The first thing I saw when I had prepared to write this article was something so absolutely stupid that it was hard to type out. The WWF had brought Pat Patterson back. Everyone reading this is probably thinking something along the lines of “duh,” but I never knew the details of the lawsuits and things like that until now. In addition to that, Hawk and the Berzerker disappeared after SummerSlam, with Hawk never to return. Sure everyone knew that too. Initially they tried to replace him with Crush, but that didn’t work out. I’m not too sure I mentioned that the Nasty Boys turned face after being denied a tag title shot by Jimmy Hart. I mentioned it now, though.
– September 1st, 1992, from Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Ric Flair (w/Mr. Perfect) vs. Randy Savage for the WWF Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: This match was thought to be no big deal at all. Savage was going to be selling his post-SummerSlam injury, and he had faced Flair on countless house shows prior to this match. Everyone knows the story about how Vince McMahon was irate over their first try at this match and had Bobby Heenan run out there to get the match stopped. I was lucky enough to find a complete video of this. It wasn’t exactly easy to find. During Savage’s entrance, he limped the whole way to the ring. This was actually taped for the September 14th edition of Prime Time Wrestling, but I didn’t want to get deep into my review before watching it.
Match Review: Flair goes after the knee right from the start, tackling him to the canvas only for Savage to roll out of the ring. Perfect keeps teasing some trips when Savage rolls back in there, but that’s not going down. Heenan suggests that Savage just needs to last the hour time limit and doesn’t have to win. Flair goes to work with some punches and chops, but Savage fights back with his own. Perfect teases the trips again, but Flair takes Savage to the canvas himself. Savage kicks away, but Flair chops him for a while and takes him back down. Savage gets up, picks Flair up and press slams him, then puts Flair in an abdominal stretch. Flair hits the knee repeatedly to break it, but Savage clotheslines him for 2. Flair comes back with a suplex, which also gets 2. Flair drops an elbow for 2, then goes back to the punches for a while. Flair follows up with a back suplex, and applies a half crab only for Savage to quickly make the ropes. Flair bodyslams Savage, then drops a knee on him. Savage can barely make it to his feet, and tries a small package which gets 2. Flair throws Savage over the top, then the match is clipped. Well, that’s great. I don’t think it was clipped much. Savage rolls into the ring, and he backdrops Flair. A clothesline follows that, then Savage hits Flair with another to send him over the top. Savage rams Flair into the rail, then he suplexes him on the floor! Perfect distracts Savage once again, which gives Flair time to poke Savage in the eye. Savage backdrops Flair on the floor, takes him into the rail, then back into the ring. Savage heads up top, and comes down with a big double axehandle. He grabs his knee again, and here comes RAZOR RAMON! Perfect trips Savage as he runs the ropes, so Flair dropkicks him to the outside. Razor takes the distraction and attacks Savage by kicking his leg out from underneath him, then Flair deposits Savage back inside. Flair locks on the FIGURE-FOUR, and after a very long time, Savage passes out from the pain. The referee counts the fall, and we have a NEW WWF CHAMPION after about 15:51.
My Thoughts: That dramatic slow count was ridiculous, but this match wasn’t as terrible as Flair seems to think. I bet the first try was really terrible for Vince to have stopped it. The match was more storyline intensive than I prefer, and Savage basically dropped the title to three guys. Savage did a great job selling the leg, but I found the bits where Mr. Perfect would grab Savage to be totally unnecessary. They detracted from the match a great deal. **1/2. Also, in my readings of the WON, it seems like they wanted to put the belt on the Ultimate Warrior during his series of house show matches with Flair. It’s also funny that Razor Ramon was interfering in title matches just a month after debuting on TV. Vince must have liked Hall’s portrayal of the gimmick a LOT.
– September 2nd, 1992, from the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland
The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Ric Flair (w/Mr. Perfect) for the WWF Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: It was very rare for the WWF to run a building this big as their TV taping. Of course, ticket sales weren’t good and they had to give out a lot of freebies. This is an interesting match on many levels, so it should be no surprise that I’m checking it out. These guys did work together a few times, but in a singles setting, this may have been the only time a match of theirs was taped until WrestleMania 18. Jim Ross sounds so unenthusiastic on commentary in these Coliseum Video matches. This crowd is hyped for Flair, no surprise given that this was his territory and all.
Match Review: Flair gets in Taker’s face for some reason, then Taker shoves him to the canvas a few times. Flair then runs into a brick wall, and Taker follows that up with a press slam. He looked funny doing that. Flair rolls out of the ring, falls down on the floor, and very slowly gets back in there. Flair pokes Taker in the eye, then tries to chop Taker, but the big man isn’t selling anything. Flair tries to beg, but Taker throws him upside down in the corner and out of the ring. Taker follows and puts Flair back in there, then misses his flying clothesline, rolling out of the ring. Perfect slaps Taker, then Flair goes to the eyes. Flair rams Taker into the rail, then when Taker gets back in the ring, Flair hits him with a nut shot. Flair follows with a back suplex, but Taker sits up immediately. Flair tries to suplex Taker out of the ring, but Taker suplexes him back in. Perfect gets on the apron and tosses Flair some BRASS KNUCKLES, then Flair pops Taker with it. Flair puts Taker in a FIGURE-FOUR, but Taker sits up and grabs Flair with a choke. That becomes a CHOKESLAM, but Perfect pulls the referee out of the ring. Taker stalks Perfect around the ring, but a distraction from Flair rams Taker into the post. Flair pulls Taker back in the ring, but Taker no-sells a chop and hits him with the flying clothesline. I thought somebody got disqualified, but that didn’t actually happen until Perfect hit Flair with a chair at 7:36. Taker drops Flair with the TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER, but the bell already rang.
My Thoughts: The Flair formula would have worked perfect with Taker, I think. Perhaps they could have done a strong PPV match with it, although how they’d get out of Taker losing without fans feeling ripped off, I do not know. Anyway, this was a fun way to spend seven minutes. **, and I do feel strongly that they could have had better matches.
– September 22nd, 1992, from Keystone Centre in Brandon, Manitoba
Papa Shango vs. Randy Savage
Pre-Match Thoughts: I usually feel awful for laughing at my own jokes, but I think “into the wilderness” would be an appropriate way to describe this taping location. I bet this was the most exciting thing to ever happen in Brandon. I know full well this match is terrible, but I really wanted to do this routine of terrible jokes.
Match Review: Savage evades Shango a few times, until Shango grabs onto a choke and won’t let go. Savage pops him with a back elbow, but Shango comes back with a big right to knock him down. Shango picks Savage up with a choke, then drops him to the canvas. After some really shitty punishment given out by Shango, he amps up the shittiness with a bear hug. Savage thumbs him in the eye to break it, but Shango keeps going to work. Shango slams Savage, then drops an elbow on him. A second elbow drop follows that, then a third gets 2. Shango goes up to the second rope, comes down with a big splash, and misses. Savage backdrops Shango for 2, then knees him to the outside. Savage follows up with BOMBS AWAY, then throws the jabroni back in the ring. Bodyslam, FLYING ELBOW, and that’s it at 5:38.
My Thoughts: This match stunk as bad as I expected. I’m not complaining, I full well knew what I was getting into. Don’t make the same mistake unless you want to make fun of a city in your review. DUD. I think Savage deserved quite a bit better than working with this guy, which is why he was faced up against Razor Ramon on house shows.
– October 12th, 1992, from Saskatchewan Center in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair (w/Mr. Perfect) for the WWF Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: Yes, this is THAT match. Again, in a different location, but the WWF was having to use these because their business in the United States was going by the wayside. This is one of those matches that both participants hate for different reasons. Their reasons for feeling that way are more down to the working climate and personal relationships than the matches. Not saying they’re wrong to feel that way. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t air this match, but apparently it was because Flair refused to put Bret over on television.
Match Review: These two lock up, and wind up in the corner shortly afterward. Flair takes Bret down with a headlock, and Bret reverses to a hammerlock. Flair makes the ropes, throws Bret into the corner, and chops away at him. Flair goes for a suplex, but Bret blocks that and dishes out his own for 2. Bret follows with a backdrop, and grabs the legs so he can kick Flair a little low. Flair stalls on the outside, then teases leaving the ringside area. Flair gets back in and applies a wristlock, but Bret bridges back up to take Flair down with it. Flair makes the ropes, but Bret doesn’t break the hold until his last chance to do so. Bret takes Flair down with an arm drag, but Flair gets up with a drop toe-hold. He has the arm now, but Bret reverses and goes back to the hammerlock. Flair makes the ropes, but Bret’s able to go back to work on the arm. Flair gets up again and chops away, then he throws Bret over the top so he can take a break. Bret tries to come back in with a sunset flip, and Flair drags him all the way to the other side before finally blocking it with a big right. Bret winds up on the apron and tries the sunset flip again, this time pulling Flair’s trunks down and getting a 2 count. Bret backdrops Flair again, then clotheslines him a few times, getting a big crowd reaction as Flair flops on the floor. Flair gets back in, falls down again, and Bret covers for 2. Flair goes to the eyes, then throws Bret hard into the corner, with Bret taking the bump on his chest. Flair does that again, then starts kicking at Bret’s knee. Time for a shin-breaker, then some punches right to the nose. Flair goes for the knee drop, but Bret moves out of the way. Flair kicks Bret into the post regardless, but Bret gives him a shin-breaker this time. Bret goes to work on the legs, dropping elbows on the right one and locking it up. Bret locks Flair in the FIGURE-FOUR, and Flair barely makes the ropes after much selling and whining. Bret misses an elbow drop, but takes Flair down with a backslide that gets 2. Flair gets up and pops Bret in the mouth, but Bret comes back with a sleeper. Flair breaks it with a back suplex, and a small package gets 2. Flair goes for a double underhook suplex which also picks up a 2 count, then he drops a knee on Bret’s head. Flair chops Bret down for 2, and he has a problem with the referee’s counting. Bret rolls Flair up for 2, then Flair goes back to the shin-breaker. Flair applies the FIGURE-FOUR himself, but the plucky challenger won’t give it up. Bret reverses the hold and they go into the ropes, but Flair keeps working on the left knee. Flair keeps wrenching the knee, then tries the hold again only for Bret to cradle him up for 2. They trade punches for a bit, then Bret misses a charge to the corner. Flair goes up top, and Bret slams his ass down. Bret then backdrops Flair for a third time, and follows with an elbow smash for 2. Bret follows with a Russian leg sweep for 2, then gives Flair a backbreaker. Second rope, big elbow smash gets 2. Bret suplexes Flair for 2, then after a Flair chop of Bret, THE STRAPS ARE DOWN. BRET HAS GONE LAWLER ON US. Bret takes Flair to the corner and throws him down with a SUPERPLEX, then he goes for the SHARPSHOOTER! Perfect gets on the apron, right as FLAIR GIVES UP. WE HAVE A NEW WWF CHAMPION AFTER 26:29!
My Thoughts: This match was great, but now I see why Bret has a problem with it. I never understood why beforehand. The match was such a Flair formula match, which isn’t to say it wasn’t good, because it certainly was. I can just see why he doesn’t like it. I didn’t think the finish was anything great, in part because it was so unlike Bret to do that. Straight to a superplex and Sharpshooter is just different. Can’t think of many other Bret matches to finish like that. Obviously, I love Bret Hart and thought it was great for him to become the champion. **** is what I’ll go with as a rating.
This title change was borne out of necessity rather than being a result of the WWF wanting to make Bret the guy. What happened was, the Undertaker had shoulder surgery and was going to miss a big chunk of time. That’s why he faced Nailz in super short matches when he came back, and that’s why they filmed all those vignettes. In addition to that, they had just taken the title off Randy Savage, hurting his status a little bit. On top of that, there was also a problem with the Ultimate Warrior, which was related to steroid use. At this time the WWF knew that he had tested positive and there would be consequences. So, with the babyface side of the roster being absolutely decimated, they needed to give the title to a babyface to get them over. Bret was by far the most obvious choice. If not for the circumstances, who knows what would have happened? In a strange twist of fate, Flair got fucked up by an errant punch from Warrior and had nerve endings in his ear damaged. People thought that his wrestling career may have been over. Also at this time, Vince decided that the product was going to become more based on athleticism and wrestling, yet with the same ridiculousness that usually took place on WWF cards.
– Taped to air October 24th, 1992, on Superstars, from Winnipeg Arena in Winnipeg, Manitoba
THE ULTIMATE MANIACS
This was taped well before any potential problems occured with the Ultimate Warrior. If they’d known, who knows if they’d have taped it. This was a blatant and transparent attempt to recreate the Mega Powers and it did not work at all. Also, you can see that Warrior had gained muscle definition and mass since the match where these guys faced the Nasty Boys a few months previous. I thought it was funny to see these guys talk as a team like this. Good promo on Ric Flair and Razor Ramon, I’d say.
– Taped to air October 31st, 1992, on Superstars, from Saskatchewan Center in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
It’s interesting to see the genesis of this gimmick. Yoko carried the salt bucket and waved the Japanese flag, as opposed to Mr. Fuji doing it. Fuji was dressed in his regular outfit. Yokozuna looked immediately impressive, the gimmick definitely looked like a winner. Also on this show, they teased the debut of Bam Bam Bigelow.
MARTY JANNETTY RETURNS
This was an absolutely fantastic angle. Shawn Michaels was heading down to the ring for his squash match, and after that, he checked himself out in his mirror. Now, shockingly…HERE COMES MARTY JANNETTY. HE JUMPED THE RAIL! He confronts Michaels through the mirror, and attacks him. I don’t think the crowd realized who it was, really. He delivered the beatdown of a lifetime, finally getting some comeuppance for being run through the Barber Shop window. Marty has the mirror now, and Shawn pulls Sherri in the way, getting her hit and cracked over the head with it. WHAT A GUY.
– Taped to air November 1st, 1992, on Wrestling Challenge, from the Agridome in Regina, Saskatchewan
Money Inc. (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Natural Disasters for the WWF Tag Team Championships
Pre-Match Thoughts: Again, I don’t watch garbage like this unless there’s a reason. This is the second appearance of one of these matches in my assorted articles, and I believe the third of the year. You guys couldn’t possibly understand how much pain this causes me. This is actually a very long segment for syndicated TV, by the look of it. The Nasty Boys walked down to the ring at the start of the match, and they were PISSED. They point at Jimmy Hart, and Ted DiBiase tries to pay them off. THEY WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS. The Nasties take Money Inc. out, right before their title defense. They stole the money too! This presumed feud was also the best tag title feud they could book at this particular time.
Match Review: The Disasters conveniently enter while IRS and DiBiase are down, and hit DiBiase with a double shoulderblock. Typhoon and Quake crush DiBiase in the corner, as IRS finally makes it to the apron. Of course, they knock IRS down, and crush DiBiase once more. Typhoon then picks DiBiase up and slams him, but IRS trips Typhoon as he runs the ropes. DiBiase attacks Typhoon from behind, and chokes him with the ropes until IRS tags in. IRS rams Typhoon into the buckle, and tags out. LOOK AT THE QUICK TAGS. DiBiase chops Typhoon a lot, tags out, and IRS drops an elbow on the fat guy for 2. IRS tries to suplex Typhoon, but Typhoon returns the favor on him. Earthquake makes the tag in, as does DiBiase, and Quake kicks his ass. Quake hits DiBiase with a back elbow, atomic drops IRS over the top, and picks DiBiase up for a POWERSLAM. Quake drops an elbow, but here comes THE HEADSHRINKERS. THEY HAVE ARRIVED! They confront Typhoon, as IRS and DiBiase hit Quake with a double clothesline. They throw Quake over the top and into the rail, as we go to a commercial.
When we come back from that, Quake gets thrown back into the ring and double teamed. IRS puts a sleeper on him, tags out, and DiBiase puts one of his own on the big guy. Quake squashes DiBiase in the corner, but IRS makes a tag and reapplies the sleeper. This got boring all of a sudden. DiBiase puts the MILLION DOLLAR DREAM on Earthquake, who goes down and OUT. The referee sees if Quake is out, and HE IS OUT. WE HAVE NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS! Jimmy Hart runs over to the announce team and cuts a promo on the house mic, but the Nasty Boys run out there and grab him. They pick Hart up, and throw him onto DiBiase and IRS, getting a good pop from the crowd.
My Thoughts: Money Inc. would have been a much better team in a different era, I think. They didn’t have the top quality teams to feud with, but I think they could have had a great one with the Rockers. The match started well, but it wasn’t good. They needed the title change, it worked to that end. The angle also built towards Survivor Series. Nothing else to see, *1/2.
– Taped to air November 15th, 1992, on Wrestling Challenge, from the Agridome in Regina, Saskatchewan
Shawn Michaels vs. Big Boss Man
Pre-Match Thoughts: After Boss Man was attacked by Nailz, it’s fair to say we didn’t see him much at all. Obviously, the feud was more important and it was required for things to be that way. This is an interesting matchup, other than the Rockers vs. Twin Towers matches, I don’t believe there were any others. Sherri wasn’t there after getting destroyed by the glass mirror. Boss Man feels really out of place in this era.
Match Review: These two lock up, and Boss Man goes right to the headlock. Boss Man pulls some hair too, then Michaels dodges a charge to the corner. Boss Man goes for a clothesline, but instead he knees Michaels in the face. Boss Man then clotheslines Michaels, and goes up the corner for some punches. Boss Man splashes Michaels in the corner after that, and drops him with a big right hand. Boss Man tries to go up top, but Michaels dodges, causing Boss Man to land throat-first on the top rope. Michaels hits Boss Man with a great dropkick, and goes for the TEARDROP SUPLEX, only for Boss Man to block it. Boss Man levels Michaels with more right hands, and elbows him in the face. Boss Man falls on Michaels with a leapfrog body guillotine, then he runs around landing even more punches. Boss Man misses a diving headbutt, so Michaels hits him with the superkick to send him over the top. NAILZ makes his way down to the ring, and he has the nightstick still. The distraction leads to Boss Man being counted out at 4:30, and Michaels tries to help Nailz out. Boss Man kicks Nailz, gets the stick, and it’s back in his possession.
My Thoughts: Despite Boss Man only landing punches, his agility in doing so made for interesting matches. He moved around quickly, kept things entertaining, and had a great heel in the ring to take bumps for him. Can’t complain about that. *3/4 due to the brevity and non-finish.
– November 16th, 1992, on Prime Time Wrestling…
Mr. Perfect and Bobby Heenan
The news I read about this is quite interesting. One thing said that the Ultimate Warrior was expected to leave at some point before Survivor Series, so the WWF wasn’t entirely surprised. However, the WWF booked an angle with Nailz to use for the house shows after Survivor Series. Obviously, that would have been terrible and would have fallen apart anyway. I also read he was going to be part of the WrestleMania IX main event. Well, too bad.
So, the WWF came up with this. They had Randy Savage offer Mr. Perfect a spot on his team with Warrior having left. Heenan tried to speak for Perfect. He did so, and said Perfect was going to take orders. THAT WAS HIS JOB. Perfect gets up, and tells Heenan that he’s tired of his shit. He said his answer to Randy Savage was…YES. Heenan slaps Perfect in response, then Perfect grabs him by the neck. Heenan tries to beg him, but Perfect pours water all over him. This is an amazing case of making the best out of a bad situation. Prime Time Wrestling was the lowest rated show, though. With Superstars and Wrestling Challenge in the can, they couldn’t do the angle there and it had to be done on PTW. It’s still one of my favorites.
I think that angle is the best thing to leave the article on. Not that there wasn’t a lot of news, because…there was a hell of a lot of news. I never mentioned that the WWF was bringing in Bob Backlund with the vignettes and hype that would presumably lead to a big push. The push didn’t come, though. The attendances, TV ratings, and pay were all way down across the board. They talent wasn’t too happy about that, but not all the talent stuck around. Guys like the Mountie up and quit. Countless wrestlers had quit or been fired over the last year. The Undertaker was hurt and forced back. Randy Savage was scheduled to take a break after Survivor Series. Things were to the point where Bret Hart was defending his title against Rick Martel. That’s crazy. It didn’t get any better, either. I’m actually really looking forward to these things because I’ve never checked them out. Given all the things going on, I’m sure they’ll be an eventful watch. Next up, I’m going to review WCW matches leading to Halloween Havoc. They had their fair share of problems, that’s for sure.
Best: Ric Flair vs. Bret Hart. Making someone new the champion, I really dig that even if it didn’t work out as hoped for.
Worst: Saying they were focusing on wrestling and not doing it. Nothing changed, I just didn’t review everything.