Triple H, October 2011:

“When I grew up, I hated Hogan. I thought he was terrible and didn’t like to watch him. I was like Punk in a way. I liked the Steamboats and Flairs and the ones that could go. Would I be right in saying that Hogan was the wrong guy to go with, and they should’ve changed directions and gone with Steamboat because he was the better wrestler? Ludicrous.” - Triple H. October, 2011.

Royal Rumble 1994

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Survivor Series is here.

Royal Rumble – 1994 Providence
(Dark – Sean Waltman d. Bob Holly)

JR gets fired at the top of February, so this is the last JR/Cornette. Thanks, Vince.

1. Smoking Gunns d. Headshrinkers
Billy! Bart! The Smoking Gunns!

2. Jeff Jarrett d. Lex Luger
Jarrett’s PPV debut is a surprise upset win over Lex, Jarrett’s cheating, and general Jarrett-ness starts to spin Lex in a face direction. Lex is clearly frustrated after the match, the announce speculates that perhaps he will need to make some type of change. Jarrett does the fargo strut. Fun!

3. Diesel d. Bam Bam Bigelow
Nash powers through the Beast from the East, remaining unbeaten. Bigelow is clearly frustrated after the match, the announce speculates that he will need to make some change.

4. Tenryu d. Mr. Backlund
A solid wrestling match, Backlund could do enough to make it worth our while to watch this one. Our Japanese xenophobia ends as Tenryu makes the face turn on the bizarre Mr. Backlund, “Young Homoguchi…Young Kanemoto…stop your flagellating and get back to learning how to crash some planes! Tojo Forever! We will love you long time! Semper Fi!”

5. No DQ: Owen Hart d. Randy Savage
 Full on brawl. Owen doesn’t hold back from the bell, it’s fists from the jump. Owen drags Savage to the outside, lays into him with chairshots – Owen hurls Savage hard into the retaining barrier – Owen pulls up the mat outside the ring – but Savage takes control and piledrives Owen on the exposed floor. That kinda thing. Randy constantly encourages Owen to hit him harder, to make him bleed, Randy still teaching at every moment. Crazy ass Randy.

At one point, Savage pulls out the fork – but Owen takes it away..and after a moment to think about it – Owen plows the fork into Savage’s head. Fork! Fork! Fork! Both guys covered in blood. Savage submits to the sharpshooter. Afterward, Owen offers Savage his hand, Randy responds by attempting a clothesline – which Owen expected, so Owen slips, and levels Savage with the enziguiri. Owen leaves in triumph, shaking his head incredulously at Savage, who, covered in blood, continues to yell encouragement to Owen, “Dig it, yeah, ridin’ the Rocketship to the title! To infinity and beyond, yeah~”

Crazy ass Randy.

6. Tags: Rougeaus (w/ Scott Levy and Ted) d. Steiners
14 months later, the run ends. Ted shows that everybody’s got a price, when Scott turns on Rick, allowing Jacques to get the fall. The "brothers" hug. Everybody hugs. Everyone gets a briefcase full of cash, and Jacques has his second tag title, with two different partners. The Steiners leave soon after, they do Scott v. Rick on RAW until their deal expires.

7. IC: Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) d. Razor Ramon (w/Waltman)
Shawn and Razor are a good mix; HBK rolls on in his great IC run, he and Diesel cheat constantly, doubleteams, low blows, pulling the tights, feet on the ropes. Razor continually fights back – the crowd solidly with him – finish comes when Razor hits the Edge and has the fall – but Diesel distracts the official – Waltman runs in…here comes the Kid – and climbs to the top and hits the legdrop on Razor. Goddamn Kid. Heel turn. Michaels rolls atop Razor for the win.

Diesel goes underneath the ring and emerges with a ladder. They set it up in the middle of the ring – the crowd startled – they’ve never seen a ladder in a wrestling ring before – Michaels climbs to the top – and to the astonishment of the people (recall, it was Shawn at Summer Slam a year and a half before who debuted the table bump) comes down on Razor with the elbowdrop. The place goes ballistic – they saw the crazy Owen/Savage – they saw Scott turn on Rick – they just saw Waltman join the Clique – and now Michaels has jumped off a freaking ladder in the middle of the ring. The Clique celebrates – Waltman now is the guy he is, a complete punk, kissing up to the cool guys and mocking Razor. All three guys pull out toothpicks and shower them atop Ramon. Pose. Handsigns.

8. WWF Title: Bret Hart d. Undertaker
This is a good fucking show. Undertaker is favored, I’d say, 60/40 by the crowd, frustrating Bret – who also is frustrated by his inability to hurt the dead guy, who, as of yet, in 3 years, has known no fear and shown no pain. Bret does the rough stuff and gets booed – gets booed when he goes closed fist – gets booed when he does the suicide dive to the outside. But note, this is a great match, the Undertaker’s first good match ever – as this marks the transition from the early Undertaker zombie matches – to the middle Undertaker brawling matches. So the dead guy’s willing to mix it up with Bret outside – no more methodical Undertaker, he’s all over Bret, which whips the crowd into even more of a frenzy as they know this is the spot when Hennig lost and they can smell the title change. They do a table bump, Undertaker chokeslamming Bret through the Spanish announce, giving the crowd another reason to lose their minds.

Bret. Clean. Sharpshooter submission. That’s right. Not only does Bret end the unbeaten streak, which is thing enough – but Bret makes the impervious dead man submit clean right in the middle of the ring – and that’s the most shocking result of the entire evening.

Bret stands in ring and holds the belt up defiantly – that’s what it is – ‘cause in his mind, any cheer for anyone but him is a slight to his ability – part of the crowd is crazyrabid – ‘cause Counterfactual WWF's core audience loves Bret and would have hated the idea of switching to the Undertaker – but the masses were all about the dead guy – and so we have some folks booing, some folks in shock, some folks rabid, hopefully everyone respecting that we just took a guy unhurt for 3 straight years and had him tap out to the world champion. Defiance by the Hit Man as he holds the belt for 2 straight years. Defiance.

Think people are ready for Wrestlemania X?

They will be.

At the NWA PPV, Harlem Heat get a win, as does DDP. Dustin beats Orndorff. Vader beats Rude. Regal over Mero, the new tag champs – unfortunately – are the Nasty Boys, who go over Sting and Foley when Mick turns all Cactus Jack all over Sting. In the big angle, the Horsemen split in half – see, AA wanted a title shot (the show’s in Georgia) but Flair wouldn’t give him one – Pillman sided with Arn, the two of them turning face. But the heels go over – Austin keeping the US over Pillman – and Flair keeping the big belt over AA. Good fucking show.

Superbrawl – 1994 Albany, GA
NWA Title: Ric Flair d. Arn Anderson
US Title: Steve Austin d. Brian Pillman
Tags: Nasty Boys d. Sting/Jack
Steve Regal d. Marc Mero

Vader d. Rick Rude
Dustin Rhodes d. Paul Orndorff
DDP d. Maxx Payne
Harlem Heat d. Steele/Garvin

On the road to X….

X is a problem in that the bottom of the actual card was bad – and they had some guys work twice, meaning that I am stretched incredibly thin. But, necessity is the mother of something…

A few weeks before X, they bring out….Lelani Kai.

Seriously. On RAW. She reminds us that X years ago, at I, US women’s wrestling in the WWF died when she, Wendi Richter, and Cindi Lauper got buried by Bundy and Studd.

But it’s been X years – and women’s wrestling is back! So, every Raw, like 2 or 3 in a row, the women put on like a 5 minute match. The week before X, it’s interrupted by a fat black guy in the aisle. He says he’s on a mission. It’s Mabel. Hi, Mabel! He says he hates women’s wrestling, and at X he’s gonna show how much he hates women’s wrestling – when he and his buddy…

..enter Yokozuna….

Destroy Lelani Kai and Alundra Blayze…just like Bundy and Studd did X years ago.

What else, the Heavenly Bodies break up. Why? Why? Why? And we’re gonna do Del Ray/Pritchard at X. Adam Bomb is terrorizing the WWF. Luger and Bigelow join together, recall each had to assess his career after the Rumble – well, they are now a face tag team – and they’ll meet the Still Fabulous Rougeaus at X.

And now the things that matter.

The Clique opens the RAW after Survivor Series. Or maybe a couple of weeks later, without Razor appearing yet, to give him a chance to sell the ladder bump. HBK, Diesel, Waltman. They bring out a ladder which Michaels sits atop once they get into the ring. They make fun of Razor, talk about how they replaced him with Waltman, he’s a better wrestler, he’s better with the fat girls, and he can’t quite drink as much as Razor can – but they’ll learn him. Michaels says he’s king of the WWF – he’s on top of the mountain – he’s been IC champ for over a year – he’s the greatest IC champ of all time – he put Owen through a table – and he jumped 20 feet off a ladder (gimmicked number, but, you know, wrestling math) and buried his elbow into Ramon – says we may never see Razor Ramon again. Waltman sticks out his tongue – it’s too soon for crotch chops – but you can tell he’s thinking about it.

From the crowd – Razor – ribs heavily taped up suddenly enters and knocks over the ladder – Michaels takes the enormous spill all the way to the outside – which is the biggest bump in company history at this point – it all happened so fast the crowd is completely shocked – Diesel and Waltman sell the shock – as if Razor’s gone too far – they bail out of the ring – Michaels is bleeding heavily – Diesel and Waltman carry him from ringside…

Razor: Hey, yo. Hey Se-xy Boy. You like to play with ladders? No-body swings the wood…like the Bad Guy, Chico. At Wrestlmania X – you and me – In-ter-cont-in-ental Title….Ladder Match!

No one knows what he means, of course, but they explain it between now and Mania.

So, they keep selling Razor v. the Clique – neither Diesel or Waltman has a match at X, so they stay in the angle - they do an injury thing with Waltman, to move him aside a bit, have Razor beat him in a singles then toss him into a ladder with an Edge. They take half an hour out of every WWF show and do Clique talk – lots of smirking, laughing at the other side – lot of ladder stuff. I think it's probably time to start selling a special section of the arena for Clique fans. We sell the Clique as like brothers – broken up – and headed for the ultimate showdown at the crazy gimmick match at X.

At the top – Bret will promo at the end of that first RAW after the Rumble. Huge mixed reaction – Bret does his thing – says he’s beaten every man in the company – says he’s appeared at every WM – says he’s headlined 3 WM – says he’s going to X, the biggest show of all time, as the WWF Champion for a record 2 straight years – says there’s no man in the world who can beat him – he challenges anyone in the back, anyone in the back who has the heart….

...Anyone who has the heart to stand in front of him in the biggest match of all time to try to take his belt….

Pomp and Circumstance.

Bandaged up Savage enters – stops in the aisle.

Bret says okay – it’s a rematch from Wrestlemania V – and while Randy, lets be honest, says Bret, isn’t the wrestler he was a couple of years ago – Bret will accept the challenge and defend his title against the former WWF champion.

Randy says nope. His day is past – he’ll wrestle in the legends match at X (which will be against Crush, hopefully with Smash and Ax in his corner) yeah, since he is the true legend of the WWF – but there is someone in the back who Bret’s never beat….

…there is someone in the back who Randy thinks is ready to be champion…

…there is someone in the back who has the “heart”, ooh, yeah, to go toe to toe with Bret in the biggest match at the biggest show in the history of this sport…..

Owen Hart.

Hit Owen’s music – Owen to the ring – Owen and Bret go nose to nose.

Bret shakes his head – calls him little brother, tells him he knows how talented Owen is – he knows Owen is a great young wrestler, he knows Owen will one day will be WWF champion – but that day won’t be at WM X.

Owen says the best day of his life wasn’t 6 years ago when he debuted in the WWF, wasn’t a year and a half ago when he beat Shawn Michaels for the IC title, wasn’t last night when he earned the respect of the legend of the WWF Randy Savage – the best night of his life was 10 years ago, in 1985, when he sat in the crowd at Madison Square Garden and watched his brother, his hero, Bret Hart, wrestle a dark match before WM I against the Dynamite Kid. It was really the first match in the history of WM – and there was his brother Bret.

That was the best day of his life.

Until WM X. Because at WM X – at WM X in Madison Square Garden, in the biggest match on the biggest night in the history of wrestling – at WM X, for one perfect night, Owen Hart will be the best there was, the best there is, the best there ever will be….

This doesn’t sit well with Bret.

They jaw, the crowd screams, finally Bret accepts.

They build by having them wrestle the same guys or the same types of guys, say, in one week, Bret beats Jarrett – the next week, Owen beats him. In one week Bret beats a garbage wrestler, then a tag team, then a junior, then a monster. Owen does the same. They have taped interviews with everyone in the company picking the winner – they do all the Calgary stuff – I want tapes, home movies, I want interviews with every Hart – half an hour of every WWF show between the Rumble and X is geared toward this match with the constant question being – who is really the better man?

--- so at X, we’ll have HBK/Razor climbing the ladder and Owen/Bret for the strap. Brother against Brother. Wrestlemania X is a house divided.

It’s Wrestlemania X after all; it's a Counterfactual, but I’m not stupid.

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