The WWE is heading to a foreign country for Super Show-Down this Saturday in Australia, so today we’re looking back at another event in a different country as the WWF visited our neighbors to the North for In Your House 4: Great White North! Shawn Michaels is forced to relinquish the Intercontinental Title to Dean Douglas, but Dean must then try to defend it against Razor Ramon. Plus, ‘The Bizarre One’ Goldust makes his debut, so let’s get into it!
Open: The crowd rises for the singing of the National Anthem, performed by Canada’s own Toni Wilson, complete with fireworks above the ring.
Video: Interim WWF President Gorilla Monsoon states that he is not allowing WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels to compete tonight, due to the severity of his concussion. Gorilla says there will still be an IC Title match however, asking The Heartbreak Kid to forfeit the title in the ring, announcing it will then be given to Dean Douglas who must defend it against Razor Ramon. Monsoon then claims this is one of the most difficult decisions of his career to make.
Match #1: Fatu vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Helmsley enters the ring and taunts Fatu by spraying a cologne bottle at him, Fatu rips it away, drops Hunter with right hands and we’re officially underway. He sends The Connecticut Blue Blood to the ropes for a back body drop, corners him and goes to the 2nd rope, raining down fists. Fatu shoots Helmsley hard into the corner, Hunter spills over the top to the floor, finally removes his ring jacket and staggers around ringside. Fatu steps out in pursuit, drives him head-first into the steel steps, rolls him back inside and The Connecticut Blue Blood tries to beg him off.
He reverses a whip to the corner and follows in, Fatu hops up-and-over, walks into a back elbow and is driven head-first into the top turnbuckle multiple times. Fatu absorbs it, scores with fists, hits the ropes for a head of steam, Hunter side-steps and swipes him over the top, Fatu getting his head caught between the ropes and left hanging. Helmsley fires away with punches and kicks, the referee works to get him free, The Connecticut Blue Blood going up top and connects with a flying knee. The official finally breaks Fatu free, Helmsley drags him in for a piledriver, takes a bow, connects with european uppercuts and pummels him in the corner.
Fatu starts to battle back, The Connecticut Blue Blood with a rake of the eyes, plants him with a swinging neckbreaker and goes into a lateral press for a count of 2. He bludgeons Fatu with right hands, shoots him to the ropes for a knee to the breadbasket, hooks the leg for another 2 count, then hooks on a rear chinlock. Fatu works to a standing position, Hunter surprises him with a shot to the throat, whips him hard into the turnbuckles, then hits the ropes and turns him inside-out with a clothesline. Helmsley goes into a cover and still can’t put it away, argues with the ref about the count, Fatu with a schoolboy from behind, stacks him up and nearly steals it.
The Connecticut Blue Blood quickly goes back on the attack, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Fatu ducks down for a back body drop, Hunter puts the brakes on and sets him up for a Pedigree. Fatu powers out with a back body drop, can’t capitalize and gets spiked with a DDT, it has no affect on him and Fatu pops back up, clocking Helmsley with a savate kick. He sends Helmsley to the ropes for a back body drop, levels him with a clothesline, delivers a backbreaker and goes to the 2nd rope for a diving headbutt. He covers and Hunter barely kicks out at 2, Fatu drags him up, connects with a running Ace Crusher, then scales the corner for the Samoan Splash. The Connecticut Blue Blood rolls out of harm’s way, staggers to his feet, quickly hooks Fatu for a Pedigree and gets a 3 count.
Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Pedigree)
- After The Bell: Jerry Lawler grabs a word with Hunter at ringside, The Connecticut Blue Blood speaking about how repulsive it was having to make physical contact with the “odorous” Fatu. Henry O. Godwinn sneaks up from behind him with his slop bucket, Helmsley grabs The King and holds him, using Lawler as a shield long enough to sprint away to the back.
- EA’s Take: Solid opening bout as Helmsley’s push continues, nothing really special in-terms of the backstory to the match and a pretty basic premise. After his partner in The Headshrinkers left the WWF, Fatu was repackaged as an amped up version of himself, speaking on his tough upbringing in the ghetto and being the victim of a drive-by shooting. He was definitely hip-hop inspired, but more like The Fresh Prince was and not like 2Pac who was gaining notoriety at the time, aiming to “Make A Difference”. Hunter would embark on his first program with Godwinn.
Backstage: Dok Hendrix is standing by with James E. Cornette & The British Bulldog in the locker room, first referring us to video of when Davey Boy turned on WWF Champion Diesel. Cornette tells us to stop worrying about the set-up, but the execution as they have made Big Daddy Cool “bite the dust” in every encounter. He claims The Bulldog is perfectly set-up to win the WWF Title, Davey Boy reminding Diesel he beat him last week and tonight will be no different.
Match #2 for the WWF Tag Team Championships: WWF Tag Team Champions The Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart) vs. Razor Ramon & The 1-2-3 Kid
The challengers offer a handshake then pull away from the champions, Billy & The Kid to kickoff the action, they lock-up and The 1-2-3 Kid with a quick arm drag. They tie-up again and Billy powers Kid away, The Kid kips back up, another collar & elbow and Billy gets caught in a side headlock. He pushes The 1-2-3 Kid off to the ropes and drops down, leapfrogs over and hits the ropes himself, blocks a hip toss then launches Kid with one of his own. The Kid pops back to his feet for a lock-up, Billy winds him up with a wristlock and makes a tag, Kid slips away and then makes a tag of his own.
Razor & Bart step in, they go into a collar & elbow, Bart muscles Ramon to the mat, they tie-up again and this time The Bad Guy grabs a wristlock, then works over the shoulder. Bart reverses to his own wristlock, takes him to the mat with a fireman’s carry, both guys back to their feet, another tie-up and Ramon gains a waistlock, Bart counters out and then sweeps the legs. The Bad Guy regroups, another collar & elbow sees Bart go back to a wristlock, Razor fights it off with fists, shoots him to the ropes for a clothesline, Billy argues with the ref about the punches, The Kid low-bridges the top rope and Bart spills to the outside. Billy continues to distract the official, 1-2-3 Kid rolls Bark back into the ring, Ramon puts whips him hard into the turnbuckles, shoots him back across and follows in with a clothesline.
Razor backs Bart to his corner and unloads with right hands, Kid tags in and fires away with a flurry of kicks, whips Bart to the ropes and connects with a spinning wheel kick. He taunts Billy and delivers multiple short leg drops to Bart, tags back out, The Bad Guy scoops Bart up for a fallaway slam, then brings Kid back in. He shoots The Kid to the ropes, launches him into Bart with a fallaway slam, 1-2-3 Kid falls on top of him for a cover and gets a count of 2. Kid scores with stinging chops in the corner, Ramon re-enters the match, batters Bart with stiff punches, tags back out, sending Bart to the ropes for a double back elbow. 1-2-3 Kid hits the ropes for an elbow drop that gets 2, quick tag back to Razor, The Bad Guy shoots Bart to the ropes for a back body drop, Bart sees it coming and drives him into the canvas by the hair.
Both guys stagger back to their feet as Dean Douglas watches from backstage, Bart shoots Ramon off to the ropes and drops down, they collide heads and both guys hit the mat to double down. They crawl to tags, The Kid gets rocked by a right hand, Billy sends him to the ropes for a high back body drop, drops Razor coming in from behind, then sends him to the outside with a dropkick. He scoops Kid up for a body slam, hits the ropes for an elbow drop, hooks the leg and gains a near fall. Billy makes a tag and Bart buries a kick into the ribs, cracks 1-2-3 Kid with multiple backbreakers for 2, The Bad Guy coming in to break up the count. Bart hauls The Kid up and makes a tag, elevates him for a vertical suplex, Billy drops him to the mat with a dropkick, lateral press and a count of 2.
He shoots Kid hard into the corner, charges in for a splash, The 1-2-3 Kid side-steps it, Ramon reaches in for some words of encouragement and the official works him back to his corner. Bart steps in behind the ref’s back, rolls Billy on top of Kid for a cover, the referee notices he’s out of position, then forces him back to the corner. The Bad Guy sees the opening and comes in to roll The Kid on top of Billy, 1-2-3 Kid nearly stealing it, but Billy kicks out at 2. The Kid crawls to his corner to tag out, Ramon comes in with heavy right hands, catches Bart stepping in with fists for his troubles, then shoots Billy to the ropes.
Billy reverses for a back body drop, The Bad Guy puts on the brakes, muscles him up for a Razor’s Edge and hits it, but The Kid calls for a tag. Ramon gives it to him, Kid comes in and makes a cover, Billy kicks out at 2, goes into a roll-up on the kick-out and the champions retain.
Winners and STILL WWF Tag Team Champions: The Smoking Gunns (Billy/Roll-Up)
- After The Bell: The 1-2-3 Kid can’t believe it and is incensed, Razor tries to console him, but Kid pushes him away and The Bad Guy walks off. The Gunns celebrating their win and The Kid knocks Bart to the outside with a dropkick from behind, then clobbers Billy with a spinning heel kick. He fires away with kicks to the ribs, connects with a spinning back kick to send Billy over the top, Kid grabs the titles and The Gunns both slide back inside. Razor comes back to the ring and stands beside The Kid, takes the championships from him and hands them back to The Gunns, the challengers then taking their leave.
- EA’s Take: Solid tag team bout here, the main plot of the match obviously being the continued tensions between Razor & The Kid. Clearly Kid was going through an attitude change and we’d see that come to fruition as he eventually would complete his heel turn on The Bad Guy just before Survivor Series. The Smoking Gunns were merely a conduit here to further that angle as the Tag Team Division remains depleted at this time with it being a few more years before a renaissance for tag team wrestling.
Backstage: Dok Hendrix is in the locker room with a deal for us, promoting life-size stand-ups of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels.
Match #3: Marty Jannetty vs. Goldust
Goldust removes his wig and charges Jannetty from behind, Marty sees it coming and side-steps out of harm’s way, the bell rings to make it official and Jannetty unloads with right hands in the corner. He shoots The Bizarre One across, delivers a fists off the rebound, sends him to the ropes for a back body drop, the clotheslines Goldust over the top to the floor. Goldust takes a walk to clear the cobwebs, Marty heads out in pursuit, turns him inside-out with a clothesline in the aisle, then rolls him back into the squared circle. The Bizarre One rolls right back to the floor for a breather, Jannetty mocks him from the ring, Goldust slides in and goes face-to-face with Marty and they exchange words.
The referee separates them, collar & elbow tie-up and Marty with a go-behind, standing switch from The Bizarre One, he pushes Jannetty to the ropes for a roll-up and gets a quick 2 count. He rocks Marty with uppercuts, scoops him up for a slam, Jannetty slips out behind, pushes him to the ropes for a roll-up, The Bizarre One hangs on to block it, turns around and gets surprises by a hurricanrana. Goldust pops back up and shoves him, Marty fires back with fists, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, The Bizarre One drops down, tries to leapfrog over, but Jannetty puts on the brakes and connects with an uppercut of his own. He sends him back to the ropes and leapfrogs over, Goldust puts on the brakes this time, turns Marty inside-out with a clothesline, then grinds his face into the canvas.
The Bizarre One drives Jannetty head-first into the top turnbuckle, fires off a couple of uppercuts, shoots him hard across into the opposite corner, then drags him face-first across the top rope. He snapmares Marty over and hits the ropes, drops down with a fist for a 1 count, hooks in a chinlock to wear him down, Jannetty works back to a standing position, Goldust rakes the face to stop the momentum, shoots him to the ropes for a back body drop and covers, but they’re too close to the ropes. The Bizarre One batters Marty with punches and dumps him to the outside, steps out to the apron and comes off the steps with a fist, then drives Jannetty head-first into stairs.
He slides into the ring and Marty climbs back to the apron, surprises Goldust with right hands, snapmares him over the top and The Bizarre One drops all the way to the floor. Jannetty rams him head-first off the steel steps, looks to whip him into the ring post, Goldust reverses it and Marty goes flying into the steel. The Bizarre One rams him head-first off the apron, slides into the ring and drags Jannetty up, brings him back into the squared circle with a suplex, then hooks the leg for a count of 2. He looks to wear Marty down some more with a rear chinlock, Jannetty finds his footing, earns a break in the ropes, but The Bizarre One goes to the breadbasket with a right hand.
He sends Jannetty to the ropes for a back body drop, Marty flips himself over the top of Goldust, shoots him into the corner, looks to follow in with a splash, but nobody’s home. Marty falls to the apron, The Bizarre One drags him back inside, sends him to the ropes for a boot to the gut, spikes Jannetty with a DDT, but only gains a near fall. He hauls Marty back up, whips him back to the ropes for a clothesline, Jannetty counters it, plants him with a Rocker Dropper, then heads to the high-rent district. Goldust rolls out of the way and Marty lands on his feet, scores with an elbow drop to the back of the head for 2, Jannetty sends him for the ride to the ropes, connects with multiple clotheslines, snapmares The Bizarre One over and goes back up top for a Flying Fist Drop.
Goldust gets the boot up under the jaw this time, he lifts Jannetty up and plants him with a gordbuster, hooks the leg and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: Goldust (Gordbuster)
- EA’s Take: So here is the debut of one of the strangest and most groundbreaking characters there’s ever been, Goldust. Not the most exciting match in-terms of psychology and The Bizarre One’s gimmick is still a minor work in progress, but for its time it was absolutely a fresh idea and was incredibly outside the box. Jannetty had just returned to the WWF again less than a month prior, but at this stage in his career it was clear that he couldn’t be trusted as anything more than a mid-carder at-best. His workrate was still fast-paced, but he was not as crisp as he used to be.
Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 24 – December 4, 2002
The next installment of Tiffany MC’s weekly Classic IMPACT!
We open with a recap of the ending of last week’s episode, but with some after show footage of Killings and Russo getting into a fight and the Harris Brothers breaking it up. While this was going on, Russo was still demanding an answer from Jarrett and Jarrett wasn’t saying anything.
After that, we hear some very familiar bagpipes and after a few minutes, the Hot Rod comes out with a young man I’m ASSUMING is his son because I have no other explanation for why this kid is here.
Piper got on the mic to cut a promo, but because the promo was so long, I’m not going to go through the whole thing here. Piper UNLOADED on Russo, saying that the NWA was the only thing Russo hadn’t killed. He said Russo was a ‘hump’ (I’m assuming he meant ‘hunk’, but you never know) of 300lbs that failed to become a wrestler and became a sport entertainer, but never had any talent, though the fact that Piper himself made a VERY good living being a sports entertainer should be pointed out. He said that Russo was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and would kill the dreams of all the young guys in the locker room. He then says he’s there to challenge Russo.
He also plugs his book, which is part of the reason he was in Nashville to start with, saying it was about a boy and his dreams. In his usual, controversial style, Piper accused Russo of all the sins in the calendar, including being the Osama Bin Laden of wrestling (YES, he said that a year after 9/11) and of killing Owen Hart, who Piper claimed to be related to (he’s not to the best of my understanding). He then, without naming names, trashed some of Russo’s ideas in WWE.
Piper then calls out Russo, who tries to pull one over, but this is Roddy Piper we’re talking about and that didn’t work. In what can best be described as a drunken rant, Piper asked Russo, who he had just PUBLICLY accused of killing Owen Hart, if he killed Owen Hart, and asked how he’d bankrupted WCW so fast. I guess Piper didn’t get the memo that WCW was having financial troubles before Russo got there.
To his credit, Russo tried to defend himself, but Piper is DEFINITELY drunk, and is a loud and stubborn drunk at that. Finally, the Harris boys come out to try and save this mess and at least get Russo out of the ring. This was NOT a great start to the show. After that mess was over, we were given an update on the Lynn/Siaki X-Division title match that was randomly announced last week: It will NOT be happening this week because Jerry Lynn is injured again.
Spanish Announce Team vs Divine Storm (with Trinity): Maximos get a good pop. Apparently, SAT and Divine Storm trained together in Brooklyn. To add some more pressure to this, the winners get a shot at the Tag Team Champions, the New Church.
How’d it go? Well…the start was something to be seen rather than described. Honestly, these guys didn’t give the appearance of people who trained together, unless they all had very short-term memories. The match was awkward, especially for the Maximos. It actually looked like two teams that were still in training. Divine Storm got the win with a big assist from Trinity, so they will be fed…er, working with the New Church for the Tag Team Championship.
Harris comes out to a great pop. The whole point to the singles matches Harris and Storm will be having against the New Church is to have a chance to get their hands on James Mitchell.
Russo interrupts, claiming that he doesn’t have an issue with Harris. He then berates Piper for the opening segment and tells him that he’s going to hell for bringing up Owen Hart’s death. He also berates the TNA fans for supporting the NWA, an organization that he claims doesn’t care about them because it’s run by old men. Showing that he has no real understanding that the fans know full well what his ‘accomplishments’ are and that’s why they’re jeering, he claims the fans don’t know what they want.
To prove just why the fans are right to jeer, Russo calls attention to the Athena signs in the crowd. It turns out that Athena is the girl who takes the wrestlers’ gear to the back for them and she is very loved by the crowd. Russo calls her into the ring and proceeds to insult, bully, and degrade Athena, to the outrage of the crowd. When Athena, rightly, slaps the shit out of him, Russo has the Harris brothers, who aren’t happy with their treatment by the NWA, attack Athena, who can’t defend herself.
Backstage, an enraged Bob Armstrong let the Harris twins have it. He reminds them that the NWA, not Vince Russo, is paying them. He also points out that he gave them shots, despite neither of them being good wrestlers and that all Russo’s going to give them is a joy ride. The Harrises aren’t listening and call Armstrong’s warning ‘Bullshit’.
At ringside, an enraged Chris Harris is also calling ‘Bullshit’ on what just happened, but he’s saying it Tenay and West. Tenay will only say that this is what happens when Russo is around and he’s not happy.
Chris Harris vs Brian Lee (with New Church): Well, we finally got to see this match. The match starts off in a brawl, but that was about the highlight of the match. Lee might bear a resemblance to Undertaker, but he’s not nearly as good of a wrestler as the Dead Man. Harris would pull out the win with a spear, so AMW is one match away from getting their hands on James Mitchell.
Backstage, Goldy finds Ron Killings talking to a subtly pleased Bob Armstrong. Killings wants Russo’s ass for robbing him of the NWA Title. Armstrong is very understanding but tells him that he has to deal with the Harris twins first, by tagging with Jeff Jarrett.
James Storm vs Slash (with New Church): Round two of this starts with a sneak attack by Slash. Sensing that the Church was in trouble. Mitchell, Lee, and Bella Donna all did their part to try and help Slash win, but Storm was more determined. That said, this was a much better match than the previous one. Slash is definitely the breakout star of the New Church.
I will say that Bella Donna finally seems to be getting the hang of being a valet and getting her timing right, which is nice to see. She doesn’t seem to be very evil, compared with other members of the Church, more like a lost soul that’s being exploited by Mitchell. In the end, Storm would get the win, with an assist from Harris and the Death Sentence, when the New Church’s antics backfired on them. So James Mitchell will face America’s Most Wanted in a bullrope match.
Tenay and West go over the rules of the Bullrope match: Storm, Harris, and Mitchell will be joined at the wrist and there will be a STEEL cowbell in this somewhere.
In the locker room, Bob Armstrong is trying fire up Jeff Jarrett and Ron Killings, but Jarrett still isn’t saying anything. Jarrett still hasn’t responded to anyone’s question about his loyalty, though Killings getting in his face probably didn’t help.
Double Elimination Match: EZ Money vs Kid Kash vs AJ Styles vs Joel Maximo: Styles is determined to get back to the title match, because he takes out Joel Maximo before the match officially starts. The match pretty good. It had it’s slow spots, but Styles and Kash were easily the highlights of the match. However, to everyone’s surprise, EZ Money pulled out the win with a pin on Joel Maximo, with an assist from AJ Styles.
We get word through Tenay that Jarrett and Killings WILL team up against the Harris Twins later in the show.
Backstage, Goldy is with Sonny Siaki and she’s not happy about it. Siaki is looking like LL Cool J. Goldy tries to be a good sport and wishes Siaki luck, despite the fact that she looked like she wanted to gag rather than say anything nice to him.
Siaki seems to have dropped the speaking in the third person thing, thank heavens. He doesn’t need Goldy’s well-wishes, he’s waited a long time for this match and it doesn’t really matter when his match with Lynn happens because he’s going to walk away with the gold. I applaud them for letting Siaki try and be himself, but it seems a little too late.
Tenay introduces Jerry Lynn, who explains that he’s got a partially torn pectoral muscle, but he WILL be competing next week against Sonny Siaki. The segment is interrupted by the Harris twins bringing out a table and putting Bill Behrens, the boring as beige NWA official, on it. Lynn tries to save Behrens’ bacon, but ends up being powerbombed THROUGH Behrens and the table. Ron Killings runs out to make the save, but suffers a pretty nasty beat down for his troubles.
Backstage, Goldy finds Bob Armstrong and BG James. Armstrong is pleading with James to put aside his issues with Jarrett and team up to face the Harris twins. James finally agrees and addresses Armstrong as ‘Dad’ for the first time since he’s appeared on TNA.
Bullrope Match – AMW vs Bella Donna: James Mitchell comes out and claims that he can’t compete because he has double pneumonia, though that claim falls a little flat all things considered. He then offers up Bella Donna instead, which AMW are less than impressed with.
Unfortunately, Slash and Lee get the jump on AMW, softening them up for Mitchell to get in some eye gouges and shots with the cowbell. Mitchell then offers to let Bella Donna finish things up, but AMW pull her off the top rope in a spot that looked really awful for Bella’s knee, and set her up for the Catatonic and Eight Second Ride. Still not satisfied, but not wanting to take their frustrations out on the helpless Bella Donna, AMW leave her in the ring and go after Mitchell, who runs for his life.
Tenay shows us a pre-show interview he did with Curt Hennig, who still seems to believe that it’s 1991 and he’s still the best wrestler in the world. In his mind, he’s the better option to carry TNA than Jeff Jarrett, who has nearly broken his back trying to carry Hennig on several occasions. As for Russo, Hennig says that Russo gave him a chance in WCW, but put the belt on David Arquette, which is all that needs to be said to explain why Vince Russo should never be allowed around professional wrestling. Hennig is still bragging about taking down Lesnar, but that still hasn’t been confirmed by any reliable, or sober, witness.
In present time, BG James is found out cold under some metal chairs. Looks like Jarrett’s going to have to deal with the Harrises and Russo on his own.
Harris Brothers vs BG James and Jeff Jarrett: Remember Bash at the Beach 1996 when there was genuine interest and suspense about the NWO and the third man? Remember the shock when it turned out that Hulk Hogan, still one of the biggest stars in wrestling, had turned on the fans?
This was not that match. Jarrett did a good job, but the Harris twins were a load to carry on his own. Ron Killings, limping, and with taped ribs, came to the rescue, letting Jarrett beat the Harrises with a Stroke.
However, the real shock came AFTER the match. Ron Killings still wanted Russo, but suffered another severe beatdown as Russo came in from the crowd. BG James came from the back an appeared to be helping Killings, just before he laid him out with a chairshot, to the crowd’s fury. Then, just to add surrealism to this mess, Percy Pringle, aka, Paul Bearer is on the ramp as Russo, James, and the Harrises celebrate and that’s where the show ends.
Overall Comments: I don’t have much to say about this show other than there were okay matches and an awful story. I didn’t watch much of WCW as a kid, so I didn’t see the real affects of Vince Russo’s ‘writing’ until later and it’s easy to see why his ideas took off in the Attitude Era because he gave the mostly male wrestling demographic what they wanted.
However, watching it back now, and I’ve said this before: It is clear that Russo has a serious problem with women and takes any opportunity to try and humiliate and degrade them and the fact that many people still wish Russo was writing for WWE shows that people either don’t remember how badly the women were treated or they don’t care.
I will say that I was happy to hear the Nashville crowd letting Russo know what they thought of him and it wasn’t friendly.
The whole plotline about Jarrett’s loyalties was so blatantly ripped off from the original NWO storyline, I’m surprised Vince didn’t sue, plus it was just awful. What made the NWO work were the original three guys involved. It’s another example of Russo thinking you can just plug anyone into a storyline or a character type and it’ll work and the audience will buy it, not thinking that 1. The NWO storyline, with all the twists and turns, only ended a couple of years before and fans remember it very vividly. And 2. All three guys were top stars in their primes. BG James and the Harris Twins were past their primes, and Paul Bearer’s glory days of being a manager were largely behind him, not a great formula for rebooting the NWO.
The Piper thing was another storyline from the NWO years, but it was in awful taste and not a great showing for Piper, who came across as an angry drunk using the death of a friend to sell a book.
I didn’t enjoy this episode and I hope this isn’t the precursor to worse things down the road.
Chairshot Classics: WWF Royal Rumble ’88
Our road to the 2019 Royal Rumble begins with a look back at the inaugural event!
This was originally not a PPV, but actually a special which aired on the USA Network. It would however, create the 3rd in WWF’s ‘Big 4’ PPV’s and become the annual January tradition that a lot of fans look forward to even more so than WrestleMania. A little known fact is that in late 1987, WWF experimented with the Royal Rumble idea, holding one in St. Louis, Missouri that saw One Man Gang victorious. This is never referred to though, as WWF considers this the first for historical purposes. It’s every man for himself and luck of the draw, let’s get to the action!
Open: Photos featuring all the matchups for tonights event are shown, as Vince McMahon runs down the card that includes the contract signing for the biggest rematch in WWF history between Hulk Hogan & Andre The Giant. In the arena are Vince & Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura, there’s no time to waste and we go right to the ring and Howard Finkel.
Match #1: ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat
They tie-up and Rude doesn’t hesitate to throw hands, Steamboat fires back with chops and Rude goes to the eyes. He tries to throw Ricky over the top, Steamboat hangs on, skinning the cat back inside and tossing Rude out to the floor. The Ravishing One collects himself, telling the ref Steamboat grabbed the tights back inside. Rude wants a test of strength, stops to have a conversation with the fans at ringside and then they lock hands. Rude gets wrist control, driving The Dragon to his knees. Steamboat to his feet, gets out, taking Rude down with a top wristlock and going into an armbar. The Dragon works over the arm, wrenching at the joint and putting Rude to the canvas.
Rude breaks it with a right hand, into the ropes, Steamboat slides through the legs and gets an armdrag, going back into the armbar. Steamboat relentless on the shoulder joint, Rude with forearms and Ricky fires back with chops. Into the ropes, back and forth and Steamboat with another chop, gaining control over Rude’s arm once more. Rude gets to a vertical base, breaking the hold with boots and right hands. Whips The Dragon in and lands a back elbow, finally getting something going. The Ravishing One smashing Steamboat’s head into the turnbuckles, Rude continuing to hammer away.
In the ropes again, Ricky slides through Rude’s legs and hits another armdrag, grabbing an armbar and driving his knee into the shoulder. Rude gets to his feet, sending Steamboat into the ropes and driving an elbow into the chin. More heavy shots from Rude, Steamboat fires back, into the ropes, Rude reverses and drives a knee to the midsection. Steamboat falls out to the floor, Rude giving chase and driving his back into the apron, then slamming Ricky on the floor. Rude drags The Dragon to the apron, bringing him in the hard way with a vertical suplex for a count of 2, then locks in a variation of a Camel Clutch.
The Dragon attempts getting up, but Rude jumps down on the back numberous times. Steamboat gets up again, this time lifting Rude on his shoulders and then dropping him to the mat. Ricky to his feet first, goes for a splash, but Rude gets the knees up, following with an atomic drop for a 2 count. Rude goes back to the Camel Clutch, Steamboat propels him into the corner and then drives his head into the top turnbuckle. The Dragon with a snapmare and a falling chop for 2, Rude goes to the midsection and gets a side headlock takedown, they float over into a bridge and Ricky gains a backslide for a near fall.
He ducks a right, grabs a roll-up for another. Both guys go back and forth with small packages for 2 counts, Rude flooring Ricky with a clothesline for another. Rude attempts a vertical suplex, Steamboat blocks and hits one of his own, then climbs up top. The Dragon jumps off with a crossbody, Rude pulling the referee in front of him and Steamboat takes him out. Rude gets Steamboat up in a Rack, the ref gets to his feet and calls for the bell.
Winner: ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude (Rack)
- After The Bell: Finkel announces that the winner is by disqualification and it’s Ricky Steamboat. Rude hits the ring again after a premature celebration and berates the ref.
Winner: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (Disqualification)
- EA’s Take: Two great workers here, but definitely not as quality of a match as you’d expect. Lots of rest holds and the pace didn’t pick up until the last 15-20 seconds of the match. Rick Rude is easily one of the most underrated WWF Superstars of all-time, after arriving from the NWA in the summer of 1987. No real feud between these two here, as they had limited interactions. Steamboat was one of the company’s hottest babyfaces after his WrestleMania III bout with Randy Savage, but a few weeks after Steamboat asked for time off to be with his wife, who was expecting the birth of their first child. It didn’t sit well with management, as a lot of time had been put into grooming Ricky to be a top babyface. When he would return in late 1987, he was not pushed or really put into any meaningful storylines.
In The Arena: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is with Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura. Tonight, Canadian strongman Dino Bravo will attempt to break the world benchpress record of 705 lbs. They introduce Dino Bravo along with his manager Frenchy Martin. Dino calls it a big challenge, but he feels up to the task. Frenchy says something in French, of course. Ventura goes over some of the technicalities, as Dino goes for a warmup rep at 415 lbs. Dino stops and says it requires total concentration, asking the crowd to be silent. Using Ventura as his spotter, Bravo lifts it and reps it with no problems. They rip through 505, 555, 595 and 655. The crowd keeps making noise and Bravo feigns leaving with 715 lbs. Dino comes back and attempts it, Ventura helps Bravo get it up and they proclaim it legit.
- EA’s Take: I know they were trying to gain heat for the newly repackaged Dino Bravo, but this was just brutally long. The fans were clapping in support of him breaking the record, until he walked off. Dino would return to singles competition when his alliance with Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine as The Dream Team was phased out, joining up with his new manager Frenchy Martin as the French-Canadian Strongman.
Match #2 for the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championships 2/3 Falls: WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin & Leilani Kai) w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Toteno & Itsuki Yamazaki)
The bell rings and The Angels hit the The Glamour Girls with dropkicks. Noriyo & Leilani are left in the ring, Noriyo missing another dropkick as Leilani hangs onto the ropes. Leilani tosses her across the ring by the hair and then drives her into Martin’s knee before she tags in. Martin with a slam, covering and Noriyo bridges out, grabbing a roll-up for 2. Itsuki tags, sends Martin into the ropes and hits a rolling headbutt, followed by a piledriver. Noriyo back in, she gets taken to the ground, but grabs a body scissors.
Martin fights out of it, Noriyo attempts a crossbody and gets caught, then dropped to the canvas. Martin misses an elbow drop, then quickly crawls over and tags Leilani. She enters and takes a knee out of the ropes, Itsuki back in with a flying forearm and a dropkick. The Angels strike back and forth in the corner, Itsuki covering a count of 2, then lock in an octopus stretch. Martin comes in the ring to try and break it, but kicks her own partner. Noriyo back in to deliver a dropkick to Martin, then we get synchronized figure four’s from The Angels. The legal participants are left in the ring, Itsuki breaks the hold and wishbones Leilani’s legs, then tags Noriyo. She comes in and cross the legs, grabbing a modified surfboard.
Itsuki back in, she continues to work the leg, Martin comes in to help her partner and they pull on Leilani by her hands and legs. Martin is dropped to the mat and rolls outside going back to the apron, Leilani crawls to try and tag, finally making it. Martin fires a kick to the midsection, whips Noriyo into the corner and she hops on the turnbuckle, putting the boots up to a charging Martin. Judy catches the feet, pulling Noriyo off the turnbuckle and slamming her to the mat. She delivers a shot to Itsuki on the apron, whips Noriyo into the ropes and Leilani with a cheap shot from the apron. Martin plants Itsuki with a reverse powerbomb, covers and gets the first fall.
First Fall: The Glamour Girls
Martin tosses Itsuki by the hair, putting her in the wrong part of town, then whips her into the ropes for a flying forearm and a count of 1. She slams Itsuki, attempts a splash and misses, allowing Noriyo to tag in and hit a dropkick. Into the ropes, Noriyo with a jumping clothesling, heads to the 2nd rope and connects with another for a near fall. She hits the ropes, landinga crossbody for another 2, then tags Itsuki for a double team suplex. Martin enters the ring to break it up, but gets caught and The Angels attempt to whips The Glamour Girls into one another. The Angels stop short, Glamour Girls charging with clotheslines and end up hitting one another. Order is restored and Leilani flattens Itsuki, lifts her to her shoulder, Itsuki rolls through into a pin and picks up a 3 count.
Second Fall: The Jumping Bomb Angels
The Angels rush Leilani and deliver double knees, then a double clothesline before the ring clears to a one on one situation. Itsuki with a running knee, but Leilani uses her size to force Itsuki into her corner and Martin makes a tag. Into the ropes, Martin catches a kick attempt, Itsuki countering with an enzuigiri and Noriyo enters. Noriyo attempts a fisherman suplex, Martin counters and drives a knee to the midsection, then whips Noriyo hard into the corner. Martin charges, Noriyo hops up and over, grabbing a backslide, but Martin rolls through. Judy grabs the legs, catapulting Noriyo into her corner and tagging out.
Leilani wrenches the neck, then stomps away at Noriyo and hangs her across the top rope by the hair. Double underhook suplex plants Noriyo and Leilani gets a count of 2. Leilani maintains the advantage, Martin in off the tag with a big boot that sends Noriyo into a tag. Itsuki comes in and is immediately tossed across the ring by the hair, then distracts the ref for Leilani to get in an illegal choke. Leilani makes a cover for multiple 1 counts, sends Itsuki in for a double axe handle and it’s blocked. She drops Leilani keyster first on the canvas a couple times and gets a 2 count. She tosses Leilani into her own corner, then brings Martin in the hard way and tags Noriyo.
She climbs upstairs, Itsuki with a slam and Noriyo follows off the top with a knee drop for 2. Noriyo hits a double underhook suplex into a bridge, gaining another 2 count, then brings Itsuki back in for a crossbody and another 2. Martin is slammed to the mat, Itsuki comes off the 2nd rope with a senton and misses, Martin covering and only getting 2. Itsuki with a leg takedown, Noriyo with the tag and a 2nd rope clothesline, but Leilani breaks up the pinfall. The ref’s tied up with Leilani, The Angels climb opposing turnbuckles and hit a tandem dropkick for the 1-2-3.
Winners and NEW WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions: The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo/Tandem Top Rope Dropkick)
- EA’s Take: The crowd was quite into this contest and a lot of the style of The Angels is ahead of it’s time, however the pacing of the contest was a bit too hectic at times. Women’s wrestling isn’t quite as clean and smooth as the men at this point, it would take a number of years for it to get to that point. The WWF Women’s Tag Team Titles are a forgotten relic in the annals of WWE history and this is the last major appearance they’d ever see. The Glamour Girls would go on to regain the championships in June before the titles were dropped completely in early 1989.
Video: Footage from WrestleMania III is shown, when Andre The Giant took on Hulk Hogan for the WWF Heavyweight Championship. At one point, Hogan attempted to slam Andre, but The Giant’s weight came crashing down onto the champion for what some claim was a 3 count. ‘The Million Dollar Man’ has plans to buy the championship, but Hulk Hogan refused to sell it. DiBiase promises to get what he wants, no matter the cost. Andre would accept DiBiase’s offer, attacking the champion on Saturday Night’s Main Event. The Giant has agreed to hand the title over.
In The Ring: It’s time for the contract signing for the biggest rematch in history, as Andre The Giant along with ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase & Virgil make their way to the ring. ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund will oversee the proceedings and he introduces WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan, then WWF President Jack Tunney.Tunney & Hogan sit down at the table, but Andre refuses as Gene urges him to sign the contract. DiBiase gives Andre a few words and he slowly makes his way to the table, staring down the champion. The Giant finally takes a seat, then DiBiase takes the mic and begs Hogan to sign. Hulk appears to be having doubts, but then signs after some more prodding by The Million Dollar Man. Andre reviews the contract and Hulk grows impatient. The Giant finally puts his name on the dotted line and DiBiase tells him to put his ‘stamp of approval on it’. Hogan lunges at DiBiase and Andre grabs the champion, slamming his head into the table.
- EA’s Take: This segment is a stark contrast to the one earlier tonight. Yes, it was also long, but that was supposed to be the effect and it worked perfectly. Even almost 30 years later, you could feel the tension as Hogan’s blood boiled at Andre toying around with him. DiBiase was the perfect foil to add a new layer to the Hulk/Andre rivalry, giving it new life with the ‘purchasing of the title’ story. This contract was signed for a match to come on Saturday Night’s Main Event and would lead to the biggest moment in the shows history.