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Old 04-08-2017, 01:09 AM   #1126
LKJ
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

May 19, 1997

RAW

Mobile, AL

We start with a recap of last week's show, which ended in Bret Hart yammering until the show went off the air, after which Shawn Michaels hit him with a superkick, leading him to get run down by the Hart Foundation and nearly thrown off the top of the ramp until Steve Austin came out and made the save.

After the credits, we're live in the arena, where the glass breaks and Stone Cold heads to the ring for a word with Jim Ross. Austin starts off by saying that he doesn't give a rat's ass about Shawn Michaels, and that he only came out last week because he saw the Hart Foundation turn their backs and saw the opportunity to take a cheap shot. He says that he's working his way through the Harts with Shawn Michaels or without him, and it makes no difference to him. Shawn Michaels emerges from the back, causing Austin to say, "I ain't your friend, but I got no problem with ya." It must have hurt Steve to say that he had no problem with Shawn once he saw how Shawn had dressed for the occasion.



Michaels comes out and tells Austin not to flatter himself, that he helped Austin recently and that it was only out of hate for the Harts too. Slurring his words pretty hard, he says that he doesn't owe Austin anything, because he's been dropped off ladders before and always got back up again. Austin replies, "I ain't saying you ain't tough. What I'm saying is, you might as well take your little bandana and go backstage before I kick your damn teeth down your throat." Michaels: "So…you're telling me, the master of the sweet chin music, that you're gonna kick my teeth down your throat? (sic)" Austin: "Damn right." Yep, Michaels seems like he's hammered. He continues: "Well let me tell you something: the Heartbreak Kid may just stun you and stomp your guts in, and that, my friend, is the bottom line whether you like it or not." Austin has had enough of carrying his heavily-intoxicated colleague through a promo segment and attacks. They throw fists for a while until a herd of officials descend on the ring and break them up.



Owen Hart, the British Bulldog, and Jim Neidhart show up on the Titantron, laughing at the infighting of their two main rivals. Owen mocks them and then issues a challenge to the two of them to team up and take a shot at the Tag Team Titles next week. Michaels says that he'll find himself a partner, but he's not going to get along with Stone Cold. Austin says, "I'll find a piece of crap who weighs 75 pounds, or he might be 75 years old, to be in my corner, but the bottom line is that it ain't gonna be you in my corner, because I don't need nobody in my corner."



Austin and Michaels go back to brawling with each other until they again get pulled apart.

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler announce that we were scheduled for a Vader vs. Crush match in the King of the Ring tournament tonight, but that it's not going to be that match after all. After commercials, Crush is in the ring, and Ross says that Vader is here tonight, but doctors wouldn't clear him to wrestle. They show Vader with a large bandage over his nose in the locker room, apparently suffering a broken nose against Ken Shamrock at In Your House.



King of the Ring First Round - Crush (w/ Nation of Domination) vs. Hunter Hearst-Helmsley (w/ Chyna): JR talks to Gerald Brisco backstage, and Brisco gives a ridiculous explanation that since HHH was erroneously informed last week by the referee that wrestlers could only advance in the tournament by pinfall or submission, and since HHH was disqualified, they're giving him another chance in the tourney "to avoid legal action." That's…a special explanation.

Helmsley attacks Crush from behind, Crush no-sells, but an eye-gouge breaks through the big man's forcefield and leaves him vulnerable to attack. Swinging neckbreaker by Hunter, but he falls victim to a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Crush a moment later. Crush with another backbreaker, then a bearhug into a spinebuster. He wastes time before dropping a fist off the ropes and misses, but quickly recovers and is still able to press Helmsley overhead before dropping him into a gutbuster. Slow cover gets a two-count. HHH escapes out of a suplex, counters by dropping Crush's face into his knee, then executes a neckbreaker.

H goes for the Pedigree, but Savio Vega jumps up on the apron. As the referee is distracted, Chyna gets up on the apron as well, but by then Crush fights back and the referee turns his attention to dealing with Chyna. Savio Vega back up to run interference, but he accidentally clocks Crush with a roundhouse kick, and Helmsley capitalizes to score the pin and gets kind of the default face pop as he advances in the KOTR tournament.



Result: Hunter Hearst-Helmsley via pinfall

Crush is angry and gets in Savio's face after the match. They trade shoves before Faarooq runs down to the ring to broker the peace. He dresses the two down and gets them to drop the fight.

Owen Hart (w/ British Bulldog & Jim Neidhart) vs. Bob Holly: They note that Bob Holly is in his hometown tonight, and they actually show some pre-recorded hometown fan interviews wishing Holly well in his match. Jerry Lawler is annoyed and throws it to his own interview from earlier, with a couple of hicks who he mocks with redneck jokes and calls them "real Alabamians." Jim Ross says, "You're hideous. How embarrassing." Holly gets a full entrance as opposed to his usual jobber entrance, and you can tell that they're treating this match differently than what you would normally see out of an Owen Hart-Bob Holly match. Ross mentions Holly's history of having a brief run as Tag Team Champion.



Bulldog and Anvil scoff at Holly as Jim Ross acknowledges that Holly's odds are long tonight. Side headlock by Owen, releases off the ropes and into a shoulderblock. He gets surprised a moment later as Bob Holly hits a hurracanrana and gets an early two-count. The upset-minded Holly hits a big dropkick for another two. Corner mount and a few punches, after which Holly hits a running clothesline on the staggering Intercontinental Champion. This is a non-title match, by the way. Owen ducks a clothesline off an Irish whip and hits a spinning wheel kick. Hard corner whip by Hart. Backbreaker and another hard corner whip that sends Holly crumpling to the mat. Owen with a slam and a second-rope elbow. Two-count.

Reverse chinlock by Hart. Holly works his way to his feet and punches his way loose, but he gets a running start that Owen sidesteps, causing Holly to go careening through the middle ropes to the floor. Holly re-enters with a sunset flip for another two-count. Owen tries to capitalize quickly with the Sharpshooter, but Holly surprises him with a small package and scores the upset to a big pop. According to Holly himself, this was something that Owen instigated; it was him who brought up the idea that he'd like to put Holly over in his hometown. He must have been the one person in the world who actually liked Bob Holly or something. A classy move in any case.



Result: Bob Holly via pinfall

Davey and Neidhart hit the ring, but Holly slips the ambush, bailing out of the ring and into the crowd as the Harts throw a tantrum. And with this big win, Holly was propelled to a midcard push. In a couple of years. Under a different gimmick of course, because this one was terrible. So it really didn't do anything for him, but still kind of a cool moment.

Moving along, Jim Ross reminds us of Paul Bearer's recent threat to The Undertaker: that Undertaker needed to rejoin him, or he would spill a secret that he had sworn he would never tell anyone. Last week, Taker briefly acknowledged that Bearer does know something, saying vaguely that some things are better off never seeing the light of day. We're going to get an Undertaker promo about this situation later.

Here's Sunny drenching Jim Cornette with a Super Soaker. I see that they mixed up the usual roles.

Here's Shawn Michaels backstage with Ken Shamrock. JR asks him if Shawn has found a partner to take on the Tag Team Champions. Shawn confirms that he has picked Shamrock. He and Shamrock cut a generic promo on Owen and Davey, and Jim Ross just accepts it, saying "I guess we have that match to look forward to next week." Shawn actually seemed possibly sober here. Who knows.

Ross says that they've had the chance to sit down with Goldust recently, and now…holy ****, it's here. Yes, Ross says that now they've had the chance to sit down with Mankind. Even though the timing of this should have easily made me see it coming, I wasn't expecting it on this episode. This is pure greatness. Tonight is just part one.

We start the interview with a video package introducing Mankind. Ross calls him "Mick Foley" for the first time, and says we're going to see another side. Ross: "What do you think the biggest misconceptions the WWF fans have as relates to Mankind?" Mankind, debuting the classic smiley-face-with-Mankind-mask shirt (one of the only wrestling shirts I ever bought):

Quote:
That I am a bad person. Jimmy, there's plenty of good reasons to hate me. I just don't want people to hate me for untruths and partial truths and rumors. You see, when I was a kid I played Cowboys and Indians. Who were the good guys? The cowboys coming over the hill to rape and pillage innocent women and children? I was always the Indian, Jimmy, I always stood for the underdog. If that makes me a bad person, standing up for what I believe in, I guess you've got me right: I'm a bad man.


Ross, in a voiceover, talks about how Mick often embraced pain growing up. Mick continues.

Quote:
I was eight years old at Minasaki Elementary School, playing a game of 'kill the guy with the ball.' May even be an Olympic sport these days. And in chasing one of the other students, I made a leap for his leg, and the back of his foot kicked me in the lip. And I didn't know what happened. I knew it hurt, Jimmy; I knew it hurt bad. But all of a sudden people started looking at me in a different way, like there was something wrong with me. I looked down at my Chicago Bears - back in the day when they were 2-12, in the waning days of Dick Butkus - and my Bears white sweatshirt suddenly turned red.

Children were running from me, scared. I was bleeding. I was in pain. And I was loving it. Because I felt like I'd finally found something in my life that I could do better than everybody else: handle pain. Someone said 'aw that's just vampire blood.' Then they saw the open wound from which the blood was flowing. I've still got that shirt Jimmy, and I remember thinking, 'Wouldn't it be nice if I could do something in my life where I could do this all the time? Get that attention every night?' Stockbrokers can't do it. Teachers can't do it. The President of the United States can't bleed for a living. But pro wrestlers can! It's the first time that I realized that I had a calling in my life, and I followed it right down the line.

It was all I wanted to do. My brother and I watched them all: Chief Jay Strongbow, Bruno Sammartino, the Valiant Brothers, that's what we wanted to be. And then I broke his nose by backdropping him into his bedroom wall, and mom said no more wrestling. But she didn't say no more dreaming.
After another interlude by Ross, Mankind continues.

Quote:
I'm gonna tell my son, when he gets to be 15, not to be the guy who eats strange things. I never exactly brought it upon myself…other people and their…cliques - for lack of a better word - would gang up because I was different, because I acted different, looked different. They were throwing worms at me, Jimmy. Little wiggly worms they were throwing at me. Bending down in athletic class doing my hurdler stretch and there was worms being thrown at me. So what do you do to retaliate? Do you throw the worm back? At seven or eight people? It's not the fact that they were hurting me; they were wounding my pride. They were looking at me like I was garbage. So I picked up the largest specimen, Jimmy…AND I SUCKED IT DOWN! To show them that their attempts to hurt my pride would not be successful.



I thought, Jimmy, that I'd shown them. But sure enough, the story became exaggerated as everything in life does. It wasn't 'Mickey Foley ate one worm because some kids were picking on him.' It became 'Mickey Foley eats a plate full of worms every day. You think I got many dates after that, Jimmy? … You think girls wanted to kiss the boy who had worms on his breath? I'M A GOOD KISSER! But I never got the chance to show it! What, am I gonna practice on myself? I never had the chance to show the world that I could love and could BE loved! They ruled me out because I had a strange appetite for strange things. I'm not gonna say I didn't accept money to eat other strange things, but the fact of the matter is, the damage had been done, and I went through my entire high school days without date #1. You don't think that scarred my soul? Well maybe you're not looking deep enough.
Ross offers a preview of next week, previewing Foley's Dude Love character from his youth, as well as his years as Cactus Jack.

This interview was certainly the first big step toward Mick Foley becoming a legitimate long-term main event guy in the WWF.



Before the next match, Jerry Lawler rants about how Paul Heyman has instituted legal action to keep Rob Van Dam (who Lawler describes as the only real talent in ECW) from appearing on Raw anymore. Regardless of that apparent angle, Lawler kicks it to a highlight reel of RVD's squash match over Jeff Hardy from last week.

Leif Cassidy vs. Scott Taylor: Cassidy jumps out of the ring to attack Taylor before Taylor can get inside. He sends the action inside, Taylor reverses a corner whip, charges in after Cassidy, Cassidy backdrops him, but Taylor lands on the apron and flips back into the ring, then dropkicks Cassidy to the outside. Taylor steps out to the apron and executes a terrible slingshot cross-body. He rolls Leif inside, then climbs to the top and hits a cross-body for a two-count. Snapmare by Taylor, and a weak-looking targeted dropkick to the seated Cassidy. Two-count. Irish whip by Taylor, but he drops his head too soon for a backdrop, and Cassidy kicks him in the face before nailing him with a running clothesline. Cassidy catches Taylor trying to jump out past him, and converts it into a stiff Alabama slam. Cassidy goes on and executes what I believe would become the Snow Plough, but in lieu of going for a pin, he tries for the move a second time, and Taylor counters it into a small package for the count of three.



Result: Scott Taylor via pinfall

Jerry Lawler says that apparently Steve Austin has found a partner for next week too, and they send it backstage to him. Once the camera is on him, Austin knocks, hears "just a minute!" and then bursts into Sable's dressing room.



She says, "I said 'just a minute!'" Austin replies, "I thought you said 'come in,' honey, I'm just looking for a tag team partner. You up for it? … Meh, forget it. Sorry I bothered you." As he leaves, she asks him to close the door. He closes the door and then pokes his head back in to say, "You say something?" "I said close the door!" "You don't need to get hot about it, Jesus Christ!" That was a pretty funny segment.

After commercial, the Hart Foundation is gathered around Bret Hart backstage, then they throw the show to a second-hour graphic, followed by a recap of last week's Hart stuff (which they already covered at the start of the episode).

Back to live, the Hart Foundation emerges for a promo segment, Bret limping his way to the ring on crutches. The announcers hype that we are finally going to hear Bret's big surprise. Bret picks up a mic and tells the fans to shut up. He says that Americans are really big on freedom of speech, freedom of expression. "Well last week, your great American hero Shawn Michaels, he wouldn't even allow me my right to free speech." For the love of God. No matter how many times I ever hear the notion of "freedom of speech" get misused, it will never stop tilting me. "Last week, your great American hero proved that he's no better than Stone Cold Steve Austin." I think we knew that before last week.



After prattling on the same talking point for a bit longer, he turns his attention to his "big surprise." He mockingly speaks about how Michaels is going to heroically return from injury soon. Then he says that there's a real hero who is going to come back and participate at King of the Ring: himself. He challenges Michaels to face him in a match there, and says that if he can't beat him in less than 10 minutes, he promises that he will never wrestle in the United States again. Michaels shows up on the Titantron. "You know something? You talk about this freedom of speech thing, last week you had all the freedom in the world, you talked so much we went off-air listening to you babble."

In order to accept this challenge, Michaels makes the demand that the Hart Foundation members need to be handcuffed to ringposts during the match. "We are gonna find out once and for all if Bret 'The Hitman' Hart can get beat like a man. Because Bret, believe me: you couldn't go 10 minutes in any situation, if you know what I mean." Bret tries to break in and fire back, but Shawn keeps talking. "And uhh, even though lately you've had some sunny days, my friend, you still can't get the job done…"



That infamous line fired up the legit heat in between these two even more, though in this moment Bret doesn't sell it. To this day, Sunny denies that there was anything to the rumor that she had any sort of fling with Bret Hart. Bret Hart accepts the handcuffing terms and says that the match is on.

Before the next match, Goldust brings out Marlena and their daughter Dakota. Mom and dad try to get Dakota to introduce herself, but she isn't very cooperative. As she takes the mic from her mother only to sort of mumble into it, JR takes a random sideswipe at Dusty Rhodes and says, "Just like her grandpa, hogging the mic." Anyway, eventually family time comes to an end. In order to fully get the face turn over, WWF made sure to double down on, "No, srs, he really isn't gay."



Goldust vs. RockaBilly (w/ Honky Tonk Man): Billy taunts Goldust for crying on TV last week, so Goldust clocks him and goes on the attack. Corner mount and a 10-punch, a couple of armdrags, then he locks in an armbar. Billy kicks his way loose and executes a rocker dropper. Lands a few right hands and then covers for a two-count. Honky's protégé climbs to the second rope, but jumps off straight into Goldust's raised boot. After a recovery period, the two trade punches, Goldust getting the better of the exchange and culminating it in his dad's patented bionic elbow for the first time in a WWF ring (at least under this gimmick). Billy reverses an Irish whip, but Goldust stops short and lands an uppercut. Corner whip and a bulldog by Goldust gets two.

In a really sloppy spot, Goldust sidesteps Billy in slow motion, and Billy dives up toward the ropes and gets his arm tied up on purpose. The referee gets distracted while trying to get him loose, Honky slides in to try to hit Goldust with his guitar, but Goldust kicks Honky and hammers him with it. The referee calls for the bell for some reason. And then declares that RockaBilly wins by DQ. What? Because Goldust attacked his manager? Whatever.



Result: RockaBilly via DQ

Nonsensical ending notwithstanding, the guitar shot got a big pop and then Goldust got more cheers afterward. None of this was done well, but the end result wasn't too shabby for Dustin.

Vince grabs a word from Ahmed Johnson, who is sitting backstage. He asks him what he thought of Faarooq playing the race card last week. Ahmed says that he was hoping Vince wouldn't come to him with this question. He says that his fans of all races expect him to answer questions with the truth, and he's going to do that. "You know and they know how I feel about Faarooq. He's a sellout, he's a liar, he's a racist, he's a cheat. But you know…what he said last week is the truth. Vince, you know it's the truth and I know it's the truth. He asked you a question and you couldn't answer. I want to know, when has there ever been a black man that has been able to get a shot for the title?" Vince said that a number have gotten a shot, but none have ever become the champion.



Ahmed says, "And I wonder why. But you know what? I'm not going there with you, because I'm not a racist. See, to be a racist is ignorant. For me to even be a racist will be cutting off my ability, will be making me even like Faarooq. I'm not ignorant, I'm not racist, I like everybody. Black, white, whoever. And they love me, because they believe in me, and they know I'm gonna tell it like it is. But you know what, Vince? I'm going to be the Hank Aaron. I'm going to be the first black champion of the World Wrestling Federation." Ahmed's use of the word "racist" doesn't exactly make sense to me, but whatever, I was glad that they at least didn't go the route of having the babyface just totally laugh off any possibility of institutional racism.

After commercials, Steve Austin is obscuring the view of someone who he's asking to become his tag team partner. He's telling them that he'll do all the work and that all they have to do is stand on the apron. He steps aside and it's Harvey Wippleman. The Brooklyn Brawler interrupts and begs Austin to let him be on Austin's team. Austin replies by throwing him into a nearby fence, stomping him down, and then returning to demand that Harvey agree to be his partner. A mortified Harvey says "yes sir" and agrees.



We get another showing of Sunny soaking Jim Cornette. It's not funny.

Rocky Maivia vs. Faarooq (w/ Nation of Domination): Before this match starts, Faarooq raises the black power fist up at Rocky and tries to encourage him to do likewise. Rocky reluctantly starts to raise the fist back, but then turns it into a rude gesture, and the match is on. Don't worry, Faarooq; I'm guessing you may have planted a seed at least.



Faarooq beats on Rocky in one corner, whips him to the opposite one, but then runs into a big boot from Maivia, who starts a comeback with a clothesline. Faarooq temporarily regains control, but Rocky reverses an Irish whip and hits a powerslam. Faarooq back at him with a jawbreaker. Flying bodypress by Rocky gets two. Maivia hits the Rock Bottom, again not yet a finisher, and it's only good for two as well. Crappy float-over DDT by Rocky, then a kip-up. He goes to the top rope, but Faarooq falls into the ropes, causing Rocky to fall crotch-first on the ropes and then fall agonizingly into the ring. Faarooq hits the Dominator and gets the pinfall.

Result: Faarooq via pinfall

Crush and Savio Vega come into the ring and are going to put the boots to Rocky, but Faarooq calls them off and demands that they stand back. Rocky just rolls out of the ring and leaves.

There's some sort of incident backstage. The Hart Foundation has jumped Bob Holly, and all five guys get their shots in at him until officials pull them off. The whole thing is too poorly-lit to get a worthwhile screenshot of it.

After Jim Ross advertises La Femme Nikita, Vince McMahon brings out The Undertaker for an interview. He asks Taker about what this Paul Bearer secret is. Taker just glares at Vince and says that he wants to take this time to talk about Faarooq. He says, in response to Faarooq's promo last week, that he doesn't recognize color. "I'm not white. I'm not black. I'm the reaper of wayward souls." He assures Faarooq that when he's sitting in his dressing room after their match, and he has lost, it's not going to be because he's black; it will be because he's not up for beating The Undertaker. He makes as if to leave, but Vince tries again to get a comment about the Paul Bearer situation. Taker backs Vince down and says that this is not the time. On cue, Paul Bearer's shrill voice fills the arena. "Ohhh yes it is, dead man!"



Bearer, heavily bandaged, shows up on the Titantron. Bearer calls back on the fact that he swore at Taker's mother's funeral not to tell his secret. Taker looks shook by this whole thing. Bearer says, "You burned me, and now it's time to hurt you." Taker says, "Paul…wait." Bearer reiterates that if Taker doesn't come back to him, he'll tell it all. Taker asks for more time. Bearer says he'll give him seven days. "If you're not back with me…if you're not subservient to me…I'll open Pandora's Box."

Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin: Austin totes a crutch to the ring, but drops it behind when he enters the ring and attacks Neidhart. As soon as the action starts, the Harts emerge at the top of the ramp; Brian Pillman heads to ringside and joins in on commentary. Austin drops a leg along the back of Anvil's neck on the bottom rope. Anvil stops short of a backdrop attempt and kicks Austin in the face. Austin hangs him along the top rope, then bails out of the ring and attacks Pillman. Neidhart to the outside for the save of Pillman, and he's able to blindside Austin, hitting him and then returning him inside. Moments later, Pillman slides into the ring and breaks a crutch across Austin's back.

Result: Steve Austin via DQ



Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith join in to beat Austin down, but here comes Shawn Michaels with a chair. He clears the ring, and the Harts head for higher ground. As Austin and Michaels hold the ring, Jim Ross comes in and says that he just got word from Gorilla Monsoon, who says that these two have to tag up next week to meet Owen Hart and the British Bulldog. Austin and Michaels are both furious, and end up coming to blows with each other again. Officials try desperately to separate them as Raw comes to an end.



Overall: Good episode. Mick Foley absolutely killed it in his sit-down interview, the Austin/HBK/Harts story continued to be interesting, as did this Undertaker/Paul Bearer business.
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Old 04-08-2017, 01:12 AM   #1127
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Ratings for 5/19/97: Nitro 3.6, Raw 3.1
Ratings Running Score: Nitro 63-17-2

Better Show: Raw in a blowout.
Better Show Running Score: Nitro 56-26

Match of the Night: Owen Hart vs. Bob Holly
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Old 04-08-2017, 05:01 AM   #1128
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Huh. For some reason, I always thought the big tag match between HBK/Austin vs Owen/Bulldog for the titles was on this episode. The same one where Bret issued his challenge and HBK dropped the sunny days comment.
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Old 04-21-2017, 03:17 PM   #1129
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

I just wanted to say thanks and well done to LKJ for this GOAT thread. I've been a long-time lurker here and I've really enjoyed reading this thread in particular, so thought it was about time I said so.

I've used this thread like an accompaniment to the Bryan Alvarez 'Death of WCW' book (which I wholeheartedly recommend) and, as someone who never saw much WCW during that time period, the two have went hand in hand.

If you make it to WCW 2000 then I'm sure everyone here will be more than happy to contribute some money towards the extensive therapy you'll surely need!
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Old 04-21-2017, 03:23 PM   #1130
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Thanks for reading. Glad to hear from people who have enjoyed. I really can't imagine making it to WCW 2000 (considering that I think that this site itself will die by the time I could ever make it that far), but I'll keep pushing this thing through for as long as I can find the energy.
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Old 04-29-2017, 02:31 PM   #1131
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

May 26, 1997

RAW

Evansville, IN

Vince McMahon and Jim Ross are our announce team for the night. They hype the coming Tag Team Title match - Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith vs. Shawn Michaels & Steve Austin - and the possibility of Paul Bearer revealing The Undertaker's big secret tonight. We will also see the Legion of Doom take on Jim Neidhart and Brian Pillman.

The glass breaks, and Steve Austin heads to the ring to a big pop. Shawn Michaels is out next. Jim Ross is in the ring to get a word; he asks if they can put aside their differences and coexist tonight. Austin says, "Since I'm the captain of this team," immediately causing Michaels to snipe back at him, but they both say that they can combine forces to get things done tonight, even though Austin is quick to reassert to Michaels, "I still don't like your sorry ass." We are interrupted by the sound of "OHHHH WHAT A RUSH," the LOD marches to the ring with purpose, and they get into the faces of tonight's challengers. Hawk says that if they win tonight, the LOD wants a title shot. Michaels tells Hawk that he's got it.



We hear the first familiar squeals of the electric guitar tonight, and the entire Hart Foundation comes through the curtain. They hold at the top of the aisle as Raw goes to break. We're ready for our opening match.

Legion of Doom vs. Brian Pillman & Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart: All four in the ring brawling to start this one, as Hawk dumps Pillman out to one side and Animal gets rid of the Anvil off-camera. After a quick regroup, Pillman re-enters, rakes the eyes of Hawk, and goes on the attack. Hawk, off an Irish whip, is able to slam Pillman down by the head, after which he executes one terrible press slam and then a mediocre one directly after. Both tag out, and we've got the Anvil and the Animal set to do battle. Flying shoulderblock and then a running clothesline by Animal, who wrenches Anvil's arm and then tags out to Hawk. Hawk throws a couple of rights and then hits his own garbage jumping shoulderblock.

Anvil lunges low and hits a shoulderblock, creating enough of an opening to tag Pillman. Hawk, undeterred, hits a double clothesline on both Hart Foundation members and again causes them to regroup. Pillman squares back up and then offers a handshake. Animal declines for a while, Pillman persists, Animal finally accepts, but only to land his own kick to the gut. He charges Pillman at the ropes, but we get another sloppy spot where Pillman ducks and then Animal slowly and terribly tumbles over the ropes to the floor. As Animal re-enters, Anvil gets the tag. Animal is able to hit a clothesline and make the hot tag to Hawk. LOD clears out Anvil, sets up as if to put Pillman in the Doomsday Device, but Owen and Davey run in and attack to cause the blatant DQ. This match was terrible.



Result: Legion of Doom via DQ

The Harts temporarily have the 4-on-2 advantage, but Austin and Michaels run back down to the ring for the save, and clear the Harts from the ring. As Austin bails outside to try to keep the fight going, he ends up in fisticuffs with Anvil, and in a bad-looking spot, Michaels hits a baseball slide that is ostensibly meant for the Anvil but only really ever targets Austin. This causes more fighting between Austin and Michaels; they brawl to the floor until officials pull them apart.



Sunny soaks The Honky Tonk Man with a Super Soaker.

After commercial, they grab a word with Paul Bearer, standing backstage and I believe debuting his new red hair color. Bearer says that he is going to reveal the secret tonight, and he has covered his bases by making sure that it is under lock and key with his attorney, so that if anything happens to him it will still come out.



D-Lo Brown (w/ Nation of Domination) vs. Bob Holly: This is D-Lo Brown's WWF in-ring Raw debut, as we had only ever seen him wearing suits to the ring up until this point. Bob Holly is fresh off the upset of Owen Hart last week, and again has graduated to a full entrance in lieu of his usual jobber entrance. Faarooq sends the rest of the Nation away from ringside and then joins in on commentary.

Bob Holly hits a hurracanrana as Faarooq accuses Vince McMahon of being scared of him becoming the first black WWF Champion soon. Most of this match is centered on Faarooq's commentary and repeated attacks on McMahon. Bob Holly reverses an Irish whip, looks like he's going for another hurracanrana, and D-Lo counters it into a sit-out powerbomb that scores the abrupt pinfall. It appears that Bob Holly's push was a short one.



Result: D-Lo Brown via pinfall

Undertaker is standing by backstage. After some technical difficulties, Taker says that in less than an hour's time, he has to make a decision that might affect the rest of his life. I thought his life was already over?

Jerry Lawler, set to face Goldust later tonight in a King of the Ring First Round Tournament match, gets to cut a quick promo backstage. "Well you know, it seems our sissy friend is having a little identity crisis. First he was Dustin Runnels, then he was Goldust, and now he wants to be King of the Ring. We all saw you out here with tears running down your face, wondering why your old man, Oldust, don't love you anymore. Well I know Dusty Rhodes, and he told me why. It's because you married the biggest golddigger in Georgia, then you put on a woman's wig, and you went around the ring kissing men like a flaming ***! Well let me tell you something: they're all going to have tears running down their face. Bring that golddigger to the ring, and bring that brat Dakota with her. … And what'd you name that brat? Dakota? You should have named her Target, because I heard everybody in Atlanta had a shot at it." I, umm…I've got nothing.



During ring entrances for the next match, they also show a replay from the past Raw where Lawler asked Goldust if he's a "queer." They bleep that word out, but they left the harsher slur from the last promo in. Okay. And of course Vince's primary messaging here seems to be not that it's bad for this heel to be acting homophobic, but that Goldust really IS straight and therefore is a real babyface.

King of the Ring First Round - Goldust (w/ Marlena) vs. Jerry "The King" Lawler: Goldust jumps Lawler while he's still taking his jacket off. Throws a backdrop and hits an uppercut, but on his next backdrop attempt Lawler stops short and nails Goldust himself. Lawler is getting a big face reaction here, and JR explains that Evansville has been a regular stop for the USWA for years. Goldust turns the tables on Lawler's subsequent backdrop attempt at well, nailing him, but then gets hit in the gut jumping off the top rope. Big piledriver by Lawler, but he turns to badmouth Marlena instead of going for the pin. That allows Goldust to come back at him and hit his own piledriver. After taking forever, he goes for a pin that of course doesn't get the fall.

Big "Lawler" chant. The King rakes the eyes and throws a hard right. He works Goldust methodically, driving a boot into the throat. Off an Irish whip, Goldust ducks a clothesline and comes back with sort of a reverse bulldog. Hits a running clothesline. Corner mount and a 10-punch by Goldust, but he follows a corner whip to the opposite side by running shoulder-first into the corner. Goldust fights back, but Lawler abruptly manages to roll Goldust up and throw his feet up on the ropes for leverage to score the three-count.



I can sort of puzzle out why they did this (for future booking), but this seems like a garbage result to lay on Dustin while spending the time on trying to get him more over as a babyface in recent weeks.

Result: Jerry Lawler via pinfall

Goldust does chase Lawler up the aisle and lays a bit of a beatdown on him to try to get his heat back, but this pro-Lawler crowd, who hasn't otherwise booed Goldust tonight, does boo him for this post-match bit.

Vince sends it to Steve Austin backstage and asks him a question, but before Austin can start to form an answer, you hear a random yell from off-screen that turns out to be Brian Pillman. Austin attacks Pillman; enter Owen and Davey, and the 3-on-1 beatdown is on. Officials converge and push them away before too much damage is done.



After commercial, Austin is back up on his feet and coming up on a commotion, where Shawn Michaels is being helped up by a whole group of officials and, randomly, Bob Holly. Upon spotting Austin, Michaels starts yelling at him for not bothering to have his back for even one week. Austin yells back that he just got jumped himself.

Flash Funk vs. Rocky Maivia: Vince McMahon continues to openly acknowledge from the announce table that "success came too early" for Rocky. Funk and Rocky lock up, stalemate in the corner, clean break and a handshake. Standing side headlock by Rocky, Flash sends him off the ropes, Rock hits a shoulderblock. There's a ruckus in the crowd, and it appears to be…The Headbangers walking through with inflatable chairs. Wat. They bring the chairs out to ringside and join in on commentary for some reason. Flash with a corner whip and a clothesline. Rocky no-sells, comes out, and hits a Rock Bottom. Still not a finisher, still not enough to get a three-count. Leg sweep by Flash, kip-up by Rocky, and a hard right floors Funk before Rocky's dropkick attempt gets sidestepped. As this action continues, most of the focus is on The Headbangers being really obnoxious on commentary, basically doing a Beavis and Butthead impression.

Funk knocks Rocky to the outside, then executes a slingshot plancha to the floor that has an awkward landing. Both wrestlers lay out in recovery, and the Headbangers go over and attack. I still don't know why they have any interest in this match. Despite both men openly attacking Flash and Rocky in plain view of referee Tim White, White doesn't call the match off. Out of White's view, Mosh cracks a boombox across Flash's head and then rolls him inside. Rocky to the top for a flying bodypress, and that gets the win. What a weird bit of booking.



Result: Rocky Maivia via pinfall

After the match, Flash apparently has no issue at all with Rocky capitalizing on the Headbangerference, and they both stand shoulder-to-shoulder yelling at the Headbangers. Then the two opponents hug each other. Again, this was just strange.

They recap last week's sit-down with Mick Foley, showing some of the highlights from it before launching into this week's part two of the interview. In reference to his younger years as a lacrosse goalie, he says:

Quote:
Losing the chest protector was not enough, and I began to tempt fate, tempt certain pain even more, and I removed my protective cup. And Jimmy, I'm not gonna say that I didn't pay the price one May morning, because I did, and I went down like I had been shot. And I remember the girls field hockey team watching me, as they strapped ice packs onto my affected area, and shipped me off in an ambulance. And the doctors said it would be at least three weeks until the swelling would go down and I could go back to school. But even though my testicle was the size of a grapefruit, I made it back to school the next day! And it was the only time in my high school years that I remember girls looking at my genital region! And I considered that the greatest day of my high school days!


JR tells us that we're going to see more of the interview with Foley later tonight.

After commercial, here's a word from Bret Hart on the Titantron, about his upcoming 10-minute match with Shawn Michaels at King of the Ring. Bret cuts another promo saying that 10 minutes will be more than enough to take care of Michaels. Pan over to Brian Pillman: "Stone Cold, my former partner, my friend, we know the saying…'True friends are somebody who knows everything about you and likes you anyway.' Well I know everything about you, and I hate your guts! So I'm gonna do what should have been done a long time ago, Steve. I'm gonna pull your head out of your ass June 8, so you can clearly see the king of your pathetic world." Bulldog and Owen polish off the segment with some more words for Austin and Michaels.



After our hour #2 credits (it's very weird that these are always just an exact rerun of the opening credits), it's time for the War Zone. Ken Shamrock comes out to do commentary on the next match.

Ahmed's KOTR Spot on the Line - Vader vs. Ahmed Johnson: Vader lost his spot in the King of the Ring Tournament due to injury, and Jim Ross explains that he was mad about this and went to challenge Ahmed to put his spot on the line. Ahmed accepted, and here we are.

Ahmed walks right up to Vader and shoves him by the face. Vader returns the favor. Ahmed tries to keep his cool for some reason. Vader shoves him again. Ahmed gathers himself, but then shoves Vader to the mat. Clothesline and a bodyslam by Ahmed. As Ahmed taunts, Vader makes his way back to his feet and hits a running tackle. The two engage in the corner, Ahmed beating Vader down. Jim Ross shills this coming Friday's UFC PPV, this obviously during a time when that would happen. Vader with a bodyblock that knocks Ahmed to the mat. A clothesline does likewise. Shoulderblock. We see Paul Bearer live from backstage on the split-screen, just looking at his watch, and this takes the attention off as Ahmed suddenly hits a spinebuster and scores the pinfall out of nowhere.



Result: Ahmed Johnson via pinfall

After commercial, Paul Bearer is standing by live. "Like sands through the hourglass, Undertaker, so are the days of your life. This secret is burning up inside me. I've had it on my conscience for so long, it's got to come out. In just a few words, Undertaker, I'm going to do what no giant could do, what no warrior could do, what no immortal could do: I'm going to bring you to your knees. Time is ticking down, Dead Man. It won't be long."

Hunter Hearst-Helmsley (w/ Chyna) vs. RockaBilly (w/ The Honky Tonk Man): Standing side headlock by Billy, goes off the ropes and hits a shoulderblock. Goes for another running maneuver, but runs into a high knee from Helmsley. Billy reverses a corner whip and hits an inverted atomic drop; a big clothesline follows. An eye gouge by Helmsley slows Billy down. The two trade fists. Billy with an Irish whip, but HHH stops short of a backdrop attempt and jacks Billy's face into his knee. Suplex by Hunter, who backs up and then drops the knee. Two-count. RockaBilly back at HHH with a rocker dropper, and Chyna pulls him off from outside during the ensuing cover. Billy stays on offense, but outside the ring Chyna causes a distraction when she goes over and slams the Honky Tonk Man. Helmsley catches Billy off-guard, hits a Pedigree, scores the win.



Result: Hunter Hearst-Helmsley via pinfall

Now it's Undertaker standing by live from backstage. Vince asks him if he's made his decision. Undertaker replies, "Sometimes in life we are forced to make decisions that we don't want to, but we have to. So Paul, you do what you have to do, and in turn I will do what it is that I have to do."



After commercial, Sable shills an inflatable King of the Ring chair, and now it's time to send it to more of the Mankind interview.

Foley recounts his desire during his childhood in 1983 to see Jimmy Snuka vs. Don Muraco in a cage in Madison Square Garden. He speaks of how he hitchhiked and spent just about every dollar he had to get a front row seat to watch the match where Snuka hit the Superfly Splash off the top of the cage. He called that the move that would change his life.



Quote:
He came off the top of the cage, and I saw people stand up. I saw people cheer, and I knew that I wasn't the only person whose life was changed in that arena. And I realized, Jimmy, that I wanted to do the same thing. I wanted to hear people cheer for me because of some act of bravery that I committed. I wanted to hear, see people's emotions. … That's my first time in Madison Square Garden; my parents weren't there. I did it just like I've done just about everything else in my life: all by myself.
JR explains that at this point Foley created a character that combined the athleticism of Jimmy Snuka and the sex appeal that he himself so desperately wanted to have.

Quote:
I made a movie when I was 18 about myself, maybe as a type of escape, where I was a wrestler…and it's funny, the time I first met Shawn Michaels … he looked at my scarred and battered body. He didn't know me, but he knew the legend of who I was before. And he said, "Is this the way you always envisioned yourself?" Looking somewhat down on me. I said, "No, you know, the strange thing is, I always imagined myself being you." He said, "The champ." I said, "No, the girls. Jewelry. The tattoos. The love." So in my movie, I was not Mick Foley. I sure as hell wasn't Mankind. I was Dude Love."


As part of this, he said that he went up to his parents' roof and jumped off the top. Jim Ross said that Dude Love actually got Foley his first break. The videotape became an underground hit, and got into the hands of Dominic DeNucci, who took Foley under his wing and trained him.

Quote:
I knew I wasn't ready to be Dude Love yet. I never wanted to be Cactus Jack. I figured here is a horrible name for a horrible wrestler, and by golly as soon as I get the ability, I'll get that heart-shaped tattoo on my chest, I'll put those earrings in, and I'm gonna get the girls! And it never really worked out that way, did it Jimmy? … I guess nature didn't cooperate with me. Cactus Jack was supposed to be around for three months; he stayed for 11 years.
We see preview clips of the next installment of this interview, which will resume next week.

Tag Team Titles - Owen Hart & The British Bulldog (c) (w/ The Hart Foundation) vs. Shawn Michaels & Stone Cold Steve Austin: This gets the big-match feel from the beginning, as Howard Finkel gets full center stage to announce that this is a title match before the full introductions begin. The supporting Hart Foundation members camp out at the top of the ramp rather than coming all the way to ringside. Owen and Davey don't get all the way to the ring before Michaels and Austin bail out of the ring and attack them. After some uncontrolled brawling, Austin and Owen head inside, seemingly the legal men to get this thing started. Austin drives the knee into Owen's gut, drops a couple of elbows, then quickly goes for a Sharpshooter before the Bulldog runs in to break that up. Austin fights Bulldog off and then continues on offense, hitting a second-rope elbow.



Tag to Michaels; we see a bit of cooperation between the reluctant teammates, as Austin holds onto an arm-wringer until Michaels hits Owen's arm with an axhandle off the top. Michaels with his own couple of arm-wringers, but Owen flips his way out of the hold, rakes HBK's eyes, and tags out to Bulldog, who enters with a hard shoulderblock. Michaels runs the ropes, Bulldog attempts a leapfrog, Michaels stops short and pokes him in the eyes before hitting a hurracanrana and then a series of downward punches. He baseball slides through Bulldog's legs, then hits an enziguri in the same style as Owen's.



Tag to Austin, who enters with a couple of rights before splitting Davey's legs and stomping the lower abdomen. The Hart Foundation makes a start toward the ring, but they hold up after a few steps. Arm-wringer by Austin, tag to Michaels, holds him so that Michaels can land a kick, then Michaels continues the teamwork as he quickly tags back out. We see a shot of the Legion of Doom backstage, as it has been announced that they would get a title shot at Michaels and Austin if Michaels and Austin are able to take the titles tonight. Bulldog whips Austin off the ropes, Owen hits a cheap shot with a knee to the back from the apron, and this enables the champs to get control. As referee Earl Hebner is distracted, Owen drops Austin on the guardrail outside the ring and continues to work him over. We go to commercial break.

Back from break, Owen is now seemingly the legal man, and Austin is fighting his way out of a reverse chinlock. Austin runs the ropes, Owen slaps on a sleeper hold, but Austin drops down and jacks the jaw to break it. Both slowly make their way over and tag out. Michaels enters with momentum, hitting a flying forearm and then knocking Owen off the apron to the floor. Bulldog reverses a whip and picks Shawn up in a press slam, then drops him crotch-first along the top rope.



Earl Hebner has lost control, as Owen continues doing work on the outside, ramming Shawn back-first into the post before rolling him back in. Bulldog gouges Shawn's eyes and then hits a monkey-flip into the corner. Two-count. Whips him into the opposite corner, turning him inside out, and then he catches him and hits the patented running powerslam; Austin has to make the save to prevent Shawn from eating the pinfall. As Hebner pushes Austin out, Owen just sort of comes in illegally and continues the offense on Michaels, hitting a gutwrench suplex into a standing legdrop and getting a two-count. He slaps on a reverse chinlock. Michaels works his way back to his feet and elbows his way free, but then runs straight into that great Owen belly-to-belly suplex.



Austin again has to save the match during the ensuing pin attempt, and again the champs take advantage and do some illegal double-teaming while Earl Hebner is trying to get Austin back out to the apron. Owen tags Davey. Irish whip by Davey, Michaels with a sunset flip, but Owen runs distraction and Michaels is stuck settling for a visual pin. Bulldog goes back on the attack, knocks HBK down and then hits a legdrop for a two-count. Bulldog slaps on the front facelock, trying to keep Michaels from fighting his way to the ropes. Michaels powers through anyway, seemingly making the hot tag, but Earl Hebner was distracted, did not see it, and disallows it. The heat segment continues. Owen sets Shawn up on the top rope and goes for a superplex, but Shawn blocks, knocks him off, and hits a cross-body off the ropes for a near-fall. Big spinning wheel kick by Owen lays Michaels back out.



Corner whip by Owen, but he comes up empty on the follow, and finally enough space is created for Michaels to make that hot tag to Austin; Owen tags Davey at the same time. Austin takes it to both champs, stomping a mudhole in Davey in the corner. Owen blindsides Austin to break up the momentum. All four are in the ring. During the melee, Michaels plants a superkick on Davey, Austin capitalizes by making the cover, and amidst the chaos, Earl Hebner counts to three. We have new Tag Team Champions. Great match.



Result: Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels via pinfall, new Tag Team Champions

The moment the match ends, the Hart Foundation descends on the ring and attacks. Triple-team on Michaels as Austin goes running up the ramp to attack Bret. He pounds away at Bret's face, then attacks the bad knee before the Hart Foundation comes up for the save and clears Austin out. Michaels is laid out in the ring, and Bret is laid out at the top of the ramp, favoring the injured leg.



After commercial, standing by backstage is Steve Austin. Vince congratulates him. Austin brushes off the congratulations, saying not only did he win the championships, but he did it by himself. Shawn interrupts and yells at him for saying that, and the two go right back to jawing despite just winning the titles.



After our last commercial, it's time for Paul Bearer to come to the ring. Vince heads inside to interview him. Paul begins to speak.

Quote:
I feel like I've been more than fair in this situation, McMahon. The allotted time that I gave you, Undertaker, is now over. I've given you seven sunsets; the seventh sunset has gone down. It's been burning inside me, Undertaker, for years. When Brother Love brought me into the World Wrestling Federation, he didn't bring me in off the streets. I've known you for many, many years. I've known your family for many, many years…and you know that. And you know the secret that I'm going to reveal to the entire world, Undertaker. You know what it is. Yes. On that morning…on that cold, drizzling morning…the holes were prepared. The burial vaults were in the ground, the worms, the vermin were crawling around…a little mist was coming off the tree. Yes, Undertaker, tears were rolling down your face, because I was standing over the graveside of your mother and father. I was the mortician that day; I was the funeral director. But you know what, Undertaker? There wasn't two graves. No, there wasn't two…there was THREE GRAVES! Three graves in the cemetery that day, Dead Man.
The gong hits, and Undertaker walks briskly to the ring to cut things off. He says, "Paul, I hate you with all that I am. I loathe you. I despise you for what you've done to me, and what you're forcing me to do tonight. And although the hounds of hell may bay at the secret that your attorney will reveal, because you're not gonna be able to…I only hope that the ones who love me, the ones that loved me in the past, will be able to forgive what I must do tonight." He chokes Paul Bearer and glares evilly at him. Bearer wags a finger at Undertaker as Undertaker seems to think twice. He still chokes Bearer down to his knees as the crowd starts chanting "rest in peace." He loosens his grip, allows Bearer to regain his feet, and then lets go. Jim Ross says, "Wait…what's he gonna do?" Taker drops to a knee in submission to Bearer as JR says, "Oh my God." On that note, the episode ends.



Overall: While the first 90 minutes or so were nothing to speak of (and at times were pretty damn bad), the last half hour was tremendous and that stretch singlehandedly made this feel like a really good episode. Hat tip as well to the ongoing Mick Foley interview stuff, which continues to be great.
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Old 04-29-2017, 04:19 PM   #1132
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

When these shows originally aired, the group that I watched with had one guy who was "the dirt sheet guy". At times he would let us know what was going to happen with regards to people showing up, or directions of angles. I had no idea that dirt sheets existed at the time, and I generally got pissed if he would spoil something. Any way, with regards to this Undertaker secret angle, he said that Kane was no originally the payoff for this angle. It was supposed to be that Undertaker himself was the one who was in the fire, and that he is actually an undead creature.

And as dumb and ridiculous as that sounds, this is the first time that he is referred to as The Deadman. When they stopped short of the reveal of that, the same dirt sheet, which I'm assuming was The Observer, reported that the original idea was scrapped and they were going in a different direction. Which then turned out to be Kane.

Do whatever you want with that info, I just thought that some might find it interesting
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Old 04-29-2017, 04:31 PM   #1133
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

I don't get how "you were burned in a fire" is something that Undertaker would desperately want to keep hidden in the way that this angle is being told.
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Old 04-29-2017, 06:54 PM   #1134
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

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I don't get how "you were burned in a fire" is something that Undertaker would desperately want to keep hidden in the way that this angle is being told.
It wasn't that he was burned, it was that he actually died in that fire. Like I said, it was a terrible idea. But it was only a dirt sheet report so who knows if it was true or not
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Old 04-29-2017, 07:01 PM   #1135
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Well yeah, him being literally undead doesn't seem like great blackmail material either, unless he was afraid of being convicted of insurance fraud or something. He always identified as vaguely otherworldly.

I dunno, seems like a difficult rumor to buy. I liked this angle because it really did keep you guessing at what could possibly make UT feel so compromised, and then they actually paid it off well.
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Old 04-29-2017, 07:15 PM   #1136
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

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Well yeah, him being literally undead doesn't seem like great blackmail material either, unless he was afraid of being convicted of insurance fraud or something. He always identified as vaguely otherworldly.

I dunno, seems like a difficult rumor to buy. I liked this angle because it really did keep you guessing at what could possibly make UT feel so compromised, and then they actually paid it off well.
While I agree that it probably was just an idea floated at some point and never really seriously considered, there is thread with over 500 posts here dedicated to ideas that were just as bad or even worse.
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Old 05-13-2017, 10:47 PM   #1137
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Lightbulb Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

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Ratings for 10/14/96: Nitro 3.3, Raw 1.8 (Raw's 1.8 is a new lowest rating of the Monday Night Wars)
This past Monday's episode of RAW did a 1.89. The 3rd lowest rating since that episode of RAW. The other RAWS that were lower: July 4th of last year (1.87) and November 4th (1.88) in which RAW went head-to-head vs. a Clinton/Trump debate. So this was pretty much the worst real RAW since that 10/14/96. My god. I don't pay attention to ratings but stumbled across last Monday's and was curious if it was the lowest rating ever.
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Old 05-20-2017, 01:27 PM   #1138
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

May 26, 1997

NITRO

Nashville, TN

We cold-open in the arena, and the now music hits. The first person to emerge at the top of the ramp is Eric Bischoff, and he turns around and cues the entrance of Hulk Hogan, who appears to be going with even more black paint on his face than usual. I think it doesn't usually cover his mustache area? Anyway, it's promo time, as Tony Schiavone notes that this is the one-year anniversary of Scott Hall first showing up on Nitro.



Hogan gloats about how he's been off "spending Billionaire Ted's money," shooting another movie, hanging with the family. But turning his attention to WCW, he says that since Sting put his hands on Eric Bischoff, Sting is "in deep, deep doo-doo." He says that Sting is scared of the Outsiders, can't keep up with Syxx, and with that, he calls Sting out and invites him to come to the ring. Bischoff tells Hogan that they've checked high and low, and Sting isn't here. Hogan vows to find him anyway, and says he'll go around the arena slapping people who have Sting face-paint on. HoganPose.jpg, and we're out on this worthless opening segment.



Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, and Mike Tenay welcome us to the show. Tony says that the big main event is Harlem Heat vs. Mongo McMichael and Jeff Jarrett. That's…not a big main event. Not at all big in kayfabe, and it's very likely to suck. Tenay says that he thinks that, although nothing is announced in terms of a Sting appearance, by the end of this show we'll know whether we're going to get that big showdown between Sting and Hogan.

Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo, & Hector Garza vs. La Parka, Ciclope, & Damian 666: La Parka and Juventud, the biggest name on each side, start things off. We get sort of a role reversal here, as La Parka, the presumed rudo, offers a handshake, and Juventud briefly reaches for it before taking a cheap shot and smacking La Parka across the face. Irritated, La Parka charges, shoves Juvi into the corner, his follow-up misses, he goes for a tilt-a-whirl slam, but Guerrera spins out. A little bit botched. They both end up on their feet, Guerrera connects (clearly misses, but hey) on a spinning heel kick. La Parka backdrops Guerrera, Guerrera falls on the apron, climbs the ropes, goes for a cross-body, La Parka catches him in mid-air, struts across the ring, sets Juvi on the top turnbuckle, then slaps him across the face before strutting off. As he turns around, Juventud is already in mid-air with a flying headscissor takeover off the top that carries La Parka sprawling out to the floor.

Super Calo enters for Guerrera, Ciclope for La Parka. Shoulderblock by Ciclope, Calo leapfrogs him, but Ciclope turns around and levels him with a clothesline. Ciclope backdrops Calo onto the ropes, who lands in a seated position, leans back, does a reverse headscissor takeover from there. Calo up to the top, and a reverse hurracanrana from there sends Ciclope to the outside. Running start, Calo badly mistimes his somersault plancha to the floor and clears the guardrail entirely, winding up in the third row. I'm pretty sure that Calo botched more often than Sin Cara ever would, but that was entertaining.



Guerrera goes and gets him, flinging him back over the rail to the floor, and on the inside, Garza and Damian become the legal men via the lucha rules where wrestlers can functionally tag out simply by leaving the ring. Damian sends Garza into the corner, Garza hops up and flips behind Damian, but Damian turns around and hits a clothesline. Garza reverses a corner whip, heads to the top, hops over Damian, hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, then gets some of a dropkick to send Damian out. Baseball slide by Garza connects, and then he goes up to the second rope and moonsaults onto Damian on the floor.



We're at Calo vs. La Parka now on the inside, Calo missing on a running dropkick. Ciclope and Damian enter, La Parka hits a running kick that puts Calo down. Calo rolls out, Juventud in, he ducks a Damian clothesline but fails to duck a Ciclope clothesline. Ciclope holds him up as La Parka hits a jumping kick to the chest. Looks like we're at Calo vs. Damian now. La Parka hits a cheap knee from the apron, Damian follows up and knocks Calo out with a clothesline. Garza is quick to enter, knocking Damian to the mat with a jumping clothesline and then again with a dropkick. Ciclope in, Garza tries to run off the ropes, but Damian drags him to the floor. La Parka and Juventud are left inside as the legal men, as La Parka gets a two-count off of a scoop powerslam.

Attempted release German by La Parka, Juventud flips out of it, Damian tries to run interference but hits his partner. The two disoriented partners are near each other and near the ropes, Juventud gets a running start, jumps up on both of them, but botches the attempted spot clearly meant for both and just ends up dragging Damian to the floor. As La Parka reaches down, Juventud does grab his arm and whip him to the floor. Juvi to the top, somersault plancha to the floor hits La Parka, Calo re-enters the picture and hits a slingshot splash on Damian, Ciclope suddenly re-enters the screen now with his own somersault plancha, and we've arrived at the contrived setup where all the luchas are chilling at ringside so that Hector Garza can scale the ropes and hit his corkscrew plancha. He does.



Garza rolls back inside, Ciclope follows, goes for a hurracanrana off the top, Garza counters into a powerbomb, hits a standing moonsault, and scores the pin. This had its fun points, but as six-man lucha spotfests go, it was nothing special and it often felt like a pretty big mess.

Result: Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo, & Hector Garza via pinfall

Alex Wright, who basically turned heel in his last appearance, is really playing up the obnoxious dance moves on his way to the ring for the next match.



Psicosis vs. Alex Wright: Wright showboats a bit to start. Psicosis slaps on a wristlock, but Wright executes a forward roll and flips out, taking control. Psicosis follows a similar course to reverse the hold. Psicosis goes for a backdrop, Wright cartwheels around it, then hits a jumping heel kick. Stomp stomp stomp, European uppercut. Snap suplex into a bridge gets a two-count for Wright. Alex whips his man into the corner, beats him down, then takes a moment or three to dance for the crowd. He eventually returns to offense, going for a corner whip, but Psicosis steps up the corner and hits a mediocre moonsault. Two. Picks Wright up and crotches him along the top - not very well - then heads to the top and barely connects on a spinning wheel kick from there. Psicosis appears to have caught whatever disease Super Calo has.

Wright slides out of the ring for a breather and tells the fans how smart he is. He eventually turns around to find Psicosis perched and ready to unload a moonsault off the top (which also mostly misses). After a recovery period, Psicosis rolls Wright inside, to the top for a guillotine legdrop, and he scores the three-count.



Result: Psicosis via pinfall

Mean Gene is joined by Sonny Onoo. When asked what his big surprise is for Masa MY HERO CHONO HAR HAR HAR is tonight, Onoo demurs, says that everyone is going to find out at the same time. Onoo sees Psicosis returning up the aisle and asks him if he'd be interested in a deal. Psicosis smiles and says, "Yes, of course." Onoo says he'll see him in the back. Psicosis exits stage right, and now here comes Madusa. She confronts Onoo and wants a Women's Title shot. Onoo says he'll grant her a title shot at Akira Hokuto under the condition that she put her career on the line. Madusa hesitates but accepts.



At the announce table, the team discusses Ernest Miller's intervention on Glacier's behalf recently, and they introduce Miller's past as a karate champion.

Wrath (w/ James Vandenberg & Mortis) vs. Mark Starr: Basic quick squash match here. Wrath executes a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, dumps Starr out to deal with some Mortisference while Vandenberg distracts the official, then, upon Starr's return to the ring, Wrath nails a top-rope flying clothesline before finishing things off with a mafia kick and the Death Penalty (a modified front slam akin to the Rock Bottom).



Result: Wrath via pinfall

Between matches, Schiavone advertises that we'll be seeing DDP-Savage II at Great American Bash.

Villano IV vs. Konnan: Before the match starts, we get a PIP promo from Hugh Morrus, just a quick blurb where he threatens Konnan for turning on him recently before breaking into a laughing fit. Konnan accepts a handshake from Villano and then takes a cheap shot. Snapmare --> seated dropkick. Corner whip and a dropkick. Villano gets his quick moment in the sun with a hurracanrana, an armdrag, and a clothesline, but Konnan reverses a corner whip, then turns Villano's counter attempt into an Alabama slam. Hugh Morrus appears up the aisle, stomping angrily toward the ring, but security is on the spot to hold him off as Konnan jaws at him from the ring. Konnan returns his attention to the action, hitting a cradle DDT before slapping on the half-crab combo submission that he calls the Tequila Sunrise. That'll do it.



Result: Konnan via submission

Mean Gene is in the ring to grab an interview with the winner. He says that Kevin Sullivan is on self-imposed sabbatical, and that he wonders if that leaves Konnan's career in limbo. Konnan starts speaking Spanish until Gene implores him to speak English. Konnan snipes at "white boy," said it wasn't for him, but now turns his attention to answering the question. "Kevin Sullivan, got no leadership, it's taken you a year to take care of Chris Benoit. I could have done it in a week and then some." He mocks Sullivan for the fact that Sullivan's wife is openly running around with Benoit, says he has no respect for him as a result. When asked about Morrus, Konnan calls him "fat boy" and says that he ever comes out during his match again, "it'll be 187 and I'm ready to ride." I vaguely recognize that from 90s rap lyrics…

Here comes Sonny Onoo, presumably to introduce his surprise for Chono. "Ladies and gentlemen, the nightmare of Chono: The Great Muta!" As Muta walks to the ring, Mike Tenay explains to the crowd that in Japan, Chono has been trying to recruit Muta to the now, and it's been a situation similar to Sting on this side of the water.

The Great Muta (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Masa Hiro Chono: Several minutes after Muta has first appeared, Larry seems to catch up and proclaims, "That's Muta!" Confused, Tony says, "Of course it is!" Muta spits his trademark green mist. Chono bails out of the ring to hassle Onoo multiple times. They take forever to actually lock up, Onoo starts angrily screaming at Muta to get after Chono, and for a moment it sort of looks like this is going to be a ruse where Muta unites with Chono, but they do finally enter a collar-and-elbow tie-up. Muta with a side headlock that he cinches in pretty softly. Onoo jumps up on the apron and shows further anger with Muta for not getting after Chono. Muta releases the headlock as Onoo gets into the ring…and Muta spits red mist in Onoo's face.



Okay, I had zero recollection of this, but apparently it was exactly what I suspected: Muta has joined with Chono, and is a member of the nWo. Larry says, "You can't trust the Japanese! They have seven hearts."

Result: No Contest



After commercial, Tony says that he has "never seen as much anticipation for one match as he has for Page-Savage II at Great American Bash." Oh Tony. Never change, you ****ing idiot.

The Barbarian (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Jim Powers (w/ Teddy Long): Powers slaps on a side headlock, Barbarian sends him into the ropes, and they collide to a stalemate at mid-ring. Repeated kicks by Powers, Barbarian with an Irish whip, Powers ducks and then delivers a clothesline on the way back, but with limited effect. Barbarian slams Powers back into the corner, causing Powers to faceplant on the mat. Barbarian sends things outside, ramming Powers back-first into the ringpost. Back on the inside, they trade chops, but Barbarian no-sells each one from Powers. He snaps Teddy Long's man to the mat, then chokes him for a moment, drawing an admonishment from the now-standard version of Nick Patrick.

Powers tries to fight back with a series of rights and kicks, but does little more than stagger Barbarian. He tries to jump off the ropes, but Barbarian counters into a powerslam. Powers sort of missed low here, and it was some nice work by Barbarian to make the counter look reasonably good anyway.



Irish whip and a big boot from Barbarian ends the match.

Result: The Barbarian via pinfall

After the match, Mean Gene is along to get a word when Chris Benoit and Woman appear from the back. Benoit steps up to Gene's mic. "Jimmy, where's Sullivan? From what I understand, Sullivan's taken a leave of absence? He's gone to collect himself? Well tell him I hope he finds himself. I hope he collects himself. Because I'm sick and tired of the same old song and dance. The Crippler wants to do what he does best to the real Kevin Sullivan. Tell me just exactly what I've gotta do to get Sullivan back in the ring." Jimmy tells Benoit, "The road to Kevin Sullivan is standing right here in front of your face in The Barbarian."



Benoit thinks for a second, sheds his vest, and bolts into the ring as if to have a go at Barbarian right then and there. Hart says that it's not happening tonight, but that they'll do it on the next Nitro.

Before the next match, Tony says that on the June 30 Nitro in Las Vegas, a major superstar is going to be showing up for the first time. Tony says he's not sure if he'll be here on behalf of WCW or the nWo, but that this appearance has major buzz. "This one has the Internet abuzz." Ah, the Internet's got the scoops.

The Giant (w/ Lex Luger) vs. Johnny Swinger, Rick Fuller, & Jerry Flynn: The three jobbers try to get their shots in on Giant, but he just no-sells. Giant finally goes on offense against Fuller, causing the other two to enter and try to beat the big man down 3-on-1. Apparently the official is just going to allow this. Giant obviously fights them all off, hitting a double suplex on two of the guys at once.



He chokeslams Swinger, Fuller, then Flynn, then records the pin.

Result: The Giant via pinfall

Here's Gene Okerlund again. He says that Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman have signed an open contract for Bash at the Beach later this year. Luger says that he's always been a fan of the NBA, but that this year he's been watching with an extra keen eye because of Dennis Rodman. Both Luger and Giant talk like it's going to be the two of them taking on Hogan and Rodman at Bash at the Beach, and they cut a standard promo on both. Gene says that they just made it very clear that they want to be the ones to take on Hogan and Rodman.

After a commercial, here's Syxx with a mic at the top of the ramp. He starts cutting a mic on Ric Flair, cueing the video board to show the footage of the Hall/Nash/Syxx beatdown on Flair last week. Here come Hall and Nash to join in on the promo. Nash: "Ya know, word has it that Piper's been walking around saying how he put Hollywood to sleep, saying how he put Nash to sleep. Piper, the only way you could put Hollywood and I to sleep is if you tied us up on a couple of recliners and made us watch your next movie." Not bad. Nash says that he and Hall are going to put their Tag Team Titles on the line against Flair and Piper, and he promises that they'll retire Piper since Piper hasn't kept his word to his kid to retire already.



We get footage from last week's brawl between Mongo McMichael and Kevin Greene.

Jeff Jarrett & Mongo McMichael (w/ Debra) vs. Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri): They keep referring to this match as the "main event" for this Nitro. That almost seems counter-productive for purposes of keeping viewers tuned in. If I'm watching this at the time and they just stayed silent, I would keep watching and wondering what we're really getting for a main event.

As Booker T and Jeff Jarrett are set to start, Booker is shown yelling away from the ring (presumably to a camera that they don't cut to) about how he's "sick of these football players trying to play a man's game." He walks over and points to Mongo, daring him to tag in to start. Mongo obliges. Side headlock by McMichael. Releases off the ropes and hits a shoulderblock. Mongo yells a retort into the same camera, which the producer still doesn't cut to. Forearm and side headlock by Booker. Mongo goes for a back suplex, Booker lands on his feet, waistlock, Mongo elbows back, runs off the ropes, then shoulderblocks Booker back to the mat.

As Jeff Jarrett tags in, Kevin Greene joins the commentary table. Greene is usually good on promos, but he sounds like a dumb caveman as he thunders away at Mongo from commentary. Bobby Heenan calls Greene out on the fact that he came out last week, took a cheap shot, and ran away. Calls him a coward. Greene said that he just wanted to give Mongo a taste of his own medicine.



Back with the action, Stevie Ray (unfortunately) tags in after taking a cheap shot from the apron on Mongo. Mongo tries fighting back, but the Heat is able to take their turns isolating him. Booker tags back in and hits an axe kick. Seems like a strange booking decision for this match, having Mongo in the heat segment. We're building to a hot tag to Jeff Jarrett? That's going to be an actual thing?

… Apparently it is. Mongo manages a powerslam to get loose and tags Jarrett. The crowd offers basically no reaction of course, since it's Jeff Jarrett. But Jeff gets in offense on both Booker and Stevie anyway, the Heat fights back, Mongo re-enters the ring to even the odds, but then he finally catches a glimpse of Greene on commentary, and he bails out of the ring and charges up toward the table. The two brawl into the back as Jarrett is left to fend for himself. He has the figure-four on Booker, but Stevie drops a leg, holds Jarrett up, and then Booker hits the big Harlem side kick (apparently a finisher-level move if done as a double-team) to get a three-count. I'm just glad this, our MAIN EVENT, is over.



Result: Harlem Heat via pinfall

After the match, Jeff Jarrett is shown telling Debra, with regard to Mongo abandoning him, "This might be the last straw." Yes, please more of this ****ing bull**** angle where Jarrett and Mongo get mad at each other every week. I kept considering drafting this **** for the WOAT angles draft, except that it was too boring to merit an entertaining writeup.

After commercial, Bischoff and Hogan emerge from the back, heading to the ring for another obnoxious promo. Hogan offers to put the belt on the line right here and now against Sting. Bischoff says that he hates to disappoint Hogan, but that unfortunately he has to tell him that Sting is not here. Hogan cuts a promo taunting Sting, when behind them a black bat emerges through the ring. As someone holding it rises up, it's quickly clear that it's not really Sting; it's a rando in a mask.



Schiavone pretends to be fooled, which is absurd. Bischoff yells at the guy to "get down on his knees," and the guy obliges. Only at this point does Schiavone wake up and say, "Hold on…wait a minute!" Bischoff demands that fake Sting admit that he wishes he was half the man that Hogan is. Fake Sting nods.

Bischoff continues to humiliate the fake Sting, at which point real Sting descends from the ceiling and executes a Scorpion Death Drop on Bischoff. He points the bat Hogan, Hogan falls backward over fake Sting and rolls out of the ring. Sting hits the imposter with his bat, hits the Death Drop on him, and Hogan calls the rest of the nWo to come out. The group surrounds the ring as Hogan slowly makes his way back to the apron. As the nWo is going to converge on Sting, he tugs on the cable he descended on, and it lifts him back up to the ceiling as the show goes off the air. Utterly boring and pointless final segment.



Overall: Weak episode. Not aggressively terrible, but not much to say in its favor. They built toward an uninspired midcard for the next PPV, and aside from mentioning the apparent Page-Savage main event for GAB, neither of them was on the show. The "main event" match was a joke, and the final segment added nothing to the ongoing Sting-Hogan build.
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Old 05-20-2017, 01:28 PM   #1139
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

Ratings for 5/26/97: Nitro 3.3, Raw 2.7
Ratings Running Score: Nitro 64-17-2

Better Show: Raw by a lot.
Better Show Running Score: Nitro 56-27

Match of the Night: Steve Austin/Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart/Davey Boy Smith
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Old 05-20-2017, 01:40 PM   #1140
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Re: Monday Night Wars - The Comprehensive Recap

MAY 1997 IN REVIEW

Arrivals:
WCW - Ernest Miller (from karate), The Great Muta (from Japan)
WWF - N/A

Match of the Month: Michaels/Austin vs. Owen/Davey from 5/26/97 Raw; hat tip to Ultimo Dragon vs. Lord Steven Regal from Slamboree as a close second.

Promo of the Month: Mick Foley sit-down with Jim Ross

PPV of the Month: WCW Slamboree '97

Ratings: The Nitro win streak continues, though the margin of victory is getting lower.

Quality: Raw continues to be the better product overall; WCW has too much talent not to put on occasional great matches, but the shows, judged from start to finish, tend to be inferior.

Gif of the Month:
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