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.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Summer Slam was here.
Survivor Series – 1998 St. Louis
JRs Bells Palsy flares up again and that's a good opportunity to shake things up - so this will be Cornette's last event, our last JR/Cornette show.
(Dark – Taka/Togo/Teioh d. Del Santo/Aguila/Crazy)
-The KDX feud continued - when one RAW they were attacked by the new Mexican contingent as Super Astros had begun. So, we’re getting a Japan/Mexico thing on TV, unfortunately, not on PPV. Super Crazy is wearing a mask, and will continue to do so in his US appearances, both because it's gonna pay off in 7 1/2 years and because, well, Crazy's not the best looking dude.
1. Hardy Boys (w/E and C) d. Lawler/Taylor (w/Jerry)
Again, that's Too Cool, young Lawler and Scotty (w/o worm, for the love of god, w/o worm) Matt and Jeff take the mic after the match, thanking the fans for all their help in getting them on their first ever PPV. They’re a little misty, the fans appreciate it – do a “Let them Play” chant – Edge and Christian take the mic from them, do some jokes – say, maybe next time, since they’re the ones who, I don’t know, retired Vader, maybe they can get back on PPV too. It’s not exactly appropriate as it cuts into the nice moment between the Hardys and the fans. There’s just something about that Edge and Christian….The next night, the Hardys are still setting up the ring, cleaning the ropes, E and C tell the Hardys that this is goofy, they won a pay per view match, it’s not like retiring Vader – but it’s good, what the hell are they still doing setting up the ring?
Hardys are keeping it real. Staying true to their roots. They made an agreement and they’re gonna keep it. Good kids, those Hardys. Trish is seated up in the WWF employees box, we see her clapping for the Hardys everytime they appear. We see occasional shots of Trish and Jeff nervously talking backstage during weekly shows.
2. Southern Man Jeff Jarrett d. Bart Gunn
- Same bit. Figure four. Won’t break hold. Bart's helped to the back.. The Southern Man kills careers. Jarrett's taken out Savio, taken out Mero, taken out Bart, as this will wrap him up. He and Dustin wave the Rebel Flag. They taunt you! They taunt you and your bourgeois values. They are Southern Men! Watch your head!!
3. The Abolitionist Ulysess S. Morley d. Southern Man Dustin Rhodes (DQ)
Morley’s got Dustin beat after Liberation Falls when Jarrett dives in with the flag. Jarrett draws the DQ – beating up Morley with the flag – Morley recovers, taking the flag from Jarrett and beating up both men with it. Morley tosses the Confederate flag at them in scorn and grabs a microphone, "Hey, Southern Men - maybe you didn't notice - but this is the United States of America - and if you're going to bring a flag out to the ring - how about you make it red, white, and blue?"
Sure is a lot of flag business. Seems like we might be going somewhere with that.
4. Al Snow (w/Head) d. Undertaker
“I want to tell you a story St. Louis – it’s a story about a man who returned from Barbed Wire City, a man who came back to the old neighborhood and expected to be treated with the veteran respect he deserves – and that man WAS IGNORED IN THE LOCKER ROOM BY THE UNDERTAKER!! THE UNDERTAKER BLEW ME OFF AND NOW I’M GOING TO BLOW HIM……………….…AWAY…Blow Him Away. That’s what it will be. I will blow you away, Dead Man. Woooooosh!”
Undertaker dominates, beats the hell out of Al, Al gets in largely token offense, but his job is to take the beating – but he earns the Dead Man’s respect by not getting pinned – and by battling back he gets the crowd somewhat on his side. Al works most of the match looking for the hot tag to head, finally he makes the tag.....but in what is a suprise only to Al - Head remains on the apron.
Eventually, the Taker hits the chokeslam – but when he goes to pick Al up for the tombstone – Al rolls him up for the fluke win.
Both men are shocked. Al, bloody, staggers over to the top buckle to throw a victorious hand in the air – and then do his customary moonsault to the canvas.
Crazy ass Al.
Al hugs Head, muttering about "tough love" and gutty veteran leadership that Head showed out there. Al shakes Head. Ideally, fans would also.
5. Sean Waltman (w/HHH) d. 2 Cold Scorpio (w/ Big Markie)
Workrate. Waltman goes over clean, Hunter taking out Henry with the Pedigree. Waltman wins with the X Factor. Following the match, Waltman and Helmsley move to the announce, where they help call the tag title.
6. Tags: Nation d. New Age Outlaws
Rock and DLo keep, their second run goes on. Hunter gets hot during the match, “Jim Ross, I am sick to death of not getting what is rightfully mine around this place. I ran Razor and Diesel out of the WWF. I ended Shawn Michaels’s career. Let me ask you this, Jim Ross, how many singles title shots have I ever gotten? Not a goddamn one. How many titles have I held? Look in this ring, can you honestly say that Billy Gunn is a better wrestler than I am? How many titles has Billy Gunn had here? Look at the Rock, look at that crap – can you believe the people eat this crap up, Jim Ross? I just can’t take this anymore….”
Rock wanders to Hunter at one point, grabs a headset, tells Hunter that if he watches the People’s Champion carefully, maybe takes some notes, that maybe he might learn something. Hunter and Rock start to brawl – the Outlaws get the double team on DLo and have the fall – but with the referee distracted, Waltman spinkicks Billy and X Factors the Dogg. Rock re-enters, gets the Rock Bottom on the Dogg and the fall.
The Nation leaves with their belts and the former Clique halves go full on brawl in the middle of the ring and have to be separated. Much crotch chopping.
7. IC: Steve Austin d. Steve Regal
Austin/Regal is a great in ring matchup – this is Regal’s only PPV during this run – so we’ll get an inury angle. High pitched battle that ends with the Stunner. We’ll see Regal get up during the Austin beer soaked celebration – he hits Austin with a chair – which Austin largely no sells – and Austin lays Regal out with a couple more Stunners and then pours beer on him. I kinda like a spot where we see how vicious Austin can be and still get the babyface reaction for him. If he just destroys Regal, picking him up after each Stunner and then stunning him again – if he pours beer all over him – how long until they stop cheering? I figure, in 1998, a really long time. Just want to know how much they can get away with. Austin decimates Regal - laughing at him as he's aided from the ring. Middle fingers and beer all around.
Pre match - the TitanTron....OWEN HART!
Owen enters to sit in on the announce with JR and Cornette.
8. WWF Title: Hell in a Cell: Cactus Jack d. Ken Shamrock
Shamrock throws Foley off the top of the cell through the announce table. 20 feet. Boom. Maybe you know that spot.
The people, you know, go crazy, as they should, ‘cause it’s a guy just falling legit. through a table from 20 feet.
Same spot, the stretcher, Funk leading the guys from the back out to take Foley away, only addition is that now there's Owen, who is out because he's recuperating from being set on fire by Foley, Owen is there to sell the severity of the situation. As they’re leading Foley away, he climbs off the stretcher to go climb up the cage again to get to Shamrock. Foley obviously is getting cheered again now – as is Shamrock, both in a bloodthirsty, crazy ass sort of way – and Shamrock suplexes Foley through the top of the cage, all the way to the mat, again, knocking him out. Tooth in the nose, the whole thing.
A Sham-rock chant in the way the fans chanted for the Undertaker at the time (check the tape if it's been awhile) would be good.
Fans again go crazy, the back again comes out into the ring, again they are going to stop it – but again Cactus fights through it. Owen makes clear he's been wrestling a long time, he's held every title in this company, he's seen every great wrestler in the WWF the last 15 years - and he's never - he has never - seen anything like this.
We get the Foley pours the thumbtacks all over the ring spot – it’s the same match – except, Jack wins. He doublearm DDTs Shamrock on the thumbtacks and gets the fall. It’s as remarkable a thing as you’ll ever see.
My hope is it rehabilitates Shamrock a little bit – when the Taker threw Foley off the cage, the fans chanted “Un-der-tak-er”. ‘Cause it’s a badass move. I don’t exactly want him to turn face – but there's a little more story with Shamrock, so my hope is that even losing, he regains some credibility as a guy who will fuck you up.
Now, it’s not a face turn for Foley – even though, reading it, you think how could people boo him. But see, what actually happened is on RAW, Foley came out and criticized the fans for chanting for the Undertaker. He said he fell 20 feet through a table and the first thing he remembers when he came to is the fans chanting for the Undertaker. So, we’ll get the same thing here. Plus, Foley did set Owen on fire.
What it became was the underpinning of the eventual face turn, which was built on a respect for Foley’s taking so much punishment. So, eventually (not giving away too much) Cactus will be a face again - and eventually, this match will be mythologized as proof that that son of a bitch Jack just won't die. But that's not here yet. For now, it can be processed as crazy, out of control, a little bit scary Cactus Jack.
That feeling can be increased when, postmatch - Jack keeps trying to stand to challenge Owen - Cactus keeps yelling at Owen to get in the ring - to come get some - to show him what he's got - but Cactus can't stay upright - the blood loss - the concussion - it's all too great - and winds up laid out on the canvasm having to be helped from the ring. Owen stands at the table, takes off the headset as he watches the whole thing, shaking his head in amazement. One wonders, after vanquishing all comers - from Savage, to Bret, to Michaels, even to Steve Austin - how Owen Hart can stop the...thing...that is Cactus Jack.
This is really the beginning of the turn back for Foley We build upon all that we’ve done before with this crazy, crazy performance – and add to it by giving him the win over a guy he never beat before, and having him keep the belt. I want, recall, Foley and Austin to be seen as the same – Foley is your respected, completely brutal heel – and Austin is your respected, pretty brutal face. So, the images that should continue to be played on TV as 1999 begins - the lasting images of Survivor Series - are Austin's total destruction of Regal, the relentless way he refuses to let Regal leave the ring -- and Foley's refusal to die - his unwillingness to let crippling falls and the onslaught of Ken Shamrock, take his WWF Title away.
Would almost seem like they're building to something.
In the NWA…Goldberg and Nash become your unlikely new tag team champions. Flair gets a win. Fit gets a win. Juvie beats Kidman. Little Rey is your new US Champ, beating Saturn – and your new NWA Champ is Eddy, who goes over Jericho.
If you're just hopping in and wonder how it is that they're still NWA - that's because the degree to which WWF married itself to traditional wrestling convinced Turner to spare no expense to keep the NWA name and the lineage intact. That, in turn, is one of the reasons that Vince, years ago, pledged a cut of overall profit to the World Wildlife Fund in order for an, easement, if you will, in the intellectual property rights that the organization has over WWF.
Starrcade – 1998 DC
NWA Title: Eddy Guerrero d. Chris Jericho
US: Rey Mysterio d. Perry Saturn
Tags: Goldberg/Nash d. Smiley/Miller
Juventud Guerrera d. Billy Kidman
Fit Finlay d. Scott Norton
Ric Flair d. Konnan
Jerry Flynn d. Prince Iaukea
Goldberg/Nash d. Bischoff/Crush
In ECW, The Dudleys get a win. So do Guido and Tommy. Tajiri beats Super Crazy (in the mask) in a hot match. The Impact Players keep the tag belts. RVD keeps the US over Sabu, and Taz keeps the ECW Title over Shane Douglas.
Living Dangerously – 1999 Asbury Park
ECW Title: Taz d. Shane Douglas
TV Title: RVD d. Sabu
Tags: Justin/Lance d. Gangstas
Tajiri d. Super Crazy
Tommy Dreamer d. Steve Corino
Nova d. Spike
Guido d. Danny Doring
Dudleys d. Roadkill/Chetti
The Rumble is coming from Anaheim.
The organizing entity is the Ring Boys. E and C…
… Adam is adament about calling himself Edge – but everyone forgets and still calls him Adam and he gets pissed, “Come on guys, jeez, I beat Vader. Call me Edge.”
..anyway, Owen tells E and C to go back to their jobs as Ring Boys. They have to take off the crazy coats and put the black tshirts back on. They grumble a lot, maybe even saying that they deserve a title shot against the Nation –
that grumbling leads to an attack by…Billy and the Dogg. Billy and the Dogg attack, they’re pissed that E and C, punk kids would think they deserve a title shot. Some ring boys, some little Canadian ring boys think they can start talking about getting a title shot? They're offended, and with Owen otherwise occupied, they just kick the crap out of E and C one night.
Face save by HHH and Waltman.
They get the face pop – they just wanted to beat up Billy and the Dogg – so, after they do that – as the fans cheer them – Hunter takes the mic and says that, upon further reflection, Billy and the Dogg, ungrateful pricks that they are, were right - and a couple of little bitches who carry Owen Hart's bags shouldn't be talking, even joking, about getting a title shot..
So they then turn on E and C.
Save by Matt and Jeff. And the four young men are able to drive Hunter and Waltman from the ring. Hunter yells at the Hardys - tells them to watch their ass - but all four members of the Ring Boys ascend to the buckles and take the cheers.
We see Trish in the employees box, nervous and excited for Jeff – as the two of them are now dating.
We’re gonna get E and C v. the Outlaws at the Rumble.
We get an 8 man on Raw between the Ring Boys and the Nation – and the Crew goes over (Jeff pinning Scorpio) when HHH and Waltman interfere, swinging chairs and taking out guys from both sides. Hunter Pedigrees Rock on a chair, and Jeff is able to scramble to the top for the Swanton to get the fall on Scorp. Pretty big crowd pop as Jeff Hardy pins 2 Cold Scorpio.
So, we’ll get Jeff/Scorpio as a single at the Rumble (Matt and Big Markie in their corners) and a furious Rock/DLo will defend against HHH/Waltman.
It’s Val and Dustin, one more time. Flag match. In one corner, the Confederate flag – in the other, the American flag – if you get to a flag, you can use it as a weapon. Flag stuff. There's flag stuff to do.
We’re going back to the Octagon. Shamrock’s called out by Dan The Beast Severn. Severn goes full heel, which moves Shamrock the other way. Severn gets an intro as a UFC Legend; he says he’s ashamed of Shamrock, he got choked out by Austin and now he turns on his television to watch a PPV and sees Shamrock throwing someone off a cage. Embarrassing. Severn says the UFC was built on one rivalry, Severn/Shamrock – that it’s like Ali/Frazer or Ray Robinson/Jake LaMotta. And before Shamrock disgraces himself again – Severn wants him one more time in the Octagon.
Shamrock says he has conquered UFC – and anyone who has seen him become IC Champ – anyone who saw him throw Cactus Jack off a steel cage – knows he has conquered the WWF – and he’ll be glad to end his feud with Dan Severn once and for all – in the Octagon at the Royal Rumble.
Al comes out one night, says he has been in some high level meetings with Head, that after Head displayed such guidance against the Undertaker it's time to move Head from valet status to becoming his full fledged manager. Al shows a WWF managerial contract with Head's name on it.
Al says he's not sure this is the right career move - but after beating the Undertaker, Head says it's time Al move up the card - and so (deep breath, Al seeming nervous) at the Royal Rumble, Al challenges Stone Cold Steve Austin for the IC Title.
Crazy ass Al. If you recall from his first run, Al's one goal since he was a little boy was to be IC champ. He dreamed about going to Rio and winning a fictional tournament as long as he can remember. And now, since he beat the Undertaker IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING (Al starts to get worked up, enough so that he does his moonsault – splat) he’s ready to take the belt that’s rightfully his – STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN, GET OUT TO MY RING AND BRING MY BELT YOU YELLOW BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And that’s the angle – cause Austin’s amused by the whole thing – but more than willing to beat Al up. Austin beat Razor and Diesel. Beat Bret. Choked Shamrock out – won the Triple Crown and destroyed Steve Regal – and now here’s Al Snow?
Al Snow? Austin says it’s hardly worth his time, but he gets paid just the same, and if he finishes Snow off early that’s more time to drink beer – so if you want to see Stone Cold Steve Austin whip Al Snow’s ass in Anaheim, California – give him a hell yeah.
Main Event. Foley. Owen. Barbed Wire.
Foley cuts a promo on the fans. Says they’re scared of him. Says it took him awhile to understand, says he used to think they didn’t like him – and that’s why they booed – that’s why they booed when he made the Rock bleed – that’s why they booed when he won the Triple Crown – that’s why they booed when he set Owen Hart on fire –
But it’s not that they don’t like him. And no - it's not that they don’t like themselves. All that talk about self hating wrestling fans that he's done - that was pop psychology and he apologizes for it. He’s Cactus Jack, not Dr. Laura (late 90s reference). All that talk about how he was really them – and by booing him, they were really booing themselves…yeah, that was a bunch of crap, he sees that now, he apologizes for wasting their time. Because he knows there's nothing more precious to a wrestling fan - than his time.
Because the truth is – he’s not like them at all.
Because he’s a real man. Because he does things to himself that they aren’t man enough to do – and every single damn one of them knows it.
They don’t have the balls to take the punishment that he’s taken. To stand in front of Vader and get punched full in the face. To lose an ear in a ring in Germany – and still finish the match. To want the WWF Title so much, to want the Triple Crown so much, that you’re willing to set another man – a man you actually happen to like, because truthfully, Owen's kind of a cool guy – on fire. They don’t have any idea, with their fat wives and their dumb kids and their shitty cars and their dead end jobs – they don’t have any idea what it takes to fall 20 feet off a steel cage through a table –
...and get up
only to get suplexed 20 feet through that same cage to the canvas –
... and get up
and, with your damn teeth coming out of your nose – to take shot after shot from a guy as tough as Ken Shamrock – because you know the only thing – the only thing – worse than the pain you feel right now is the pain you’d feel walking out of that arena without the WWF Title belt over your shoulder.
You people don’t have any idea what it takes to do that, what it takes to be man enough to do any of that…
All you know is you don’t have it.
You don’t have it – and you know that Cactus Jack does – and that is why you boo me. You jealous, little, sons of bitches. You are all pathetic.
Later, we’d get another promo, in the same vein, where Foley would parade the Triple Crown in the ring, saying most of the fans would sell their souls for a bowling trophy – and here’s Cactus Jack – owner of the most prized award in all of sports.
That’ll be Austin’s cue – since the Triple Crown is half his. And we can do some Austin/Foley stuff. Wherever you see one...
Finally, Foley cuts a promo on Owen. I want them nose to nose for this, Foley says not only are the fans scared of him – but so is Owen. When he set Owen on fire – when Owen Hart quit in the ring, willingly gave up his WWF Title – at that moment, he knew he wasn’t the man his brother is – and certainly knew he wasn’t the man Cactus Jack is. When Owen Hart stood frozen in St. Louis, unwilling - unable to come to the middle of the ring and fight him - Cactus Jack knew...he_knew_that Owen Hart wasn't the man that Cactus Jack is.
And Owen - you knew it too.
And Owen responds.
Owen responds to Foley by saying he doesn’t have any idea what kind of man Owen Hart is – Owen Hart is a man whose first memories are of being in the dungeon as a little boy, being stretched by his father. Owen Hart is a man who had to fight his older brothers every day because they were trying to toughen him up. Owen Hart is a man who wrestled the Dynamite Kid when he was a teenager – a teenager – Cactus Jack thinks he’s a crazy man? Cactus Jack couldn’t carry Tommy Billington’s jock.
You think you know who Owen Hart is? Owen Hart is a man who made his brother quit, who made Shawn Michaels quit, who beat Steve Austin when he passed out from the pain. That’s who Owen Hart is, that’s the kind of man Owen Hart is.
You want to know who Owen Hart is – Owen Hart is a man who took a fork to Randy Savage’s forehead. You want to know who Owen Hart is –
And then Owen takes out a fork and drives it into Foley’s head – hitting a gusher – blood spurting onto Owen – Owen driving the fork into Foley as he yells, “This is the kind of man I am, Cactus Jack! This is who I am!”
The violence between the two men increases over the next couple of weeks until Jack comes out with his arm wrapped in barbed wire - saying there's only way Owen Hart will ever be able to prove to him, to Bret, to Randy Savage, to his daddy in Calgary that he's man enough to hold the WWF Championship - and that's to beat Jack at his own game.
To beat him inside the barbed wire.
You’re buying this show. Come on. E and C against the New Age Outlaws. Morley/Dustin in the flag match. Jeff and 2 Cold doing the High flyer thing. Shamrock/Severn in the Octagon. The Nation and the Clique for the straps. Al challenging Austin – and Cactus Jack v. Owen Hart in the barbed wire for the WWF Championship.
Royal Rumble '99. Call your cable company.