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.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Survivor Series is here.
Royal Rumble – 1992 Albany
(Dark – Jake d. Marty )
Gorilla and Bobby.
Show opens with Bret’s music. Bret. Bret, crutches, cast on ankle, hobbles to the ring. Bret tells us that he’s been here for every WWF PPV, he’s heard Jesse, he’s heard Piper, he’s heard Bobby – and he thinks it’s time for some balance in the booth – and he’s going to join the announce tonight.
1. Beverly Brothers d. Orient Express
2. Sid d. Powers of Pain
-See what they did there? Not a 3 way – Sid beats ‘em both. Handicap match. Sid’s a face, remember, after the match, the lights go out – BONG – lights back on – Undertaker, still an unbeaten (year and a half) heel, in the ring. Nose to nose. Fans squeal, if you like this kinda thing, lights off – Undertaker gone. Sid does that Sid laugh, “Wrestlemania – Dead Man – Wrestlemania – 2 men enter…1 man leaves…I am the Master…and the Ruler….of the World….”
You know, Sid.
3. The Mountie Jacques Rougeau d. KVE
- Jacques is the Mountie! Bret, on the announce, works to put Jacques over as an elite wrestler. Talks about he Rougeaus, says he doesn’t like Jacques, but he think he’s not given enough respect, that kinda thing.
I think this is it for Von Erich; ideally, he'd let Jacques pull off or otherwise expose whatever it was that passed for his fake foot. Whatever needed to get some Jacques heat. If we can't do that, he injures KVE in some significant way that doesn't involve a taser.
4. Tito Santana d. The Male Model Rick Martel
After the pin, they continue fighting – Bret hops back in the ring – tells them maybe they didn’t notice, but guys like the three of them, who have been around for almost a decade, are growing scarce in the locker room, and maybe it’s time they stopped fighting each other. The world keeps turning, children grow up, flowers die, all of that - and they've wasted their lives fighting each other. And Rick - you're Canadian, stop acting like a West Hollywood Hairdresser.
The value here is that it continues to establish Bret as locker room leader, as the conscience of the WWF - we saw it with Savage, we see it here, it's Bret's show. Weight of the world on his shoulders.
Martel and Tito make up. Shake hands. Strike Force reunites! Arriba!
5. Shawn Michaels d. Owen Hart
- Best match of the night. Owen and Shawn are presented as equals, it’s Owen’s first PPV match since WM V, but he hops in right at Shawn’s level, as the two young guys who are right on the cusp of greatness, the future of the business, that kinda thing. In 2006, WWF would tell this story with Orton and Cena, this story is a little better.
Shawn wins clean – Bret doesn’t attempt to interfere, saying Owen isn’t a kid anymore, he can fight his own battles – but tonight, Shawn’s got a little more. Shawn taunts Bret at every opportunity, maybe handing him his crazy sunglasses before the match. Superkick pinfall.
6. Tags: Money Inc: DiBiase/Rotundo (w/Virgil) d. Road Warriors
-Whoa. After 14 unbeaten squash filled months – the Warriors drop clean to the newly formed Money Inc. Ted’s second strap – Rotundo’s second tag strap, but his first in 8 years. The people are rightfully surprised. Frustrated Road Warriors hit the Device on Virgil postmatch, which gives the fans something to cheer for, which gives a heelish edge to the Roadies, which writes Virgil out, as he's done now. Bret puts the heels over as the better workers, which helps both them and Bret.
7. IC No DQ: Randy Savage d. Roddy Piper
Switch. It’s a rematch, note from the IC Title match at WM II, six years earlier, when heel Savage won his first WWF strap from face Piper. Here, it’s Savage’s return to the ring after losing the retirement match to Hennig 10 months earlier at VII. They go full out for an old school brawl, lots of blood and broken things. Piper tries to use the bell – Savage uses the fork – which hopefully draws the Abdullah pop, given how much time they spent getting it over. Bloody Elbowdrop pinfall. Savage adds a 2nd IC title to his WWF title run. Bret stands and applauds along with the people. Garbage Savage can still be a super hot act in 1992. But he's done working straight matches unless he's with a much superior worker.
8. WWF Title: Flair (w/Hennig) d. Davey Boy
Flair keeps. During the match, Hennig aids Flair more than is acceptable to Bret, who leaves the announce to fight him off. Hennig and Bret brawl into the back. Flair wins clean again with the figure four submission. Wooooo. Following, in the back, with Heenan and Hennig in tow, Flair crows about his accomplishment, saying that tonight he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the finest WWF champion of all time. Heenan noticeably applauds in agreement.
Hennig noticeably doesn't, but says nothing. That's the new dynamic, as we move forward to Mania. Remember, this isn’t just Curt Hennig longtime IC champion, in this world, Hennig is the longest running WWF champion since Backlund, and now he’s carrying Flair’s robe. Now that Hennig was used to give Flair the WWF rub, it's time to step back and consider this relationship. Why is it that Mr. Perfect, one considers, so willingly accepts this role as valet?
Perhaps he wonders the same thing.
The week after the Rumble is the NWA show. Page and Bagwell get another win, Taylor gets a win going over a departing Scott Hall (huh, wonder where he’s going) AA goes over Ron Simmons (a sidenote, Simmons never wins the big title – nor does Maivia in the WWF – nor does Booker T in either company, unless I’m missing someone…in my world, no black world champions. Racist.) Foley gets a win over Lex, Austin beats Sting, the Steiners keep, Steamboat keeps the US – going over Rick Rude, Rude’s first NWA title shot since ’86 – and the new NWA Champion is Flyin’ Brian Pillman, beating Jushin Liger in an all time classic match.
In February, the NWA is back, Page and Bagwell winners again, Terry Taylor gets another singles win (he’s on fire!) AA wins, Marc Mero gets a win over a pre-Raven, pre-Johnny Polo Scott Levy, Foley beats Sting (Bang, Bang!), the Steiners drop to Dustin and Barry Windham. It’s Dustin’s 2nd title with two different partners – it’s Windham’s first…and see what’s happened – he has the NWA tag – and Rotundo has the WWF tag.
Windham and Rotundo live! 7 years later! Windham and Rotundo!
Rude takes the US from Steamboat. And Pillman keeps against Austin. Man these are good shows. NWA!
Superbrawl – 1992 Milwaukee
NWA Title: Brian Pillman d. Jushin Liger
US Title: Ricky Steamboat d. Rick Rude
Tags: Steiners d. Eaton/Dustin
Steve Austin d. Sting
Cactus Jack d. Lex Luger
Arn Anderson d. Ron Simmons
Terry Taylor d. Scott Hall
DDP/Bagwell d. Morton/Zenk
Wrestlewar – 1992 Jacksonville
NWA Title: Brian Pillman d. Steve Austin
US Title: Rick Rude d. Ricky Steamboat
Tags: Dustin/Windham d. Steiners
Cactus Jack d. Sting
Marc Mero d. Scott Levy
Arn Anderson d. Tracey Smothers
Terry Taylor d. Bobby Eaton
DDP/Bagwell d. Freebirds
Also in February is the last Saturday Night’s Main Event ever (until 2006)– it was on FOX.
They open with old tape from Stampede – as much as necessary to show young Bret, Owen, Davey Boy, Neidhart, Dynamite, and we’ll get some Pillman in there too, you know, ‘cause he has the belt in the other company and Counterfactual Vince enjoys that.
Back to live, Bret music. Bret. Owen. Davey Boy. And hey look - a returning Anvil, carrying the Canadian flag.
Bret talks. They’re the Hart Foundation, trained in the dungeon, trained by Stu, and since Wrestlemania II, when the Dynamite Kid won the WWF Title, and he and Davey Boy won the tag titles - this group has been the one true constant in professional wrestling.
"We don't just work for the World Wrestling Federation - we live, breathe, sleep, and eat the World Wrestling Federation. That Hart Foundation...we Are the World Wrestling Federation."
– And tonight the fans of the WWF will be reminded what that means, when Davey Boy and the Anvil team up to beat the Beverly Brothers – and Owen and Bret team up to beat Shawn and Flair in a 2 out of 3 falls match.
Yeah, that's right, the last ever Sat Night Main Event is freaking Bret/Owen against Shawn/Flair. Feel me, daddy? Let the tape trading begin. Literally.
And, Bret says, the WWF will be reminded at WM VIII in Indianapolis (buy your tickets now) when Owen gets revenge on that punk Michaels and Bret gets his first WWF Title shot in 3 years – and will prove he’s the best there is…best there was…best there ever will be…against Ric Flair.
Michaels enters. "You are the WWF? You four? Ever considered maybe that's what's wrong with the WWF? Hey censors, Hey Fox TV - get your fingers on the button - hey Bret - ever consider that's why we're not on NBC tonight?
Shawn's shooting. 'Cause, you know, he's Shawn.
"I didn't become a wrestler to wear a suit and tie and to know my place in your locker room, Hit Man. You sit out on the announce at the Rumble and annoint your chosen wrestlers - just like you do in the back -- there are guys like me who can't get a break because we're not your chosen wrestlers -- because we're not (here's your money line) in your clique."
See what they did there?
Shawn's in the ring, surrounded by all four Harts, seemingly fearless as he stands in Bret's face.
"But you know what, Bret...you know what...maybe it's time there's another clique around here...maybe one day you'll know what it's like to have the numbers against you...maybe one day the real power around here won't be the Hit Man....it'll be the Heart Break Kid...
Shawn turns to Owen.
...and maybe one day, Rocket, you'll actually beat somebody.
Neidhart and Davey Boy grab Michaels - handing Bret the Canadian flag - telling him to blast him. Michaels yells at Bret - tells him to go ahead, to use his numbers, to take him out.
The rage passes through Bret's face. He hands the flag back to the Anvil. Owen goes to hold the ropes open for Shawn. And Bret - in a line that some will remember from the Dynamite Kid when Steamboat lost his Loser Leaves Town several years before, says, "I don't need the numbers, Boy Toy, Owen and I will beat you and Flair tonight....Now get the hell out of my ring."
They do an Undertaker squash and another nose to nose with Sid. They bring back Jake (hi, Jake!) gone since VII, and Hogan, gone since Survivor Series (hi, Hogan!) and set up the legend’s match. They do a parking lot thing where Piper runs his car into Savage (Randy's in streetclothes) and then slams his head repeatedly in a car door. They do three tag matches. Davey Boy and Neidhart whip the Beverly Brothers.
In a match to decide who will go onto WM to face Money Inc., a reunited Strike Force shocks the Road Warriors. Warriors go more heelish during the match, continuing the thing from the Rumble. But it's Tito and the non Model Martel, back together for the first time in years, who get the shocking pinfall.
And they give half an hour to the main event – Flair and Bret are seen as the same, important to Bret, and the company, as you see they're moving him fully into Randy’s spot as the top face, like Randy moved into Steamboat’s – and Flair is Flair – and again, just underneath them are the kids, Owen and Shawn, seen as right about to make that next step. It’s excellent symmetry.
Heels go over. Flair gets the first fall on Owen. Owen wins the second fall on Shawn. Shawn wins the third fall on Bret. Superkick, pinfall. Which should be another surprise and serve, as the whole night should, to get Shawn over.
And that’s how it goes. Show ends with the big 8 man brawl as they add Hennig and Heenan (don’t forget the Flair/Hennig stuff) add Davey Boy and Neidhart – and that’s it for the Main Event.
Go buy your tickets for VIII. Go now. Lots of seats at the Hoosierdome. It's Flair defending against Bret. Savage and Piper in a Streetfight. Money Inc defending against Strike Force. Shawn and Owen in a rematch. Hogan and Jake in the Legends and the Undertaker finally squares off against Sid - two monsters going head up! Wrestlemania VIII - it's gonna be a happening!
Summer Slam is here.
Survivor Series – 1991 Detroit(Dark – Tito Santana d. Jake Roberts )
Gorilla and Bobby on the announce. Bobby spends the show talking about Flair.
1. Beverly Brothers d. Natural Disasters
2. Undertaker d. Hulk Hogan
-Chokeslam. Tombstone. On the one year anniversary of his debut, the Undertaker buries Hulkamania. It's quick and dominant. The stare down before the match is longer than the match. Sid appears as the Taker attempts to bodybag Hogan, chokeslamming the Dead Man himself - and when the Undertaker sits up, chokeslamming him again.
3. Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) d. Mike Rotundo
-They lock up and do a couple of sequences – then Rotundo suddenly just drops, allowing Ted to cover for the win. Virgil hands Rotundo a briefcase as he exits the ring. Everybody's got a price, after all.
4. The Mountie Jacques Rougeau d. Bezerker
-The Mountie rolls on. Jacques is the Mountie!
5. Shawn Michaels d. Marty Jannetty
- The end of the feud. Another terrific match, Shawn establishes his dominance over his former tag partner it’s a clean, definitive win for Michaels. Following the match, Shawn is the one to offer a hand to Marty…Marty hesitates….then accepts!!
But Shawn pulls the hand back and superkicks Jannetty one more time.
Poor, dumb, coked up Marty.
Shawn poses over Marty, smirks, has the announce say that he's left the building.
6. Tags: Road Warriors d. Slaughter/Boss Man
-One year into their unbeaten title run – the Warriors squash White Power.
7. IC Title: Roddy Piper d. Bret Hart
-Switch. The 22 month IC run, Bret’s second IC run after an 18 month tag run – is over. Storyline is the same one they used at WM VIII – Piper’s torn conscience – will he cheat to win or demonstrate some honor….
Well, in this world, Piper’s really a heel – so when the moment comes and he has to decide whether to use the ringbell or not – he uses it. Piper wins his second IC title by nailing Bret over the back of the head with the ringbell and getting the fall. It's not a swerve, he made a legit face turn, but given the chance to win his 2nd IC strap, he took it.
After, Piper continues to attack, 'cause he has the taste of blood now, driving the bell into Bret’s ankle repeatedly, until he is stopped by a fan…
Good God – it’s Owen Hart!
It’s the first time Owen’s been seen since WM V – and he draws the huge favorite son pop as he saves his brother. Owen driving Piper from the ring. Big Owen Pop!
8. WWF Title: Ric Flair (w/Hennig) d. Davey Boy Smith
- Woooooo. Flair becomes the first man since, oddly enough, the original Nature Boy, Buddy Rogers, to win both the NWA and the WWF titles. It’s Flair’s 4th World Championship. Hennig gets shots in during the match to establish his value at ringside, Bobby stays in the booth to cheerlead. Finish is clean, figure four submission.
Flair and Perfect celebrate - Bobby joins them as the show ends.
The year ends with Starrcade – okay, the NWA is about to go through a stretch of an embarrassment of crazy talent – between now and say, 1995 when Hogan arrives – every PPV will be a contender for the best PPV of all time. In actuality, they didn’t use their talent very well and their shows weren’t this good – but in this world, what you need to watch is the NWA. Here, Bagwell and Page each make their PPV debuts as a heel tag team. Pillman, now a face after being kicked out of the Horsemen, gains revenge by beating Taylor Rick Rude goes over Marc Mero. Steve Austin goes over Luger. The Steiners retake their tag belts from Eaton and Dustin. The new US Champion is….Ricky Steamboat, who recall, just worked Summer Slam in August. The Dragon goes over AA. And Sting drops the NWA title to Jushin Thunder Liger, one of the greatest juniors of all time, and absolutely in his prime right now in the early to mid 90s, on loan from New Japan. It’s a great PPV – arguably the best to this date.
Starrcade – 1991 Norfolk
NWA Title: Jushin Thunder Liger d. Sting
US Title: Ricky Steamboat d. Arn Anderson
Tags: Steiners d. Eaton/Dustin
Steve Austin d. Lex Luger
Rick Rude d. Marc Mero
Vader d. Cactus Jack
Brian Pillman d. Terry Taylor
Mark Bagwell/DDP d. Tracey Smothers/Abdullah the Butcher
On the road to the Rumble, Monster Sid continues squashing people, The Mountie continues his impressive winning streak, and a fight breaks out in the back between Tito and Martel. Again.
DiBiase enters on Prime Time Wrestling, the studio audience boos, you know, pointing their thumbs down in a disapproving manner. Ted says he’s one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, he’s been Intercontinental Champion – and now he’s going to do what no man in the WWF has been able to do in over a year – beat the Road Warriors…
And to help him do it, he introduces his tag team partner….Mike Rotundo. DiBiase and Rotundo heel up all winter, harpooning the Warriors whenever possible.
Owen promos, introduced by Mooney as the future of the WWF, the favorite son of the WWF….Owen thanks the fans for remembering him – saying that three years ago his ankle was shattered – and there were times he didn’t think he’d make it back – but now that he is ready to represent the Hart Family with pride.
Enter Michaels. Oddly enough, phrases like future of the WWF and favorite son of the WWF irritate him. Michaels says maybe Owen should consider, you know, winning a match on PPV before proclaiming himself the future of wrestling. Mooney interjects that he, in fact, used that term - Michaels superkicks him to the floor. "Don't interrupt me, bitch."
And then to Owen, "I don't like you, I don't like your brother, I don't like your family, I don't like the Dungeon, I don't like Canada, and I don't like..."
And then Owen drops him with an enzuguiri.
Two weeks before the Rumble, Bret returns, he has been out since SSeries with the ankle injured by Piper. Bret/Davey Boy are going to tag against Flair and Piper – the reunion of the Hart Foundation tonight on Prime Time Wrestling! But Bret never makes it to the ring – he’s laid out by Piper and Flair in the back – they attack the ankle again and leave him laying. Davey Boy is left to face Flair and Piper alone – he fights valiantly, but the heels have the upper hand – Owen runs in – looking to take his brother’s place and make a tag – Owen enters, getting the heat segment, big pop for Owen – and he has Flair ready to submit with the sharpshooter – when he is superkicked by an entering Michaels. Michaels beats on Owen – Flair and Piper beat on Davey Boy – both faces incapacitated…Bret limps his way down the aisle to attempt to save his family – but all three heels take him out – Flair applying a figure four – Michaels elbowdropping Bret – Piper using the ringbell again to further damage Bret’s ankle..
The three heels, take a picture, the three heels, Flair, Shawn, Piper, stand over the Hart Foundation.
The week before the Rumble, Bret's the guest on Piper's Pit.
Bret comes out in a wheelchair. Piper mocks him as Bret says he won't be able to fulfill his rematch clause at the Rumble. More mocking. Piper baits Bret, saying he was looking forward to beating him again, but it looks like he'll have a night off.
Bret says that it sounds like Piper wants the easy way out - but if he had any guts, he'd put that belt up anyway.
Piper rises, well, well, I'm the Intercontinental Champion - it's a week before the Rumble, anyone in the back worthy of challenging for my belt already has a match set - it's not like a clown like Duggan deserves a shot.
Bret says, what about a former IC Champ? What if a former IC Champ meets you in Albany at the Royal Rumble?
Piper says, please - Rude's gone, DiBiase and Chico have matches, you already said you can't go - what did you do, dig up Valentine or Pedro?
Bret: No, someone else. Someone you've never beaten. Someone you can't beat, Piper.
Piper gets hot - says he'll put up the title against anyone, bring him out - he doesn't care - bring him out...
Pomp and Circumstance.
Savage tears the set down, drags Piper into the ring, and elbowdrops him.
So, we're ready to go. Flair in the rematch against DBS. Piper defends against Savage in a No DQ. Road Warriors continue their run against DiBiase and Rotundo. Michaels meets Owen, good god! It's Royal Rumble '92! Call your cable company!