After a somewhat lackluster build (thanks in part to Taker and Shawn being legit injured and Bret having to finish his mid-card issues) we come to the WWF’s fourth (?) biggest PPV of the year. This will prove to begin the transition of the WWF off of Diesel power and unto the culmination of the boyhood dream of Shawn Michaels. Meanwhile Bret Hart does…stuff.
I should mention The Public Enemy faced WWF Tag Team Champions The Smoking Gunns in the dark match before the PPV. PWI did an article with pictures of the match and I think kayfabe’d that Enemy were too wild for WWF officials or something, when in reality WCW just out bid the WWF I assume. By the time I got my PWI with that article in it, I’m pretty sure Public Enemy had already been on WCW TV and my WWF leaning heart sank a bit at the missed talent acquisition. Anything ECW at the time seemed amazing since I had no access to their shows except PWI articles and result pages. Every month it seemed something crazy was going down in Philly, meanwhile the only wrestling I had on TV was WWF syndication with Doink the Clown facing jobbers and other such trivial encounters. Back on topic…
We open with the return of Mr. Perfect. It’s a shame it wasn’t an in ring return; there was a upper card hole open for him to have some key feuds. Maybe it’s for the best though as Steve Austin, HHH, and Goldust filled the hole in the upper mid card over the next year. I believe Perfect had been gone since shortly after WM X trying to heal his back and soaking in the insurance money.
Marty Jannetty, Hakushi, Bob Holly and Barry Horowitz vs. Skip, Rad Radford, Tom Pritchard and the 1-2-3 Kid
Some changes from the original line up here as Avatar was replaced by Bob Holly because Vince gave up on him fast and Kid is replacing Jean-Pierre Lafitte, who either had a hernia (maybe all that hard bumping I loved did him in?) or fell victim to the Kliq. Razor tries to get at the Kid but officials hold him back. Tom Pritchard stands out like a sore thumb, as he had been off WWF TV since the previous spring. His home promotion of Smoky Mountain Wrestling was days away from going belly up, so this was a good time for him to latch back on to a WWF gig.
Pritchard is over whelmed by Marty early. Rad Radford doesn’t fare much better. Radford was a few weeks away from a drug overdose or somesuch, so this is probably one of the last times I’ll see him. Tom will replace him as Skip’s partner while Rad goes for help. Holly tags in and hits a frankensteiner. Hakushi tags in and Radford uses his size to drill Hakushi to the mat with a spinebuster. Kid hits a top rope splash and I buy that as a pin but no dice. Skip tries a back suplex and Hakushi flips on top for a near fall.
Pritchard and Holly tag in and Tom promptly misses a moonsault and gets pinned. Skip comes in and immediately rolls Holly up to even the sides. Perfect is getting old fast putting himself over on commentary.
Skip and Hakushi go at it and a top rope frankensteiner hurts both men. Hakushi and the Kid trade martial arts. Hakushi hits a flying forearm but misses a diving headbutt.
Radford tags in and Hakushi is kicked in the back of the head by the Kid for the pin. Horowitz checks on the modern day kamikaze and is jumped by the heels for his efforts. They take turns beating down Barry but Skip orders Radford not to pin him. An older lady in the front row is VERY relieved when Horowitz kicks out of a bridging suplex.
Radford gets cocky and does push-ups and Horowitz rolls him up for the pin. Skip and Horowitz have a go and Barry holds his own but the Kid sneaks in and pins Horowitz. Good booking making the Kid a sneaky little bastard so far. Skip and Marty trade holds and the woman in the front row is stealing the show for me with her facials as she is dying with every blow a heel hits. Marty hits the Rocker dropper and Perfect quips, “That’ll break your neck!” (Ask Chuck Austin) Marty hits a top rope POWERBOMB and pins Skip.
The Kid jumps Marty right away and Waltman hits a top rope leg drop that I buy as the finish. Marty eats a big kick to the face but The Kid misses a follow up senton bomb. Big dropkick from Marty but Sid wanders down and distracts Marty. The old lady busts out the disposable camera for Sid standing by her. I am amused. Marty hits a rocker dropper for a near fall. DiBiase distracts the ref and Sid drops Marty throat first on the top rope. (What happened to the second ref that was at ringside???) The Kid gets the duke. I’m not sure The Kid should have required help to beat the job squad. Razor smashes a TV in the back in disgust over The Kid winning. Heck of a little match here. The old lady gets a gold star for her efforts too.
Alundra Blayze, Kyoko Inoue, Sakie Hasegawa, Chaparita Asari vs. Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe, Lioness Asuka
In the WWF magazine that previewed the Royal Rumble 96, Blayze was scheduled to face Aja Kong, however I read recently on the TSM Forums that Dave Meltzer reported that Aja was suppose to be the new face of the Women’s division and be a once every few months special attraction against other Japan talent. Blazye was to be discarded completely. Apparently Aja’s matches they taped after this PPV were a bit stiff and it freaked the office out enough that they scrapped all the plans. Blayze would leave a few weeks later when her contract ran out and infamously dump the WWF title in a trash can on Nitro. I guess they planned on paying her long enough to job the title originally?
I only know 3 of these women, so calling this will be hard. Asuka kicks the face off of Asari (!) to start and then gives her the Cesaro swing. Vince all but admits he has no idea who is who and tells JR to call this. Asari botches a “sky twister press” (Thanks for that name JR!), which is a jump off the top rope into a tornado spin and a splash or somesuch, but she lands on Asuka’s face, which seems fair given the earlier kick. Blayze tags in and hits the German suplex for the pin.
Watanabe misses a moonsault and Blayze hits her with a flying cross body to the floor. Hasegawa tags in and hits a series of double underhook suplexes and the fans love it. Watanabe hits a flying “Earthquake” splash from the top and tags Aja in. Hasegawa hits a side suplex but she is kicked down in response and Aja hits her own side suplex for the pin.
Vince calls Aja “the big one” and Asari “the lovely young lady” and then goes back to letting JR call the match. Awesome. Aja splashes her into defeat almost right away. Inoue tries her luck but is sat on and pinned just as JR says Inoue one of the biggest stars in Japan. She lasted about 10 seconds.
So it’s Blayze vs. Aja, Bertha and Watanabe. Action has been so quick and intense, I forgot to keep my eye on the old lady who stole my heart at ringside. All 3 ladies try and corner Blayze and that allows Bertha to get her licks in, but Blayze basically no sells and whips Wantanabe around, hits a piledriver and gets the pin.
Bertha tags in and squashes Blayze but Aja and Bertha collide on an attempted double standing avalanche splash and Faye is rolled up for the pin.
Blayze is whipped to the corner by Aja and then they do a very contrived set up that leads to Blayze being superplexed from the top. She basically put herself in position for no discernable reason and then Blazye put her head down as Aja climbed up for the move. Aja squashes Blayze in the corner but Blayze manages to hit a frankensteiner and a flying dropkick. Aja bullies back with double chest punches and knocks Blayze the fuck out with a spinning backfist for the win. Another nifty match and I’m suddenly wondering if this PPV gets slept on a little bit when discussing good PPVs.
“Bill Clinton” does lame comedy so Vince can make fun of his polices. Bam Bam Bigelow comes down and his pyro leads to the secret service swarming the president. That was kind of a cute payoff to that bit.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Goldust
Bigelow is jobbing out on his way out of the WWF, so lets hope he’s motivated enough to make Dustin not work “methodically”. I’ve read Bigelow had an elbow injury here and was actually scheduled to come back to the WWF perhaps as soon as the Royal Rumble when he healed up, but no return took place. Goldust takes so long walking down and posing that his music loops. Goldust slugs away but bails when Bammer tries to retaliate. Bigelow nails a dropkick and Dust bails again. Goldust yanks Bigelow to the floor and posts him, but punches the ring post by accident to allow Bammer to get the action back in the ring. That doesn’t last long as Bam Bam is clotheslined out to the floor almost right away. Goldust locks in a front face lock and drops some punches before chucking Bigelow to the floor. Bam Bam is sent into the steps. Back in, Bigelow rallies with a backdrop but misses a diving head butt. Dust locks in a chinlock/neck crank. Bammer escapes by lifting Goldust up and dropping him with an “electric chair drop”. Goldust hits a lariat and locks in a weak looking headlock. Bigelow hits a series of clotheslines but misses a corner splash and is bulldogged for the pin. Better than expected. Heels are 3 for 3 so far tonight.
“Bill Clinton” introduces Bob Backlund. Backlund chastises him because the Federal government is shut down.
Undertaker, Fatu, Savio Vega, HOG vs. Mabel, HHH, Jerry Lawler, Isaac Yankem
The faces dance to Savio’s theme before The Undertaker’s gong plays over the P.A.
Mabel declines Taker’s offer to start. The faces are all wearing Taker merchandise as ring gear. Fatu and HHH start off and HHH is backdropped and clotheslined out of his shorts. HHH tries a pedigree but he makes eye contact with Taker and lets it go. He rams Fatu’s head into the turnbuckle and since he’s Samoan, Fatu just dances. Both men tag out and HOG and Yankem square off. The hosses hammer on one another. Yankem gets the better of HOG with a backdrop and tags in HHH who only wants HOG now that he’s down. HHH gets a choke and a flying knee. HOG press slams HHH and threatens to chuck him right out to the floor. Lawler and Savio tag in. Savio dances so Lawler dances and he gets dropkicked into the faces’ corner for his efforts. Fatu tags in and rams Jerry 10 times into the turnbuckle but he gets too close to the heel corner and Yankem and Mabel take advantage of him. Savio tags in and is squashed by a powerslam and then a press slam/suplex type move. Yankem tags in and chokes away. All four heels attack Savio in the corner. Lawler hits a piledriver but stalls too long and only gets two. HHH takes his turn on abusing Vega, but he is caught with a Rock bottom. Lawler tags in and hits another piledriver, but Savio no sells it (?!?!?!?! ) and tags in the Undertaker. Lawler wants out but his partners bail. Jerry is choked and tombstoned. 1-2-3.
Yankem jumps Taker but eats a flying clothesline and is tombstoned. 1-2-3.
HHH comes in and then bails. HOG threatens to slop HHH so he wanders back to the ring and is choke slammed for the pin.
Mabel hits a belly to belly and a leg drop. Mabel dances but Taker sits up and Mabel runs away for the countout. Watchable but un-noteworthy stuff.
Wild Card match: Razor Ramon, Owen Hart, Dean Douglas, Yokozuna vs. Sid, Bulldog, Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson
Story line here is that the teams are randomly assigned for some reason, hence face Razor teaming with heels Owen, Yoko & Dean.
Fan sign: “Bring back Teddy Long”. That’s pretty random. Shawn and Owen start off. Owen tries to toss Shawn over the top rope, Shawn skins the cat back in and head scissors Owen to the floor. Cornette tries a cheapshot and Shawn kicks him and wacks Jim’s butt with the tennis racquet. Owen gets a belly to belly back in the ring and Dean joins in with a suplex of his own. Perfect suggests Shawn gave up the IC title belt so he wouldn’t have to be pinned by Douglas. That’s not like Shawn at all! Shawn hits a double axe handle from the top rope and hits a moonsault soon after. Ahmed tags in and scissor kicks Owen and Dean. He tries to slam Yoko and that ends poorly and Ahmed falls victim to a gang beat down. Even Razor takes his shots when Ahmed is trapped in his opponent’s corner. Ahmed gets a power slam and the press slams Shawn on top of Dean for a near fall. Dean bails when threatened by a superkick. Razor and Dean have words on the floor and when Dean makes it back in Razor swats him and Shawn rolls him up for the 3 count.
Bulldog and Owen square off and then each go for a cheap shot on a handshake. Bulldog monkey flips Owen over to the delight of the crowd. Hart responds with a spin wheel kick. Shawn and Razor are tagged in and the reaction isn’t quite as big as they were hoping for. Shawn dumps Razor, but Razor lands on his feet. Shawn gets a flying forearm but Razor rebounds with the Razor’s Edge. My favorite old lady does not approve of that at all. The men knock heads on a Razor charge. Shawn tags in Sid and he hammers away at Razor. Sid stomps away until Yokozuna saves Razor. Ramon and Sid both drop on a double clothesline. Sid chokes slams Razor. Sid calls in Shawn and holds Razor for the superkick. Razor moves and Shawn kicks Sid. Shawn shrugs and says “oh well” and Sid is covered. Bulldog breaks up the pin and nearly smashes Sid in the face on accident. Then Razor just pins Sid anyway. Bulldog blow that spot?
Davey works over Razor as Sid power bombs Shawn. Owen nails Shawn with a back breaker, a back drop and then tags in Yoko who pummels Shawn with fists to the head. Yoko locks in the Vulcan nerve pinch of extreme discomfort. Yoko then downs him with an elbow and he and Owen deliver a double head butt. Owen misses the flying splash from the top rope though. Ahmed is tagged in and drops Owen and Razor with clotheslines. Pearl River Plunge (Tiger Bomb) finishes Owen.
Razor comes in and catches Ahmed with a boot to the face. Ramon climbs to the second rope to go for the bulldog but Ahmed wanders away, so Razor hops off and hits it anyway. Ahmed spinebusters Razor but he poses instead of trying to pin Razor and he eats a Razor’s Edge. Bulldog saves him and Razor is wore down. Sid and the Kid come to ringside. Kid trips Razor and Bulldog hits the power slam for the pin.
Yoko is left vs. Shawn, Bulldog and Ahmed. Yoko drops Shawn with a big body slam and leg drop. Banzai drop misses. Ahmed tags in and slams Yoko. Bulldog saves him. Shawn and Ahmed dump Bulldog. Superkick drops Yoko and Ahmed screams as he splashes Yoko for the pin. Shawn does the “Yeah!” “Boo!” with the crowd pointing between Ahmed and Bulldog. Match was solid, but the dynamic didn’t quite work in my opinion. It did set up Shawn’s angle for tomorrow night on RAW nicely though. More on that next week in my next Monday Night Wars review.
“Bill Clinton” sexually harasses Sunny. She doesn’t mind.
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel (c) for the WWF Championship under No Disqualification rules
Nash tears the turnbuckle off his corner and Bret does the same. The Hitman tries a single leg but Nash just mauls him with power shots. Nash drops bombs time and time again until Bret finds refuge on the floor. Nash stalks him and drops Bret onto the railing. He rolls Bret in the ring but Hart rolls away and back to the floor. The Hitman loses a brief slugfest in the ring and Bret is forced back to the concrete. Nash chucks Bret into the steps and slams Hart’s back into the ring post. Diesel drives a chair into Bret’s back. Nash flings Hart violently into the turnbuckle. The Hitman blocks a powerbomb and bites Nash’s arm and then his face. Bret tears his fingers into Nash’s face. Hart kicks away at Nash’s leg and secures the single leg takedown. Bret focuses his attack on Nash’s leg as he lays vertical on the mat. Figure four leglock. Nash makes it to the rope but since it’s no DQ Bret doesn’t have to break it. Ref Hebner makes him anyway. Earl screwed Bret there…
Sharpshooter attempt is blocked. A second try sends Bret into the uncovered turnbuckle steel. Nash pounds away at Bret’s head, so Bret scoots to the floor again. Hart grabs Nash’s leg and slams it into the steel. Bret finds a cable and ties Nash to the turnbuckle by his ankle. Nash tries to escape but since he’s tied up Bret can lay him out with a clothesline. Bret gets a chair but Nash boots him in the face. Nash reaches for the chair but Bret steps on his fingers and then jams the chair across Diesel’s back and into his knee several times. Bret hits the back breaker and takes the chair to the top rope but Nash is able to crotch him and then slam him from the top rope. Nash frees himself and chokes Bret and downs him with a side slam. Bret is chucked into the uncovered turnbuckle. Nash tries to run but his knee is shot. Nash dumps Bret face first onto the turnbuckle. Nash tries to do it onto the uncovered turnbuckle but Bret escapes and slams Nash’s face into it. Bret hits a bulldog. Russian leg sweep. Nash is clotheslined to the floor but Bret misses the follow up plancha. Nash knocks Bret off the ring apron and through the announce table. Nash looks like he doesn’t know how Bret is still kicking. Nash tries a powerbomb but Bret collapses. Nash tries again and The Hitman small packages Nash for the pin!!! Nash screams “Fuck” and power bombs Bret twice more and slugs a slew of refs. Nash walks off and a ringside fan just looks on in disgust and shakes his head. Bret remains on the mat for several minutes. Is this the best Nash match ever? Really good (great??) match here.
No bad matches and 3 legit very good matches may make this the best PPV of 1995 for the WWF. Nash and Bret is well worth seeing, especially if you need proof that Nash wasn’t always deserving of the moniker of “Big Lazy”.