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.

Wrestlemania XIII 1997

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Rumble is here.

Wrestlemania XIII – 1997 Chicago

(Dark Al Snow d. Bob Holly)


1. Road Warriors d. Godwinns
-I’m ambivalent here, because I enjoy the Godwinns gimmick and at this point, they really aren’t worse wrestlers than the Road Warriors. But they can sell Warriors in the title match at Summer Slam, so, by the slimmest of margins, they get the hometown win. We do get the tease of Phinneas performing the man act on Hawk though. He said man act.

2. Legends Match: Chicago Street Fight: Undertaker d. Ahmed d. Simmons
-Dead man goes over, obviously. It’s his third legend’s win. Ahmed and Simmons don’t work together, ‘Taker goes over strong, pinning both of them simultaneously after chokeslams and tombstones. Rock. Henry, DLo, stay out of the match letting Simmons and Ahmed go at it – after its over – they enter – and punk both of them out. Simmons and Ahmed are excommunicated from the Nation – given whatever the appropriate sendoff is – painting them in whiteface, I suppose. “We got no room for losers in this nation! We have to weed the weak out of our gene pool so only the finest of Black Man compose this Nation of Domination – and we will exterminate those weak by Any Means Necessary.” Rock. DLo. Henry are your new NOD. Black power salute.

3. Billy Gunn (w/Dogg) d. Savio
-Just nothing to say here, the Outlaws just did so many PPVs that they need to push them somehow, allowing them to do their Clique thing gave them the rub they needed to get over. So, it’s just them doing their schtick. Savio is plucky, resilient, but with no chance to win. But it’s at the bottom of the card.

4. Cage match: HHH (w/Billy/Dogg) d. Goldust (w/SidDust)
Good midcard program. Will it ever end? Nope. It’s Jake v. Rude, but not quite as homoerotic. Hunter goes over, getting the fall in the cage (it's a pinfall cage match), Sid was wiped out by Billy and the Dogg earlier and is laid out outside, but when the Clique JV then enters to celebrate, their attack on Dustin is stopped when three more large men in Goldust outfits, the Harris Brothers and Crush, hit the ring – they annihilate the Clique – and then do the same to Sid when he staggers in the cage. Goldust/Crush and the Harris Brothers all do the Goldust mannerisms as they leave the ring. That’s the last we see of Sid. Goldust, GoldCrush, GoldRon and GoldDon – our newest GoldStable.

If their were three - Gold Dust Trio would make the most historical sense. Instead, they'll call them the Golden Girls.

5. Rocky Maivia (w/ Nation) d. 2 Cold
Rock continues his unbeaten run and gets his biggest win to date. 2 Cold’s gotta work hard, but Rock’s enough to make this a good match. Rock goes over clean, since they stop using Scorpio now, he has to feed the Nation. Getting rid of Simmons and Ahmed allow Rock to go front and center, with DLo starting to wrestle now, he goes to number two – and Mark Henry plays the enforcer roll. Time to move from the Nation to basically being a black stable, like the Clique or the Harts or the Horsemen, so we end the black power and let Rock be Rock. Rock and HHH are weird for me, they aren’t bad and they work a lot, so they need to use them, but neither would be as pushed as hard in this universe as they actually were. So, stick them in stables – think of the Clique and the Nation as pretty similar.

6. Tags: Hart Foundation d. Furnas/LaFon
A great match, one of the best tag title matches ever. Just loving it all night long. Harts keep – the Road Warriors hit the ring after the match – and we get the nose to nose – that’s a lot of star power for the next title match at Summer Slam. Furnas and LaFon argue up the aisle. Uh-oh.

7. IC: Cactus Jack d. Vader (Shamrock, guest referee)
Foley wins the blow off to the feud. We get lots of Shamrock, ‘cause he’s getting pushed. They demonstrate how he takes no shit from anyone – neither Jack nor Vader – when either tries to use a foreign object, Shamrock takes it away. He shoves both of them – he doesn’t mess around, it’s heavy referee involvement.

Jack wins, the lack of garbage hurts this matchup, but not so much that it isn’t terrific, they worked really well together, and it’s a good, stiff brawl. Foley wins with the mandible claw – and refuses to give up the hold after the match, Shamrock breaks the hold by suplexing Foley – and ta, da, next program is created.

Coming up is Bret Hart’s 20 th PPV Main Event.

8. WWF Title: Steve Austin (w/Pillman) d. Bret Hart
Austin wins the title with the stunner as the page turns. Pillman interference is stopped by Owen – the two of them brawling on the outside and both get ejected from ringside. Austin wins clean. Holds the strap up and raises the middle finger as the show ends. Stone Cold Steve Austin. WWF Champion. Wrestlemania XIII.

In the NWA…Flair and Piper tag up to get an old guy win. Haku loses. Kanyon, in the Mortis gimmick, wins. Regal beats Hall in a singles – and Jarrett beats Nash. Konan and Waltman keep their belts, beating the Steiners. Eddy takes Rey’s US title, beating he and Ultimo Dragon in a 3 way. And Dean takes the NWA title, turning face to beat Benoit.

Slamboree – 1997 Charlotte
NWA Title: Dean Malenko d. Chris Benoit
US Title: Eddy Guerrero d. Rey Mysterio d. Ultimo Dragon
Tags: Konan/Waltman d. Steiners
Jarrett d. Nash

Steve Regal d. Hall
Kanyon d. Glacier
Hugh Morrus d. Haku
Flair/Piper d. Reggie White/Kevin Greene

Hey, I'm at the ECW PPV in Ft Lauderdale. The Dudleys keep their belts twice. Candido wins. Dreamer beats Lawler. Sabu beats Taz. Al is loaned out to lose to the TV Champ RVD. And Douglas regains the World Title, going over Funk.

Hardcore Heaven – 1997 Ft. Lauderdale
ECW Title: Shane Douglas d. Terry Funk
TV Title: RVD d. Al Snow
Tags: Dudleys d. PG 13
Sabu d. Taz

Tommy Dreamer d. Jerry Lawler
Bam Bam d. Candido
Candido d. Spike
Dudleys d. PG 13

On the way to Summer Slam…

We have some talent from Puerto Rico. The Castillos, Jesus and Jose, arrive – and they get thrown into the tag mix. Know who likes Latin Food? The Godwinns. Phinneas likes it spicy and the Godwinns get them at the PPV. The other Puerto Rican is Miguel Perez, he’s just going to be filler. And we’ll have him be embarrassed that Savio is always getting beat – so we’ll get that at the PPV.

We do a RAW tag – Undertaker and the returning Brian Lee against the Nation – Rock pins Taker again after Brian Lee turns heel – and we’ll get Lee/UT at the PPV. The Nation then peels off into this…

The Nation, the Clique, and the Golden Girls feud all summer. This’ll get us into seeing HHH and Rock as like Martel and Tito, sort of perpetual midcard enemies. Dustin’s there ‘cause he’s around – and ‘cause I like the idea of all of these big, awful wrestlers in the Goldust gimmick. The Clique – heels. The Golden Girls – faces? And they start to turn the Nation face too, as Rock becomes Rock here, and he starts getting oodles of promo time.

What will come out of this for the PPV is yet another HHH/Goldust match. 4 PPVs in a ROW! They'll do a last man standing for this, let everyone else get involved outside the ring. Big carnage brawl.

We’re got Owen and Davey Boy against the Road Warriors – and they sell the historical value of the match, since the Warriors can’t go anymore. Warriors were NWA and WWF tag champs for over a year – and Owen and Davey Boy are Owen and Davey Boy.

Owen’s going to wrestle twice.

Because not only does Owen have to, obviously, defend the tag title – but Brian Pillman won’t leave him alone. After Mania, Pillman continues to stalk Owen, Pillman in the parking lot, Pillman in the back – we do a handheld of Owen getting off the airplane on the road someplace, Owen chatting with a heel in a breaking kayfabe way…maybe DLo…and Pillman attacks him at baggage claim. Pillman and Owen fighting on the baggage carousel.

Pillman goes to Owen’s house to stalk his wife and kids. Martha will love that.

Owen promos that he and Brian have traveled together; he's Stampede, he's part of the family. That he couldn’t have been more proud if Brian were his own brother when Pillman won all 3 titles in the NWA. And Owen was excited when Brian came to WWF.

But now, Owen can see Pillman’s never coming back to any version of sanity – he doesn’t know if it’s Austin’s fault, and he doesn’t care – Brian Pillman is a virus who the WWF can’t afford to let infect it anymore – so Owen is going to wrestle twice at Summer Slam – not only will Owen and Davey Boy wrestle the legendary Road Warriors – Owen will wrestle Brian Pillman in Pillman’s first ever WWF singles match.

Foley defends against Shamrock. In the Octagon. Idedally, WWF cuts a deal with UFC so they could have the Octagon, if needed, I’ll use the replacement, wink/wink version WWF used at the time. But I do want Sham in the cage. Shamrock isn’t really part of the WWF, he’s a UFC Legend – he was never going to wrestle, sometime after XIII they do a little ceremony thanking him for his service at the PPV – and Foley attacks. Any time Shamrock wrestles on the way to the PPV – and it’s almost never, he only does it once or twice – he wrestles in the Octagon – he comes to the ring with his whole crew, like a fighter – with trainers and cornermen – he’s in a boxing robe, his hands are taped – he gets different lighting cues – ideally they use the UFC announcers if they can get them – they use shootfighters to job out to Shamrock – the whole value of this guy is he’s not a wrestler – so they don’t turn him into one until his push stops.

Shamrock’s a face. But Foley hates him. ‘Cause Shamrock’s not a wrestler – so I want to hear promos about how Foley slept in his car when he went to Dominic Denucci’s wrestling school – how he had to travel all over the world to bleed in front of a dozen people for 17 dollars. How his whole life is about professional wrestling – and here’s some guy who doesn’t respect the business, who says with pride he isn’t a professional wrestler, come into his ring to challenge for the IC title? It’s not right. Who the hell does this guy think he is? If he wants to put on some tights and a cape and wrestle in a high school gym for 5 years – then get back to him – but right now, he’s a one shot gimmick, no better than Lawrence Taylor. Foley's turning heel, but doing it in a way that makes sense to him.

So, it’ll be Shamrock and Foley, getting into the Octagon – for the IC title.

And up top – Bret gets a rematch with Austin. Bret promos. Says it’s been a long time since he’s heard the people cheer. And he’s missed it. Says when he came out tonight, when he came out for his match at XIII, when, for the first time in years he heard the fans cheer – he remembered some things.

He remembered the first time he got hired for the WWF, almost 15 years ago, and how overwhelmed he was to meet guys like Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan. He remembered wrestling Dynamite in the dark match at the first Wrestlemania. He remembered how he went to his brother in law, Davey Boy Smith, with an idea that saved their careers, to tag up as the Hart Foundation. He remembered all the nights he got his ass kicked by Randy Savage and Curt Hennig, men who taught him how to be a champion. He remembered the first time he won the WWF Title, beating Ric Flair at WM VIII. He remembered outlasting the Clique, beating Razor, beating Diesel – he remembered beating Tenryu and Ricky Steamboat – and making the Undertaker submit in the middle of the ring.

And he remembered kicking Shawn Michaels’s ass.

And he remembered being at constant war with his brother Owen.

And he remembered all of this – remembered the legacy that he has built in the WWF – the legacy that is Bret the Hit Man Hart – remembered that his blood, his sweat, his tears are in every ring rope, in every inch of the canvas, in every corner of the arena- and that a viper like Steve Austin can’t change the fact that he’s the best there is, the best there was, the best….

Austin music.

Austin says that’s the saddest speech he ever heard, and he’s sure tears would be streaming down his face, if he gave a damn. Bret’s 10 pounds of crap in a five pound bag, and he can talk all he wants about winning some titles 40 years ago, but the man with the WWF Championship around his waist is Stone Cold Steve Austin, son, and Bret can be the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be, but that won’t save him from getting his ass kicked again at Summer Slam.

Austin/Bret II, Shamrock/Foley in the Octagon, Owen and Davey Boy defending against the Road Warriors, and Owen against Pillman. Add in one more HHH/Goldust in the last man standing and it’s Summer Slam ’97 – the 10th Anniversary of Summer Slam! Live from East Rutherford! Call your local something! Summer Slam '97.

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