We take a random trip down memory lane to the In Your House series and today we are in “The Heart of the New West” Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede was the fourth pay-per-view the WWE had hosted at the time and was well received, drawing an attendance at the Canadian Airlines SaddleDome of 12,151 making 228K at the gate and an additional 60K in merchandise. This would break all revenue records at the time. The fans were pumped up on July 6, 1997 to hear Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Vince McMahon call this short card. The feature match had the feuding self proclaimed, “Canadian Hero” Brett Hart, leading a team of Owen Hart, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Brian Pillman and The British Bulldog, facing off against Stone Cold Steve Austin and his group of outcasts. (Goldust, Ken Shamrock and the Legion of Doom). It was an interesting PPV as the rest of the world viewed The Hart Foundation as a Heel faction but in their home of Canada they were viewed as Baby Faces.
The opening vignette, done in black and white, is well put together and does a good job recapping the events that led to Canadian Stampede. The Narrator starts by telling us “We no longer live in a world of black and white, but gray rather”. He goes on to have some cool lines like “renegades receive a heroes embrace”, as the video shows Stone Cold pounding Steve-weisers. The video shows us Brett’s heel turn, including the iconic shot of Austin bleeding profusely as The Hitman applies the Sharpshooter at WM13, the creation of The Hart Foundation and the events leading to today. The segment ends with the Canadian Stampede logo flying through the dessert and pyro on the entrance stage. The crowd is popping as Vince introduces the event. Check these outfits out.
The first match on the card we see a future WWE Hall Of Famer and a already inducted WWE Hall Of Famer square off. The 2013 inductee, Mick Foley, as his Mankind persona, will meet the founder and producer of NXT and current executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative at WWE, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Hunter would be joined, by his real life girlfriend at the time, “The Ninth Wonder of the World”, Chyna. Who would of thought that these two men would combine for a total of 17 Heavyweight Titles. Foley with four, if you count the TNA Title, and Triple H with 13, which is third all time, behind Flair and Cena. Oh, hindsight.
The 1997 King of the Ring winner, Hunter Hearst Helmsley enters the arena first, accompanied by Chyna, to a negative response. We see a vignette that compares Triple H’s “Blue Blood” upbringing to Mankind’s, which includes a clip from the early Dude Love promos Foley made as a teen. They are worth a look for any fan of the business. The video goes on to show highlights from there King of the ring match, that was full of outside interference from Chyna, in which Mankind took blows from both the Scepter and the Crown and a Pedigree through an announce table. Most likely the Spanish one. Mankind is on his way down next and I can’t forget how deranged and creepy I thought this was a kid. I Mean the dude would yank his own hair out for fun.
Triple H waste no time going for Mankind as soon as he hits the ring but he doesn’t take long to get back in the fight. Mankind hits the double armhook DDT and taunts Hunter with his own curtsy. The bumps are hard early and don’t slow down one step throughout. Mankind sends Helmsley over the top rope and hits his famous elbow drop from the apron. They continue up the ramp where Hunter takes a solid suplex and JR calls Mankind “The Prime Minister of Parts Unknown,” something I noticed and enjoyed. The crowd is really popping at this point and they are really into it early, understandably so. Mankind goes for an early finisher, The Mandible Claw, but this is where we get our first interference from Chyna. This leads to his really first offensive move of the match, Irish whipping Mankind to Chyna for the scoop slam into the steel stairs. Vince is quick to point out that Mankind hit his lower, left leg on the stairs. A statement that would prove to be Triple H’s work for the match. He waste no time going to work on the leg of mankind, a chair shot amongst other ways.
After some wear down, Hunter applies a figure four and uses the ring ropes for leverage behind the refs back, in perfect heel fashion. The ref breaks the hold after he catches Hunter in the act. This leads to Mankind countering a Pedigree with what Jim Ross calls an “inadvertent low blow. The King Continues with “now Chyna wont be happy about that”. Now there is a rib I am surprised Stephanie didn’t edit out. Mankind hits a brutal looking pull piledriver that shows exactly why the move isn’t in use much today. A double clothesline from Mankind sends both men over the top rope for yet another hard looking bump. Mankind soon goes for a chair shot of his own but Chyna interrupts giving way for Helmsley to counter with a chair shot to Mankind’s injured leg. He goes for a second attempt that the referee foils but leaves a moment for Chyna to land a jarring clothesline on Mankind. Back in the ring Mankind counters Triple H’s attempt at a highspot and locks in the Mandible Claw. Only to have it spoiled by Chyna grabbing the leg and hitting a spread eagle low blow into the ring post. The match continues outside and into the crowd and before long, and obviously not ten seconds, we hear the bell sound. As the fight continue through the crowd we hear Howard Finkel announce a double count out. Soon thereafter Mankind slams Hunter in to the home team’s, The Calgary Flames, penalty box. Helmsley comes out of the box spotting some crimson on his face and the brawl continues with referees and Chyna in the mix until they can be separated.
Going into this match and watching Foley perform, I was expecting the hard bumps to fall on Mick. After watching it back i can say that Hunter took the hardest ones here but Foley didn’t disappoint. This match was amazing and watching it back I can see why these two Superstars went on to have the careers they did. It’s a shame things turned out the way they did with Chyna because she was also great here. I wish I could I have started this segment with TWO current Hall of Fame inductees and one future inductee.
There is a quick promo next for the Calgary Stampede that is taking place the same weekend as the Canadian Stampede. “The Greatest Outdoors Show On Earth”, The Calgary Stampede is a ten day, annual rodeo festival that the WWE modeled this event around. The promo shows the annual parade, which featured Miss Calgary 1997 Diana Smith, The wife of The British Bulldog, and The Hart Foundation. Doc Hendrix, in his best FM radio DJ voice, would tell us that Brett Hart spent the whole day signing every last autograph. Bruce Pritchard would confirm this, on his podcast Something to Wrestle, saying that it was in fact true because someone never cut the line off and Brett didn’t want to disappoint someone who had waited. We also get to see a few bits of the Tug ‘O’ War match versus the local Calgary fire department. The only thing about this that I liked is they didn’t put the firefighters over on this charity event and beat them. This promo ends with The Hitman making an appearance at the Calgary Stampede to a great pop, of course. This leads us to Doc Hendricks, AKA Michael P. Hayes, interviewing The Hart Foundation.
Stone Cold would interrupt the interview at the start and be held back by Pat Patterson. Brett Would say “what’s it gonna prove if we beat up Steve Austin back here. It’s gonna prove he got beat up 5 on 1. That’s not what we want, we want 5 on 5.” This was different, as Brett has been a Heel in recent months in the WWE but would try to be made out as a Face in this promo.
The next match would start by Vince saying “some of the greatest athletes you’ll ever feast your eyes on, the light heavyweight division”. The match would feature The Great Sasuke squaring off against Taka Michinoku. This was an interesting match as it was different than what the WWE was accustomed to. This was a way to promote what would be a new title, The Light Heavyweight Championship. They really wanted Taka here but Michinoku felt like he owed one to Sasuke, as he was the owner and founder of Michinoku Pro Wrestling where Taka had gotten his start, so he came along for this match but would be gone soon after. The WWE would send Undertaker, Sunny and Chris Candino to Japan as part of the deal with Sasuke for a short tour. Enough of the setup and back to the mat.
Taka Michinoku would enter the arena first and The Great Sasuke would follow. When Sasuke enters Howard Finkels say “and also from Japan”. I found that entertaining as most of the commentary in this match is, as it is something different than what they normally call. The biggest take away from the commentary is that it seemed as only Jim Ross would know the names of the different moves used in this match.
The debut of these two Superstars is interrupted before it can begin as it is revealed that Hunter Hearst Helmsey, with Chyna still in hand, and Mankind still continue to brawl from the back and through the crowd. Hunter still wearing a “Crimson Mask”. This is another spot, like the lightweight guys, that is not familiar territory for the WWE at the time and is something, in my opinion, they acquired from watching ECW’s gaining steam.
After the interruption ends, the bell sounds and we are off to a slow start, but soon picks up and doesn’t miss a beat from there. After a few early 2 counts, off from some roll maneuvers, we get our first pop from the crowd with a nice roundhouse kick to Taka’s chest. The crowd is starting to really feel the match after some dropkicks, on Sasuke from Taka, that leads to a counter that sends Michinoku to the outside. The first big highspot comes when, off the top turnbuckle, Sasuke hits the face of Taka with, as JR would say, “a Martial Arts kick”. I expected a “what a maneuver” from Vince here to no avail. We get some more quality back and fourth that leads, to what I think is the biggest pop of the match, a springboard pancha from Taka off the top rope to the outside. Then we see our first false finish after Michinoku hits a hurricanrana on Sasuke. The next highspot would be a springboard moonsault from Sasuke off the second rope on the outside. More Pop. His momentum wouldn’t last long after a missle dropkick from the top turnbuckle is landed by Taka. He would follow up with a devastating Michinoku Driver, his finish, but would only get another two count. Michinoku would soon find himself in trouble when his highspot is countered with a dropkick to the midsection. The Great Sasuke would follow up with a “Razor’s Edge” type powerbomb and would get the three with a double armhook suplex/pin combination.
This match would show the level of the product that came from Japan at the time and that they still continue to produce until this day. I was entertained throughout the entire match and the high spots were amazing. The brutal kicks these two men took to the face were either amazing works or extremely dangerous. The crowd loved the match, as did I. This bout between The great Sasuke and Taka Michinoku is must see “Sports Entertainment”.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Mankind are at it again and this time outside in the back lot. Mankind bangs Hunter’s head off a bus before Chyna could grab hold of his arms. Helmsley soon unleashes a few punches on Foley that don’t appear to be pulled. Hunter would throw Mankind into some beer kegs before breaking a shovel over his back. They would find them self on top of some solid wood boxes and Triple H’s Pedigree would be countered. Mankind would ring Hunter’s head off a bus one more time before he is taken away by Gerald Brisco. The segment would end with a nice shot at Helmsley’s bloodied face. The way they continued this fight through the show was well done and would set them up for a steel cage match at SummerSlam 1997.
Vince and the boys would explain to use how Ahmed Johnson was originally supposed to get a Title shot here but succumbed to a knee injury in a tussle between the Nation of Domination and the biker gang themed, D.O.A. Vince was really pushing the gang angles here as they would be ever present in the coming months. I always liked Ahmed as a kid and it seemed like the company did too. Its a shame he was so injury prone.
Next we get a Vader promo where Doc asks, a strawberry blonde, Paul Bearer about the allegations of Undertaker killing his parents. Some strange shit I know. Bearer would go on about Taker murdering his whole family and some other nonsense about a mirror. This promo is the and goofy storyline is the only downside I found to this whole event thus far. We are introduced to the events leading to this match starting at The Royal Rumble. This is where we see Bearer betray The Undertaker with an urn shot to Taker’s head. Vader would land the Vader Bomb next and get the three count.
The challenger, Vader, makes his way down the aisle, accompanied by Paul Bearer first. This is the first real heat we are hearing here as Vader enter the arena and ring. The crowd goes nuts though when the bell sounds and The Heavyweight Champion, The Undertaker’s theme begins to play. This is a classic Taker entrance with the smoke, slow walk to the ring and purple lights. I found myself enjoying the whole mystique it presented, just as much as I did as an eleven year old watching this. When The Phenom hits the stairs and raises his arms “making” the lights come on, Vader has a truly spooked look on his face. Bearer is shown cowering in fear as Taker hands the title over and the bell sounds.
The Undertaker is first out of the gate with his lariat punches, a big clothesline and a leg drop, of the Hulk Hogan variety, for our first two count. The Deadman hit a big splash soon after that draws a positive reaction from the fans. Take goes to the top rope for his famous tight rope chop that if I don’t see in a Taker match, I am definitely disappointed. Another two count. Vader starts to gain some momentum after a splash, that Undertaker does his trademark sit-up from, but Vader is all over him with punches that are certainly making hard contact. It is been said by many Superstars that Vader didn’t pull his punches and when he hit you, he hit you. We see a sidehead lock applied by Vader next that is the only dull spot in the match and was probably used to regain their breath. The crowd rally behind Taker and he wiggles free and misses a big boot, that Vader still sells. I think he realized he had missed because he lands the next one and it sends Vader crashing over the ropes to the outside.
Vader reverses Undertaker’s Irish whip to the stair and Paul Bearer is done being scared and is now talking trash. We get some good back and forth but the crowd is electric and committed to the fight anfter Taker comes off the top rope for a clothesline. Another two count. For a 400 plus pound man, Vader takes another hard hump off an uppercut that sends him over the top rope and crashing to the outside. We get another trademark Undertaker move next, His backflip ring exit. He goes after Paul Bearer with his patented slow walk but Vader uses it to his advantage to blindside Undertaker. As the ref is telling Vader to re-enter the ring, Bearer goes to work on Taker with his shoe. Jim Ross would say “if the heel don’t get him the smell would”. Good ole JR. Vader and Bearer are getting great heat at this point when Vader hits a Vader Bomb for his first false finish. As Undertaker starts his rally back the camera is visibly shaking and the noise is at an insane level. Vader goes to work with some more of those big punches but Taker counters and is unloading some of his own punches. Watching these punches one thing is for sure, Undertaker didn’t sell a punch like Vader did, most likely because there was nothing to sell with Vaders, as they were real. The Phenom goes for a chokeslam but Vader counters with a low blow kick. Vader comes off the rope but is scooped into the Tombstone position. The spot next is a botched reversal from Vader on the Tombstone that ended up looking better than what the original called spot would have. The place is again shaking as Vader is on the ropes for another Vader Bomb but Taker lands a low blow of his own and that sets up for a chokeslam off the second rope. 1,2… kick out. Another chokeslam and another false finish that has the crowd on their toes. We see the “Throat Slit'” from The Undertaker with his thumb next and we get a successful Tombstone Piledriver on Vader this time and the classic Undertaker cover for the pinfall. This was another great match on the card and it didn’t disappoint at all. Vince tells as Taker is celebrating that we may see Undertaker’s brother at SummerSlam. I usually enjoy the bad matches, as its always fun to point out flaws, but this match, along with the PPV so far, have had few if any. Maybe the main event will have some…
There is a quick clip of more praise, from the Canadian fans, for the Hart Foundation along with more talk of a mile long line to meet Brett. Next is a quick promo vignette show the gang-style warfare, that has been present at the time. It starts, “The events surrounding the squared circle of late have made chaos and mayhem” an continues to show the feud between Crush’s DOA, Farooq’s Nation and the Savio Vega led, Los Baricuas. It would end with “nothing pales in comparison to the feud between Steve Austin and The Hart Foundation”. They hype the Canadian versus USA angle here, rightfully so as it created great crowd heat, and show the event leading to this match. Another great promo.
Doc has a quick spot with Austin’s stable were every gets some microphone work in. But when the mic comes to Stone Cold he just walks out and Finke introduces us to The Farmer’s Daughters, who will be singing the Canadian National Anthem. The Farmer’s Daughters best charting song was titled “Cornfields and Cadillacs”. By the title alone I’m sure it’s terrible. This was well done as it created heat with the people tuning in in the States. We are introduced to The Premier of the Providence of Alberta, Ralph Kline. No idea here. Next are The Hart Family matriarch and patriarch, Stu and Helen. The place pops for the Founder of Stampede Wresting, a promotion that was a Canadian staple until Vince bought it in 1985.
Goldust makes his way to the ring first and receives mostly boos from the crowd. Ken Shamrock, who’s next, receives some decent pop but the Legion of Doom get an even better response from the fans. But when we hear that glass break and Stone Cold Steve Austin enters the arena for the first time, the place is on fire with heat from the crowd. As he hits each turnbuckle the temperature surely rises. As Brian Pillman enters, waving his arms to pump the crowd, the buzz starts to gain. As Vince would say, “The Big Nasty Rhyno”, Jim Neidhart enters next and as each member enters the arena the rumble grows and grows in anticipation of their hero, “The Hitman”. European Champion The British Bulldog, With Miss Calgary in hand, follows and Owen Hart is next, with his Slammys in hand and his IC belt around his waist. When the high pitch squeal of Brett Hart’s music comes on the place is electric.. This kind of response you will be hard pressed to find and is something you should watch as a wrestling fan. They make their way to the ring led by Brett, as they waited on the ramp for each other. Brett would put his glasses on his mother, a nice gesture from the heel.
Austin and Brett are on the ring first and are having a nice stare off. Here we hear JR mention that there are camera crews filming ringside for an upcoming Hitman documentary. This would go on to become Wrestling With Shadows. I would recommend this to any fan of from wrestling at the time as it offers some inside going-ons of the time. Brett would have to pick his spots in this fight as he was recovering from knee injury and his first one would set the pace for the fight. Austin lands some blows and is soon stomping a mudhole in the Hitman. If you listen carefully, you can hear Austin say “Fuck Off” to the Canadian fans. The crowd is giving the heat right back.
Everyone gets a chance to make an in ring appearance next, as the tags are spread around to give all the guys some spotlight. They go back and forth here shifting momentum and the crowd is reacting to every move, be it a suplex or a knee to the midsection. When Pillman comes into the ring we hear Jim Ross mention his run with the CFL team, The Calgary Stampeders. Every move Pillman does in the match is some kind of cheat tactic. Be it an eye rake, spiiting in someones face or breaking up a pinfall. He does an amazing job selling the fact that he is “The Loose Cannon”. We get some more hot tags and momentum shifts. The crowd delivers their first dose of “Austin Sucks” chants that rumble the place. The first gang fight breaks out after the Hitman hangs Goldust in his corner and the boys go to work with their boots. When the fight breaks out the crowd is on their toes and the place is electric. The crowd is in this match 100 percent and erupts once again when Owen nails the missle dropkick from the top and does a kip up. His hype is cut short when the Legion of Doom about take his head off with the vicious Doomsday Device. Anvil stops the count ans our second gang fight breaks out. Austin is going to work on the knee of Owen, as he is pelted by ten dollar beers from the fans, when Bruce Hart grabs him from the crowd and exchange blows. The crowd heat is at an all time high and the “Austin Sucks” chants are in full effect.
Owen is led to the back as the match continues. Austin hits his first Stunner on Pillman soon after but Brett grabs his foot and leads him to the ring post were he goes to work with a fire extinguisher before applying a hanging figure four. The referees soon force Austin to the back and the back and fourth continues with some pop and nothing really worth noting, except a Powerslam from Davey Boy of the top turnbuckle that looked jarring. He gets the 2 as we see Austin limp back. We get a double hot tag next from Brett and Austin. The pair go back and fourth before Hart has the Sharpshooter applied and Animal breaks it up. This has the place shaking again. I cannot emphasis enough how much the crowd was into it. Must see stuff here. Austin applies a Sharpshooter of his own when we see Owen Hart limp back out to save his brother. Owen makes the hot tag but Austin sends him tumbling outside with a clothesline over the top rope and landing in front of his family. The top comes off the place when Stone Cold grabs Stu Hart but Bruce interrupts and is soon over the barrier brawling with Steve. Another battle breaks out as Austin gets back in the ring. But Owen makes the roll up, using Austin tights and keeping them Heels by doing so, ang gets the three. At this point the place just explodes. There is another tussel with all member in the ring, Hart family included, before the police break it up. Austin goes ballistic before he is cuffed and escorted out. The show goes off air with a nice moment of all the Hart family in the ring. This would be a highlight of the family as they are all here at this time.
This way an amazing PPV and was record breaking in all revenue. Dave Meltzer would rate the event high with the matches receiving 3,4,3.25 and 4.25 star ratings. I actually agree with Dave here, but think the last match could of gotten a 5 based of crowd heat alone. I would highly suggest watching this event.
Next week we will be taking a look at Badd Blood: In Your House that took place on October 5, 1997 with Shawn Michaels taking on the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match!
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Chairshot Classics: WCW Beach Blast ’93 – A Day At The Beach, A Night For Revenge
Open: Eric Bischoff & Missy Hyatt open the show. They discuss title matches including the Iron Man match for the United States Championship, and Ric Flair pursuing the NWA title once again. Jesse Ventura is running late to be at ringside as he’s hanging out at a tiki bar with some ladies.
Match #1 for the WCW World Television Championship: WCW World Television Champion ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff vs. ‘All-American’ Ron Simmons
Simmons gets the crowd riled up as some chant “Paula”. Orndorff is irate. Simmons knocks him off the apron and goes on the attack on the floor. He rolls Orndorff back in the ring, kicks in the gut and knocks him down with a right. He sends Orndorff for a back elbow and follows it with a drop kick. A lateral press for two and Orndorff rolls out. The crowd gets on his case some more. He slowly steps back in. They feel each other out, drop toe hold from Mr. Wonderful but Simmons moves from the elbow.
Simmons grabs a wristlock and works over the arm.Simmons converts into a hammerlock, broken up with an elbow. Orndorff keeps striking with elbows and rights. Irish whip and Simmons moves out of the way. The All American goes back on offense and grabs an arm bar. They hit the ropes, Orndorff ducks a clothesline and jumps on Simmons’ back with a sleeper. He shoves the former world champion into the corner and scores with a belly to back suplex. Orndorff heads up top and Simmons dodges the knee. Ron works over the knee that he just landed on, stomping it down on the mat from behind. More kicks to the inside of the knee and Simmons uses the bottom rope for more leverage. Simmons locks in a figure four but Orndorff was too close to the ropes.
Orndorff rolls outside and baits Simmons. He pulls the challenger out to the floor and ambushes him. Simmons rolls back in and Orndorff is still on the attack, grabbing a reverse chinlock. Simmons works to his feet, breaks the hold and lands a shoulder tackle. Orndorff comes right back with a high knee lift, and he drops that knee across Simmons’ jaw. Front face lock by the champ, Simmons scores some body shots, breaking the hold. Irish whip but Orndorff gets his foot up. Lateral press and Simmons kicks out. Orndorff goes back to the reverse chin lock, the crowd cheers Simmons on. Simmons tries fighting from his knees, Orndorff measures him with rights.
Reverse whip to the ropes and Simmons scores with a powerslam and gets a two count. Orndorff with a shot to the throat, he sends Simmons to the ropes, a backbody drop is reversed with a sunset flip and the champ kicks out. Orndorff sends him again but Simmons stops short of a dropkick. Simmons sends Orndorff for a big clothesline, sends him again for a back elbow and Orndorff again kicks out. Front facelock and a snap suplex by Simmons but Orndorff is too close to the ropes. Orndorff changes momentum with a thumb to the eye, he sets Simmons up for a piledriver and it’s reversed with a backdrop over the top rope, prompting a DQ.
Winner and STILL WCW World Television Champ: ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Simmons doesn’t realize he’s been disqualified and sets up Orndorff for a top rope shoulder tackle. The ref explains what happens and Orndorff tries to blindside Simmons with the belt. The challenger ducks and turns the fate on the champ. He poses with the belt as Orndorff retreats.
- EA’s Take: It’s been a while since I’ve seen Ron on a PPV. He was hot leading into his 1992 championship win, but his reign was somewhat underwhelming and then he got hurt. Great to see the fans give him a good response, but part of it was the fact that Orndorff was getting great heat as the injury really derailed all the momentum Simmons had prior.
Match #2: Marcus Alexander Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce
Pierce and Bagwell start us out and lock up quickly, Pierce with position in the corner. He breaks it off and the crowd boos at his taunting. Collar and elbow, side headlock by Bagwell, they hit the ropes and collide twice with shoulder blocks. They go for a third time, Bagwell with a baseball slide under Pierce’s legs, he ducks a clothesline and lands a cross body. Slazenger charges in, Scorpio helps his partner and they double team the big man face first on the mat. Scorpio tries to elevate over the top rope and it prompts an all out brawl on the entrance ramp. The Texan team bails to the floor and the babyfaces hold the ring.
Slazenger is tagged in to face Bagwell, he taunts Scorpio and they oblige with a tag. Scorpio dances and Slazenger doesn’t like it. Collar and elbow tie up, Slazenger with the side headlock into the ropes. Slazenger wins with a shoulder tackle. Scorpio hits the ropes and he is hit with a huge back drop. Slazenger sits him on the top rope. Scorpio blocks strikes and scores with a big cross body. He follows with a drop kick and an arm drag, and holds on with an arm bar. Bagwell is tagged back in for a double team hip toss. He latches on with a wrist lock and Tex fights out with forearms. Pierce is tagged back in, he’s caught with a drop toe hold.
They hit the ropes, Pierce with a shoulder tackle. Bagwell leapfrogs him twice and scores with an arm drag, hanging onto the wrist. Pierce with a forearm and a scoop slam. Tag is made to Slazenger and he’s met with an arm drag. Bagwell with a suplex and a two count. They hit the ropes and Pierce cheapshots Bagwell from behind. Slazenger takes advantage, elbows the skull and brings Bagwell down, going into the hammerlock. Pierce is tagged in and picks up where his partner left off. Quick tag back to Slazenger who stomps away. The fans rally for Bagwell who is head butted. They hit the ropes and Bagwell leaps with a sunset flip.
Slazenger kicks out and hits a vicious clothesline. Scorpio saves his partner from the pin. Pierce is back in and stays in control. He throws Bagwell into his corner and runs a distraction to get a double team. Snapmare into the reverse chinlock by Pierce on Bagwell. He’s held on the mat and Slazenger helps his partner get extra leverage. Bagwell works to his feet, breaks the hold with elbows he he’s caught with kick to the gut and a side saulto suplex. Lateral press and Scorpio makes the save again. Tag is made to Slazenger and he holds the hammerlock. They work back to their feet and Slazenger still has the arm bar.
Shots to the midsection by Bagwell but he’s brought down with a drop toe hold and a tag is made back to Pierce who drops a big elbow. Scoop slam by Pierce but Bagwell dodges the elbow drop. Tag is made to Tex and he cuts off Bagwell from his tag attempt. He lifts Bagwell on his shoulder, lands a shoulder breaker and Pierce is tagged in who drops the elbow. Cocky cover and Bagwell kicks out. Forearm to the back and Bagwell meets the turnbuckle. Irish whip and Bagwell moves out of the way. Marcus crawls under Pierce’s legs and he makes the hot tag to Scorpio. 2 Cold with quick strikes and a back elbow. Side kick to a charging Slazenger.
He whips Pierce into the corner and scores with a superkick. He heads for the top rope and lands a big splash. Slazenger saves the cover, Bagwell comes in to deal with Tex. They whip the heels into one another, Slazenger is drop kicked out of the ring. Double Irish whip to Pierce, Bagwell ducks a clothesline and hits a belly to back suplex. Scorpio heads for the top and lands a 450 splash for the win.
Winners: Marcus Alexander Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio (Scorpio/450 Splash)
- EA’s Take: Fans would better know Pierce and Slazenger as the Godwinn’s of the WWF in a few more years, but this might be some of the better in-ring work we will see out of the big bruisers. This team of Scorpio and Bagwell is a lot of fun, but this match could have used a little more 2 Cold in my opinion as he’s by far the most entertaining of the four at this time.
In the Arena: Missy Hyatt is joined by Paul Orndorff and someone they simply call The Equalizer. She knows a lot of people who want to take his TV title, but Mr. Wonderful explains why he’s the John Wayne of professional wrestling. He plays by the rules, and when things get tough he can handle it. Ron Simmons should be punished for tossing him over the top rope. Simmons can keep coming, but he’s going to keep on choking just like Florida State. A guy like Ricky Steamboat is too old to come after his title, they call him the old man by the sea.
Match #3: Erik Watts vs. Lord Steven Regal w/Sir William Dundee
Watts comes in for a tie up and Regal struts away. They bluff once again and they finally attempt a lock up, Regal maneuvers out of the way. Finally a collar and elbow, Regal grabs a modified arm bar, moves it into the wrist lock. Watts reverses it on him and Regal dances around. Regal somersaults out and hits a monkey flip but Watts keeps hold of the wrist. Regal gets position for a snapmare and moves into an arm bar. Regal ducks a kick to the head, Watts flips over and kicks Regal off of him.
Watts with a backdrop and he stays right on the arm. He drives the knee in. Regal jumps to his feet, reverses out of the hold with a wristlock takedown. Lateral press and Watts kicks out. Regal holds his wrists to the mat, Watts tries to bridge out, Regal jumps on top of him but Watts somersaults backwords and holds the wrists strong. Regal counters out of it with a top wristlock, driving Watts down to the mat. Test of strength on the mat, Watts makes it to his feet. Regal flips him over for a pin, quickly countered. Collar and elbow tie up, hammerlock by Watts. Regal moves him in corner, breaks the hold with an elbow and takes him down with a drop toe hold.
Watts spins out of a front face lock and scores with a hip toss. He holds Regal on the mat with the arm bar. He works into a standing hammerlock, Regal reverses with a backdrop but Watts hangs on for a sunset flip. Regal goes into an ankle submission. He lifts Watts for European uppercuts and forearm shots. Snapmare takedown, he moves the knee pad off but Watts dodges it. Whip to the ropes and Watts takes the legs out from under him. He sets up for the STF, locks it in but Sir William Dundee hits him in the face from the floor. Regal blindsides him with a schoolboy and we have our winner.
Winner: Lord Steven Regal (Schoolboy)
- EA’s Take: A welcome to WCW PPV’s to one of the most underrated talents in professional wrestling history. I say that acknowledging he won his share of belts and that he continues on as the General Manager of NXT, but Regal was brilliant in the ring. The little things make all the difference in professional wrestling and Regal’s crisp technical skills, believable selling, facial expressions and mannerisms were always great from him. One of the competitors you couldn’t really appreciate until you’re older and have a better understanding of everything. Also, how is Erik Watts still employed?
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Chairshot Classics: WWF King Of The Ring 1994
Despite all the controversy, WWE Crown Jewel is moving forward as planned on November 2nd and not only will the event feature the in-ring return of Shawn Michaels when D-Generation X meets The Brothers Of Destruction, but also the World Cup tournament. So today, we’re looking back at another past WWE tournament with the 1994 King Of The Ring! Following Bret Hart’s King Of The Ring win last year, his brother Owen looks to claim the throne for himself and step out on his own. However, the likes of Razor Ramon, Bam Bam Bigelow, Jeff Jarrett and The 1-2-3 Kid all have their sights set on the crown. Let’s jump into the action!
Open: Earlier in the day as the camera crews were setting up around the tournament bracket board, Jeff Jarrett showed up to do some premature advancing of his name. Owen Hart would walk in to correct him, followed by Bam Bam Bigelow and Irwin R. Schyster. Todd Pettengill then voices over highlights showcasing tonight’s card, including the first round tournament matches, our WWF Title match and Roddy Piper vs. Jerry Lawler.
In The Arena: Bill Dunn asks the crowd to please rise, as Ricky Medlocke of the band Blackfoot sings our National Anthem.
Match #1 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Bam Bam Bigelow w/Luna Vachon vs. Razor Ramon
Luna has some words for The Bad Guy and he tosses his toothpick in her face, Bam Bam ambushes him from behind as the bell rings, clobbering him down to the mat. He sends Ramon to the ropes for a shoulder block, whips him back in for another, plants him with a body slam, drops a headbutt and follows with a big leg drop. Bigelow to the top turnbuckle for the Diving Headbutt, Razor rolls out of harm’s way, scores with big right hands, irish whip to the corner is reversed and The Bad Guy hits the turnbuckles hard.
The Beast from the East looks to send him back across, Ramon reverses, follows in and slides under the legs to the outside, trips Bam Bam up and yanks him in an unforgiving position into the ring post. The Bad Guy climbs back in, comes off the 2nd rope with a bulldog for a near fall, starts to target the left leg with elbow drops and grabs a heel hold. Bigelow kicks him away, goes for a kick that gets caught, tries to bring his other foot around for an enzuigiri, Ramon ducks it and then staggers him with a clothesline. He goes to the ropes for another and can’t bring Bam Bam down, tries once more, The Beast from the East side-steps it and uses the momentum to dump Razor over the top to the floor.
Bam Bam goes out and hits a couple of rights before rolling Ramon back in, clubs him in the back, loud “Razor” chants and Bigelow puts the boots to him for a count of 2. He clocks Razor with an enzuigiri for another 2 count, drives headbutts into the lower back, then powers him into a torture rack. The referee checks the arm, Ramon doesn’t let it drop on the third attempt, Bigelow can’t hold him up anymore, flips him over to his feet for a side headlock and The Bad Guy counters with a back suplex. Both guys stagger to their feet, Ramon blocks right hands and returns fire, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Bam Bam charges in and The Bad Guy side-steps out of the way.
He delivers a body slam, lifts him up to prop him on the top turnbuckle, Bigelow with a big back elbow to avoid it, then plants Razor with a body slam of his own. He scales the corner to go for the Bam Bamsault, Ramon pops to his feet, plants him into the canvas, stacks The Beast from the East up and gets a 3 count.
Winner: Razor Ramon (Bam Bamsault Counter)
- EA’s Take: This has nothing to do with the match, but I need to address it right off the bat…why on Earth is Art Donovan on commentary tonight? Just awful. Anyways, good to open the night and tournament with this one as Razor is over and Bam Bam was one of the best heels in the company. Honestly, either of these guys would have been excellent choices to win the whole thing. In case you’re wondering, after retaining his Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania against Shawn Michaels, Ramon would lose it just a few short weeks later to The Heartbreak Kid’s bodyguard, Diesel.
Backstage: Todd Pettengill is standing at the King Of The Ring board with Irwin R. Schyster & Mabel with Oscar, opponents in our next tournament match. IRS informs Mabel he’s not worried about him and then next up will be Razor Ramon, then says he hopes 1-2-3 Kid makes it to the finals before walking off. Mabel thinks Schyster needs to stop thinking about Razor and be concerned with him, then states if he meets Ramon then he will learn who the real Bad Guy is.
Match #2 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Irwin R. Schyster vs. Mabel w/Oscar
IRS tries to attack from behind after the bell, Mabel drives him head-first into the top turnbuckle over and over, levels him with a clothesline, then plants The Tax Man with a body slam. He hooks Schyster for a delayed vertical suplex, grabs a wristlock for clubbing blows to the back, brings him back to the canvas with a modified fireman’s carry takeover, then drops a massive elbow to the chest. Mabel shoots Irwin to the corner and follows him in for a splash, IRS side-steps it, delivers a knee to the back to send the big man to the outside and takes himself a breather in the ring.
Mabel rolls back into the squared circle, Schyster meets him with right hands, sends him off to the ropes and drops him with the Write-Off followed by multiple elbow drops for a count of 2. He attempts to pick Mabel up for a body slam, can’t lift the weight, Mabel counters to a small package for a quick 2 count and IRS swiftly starts putting the boots to him before slapping on a rear chinlock. The big man powers up to a standing position, backs Irwin into the turnbuckles to break the hold, hammers him with big punches, shoots him to the ropes and elevates him with a big back body drop.
Mabel runs him over with a clothesline, shoots Schyster back to the ropes for a high back elbow, then back in again for a sidewalk slam, nearly putting the match away. He drives IRS into the mat with another body slam, climbs to the 2nd rope, Irwin quickly shakes the ropes forcing Mabel to lose his balance, he crashes down to the canvas, Schyster with a cover using the ropes for leverage and he gets the win.
Winner: Irwin R. Schyster (Pinfall)
- EA’s Take: Ho-hum, pretty basic stuff here to get IRS to advance and meet Razor Ramon is the semi-finals. The company was trying out Mabel as a singles competitor for the first time as they still were enamored by Superstars of enormous size, but it wouldn’t last past the summer and he’d slide back into tag team action with Mo.
Video: Earlier in the day, Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette were prepping Yokozuna & Crush for their match-up for the WWF Tag Team Titles tonight. Cornette says Fuji has his boys well prepared to take the championships tonight, Fuji stating he wants The Headshrinkers to be squashed and for his guys to walk out as the new champs.
Match #3 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Tatanka vs. ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart
Owen steps into the ring after his entrance and Tatanka immediately meets him with right hands, the bell sounds and The Native American whips him back and forth into the turnbuckles, elevates him with a back body drop and gains a quick 2 count. He executes a vertical suplex for another count of 2, The Rocket goes to the eyes to stop the onslaught, slows things down with a standing side headlock, The Native American pushes him off to the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder block.
Hart goes back to the ropes, Tatanka drops down, leapfrogs over and catches him with a hip toss, shoots him back to the ropes for a Japanese arm drag, then grabs a side headlock of his own. Owen shoves him off to the ropes, Tatanka with a big shoulder knockdown, goes back to the ropes, The Rocket drops down and uses the momentum to toss him over the top to the floor. The Native American back to his feet, sweeps Owen’s legs from the outside and drags him under the bottom rope, connects with a series of overhand chops, Hart returns fire and whips him shoulder-first into the ring post before rolling back inside.
We go backstage where IRS & Razor Ramon are involved in a shoving match, WWF officials having to step in between them as Tatanka pulls himself back into the ring in the arena. Owen drops him on the 2nd rope and chokes away, hits the ropes and drops all his weight onto the back with a seated senton, then rakes Tatanka’s face on the top rope. He plants The Native American with a gutwrench suplex, heads upstairs for a dropkick, hooks the leg and gains a near fall before grabbing a rear chinlock. Tatanka fights up to his feet, hits the ropes and ducks under a clothesline, The Rocket slaps on a sleeper hold and The Native American starts to fade down to the canvas.
The referee checks the arm, Tatanka shows some life on the third attempt, battles his way up, Owen clocks him with fists, drives him head-first into the top turnbuckle over and over, but it has little affect and The Native American goes into his war dance. He pummels The Rocket with knife-edge chops and punches, makes a cover for a count of 2, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Owen follows him in and runs into a boot to the jaw. The Native American spikes him with a DDT for a near fall, plants him with a body slam, heads to the top rope for an overhand chop, but still can’t get a 3 count.
Tatanka sends Hart to the corner and charges in behind, The Rocket looks to hop up and over, gets caught on The Native American’s shoulders, but Tatanka gets frustrated after another 2 count. He argues with the official about the count, catches Owen trying to sneak up from behind, irish whip to the ropes is reversed by The Rocket for a back body drop, Tatanka goes for a sunset flip, Hart drops down on top, hooks the legs and advances.
Winner: ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart (Sunset Flip Counter)
- EA’s Take: Another bit of a “ho-hum” contest, but much better than the previous IRS/Mabel match. Owen is really on fire as a heel following his win over Bret at WrestleMania, a quarterfinals loss here would have made no sense whatsoever, no matter how over Tatanka was at the time.
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Chairshot Classics: WCW Monday Nitro Episode 19 (1/8/96)
From the North Charleston Coliseum, in Charleston, South Carolina, comes WCW Monday Nitro! Set up from the last episode, we have Hulk Hogan teaming with Randy Savage to take on Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. The other advertised matches are very intriguing as Lord Steven Regal battles Eddie Guerrero and Sting faces Diamond Dallas Page. A solid sounding lineup, especially those under card matches. Let’s see how it plays out!
Chris Benoit vs Alex Wright
Wright comes out to a sizable reaction, he definitely was a fan favorite. Benoit jumps him quickly and hits a solid snap suplex and back elbow. Wright tries to come back but takes a beautiful bridging northern lights suplex for a near fall. Benoit throws Wright outside and distracts the referee while Pillman at ringside chokes Alex for a bit. Wright sends Benoit over the top rope and Heenan asks if that’s a DQ? Was that still illegal at this point? Alex hits Chris with a big cross body from the top rope to the outside. Wright sinks in a deep boston crab before transitioning into an STF before Benoit gets out. Pillman trips Wright, but Wright launches himself over the top to drop him. Coming back into the ring, Benoit gets the upper hand with knees to the midsection. Benoit hooks and drops a dragon suplex with a bridge to pick up the pinfall. Fun little match here, lots of fun back and forth action.
Winner: Chris Benoit via pinfall
Lord Steven Regal vs Eddie Guerrero
Great chain wrestling to start this matchup, they go back and forth, trading holds and counters. Eddie counters a double arm suplex with an arm drag before a nearfall exchange is ended when Regal pokes Guerrero’s eyes. Regal takes control with a big European uppercut and several more strikes before hitting a nice reverse suplex, a move that is very underutilized in my opinion. Eddie reverses a pinning attempt for a nearfall before eating a big back elbow from Regal. Regal is in control with strikes and out of nowhere, Eddie drops Regal with a backslide and picks up the shocking win. This was a very fun match, but I would have liked something twice as long.
Winner: Eddie Guerrero
Mean Gene is on the ramp with Sting and Lex Luger. Sting asks Lex about Starrcade why he pulled Sting down before he could get back into the ring, costing Sting a chance at the title. Lex claimed he got hurt and was reaching for help and asked Sting to give him a chance at redemption as a tag team against the Blue Bloods at Clash of the Champions. Sting agrees and it is set.
Sting vs Diamond Dallas Page
DDP gets Sting with the cigar in the eye to start the match and gains the upper hand. Sting counters with a double axe handle, a dropkick that sends DDP out of the ring followed by a cross body over the top rope. Strange spot where Sting goes for a leapfrog and initially it looked like Sting came up too early, but he sold like a low blow. No DQ, but DDP is in control with a belly to back suplex and swinging neckbreaker. DDP grounds Sting with a rear chin lock and plants his feet on the ropes but denies it to referee, Nick Patrick. Sting tries to counter out with a top wrist lock but DDP gets a handful of hair to drag him back down to the mat. Sting fights out with a facebuster and some big strikes before hitting a reverse atomic drop and big dropkick to send DDP into the corner. Sting hits the Stinger Splash but can’t get the Scorpion Death Lock in. DDP hits another neckbreaker and a thumb to the eyes out of a pinfall attempt. Sting counters a kick and locks on the Scorpion Death Lock and DDP taps out. This was another fun match with two great guys in the ring.
Winner: Sting via submission
Ric Flair and Arn Anderson vs Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan
Flair and Hogan start us off, and Hogan gets his hits in, a big boot, some clotheslines and bodyslams to both Flair and Anderson. Arn is tagged in and in comes Savage as well. Anderson tries to suplex Savage out of the ring, but Savage counters it, sending him to the outside with a big boot from Hogan. Savage hits a double axe handle from the top rope to the outside of the ring and one to the inside. Arn tags in Flair who tries to go to the top rope, but Hogan sends him off the top. Hogan and Savage lock on figure 4 leg locks but the Horsemen get out. Anderson sends Savage outside and into the guardrail before feeding him back in to Flair. Flair hits a big belly to back suplex and tags in Anderson. Flair is back in and hits a shin breaker and attempts the figure 4, but Savage rolls him up a couple of times for near falls. Flair comes back with a couple of vicious sounding chops. Savage gets the hot tag to Hogan and he’s in on fire. Back body drops, and clotheslines with a double clothesline to send them both outside. Anderson back and and hits a big spinebuster, but Hogan no sells it, Hulks up, big boot, leg drop, pinfall. Pillman and Benoit come down and fights with the Dungeon of Doom. The Giant comes in and gives chokelsams to both Hogan and Savage. Hogan barely got up in the air for it, looked kinda sad. The show goes off the air after that exchange.
Winner: Hogan and Savage via pinfall
So, we had a pretty fun show here with some good matches. Stories are still being made clear as we work towards Clash of the Champions. It’ll be interesting to see how the next few months play out as we are going to get into some intriguing angles.