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Old 02-18-2017, 12:38 PM   #1101
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

May 5, 1997


Green Bay, WI

We open with highlights chronicling last week's episode. Cliffs: Brian Pillman officially joins the Hart Foundation, Owen Hart ships the IC Title, then Jim Neidhart returns and joins the Hart Foundation as well, allowing Bret Hart to knock Steve Austin off the top of the ramp by blindsiding him with one of his crutches.

After the credits, we hear the squealing guitar that signals the entrance of Bret Hart, the Titantron fills with a video that seems to represent the whole new Hart Foundation faction, and the whole group emerges at the top of the ramp, with the British Bulldog wheeling Bret Hart - rocking an Edmonton Oilers jersey this evening - to the ring. Bret Hart starts the promo by thanking his fans from all around the world, name-checking a few countries and saying "especially Canada," and snubs the American fans. He thanks Brian Pillman for his "heartfelt words and inspiration" last week. He congratulates and commends Owen for winning the Intercontinental Title. He thanks Bulldog for thrashing the Undertaker last week, which didn't really happen. Finally he thanks his good friend Jim Neidhart for rescuing him from the compromised position that he was in last week at the end of the show.

Bret says that he doesn't think that we'll be seeing Steve Austin tonight. Doesn't think he has "the jam." That's a new one on me. He talks up his group a bit more, then says that they need to destroy someone else: he says that he's going to "unleash his lions" on Shawn Michaels. The promo ends on that note.

The announcers weigh in for the first time, and Jim Ross says that we're actually scheduled to get Steve Austin vs. The British Bulldog tonight, even though nobody has seen Austin yet. He really shouldn't be wrestling a week after he was knocked off the platform and stretchered away.

Ahmed Johnson vs. Rockabilly (w/ The Honky Tonk Man): So yeah, it does seem like they pretty instantly waved the white flag on this Rockabilly thing. They may as well have just pretended that the original reveal of this gimmick had never happened. Ahmed is wearing sweatpants tonight, and he attacks Rockabilly before the bell, incapacitating him from the word go. After an early flurry of offense, he does take too long before following up, and it allows Billy the recovery time needed to counter Ahmed's follow-up and hang him across the top rope. Here's a PIP promo from Faarooq, who says that he recruited "three of the biggest, baddest ghetto men" for Crush to take on tonight just to prove that it isn't that impressive to go one-on-three.

Billy has kept the advantage since originally hanging Ahmed over the top rope, and after an Irish whip he slaps on a sleeper. Ahmed fades down to a seated position, hand drops twice, and then for some reason Billy lets him go right as referee Jack Doan is about to let Ahmed's hand drop a third time. Ahmed's hand does drop upon release of the hold, but it doesn't count as a KO. Honky Tonk Man gets up on the apron and runs distraction, Billy goes and gets the guitar, but Ahmed kicks him in the gut, takes the guitar for himself, and absolutely hammers Billy with it right in plain view of the referee. That's a DQ.

Result: Rockabilly via DQ

Backstage, the Hart Foundation goes breaking into some jobber locker room containing a few no-name jobbers and Bob Holly. They're unduly upset that Shawn Michaels isn't in here, but it looks to me like it's embarrassing enough for Bob Holly to be stuck in there.

After commercials, we see more footage of the Hart Foundation unsuccessfully searching for Shawn Michaels during the break.

Here's another hype video for Ken Shamrock in advance of his no-holds-barred encounter with Vader this coming Sunday. Shamrock is also out to sit at ringside for commentary for the next match.

Vader vs. Goldust (w/ Marlena): Couple of early lock-ups end in a stalemate. Shamrock is absolutely brutal on commentary, obsessed with talking about his "zone," surely saying that word 10+ times in really quick succession. Goldust spears Vader to the mat and lands a series of rights. Back to their feet, Goldust sends him into the corner, mounts his man in the corner and rains down more punches. He's managing to mostly control this match with Vader until he goes for an ill-advised sunset flip; Vader blocks and then sits down on him. The big man then immediately bails out of the ring and confronts Shamrock at ringside…the two jaw back and forth as the show goes to commercial.

Back from break, Vader is hammering Goldust in the corner and then shooting another death glare at Shamrock from the ring. He hits a splash and then pulls Goldust up, slapping on a reverse chinlock. Back up to their feet, Vader whips Goldust into the corner, tries to follow him in with a cross-body, but Goldust catches him and counters into a powerslam. Series of right hands and an elbow by Goldust. Vader reverses a corner whip, slams Goldy down right in front of the corner, then climbs the ropes and hits the Vaderbomb, recording the clean pinfall.

Result: Vader via pinfall

Vader tries to taunt Shamrock into the ring after the match. Shamrock starts to resist, but then Vader spits at him, which sets Shamrock off.

Shamrock slams down his headset, runs in and attacks, but here's Mankind to attack Shamrock. Goldust comes back in and mops up Mankind, and Goldust and Shamrock end up holding the ring. Shamrock had some sort of generic music here that I don't recognize…it wouldn't be this for long.

They send it next to a pre-recorded sit-down interview that Jim Ross conducted with Dustin and Terri Runnels. Ross calls them by their real names and acknowledges them as husband and wife. It's led into with a montage where they acknowledge Dustin's life biography, including his relationship with his father Dusty Rhodes. They show some of the early footage of when young Dustin first debuted as wrestler Dustin Rhodes for a brief period of time during the Golden Era. Ross acknowledged that this run was a failure, saying that he "couldn't get out from under Dusty's shadow." He explains that, in order to carve his own path, Dustin took an enormous risk by taking on the Goldust character.

Dustin talks about how disappointed he was by all the hate he got when he emerged on the scene as Goldust. Says that he worried about whether the whole thing had been a big mistake. They take a moment to bury Scott Hall for Hall's apparent refusal to continue wrestling him. Hall did disappear during their feud, though I thought that was a matter of a failed drug test and then a departure to WCW. That said, Hall admitted in shoot interviews that the feud made him uncomfortable. Dustin said that he had received letters from gay people, and that he felt that he had gained some understanding of what they go through. He says that he's relieved to pull back the curtain and acknowledge who he really is, says that he's happy with the Goldust character and with the family life he leads.

Ross asks him the question of whether he feels that he has gained his dad's respect. "Well…I really don't have any idea. You know, it's been about two years, two and a half years, since I've talked to him. I hope he is. Dad, if you're watching, which I know you are, I love ya, I hope you're proud of me. But, uhh, I mean, I have my family and I'm taking care of them. I'm doing the best that I can possibly do, you know?" Terri says, "I think that's pretty damn good." Dustin says that he hopes the people can learn to accept him for who he is.

Even as an uptight traditionalist, I love this segment. It wasn't just breaking kayfabe for the sake of it; it was breaking it with a great vision of how to get Dustin over as a babyface when it wasn't working that well. It seemed heartfelt and genuine, and it makes me happy to know that Dustin and Dusty didn't remain estranged forever.

Jim Ross says that there is a part two to this interview, coming next week. Jerry Lawler, despite his kayfabe differences with Goldust, admits in response to a question from Vince that it was courageous for Dustin to bare his soul to the world like that, then adds that of course he would be courageous enough to do that too. I appreciate the way he straddled the reality line while maintaining a semblance of heel character.

Backstage, the Hart Foundation is shown huddled right outside of a men's room, thinking they've got Shawn Michaels cornered. A guy comes out, they jump him, and he turns out to be a total random. In a funny moment, they realize they've got the wrong guy, briefly stop, and then suddenly just go back to beating this guy down for no particular reason. I laughed out loud.

Before the next match, Faarooq talks about how he's found three of the baddest men he could find, and that Crush is going to take them down tonight.

Gauntlet Match - Crush vs. three randoms: Random #1 runs down, Crush hits him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, pulls him up on two, converts a press slam into a gutbuster and then scores the first pin. Random #2 runs down - I recognize him from appearing in the loser locker room alongside Bob Holly earlier. This guy actually attempts a top-rope cross-body, but Crush sloppily converts it into a powerslam. Belly-to-belly suplex, three straight legdrops, and then Crush pulls him up. Heart punch --> second pin.

I thought it odd that Crush used his finisher to take out the second one rather than holding it until the third jobber, but that questioning ended quickly, as a huge guy in a Packers jacket and a mask - really obviously Ahmed Johnson - runs down as the third competitor. He kicks Crush in the gut, hits the Pearl River Plunge, scores the pinfall, and then reveals his identity as he backs up the aisle, screaming at the whole Nation of Domination.

Result: Ahmed Johnson via pinfall

Hart Foundation is shown outside the arena, still futilely searching for Shawn Michaels. Nothing going on here.

After commercials, Shawn Michaels, not hiding of course, just comes out for a seemingly regularly-scheduled interview segment with Vince McMahon. Shawn tells Steve Austin that if Austin thinks that he can take on the entire Hart Foundation by himself, he's wrong, but that in any case he can't promise that he won't get involved again. He says that he wants to make it clear, "It's not to help you; it's to hurt them." After kissing the fans' asses for a moment, Shawn turns his attention to the Hart Foundation and says "there is no more powerful faction in this business than the Kliq." Vince asks Shawn when he's going to wrestle again. Shawn says that he's going to return to action at King of the Ring in a month's time. He turns his attention back to Bret, cuts a generic promo that we've heard before on him, and that's the end of the promo.

As HBK takes a lap around the ring, high-fiving fans, Bret Hart and Brian Pillman show up on the Titantron. Bret says that he doesn't think that Shawn is actually hurt, and challenges Shawn to take on Jim Neidhart right here and now. Michaels seems to gesture in the affirmative, and here comes the Anvil. There is no official in the ring, but Anvil enters, Shawn attacks, and then here come Owen Hart and the British Bulldog to ambush Michaels. Legion of Doom is out quickly to even the score, and the faces hold the ring.

After commercials, Shawn, wielding a steel chair, is angrily stalking through the back, presumably looking for Bret.

Before the next match, Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon are shown on a pre-recorded split-screen promo. Furnas says that everyone knows that they didn't lose fair and square to LOD last week. "They had the fans behind them, instead of behind us like they should have been. Well tonight's gonna be different; they're gonna be behind us all the way." LaFon, with hilarious monotony, adds, "It's easy to see that we're the most exciting team in the WWF."

Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon vs. Legion of Doom: LaFon vs. Hawk to start. Hawk powers him to the mat. LaFon with a back kick and a couple of chops, but Hawk is back at him with much harder chops. He flings LaFon to the mat, smacks him around, then clotheslines him back down to the mat. Furnas and Animal tag in. Those two grapple into the corner, Animal gives a clean break, and Furnas takes a cheap shot. Animal reverses a corner whip, but Furnas fights his way out. Animal comes back at him with a jumping shoulderblock.

We see backstage footage of Shawn Michaels trying to get at Brian Pillman backstage, as officials keep them separated. Raw goes to break. After the break, Animal goes for a running clothesline, but Furnas ducks and counters it into a backdrop over the top to the floor. As referee Jack Doan is distracted, LaFon takes his shots at Animal outside the ring before rolling him in; Furnas gets a two-count. Double-team by Furnas and LaFon, as they hit a double suplex and LaFon gets another two-count. Loud "LOD" chants from the crowd. Animal counters LaFon's follow-up into an inverted atomic drop, but is still in recovery as LaFon tags Furnas. Furnas with the patented dropkick, the teammates go for another double suplex, but Animal counters by suplexing both himself.

Hot tag to Hawk. He clotheslines Furnas to the floor, chokeslams LaFon, and…here's the British Bulldog walking down the aisle. During this latest referee distraction, Owen Hart shows up, hangs Hawk along the top rope, and this enables Furnas and LaFon to score the upset.

Result: Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon via pinfall

Backstage, Shawn Michaels is brawling with both Jim Neidhart and Brian Pillman, officials again trying to separate them, when Steve Austin shows up and fights the Harts down. The brawl is still ongoing when the show returns to the arena.

The Undertaker comes out to cut an in-ring promo. He says that his belt has been stolen, but that he is the WWF Champion. He addresses the thief and says that the thief is playing "a deadly game," and threatens that he will pay dearly. "And as far as Stone Cold Steve Austin goes: the flame that is your fury will be extinguished by the darkness. Austin, I respect the flame, but it will be a cold day in Hell before you become World Wrestling Federation Champion." (Fast forward less than a year to Undertaker taping his fists backstage…)

Scheduled for the main event, the British Bulldog doesn't answer his entrance music for a really long time, but finally does emerge at the top of the ramp.

The British Bulldog vs. Steve Austin: Austin charges in and attacks before the bell, and the two trade fists. Clothesline by Stone Cold, who stomps the lower abdomen and gets an early two-count. He works over Bulldog's left arm, first with hammerlocks and then with arm-wringers and periodic wrenches of the arm. We go to commercials.

Back from break, the Bulldog throws a backdrop, but misses on an elbow. He rares back and kicks Austin straight in the crotch, right in plain view of Earl Hebner, but there's no disqualification. Bulldog stomps away and slaps on a reverse chinlock. Back up to a vertical position, and we get the delayed suplex before returning to the chinlock. JR comments that he doesn't think the Bulldog has ever been better. In something of a non-sequitir, Lawler eagerly interjects, "He dumped the Dynamite Kid just like the Donald dumped Marla Trump. Didn't need him!" Vince: "Okay, come on, let's be nice."

Austin launches a comeback, hitting a Thesz press, throwing a series of right hands, and then attempting a Sharpshooter before Bulldog musters the leg strength to power him off. Bulldog returns to the chinlock, which has been a crutch for him in this uninspiring match. Austin makes his way back to his feet, and breaks the hold with a back suplex. The show goes to another commercial break. After break, Bulldog is in the advantage, and gets Austin poised for the running powerslam. Austin escapes behind, hammers on Davey, and after stopping short of Davey's backdrop attempt, Austin lands a kick to the gut, a Stone Cold Stunner, and scores the win.

Result: Steve Austin via pinfall

Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart come running in to attack Austin, and they have the WWF Title belt with them, I guess revealing them as the thieves of the belt that we just found out was stolen. They beat on Stone Cold 3-on-1, Owen repeatedly hammering him with the belt, but here comes LOD for another save. Furnas and LaFon enter, you would expect to be in aid of the Hart Foundation, but Owen attacks LaFon immediately, so I guess there's no alliance there. Just as well, since they were just feuding. Now here's Shawn Michaels, who guns straight for the Anvil, and various people are brawling everywhere when the lights come down and the Undertaker's gong hits. As the lights come up, Taker is in the ring. He attacks and Owen and the Anvil, and the brawl continues. The faces end up clearing the Harts (and Furnas and LaFon) out.

Austin had picked up the title belt in the meantime, but Taker rips it away from him. He then lays it down on the mat between them and stands back, seemingly ready to fight right then. They do come to blows a moment later. They fight to the floor, where officials try to break the fight up. Taker sends Austin hard into the steel steps, then actually turns and hits multiple officials. Austin slams Taker into the steps. Officials continue to try to separate the two men, but the two keep brawling as the show goes off the air. This was a lame go-home segment before the PPV.

Overall: Not a very good episode. Aside from the Dustin Rhodes stuff, everything felt like a rehash of recent weeks; they were just filling time to try to get to the PPV.
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Old 02-18-2017, 12:38 PM   #1102
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Ratings for 5/5/97: Nitro 3.2, Raw 2.8
Ratings Running Score: Nitro 61-17-2

Better Show: Raw by default; it would be very difficult to be much worse than Nitro this week.
Better Show Running Score: Nitro 55-25

Match of the Night: FFS. Do I really have to do this? … Public Enemy vs. Hugh Morrus & Konnan
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Old 02-18-2017, 01:06 PM   #1103
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

They take a moment to bury Scott Hall for Hall's apparent refusal to continue wrestling him. Hall did disappear during their feud, though I thought that was a matter of a failed drug test and then a departure to WCW.
On the WM XII episode of TLF they mention that it was supposed to be Hall vs Goldust in a Miami street fight. Hall refused to work with him because he didn't want his kids being made fun of at school who were in grade school at the time.
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Old 02-26-2017, 02:29 PM   #1104
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap


Richmond, VA

Opening graphic hypes Undertaker vs. Steve Austin. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are on the call for this event, with no sign of Vince McMahon on announce duties this time.

Flash Funk vs. Hunter Hearst-Helmsley (w/ Chyna): Funk with a side headlock, releases off the ropes and hits a shoulderblock before following with an armdrag, a dropkick, and another armdrag into an armbar. Jim Ross notes that the Hart Foundation has secured five seats at ringside; they pan for a moment to those empty chairs. Flash dropkicks Helmsley out of the ring, then hops up onto the second corner and hits a flying shoulderblock to the floor. He returns to the ring, attempts a baseball slide that Hunter sidesteps, and now as Hunter distracts referee Jimmy Korderas, Chyna absolutely clobbers Funk from behind with a clothesline.

HHH sends Flash back inside, and when Flash tries to fight back, Hunter stops short of a backdrop attempt and jacks Funk's jaw with his knee. H backs him into a corner, chops and boots away, and then showboats a bit before against distracting Korderas and enabling Chyna to land a sucker punch from ringside. Helmsley quickly capitalizes with a pin attempt, but only gets two. He drops a knee and gets another near-fall. Lands a few right hands and then buries his knee into the abdomen of Flash Funk. Irish whip and a running high knee…several of the spots here look kind of sloppy, as these two aren't totally in sync on their timing. Helmsley smacks Funk across the chest a couple of times while Funk is on the apron, then rares back and hits another high knee that sends Funk sprawling hard to the floor.

He returns Funk inside, and scales the ropes to try to follow up, but takes too long and runs square into a boot to the face. After a bit of recovery, Funk starts the comeback with a sweep of the leg and a back bodydrop. Hits a running clothesline, signals for the 450 splash, but at least first settles for a slingshot legdrop that gets two. Connects with a cross-body off the ropes, but sits up instead of trying for a pin. Hard corner whip, spinning heel kick, and now Flash scales the ropes but gets picked off by HHH in the process, who hits him and crotches him along the top. Back superplex turns Funk all the way over. Pedigree sort of connects, despite Flash protecting himself so thoroughly with a knee that it looks like nothing at all. In any case, Helmsley records the pinfall. This was utterly heatless and not at all interesting.

Result: Hunter Hearst-Helmsley via pinfall
Rating: *3/4

Chyna picks Flash up and crotches him along the top rope after the match.

They send it to some footage of Ken Shamrock in the UFC octagon, then interview him live on the Titantron. They give us footage of Mankind and Vader ambushing him in the locker room earlier. Shamrock informs us that he is still in the zone and that he will not be knocked out of the zone. While I don't think that it has the comedic potential of "Scott Norton never sells anything," Shamrock's obsession with "the zone" is pretty great.

During ring entrances for the next match, we see the footage of Mankind burning Undertaker's face on Raw last month. We also get a backstage interview with Rocky Maivia. Todd Pettengill asks him if success came too soon. Rocky says, "Yeah, maybe it did come too soon. … I learned a hell of a lot on the way up, but I also learned a whole hell of a lot more on the way down."

Mankind vs. Rocky Maivia: After the opening bell, Mankind just sits and rocks back and forth, Rocky not knowing how to approach him. When Rocky turns his back, Mankind gets up and attacks, but Rocky blocks and fires back. He hits a dropkick and then clotheslines Mankind out over the top. Mankind drags him to the floor, rakes the back, slams him into the apron, and then returns him inside. Rocky reverses an Irish whip and hits a powerslam. He counters Mankind's armbar attempt into a hammerlock. Mankind fights his way loose, Rocky sidesteps and trips him, but Mankind knocks him to the outside, after which he hits a somersault from the apron to the floor.

Foley rolls back inside the ring and awaits his prey, eventually getting impatient and pulling Rocky back inside himself. He beats the young man down in the corner, then gets a running start and drives a knee into Rocky's face. Jim Ross says that in the recent Raw magazine, Mankind described him as "a loving father." Lawler says, "Some weird people can be fathers. … You got any kids, Ross?" Ross replies, "I have two lovely daughters. You want to talk about your kids? … I didn't think so." Mankind and Rocky clothesline each other in the middle of the ring. JR openly wonders, "I don't know why people are upset about Rocky Maivia's success. He didn't ask for that match with Hunter Hearst-Helmsley in February." Lawler says it was a fluke. Ross says, "I don't think it was a fluke. … I mean, I don't think the better man won that night, but…" He doesn't finish the sentence when he gets interrupted by a spot. It's interesting; I didn't remember them basically just openly admitting like this that their hotshotting of Rocky was a bad booking idea.

Rocky throws a series of rights at Mankind outside the ring, driving him up the aisle. He goes back and breaks the count, then returns to Mankind and hits a Rock Bottom (still not a finisher) on the steel grating.

Ross: "They say wrestlers know how to fall. How in the hell do you learn how to fall on a steel grating?" Rocky returns Mankind inside and gets a two-count. He attempts a corner whip, but Mankind collapses short of the corner. Belly-to-belly by Maivia gets two. Mankind fights back with a clothesline. After a brief moment of recovery for both, Rocky slaps on a surprise small package that gets a near-fall. He hits a big clothesline to Mankind's back, then picks him up and hits a shoulderbreaker. Wasn't that his finisher? He doesn't attempt a pin though, instead going up to the top rope. He hits the flying cross-body, but Mankind rolls through and counters it into the Mandible Claw. That ends things. This was surprisingly entertaining.

Result: Mankind via submission
Rating: **3/4

Before the next match, we see the clip from Raw of Crush trying to take on a gauntlet match and being blindsided by a masked Ahmed Johnson. Also we get an incoherent backstage interview with Ahmed.

Gauntlet Match - Ahmed Johnson vs. Nation of Domination: Faarooq comes out with his arm in a sling, but I gather that he's still scheduled to be the third man in this match. The entire Nation comes out for the match, but Gorilla Monsoon comes out and demands that the whole Nation leave except for those participating at that point in the match. So it's just Ahmed vs. Crush to start, nobody at ringside.

Ahmed Johnson vs. Crush

Ahmed beats on Crush, doubling him over and then hitting a scissor kick. The Nation has vacated ringside, but they didn't go all the way to the back; they're standing up at the top of the aisle. Crush hits a savate kick, then a bodyslam and a crappy clothesline off the second rope. Two-count. Standing suplex gets another two. Ahmed hits a terribly sloppy front suplex for his own two-count. Jim Ross: "I'll tell ya, King, you know as well as anyone: big Johnson is hard to handle." Uhh…

Crush slaps on a sleeper, Ahmed fades, but keeps his arm before the third drop. Cue the comeback attempt, but Crush quickly buries a knee into Ahmed's stomach to put him back down. Piledriver by Crush, who signals for the Nation to come on down to the ring. They obey Gorilla Monsoon's orders and stay up at the top of the aisle. Crush goes for the heart punch, but Ahmed counters into a heel kick and quickly rolls up Crush for a three-count.

Ahmed Johnson vs. Savio Vega

Ahmed hits a backdrop and records a quick two-count. Hard clothesline. Another one. Savio reverses a corner whip and follows Johnson in with a wheel kick. Savio smashes Ahmed face-first into a corner that is randomly exposed, but the announcers don't notice this even when the camera pans down and lingers on the turnbuckle pad sitting loose. After Savio works him over for a bit, Ahmed blocks a hip-toss and lands one of his own. He staggers over and climbs up to the second rope, but nobody's home on his splash attempt off the ropes. Savio insultingly slaps away at him. Ahmed musters the will to fire back with right hands. Savio reverses a corner whip, but comes up empty as he jumps into the corner after him.

Back suplex by Ahmed gets two. Powerslam gets another two. Ahmed signals for the Pearl River Plunge, but Savio goes rolling out of the ring to try to find safer ground. As he baits Johnson into chasing him, Vega ambushes him with a crescent kick. He grabs a steel chair and hits Ahmed with it twice. The bell rings; Savio is disqualified. Savio continues to hammer him with the chair after this disqualification, and triumphantly walks off as Faarooq saunters to the ring.

Ahmed Johnson vs. Faarooq

Faarooq sheds the sling around his shoulder as he gets into the ring. He starts to pick the bones the very compromised Ahmed Johnson, but nearly falls victim to a surprise small package, barely kicking out on two. Faarooq continues on the attack, but runs himself into that awful Ahmed spinebuster. Johnson connects on the Pearl River Plunge, but takes a while to recover well enough to make a cover, and Faarooq kicks out of the finisher. As Ahmed slowly makes his way to his feet and tries to find his footing, Faarooq clips Johnson's leg with a chop block. The leader of the Nation hits the Dominator, and manages to escape with the pinfall win.

Result: Faarooq via pinfall
Rating: 1/2*

We see clips of Vader baiting Ken Shamrock into the ring last week by spitting on him from the ring. Bringing it back to the live show, Todd Pettengill grabs a word with Vader, who assures us, "I was playing with the boy." The big man cuts a pretty decent promo with no mention of zones.

No Holds Barred (only win by submission or KO) - Vader vs. Ken Shamrock: Shamrock lands a few stiff kicks to the side of Vader's leg. Vader takes a moment to regroup, tries to lock in a hold, but Shamrock counters and twists the arm. Vader gets to the ropes, and apparently they're going to enforce rope breaks in this match even though it's no DQ. Waistlock by Shamrock, who seems to attempt a belly-to-back suplex, but Vader again gets to the ropes. More stiff kicks by Shamrock, and after grabbing hold of a waistlock, this time he successfully throws the big man. Vader slips outside and again takes a breather to regroup.

Vader runs back into the ring and tries to maul Shamrock, but Shamrock again manages to get behind him and throws a back suplex. Shamrock keeps dominating every exchange and Vader keeps backing away to get a breather. Finally Vader gets the advantage with a few punches, but Shamrock again counters right back with a rolling leg whip into a submission hold attempt. Again Vader takes a break. This match seems like it has potential to be really entertaining, but all of these breaks by Vader are making it so that it can never get into a rhythm. He returns and runs into a series of kicks and punches by Shamrock. Shamrock goes for a suplex, but Vader throws him off and then really wallops him with a standing clothesline. The big man gets sort of a weak-looking kimura on, but it doesn't look like he's got it on very well. Shamrock counters back into his own armbar, transitions toward a triangle choke, but Vader works his way up to his feet and throws Shamrock off. He sets up for a suplex and then just flings Shamrock over the top rope to the floor.

Vader goes out and smashes Shamrock into the steel steps. He lands a few body blows and then rams Shamrock even harder into the steps. The action returns inside. Vader sends Shamrock in with a high-impact corner whip, then goes for an ankle lock. They tease that Shamrock might tap, but Shamrock works his way out of the hold. Vader is relentless though, slapping on a rear naked choke before Shamrock escapes that as well. Corner whip and an avalanche by the big man. He executes a front slam, teases a Vaderbomb, climbs up further and attempts the moonsault, but Shamrock barely rolls out of the way.

Shamrock with a series of knee-lifts, then a spot somewhere in between a suplex and a powerslam. He goes for an ankle hold, but Vader is too near the ropes. Series of stiff kicks by Ken, who puts on a half-crab, again too near the ropes. The UFC legend continues on offense, punches and kicks in the corner until Vader unleashes an incredibly stiff-looking right cross that appears to knock Shamrock cold.

As Vader stands over him, Shamrock suddenly comes back to life, trips Vader into an ankle lock, and Vader quickly taps out to submit.

I'm frustrated with how underwhelming this one ended up being, because the concept was good and they did lay in some fun stiff shots on each other, but there was too much stop-and-go pacing, and that ending was not well-executed.

Result: Ken Shamrock via submission
Rating: **1/4

WWF Title - The Undertaker (c) vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin: Not much of a pop for Austin's entrance tonight; his popularity has not surpassed Undertaker's yet at this point. As the combatants in our main event are ready to square off, the Hart Foundation shows up at the top of the aisle, with the British Bulldog wheeling brother-in-law Bret Hart out and Brian Pillman and Jim Neidhart threatening fans with Bret's crutches. As the Harts make their way toward their seats, Austin jumps Undertaker, and the opening bell rings. Taker still has his trenchcoat and his belt on as the match starts. Undertaker absorbs Stone Cold's punches and fires back with his own. He whips Austin into the ropes, but Austin clings to the rope and slides outside, then violently pulls Owen Hart over the guardrail and into the ringside area, punching away. In a funny reaction, Jerry Lawler screams that Austin should be suspended for attacking a WWF fan.

Taker goes out after Austin, hits him, then knocks Owen back over the guardrail and back into the crowd. He clocks the Bulldog for good measure, then turns around and returns Austin to the inside. Austin attacks the champion on his way back in. Off an Irish whip, Taker ducks a clothesline and hits a flying clothesline of his own. Arm-wringer into repeated shoulder lunges. He executes the tightrope walk and drops the hammer, getting a two-count. Austin is able to secure a side headlock, and holds onto it tenaciously as Taker tries to slip loose several times. They stay in this resting position for quite a while…there seems to be an incident with a fan messing with the Harts, causing the Anvil to scream threateningly at him to back off.

Taker finally regains his feet and goes for a back suplex, but Austin lands behind and then clips Undertaker's leg. Austin quickly finds his focus on the knee that he just clipped, hitting the same area with targeted kicks. Undertaker finds some adrenaline and forcibly grabs Austin, violently throwing him into the corner, but Austin slips to the floor and drags Taker toward the ringpost. He slams the bad leg into the post a couple of times, keeping an eye out at the nearby Harts. He seems to be hurt by his distraction, as his hesitation enables Taker to pull Austin hard into the ringpost, knocking him down. The Harts watch on in enjoyment.

Back in the ring, Austin trips Taker and then drops his elbow on Taker's bad leg a few times. He drapes that leg across the bottom rope and lands on it a few more times. As he continues the limb focus, Taker fights back with some clubbing right hands, but Austin executes a double-leg takedown and locks on a modified STF; the dead man eventually breaks it by reaching the ropes. Stone Cold returns to the leg attack, but telegraphs one of his drops onto the bad leg too clearly, and Taker uses the free leg to launch Austin up over the top to the floor. Taker follows, smashes him into the steps, and returns him inside. Taker, shamefully showing absolutely no effect of the focused leg attack that he's been taking, takes over on offense himself. He goes on his own series of leg attacks on Austin, fixating on Austin's left leg with stomps, kicks, and a half-crab. A rope break gets Austin out of the crab.

Austin rolls out of the ring to try to buy himself some healing time, but Taker isn't allowing it; he goes out and quickly rolls the challenger back inside. Stone Cold ducks Taker's big boot and then clips the champion's bad leg again. He gets a two-count after a suplex. Undertaker is able to execute an arm-wringer and hits a back kick. He then goes up as if to walk the top rope again, but Austin pulls on him and crotches him along the top. Stone Cold sets up for the superplex, but Undertaker blocks and tosses him off. Taker misses with an elbow and has to kick out before two. Undertaker goes for a sleeper, but Austin counters into a jawbreaker.

After a recovery period, Taker beats Austin down in the corner until Austin connects on a blatant low blow, kicking Taker hard straight in the crotch. Referee Earl Hebner admonishes Austin, but doesn't disqualify him. When Hebner turns his back, Austin flips him the double bird from behind, then wanders straight into a low blow from Taker, who properly returns the favor. Austin now screams at Hebner, who gestures to remind Austin of his own low blow and then Hebner flips a double bird at Austin himself. Fun moment.

Austin gets up and walks into an Undertaker chokeslam. Austin rolls to the apron and hangs Taker along the top rope. He goes inside and hits the Stunner. As he goes over to make a cover, we suddenly hear the bell. Brian Pillman had gone over to ring the bell, causing a distraction that broke up Austin's potential match-winning moment. After this chaos, Austin walks into Taker, who lifts him for a tombstone. Austin counters into position for his own tombstone, but then Taker re-counters and connects, making the pin and getting the three-count.

Result: Undertaker via pinfall
Rating: **1/2

The Hart Foundation, the ones not on crutches or in a wheelchair anyway, pour into the ring and attack The Undertaker. As they do this, Austin, who has slipped out of the ring, sees that Bret Hart has been left unprotected. He jumps the rail and dumps Bret's wheelchair over. He then goes into the ring to attack the Harts. He and Undertaker combine to clear the ring, and the Hart Foundation heads for higher ground. As Undertaker is announced the winner, Austin stuns Taker and leaves him lying in the ring. Austin heads out in pursuit of the Harts, and as Taker comes to, he stalks out after Austin. On that note, the show ends.

Overall: This was another throw-away In Your House. I hoped to be pleasantly surprised, but instead it's what I feared: the reason that I had zero recollection of these particular IYH events is because there was almost nothing worth recalling on them. Thankfully the WWF PPVs get a lot better going forward.
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Old 03-04-2017, 08:22 AM   #1105
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

May 5, 1997


Newark, DE

We open on a recap of last night's pointless In Your House PPV, featuring stills of Ken Shamrock's win over Vader, Ahmed Johnson's valiant effort coming up short in the gauntlet match, and Steve Austin's WWF Title bid coming up short as well, in part due to Hart Foundation interference.

After opening graphics, we hear the familiar squeal of the electric guitar, and the Hart Foundation parts the curtain as one, stopping at the top of the ramp. Bret Hart produces a microphone and begins to speak. He talks up how awesome his stable is, says that it's pathetic that the fans are making him out to be the bad guy when the fans are the real bad guys for cheering people like Steve Austin…basically the exact same promo he's been cutting for a couple of months. It was good the first time, but I don't need to hear it weekly. Seems like they should have spread a bit more of the mic work in this stable around to Brian Pillman and Owen Hart. Bret teases that he has a big surprise, but won't say it until the fans shut up. The fans don't shut up, so Bret just wheels around and leaves without anything further.

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, no Vince McMahon again tonight, welcome us to the show and tell us that we will be seeing The Undertaker vs. Savio Vega and Legion of Doom vs. Nation of Domination tonight. I am unexcited. A bit more interesting, though: we are starting the King of the Ring tournament right away. Here's our bracket…

Super Soakers were fun as hell, by the way.

King of the Ring Tournament First Round - Hunter Hearst-Helmsley (w/ Chyna) vs. Ahmed Johnson: Hunter tries to be the early aggressor, but Ahmed no-sells a series of chops and then puts the blueblood down on the mat with some punches, a clothesline, and a press slam. Axe kick and then a scissor kick by Johnson, whose momentum finally gets halted by a failed corner charge. Helmsley jacks Ahmed's jaw with his knee, connects on a high knee, and puts the boots to Ahmed in a corner. Snapmare by HHH, following with a knee drop and a slow lateral press for a two-count. Ahmed finds the adrenaline to no-sell some punches, then hits his ****ty spinebuster. Chyna slides into the ring and hammers Ahmed with a steel chair right in plain view of the referee, who calls for the bell.

Result: Ahmed Johnson via DQ

Ahmed chases Helmsley up the aisle. Chyna attacks from behind to pull him off, and officials break up the brawl.

After commercials, the glass breaks and Stone Cold Steve Austin heads to the ring, a crutch freely swinging from his right hand, and he joins Vince McMahon for an interview. Vince says that last night was a hell of a match, which causes Austin to tell him to stop coming out here and kissing his ass. Austin says, "Sooner or later, Steve Austin will be the World Wrestling Federation Champion." He declares that this crutch is a souvenir from Bret Hart, and he addresses Bret, saying that if he has the guts he'll come out and fight him. Calls the Hart Foundation a snake, and says that the easiest way to kill a snake is to chop the snake's head off, the snake's head being Bret. But he says he's not going to go straight for that; he's going to "have some fun with it, and start with the snake's ass," a designation he gives to Brian Pillman. Says that, "For years and years in the bush leagues, I carried you right in my back pocket." He threatens to cripple Pillman again, and ends the promo.

Before the next match, JR tells us that Scott Putski is going to debut tonight. They show some clips of Scott's father, Hall of Famer Ivan Putski, dominating in a prior era, and they bother to slip in a clip of Ivan Putski hammering Roddy Piper.

Leif Cassidy vs. Scott Putski: Cassidy and Putski jostle for position over waistlocks and wristlocks. Putski throws a Japanese armdrag, Cassidy trips him, Putski back at him with an an (American, I guess) armdrag. Cassidy counters a hammerlock into a hip-toss, and the chain wrestling continues. Belly-to-belly suplex by Putski, follow-up hurracanrana gets a two-count. Nice double-leg pickup into a powerbomb by Cassidy…referee Mike Chioda is slow on the count, and only gets to two, upsetting Cassidy. Corner whip and a clothesline by Leif, now in control, as he drops a knee and gets another two-count. Sunset flip by Putski gets a near-fall. These two are not very fluid together, lots of the spots looking disjointed. Putski reverses a corner whip, hits a nice release German as Cassidy staggers back, and that's enough to score the pinfall.

Result: Scott Putski via pinfall

After the match, Leif Cassidy starts getting into it with the official, and then, as it seems like the show is moving on, Cassidy dives through the ropes at Putski and continues to attack him. Putski ends up successfully fighting him off. Cassidy angrily insists to Jim Ross that he won, then storms off.

Legion of Doom enter for the next match, and then the Nation of Domination comes out. As JR and King speculate that Crush and Faarooq would be the likely opponents for LOD since Savio is booked to face Undertaker later, Crush and Savio end up telling PG-13 that they have to go participate in this match. PG-13 is very unhappy with the situation.

Legion of Doom vs. PG-13: Pure squash here. Animal hits a big shoulderblock, a powerbomb, and an elbow on Wolfie D. Hawk tags in, double backdrop by the LOD, and then Hawk flings Wolfie into the PG-13 corner. JC Ice reluctantly enters after Wolfie tags him in. He attempts a piledriver, can't get him up, but Wolfie D comes in and they do manage to piledrive him together. Hawk no-sells, Animal comes in, they hit the Doomsday Device first on JC Ice and then on Wolfie D, and Hawk pins both guys simultaneously.

Result: LOD via pinfall

The Nation of Domination, who had been watching from the top of the ramp, simply turn and leave their rappers behind in the ring.

After a break, Mankind comes out for a promo. Addressing Undertaker, he says, "If you've got a problem with what I've done, I'm a big boy, take it out on me! But instead, you took the coward's way out. You took a man who loved you, my uncle Paul, a defenseless man…and you ruined him physically for the rest of his life. Uncle Paul is here tonight, but he's self-conscious about his appearance. So I am asking all of you to show some respect and show come compassion while I bring out my uncle Paul." Mankind reaches through the curtain and pulls Paul Bearer out to the stage, bandaging covering most of his face.

Mankind says that Paul has a surprise for us. "Spread the news, Uncle Paul!" Bearer speaks. "The fire, Undertaker, the fire that singed my face and put me in the hospital. The sacred bond that we had between each other, that bond has been seared, Undertaker. Camera man, put that camera close to my eyes, because you know these eyes, Undertaker, and you know when I'm speaking the truth. You remember, Undertaker…yes, you do. I'm going to give you one more chance for us to get back together." Mankind interjects, "No more chances, Uncle Paul! Tell us now!" Paul continues. "I have to do this now. I have to do this. One more chance, Undertaker. If you do not accept this final offer, I'm going to do something that only you know, Undertaker. A secret that only you know. But I will reveal it to the whole world…it is a secret that I made while I stood over the gravesite of your mother and father. You hurt me, Undertaker. Come back, or I'm going to hurt you." Mankind and Bearer, arm in arm, leave together.

After commercials, Vince McMahon brings out Faarooq for the next interview. He asks him, "How does it feel to be the #1 contender for the WWF Championship?" That's the first we've heard of that news. Faarooq says that obviously it feels great, calls it a stupid question, and then puts the screws to Vince, asking him when was the last time a black man held the WWF Title. Vince slowly says, "Never." Faarooq says, "Yeah, you've had blacks in token positions. Ahmed Johnson with the Intercontinental Title for a short period of time. Bobo Brazil with the US Title for a short period of time." He asks Vince when Ahmed Johnson ever got a world title shot. He continues, "You can't. … You don't feel a black man is worthy of winning the WWF Title. You don't feel a black man is worthy of being the champion of the WWF. But you do think a black man is worthy of washing your car, you do think a black man is worthy of washing your clothes, you do think a black man is worthy of even raising your kids. But let me tell you something…those were those days, and this is a different day and age. … We are taking matters into our own hands, when we get to swinging those fists and kicking these feet. You understand that?"

Vince says that all of this has nothing to do with being black. Faarooq: "It has everything to do with being black! … Your white savior, The Undertaker, is going to be a dead man." Vince says, "Don't you think that these comments are racist?" Faarooq repeats that they are taking matters into their own hands, and that means that they will win by any means necessary. End promo.

Savio Vega vs. The Undertaker: After ring intros, the show goes to break and the match is joined in progress. Taker in control, walks the top rope and drops the hammer on Savio. He rams Vega into the top rope, whips him into the opposite corner, but Vega fights back with a back elbow and a couple of uppercuts. Irish whip reversal by the WWF Champion; he hits a big boot and gets a two-count. Taker comes off the ropes again, and this time gets tripped by a Nation member, enabling Savio to clip his leg with a chop block from behind. Savio continues working that leg, then moves up and tries choking Taker until Taker throws him off. Savio keeps gamely fighting, hitting a spinning heel kick and getting a near-fall. After a scoop slam, Savio tries coming off the ropes, but runs into the champion's big boot. Undertaker hits a chokeslam, knocks two Nation members off the apron, hits the Tombstone, and then the Nation runs in and attacks before a pin can be recorded.

Result: The Undertaker via DQ

After commercial, we hear the ECW TV music, and out comes Rob Van Dam. Jerry Lawler enters the ring and takes the mic from Howard Finkel. He starts ripping on ECW again, calling it "Extremely Crappy Wrestling," but says that he's found a man in Rob Van Dam who knows how low ECW can sink. Van Dam joins in with Lawler, calling ECW "low-budgeted, very low talent wannabes who can't hold onto the extreme talents of Rob Van Dam." Lawler calls Van Dam "Mr. Monday Night"…not sure if this was coined here or if RVD had already been using that for his heel character down in ECW, but Van Dam kept using the threat of jumping to WWF as a build for his heel character in ECW. Lawler points across the ring to jobber Jeff Hardy and instructs RVD to "take care of this Bon Jovi wannabe."

Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy: Jim Ross says that he's pretty sure that ECW officials haven't cleared this appearance by RVD, and that Paul Heyman isn't going to be happy about this. RVD knocks Hardy out of the ring hard with a wheel kick, then follows him out with a somersault plancha that overshoots the mark, RVD risking injury by having his legs land pretty squarely on the guardrail as he impacted Hardy. He's okay though, returning Hardy inside as fans chant "you sold out" at him. He hits a slam, a five-star frog splash, another slam, and a split-legged moonsault to ship the win. The frog splash is the way better-looking move than the split-legged moonsault (at least in terms of inflicting pain), so I'm not sure why the latter was the finisher here, but whatever.

Result: Rob Van Dam via pinfall

JR sends it to part two of his kayfabe-blurring sit-down interview with Goldust/Dustin Runnels. Dustin talks about how he tries to do all he can to really put on a show and stand out for the fans each night. Turning back to his family situation, he speaks of how proud he is of his daughter, then addresses his father Dusty again. "All those years I looked up to you, and wanted to be just like you, and sitting in the back, the way you would place me in the back of the arena and walk to the ring … you were bigger than life. I wanted to be just like you. That's why I wanted to live with you, and I didn't have you. And I got that chance. I became a professional wrestler. It was the hardest damn thing in my entire life to do, to pull that off. But I did. Nobody is going to take that away from me. I was Dustin Rhodes, and now I'm Goldust. … I hope to God you are proud of me. I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of my family. And I love my family very much. I love you Dad."

That didn't really add much new to last week's promo; they probably could have just left it there. But this was fine.

Back in the arena, The Undertaker's music hits again. He appears on the Titantron. Jim Ross asks him about Paul Bearer's comments and about the Nation of Domination. Undertaker says he wants to address Paul Bearer. "Paul, there are certain events that have occurred in the dark side that are better off not seen in the light of day. And as far as Faarooq, and my physical conditioning, I've never won a match with my physical conditioning. It's always been my mental state of mind. (sic) I must go to the vault of souls, and open it, and unleash a demon to help me do battle with a force, a nation of destruction."

Elimination Match - Owen Hart/British Bulldog vs. Doug Furnas/Philip LaFon vs. Headbangers vs. New Blackjacks: I don't know WTF this match is about, since it doesn't seem to be a title match and all four teams are heels. Hart and LaFon have a brief exchange before tagging out to Mosh and Blackjack Windham. Mosh tags with Thrasher, the Bangers double Windham and then tag in Furnas. Furnas tags LaFon, double-team attempt backfires, big lariat by Windham enables him to eliminate LaFon. Show goes to commercial. During the break, LaFon came back to the ring to interfere and helped cause the Blackjacks to be eliminated. In keeping with the thing where Furnas and LaFon are heels by virtue of being bland, Lawler makes me laugh by referring to a simple grab-the-leg-from-outside interference spot with, "Well that was exciting! See? These guys are exciting."

Anyway, we're down to Owen and Davey vs. The Headbangers. Owen exposes a turnbuckle in one corner, which backfires when Mosh reverses a whip into that corner and causes Owen to take that exposed corner chest-first. Headbangers double-team Owen from there, Thrasher dropping Mosh off the top onto Owen, and they appear to score the pin, but Owen's foot was on the bottom rope; Mike Chioda waves off the pinfall. Amidst the confusion, Owen tags Davey, who scampers in for a schoolboy that nearly steals the win. Davey continues on offense with the signature delayed suplex. Thrasher hits a cheap shot on Bulldog from the apron to slow him down, and the Headbangers regain control, Owen having to run in and break up a pin attempt. JR says, "Headbangers are very unorthodox, but their popularity is certainly growing." I laughed out loud at what the crowd looks like as JR says this; everyone just stoic and bored.

Based on that comment, I guess the Headbangers must be meant to be faces after all, but they're not getting a reaction here. Bulldog finally manages a tag to Owen, who enters with a dropkick and a backbreaker before slapping on the Sharpshooter. Thrasher runs in to break it up, Bulldog in to even the numbers. Headbangers try to whip the champs into each other, the champs reverse the Headbangers into each other instead. Bulldog hits the running powerslam for the win.

Result: Owen Hart & The British Bulldog via pinfall

After break, we're getting another Hart Foundation promo, as apparently we're going to hear Bret Hart's surprise now. Bret addresses the rest of his stable and instructs them to go back to the dressing room. He says that he can handle this by himself. They're confused, but they oblige and exit stage left. Bret warns Steve Austin that he'll have his boys back out here in no time if Austin tries anything right now. Bret says that, as for his surprise, he wants "that gutless little poser" Shawn Michaels to come out right now. Michaels answers the call, coming out to the ring. Bret demands they cut the HBK music, and addresses his rival. This is another rehash, as he cuts the same promo he's been cutting on Shawn for a while. Shawn looks bored and non-plussed by the promo. As Bret is rambling on, the show seems to have left the air for live TV purposes, but after a cut we see the continuation of it.

Bret keeps yelling nasty things at Shawn until Shawn finally unloads a Superkick. The Hart Foundation hits the ring and attacks, with Pillman/Bulldog/Anvil triple-teaming Shawn up the ramp as Owen attends to Bret in the ring. Bulldog makes as if he's going to throw Shawn off the top of the ramp, but then Steve Austin comes out for the save, attacking the Harts. Officials seem to back Austin and Shawn off as the Hart Foundation attends to Bret in the ring. And that's the end of the extended WWE Network cut of the show. So that Bret Hart surprise that they teased in the open, and that Jim Ross continued to push during the show, was…what? Nothing at all? Pathetic.

Overall: Pretty bad episode. Not much to like, and the episode seemed to revolve around a "surprise" that was never coming. Between the last two Raws and the PPV, they've cooled off significantly since that incredibly hot back-to-back pairing of episodes in mid-April. I'll be happy to return to some WCW writeups for a change of pace.
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Old 03-04-2017, 11:29 AM   #1106
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

May 12, 1997


Baltimore, MD

We cold-open in the arena with Michael Buffer giving us the "let's get ready to RRRRRUMBLE" shtick. Can't say I remember them just opening episodes that way.

After some pyro goes off, Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth make their way to the ring, Savage no longer on crutches. He takes Buffer's mic and declares, "I am healed!" He challenges DDP to fight him, then drops the mic and bails out of the ring, I guess ending that segment as quickly as it started.

To the announce table, where our team for the night is Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, and Bobby Heenan, who is sporting a ridiculous tie for the evening.

Tony says that Sting is going to talk tonight, and he's going to talk publicly with Eric Bischoff for some reason.

Before the next match, we get a PIP promo from Lord Steven Regal, who vows that he's going to get away from nobility for a while, and to get back to his dirty rotten scoundrel self, who used to beat up men twice his age as a young man. This promo is directed at Ultimo Dragon, so I'm not entirely sure how old he thinks the Dragon is.

TV Title - Ultimo Dragon (c) (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Juventud Guerrera: Side headlock by Ultimo. Juventud shoves him off, Dragon hits a shoulderblock. Juventud connects with a back elbow, hits a quebrada and gets a two-count, then sends Dragon sprawling out of the ring with a flying headscissor. Ultimo returns inside, lands on his feet out of a backdrop, and delivers his signature series of kicks. He picks Guerrera up along his shoulders in a rack, then drops down to his knees, creating impact. Transitions into a reverse chinlock for a moment, but stands back up out of it. He misses with a clothesline, and Juventud connects on a jumping wheel kick. Dragon attempts a float-over DDT, but Guerrera counters into a Northern lights suplex and gets a near-fall. Guerrera tries a hurracanrana, but Dragon counters into a powerbomb. Ultimo to the top for a moonsault, Guerrera moves, Ultimo lands on his feet, goes for a hurracanrana, Guerrera counters into a sunset flip that gets two. Springboard moonsault by Dragon gets two. Guerrera counters a tiger suplex into a pinning combo, gets two, Dragon re-counters into a pin and gets his own two-count.

Ultimo climbs the ropes, but Guerrera catches up to him and hits him, then follows him up the ropes. Dragon regains the advantage while up on the ropes, and hits a superplex. After a recovery period, Dragon slaps on a waistlock, Guerrera scurries toward the ropes, and they both spill outside. As Ultimo returns inside, Sonny Onoo grabs Juventud and pulls him down onto the apron. As Juventud gets up and attacks Onoo, Dragon now ambushes Juventud, then goes back into the ring to run distraction while Onoo gets some kicks in. Ultimo returns Juventud into the ring, sets him up top, spinning hurracanrana, then the Dragon Sleeper ships the match to fend off Juventud's high-effort attempt to win the title.

Result: Ultimo Dragon via submission

Mean Gene is out for interview time, and brings out Rowdy Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, and Kevin Greene. Greene is first to talk. "nWo, three things in this world are definitive. Three things you can put in the bank: One, you have to pay some taxes. Two, eventually you're gonna die. Three, in Charlotte, at Slamboree, I am going to break my foot off in your ass." Flair goes through his usual stuff, saying nothing of interest. Piper says, "You want to talk about me being a dinosaur? Yes I'm a dinosaur. Yes, I'm a tyrannosaurus rex." We hear Kevin Nash and Scott Hall coming in over the house speakers. They show up on a screen in the back, their mascot Syxx in tow. Amidst an obnoxious and sophomoric Nash/Hall/Syxx promo, Nash declares that this Sunday's match is going to be no DQ.

US Title - Dean Malenko (c) vs. Mongo McMichael (w/ Jeff Jarrett & Debra): Malenko gets low and shoulders Mongo into the corner. Mongo shoves him back, but Malenko slaps on a side headlock, releases, then hits a dropkick. Follows with another dropkick attempt, but Mongo slaps it aside. Whips Malenko into the corner, but again Malenko fights back out with a low targeted dropkick. As Malenko reaches down to follow up, Mongo flips him over. The back-and-forth continues, Malenko hitting a jumping heel kick. Mongo reverses an Irish whip, Jarrett trips Malenko at the ropes, and Mongo clips Malenko's leg from behind. Mongo scoops Dean up to slam him, but knocks Dean into Mark Curtis for the ref bump. Mongo completes a powerslam and has a visual pin, but Curtis is out of the ring. Enter Reggie White, who runs down to the ring and climbs up on the apron. Jarrett hits Reggie from behind, Mongo brings him into the ring forcefully, but Reggie reverses a corner whip, lands a clothesline, and then hits a running splash. He does not look like a natural wrestler the way Kevin Greene does.

White shoves Jeff Jarrett off the apron. In the meantime, Malenko executes a rolling pin on Mongo and scores a three-count once Mark Curtis is able to get into position.

Result: Dean Malenko via pinfall

Mean Gene comes out to get a word with Reggie White. Reggie says that Mongo can talk **** about him, but he draws the line at Mongo saying nasty things about the people of Green Bay. I didn't realize that Mongo had been actively ripping on Packer fans. That counts as a face turn, right?

James Vandenberg comes out before the next match and breaks the silence on the identity of his newest man, Bryan Clark, who has not yet had a stage name in WCW. He identifies him as Wrath.

Scotty Riggs vs. Wrath: This is a quick squash match. Riggs manages a couple of dropkicks, but otherwise it's all Wrath. The big man hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, a couple of hard kicks, and a front slam finisher much like the Rock Bottom that ends this one in a hurry.

Result: Wrath via pinfall

Glacier's music hits, and Glacier appears at the top of aisle, but it doesn't get any further than that. The show just goes to break with Glacier staring at the ring.

Ray Lewis and a couple of other Baltimore Ravens are shown at ringside.

Konnan & Hugh Morrus (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Alex Wright & Ice Train (w/ Teddy Long): Morrus & Konnan get the jump on Ice Train from the word go, as the commentators note that Wright isn't helping his partner out, but Ice Train is able to fight back and gain enough of an advantage to tag Wright in. Wright is acting heelish here, showboating between spots and getting quite a bit of static from the crowd. At one point, he's in the middle of showboating, and Morrus charges him, causing Wright to scurry underneath like a coward and tag an unsuspecting Ice Train back in, causing Train to get blindsided by Morrus.

As Train fights off both Dungeon members again, he's able to get a temporary advantage that allows him to go offer a tag to Wright, but Wright feigns a knee injury and doesn't want to tag in. As Wright is stalling, Train gets clipped from behind. Wright drops to the floor, briefly bullies an angry Teddy Long, and then just abandons Train by himself in the ring. Konnan ends up finishing things off with a submission hold, a half-crab combined with an armbar. As the match ends, Alex Wright is halfway up the aisle telling a camera that everyone knows that he's the greatest.

Result: Konnan & Hugh Morrus via submission

We see clips from last week, when Randy Savage baited DDP into chasing after him, and then Hulk Hogan blindsided DDP with a crutch. They suddenly cut away from these clips to backstage live in tonight's arena, where Syxx and Kevin Nash have just laid out Roddy Piper in the back. Piper is writhing in pain, holding his hip.

Back in the main arena area, enter Eric Bischoff. He starts talking, and immediately I realize that WCW has also committed a bait-and-switch tonight. He calls for Sting to come out, and nWo Sting comes out of the back. Bischoff conducts a farcical interview with fake Sting where he just asks leading questions about how Sting can't measure up to Hulk Hogan, with fake Sting nodding in affirmation of each one. Here comes real Sting. He stalks toward the ring, enters, attacks fake Sting, hits the Scorpion Death Drop, and then stares at Bischoff while Bischoff scrambles out of the ring and into the crowd to end the show.

Overall: Not a great show, but not terrible. Final segment was garbage, but most of the show breezed along and was somewhat watchable.
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Old 03-04-2017, 11:30 AM   #1107
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Ratings for 5/12/97: Nitro 3.2, Raw 2.8
Ratings Running Score: Nitro 62-17-2

Better Show: Nitro was a lot less of a slog than Raw this week. It gets the nod.
Better Show Running Score: Nitro 56-25

Match of the Night: Juventud Guerrera vs. Ultimo Dragon
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Old 03-04-2017, 12:18 PM   #1108
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Well, fun note about that last Raw segment. I watched Bret and Shawn cover that particular segment during their Greatest Rivalry interview and this segment was the boiling point for Shawn since, as evident, the superkick to Bret, did not make the live feed, due to Bret's rambling, and Shawn ended up being livid and decided get more personal and bitter with his comments about Bret, I think.

Don't remember what was the end result of that though. But things in the Bret/Shawn relationship (where they claim before this segment that the personal shots was all for show and to make their rivalry look more realistic and draw down the line) was really never the same, behind the scenes, after that scene, I think.
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:15 PM   #1109
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Bruce Prichard, on his podcast, also talked about that. Not only did the live show go off the air before the kick, they also got a 90 second overrun from USA because Bret was going so long. For those who don't know, an overrun on RAW back then was a very rare and special thing
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:38 PM   #1110
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

It's a good thing he used all of that overrun to say absolutely nothing new or interesting. That's strange.
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:51 PM   #1111
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Thumbs up Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Shawn looks bored and non-plussed by the promo. As Bret is rambling on, the show seems to have left the air for live TV purposes, but after a cut we see the continuation of it.
Probably because Bret had forgotten his preplanned lines here. He started rambling and the show had to be cutoff because Bret forgot his lines and was making up time to remember them and get kicked.

edit: hadn't read the last few posts. This forgetting of lines is also in a documentary. Maybe the sit down with HBK/Bret that anguyen mentioned.
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:52 PM   #1112
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

In that case, he should have defaulted to, "I'm fooked."
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:54 PM   #1113
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

But would he say "Mr. Hitman" prior to that
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Old 03-07-2017, 02:41 PM   #1114
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

I was always intrigued by the Heel vs Heel dynamic of that feud. Has there been such a program before or since to that degree on the Main Event level? I don't really remember one.

In retrospect it's weird they didn't just give Austin or 'Taker a bridge title reign between the two?
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