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 1996

Monday, February 06, 2006

Survivor Series is here.

Royal Rumble – 1996 Fresno

JRs gone again with the Bells Palsy, Gorilla returns, joining Cornette, and they toss Piper, who Gorilla worked with after Bobby left, in the mix too.

(Dark – Al Snow d. Marty)

1. Candido/Savio d. Smoking Gunns
The low card faces are going to Wrestlemania!!! Much rejoicing!!

2. Undertaker d. Mr. X.
The masked man gets in his Undertaker spots. Walks the ropes, the zombie sit – but is put away in three-four minutes. Undertaker unmasks him…who the hell is this??

It’s Duke Droese.

Undertaker’s confused. Duke Droese?

Lights off. Lights on. Jacobs, in the mask, in the ring. So, it wasn’t him.

Jacobs unmasks --- the Undertaker looks at him quizzically, as if he can't quite place him -he reaches out - the lights go off - when they come back, both men are gone. Spooky.

3. No DQ: HHH (w/Waltman and Sunny) d. Bob Holly
We get a garbage match for the third meeting between these two – Bob is all heart – and viciously attacks Waltman and HHH with chairshots – Bob missle dropkicks to the outside at Waltman – but Waltman pulls the girl in front, and Sunny takes the brunt of the shot. That will end her night. Holly tries to see if she’s okay – HHH gets Holly from behind with the chairshot – Hunter sets Holly up – and Pedigrees him onto the steel steps – Holly is busted open and laid out – Waltman and HHH drag him in for the fall.

Crotch Chops. Pose. Clique hand gestures.

4. Ahmed Johnson (w/Teri) d. Davey Boy Smith (DQ)
Solid enough power matchup, DBoy is still better than Ahmed, and has the advantage – but when Teri distracts the official, Ahmed lays into Davey Boy with chairshots – Owen runs, well, hobbles, in – and knocks Ahmed out with the enziguiri (selling the cast further, sell the cast, sell the cast) which, unfortunately for Davey Boy, the official sees and the Bulldog gets DQ’d.

Davey Boy is hot, yelling at Owen to mind his own business, yelling at Owen he cost him the title at Survivor Series, yelling at Owen he’s just like Bret…

Owen apologizes, but Davey Boy won’t hear it – Davey Boy shoves Owen away and walks back up the aisle.

5. Sean Waltman (w/HHH) d. Hakushi
Another terrific matchup, Waltman again going over Hakushi as numbers are enough to push the balance toward the bad guys. Again, this is a really good matchup, Waltman could really go back then – he maybe was even a better worker than Hakushi, actually – and this is a good feud that further establishes the Clique JV.

6. Tags: Steve Austin/Dustin Rhodes d. Diesel/Razor
Austin and Dustin go over clean. Austin with the stunner and the fall on Razor – Austin stuns Diesel for good measure. The crowd is shocked as Razor and Diesel get no heat back – but instead are laid out by Stunning Steve Austin. Dustin is fine, and particularly as a tag is a good wrestler – but Austin, obviously, is who they book to pop here. Austin and Dustin do the Clique hand gesture in a mocking fashion over Razor and Diesel, taking the belts and leaving.

HHH and Waltman enter, HHH taking the mic, as Razor and Diesel rise groggily. “this is how it is now? How are me and the Kid ever supposed to get any respect in this business when you two ‘superstars’ are getting your ass kicked on Pay Per View? You lose to the Undertaker – and you lose to Owen Hart – and now you can’t even keep the tag belts? The Kid and me are out here winning night in and night out – upholding the tradition of the Clique – and it’s obvious to us…

That the two of you can’t cut it anymore.”


Diesel and Razor, barely able to believe their ears…Nash, for the first time in his WWF run – gets angry…

“What the fuck did you just say?”

You know, PPV. Gorilla will apologize for the swearing.

Diesel and HHH go nose to nose.

“I said that you old, burned out, has beens can’t cut it anymore.”

Diesel and Razor fire – Waltman and HHH return – and they are in a full scale brawl, officials from the back break it up. The Clique has broken in two.

7. IC: Vader (w/Perfect) d. Shawn Michaels
Vader’s big. Michaels is quick. That’s the matchup. But Vader was brutal, absolutely brutal – and he overwhelms the Heart Break Kid with a physicality never seen in the WWF – Vader fires full on blows at Shawn that bust him open hardway – Michaels can’t hit the superkick – but does hit the elbowdrop – but Hennig is there to put Vader's foot on the ropes. Vaderbomb for the clean finish. 1-2-3.

Vader takes the belt, yelling “WHO’S THE MAN!” at the shocked WWF crowd. Hennig yells out "Now that's Perfect" as he puts the boots to the fallen Michaels. Austin, Dustin, and Vader have come in and taken belts at their first PPV – and not from stiffs – but from the Clique, who have had a longtime stranglehold on the top of the card. The company moved from being about Steamboat/Dynamite to being about Savage and Hennig – the company moved then to being about the Clique against the Harts – and now we begin to see another shift as the NWA talent starts to move north.

8. WWF Title: Bret Hart d. Owen Hart
Oh, what a good show. Bret finally beats Owen, keeping his title. Again, no sharpshooter submission. Owen breaks the sharpshooter – Owen hits the enziguiri with the cast – the cast breaking over Bret’s head -- but Bret kicks out. That’ll be the end of the cast. They do the WM X finish – but this time after Owen sits down – Bret rolls through and gets the fall.

Bret keeps in another all time classic match. He and Owen exhaustedly continue to punch each other after the bell, both on their knees – both bleeding – punch, punch, punch – they will not stop with the rights and the lefts even after the match -- Davey Boy enters – grabbing Bret and pulling him away – Owen, trying to punch Bret, inadvertently hits Davey Boy. Davey Boy fires back at Owen – and the two of them brawl to the back – it’s just a misunderstanding! It’s all a big misunderstanding!! -- Bret left alone, the blood trickling down his grinning face, as he holds the belt high in the air.

The NWA show has the Public Enemy – making the tour of all the companies, apparently. They debut The Giant who destroys Hogan. Mike Rotundo is back in the NWA – he goes over Luger. They debut Chris Kanyon, in the Mortis gimmick, and he sends Marc Mero up north. The Road Warriors make their triumphant return and go over Flair and Savage to win the tags. Page keeps the US over Arn. And Sting ends Pillman’s NWA run by keeping the World Title over him.

Superbrawl – 1996 St. Pete
NWA Title: Sting d. Brian Pillman
Tags: Road Warriors d. Savage/Flair
Chris Kanyon d. Marc Mero

Mike Rotundo d. Lex Luger
Konan d. Kevin Sullivan
The Giant d. Hulk Hogan
Public Enemy d. Nasty Boys

On the road to XII…

Piper returns for a Pit. Says he’s ready for his first wrestling match in 4 years. Says it was a dozen years ago since he started Pay Per View and he’s ready to be crowned a legend. Clip package of the first 11 Legend’s Matches:

Andre destroying David Sammartino
Andre pinning Bruno.
Andre pinning Harley.
Andre kicking out of Hogan’s legdrop and then bodyslamming Hogan.
Hogan with the legdrop on the Warrior.
Hogan with the legdrop on Dusty.
Undertaker tombstoning Jake.
Hogan dropping the leg on Jake
Hogan submitting to Backlund’s cross face chicken wing.
Savage hanging Crush from an apparatus backstage.
Undertaker tombstoning Lawrence Taylor.

After the package ends, Piper makes a crack about his old tag partner Roberts being the only guy to lose twice – then makes a crack about Jake being on crack. Jake enters. The crowd tries to warn Roddy – he thinks it’s funny that they’d say Jake was right behind him when he was just clowing Jake. How dumb do they think the Hot Rod is?

DDT. Jake reaches into the bag…but there’s no snake, instead he pulls a bottle of scotch out of the bag. Jake drinks some, pours some on Piper. “You people came to see a Legend? This is what a Legend looks like.” Jake, overweight as he was during this run, but not wearing a shirt to hide it – just fat, high, drunk Jake in all his totally fried glory -- grizzled, completely hammered – he takes another pull and then pulls a bible out of the bag. Jake reads a verse fervently: “1st Corinthians 2:4 ‘And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power.” Jake takes a pull, spits some out on Piper, staggers off.

Also returning for XII….the Ultimate Warrior. Warrior has now shaved his head, and paints the whole thing. He’s either in blackface – or he’s got a swastika on the top of his head – whatever we can get away with. He says he’s only coming back for one match – he’s not coming back full time, he needs to devote all his energies to Warrior Ministry -- he came back for two reasons. One, to remind the fans that Y2K is coming – and they need to stock up on their durable goods, ‘cause when the stuff goes down, don’t come crawling to Camp Warrior then. Then it will be too late. Only the chosen ones will be…chosen.

And because he’s heard about this man named Ahmed Johnson. A man who doesn’t understand his place. A man who puts his hands all over white women. At Wrestlemania, the Ultimate Warrior will show him what the power of destrucity is all about. Shake the ropes. Shake the ropes.

Ahmed enters. The so called Ultimate Warrior thinks he can stand up to the genetic superiority of the black man? The black man founded Anaheim, California. The black man discovered Wrestlemania – Wrestlemania was discovered by George Washington Carver in 1895 – and the white man stole it – and the white media covers it up – and it’s time that the Black Man got his Reparations!

Austin/Dustin defend against Candido and Vega. Austin cuts lots of Sunny promos on Candido. Says he’s better off – says she’s a five dollar piece of ass. Says he’s gonna pass the hat around though, pick up a few bucks in donations, and maybe a clothespin for his nose – and he’ll give her a try. He figures after being with Candido and the Clique – she’s itching for a man with a little size.

Perfect says Vader’s the Man. He’s a beast. No man in the WWF can match him.


Undertaker to the ring.

So they do Undertaker/Vader for the IC.

In the middle of the card – Hart v. Hart, Clique v. Clique.

They keep upping the tension between Owen and Davey Boy. Neither one turning, it’s a misunderstanding exascerbated by Davey Boy’s recognition that his time at the top is growing shorter. And Bret chimes in whenever he can to further drive a wedge between the two. I like if we tease that maybe one of them will join Bret on the dark side – that maybe he recruits each of them – but both remain faces, just opposed to each other. There’s a spot in the ring where, say, it looks like one and then the other, will listen to Bret and turn – but they hold strong and just brawl with each other as Bret watches.

Bret enjoys this.

The Clique match is going to be Diesel v. HHH, Waltman and Razor in their corners. Sunny undecided.

Diesel becomes the old school veteran here – while HHH is the cocky upstart. The irony of Diesel becoming old guard is not lost on him. HHH/Waltman cut all the cocky “you guys suck, go home” promos. We let them dress up as Diesel and Razor to clown them. Diesel and Razor are stuck in the role of the aggrieved veterans – these young punks don’t know their history – don’t know their place. They haven’t traveled the roads that Razor and Diesel have traveled. These guys started off in the WWF on third base thinking they hit a triple.

Unlike the Hart feud – Michaels doesn’t interject himself in the Clique feud – but they come to him. HHH/Waltman go to Shawn’s locker – sort of pitching themselves as the rightful heirs of the Clique – they’re heels and Shawn’s a face – it’s sort of like Shawn’s name is on the building though, even though he’s gone on to start another company. They’re punks and come at him like punks – sort of kissing up to him and threatening him at the same time.

Diesel and Razor come to him to. But it’s more to just hang out, talk about the old times – they get sort of wistful – it’s a “’member when you turned on me…no, first you hit me with a chair…and then you threw me off the ladder…and you jackknifed me and took my title…good times.”

But they don’t leave friends – too much has gone on – they all recognize that. It’s sad.

At the top….Bret/Shawn. Iron Man. It’s Wrestlemania XII after all.

Shawn’s never beaten Bret in a singles. Never. It's Jumbo/Misawa (if that reference is lost on your Bible) years of the younger guy never able to beat the older guy. Bret took Shawn’s title a year ago at XI. As the Clique clearly is changing forever – and maybe the Harts too – one wonders how much longer these two men will be able to keep warring.

It’s Bret’s 6th WM headlining match, including 5 in a row. It’s Bret’s 17th time headlining a PPV, which, amazingly, is more than twice that of anyone else in the WWF (Flair, combining NWA and WWF is at 19 – a number which Bret is well aware of)

Bret and Shawn, of course, are the only Triple Crown winners in the modern era – it’s a trophy that Shawn is currently in possession of.

They legit. hate each other – and make that point in their promos. “In this business, there are guys you hate because it makes good business – this is not like that – Bret Hart (Shawn Michaels) you know I hate your guts, I hate everything you stand for – and at WM XII – in the 60 Minute Iron Man match – I’m am going to prove once and for all that I am the showstopper (best there is) the main event (best there was) the icon of professional wrestling (the best there ever will be).

It's Wrestlemania XII from Anaheim. Bret/Shawn in the Iron Man. Vader/Undertaker for the IC. Austin and Dustin defending against Candido and Savio. Owen meets Davey Boy and Diesel meets HHH. Jake and Piper in a Parking Lot Legends Brawl and the return of the Ultimate Warrior, now with a swastika on his head.

You gotta, gotta, gotta call your cable company for this one!

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