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 1997

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Survivor Series '96 is here.

Royal Rumble 1997 San Antonio
(Dark – Furnas/LaFon d. Billy/Dogg) JR/Cornette

1. Johnny Estrada/Fuerza Guerrera/Heavy Metal/Cibernetico
Pedro Aguayo/Latin Lover/Mil Mascaras/Pierroth

Al is at ringside. Following the match, he gets all the luchas to moonsault onto the canvas. Everyone gets hurt. Al enjoys it. “Scorpio! My cousin Hector is gonna kick your ass tonight! I HAVE THINGS TO WRITE DOWN AND MY PEN WILL BE AVENGED!!”

2. Rocky Maivia (w/Nation) d. Glen Jacobs, not yet Kane

The Rock beats the two undead guys in back to back PPVs. Same stuff, Nation interference, they continue their tyrannical reign of the bottom of the card. Undertaker runs in – he and Jacobs can’t fight them off though, they get beaten good and hard by the NOD, Jacobs, who has been mysteriously following the Undertaker for over a year, now lies atop the dead man, taking the whipping for the Undertaker until the NOD punches themselves out and exit...maybe burning a black cross on the ramp (too much?) Undertaker and Not Yet Kane rise, bloody, their clothes ripped and torn, we notice the Woody Woodpecker tattoo on the Dead Man's chest...

...and we notice that Jacobs has the same tattoo.

"Kane" is the plaintive comment from the Undertaker...

He reaches out. Lights out. Lights on. Jacobs is gone.

He'll be back.

3. Goldust (w/GoldSid) d. HHH (w/Clique JV)
They use this to get the lumberjack angle across. Harts come to ringside to brawl with the JV, allowing for GoldSid to chokeslam HHH – Goldust gets the Curtain Call, he and GoldSid rub themselves all over HHH. So, so wrong.

4. 2 Cold Scorpio d. Hector Garza (w/Al)
Good high flying match, Scorpio goes over. Al waves in the winning lucha team from the opener, they hit the ring and surround Scorpio – all chanting whatever the Spanish for “my pen” is.

The Nation hits the ring. They stand in between Scorpio and the luchas.

Rock: The Nation don’t want no trouble with the Brown Man. We are all oppressed by these White Devils.

Al nods. “White Bastards.” Everyone in the ring looks at Al. Al’s crazy, but he ain’t crazy. “You know, Scorp. Keep the pen. Always smudged anyway.” Al quickly exits.

Rock: But if you want to mess with Brother Scorpio. You’ve gotta mess with the whole Nation.

The Nation attacks, leaving the luchas laying – and then taking a confused Scorpio to the back with them. Will Scorpio join the Nation?? Will he? Will he?

5. Steve Austin d. Vader
You know, terrific brawl, Austin goes over clean. He’s stone cold. Pillman attacks him after the match and the two brawl up the aisle.

6. Tags: Hart Foundation d. Mero/Bart
Tag title switch to Owen and Davey Boy. Mero and Bart, obviously, just transition champs. Much celebrating – Davey Boy wins his 3 rd – and Owen wins the Triple Crown. The passing of the trophy from Shawn will be tomorrow night on RAW.

Much rejoicing – there are fireworks and streamers – Pillman and even Neidhart hit the ring --- Bret comes to the aisle, the WWF title over his shoulder – Bret looks at the celebration – and raises his title belt above his head with one hand– in a nod to his brother’s accomplishment. Owen and Davey Boy respond by raising their title belts above their heads – Bret giving his brother a show of respect as we draw closer to the Lumberjack Match – the last Bret/Shawn singles match…ever….

Bret’s then knocked down in the aisle by the Clique Lumberjacks, who start putting the boots to him – the Harts all leave the ring – a full on brawl in the aisle – Pillman now taking on his referee’s role and grabbing guys from both sides and separating them – Pillman standing in the middle of both groups in the aisle, barking out orders.... Owen’s got the triple crown – what’s gonna happen in the main event!!

7. IC: Death Match: Cactus Jack d. Terry Funk
We get the blood hard here. Barbed wire on the ropes. barbed wire on the tables – explosives going off periodically – Funk doing his moonsault from the second deck of the arena. Foley keeps – he and Funk getting a standing ovation from the crowd as they hug following the match. Vader enters – Vader absolutely destroying Funk – powerbomb through a barbed wire table. Foley and Vader each grab barbed wire chairs and lay into each other until separated by officials.

And the garbage from the last match is moved to the outside for the main event, as the lumberjacks, who have already brawled twice tonight, can use weapons as the main event nears.

8. WWF Title: Lumberjack Match: Bret Hart d. Shawn Michaels (Pillman, guest referee)
Bret keeps. Beating Shawn again, beating Shawn in San Antonio.

Crazy anti-Hart crowd by this point. Pillman enters first as the referee. Harts next, led by Anvil with the Canadian flag, Davey Boy and Owen with their tag straps, and Bret, the WWF Champion.

HHH leads the Clique, maybe with a flag that says Suck It. Billy, Dogg in tow – Michaels following.

Now, what’s important to remember is the Lumberjacks fight a lot on the outside – and fight violently. They can use the debris remaining from the IC. Lots and lots of blood. Everyone bleeds heavily – and they sell how worn out everyone is. All the lumberjacks, exhausted, from this match and from all the work all the men have done all night long. That's what they sell. This match has to go half an hour – it’s their last ever match, so it’s dramatic – it’s a war – Pillman is able to keep order inside the ring, keep the outside interference down, JR and Cornette get over he’s doing a good job – and it makes sense to allow the lumberjacks to all kill each other because it keeps any of them from hitting the ring.

Bret. Sharpshooter. Submission. Shawn is inconsolable as the bloody, exhausted lumberjacks drag themselves into the ring.

Pillman raises Bret’s hand – turns to hand him the WWF belt –

--and bashes him over the head with it. Whoa.

The Harts are shocked and Pillman cackles – and turns to hug Michaels!!!!

---and bashes him over the head with the belt!! Whoa.

What the hell is crazy ass Brian Pillman doing? He’s taken out both Michaels and Bret --- the Clique and the Harts, all exhausted and bleeding, barely standing under their own power – are momentarily stunned as Pillman takes off his black and white striped referee’s shirt to reveal….

…Austin 3:16.

Austin, two chairs in his hand, rushes the ring – he throws a chair to Pillman, and the two of them take apart the Harts and the Clique. Just take them apart. Anyone moves – chairshot. They don’t stop until the ring is motionless. Like killing a bunch of ants.

Pillman makes the “I’m operating a video camera” motion that was the signature for the Hollywood Blonds, Austin sneeringly flips the camera the double middle finger. And the show ends.

Austin and Pillman have set up both the Harts and the Clique - and in one motion have wiped out the two leading factions in the WWF.

That's a push.

At the NWA show, Harlem Heat beats Public Enemy. Page beats Bagwell. Jarrett’s NWA run continues, he beats Piper. Dean goes over Eddy as that feud continues. Sweet. Waltman teams up with Konan to win the straps over the Barbarian and Haku. Rey keeps the US, beating Juvie – and Benoit keeps the NWA title, going over Jericho again. He’ll go to Slamboree as champ for a full year.


Superbrawl – 1997 San Francisco
NWA Title: Chris Benoit d. Chris Jericho
US: Rey Mysterio d. Juventud Guerrera
Tags: Waltman/Konan d. Barbarian/Haku
Dean Malenko d. Eddy Guerrero

Jarrett d. Piper
La Parka d. Villano IV d. Calo
DDP d. Buff Bagwell
Harlem Heat d. Public Enemy

ECW adds a show, running their first ever PPV, Barely Legal. Lance Storm beats Guido, Raven over the Sandman, Taka Michinoku goes over Dick Togo, Taz beats Sabu, the Dudleys win the tag straps over the Eliminators, RVD keeps the US over Great Sasuke, and Terry Funk walks out of the Rumble and right into the ECW World title, beating Shane Douglas. Pretty good stretch for Funk.

Barely Legal – 1997 Philadelphia
ECW Title: Terry Funk d. Shane Douglas
TV Title: RVD d. Great Sasuke
Tags: Dudleys d. Eliminators
Taz d. Sabu

Taka Michinoku d. Dick Togo
Raven d. Sandman
Lance Storm d. Little Guido
Gran Hamada/Yakushiji d. Pit Bull II/Balls Mahoney

With the Blonds now in control of the company, Wrestlemania XIII is around the corner.

The Road Warriors return during a match between the Headbangers and the New Blackjacks, they squash everyone. At this point, they can’t do much of anything, but we’re stuck with what we’re stuck with. They do a little mini-tournament, winners get to be number one contenders.

Furnas and LaFon come away winners, beating the Warriors in the finals, after which, the Warriors are attacked by the Godwinns. Henry says the Warriors are the most revered tag team ever – and they sure have purty mouths. At XIII – Hawk and Animal will squeal like pigs. Henry takes the ball gag out of Phinneas the Gimp’s Mouth for his first words “Aw…what a rush….”

That means Furnas and Lafon go to XIII to face Owen and Davey Boy. And that’s all the tag match a person needs.

Two programs with the Nation. The Legends Match will be between the Undertaker v. Simmons v. Ahmed. It starts off as Undertaker v. Simmons, as Simmons says he’s the leader of the Nation – he’s the Black Man to end the Dead Man’s Legends streak. Lawrence Taylor couldn’t get it done at XI – but another All American, Ron Simmons, will get it done. As it evolves, we have tension between Ahmed and Simmons. Why isn’t Ahmed the leader? Why doesn’t Ahmed get to go to Wrestlemania? Who is Simmons to be the leader of the Nation?

So, they’ll go 3 way, Undertaker/Simmons/Ahmed. The other match is Maivia v. 2 Cold. The Nation tells 2 Cold that he needs to join them – he refuses, he ain’t down with the whole militant bow tie thing – he just likes to chill and smoke and get his swerve on - so, that means they gotta throw down.

The Rock looks to keep his unbeaten streak intact as he goes to XIII against a multi-time singles champ. Funky, funky.

Two Clique matches on the undercard. One more between Hunter and Goldust. They're gonna toss them in a cage, hoping to avoid the outside interference of thr first two matches. And a Billy/Savio singles, as Savio plays his role as hopeless undercard single going against the Clique.

The IC is the rubber match between Cactus and Vader. But after another crazy brawl on RAW, one where they destroy half of the referees - they are both told that the level of violence has just spiraled out of control – that the WWF is concerned at WM one of them might kill the other one. So, they’ve had to go get more than just a special guest referee – they had to go get an enforcer – one who neither one of them, as tough as they are, would ever decide to cross.

The Champion of the UFC. The World’s Most Dangerous Man. Ken Shamrock.

Shamrock’s like how they originally presented him, but more so. No “snapping” – the merit of Shamrock is he projects legitimacy, and that’s what I want. Legit toughness.

In the big angle…

RAW after the Rumble opens up on the Coveted Triple Crown in midring.


Shawn’s music. He slowly enters, bandaged and beaten. Owen’s music, he slowly enters, bandaged and beaten.

Michaels says he and Owen, he and Bret, the Harts and the Clique, have been feuding for seven years. Seven years of brutal, heartstopping matches. The Harts and the Clique have carried the ball for the WWF.

And tonight, when Shawn presents the Triple Crown to Owen – it’s over.

Shawn’s tired – and he’s ready to go home.

Hit Austin’s music. Austin and Pillman to the aisle. Austin says you’re right it’s over, for years, all they heard was Harts and Clique, Harts and Clique – you’re either a Hart – or you’re in the Clique…

Well, he’s Stone Cold Steve Austin – and he’s Brian F’n Pillman – and they don’t give a damn about the Harts and the Clique. And Shawn’s damn right that it’s over – because Stone Cold said so…but he’s wrong about going home – because tonight – Austin and Pillman are challenging Shawn...and a tag match. Harts and Clique. Together! They look at each other warily...then they cut to a shot of Davey Boy and Hunter - tied together in the back - both men unconscious.

Austin and Pillman cackle....then charge the ring, brawling with Shawn and Owen…

…and then Shawn walks out.

…and keeps on walking. And doesn't come back.

Austin and Pillman attacking Owen. Davey Boy knocked out. Now what will happen?

– save by Bret.

Bret and Owen brawl with Austin and Pillman – and they make that tag match for later that night. On the way to Mania – that’s the structure – it’s Austin/Pillman against Harts against Clique, against Clique/Hart combos – until the points where they have to go into their own feuds. Bret and Owen still aren’t buddies, it’s uneasy, in the same way Bret’s turn wasn’t sudden, it was organic – this turn is similar, it’s Bret maintaining a consistency of character, it made sense that he didn’t like he family anymore – it makes sense that they are together now.

Just as it was, the title match at XIII will be Bret and Austin. ‘Cept Austin’s now firmly a heel – after destroying everyone – and Bret has swung back to the face direction.

Wrestlemania XIII from Chicago. Bret defends against Austin. Jack defends against Vader with Shamrock as the referee. Owen and Davey Boy defend against Furnas and Lafon. Maivia/2Cold. Hunter/Goldust in a cage. Undertaker v. Simmons v. Ahmed, what the hell, make that a street fight. Billy/Savio. Road Warriors/Godwinns.

Call. Your. Thing. Wrestlemania 13

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