Taped September 23rd, 2016
Jim Ross kicks things off by making fun of the host and comparing him to today’s wrestlers who are all high spots.
First topic is Steve Austin winning the 1996 “King of the Ring” and kicking off his rise up the card.
The “Austin 3:16” line was unscripted, but the fans rallied behind it and Austin began to take off.
Corny tears into Russo for taking credit for people like the Rock and Austin having such success when they had so much natural talent.
Jake the Snake was working for Smoky Mountain Wrestling as their top heel. Roberts had a big match set up with Tony Anthony but the infamous O.J. Simpson Bronco chase went down the same night and it killed off any sort of walk-up business for SMW. Roberts was not pleased with his payoff and skipped out on the rest of his bookings, while still holding the SMW title.
Had Austin’s “King of the Ring” speech been on a pre-taped RAW, JR thinks there is a good chance it would never had aired due to it’s religious content.
JR speaks on the Hardy Boys reinventing themselves with the “broken” gimmick and how evolution only aids a wrestler’s career.
Those in the business need to make an effort to make the wrestling world better through their actions and efforts.
Ross was not a fan of the angle where he turned heel in September of 1996. He says as an old school guy that he was trained to do what the office told you to do, even if you think it stinks.
JR breaks my heart a little by speaking on his Bells Palsy and talks about how his grandkids have never seen him smile.
Corny and Bruce Prichard would sit around Vince McMahon’s house and do nothing for hours on end because Vince had to approve of all booking plans and he was often absent.
The roster was taken by surprise by the news that Razor and Diesel were coming back – Corny was especially confused because he was on the creative team and would be privy to this info.
Cornette was charged with teaching the “fakes” how to do Razor and Diesel’s spots. This leads to his classic rant about Nash only having 7 moves – and that’s if you include the “hair flip” as a one.
The Pillman/Austin gun incident is talked about. Corny tries to blame Russo for it, but he isn’t sure Russo really had his hands on it. This leads to Corny shitting on hot shot booking If you throw everything at the fans in every segment, you’ll burn them out and have nothing to turn to the next time business sinks.
JR talks about how the modern Ring of Honor promotion has issues with this, as their shows tend to have high spots match after match. By the time the main eventers come out the crowd has seen all the spots and tricks.
Andre the Giant was the biggest draw of his era, but had he been stuck in one place his drawing power would have been badly hurt. This is why today’s stagnant rosters are hurting WWE and TNA.
Cornette tried to get the ROH roster to cut back on doing so much on the undercard, but the talent insisted that this is what would set ROH apart. JR speaks up in favor of ROH’s structure as he thinks they are more of a “whole show” production and not star focused.
JR feels AJ Styles is the best worker in the business. He blames the WWE for not making him a star that can move numbers.
The fans rejecting Shawn Michaels is discussed. JR blames the WWF for pushing him too hard and causing the fans backlash. Corny thinks Shawn being a shithead had a lot to do with it. Jose Lothario was put with HBK to give him a Rocky/Mickey type of feel, but Shawn ignored Lothario and just wanted to shake his dick at the fans.
Jerry Lawler called Goldust a “queer” on Raw in 1996. JR says it was all for shock value, like the rest of that era’s booking. Corny talks about how Lawler was drawing huge houses at the age of 23 and was probably already the best promo in the business at that age. That base gave Lawler the experience to play up a controversial angle perfectly. JR believes Lawler came up with the line himself.
JR does not think that any of the Attitude era guys could pull off doing word for word scripted promos that the current roster has to try and overcome.
Lawler and JR had to team up on Raw against the UnAmericans. Lawler was taking weight loss pills and his poo was liquid from the side effects. Lawler took a bump and shit his pants live on TV.
Terry Funk chased Jim Cornette all around Memphis’ TV studio and ripped his pants off on live TV. Corny had only been on TV for a few months and was terrified of Funk’s manic personality.
Shotgun Saturday Night was designed to be an edgy, live show to give the WWF a chance to work some more adult angles. Terry Funk swearing on live TV was not planned, but caused no heat that they can recall. Corny had to run around New York with a midget for a vignette – they drew no stares from the New Yorkers who were used to the unusual.
Ross was against the idea of Chyna working against men. He thinks it took the fans out of the moment.
When Chyna gave JR a pedigree she stiffed him. His face smashed into the mat and her body smacked the back of his head.
Bret Hart against Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13 was so good that it didn’t belong on WWF TV and should have been at a NWA Starrcade show 10 years earlier.
The talent leaving for WCW was a blessing as it gave the WWF openings for new stars to shine.
Eric Bischoff was given the WCW vice-president gig at least in part because he convinced the Turner execs that he was marketing and TV focused, while the other candidates were from “wrestling”.
Lawler hated rehearsing. Most of the time when JR and the King were calling matches they did not know the finishes.
Mick Foley, John Cena and Mike Tyson all know WWF history front to back.
Foley was clean cut and an above average talent, which made him very appealing for JR to add to the locker room mix. Foley would provide a veteran example for a roster that was rather young. McMahon fought against him for months and basically told JR that Foley would fail within the WWF product.
Mick won Vince over with his promos over time.
The Dude Love gimmick bothered Mick a little bit because he felt he was doing too much shtick and not enough bumps to please the fans.
Corny raged out at the N.W.O. making fun of the Horsemen on WWF’s “Byte This” online program. This caused such a stir that Vince had Cornette do the same basic commentary as part of Raw for the next several weeks.
Much of the roster came to JR (who was the head of talent relations) and had a heart to heart with him after McMahon “screwed” Bret Hart in Montreal. Going into the match JR was told the finish would be a DQ.
Bruce Pritchard, Russo and Corny had to sit and watch McMahon go back and forth with Bret and Shawn on the phone leading up to Montreal. Corny finally snapped about the two millionaires arguing with another millionaire over who would win the match. He told Vince to put Bret in with Ken Shamrock and if Hart won’t do the job, then have Shamrock shoot on him. Vince wanted Shawn in the match though, so Corny told him to devise a double cross. Russo was baffled by this concept.
The lights go out on the stage and suddenly Bret “The Hitman” Hart walks out!
Hart loved 1997 as he had a ton of great matches and angles.
The Montreal match had a tight final sequence planned that the fans never got to see because of the screwjob.
Working with his family and close friends on top was a blast, and up until Montreal happened it was perhaps the best in ring year of Hart’s career.
The screwjob at least taught the WWF that screwing over talent was not smart business and today’s roster has no fear of such things going down.
Bret did not want to leave the WWF, but Vince came to him and explained that the WWF was going to regress into the northeast of the US, only working big cities. The cash flow was drying up and the WWF was going to restructure.
Hart knew Bischoff was an idiot and the WWF talent that had come from WCW had nothing good to say about the company, so Bret did not have high hopes for success.
Shawn Michaels was perversely dancing while supposedly portraying the WWF’s top babyface. This irked Bret and Hart felt this would open a spot for Hart to return and be the clean-cut hero.
Bret wanted to work Shawn for the World title at Mania 13, with a finish being that Hart would “break” HBK’s ankle to set up a submission win. Michaels’ shit on the idea. Austin stepped into Shawn’s place and was willing to listen to Hart because he understood the goal was to make money.
JR knew Austin had the potential to be a major star. The WWF did not offer big money up front, but the merchandise potential was huge, and it helped sway Austin to turn babyface. Austin made over 1 million dollars in one 3 month period just from royalties.
The current WWE roster has a lot of guys making six figures who have never even drawn a house.
JR reminds us that Bret didn’t need a bunch of high spots and stupid bumps to draw money.
They all exchange comments on how great each other were to close things out.
Final thoughts: JR and Corny have no problems with the gift of gab, so even if many of the stories are rehashes, they are still fun to hear. Bret’s appearance was a very nice bonus.