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 XII 1996

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Rumble is here.

Wrestlemania XII – 1996 Anaheim
Gorilla and Cornette on the announce. And, for the first (and hopefully only) time, Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

Waltman and HHH enter. The show has yet to begin. Waltman says the cameras aren’t on, so all you Anaheim pussies can just start sucking it. He says he is stuck in the dark match tonight because the WWF is afraid of what he might do or say in front of a live audience at Wrestlemania. So when he goes out and beats Razor Ramon’s ass right now – the fans should understand it’s not for the show – it’s just because he just wants to beat Razor Ramon’s ass.

Waltman and HHH make the sign of the Clique.

(Dark – Waltman d. Razor)

1. Godwinns d. Yoko/Pritchard
-No there was no buildup to this match, you’re right. We’re apparently doing some type of Godwinns/Yoko feud, as I’m doing it again for Summer Slam. Feel free to create your own context. Maybe a fight over a parking space. Pritchard gets pinned, that’s it for Dr. Tom – Yoko will get another partner and do this again at Summer Slam. Gonna be quite the summer. Yoko feuding with the Godwinns over a parking space. “I always park there! I am the mighty Yokozuna!” “We were here first today, jeez, lighten up.” “Are you calling me fat?” “No, jeez” Actually, no, instead they sell the Godwinns as heavy Deliverance – and they want to make Yoko squeal like a pig (or whatever the Japanese word is for pig) although, I kinda prefer the parking spot program. I’ll use that for someone else.

2. Legend's Parking Lot Brawl: Jake Roberts d. Roddy Piper
-We’ll get the Piper/Goldust from XII, except just do the parking lot stuff, no white bronco, no stuff in the ring. Baseball bats, cars. A drunken Jake, say is late to the match, driving up and crashing into the wall – he staggers with his baseball bat and takes a beating from Piper until he is able to hit a wild DDT on the automobile, Jake’s exhausted, lies on top of Piper and grabs the bottle from his trunks. Drink, drink, drink, drink. Then grabs the bible, “John 14:23 ‘If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come undo him, and make our abode with him.” Jake drinks. Spits on Piper. “I’m the Legend of the WWF, children. Hooray for me.” Jake passes out.

3. Ahmed Johnson (w/Ron Simmons) d. Ultimate Warrior
There’s a lot of camp at Wrestlemania XII apparently. Ahmed does his black power thing. The Warrior does his Aryan nation thing. Ahmed goes over. It’s Simmons’s debut, since this universe took away his NWA title, they can’t make it into a real big thing, he’s just a guy who wrestling fans have seen before. Simmons and Ahmed do the beating on the Warrior post match. Simmons cuts a promo announcing (they put Simmons in a suit and bowtie, incidentally, and from now on, Ahmed's in it too) that he is joining Brother Ahmed’s cause in establishing Afro-Power in the so called WWF. And that he and Ahmed are actively recruiting members for the most powerful group in all of wrestling…the Nation of Domination. Hope you like to look at ceilings cause that’s all you’re gonna see.

4. No DQ: HHH (w/Waltman) d. Diesel (w/Razor)
Good garbagy brawl. Chairs, tables. Since it’s no DQ they can get Waltman and Razor used effectively. They have Sunny come to the ring, who’s she gonna pick? Who’s she gonna pick? She turns on Razor and Diesel, goes with Waltman and Hunter. There’s gotta be a destructive conclusion – say both HHH and Waltman coming off of ladders to crash down on Razor/Diesel. The three of them, HHH,Waltman, and Sunny, crotch chop in the middle of the ring, standing over the bodies of Razor/Diesel –

---then HHH wheels on Sunny, Pedigree. Bam. That’s it for Sunny.

I want those fans booing the New Clique. Booo. Booo. Boooo.

We’re gonna have one more match for Razor/Diesel – they do a Losers Leaves Town tag on RAW the next night with Michaels as the guest ref. That’ll be plenty emotional. Waltman and HHH go over, of course, ‘cause Razor and Diesel are leaving town. It’ll be All Clique all Night – clips, interviews, music videos – and the tension will be how Shawn will call the match.

He calls it right down the middle – HHH pins Razor, a night after pinning Diesel, he pins Razor. They win clean. Everyone shocked.

Waltman and HHH will do the Clique Symbol – they’ll want Shawn to join them – Shawn will superkick Waltman cold. HHH takes him and backs away – Michaels, Diesel, Razor stand alone in the ring – much hugging, the weeping, the three men pose and the show ends. After the cameras go off, HHH and Waltman re-enter, and they do the MSG spot, all five men hugging, doing the Clique symbol, faces and heels together, as they say goodbye to Hall and Nash.

5. Owen Hart d. Davey Boy Smith (Special guest referee - Anvil)
Nobody turns. Just a hard fought wrestling match. They tease that Owen’s gonna fight dirty, this is a good time for a “is he gonna hit the other guy with the bell” spot. But no – Owen wins clean. Owen offers a handshake. They go nose to nose, what’s Davey Boy gonna do? Bret enters. Cuts a promo on Davey Boy, saying didn’t he hear the fans boo him? Didn’t he hear them cheer Owen? They’re always gonna cheer Owen, they feel sorry for him – come on over to the dark side, we’ll be the Hart Foundation again – tonight I’m going to kick the crap out of Shawn Michaels -- and we’ll get you an IC shot down the road – and we’ll win the tag belts together – the Hart Foundation - dominating the WWF again…

Davey Boy considers it – then clotheslines Bret. Owen and Davey Boy shake hands – they double dropkick Bret over the top. Face pop. Awwww.

6. Tags: Steve Austin/Dustin Rhodes d. Candido/Vega
Yup. Stunner. Stunner. Heels roll.

7. IC: Vader (w/Perfect) d. Undertaker
The good thing about the Taker is the boy will take a punch. He can’t sell as well as we want – but that’s okay, he’ll hang in there and take a beating. So it’s a flat out, full on brawl – two big men just throwing hands. They each get busted up hardway – it’s a really good, solid brawl. Vader. Clean. “Who’s the Man? Who’s the Man?” Perfect laughs a man's laugh as he tosses the IC belt over his shoulder.

8. WWF Title: Iron Man Match: Shawn Michaels d. Bret Hart
Switch. Quite the night. Shawn wins his second world title to go with his 3 ICs and his two tag runs. It’s his first win over Bret. Same match they did at the show. I liked that match. Same finish. Overtime, superkick.

As Diesel and Razor fade – Shawn takes his spot at the top of the company.

Bret leaves the ring – and keeps on walking, not appearing the next night on RAW – and no one hears from him.

Shawn holds the belt aloft as the show ends.

NWA…the Steiners return, going over the Public Enemy. The Giant destroys Arn. Savage gets a win. Dean beats Regal in a sweet, sweet match. In a better match, Jushin Liger beats Eddy. Harlem Heat regains the tag belts, beating the Road Warriors. The new US Champ…Ric Flair, who beats DDP.

And there’s a World Title switch – Sting loses to Benoit. That’s right, daddy. In 1996 – Chris Benoit – Heavyweight Champion of the World.

It’s a very, very, very good wrestling show.

Slamboree – 1996 Baton Rouge
NWA Title: Chris Benoit d. Sting
US: Ric Flair d. DDP
Tags: Harlem Heat d. Road Warriors
Jushin Liger d. Eddy Guerrero

Dean Malenko d. Steve Regal
Randy Savage d. Konan
The Giant d. Arn
Steiners d. Public Enemy

On the road to Summer Slam…the plan is a Bret/Shawn rematch, but again, Bret’s disappeared, so Vince comes out the night after Mania (rare, special non Mania appearance for Vince) and says he has two announcements.

First, this is his last night with the WWF. He feels the need to go on a spiritual quest and will soon be living in squalor with the sherpas of Nepal, hoping to one day be a man worthy of his family name.

And two – since Bret Hart is nowhere to be found, and since someone has to go to Summer Slam to face Shawn Michaels – the number one contender’s battle royale, traditionally held every other year – is going to be held tonight – in this very ring!

Good night and good luck, Vince says. Now let’s get ready to rumble!

We’ll wait to have this until May, whenever it is that JR comes back.

Winner goes to Summer Slam to face Shawn Michaels for the WWF Title. So, you know, kinda a big deal. In ’91, it was Davey Boy. In ’93, Razor. In ’95, Hakushi. Who will win in ‘1996? Who? Who? Who?

1.Billy Gunn
2. Bart Gunn
-Billy’s cut his hair. Odd. And had some plastic surgery, apparently. Odd. Bart goes for the handhake – Billy slaps him, kicks him in the groin, hits the rocker dropper and tries to toss him out. Odd.

3. Road Dogg.
-Dogg returns, first time since Bret broke his ankle a year before. Dogg’s a heel. Dogg and Billy apparently have made friends at some point – ‘cause he goes to the apron before entering, and taunts Bart as Billy tries to toss him out. Dogg laughs at Bart, “Your brother’s kicking your ass_Bart_how do you like that_Bart_?”

4. Al Snow
-Al’s a heel. Or a face. I guess. I don’t think he knows. Al’s best gimmick is as a crazy guy, talking to himself, twitching, Al’s taking about Normandy, about Jennie Garth, about Twix, whatever you got. Al’s fun – and he can go, Chico. Al throws the Dogg in the ring.

5. Chris Candido
Candido jumps in on Bart’s side, going after Billy. Candido and Bart against Billy. Crazy Al Snow, “I am the most peaceful of all the Blankets in Christendom!” going after the Dogg.

6. Barry Windham
-Barry Windham’s back with the company? Sure, why not. He’s a heel. He attacks Al, that leaves the Dogg to help Billy.

7. Marty Jannetty
-Al, for some reason, goes right after Marty when he enters. “I want to be a Rocker! I want to throw you through a plate glass window, Marty!” Windham aids the Dogg and Billy against Candido and Bart

8. Bradshaw
-We meet Bradshaw. Big cowboy motherfucker. He joins in with Windham, as they are the New Blackjacks. I liked the New Blackjacks. Windham and Bradshaw now in some three way tag action against Bart/Candido and Billy/Dogg. Al tosses Marty (30) out.

9. Waltman
-Waltman joins the Dogg and Gunn. Going after, of course, Candido. Everything else status quo. Al is banging his head into the turnbuckle. Maybe doing a moonsault or two to nothing.

10. Marc Mero
-Hey, it’s Marc Mero, former NWA Tag Champion. Mero goes in on Bart’s side – Mero and Bart slugging their way out of trouble, there seems to be a good chemistry (hint, hint) between Mero and Bart. Both guys doing a no nonsense boxing gimmick here, Bart the boring cowboy boxer, Mero the boring, somewhat effeminate boxer – Waltman/Billy/Dogg stick to Candido and Mero and Bart eliminate Windham (29) and Bradshaw (28). Candido can’t hold on, and is tossed by the three heels (27).

11. Owen
-Owen goes right after it – Waltman, Billy, Dogg. Bart and Mero doubleteam Crazy Al “I need a Tag! Marty! Come make the Hot Tag!”

12. Austin
-Hey, it’s Steve Austin. And now that it’s the summer of ’96, he’s Stone Cold. He beat Jake in a singles on RAW, since there’s no KOTR PPV – cuts the 3:16 promo – “you sit there and youy thump your bible and that didn’t get you anywhere, talk about your psalms, talk about your John 3:16, well Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass” and we’re off. ‘Cept now, he and Dustin are tag champs. Austin goes after Al. Stunner. Middle fingers Tossed over the Top rope. (26). Bart. Stunner. Middle fingers. Tossed over the Top rope. (25). Mero. Rinse. Repeat. (24). Waltman/Dogg/Billy continue to triple team Owen.

13. HHH
-Make that quadruple team Owen. The four men go after Owen..Austin watches. Enjoys it – Austin then attacks – face pop as Austin blows through Waltman, HHH, Dogg, and Billy --- just to get to Owen – and Austin and Owen go blow for blow.

14. Davey Boy.
-Bulldog face pop – and he and Owen together against all the heels. Owen and Davey Boy toss the Dogg (23). So now it’s 4 on 2.

15. Anvil
-Neidhart returns. Hi, Anvil! Neidhart hops in on the side of…well, on the side if the Harts, of course. The Anvil’s a face? And the three of them toss Billy (22).

16. Dustin
-Dustin/Austin v. HHH/Waltman v. All 3 Harts

17. Matt Hardy
18. Jeff Hardy
-Still Ring Boys for the Clique - but their alleigance was to Razor and Diesel, they were pricks, but they had a Stockholm Syndrome thing going with the Hardys (that's a good name for a tag team, say, a face is stuck with a heel and starts to become a heel himself. Stockholm Syndrome) anyway, they still work for the Clique, so they come into help.

Owen and Davey Boy toss Neidhart (21) ‘cause they don’t so much trust him. Anvil, interestingly, doesn’t leave ringside.

19. Lawler.
-Jerry’s a heel. They’ll have him go after Owen/Davey Boy.

20. Mystery Entrant
-Guy in a Hart Foundation jacket, pink and black tights, and a mask. Medium build, he’s moving slowly, deliberately. The ring sort of stops…Bret? Is Bret back? Bret?

Owen and Davey Boy go to attack – the masked guy feints, slips them both, and attacks Waltman and HHH. He pounces all over the Clique. He buries both members, doing the Bret moveset, the leg sweep, the mid rope sharp elbow. The masked guy dumps Waltman (20). And then is knocked out of the ring (19) by Owen and Davey Boy . Anvil seems unsurprised by the masked guy – the two of them absolutely annihilate Waltman on the outside. Chairshots. Steel steps. The masked man puts Waltman in the sharpshooter. He won’t break the hold. It’s Bret Hart! It’s gotta be Bret Hart under the mask! Who else could it be! Broken ankle! Bret's returned in a mask and he's broken The Lightning Kid's ankle! The Anvil continues to chairshot Waltman until officials break it up.

The Anvil and the masked man celebrate in the aisle as Waltman is stretchered out. And the Clique just got a little smaller.

21. Vader (w/Perfect)
-Uh oh. Vader gets…Lawler (18). Matt (17). Jeff (16). Vader then goes after Austin and Dustin. Owen and Davey Boy have been double teaming HHH, preventing him from making a save for Waltman. Hennig starts jawing at Michaels, who, of course, is at the announce. Recall, Vader came in and took Michaels's IC, now Shawn's got the big strap - and now he stands and takes off the headset as the people get excited that maybe he and Perfect are gonna go.

22. Savio
23. Ahmed
24. Ron Simmons
-The Nation of Domination, Simmons and Ahmed. They then attack Vader – while Austin turns and eliminates his own tag partner Dustin (15). Dustin looks hurt. I don’t mean injured, I mean emotionally bothered by this. “Steve? Steve?” Kinda looks like Dustin’s gonna cry. Savio's dumped by the Nation (14)

25. Jake
-Jake, drinking, reading a biblical verse, is met by Austin – and quickly dumped (13). Owen and Davey Boy finally toss Hunter (12).

26. Undertaker
-Undertaker goes after the Nation (recall, Ahmed attacking him with the chain) Undertaker brawling with Simmons and Ahmed…Owen and Davey Boy with Vader….Austin going after everyone in the ring.

27. Henry Godwinn
28. Phinneas Godwinn
-Squeal like a pig. Godwinns join the Nation in attacking the Undertaker – all four men going after the Undertaker…Austin joins Vader against Owen and Davey Boy…

29. Yokozuna.
-Yoko goes after the Godwinns, knocking them and the Nation away from the Dead Man. Yoko eliminates Henry (11) and Phinneas (10). Undertaker eliminates Simmons (9) and Ahmed (8). Everyone in the ring then eliminates Yoko (7) Five in the ring. Owen. Davey Boy. Undertaker . Austin. Vader. One left. Who is going to Summer Slam???

30. Scott Taylor
Seems unlikely, doesn’t it?

Scotty doesn’t come out. We cut to the back, Scotty is lying in a pool of his own blood. Someone else comes out instead.

30. Cactus Jack.
-It’s Foley’s debut.
-Foley tears out to the ring – going right after Vader – Foley with the cactus clothesline that eliminates them both (6 and 5) Hennig takes his eye off Michaels as Vader gets eliminated - and when he turns back around, Shawn superkicks him for the face pop. Foley and Vader brawl ferociously up the aisle. Austin motions to the Undertaker that the two of them need to team up against the Harts --- Undertaker agrees – it’s 2 on 2 – until Austin double crosses him. Stunner. Over the top. 3 more. Austin wants them both to come on – Austin wants them both to come on – the Harts attack – Austin battles both of them – Austin battles both of them and Stuns Owen…Davey Boy charges – and Austin backdrops him to the outside! Owen recovers – and dropkicks Austin up and over the top rope. Owen Hart. Owen Hart – Owen Hart will go to Summer Slam to wrestle Shawn Michaels for the WWF Title!!

Austin climbs back in the ring, going after Owen. Austin attacks Owen, the masked man in the Hart Foundation jacket re-enters --- he comes in waving a chair and he attacks Austin – Austin in driven from the ring by the man in the mask. Bret? Did Bret save Owen??

He and Owen stand nose to nose, the man in the Hart Foundation gear unmasks….

...........Brian Fucking Pillman.

Austin is shocked in the aisle, as he sees his longtime tag partner. Owen is shocked in the ring, as he sees his former training partner from Calgary – and the crowd is shocked as the former NWA Triple Crown Winner ( Counterfactual Pillman’s a big deal) is in the WWF.

The transition continues.

So, the battle royale has set up Summer Slam, in Cleveland, they'll do the Godwinns against Yoko and his next tag partner, Savio. How about Undertaker/Jake, Davey Boy/Lawler, Billy Gunn/Candido. Al against Marty. For the tags, the new team of Mero and Bart against Austin and Dustin.

Austin and Dustin continue to fracture; Austin's Stone Cold now and has no interest in Dustin, and the fragile "son of a gun, son of a son" is now starting to crack up.

For the IC – Vader and Cactus Jack.

Cactus is a babyface, he's all hardcore hero and he's out for revenge. Vader, with Perfect at his side, is a wrecking machine, vowing to take Foley's other ear.

And for the WWF Title – one more round – Shawn Michaels v. Owen Hart.

8 years ago they worked dark at Summer Slam at MSG. 4 years ago, Michaels put Owen through a table at Summer Slam in London. Owen took Shawn's IC at Survivor Series '92, Shawn retook from Owen at Rumble '93. Owen, of course, became WWF Champion when he beat his brother at X - a championship run that ended at Survivor Series, when Michaels beat him in San Antonio. The world title then went back to Bret at XI - and then back to Shawn at XII.

And here we are now, Summer Slam 1996 - both men as babyfaces - Triple Crown Winner Shawn Michaels v. Owen Hart - WWF Championship.

Call your thing.

SummerSlam '96. Buy the shirt!

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