside the ring, which is just a terrible officiating decision. You have to wait until both men are in the ring! Race is all over Haku in the early going, knocking Haku to the floor. I guess Heenan still manages both men, so he wins either way. Back in the ring Race continues working the new King over. Haku reverses a whip that sends Race to the floor. Back in the ring Race comes back and hits a piledriver for two. The Kings collide and Race takes a ridiculous looking bump to the floor. Haku suplexes Race back in the ring for a two-count. Race comes back again with his own suplex and throws Haku to the floor. He goes for a piledriver but Haku backdrops him instead. Haku shoves Race’s back into the ring apron. Race comes right back with a headbutt to the midsection and then hits the piledriver. Back in the ring Race hits a neckbreaker for two. Haku fights back and goes for a diving headbutt off the second rope but misses. Race then also misses a diving headbutt off the second rope. Back up on their feet Race misses a clothesline and Haku blasts him with Sweet Chin Music for the win at 9:02. That was Race’s last match for the WWE and he gave it a game effort but he certainly looked his age (45) at times. The match was pretty solid though.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #4: Royal Rumble Match

Ax draws #1, and his partner Smash drew #2! The World Tag Team Champions immediately tear into each other, since it’s every man for himself. This is a great way to kick off the Rumble. They don’t take it easy on each other at all. Andre the Giant is out at #3, and Demolition wisely decides to team up on him. The champs knock him down right away with a double clothesline and unload on him. Mr. Perfect is #4, and he goes after everybody. Andre tosses Smash for the first elimination. Ronnie Garvin comes out at #5 and all three guys try to eliminate the Giant. That of course doesn’t work. Next up is Greg “The Hammer” Valentine at #6. Everyone continues to gang up on Andre, which is good strategy. It doesn’t work though, as Andre tosses Garvin out. Jake “The Snake” Roberts is #7, and he goes right after Andre. Ron Bass is entrant #8, and he’s sporting a new haircut thanks to Brutus Beefcake. Andre tosses Roberts to the floor. Shawn Michaels is #9. Perfect eliminates Ax. Bushwhacker Butch is #10. Roberts comes back out with his python Damien, and Andre, who is afraid of snakes, eliminates himself by going over the top rope! I really miss 1980s WWE. Honky Tonk Man is #11. Not much happens and Tito Santana comes out at #12. Bad News Brown is lucky #13, and for some reason I think that’s just perfect. Santana and Butch team up to toss Honky to the floor. Next is Marty Jannetty at #14, and perhaps he and Michaels will work as a team? That turns out to be true as the eliminate Bass. We’re halfway home as WWF Champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage is #15. The crowd goes banana. Savage goes right after Brown. Arn Anderson is #16 as Savage tosses Valentine out. Michaels goes after Anderson, hitting Sweet Chin Music long before it was called that. Amazingly, Savage and Anderson team up to eliminate Michaels. Tully Blanchard is #17. The Brainbusters team up to eliminate Jannetty as #18 is Hulk Hogan! The crowd once again loses its collective mind.

Hogan saves Savage and immediately tosses Perfect before turning his attention to Brown. Savage tosses Santana out. Bushwhacker Luke is #19, and Butch gets eliminated rather quickly by Brown. Koko B. Ware is #20. I had Chinese food with Koko one time. That was a pretty good day. Just as I type that he gets eliminated by Hogan. Luke is the next one gone, also courtesy of Hogan, who then eliminates both Brainbusters. Next up is Warlord at #21, and the second he steps in the ring Hogan clotheslines him out. Brown almost has Savage eliminated, and Hogan sneaks up from behind and eliminates both of them! Savage is hot, and rightfully so. Miss Elizabeth comes out and makes peace. Now Hogan is all alone with #22, the Big Boss Man. This is great booking. Boss Man dominates, hitting a piledriver. Monsoon tries to say that Hogan has been out there for half an hour, but really it’s been less than ten minutes. Akeem is #23, so now it’s both Twin Towers against Hogan. The Towers team up and eliminate Hogan. Ever the poor sport, Hogan pulls Boss Man to the floor and hits him with a chair. Brutus Beefcake is #24 and he comes running out to Hogan’s rescue. Hogan tries to get back in the ring but settles for illegally eliminating the Boss Man. Jeez this guy sets a bad example for children. He doesn’t play by the rules at all. Next up is Red Rooster at #25. Beefcake and Rooster try to eliminate Akeem but can’t get it done, and Barbarian is #26. Big John Studd is #27, making his return after a several year absence. More brawling happens and Hercules comes out at #28. Next up at #29 is Rick Martel. Finally #30 comes out and to no surprise it’s the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Monsoon says he’s surprised the Rooster is still in there, and that must be because he didn’t put the red streak in his hair. DiBiase tosses the Rooster. Beefcake puts Hercules in the Sleeper, so DiBiase, Barbarian, and Martel team up to dump both of them to the floor. Martel then dropkicks Barbarian to the floor. We’re down to the final four of Akeem, Studd, Martel, and DiBiase. Akeem dumps Martel to the floor. DiBiase then starts directing traffic, double-teaming Studd. It backfires though, and Studd is able to eliminate Akeem with a weak-ass forearm shot. Studd uses his power to dominate DiBiase. He hits a double underhook suplex and a sloppy gutwrench suplex. After a clothesline Studd heaves DiBiase over the ropes and to the floor to get the win at 65:04. That started off amazing but it seriously died once Hogan and Savage were gone. I’m not sure what the idea was behind Studd winning the whole thing.
Rating: ***¼topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 01.15.96 Mon, 08 Dec 2014 05:08:30 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 01.15.96

Apparently additions resume this week, so we might as well go back to these again.  No idea why 01/01 and 01/08 were omitted and no one from the Network seems to be particularly helpful in that regard.  Oh 1996 WWF, why can’t I quit you?

Taped from somewhere at the end of a cycle.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

Marty Jannetty v. Owen Hart

They trade facelocks to start while Marty’s neon outfit threatens to crash the Network.  There’s not enough bandwidth in the world to contain that much ugly!  Marty with a powerslam for two and he works a headlock, but walks into a belly to belly suplex.  Vince and Jerry talking about the “classic confrontations” in the Rumble is laughable considering that the roster was so decimated at this point that they were using Dick Murdoch and Carlos Colon to pad out the match.  Owen with the chinlock and he pounds away in the corner, and a gut wrench gets two as we take a break.  Back with Marty making the comeback as the announcers are TALKIN’ SPORTZ!  See how hip and with it that Vince is?  Marty with a powerslam and he dumps Owen, but back in Owen finishes with a reverse cradle at 8:00.  So that was a whole lot of nothing.  **

Meanwhile, Todd has the Rumble report, and some jabroni named Vader is entered into it.  Also, some doofus named Ringmaster.

The Ringmaster v. Matt Hardy

So this is Austin’s WWF RAW debut, as the Million Dollar Champion and stuck in a midcard geek position right away.  Ringmaster works a headlock and follows with the Thesz Press before pounding Matt down and stomping away in the corner.   Front suplex gets two and he chokes away on the ropes, but Matt makes a brief comeback before walking into the stungun.  Million Dollar Dream finishes at 4:30.  Who would have ever, ever thought this loser gimmick would spawn the biggest star in history?

The Smoking Gunns v. The Spiders

We’re joined in progress for some reason with the Gunns finishing in 30 seconds with the Sidewinder.

BILLIONAIRE TED’S RASSLIN’ WAR ROOM.  Watch for the Vince Russo cameo.  Billionaire Ted wants to buy the WWF, but can only get their “disloyal hasbeens from the 80s”, which is RICH.  Especially Randy Savage, who was banished to the commentary desk and didn’t have any loyalty shown to him.  Things would only get more mean-spirited from here.

Goldust gets interviewed by Vince, who may or may not have an extra microphone in his pants.  Probably not.

The Undertaker v. Isaac Yankem

So this would take on a different slant in just a couple of years.  Taker attacks and slugs away in the corner, then no-sells a clothesline out of the corner and goes for the tombstone before Yankem bails to escape.  They slug it out on the floor and literally just stand there fighting for a choke before Taker sends him into the post.  Lawler tries to steal the urn/chain from Paul Bearer and gets chased off, as we take a break.  Back with Yankem in control with a bearhug, but Taker escapes with a suplex while Vince gives us a disclaimer about how Goldust does not represent the gay community, regardless of his alleged sexual preference.  When you have to literally do on-air apologies for your gimmicks, they’re probably not very good.  Yankem tries a tombstone, but Taker reverses out and finishes with his own at 7:30.  DUD

Meanwhile, Goldust cuts a promo about facing Bret Hart next week, but Razor Ramon attacks him for a pretty wild brawl to end the show.

The Pulse

You can definitely feel the tendrils of Vince Russo starting to slowly creep into the product with a more mature direction (like Sunny in the bathtub for literally no reason) but the product was still not really showing signs of life yet.topstory500x250-×250.jpg|topstory500x250 topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120

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The SmarK Rant for the WWF Slammy Awards – 12.17.87 Thu, 04 Dec 2014 03:20:23 +0000 The SmarK Rant for the WWF Slammy Awards – 12.17.87

The 37th Annual awards to be specific!

Oh man, this is a very specific piece of my childhood here.  I honestly have no idea who would have aired in Canada at the time, unless it was on one of the local stations in a rebroadcast deal ala Saturday Night’s Main Event.

Taped from Atlantic City, NJ

Hosted by Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura & Mean Gene.

The entrance vignettes cut into the credits are worth the price of admission alone.  King Kong Bundy in his wrestling trunks and a top hat is awesome.  And really, Vince would kill to have the kind of star power on display here these days.  Hogan, Warrior, Savage, Honky Tonk, Dibiase, Rude, Roberts, Bigelow, The Hart Foundation, The Bulldogs, Demolition, Beefcake…pretty staggering actually.

So the conceit here is that this is an actual awards show, as opposed to whatever it became later.

Award #1: Best Performance By An Animal

Nominees are Damian, Frankie, Matilda and George Steele.  The winner of course is Steele and he gets lost on the way to the podium before Hillbilly Jim saves him.  And the poor prop turnbuckle doesn’t even survive the first award.

Song of the Year Nominee:  Honky Tonk Man sings his own theme song and does a pretty good job at it.  Clearly he’s not actually playing the guitar, but he’s still one up on Jeff Jarrett.  Also, the Hart Foundation provides backup dancing, so that’s awesome.  You have to be a terrible person not to love this a little bit.

Award #2: Woman of the Year

Nominees are Sherri, “Dolly Parton”, Fabulous Moolah, “Yoko Ono” and Elizabeth.  Obviously a couple of these are joke nominees.  Honky is pretty funny burying all the nominees (“Even the Million Dollar Man’s Moolah can’t buy the award for that battleaxe.”) and of course Liz wins.  Randy Savage immediately chases Honky off, and if there’s anything classier than a silver wrestling outfit with bib, I don’t know what that might be.

Hacksaw Duggan (with tuxudo shirt) presents Award #3: Best Ring Apparel. 

Nominees are Demolition, Randy Savage (pretty sure you can see a very young Jerry Seinfeld sitting behind him), King Harley Race, Honky Tonk Man and the Bulldogs.  The King wins the award (and Bobby has a bowtie on his neck brace), but Duggan refuses to show proper respect in presenting the award, and the BRAWL IS ON.  Thankfully Gorilla Monsoon is on hand to grab a headset and do play by play.  First stop:  The makeup room, as they batter each other with wigs and face powder and there’s a donkey and a bunch of chickens around.  THESE CHICKENS ARE RAW, YOU DONKEY!!!!  Meanwhile, they fight into the electrical room as we learn that Bam Bam Bigelow and Mean Gene have tied for the Best Head award.  Shit, I had money on that one.


Long before Chris Jericho made it a running joke in 2004, this was a real thing that happened.  Jake Roberts, Randy Savage and Brutus Beefcake “playing” the trumpets!  Vince doing choreographed dance moves with showgirls!  HULK HOGAN BASS SOLO!  Vince McMahon basically telling Jim Crockett and Verne Gagne that he’s going to destroy their territories…in MUSICAL FORM!

Meanwhile, in the back, the brawl continues while a llama wanders through.  We take a break and Heenan rescues Race and locks Hacksaw in the room, where he still lives to this day.  No, wait, he escapes and shoves a giant pile of cardboard boxes onto them, allowing them to continue into the dressing rooms.  Poor Bobby gets beat up by an old lady to end this segment.

Hulk Hogan presents Award #4: The Hulk Hogan Real American Award. 

If this was 1995 WCW he’d present it to himself.  But since we’ve got storylines to advance, instead it goes to Superstar Billy Graham.  For some reason Graham gets a knockoff of The Final Countdown as his music.

Meanwhile, the brawl moves into the catering room and Gorilla declares that they’ve “made a shambles of the 37th Annual Slammy Awards!”  Duggan puts poor Bobby into the carrot cake with an atomic drop, and Gorilla is upset that there will be no Christmas party this year as a result.

Jesse The Body presents the most prestigious award of the evening…the JESSE THE BODY AWARD. 

As if you even need to guess who wins this one.  Seriously, tell me you didn’t say it out loud as soon as I gave the name of the award.  Nominees are Rick Rude (duh), Butch Reed, Ultimate Warrior, Sherri, and Hercules.  And of course, Rick Rude is the only one who could possibly win.  Rude opts for a full-on stripping routine before Mean Gene saves things with a towel.  Rude steals the big-haired awards girl and leaves the towel.  This was kind of a weird bit for Rude because he was more goofy heel than hard-edged asshole like he would soon become.  But it was tremendous no less.

Sadly, the “Greatest Hits of 1987″ award is interrupted by Race and Duggan bursting through the video screen, but Finkel apologizes for the interruption and we continue.

Award #5:  Greatest Hits of the Year

Nominees are Andre the Giant, Strike Force, Honky Tonk Man, Bam Bam Bigelow and Hacksaw Duggan.  And Duggan wins to pay off the brawl.

Gorilla Monsoon presents Award #6:  Manager of the Year

Nominees are Slick (in a gold Flavor Flav tuxedo!), Jimmy Hart, Mr. Fuji, Bobby Heenan…and the winner is “None of the above”.  Now that’s a funny gag.  Everyone is outraged but Gorilla sends them all packing.

Song of the Year Nominee:  Piledriver. 

So this gives us Bigelow on saxophone and poor Ultimate Warrior dressed as a construction worker standing there with no idea what to do.

Mean Gene presents Award #6:  Best Personal Hygiene

Nominees are Sika, Hillbilly Jim, George Steele, The Bolsheviks and King Kong Bundy (giving us the first toilet joke of the night, kind of a shock actually).  The Russians win and trip on the way up the stage.

Song of the Year Nominee:  Jimmy Hart sings about Girls In Cars

This is another weird one because of course Strike Force had already stolen the song for themselves, even though Jimmy does a good version here.  Sadly, Strike Force steals all of his backup dancers and Jimmy gets kidnapped and presumably raped by the school bus lady.  Weak sauce.

Randy Savage presents Award #7:  Best Vocal Performance

Nominees are JYD’s growl, One Man Gang’s bellow, Hacksaw Duggan’s ho, Jimmy Hart’s megaphone and George Steele’s wail.  Duggan wins his second award of the night, running away with things.  I think this awards show might not be entirely on the level.

Song of the Year Nominee:  If You Only Knew

This is the one featuring everyone on the roster doing a group number.  The highlight is Virgil keep character by standing there scowling while everyone else does their bits and claps along.  Sadly, Sika eats the envelope that reveals who actually won Best Song, but I’d like to think it was Honky Tonk Man because his was awesome.  And we wrap it up, which is good because the show actually ran out of good ideas at the end of the Race-Duggan brawl.

The Pulse

There’s only about 40 minutes of good entertainment here, so stop after the giant brawl finishes, but otherwise it’s some hilarious classic cheese from the glory days of the WWF.  Highly recommended.

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Rabblecast Ep. 384 – The History of WWE’s Survivor Series Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:37:08 +0000 WWE’s upcoming Survivor Series 2014 event marks 27 years for WWE’s second longest running PPV. The guys take a look back at some of the earlier shows in Survivor Series history. The simultaneous debuts of both The Gobbledy Gooker and The Undertaker on the same show, the first ever WWE/WWF Casket match, the crazy teams and a whole lot more.

We are The Rabblecast!


Follow us on Twitter: @Rabblecast

Like, The Rabblecast Facebook Fan page!

Email us at:


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DVD Review: WWE Attitude Era Vol. 2 Sun, 16 Nov 2014 02:26:10 +0000 Attitude Era Vol 2 Review

Just in case you didn’t know what the Attitude Era was, WWE nicely kicks off this DVD with a bikini competition between Sunny, Sable, Marlena and the Funkettes. But it’s not just a clip of the competition but there’s an introduction by Sunny herself talking about how the WWF was changing from the uber-safe, bloomer-wearing, G-rated WWF to the more loose and thong-bearing Attitude Era.

One of the best segments including on Disc 1 is DX’s “invasion” of New York City. It’s a great pre-taped segment that aired on RAW in 1998. Unfortunately this is the edited version from the broadcast and not the unedited version that was released on VHS around this time but the segment still hold up and is still as funny today. This shows Road Dogg in his improvisational glory & Triple H as his typical sarcastic (& somewhat racist) self.

An interview with Jerry Lawler reveals that it was actually Road Dogg Jesse James who came up with the term “puppies”. While he says he’s not a perverted guy (*wink*), he does think that the lack of respect and glorification of the Divas really helped their success during the Attitude Era. This is followed, of course, by Sable’s unforgettable “hand print” bikini. Definitely not something you’d see on WWE TV today.

The Godfather tells exactly how his character was born. While the Nation of Domination was being used to build up The Rock, he and D-Lo Brown weren’t doing very much. So instead of coming to ringside every week in black tights, he started wearing his normal street attire – his “Godfather” hat, black vests, gold chains & jewelry. A fan shouted one night, “Godfather, you look like a pimp!” His wife heard about this and completely created the “Pimping ain’t easy!” Godfather character. She designed his ring attire, his vests and even made the glasses he used to wear. It’s incredible that someone’s wife would be the one to not only support but encourage their husband to portray a pimp and walk out with random hot women every week on worldwide television.

I’m not going to spoil anymore of the great stories on this DVD set but some include how Sexual Chocolate came to be (& who thought it would never work), how the superstars felt about getting a “bloodbath” and what it was made of plus how Trish Stratus’ WWE career could have been derailed well before it got off the ground. Some of the great matches featured on the set are the New Age Outlaws vs Chainsaw Charlie & Cactus Jack, a Casket Match between The Rock & The Undertaker, a European Championship match between Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle and Tazz, Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko and The Rock & Lita versus Triple H & Trish Stratus.

The set includes a ton of good matches I’ve long forgotten and vignettes that could fill a full DVD set on its own! I’m normally not a fan of match compilation sets but Attitude Era Vol. Two is able to weave new stories from past performers, Attitude Era vignettes and interesting wrestling matches together in a way that you felt you were getting an entertaining history lesson into the WWE’s most popular era.topstory120x120-×120-2013.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 08.14.95 Thu, 16 Oct 2014 05:27:35 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 08.14.95

So we’re BACK, as three new episodes have finally been added and I’ve wrapped up Nitro for 1995, and now it’s back to RAW again for a while.  Ad roulette day 2:  Just a WWE logo again.  Double or nothing tomorrow!

God, after watching the refreshingly raw (OH THE IRONY!) and messy production of Nitro for a few weeks, switching back to the antiseptic and overly glossed WWF product is pretty jarring. Thankfully November would bring a bit of a kick in the ass to Vince’s dated production values thanks to a concussion angle, but that’s a long ways away yet.  For the moment, Gorilla Monsoon is the new WWF President and we’re building to Summerslam 95.

Live from Worcester, MA.  Nice looking smaller arena, actually.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Ted Dibiase

Doink the Clown v. Waylon Mercy

Of all people you’d think Doink would be the one not to fall for a fake handshake, and indeed he takes Mercy down with armdrags.  Mercy bails and lures Doink into a charge that goes badly, but Doink stomps away on him back in the ring.  Mercy with a lariat and he finishes with the CRAZY EYED SLEEPER at 3:03, complete with “Kill the Clown” chant from the smarky crowd and giant face pop.  ½*  Yeah, it was 1995, everyone thought they were ECW for some reason.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Hollywood, Goldust cuts his introductory promo.  And it’s LONG.  He really took a few months to fully nail down the character.  Meltzer pretty much called this one a career-killer in the Observer for the week.

Meanwhile, Henry Godwinn comes out against the format sheet and slops Ted Dibiase, thus ending his brief association with the Corporation.  So this gives us Dok Hendrix on commentary for the rest of the episode.

The Smoking Gunns v. Bill Garrett & Cody Wade

Garrett has some sort of train-related graphics airbrushed onto his ample tights, but before I can even question the reasoning behind one jobber having “Engine” and the other “Caboose” on their gear, the Gunns finish the skinny one with the Sidewinder at 1:30.   Would you REALLY want to be the guy who is the Caboose?

Meanwhile, Dean Douglas critiques Bret Hart and instead of anything meaningful he makes a bunch of semantic arguments about how Bret doesn’t hook a jobber’s leg and so he can’t really be “excellence” or some such.  So basically he’s the heel equivalent of the grammar Nazis on the internet.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Jeff Hardy

Your future WWE title main event feud!  Someone on or YouTube (Hi guys!) should do a list of future main events that previously happened as squashes or at least in vastly different forms.  Jeffrey controls with a dropkick, but whiffs on the Whisper dive and gets stomped down in the corner.  Pedigree finishes at 2:00.

Summerslam Insider with Todd.

Henry Godwinn v. Russ Greenberg

So Godwinn is supposed to be a babyface now, but fans still don’t give a shit about him.  Choking, big bot, and Slop Drop finishes at 0:30.  And then the poor jobber gets slopped because it’s apparently HILARIOUS.

Meanwhile, Isaac Yankem drills some teeth, and apparently he’s going to do the same to Bret Hart or something.  I already miss Nitro.

Jerry Lawler v. Shawn Michaels

But first, Barry shills a sheet of WWF-branded Pogs while the Kid and Savio Vega pretend to play with them in the background.  And all of this is brought to you by Stridex!  So blame them.  Is it seriously any wonder that Nitro started destroying them in short order?  This match was actually the best-built thing they had going for weeks because both guys can talk and people care about them.  Shawn clowns around and dodges Lawler’s offense (“Here’s a whopper for ya!”) then escapes a piledriver and slugs away while Sid joins us at ringside.  This allows Lawler to take over and dump Shawn, and we take a break.  Back with Lawler in control via a suplex and a DDT, but he goes up and misses by a mile.  Shawn makes the comeback and drops the big elbow, and the superkick sends Sid running in for the DQ at 7:00 or so.  The Network was crashing like crazy tonight so my time might be off.  Sid proceeds with the beatdown, but Razor makes the save and gets into a big snit with Shawn over possession of the IC belt to wrap up the show.  **

Next week:  Undertaker v. Tatanka!

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 07.10.95 Wed, 10 Sep 2014 05:20:23 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 07.10.95

Taped from Danville, PA

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

Oh my, the stuff I come across while scoping out the Observers for the week of these shows:

WWF is starting its own newsletter being put together by Vince Russo, who did a terrible newsletter of his own three years back which lasted all of a few issues.”

I don’t remember if that ever went anywhere, but Russo certainly did.

We get a very lengthy recap of the Sid-Diesel feud as Vince tries to somehow weave this thing into an actual storyline, again stressing how Sid is a coward who Diesel is trying to keep in the ring at IYH.  Because Sid powerbombed him…once?  Quite the feud.

The Roadie v. Jerry Flynn

The inexplicable Roadie push continues, although he would end up having a hell of a match with the Kid at IYH2.  Flynn works the arm and puts him down with a sidekick, but a blind charge hits boot and Roadie drops some elbows and hooks a half-crab.  Flynn escapes, but tries a leapfrog and gets slammed for the pin at 2:30.

Meanwhile, we recap Jarrett’s quest to be signed to a music contract, which goes badly.  Kind of weird to recycle an old vignette like that.  And then we get the Rip Taylor vignette, plus another “With My Baby Tonight” video.  Were they really short of material from this taping or something?  We’re 15 minutes into this show and literally 12 of them have been recaps or videos.


Oh my god, give it a rest with Savio Vega already.  He’s got fire and spunk!  And dancing.  He pounds away on Khoury in the corner and smiles a lot, then puts him down with a back elbow and finishes with a ¾ nelson at 1:55.

Meanwhile, another reminder that they were totally at the Special Olympics because they care.

Sid is out for an interview with Vince, along with his lumberjacks.

Meanwhile, on the Action Zone, HOROWITZ WINS.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Matt Hardy

10 years later and this match would take on an entirely different slant.  Vince notes that “the internet chat lines” are burning up over King of the Ring and “we read you loud and clear”.  That’s the nicest thing I’ve ever heard anyone in the WWF ever say about the internet, but considering the show did one of the lowest buyrates in history it wasn’t just the internet geeks who were complaining about it.  He promises that the next PPV will be a “romp ‘em stomp ‘em” affair and would presumably not suck.  Well, one match was a classic, the rest was not, but it was still a hell of a show and one that I enjoyed immensely at the time.  Anyway, Hunter controls with a suplex and lots of bowing, but a blind charge misses and Matt tries a moonsault.  That also misses and the Pedigree finishes at 3:00.  Notable here:  Vince off-handedly announces that Jack Tunney has finally retired as President of the WWF, which was one of the many, MANY, cutbacks that were occurring at this point.

In Your House Report with Todd, as we get MORE filler.  I know this one is a necessarily evil, but this show has felt really thin thus far and it doesn’t help.

Tatanka & Henry Godwinn v. The Allied Powers

Luger slugs it out with Tatanka, but quickly gets caught in the heel corner as Henry’s Corporate tryout begins.  The heels double-team Lex and we take a break, returning with Lex still getting beat on. Godwinn with a back elbow for two.  Luger fights out of a chinlock and makes the hot tag to Bulldog, but he quickly gets cut off by a trip from Godwinn and Tatanka goes up.  Bulldog slams him off for the pin at 7:48, however.  Notable here is Vince suddenly going off on ECW by noting that WWF is wholesome self-regulated family entertainment, unlike “professional wrestling in general”, which presumably refers to the more violent ECW product that people were chanting for during his last PPV main event.

Meanwhile, Jerry Lawler hangs out with Isaac Yankem while he drills someone’s teeth.

Next week:  Shawn Michaels v. IRS!  Probably a bunch of other filler bullshit too judging by this taping thus far.  topstory500x250-×250.jpg|topstory500x250 topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 05.22.95 Fri, 05 Sep 2014 06:10:17 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 05.22.95

What is the deal with the 98 era RAWs on the Network where the graphic has “Viewer discretion advised” plastered across it?  There’s two versions of each of those shows in the archives, and both are rated TV-14 with the ominous parental warning at the beginning.  Was there extra nudity and swearing or something?

Taped from Binghamton NY.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler.

Razor Ramon v. Mike Bell

So as Vince brings up on commentary, this was the week where they did the completely random Jarrett-Ramon IC title switch in Quebec, which I’m assuming was some sort of political deal relating to the nasty promotional war with the Rougeaus at the time.  Bell tries a hammerlock and gets rebuffed as apparently Ramon has qualified for the KOTR in between shows, beating Jacob Blu.  Yeah, that’s what the roster was like at this point.  Corner clothesline and blockbuster slam set up an STF, as Ramon tortures the poor jobber to amuse Savio Vega.  Chokeslam and Razor’s Edge finish at 4:15.

Bret Hart joins us at ringside and he wants Jerry Lawler in one last match so he can destroy him once and for all.  Lawler cowers and Bret calls him “lower than shit”, badgering him into picking whatever kind of match he wants to settle it.  No answer is forthcoming, because Lawler is the classic Memphis heel who talks big and then backs down.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. John Crystal

And so the reign of terror begins.  Crystal works on a hammerlock, but Hunter makes the ropes and slaps the guy around in the corner.  Leg lariat and he debuts the formal bow (one of the only moves he used to do effectively for a long time) and finishes with the Ace Crusher at 2:34.  Vince is pretty impressed!  Maybe he’ll fix him up with his daughter.

Mr. Backlund outlines his policies as President:  He would ban calculators and computers, and mandate that everyone read one great American novel per week.  NO SUMMER VACATIONS.  See, when they can edit him down into soundbites and contain the crazy, he’s hilarious.

The Allied Powers v. Bill Payne & Tony Devito

The Powers quickly double-team Payne and Bulldog finishes with a powerslam at 3:00.  They were really downplaying them as a team at this point due to Bulldog’s rampant legal troubles.  This was more of a backdrop for Vince messing with Lawler over the Bret Hart thing.

Kama v. Barry Horowitz

Horowitz manages to trick Kama to the floor, but gets beat on in the ring with Kama’s dazzling array of punches.  Half-crab finishes at 2:11.

Shawn Michaels v. King Kong Bundy

Really, in retrospect the result here was never in doubt.  I mean, were we really gonna see King King Kong Bundy?  That’s just SILLY.  Shawn slugs away in the corner and then jumps to the floor to clown with Dibiase in a funny spot, but Bundy whips him out of the ring.  Shawn is instantly the world’s greatest babyface in his first match back after his turn.  Bundy hammers him and follows with a backdrop, then goes to a bearhug, which Shawn tries to reverse into a sunset flip.  Bundy sits on him for two, however.  To the chinlock, but we take a break and return with Shawn hitting the superkick for the pin at 8:00.  Wow, Bundy lays down clean.  This was about as good as you were gonna get out of him.  **  Diesel and Bigelow come out to make amends afterwards, thus rekindling the bromance while Bigelow is the weirdo hanging out with them because they think he’s funny when he’s drunk.

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 05.15.95 Thu, 04 Sep 2014 05:28:01 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 05.15.95

Live from Binghamton, NY

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler.

Owen Hart & Yokozuna v. Nick Barberri & Bill Weaver

Yoko plasters both jobbers by himself and Owen adds a leg lariat and works on the arm of Barberri.  The jobber comes back with a hiptoss and they actually work Owen over in their corner a bit, but Yoko comes in and splats Weaver with a Rock Bottom for the pin at 3:00.

Last night:  Jerry Lawler cheats outrageously and beats Bret Hart at the first In Your House.

Man Mountain Rock v. Iron Mike Sharpe

Is this a squash or a main event from 1952?  Rock has thankfully ditched the cornrows and pajamas, but he’s still a lost cause.  He drops an elbow on Sharpe and finishes with the Painkiller (Fujiwara armbar) at 1:30.

Last night:  An 11 year old kid wins the house!  And then turns it around for a $30,000 profit as it turned out.

Meanwhile, Caribbean legend Savio Vega introduces himself to the world.  Thankfully his English would get better.

Meanwhile, Barry Didinsky shills some crappy t-shirts.  Well not “$9.99″ level crappy but certainly no sane human would wear a “Diesel v. Sid” shirt.

King of the Ring Qualifier:  Bob Holly v. Mantaur

Mantaur powers him out of the ring, but Holly comes back with dropkicks.  Mantaur with more devastating shoulderblocks and a powerslam for two, and he chokes away in the corner.  Sideslam and he stomps away as the crowd is just deathly silent for this.  Suplex gets two and he pounds on Bob in the corner, but a blind charge misses and Holly gets two.  Holly makes the comeback with a missile dropkick for two and a flying bodypress to finish at 5:31.  Just horrible.  DUD

Mr. Bob Backlund has a big announcement and Vince is pretty funny as the straight man (“Well, Mr. Backlund, for the benefit of those of us who are on THIS planet…”) and Bob rambles on for 5 minutes, reeling off crazy “historical” dates like JFK getting shot in December 1983 until Vince finally reins him in and Bob spits out that he’s running for President.  This trainwreck went absolutely nowhere.  Much like this show.

Bam Bam Bigelow v. IRS

Bigelow has new upbeat babyface music and elaborate flaming gear for his entrance.  This was SO not the way to get him over as a top babyface.  IRS runs away from Bigelow to start and we take a break after 2:00 of stalling.  Back with Bigelow in control, but he misses the diving headbutt and IRS comes back with clotheslines to take over.  And then it’s the abdominal stretch to really rev up the excitement and he pounds away before pulling off the turnbuckle, but Bigelow sends him into it for the pin at 5:00.  That’s a hell of a way to kick off Bigelow’s big run, selling the whole match for the most boring wrestler alive and then having to cheat to beat him.  ½*

Next week:  Shawn Michaels returns to face King Kong Bundy, as we get a video package about him to waste MORE airtime and wrap it up.    Holy balls was this a pathetic show, with two craptastic feature matches and a whole lot of recaps.  Hopefully King of the Ring will help to improve the quality.topstory500x250-×250.jpg|topstory500x250 topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 05.08.95 Wed, 03 Sep 2014 01:37:27 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 05.08.95

Taped from Omaha Beach, Normandy

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler, with no green screen this time!

Jeff Jarrett v. Doink the Clown

Thankfully, Hollygate ’95 has been cleared up, and Jarrett emerged on the Action Zone as the Intercontinental champion, thus ending the one week reign of Abeyance.  They should put that guy in the Hall of Fame, as he’s a multiple time WWE champion and Intercontinental champion.  This is of course non-title, because DOINK.  Doink works the arm while Roadie polishes the belt, but a blind charge hits boot.  Sadly, Jarrett makes the cardinal error of pointing to his head to indicate intelligence, and Doink rolls him up for two as a result.  Never point to your head!  Jarrett takes over with a cheapshot and chokes him out on the ropes, but Doink comes back with a sunset flip for two.  Jarrett goes to a chinlock as we take a break, and return with Jarrett going to work on the leg, but Doink escapes with a clownzuigiri that sadly misses.  Back to the leg for Jarrett with a half-crab, but he gets caught cheating and is forced to break.  Onto the sleeper, but Jarrett puts his head down and Doink gets a DDT to come back.  Powerslam gets two.  Jarrett retreats to the corner and Dink bites his ass to allow Doink to get the Stump Puller (!) but Roadie comes in behind the ref’s back and clips Doink.  Figure-four finishes at 9:27.   Good little match!  **3/4 I’m wondering if this was Steve Lombardi instead of Ray Apollo, because he was a bit bulkier and wrestled a totally different style.

Meanwhile, the Bodydonnas introduce the world to SUNNY.  So that one ended up working out well for them.  Really, had it been 10 years later, they would have been perfect as the anti-vampire fundamentalists from True Blood.  Except they could have been “converting” ugly people.

Meanwhile, Bam Bam Bigelow reflects on stuff and has some really deep thoughts, man.  Vince really, really wanted fetch to happen, but it just wasn’t going to.  But next week, he starts going through the Million Dollar Team with IRS.

Sid joins us for an interview, as Ted Dibiase takes credit for suggesting Sid as a bodyguard to Shawn Michaels because he wanted this to happen all along. Sid is going to powerbomb Diesel through the mat and win the title on Sunday.  Not to argue with the man, but if he powerbombs Diesel through the mat, he can’t pin him, so his strategy is a bit iffy.

Hakushi v. Gary Scott

Hakushi puts the jobber down with a clothesline and throws chops, but Scott gets a bodypress for two.  Hakushi pounds him down again and follows with a front suplex, then finishes with a pretty awesome springboard splash at 2:30.  No wonder they turned him babyface.

In Your House Report with Todd.  Diesel cutting a serious babyface promo is kind of laughable.  Also, there will be NO REPLAY.  Until now, when you can watch it whenever you want for only $9.99 a month!

Bart Gunn v. Owen Hart

So yes, this is seriously the main event.  Bart works the arm for a while, but Fuji trips him up and Owen runs him into the post to take over.  Back in, Bart with a sunset flip for two, but the Owenzuigiri gets two.  We take a break and return with Owen in control.  Lawler notes that on Sunday he’ll give Bret “a bunch of piledrivers.”  Talk about telegraphing your strategy.  Bart comes back with a superplex, but now Cornette hooks the leg to block it.  Owen looks to finish, but Billy Gunn trips up Owen and he crotches himself.  Bart rolls him up for the pin at 8:30 off that.  This was fine.  **

Meanwhile, Todd and Stephanie check out the house that is being given away.  General Electric stove!  Real ceilings!  The fine print notes that the house has a value of $140,000.  My house is 600 square feet and a bazillion years old in the cheap part of the city and we still paid $170,000 for it.  Was the Orlando housing market in the toilet or was that place just a dump?

Next week:  IRS v. Bam Bam Bigelow starts out Bigelow’s quest to destroy Ted Dibiase!  Definitely a better show than the previous shows in the taping cycle.



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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 05.01.95 Tue, 02 Sep 2014 05:38:43 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 05.01.95

Taped from Omaha, New Brunswick.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

A LENGTHY recap of the Diesel-Bam Bam deal from last week starts us out, covering the first 5 minutes of a 45 minute show.

The Allied Powers v. George Anderson & Tom Hagan

Hagan’s tights are…something else.  Think Al Snow as Leif Cassidy in 1997, but uglier.  Bulldog throws both jobbers around and Lex hits Anderson with clotheslines.  Bulldog dodges a charging jobber and powerslams him for the pin at 2:40.  For once Vince’s hype about the highest rated RAW ever in the previous week was actually accurate, by the way.

Meanwhile, on the Action Zone, JJ cheats to retain the title over Bob Holly, but another ref restarts the match and Holly apparently wins the title, albeit with Jarrett’s foot on the ropes.  So Jack Tunney holds up the title until next week.  Poor Jarrett couldn’t even get a win over Sparky Plugg as champion.

Bob Holly v. Butler Stevens

These are some spectacular NXT-riffic jobber names this week.  Also he appears to be wearing a garbage bag as gear.  Holly with a hiptoss and powerslam for two and holy shit this job guy is just the worst.  He barely knows how to bump properly and does overblown selling of everything.  Holly finishes with the flying bodypress at 2:40.

In Your House Report with Todd.  1-2-3 Kid has a broken neck (legit, which originally was thought to be career ending) so Ramon faces Jarrett & Roadie in a handicap match.

Mantaur v. Sonny Rogers

How about that Mantaur, you guys?  He’s apparently still employed at this point.  He throws Rogers around and hits a belly to belly and stomps away before finishing with a powerslam at 2:22.

Meanwhile, Man Mountain Rock annoys the guy from NYPD Blue.

Sid v. Razor Ramon

Sid clobbers Razor during the pyro and powerbombs him, which brings Diesel out to make the save.  As if they were gonna deliver this match anyway.  Oddly, they never did, because you’d think that would be a good semi-main on a PPV and it just never happened.

Adam Bomb v. Dave Sigfreid

Where are they FINDING these jobbers?  Sigfreid could not be any more 90s wrestler if he tried – unnaturally pumped up physique, male pattern baldness, mullet.  All that’s missing is a fanny pack and Zubaz.  The guy actually gets a flying bodypress, which Bomb rolls through for two, and Bomb works a headlock.  Clotheslines and a flying clothesline finish at 3:37.  Bomb is scheduled for a KOTR qualifier against Mabel at the PPV, which everyone assumed would be an easy win for him.  So yeah, THAT went horribly wrong.

Meanwhile, Hunter Hearst Helmsley lets us know how uncivilized we all are.

Men on a Mission v. Kevin Kruger & Bill Duke

Kruger is so lame that even Vince is making fun of his comeback attempts.  Mo works Duke over, but misses an elbow and Kruger is in with a bodypress for two.  The jobbers actually work Mo’s arm, but Mo takes Duke down with a vicious headlock and yells about corn huskers.  What a heel.  Mabel comes in to finish the guy with a suplex at 4:30.

Next week:  Owen Hart v. Bart Gunn!  Does that really even warrant an exclamation point?  Those of you complaining about tonight’s RAW count yourself lucky you didn’t have to sit through this instead.topstory500x250-×250.jpg|topstory500x250 topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 04.24.95 Mon, 01 Sep 2014 06:32:04 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 04.24.95

Live from Omaha, NB

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler, who is now joining him “as always” so he’s the permanent host now.  For those who like to trace the bizarre paths of history, this show starts the unlikely rise to power of you-know-who.

The Smoking Gunns v. Barry Horowitz & The Brooklyn Brawler

Gunn dominates both jobbers with hiptosses and the Gunns work on Lombardi’s arm in their corner for a bit, then suddenly finish with the Sidewinder at 2:15.  Well that was out of nowhere.

Meanwhile, Bam Bam is sporting a black eye, and he’s going to take it out on Diesel.

Bertha Faye v. La Pantera Serena

Bertha has now been retooled into the weird neon-styled love interest of Wippleman instead of the Awesome Kong-like asskicker.  In the Observer at the time, Meltzer notes that the idea was blatantly ripped off from another promotion, but doesn’t specify where it comes from.  Bertha overpowers Serena and sidesteps a bodypress in one of the ugliest spots I’ve seen in a while.  Three legdrops and an avalanche set up the powerbomb and a press slam to finish at 4:00.  Long and pretty terrible squash as they just blew every simple thing they did, and the whole storyline was the absolute worst instincts of Vince McMahon on display.

In Your House Report, with Todd.  Nothing new of note here.

WWF World title:  Diesel v. Bam Bam Bigelow

The storyline here is that Bigelow wants to prove himself, so he challenges Diesel on his own to a title match.  They have a shoving match in the corner and Diesel pounds him down for two, then drops an elbow for two.  He works the arm, but Bigelow slams him to take over.  Diesel comes back with a clothesline for two and Bigelow bails, suckering Diesel out for a shot to the post.  That gets two and we hit the chinlock and take a break.  Back with Diesel escaping and making the comeback, but Bam Bam cuts him off and tries a suplex.  Diesel reverses that for two, but Bigelow gets his own for two.  Holy god this match is terrible.  Tatanka wanders out to ringside, apparently stunned that a World title match on TV could be this shitty and needing eyewitness verification, while Bigelow chokes away on the ropes.  Both guys look slow and clumsy and tired.  And we take ANOTHER BREAK.  Who booked Kevin Nash to go 20:00?  Back with Diesel making another comeback, but Tatanka trips up Bigelow by “mistake” and the Poochiebomb finishes at 18:53.  Apparently they were just back from a tour of Germany almost that day and were pretty jetlagged.  But FUCK ME this was bad.  *  And after the match, Dibiase finally fires him, and the Million Dollar beatdown commences.  Sid is now wearing blue tights for some reason, which totally ruins his look.  And then he nearly drops Bigelow on his head with a powerbomb, until Diesel makes the save because the powerbomb was so bad that even HE was offended by it.  The storyline is fine, but the execution is god-awful and we all know how badly Bigelow ended up.

Aldo Montoya v. The Black Phantom

Wait, this show isn’t done yet?  Wasn’t 20 minutes of Kevin Nash wrestling enough?  The Phantom bails and Montoya hits him with a dive and works on the arm in the ring.  The Phantom takes over with a slam for two, but Montoya makes the comeback with his…uh…Portuguese martial arts?  Bulldog or something finishes at 3:00.  Yeah, fight from underneath the BLACK PHANTOM, that’ll get you over.

Meanwhile, some new Lord Steven Regal ripoff gets ready to debut.  Never heard of the goof.  Hunter something or other.  Like this guy will ever amount to anything.

Next week:  Sid v. Razor Ramon!  It couldn’t possibly be any worse than this show was.  Most of these are just boring but this was actively awful for the entire thing.  But then if you had told me that the one random cameo from a castoff WCW guy here would end up changing the business forever, I certainly wouldn’t have believed you.  So this one has some history going for it, at the very least.topstory500x250-×250.jpg|topstory500x250 topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 04.17.95 Sat, 30 Aug 2014 05:25:28 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 04.17.95

Happy 40th birthday to me!  Yeah, it makes me feel old, too.

Nitro is coming to the Network next week and I’m getting tempted to jump ship, but really I’m only four months behind at this point.  Any preference?  Keep sticking it out or do something different?

Taped from Poughkeepsie, NY

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler and the green screen.

Meanwhile, Ted Dibiase introduces Sid as the newest member of the team, which immediately drops Sid’s standing about 18 notches.  If you wanted to kill the guy’s momentum as a heel immediately, that was the perfect way to do it.  In fact, Vince goes so far as to note that Dibiase was pulling the strings on Sid’s turn the whole time.  BARF.

Duke Droese v. Jean Pierre Lafitte

Yeah, you know it’s 1995 because you’ve got a garbageman fighting a pirate.  Lafitte slugs away to start, but Duke gets a hiptoss and clotheslines him to the floor.  Back in for a kneedrop that gets two.  Blind charge misses and Patchy the Pirate gets a neckbreaker and goes up with a legdrop for two.  Lafitte pounds away and they can’t even get the canned heat excited for this, and we TAKE A BREAK?!?  Oh god.  Back with Metalbeard holding a chinlock, but they collide for a double count and Duke is up first with the comeback.  Powerslam and Duke goes up and misses a flying splash, allowing Paul Burchill to finish with the senton at 11:30.  What a thrilling debut.  *

Meanwhile, Mr. Bob Backlund is on the beach for spring break as they just won’t let the joke die.

Doink the Clown v. Roy Raymond

Raymond bails to the apron, but gets suplexed back in and Doink works the arm.  To the chinlock, and the Whoopie Cushion from both himself and Dink (complete with sound effects from both) finishes at 3:18.

In Your House Report with Todd.  These shows were another sign that Vince was getting nervy about WCW, as Bischoff expanded the PPV calendar to monthly shows and this was the WWF’s response.  This also marks the point where I moved into my own apartment for the first time and lost access to my giant satellite dish, thus leaving the USA network behind and not being able to afford PPV for a few months.  So as…uh…enticing as the Diesel v. Sid main event was, I didn’t see this show until years later.

WWF tag title:  Yokozuna & Owen Hart v. Bob Holly & 1-2-3 Kid

Kid works Owen’s arm to start and they have a kip-up battle before we get some double-teaming in the babyface corner.  Bob goes back to the arm, but Yoko comes in and pummels him down to take over.  Owen pulls Bob out and runs him into the post a few times, and the rather dull heat segment begins.  Bob with a backslide on Owen for two, but Yoko beats him down and goes to the nervehold.  Owen comes in and Bob gets a hope spot with a small package for two, and he counters an Owen superplex for two.  Owen cuts off the tag with the Owenzuigiri for two, and it’s back to the resting from Yoko.  Ditto for Owen, but Bob fights out and makes the hot tag to the Kid.  He hits Yoko with three enzuigiris and a leg lariat to drop him, then hits Owen with a suicide dive, but Yoko casually finishes him with a belly to belly at 15:31.  Picked up a bit with Kid’s phenomenal comeback, but the rest was a long chinlock.  **

Undertaker feels like drinking and driving is a bad idea.

Henry Godwinn v. Rich Myers

And now the lowpoint of the show, as Jerry Lawler gets into a phone argument with Cornfed, Duckman’s pig sidekick.  Well, I suppose they had the Muppets on RAW a couple of years ago.  Slop drop finishes at 2:00.

And then after that bullshit, they have the nerve to do one of their promos about how the WWF is “cultured” and people are just being jerks for looking down on them.

Next week:  Diesel v. Bam Bam Bigelow!  This show can suck it.topstory500x250-×250.jpg|topstory500x250 topstory500x250-×250.jpg|topstory500x250 topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 04.10.95 Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:02:55 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 04.10.95

Let’s see how well the Network feed cooperates tonight.  It’s weird, too, because I watch these things at about 11:00PM Central time every night, or roughly “the middle of the fucking night” if you’re in a time zone that matters, so it’s not like the Network should be super-congested with people all trying to watch shitty 1995 RAW episodes all at once.

Also, positive thoughts and best wishes to Karl Stern.  No-sell that shit like John Cena, buddy.

Taped from Poughkeepsie, NY.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler and our good friend the green screen.

Tatanka v. Adam Bomb

Interesting how WCW hasn’t even debuted Nitro, but already the shows are already swinging away from all squashes and becoming more star v. star focused as of late.  Tatanka throws chops but gets overpowered and dropkicked, and a nice one too for a lunkhead like Bryan Clarke.  Thankfully he’s switched back to his heel red and black gear instead of the retina-raping day-glo neon blue and yellow abomination.  Tatanka throws more chops, but Bomb hits him with a jumping clothesline and we take a break.  Back with Tatanka doing his weak stomps to take over and we hit the chinlock.  When fucking BRYAN CLARKE is carrying the pace of the match you know you suck.  So Bomb makes the comeback and throws clotheslines like he’s an NXT babyface, but Tatanka bails to escape and they brawl on the floor for the double countout at 8:50.  LAME.  **

The Headshrinkers v. Mike Bell & Tony Devito

Apparently they’re flying Afa and Albano around again, so business must be picking up a bit.  We’re getting perilously close to MAKIN’ A DIFFERENCE Fatu but I don’t recall the exact repackage time.  Fatu superkicks Bell, but gets distracted by Devito and Bell gets his shots in.  Sionne hits Bell with a cheapshot while Vince shills DUCKMAN following the show.  I actually really loved that show and used to watch it after RAW every week, one of the few shitty USA shows I would stick around for.  Fatu finishes with a flying splash at 3:00.

Meanwhile, Jean Pierre Lafitte is a pirate or some shit.

Last week, Shawn Michaels says the wrong thing to Sid and gets powerbombed three times, and this time we get to see them all.  The first two were some spectacularly ugly powerbombs, with Shawn nearly flying over Sid’s head and landing on his shoulder.  No wonder he sold an injury angle for a couple of months.

Kama v. Scott Taylor

Kama now his melted down urn chain and Ted Dibiase with him.  Taylor gets a hiptoss in, but Kama proceeds to his boring “MMA” offense before finishing with a pump splash at 2:45.  You know, like all UFC fighters use.

Bret Hart, Bob Holly & 1-2-3 Kid v. Hakushi, Owen Hart & Yokozuna

Vince notes that RAW did its highest rating ever last week, which was a 3.5 according to the Observer.  So yes, even these horrible shows are doing better than today’s product.  And what happened with the Kid’s injury angle from a few weeks back?  It was never even mentioned again on RAW.  Yoko gets triple-teamed by the babyfaces and we take a break, returning with Kid getting levelled by an Owen leg lariat for two.  Yoko comes in for the nervehold, which drives me nuts because it’s a SIX-MAN.  If Yoko can’t do anything at this point, fine, but let the guys who can move carry the match instead of doing restholds for minutes at a time.  The gag with the team is supposed to be that Owen does the whole match and can’t win, then Yoko comes in and destroys the guy, and Owen steals the pin and takes all the credit.  It’s a pretty easy formula.  Kid continues to take a beating and we take another break.  Back with Kid coming back with a springboard bodypress for two, but Owen cuts off the tag and Yoko drops a leg on him.  Hakushi comes in with a nice dropkick and a backbreaker, but Kid catches him with a powerbomb and it’s hot tag Bret Hart.  Three clotheslines drop Yoko and he follows with the flying bulldog for two.  The other heels come in and Bret tees off on Hakushi in the corner, allowing Yoko to catch him from behind.  Owenzuigiri and kneedrop follow, but Bret makes a blind tag to Holly on the rebound and Bob rolls up Owen out of nowhere for the surprise pin at 15:00.  Kid getting the shit kicked out of him is always entertaining.  ***1/4

Vince and Jerry wrap things up in front of the green screen.  They’re totally at ringside, you guys!  Also, you should buy Wrestlemania if you like football players, because there’s quite a few of them, plus Salt N Pepa.  Also, I wanna say…wrestling?

Next week:  Bob Holly & the Kid challenge for the tag titles!

Another good show this week.

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 03.20.95 Mon, 25 Aug 2014 03:36:30 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 03.20.95

Taped from Stockton, CA

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jim Cornette

Razor Ramon v. Henry Godwinn

This is a weird match, especially so early in HOG’s run.  Danny Davis is wearing stripes for some reason instead of the standard blue shirts.  Maybe it’s the long sleeves that are so off-putting, I dunno.  Was this like one of those weeks where Vince suddenly decided that the color of referee shirts was making and/or breaking the product?  True story, he used to change up the ref shirts depending on what WCW was doing, so that they would always have the opposite. Test of strength leads to Godwinn putting Razor down with a clothesline and he pounds away.  Elbowdrop gets two and he runs Razor into the mat to cut off a comeback and chokes him down in various ways.  Vince shills the WWF Hotline and notes that “unlike OTHER hotlines…”, back when wrestling hotline competition was the only thing they were battling over.  No wonder Nitro pissed him off so badly, if the time that hotline billing begins brought out that kind of reaction.  We take a break and return with Razor making the comeback with a sloppy bulldog for two.  The ref actually counted three and Razor looked pissed.  This brings the Roadie out to run interference, and Godwinn hits Razor with a clothesline from behind.  However, now the Kid comes out and attacks Roadie, and Godwinn gets all distracted, allowing a Razor’s Edge at 8:00 to finish.  Kind of a cute twist on the distraction finish, although clearly they were giving up on Godwinn’s big heel push already.  *1/2

Meanwhile, Lex Luger faces Tatanka in a cage match on Sunday Night Slam, aka the Wrestlemania buildup show, plus Jeff Jarrett defends the IC title against Bob Backlund to pay off the contract hijacking from last week.

Fan Festival is also next week, and Vince actually has the gall to claim that “no one cares more about you the fan than the WWF!”  Long as you don’t cheer for the wrong guy, then they’ll never run TV there again.

Meanwhile on the Action Zone, Bam Bam demonstrates his football skillz on Doink, but more importantly NIKOLAI VOLKOFF IS ALIVE!  I was getting worried about him there.

Steve McMichael gets brought out to replace Jim Cornette on commentary.  Kind of surreal that he actually managed to springboard this minor gig into a wrestling career.  Well, “career”.

King Kong Bundy v. Raven Clarke & Adam Croomes

Both geeks try for a slam and get rammed together, as Vince is worried about seeing a potential DONNYBROOK at Wrestlemania. Perish the thought. Bundy pins one of the geeks with one foot at 2:45.  More importantly, Kama comes out to talk shit at Mongo and they get into a pretty good brawl at ringside.  Future US champion, ladies and gentlemen.

Wrestlemania Report with Todd.  Nothing new here.

WWF tag titles:  The Smoking Gunns v. The Heavenly Bodies

I think this is it for the Bodies, actually.  Billy gets a bulldog on Pritchard off a criss-cross and the Gunns clean house, and Bart adds a press-slam on the Doctor.  The Gunns double-team Del Ray in their corner and Bart controls with a headlock, leading to more double-teaming from the Gunns.  We take a break and return with Bart suddenly playing face-in-peril as Del Ray works on the back.  Kind of a dull heat sequence with Pritchard getting a suplex and Del Ray using a chinlock before going up and whiffing on a flying splash.  They clothesline each other and it’s hot tag Billy, as they quickly hit the body-vice into a neckbreaker.  The Bodies try the switch, but Del Ray only gets two after a DDT.  Billy backslides him for the pin to retain at 14:30, however.  That was a weird finish, as they did the Midnight Express heel finish (where Eaton would come off the top onto Ricky Morton and put Condrey on top behind the ref’s back) but instead of the standard switch where the other babyface would then do the same thing while the ref was dealing with the illegal heel, they just kept wrestling and did the lame backslide finish instead.  Pretty lethargic match, but it’s hard to screw up tag team wrestling.  **3/4

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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 03.13.95 Sun, 24 Aug 2014 06:52:55 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 03.13.95

Be sure to check out my latest Sporting News column, covering my picks for who Brock Lesnar’s Wrestlemania opponent might be.  Spoiler:  Probably Roman Reigns.  Share on the social medias if you enjoy!

Live from Stockton, CA

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jim Cornette

The Blu Twins v. The Headshrinkers

This was advertised as Blus v. Kid & Holly in the opening, but Vince notes that Bob got stuck in a traffic jam and thus they’re a no-show.  Meltzer at the time notes that both guys were in fact there, so who knows what wacky reasoning was behind this.  My wife notes that the Blu’s hair is gorgeous, and I harsh her buzz by noting that they both started shaving their heads a year after this and they’ve been bald ever since.  Well, love hurts sometimes.  Sionne quickly gets double-teamed on the outside by the Blus and they beat on him for a bit, as we take a break.  Back with Jacob holding a chinlock until Sionne escapes, but they use TWIN MAGIC to retain control as Cornette blames the absence of Afa and Albano on the Headshrinkers’ struggles. In fact, the managers were specifically cut loose for this taping to save money.  Apparently they also cut the guy in charge of good finishes, because after Sionne makes the hot tag, they immediately fight to the back for the double countout at 10:00.  It’s the fucking Headshrinkers, why bother?  *

Meanwhile, LT will have a bunch of football players in his corner.  Some dork named Steve McMichael cuts a promo noting he’ll be here next week to confront Kama.  Whoever heard of this guy?

Bam Bam offers his response, as Kama has quietly joined the Million Dollar Team to somehow take his career down another notch.

Meanwhile, Ernie Ladd offers his analysis of the Bam Bam v. LT match, sounding like Morgan Freeman narrating a movie.  They should have put him on the broadcast team!  Every episode would sound like The Shawshank Redemption.  A quick check reveals that sadly Ladd died in 2007, which I didn’t even realize.

Jeff Jarrett v. Barry Horowitz

Barry gets PROMO TIME before the match, and of course this was leading somewhere eventually.  Barry with a backslide for two, and a small package for two as well.  JJ bails and trips him up to take over, then works the back, but Horowitz goes to the armbar and hangs on through a slam.  Finally Jarrett makes the ropes to escape the onslaught, but Barry uses a spinkick on him…and hurts his knee in the process.  Jarrett quickly finishes with the figure-four at 4:30.  See, give the guy some promo time before the match, tell a little story in the match, and suddenly you’ve at least got SOMETHING more interesting than the usual repetitive “get your shit in and get out under 3:00″ squash to fill time.

Meanwhile, Bret Hart notes that Jerry Lawler is the disease, and his FISTS are the cure.  Obamacare, AM I RIGHT?

Wrestlemania Report with Todd.  The Gunns v. Owen & Partner match is announced here, and highlights of the MOM heel turn are shown, as they destroy the Gunns following a title match and then turn on Oscar to write him out of the WWF as well.  Also, the Allied Powers form for the first time for some reason to face the Blu Twins for some reason.  How did this show not do a million buys?!?

Bret Hart v. Jerry Lawler

Lawler has Bull Nakano in his corner, which was supposed to be leading towards a Blayze v. Nakano title match at Wrestlemania, and THAT didn’t happen for some reason.  A quick check reveals that “for some reason” was that Bull got fired for cocaine possession and dropped the title to Blayze the day after the show instead.  OK then.  Bret of course pummels Lawler from the start and hangs him in the corner for further beating all over the ring, as we see Mr. Backlund in the crowd and Hakushi watching from the aisle as we take a break.  Back with Lawler doing his southern heel cheating to take over, but they head to the floor and Bull grabs Bret’s leg for the countout at 8:30.  Just the usual super-easy goofy Bret v. Lawler match.  *1/2  And as usual Bret beats the hell out of Lawler after the match to get his heat back.  I really wish they hadn’t done the double countout earlier in the show because it really highlights how bad the finishes were.

Next week:  Razor Ramon v HOG and Smoking Gunns defend against the Heavenly Bodies! 

Jeff Jarrett joins us again, offering Barry Horowitz a title shot next week, but Mr. Backlund lays out Barry and signs the contract instead.  That’s quite the loaded show next time!


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HTC Action Figure Sale – Spread The Word! Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:02:20 +0000 HTC Action Figure Sale 500x250

Hey HTC Readers,

HTC is in need of funds and since we don’t have a donation link (who would even think of clicking on that), we decided to offer up some of our classic figures at a discounted price. eBay has become a problem since their funds don’t clear for a month but I will have to post these on eBay come Sunday if they’re not bought up. Contact me with any questions at and I’d be happy to have a conversation. Everything will have to be paid through PayPal though and I’ll pay shipping.

Just let me know if you’re interested.


Dude Love – Jakks Classic Variant: $25

Dude Love - Variant

Jeff Hardy – Jakks Classic: $25

Jeff Hardy - Debut

CM Punk – Walmart Exclusive: $20

CM Punk - Walmart Exclusive

HHH – Jakks Classic: $35

Triple H - Debut

Hulk Hogan & Classy Freddie Blassie: $35

Hogan and Blassie - 30

Slam City Arena – $20

Slam City Arena

Sheamus vs The Ultimate Warrior Two-Pack: $45

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