Attitude Era #12. In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell (May 11, 1997) Part 1

On the Card: Attitude Era #12 In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell – May 11, 1997

In the previous entry, I looked at In Your House, the fourteenth of its name and its subtitle was Revenge of the ‘Taker. Yeah, not Undertaker… ‘Taker. Oh, old Vince would have gone bananas over young Vince for that. It was an okay PPV, as they all seem to be these days. The next PPV was its sequel: A Cold Day in Hell.

Over the next few weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after two decades as well as my original thoughts as a teenager watching it at the time (though this particular PPV was one I watched in 1998 as my family did not have the channels necessary to watch wrasslin’).

WWF In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell 1997

“There’s gonna be a whole lotta whoop-ass goin’ on!”

Ha. That tagline was obviously not written by Stone Cold. It may as well have said, “And this here is gonna be the final say because Steve Austin told you!”

The grey-blue screen reminds us that we’re watching WWF and then moves to that old familiar video of crosses and the moon and Undertaker talking slowly interspliced with images of Taker and Stone Cold. We hear their voices and some quotes far better than the one above.

Farty pyro starts off the show as Jumpin’ Jim Ross announces a happy Mother’s Day and welcomes us to the sold-out Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia for the fifteenth In Your House event. Wonder how many mothers are there? No idea, but I can tell you that there are 9,381 people in attendance and 201,565 watching at home. I’m sure some of them are mothers.

Our announcers are JR and Jerry “The King” Lawler. We see the main event: Undertaker and Stone Cold. There’s a sub-main-event: Vader vs. Ken Shamrock in his first PPV event as a competitor. Another match will be Ahmed Johnson vs. all three members of the NOD.

No time to chat! Farty pyro goes off once again and Flash Funk appears without his Funkettes. He rocks to the ring alone, but he’s such a big old face that the crowd don’t seem to care. The Spanish announcers today are Tito Santana and Carlos Carbrera. Hugo Savinovich is not here today. I could not find out why. The French announce team appear as well, which is nice of them. It’s Ray Rougeau and Jean Brassard. They make silly faces. JR mentions that the Funkettes aren’t here and Jerry wonders that it might be because Chyna is ringside and they are concerned for their wellbeing.

Big old European Union song hits and out strolls Teeeeerrrrrrripple H and our lady Chyna. Some smelly mark at ringside tugs at Hunter’s coat. He barely reacts. The audience are alongside and below the level of the ramp, which is weird. Replays of old televised events where Chyna gives Mankind a low blow in previous matches. She’s a cheeky lassy.

(Note: Before the PPV began there was a match on Free-For-All featuring Rockabilly defeating Jesse James. I actually have that match on this DVD for some reason but I would rather not watch it.)

Flash Funk vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with Chyna).

The two men lock up mid-ring and Flash does a lovely sexy dance. Trips fights back and Flash gets him in a headlock, runs the ropes, lovely athleticism and selling from Helmsley as Flash shoulder barges, jumps and hip tosses. Cut to the audience where we see five empty seats for the Hart Foundation to sit in. We saw them during Free-For-All.

Flash does a bunch of rolls and flips and kicks HHH out before doing an awkward jump to the turnbuckle and cross-body. He hits a baseball slide but misses and as Trips grabs the ref to protect himself, Chyna knocks Flash down. Big boos from the crowd. Chyna is stony-faced. Mid-ring, Trips takes over, runs the ropes, hits the high knee and slaps Flash’s chest with Flair chops. Trips taunts mid-ring and JR notes that Chyna is not there for moral support. Jerry makes a Cunt Trump reference.

Chyna pulls the legs out from underneath Flash and hits a suplex, chokes Flash (who slaps like a girl, hilariously) and has a lovely rest hold. Rest hold city. Big boot to the face from a prone Flash and Trips keeps Flash down, who rolls outside. Trips gets him on the apron and, after a while, knocks him down onto the steel ramp. This is the first time we’ve seen a steel ramp in a PPV. Trips rolls Funk in, goes top-rope, hits a top-rope nothing (with theatrics) and Flash lifts the boot up to crack Trips’ face, who Flair flops. Almost no selling from Trips as he’s back up, getting chopped by Flash and a lovely back body drop and clothesline. He goes to the corner, hits a slingshot spinning leg-drop followed by a reverse cross-body and refuses the pin. Helmsley takes the Shawn inside-out-bump in the corner, but as Flash goes top-rope again, Trips gets behind him and hits a backdrop (that Flash oversells and lands face-first on the ground. Trips hits the Pedigree for the win.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley has pinned Flash Funk in 10:05.

2017 comments:

An okay opener, but it’s all Flash Funk. Trips does not sell well and although he has moments of brilliance, he calls the rest in.

1997 comments:

I love this Chyna woman but she hates men’s balls.

Grade: B.

Chyna lifts up Flash Funk, trots him around the ring and drops him balls-first on the top rope. The rascal. Trips laughs his arse off.

Replays and then cut to JR mid-ring as he’s telling the audience that they’re about to speak to Ken Shamrock. There is some footage of Shamrock in UFC. Shamrock is on the screen and hits a weirdly intense promo before showing the Vader/Mankind attack from earlier in the night.

Mankind rocks out with some lovely smoke rolling across the floor. JR drops a quip that Mankind has been dropping elbows on his classmates since he was a child. Cut to the Mankind/Undertaker match where he hits a fireball onto Undertaker’s face.

Backstage, Rocky is chatting with Todd. Replays of the Survivor Series in November and Rock winning the Intercontinental title in Feb and losing it to Owen in April. Rock spouts a quick promo, nothing compared to the ones he’ll have later, bless him. He comes to the ring with a bit of a fanfare and we learn that he is the first third-generation wrassler, apparently.

Mankind vs. Rocky Maivia.

Mankind rocks in the corner and Rock spaces in the ring. The ref stands between them and as Rocky stands, turns and checks his elbow pads, Mankind jumps up and Rock beats him, tossing him out of the ring. Mankind pulls Rock out, rakes the back, bounces his head off the apron, rolls in and boots on Rock. JR mentions that we have not seen Paul Bearer in ages. Lovely powerslam from Rock and an elbow. Rock has Mankind in an arm bar, holding the Mandible Claw back. Mankind escapes, runs and Rock slips the legs out from under him before Rock gets tossed outside and takes a senton from the apron from Mick. Big punch and Rock is on his knees outside. Mankind pulls Rock in, puts him in the corner and punches in him. JR mentions that the WWF magazine calls Mankind a “loving father”. Bit of kayfabe-breaking there.

Mankind squeals like a pig, lifts up Rock, bounces his head off the turnbuckle, runs at him in the corner but Rock casually strolls away. Double clothesline and both men are down. Rock snapmares Mankind over the top rope and both men brawl on the ramp. Rock hits a Rock Bottom on the ramp and the sound is enough to make my guts churn. My God. Rock rolls Mankind back in, attempts the pin and fails. JR asks “how in the hell do you learn to fall on a steel grating?” Jerry says, “watch your mouth. Pottymouth Ross.” The show is called “A Cold Day in Hell”. Come on.

Mankind gives Rock a fantastic clothesline and takes an inside cradle and clothesline from behind. JR says that Mankind might be knocked out – and he sells it well with his arm in a weird position. Rock hits his shoulder-breaker, goes for the cross-body on the top rope and Mankind rolls through into the Mandible Claw, getting the win.

The Rock has submitted to Mankind’s Mandible Claw. Mankind wins by submission in 8:46.

2017 comments:

It’s nice to see Rock and Mick together, but it’s sad that it wasn’t that great of a match. Sick bump onto the outside, but otherwise forgettable.

1997 comments:

Mick Foley was in it, Match of the Year.

Grade: B.

Barely time to celebrate before we cut to JR in the ring telling the audience that they are ready for the Gauntlet match with Ahmed Johnson vs. the NOD. We see a replay of Crush fighting three men in a row to show how hard he is. I can’t see who these two nameless wrestlers are but the third one was Ahmed.

On the Card will return on May 18 2017 with the second part of In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell.

Attitude Era #9. In Your House 13: Final Four (Feb 16, 1997) Part 2

Previously on On the Card: Good curtain jerker.

Cut to Shawn at Raw on Thursday. He reveals that he is not going to be near the belt for some time. He says that he may be beyond reconstructive knee surgery and is not happy to perform half-assed. He says that the schedule over the last year has damn near killed him. Kids in the crowd are horrified. Shawn says that he loved being champ: lear jets, MTV sessions, parties etc. He says that he is not tough enough right now. He hands the belt to Gorilla Monsoon to big boos. He tells the crowd that he’s leaving, he’s going home, he’s going to see if he can find his damn smile. A great promo, really heartfelt. I remember watching this and being moved to tears and very angry that the industry that I love has turned one of its best stars into a broken man. This is a motif that repeats over the years in wrestling. Shawn is not the first and he will not be the last man ruined by wrestling.

Cut to Sid who is ripping into a mental whisper-shout promo. He never got his rematch against Michaels and so the winner of the Final Four match must face Sid.

Cut back to the arena and Honkey is thankfully gone. Flash Funk is here, however, with his Funkettes! He’s going out to shake hands and high-five the crowd. Great lad. Great song as well. Very… what’s the word I’m looking for? It’s that… you know… seventies vibe. Upbeat. Soulful. Has rhythm and blues all up in it. I forget. The announcers, thank Christ, don’t fuck up the damn song.

Gunshots fire! Bodacious Bart Gunn comes out with his huge arms and high fives our boy Funk. Cut to a Raw four weeks ago where Bart was beaten by Faarooq. JR calls the NOD a “pack of dogs”. Jeepers.

Then Goldust comes out and I have to resist the temptation to write the rest of the review in all caps because Goldie is an absolute fucking hero. We see a shot of Goldust about to stop Crush but Savio Vega Pearl Harboured him from behind. So two out of three of these men hate the NOD.

Then they come down, rapping and shit. We have Faarooq, Crush and Savio Vega. And they’re walking through the damn crowd! Who are they? The fucking Shield? No, they’re the Nation of Domination and potential African American stereotypes.

Goldie slides out of the ring to watch the boys. Some of the crowd are actually raising their fists. Christ, what a stable. By any means necessary. JR doesn’t agree with them philosophically, but they’re some band of lads. Certainly better than the fucking Spirit Squad.

The Nation of Domination (Faarooq, Crush and Savio Vega) (w/ Clarence Mason) def Goldust, Bart Gunn and Flash Funk (w/ Marlena) via pin in 6:42.

Jerry and JR have a miscommunication as the six-man tag starts up. Faarooq gets the mic but Goldust says, “Fuck it!” and attacks him before it can start. NOD are thrown out and the faces get a big pop. Flash Funk jumps off the turnbuckle onto the lads but un ring, Faarooq and Goldust batter the shite out of each other. Bart Gunn, of course, got a Dominator from Faarooq, the most dangerous and messed-up move in wrasslin’. Goldie goes to jump over Faarooq but gets a lovely spinebuster. Savio Vega is in and Flash Funk gives him a lovely super hurricanrana from the top turnbuckle before the NOD pull Savio out. Bart just picks up Flash and chucks him outside on the NOD. Great.

In the rin, Crush is tagged in and batters on Flash Funk. JR calls him a jailbird.

Straight-up Shoot Fact: Crush was arrested in Hawaii two years earlier in March 1995 for having 500 units of steroids and several unregistered semi-automatic guns! This was added into his character, hence JR’s comment.

Jerry makes fun of Crush by saying, “he never actually went to jail, but went to the mall and paid for everything in cigarettes.” Hilarious. Faarooq is in and hits Flash on the back of the head. Faarooq jumps up and down on Funk and the green man rolls over, busting the NOD leader in the balls. Savio comes in and distracts the ref, allowing Crush to hit the spike piledriver on Flash. JR calls it, “a mugging”. Faarooq and Savio attempt the double clothesline but Flash does a lovely backflip, double clotheslines the boys, gets lots of heat, tags in Bart Gunn with the hot tag, gives a lovely powerslam to Faarooq and Goldust is in. It’s a damn free-for-all. Faarooq goes for the Dominator but fails. Bart gets the bulldog off the top rope and Crush leg drops him, rolls over Faarooq and NOD get the pin in 6:52.

2017 comments:

Not enough Goldust.

1997 comments:

An okay match, but really it was just there to advance the feud for two of the three faces. The issue with a huge stable is that they have so many feuds going on at one time and it gets messy. Because of this, we saw lots of beating on Flash Funk and not much action from Goldust or Bart.

Grade: C

NOD celebrate mid-ring and the announcers call Faarooq a great athlete.

On the Card will return on March 2 2017 with the third part of In Your House 13: Final Four 1997.

Attitude Era #8: Royal Rumble 1997 (Jan 19, 1997) Part 3

Previously on On the Card: Mexicans steal the show!

In the ring, Howard Finkel tells us that there are 60,477 people in the Alamodome. I love how the Fed just love wanking themselves off over the size of their crowds. Fink tells us that the Royal Rumble is about to begin, with a new man joining each 90 seconds, eliminations can only take place by falling outside. The winner is the last man standing and they will face the WWF champ at Wrasslemania.

Our first entrant is Crush, coming in with his NOD team of JC Ice and Wolfie D with Immigration Clarence Mason and two unnamed NOD men. Only Shawn Michaels has won from the number one spot.

Number two comes out: Ahmed Johnson! What a wet fart.

The 1997 Royal Rumble.

A First Challenger Appears: Crush.

A Second Challenger Appears: Ahmed Johnson.

NOTE: The times given for each elimination are how long the competitor stayed in the ring.

Ahmed slides in and Crush beats on him, picking up where Faarooq left off. Ahmed gets a big head of steam on him and Ahmed fights back, tossing him about. The two men roll around for a while and are aiming to kick seven shades of shite out of each other. They are just wasting time, waiting for number three to come out and the crowd is dead.

A Third Challenger Appears: Razor Ramon.

No theme Ramon comes out, the crowd boo and he gets stuck in, punching and building up a big head of steam before Ahmed throws him out for a bit of a pop.

Razor Ramon has been eliminated by Ahmed Johnson in 17 seconds.

Vince was obviously trying to give a wee bit of a “fuck you,” to the real Razor Ramon, who was in WCW. Ahmed throws Crush over the top rope but he holds on tight. Ahmed then leaps out of the ring, over the top rope, eliminating himself in his desperate chase after Faarooq, who has come to ringside.

Ahmed Johnson has been eliminated by Ahmed Johnson in 3:02.

Why didn’t he slide under the ropes? Dope!

Crush is all alone in the ring, arms on his hips when music hits! Who is it?

A Fourth Challenger Appears: Phineas I. Godwinn.

It’s Phineas with Hillbilly Jim. I haven’t seen this boy in quite some time, since the Survivor Series, in fact, just over two months ago. It’s good to see you back, Mideon. It will be even better when you carve shit on your face and crawl around the floor for a while. So far, there has been one spot in the match and the rest has been badly choreographed brawling. I understand that the men can’t use the whole ring due to the fact that there may be others there, but still.

A Fifth Challenger Appears: Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Ohhhhh, business is about to pick up! I legit popped when I heard the smashing glass. It’s built into me, like when a someone hears a baby cry. Phineas and Crush start to work. Phineas tosses Stone Cold into the corner to a huge pop. Austin does not take kindly to that and when Crush holds Phineas, Austin hits a Bret’s Rope clothesline on him but Phineas ducks and throws Crush over the ropes.

Crush has been eliminated by Phineas I Godwinn in 6:17.

A timer pops up on the bottom of the screen to tell us that number six is coming in shortly. Stone Cold wastes no time in hitting the stunner on Phineas and tossing him out as Bart Gunn’s music hits.

Phineas I Godwinn has been eliminated by Stone Cold Steve Austin in 2:52.

A Sixth Challenger Appears: Bart Gunn.

Bodacious Bart Gun runs to the ring as a dude who looks the spit of a time-travelling Michael Cole cheers him on from the crowd. We have number five and six in the match at the moment, let’s see how long they last.

Austin catches Bart and the pair have dodgy punches, an even dodgier leg drop and Austin tosses Bart out after a botch.

Bart Gunn has been eliminated by Stone Cold Steve Austin in 26 seconds.

Austin falls to the floor and does some push-ups. He sits on the turnbuckle and relaxes for some time, pretends to check his watch and the timer comes up to announce…

A Seventh Challenger Appears: Jack “The Snake” Roberts.

It’s the 1996 King of the Ring finalists! And they’re back! It’s a match eight months in the making!

Jake has a great head of steam and the crowd bay for a DDT but Jake is denying them it, holding Stone Cold in a lovely armbar. The ref sneaks in and takes Damien’s bag as it is just sitting mid-ring.

An Eighty Challenger Appears: The British Bulldog.

Bulldog runs to the ring and slips and slides in. During his entrance, we see on the Titantron behind him that Jack was eliminated! Yeah!

Jake “The Snake” Roberts has been eliminated by Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1:10.

Bulldog attacks Stone Cold, stomps a mudhole in him and walks it dry. Bulldog gets a semi-pop for this and continues to beat on Austin before hitting the running powerslam. He pulls on Austin’s pants as the Rattlesnake crawls for the ropes like a coward. The timer appears and…

A Ninth Challenger Appears: Pierroth.

Oh, it’s one of the AAA stars. Let’s see if the Fed stars give him any time at all in the ring. I hope they do, it will be lovely of them. Pierroth hits Bulldog and gets a gruesome spinebuster for his troubles. Bulldog returns to Austin but Pierroth interferes and hits a lovely snapmare. Austin gets involved and the Fed stars beat on the Mexican for a while. The timer pops up as Austin grips to the bottom rope.

A Tenth Challenger Appears: The Sultan.

Hey, now, it’s Rikishi in a mask with Shieky Baby! This is great. Rikishi used to be one of the members of the Headshrinkers, but it wasn’t until he got the Rikishi gimmick that he rocked the house. It’s a shame that his sons are shit. Sultan hits Pierroth with a lovely bodyslam and the timer appears AGAIN!

An Eleventh Challenger Appears: Mil Máscaras.

Another AAA star, Mil comes out for a wee jog, waving to the crowd and getting involved. Mil batters Sultan and hits a lovely lariat on the big man. Five lads in the ring, it’s the midcard spot at the moment where everyone just hugs each other and waits for the next person… and out he comes.

A Twelfth Challenger Appears: Hunter Hearst Helmsley.

Ode to Joy hits as Triple H slides into the ring, goes straight after Bulldog and pops him with a right hand. Sultan comes over to help eliminate them but Mil grabs trips. Bulldog hits a clothesline and Sultan does his lovely Rikishi bump before falling out of the ring.

The Sultan has been eliminated by The British Bulldog in 3:23.

Bulldog wastes no time in getting back involved and Stone Cold almost eliminates Trips, but he rolls back in. Austin replies with an elbow drop.

A Thirteeth Challenger Appears: Slammy Award Winning Owen Hart.

Fuck yes! And he arrives with his Slammy! What a man! The fucking Blue Blazer is in the match! There are still six men and we’re not even halfway through yet. Austin is about to be tossed out but Owen comes over and throws out Bulldog instead!

The British Bulldog has been eliminated by Slammy Award Winning Owen Hart in 8:04.

Bulldog and Owen argue for a bit as Owen goes to beat on Mil. The timer comes up and another sixth man will join the Rumble.

A Fourteenth Challenger Appears: Goldust.

Goldust! Woop! He runs to the ring like a mad pervert and Austin is on him instantly. Lovely bodyslam in the middle of the ring as Owen/Mil and Trips/Pierroth are to the side, trying to push each other over. Owen almost falls but saves himself. Everyone tries to throw Goldust out. The timer reappears…

A Fifteenth Challenger Appears: Cibernético.

Another AAA man comes in. Cibernético looks a bit like a Lucha married the Predator as he has dreadlock hair and a mask. Seven men in the ring now and it is looking super duper busy. We have three masks, one painted face, one singlet, tights and Stone Cold in pants. Nothing happens until the timer reappears.

A Sixteenth Challenger Appears: Marvellous Wildman Marc Mero.

He appears with Sable, and that’s all right by the crowd but in the middle of it, Cibernético is knocked out!

Cibernético has been eliminated by Mil Máscaras and Pierroth in 1:25.

Shortly afterwards, Mil turns on Pierroth and knocks him out, too!

Pierroth has been eliminated by Mil Máscaras in 10:32.

And then Mil goes to the top rope, jumps out and eliminates himself!

Mil Máscaras has been eliminated by Mil Máscaras in 7:28.

What a goose! Obviously the ring was getting busy and the Mexicans thought, “Let’s get out while the getting’s good!” and all left. Fair play to the boys, actually, they came in together and left together. Mil goes back into the ring and the refs tell him to leave. We have five men in the ring, all of them big names – Stone Cold, Triple H, Goldust, Marc Mero, Owen Hart. Mero slides in and goes for Owen. Goldust knocks Triple H out!

Hunter Hearst Helmsley has been eliminated by Goldust in 6:43.

Not a bad show from our man Trips. Mero and Goldust in one corner, Owen and Austin in another. The timer comes up to tell us someone else is due in as Sable and Marlena look on from outside.

A Seventeenth Challenger Appears: Latin Lover.

Oh poor Latin Lover, who is the final AAA guy to come in and appears when everyone else has left. Poor son of a bitch. He superkicks Owen, which is nice, hits a lovely snapmare on him, sells like a boss for Goldust and Owen is thrown out before skinning the cat. Goldust dodges a Latin Lover dropkick and is eliminated by Owen.

Goldust has been eliminated by Owen Hart in 5:33.

The timer appears as Goldust limps out.

An Eighteenth Challenger Appears: Faarooq Asad.

The NOD music hits and for the third time this PPV, Faarooq appears with some NOD lads. He quickly tosses out Latin Lover.

Latin Lover has been eliminated by Faarooq in 1:47.

And I was there, thinking, wow, Faarooq looks great for a guy who has been running away from Ahmed Johnson for the last half an hour or so, and then out comes Ahmed to a huge pop. Stone Cold rolls out of the ring and Ahmed hits Faarooq with the biggest two-by-four I have ever seen, tossing him over the rope.

Faarooq Asad has been eliminated by Ahmed Johnson in 47 seconds.

Nooooow, this is where the rules begin to get fucky. Earlier, Ahmed jumped over the top rope himself so Faarooq’s interference didn’t cost him the match, his own stupidity did. Here, Ahmed enters the ring, hits Faarooq, who falls out. You could argue that Faarooq was escaping the monster two-by-four but even then, a competitor who had been eliminated was in the ring, interfering with the match. Now what happens here? What are the rules? If the Fed were smart, they would have DQ’d Faarooq as soon as he appeared, or, if they wanted to cause some real heel shit, they could have stopped the match then, restarted it from Faarooq entering, with Stone Cold, Owen and Marc Mero in opposite corners. The match could have restarted, the others could have knocked out Faarooq, big babyface pop and the match could have continued.

Either way, NOD leave and Marc Mero and Owen are eliminated offscreen.

Marc Mero has been eliminated by Stone Cold in 3:53.

Owen Hart has been eliminated by Stone Cold in 8:29.

The timer pops up and once again, Stone Cold is alone in the ring. He calls for the next person.

A Nineteenth Challenger Appears: Savio Vega.

Out comes Flintstones cosplayer Savio and the two men batter lumps out of each other. Savio hits the catapult and a spinning heel kick to the heel Austin. Savio is guillotined and Austin tosses him out.

Savio Vega has been eliminated by Stone Cold in 29 seconds.

Austin is the loneliest man in the ring. He asks for more. More does not arrive instantly.

A Twentieth Challenger Appears: Jesse James.

It’s the Roadie, Jesse James and he jumps in, hits Stone Cold with some lovely right hands, hits the Elvis collars, gets a boot in the gut, is tossed to the apron and knocked off.

Jesse James has been eliminated by Stone Cold in 46 seconds.

Stone Cold for the record fourth time this match, is alone in the middle of the ring. He jaws off to the crowd for a bit, raises his hands and celebrates as only ten men are left. The timer appears and he sits top rope.

A Twenty-First Challenger Appears: Bret Hart.

What a pop! The Hitman walks out and Stone Cold begs for him to enter. Both superstars go at it mid-ring. Bret hits the atomic drop, hits the clothesline, punches Stone Cold in the corner. Austin gets for him to stop, but Bret does not. Bret don’t care. Bret counters an Irish whip and the timer comes up. Who will interrupt this great match?

A Twenty-Second Challenger Appears: Jerry Lawler.

It’s fucking Jerry! He goes in the ring as Stone Cold takes the sharpshooter from Bret. Jerry jumps over the rope, takes two punches and goes back to the announcer’s table.

Jerry Lawler has been eliminated by Bret Hart in 4 seconds.

That’s a short, short, short time. Jerry makes out that he didn’t even remember being in the ring. Great stuff. Bret works over Stone Cold and hits the backbreaker. The timer appears.

A Twenty-Third Challenger Appears: Fake Diesel.

Ohhhh it’s Big Daddy Kane, wearing flared pants and a complete lack of fire. He jogs to the ring, smashes our man Bret on the back of the head and turns to Austin, back to Bret and we are waiting for seven more men as we reach the second midcard point of the night with lots of rest holds, no spots and just running out the clock. Speaking of, there it is!

A Twenty-Fourth Challenger Appears: Terry Funk.

Terry Funk runs out while the clock is still counting down. Eejit. He turns to Austin, jaws off to him, hits him a pair of times and hits the headbutt. The match is split into two pairs, Bret/Diesel and Terry/Austin. They’re all running out the clock and gassed. The timer appears and Terry botches a piledriver.

A Twenty-Fifth Challenger Appears: Rocky Maivia.

Do you smell what the Rock is cooking? No one does. He’s not the Rock yet, he’s still Rocky and he’s battering Kane as Terry gets caught up on the ropes. Terry is almost thrown out as Diesel attacks our boy Rock. Five men in the ring, all of them big names and the timer is here to throw a sixth at us.

A Twenty-Sixth Challenger Appears: Mankind.

Well, business is about to pick up! My legit favourite wrassler rocks to the ring, spinning in circles and looking deranged as fuck. He hammers on Terry and tosses him out, but Terry holds on. Six men in the ring. Austin hits a lovely suplex on Bret and loses a wrist strap. The timer appears as Bret puts on the sleeper that Stone Cold reverses into a stunner.

A Twenty-Seventh Challenger Appears: Flash Funk.

Terry’s evil twin Flash appears! Bret hits the piledriver on Stone Cold! Terry walks in a circle and is hit by Flash! Seven men in the ring, none of them ready to leave! This is a great, great matchup. The timer is here, who is next?

A Twenty-Eighth Challenger Appears: Vader.

The Mastodon! Big Van Vader! Mankind hides his remaining ear. Mankind almost falls out of the ring as Flash hits Vader, the fool. Vader fights back and Austin takes his turn attacking our man V. Eight men: Bret, Rock, Stone Cold, Vader, Flash, Terry, Mankind, Diesel. Who is next? The times appears to tell us.

A Twenty-Ninth Challenger Appears: Henry O. Godwinn.

Oh for fuck’s sake. C’mon, guys, we have Attitude Era Origins in the ring and you bring in Sloppy McComedy-Jobber? Nine men in the ring and it is officially a schmoz with only one man left. There is no structure, they’re just waiting for number thirty so they can do some elimination spots. Hillbilly Jim watches on, happy to get a payday.

The Thirtieth and Final Challenger Appears: The Undertaker.

The lights go out! Ha! It would be so good if the lights went on and there were more people in the ring! Undertaker takes his time getting to the ring and they cut off his music early. He goes in over the top rope, goes for Vader, knocks him down, does the same to Mankind, then Austin, then Vader again. Chokeslam to Austin, chokeslam to Vader, punch to his half-brother Kane-Diesel, he pops Flash Funk’s head into Diesel’s and goes to the Rock, who fights back, bless him. Vader throws Flash Funk out with a lovely fallaway slam.

Flash Funk has been eliminated by Vader in 6:12.

We’re down to nine men now and we need to cut off the chaff so that the wheat can have their big main event spotfest and show the winner. Henry Godwinn is actually hitting Undertaker. Bret hits a lovely Bret’s Rope elbow onto Stone Cold’s head. Sign in the crowd says, “WWF: Wild, Racky Fun!”

Rock is attempting to toss over Bret and the crowd wakes up until Vader comes to Bret’s rescue. Undertaker boots Henry off, but he holds on. What are these men waiting on? They are hanging in the corners, just waiting for the next spot… which isn’t coming any time soon. Undertaker gets Henry Godwin and tosses him off the top rope.

Henry O. Godwinn has been eliminated by The Undertaker in 6:11.

Eight men left and Stone Cold is almost thrown out. Rock is tossed to the corner and Mankind catches him in the Mandible Claw as the rookie attempts a lariat.

Rocky Maivia has been eliminated by Mankind in 13:01.

Seven men remain. Terry Funk and Mankind both go over the top rope but they hold on. Funk attempts to suplex Mankind back into the ring, but Mankind reverses and Funk falls to the floor.

Terry Funk has been eliminated by Mankind in 15:08.

As the camera focusses on Big Daddy Kane punching Bret in the corner, Undertaker boots Mankind off the apron.

Mankind has been eliminated by The Undertaker in 12:20.

Five men left – Kane, Undertaker, Vader, Bret, Stone Cold.

Outside, Mankind and Funk argue with each other. Vader attacks Taker and Austin saves Bret by battering Diesel. Bret grips Austin and tosses him out, but the refs do not see it as Mankind and Funk are distracting them. Austin slides in and eliminates both Taker and Vader in one fell swoop!

Vader has been eliminated by Stone Cold in 10:06.

The Undertaker has been eliminated by Stone Cold in 6:46.

Bret tosses Diesel out!

Fake Diesel has been eliminated by Bret Hart in 17:49.

Stone Cold runs to the ropes and chucks Bret out!

Bret Hart has been eliminated by Stone Cold in 21:42.

Entrant number five, Stone Cold Steve Austin is the winner of the 1997 Royal Rumble in 50:29 after surviving for 45:07.

2017 comments:

Basically a Who’s Who of the Attitude Era, but not a great Rumble overall and there were no spots.

1997 comments:

Who does this Stone Cold boy think he is?

Grade: C

Bret pops back into the ring and argues with the refs as Stone Cold leaves the arena. He goes straight to Vince, shakes him and basically rehearses for the Montreal Screwjob in ten months. It matters not. Stone Cold is going to Wrestlemania 13 to fight the WWF Champion for the WWF Championship. Great stuff, storyline-wise, absolute shite wrestling-wise. JR justifies Austin’s heel move and doesn’t help himself go over as a heel announcer because the crowd love both Austin and Bret.

Big boos from the crowd. Vince introduces the main event: Shawn vs. Sid.

On the Card will return on February 9 2017 with the fourth and final part of Royal Rumble 1997.

Attitude Era #7. In Your House 12: It’s Time (Dec 15, 1996) Part 1

In the previous entry, I looked at Survivor Series 1996. It was an amazing PPV with the debut of Mr. Dwayne Johnston. The next PPV was In Your House 12: It’s Time and the main event was Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Sycho Sid for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship.

Over the next four weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after two decades as well as my original thoughts as a teenager watching it at the time (though this particular PPV was one I watched in 1998 as my family did not have the channels necessary to watch wrasslin’).

WWF In Your House 12: It’s Time

Sharpshooter vs. Powerbomb

Oh yes, what a tagline. The poster helps, showing Bret on the left and Sid on the right, the two distinct styles of the two men. This isn’t two equals going against each other, it’s a ring technician against a powerhouse and it’s going to be great.

The Big Red WWF title screen goes straight into a polite promo for MB Karate Fighters. Vince McMahon and Jumpin’ Jim Ross with Jerry “The King” Lawler roars hello to the West Palm Beach Auditorium in West Palm Beach, Florida to very little fanfare. Yes indeed, the attendance is a measly 5,708. Our Spanish Colleagues are Hugo Savinovich, Carlos Cabrera and Arturo Rivera, who don’t seem to be mic’d up and they’re bantering but we hear naught.

(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a 30-minute show called Free-For-All, which was the nineties equivalent of the Preshow, full of promos and summaries of recent TV matches. There was an exclusive match on Free-For-All which was Rocky Maivia defeating Salvatore Sincere with Jim Cornette. It ended in a DQ. Before that, there was a Dark Match featuring Brakkus and Dr. X. There were also two dark matches at the end of the PPV after the cameras turned off featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Goldust and Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind with Paul Bearer.)

The first match is introduced and down strolls Leif Cassidy AKA Al Snow, who is looking more like Snow each day. He has the big handlebar moustache and everything. All he needs is head.

Cut to the front and down strolls Flash Funk and his Funkettes, doing a nice little dance as he high-fives the crowd. They reach out and try to touch him but find nothing. One fan has Flash Funk’s name on a sign, written in tinsel. Vince has a wee dance with Flash but JR denies it, saying he came to call a match, not to dance. Fair play. The dance goes on for some time. The bell finally rings.

Flash Funk def. Leif Cassidy via pin in 10:34.

Both the lads are waving to the crowd though Leif is a bit of a heel here, so he is jeering at the crowd more. JR bigs up the fact that this is each competitor’s first singles match. Flash does a little dance and the two lock up, with Leif tinally tossing flash to the mat, rolling about, doing some lovely rolls until Leif is locked in an armbar by Flash. Leif copies and Flash does a lovely almost-Stunner reversal and a standing backflip before rolling into another armbar. Very mat-based just now. Funk botches a jump to the top rope, tries again and botches a lariat! Not great there, Funky. Flash funk, of course, evil twin to Terry Funk. Fact?

Flash seems to botch a head scissors but Leif seems to reverse it into a face-first powerbomb. Leif German suplexes Flash outside and then hits a springboard senton over the top rope onto Flash! Great stuff. In the ring, Leif dropkicks Flash, goes for the pin and gets a two. The crowd are chanting for Flash and he Pele Kicks Leif Cassidy right in the face. Skitter. Leif goes for the powerbomb and Funk escapes, does a dance and knocks Leif down. Leif hits a lovely spinebuster-sit-out-powerbomb-combo to Funk but gets only a two. Leif hits a Bret’s rope moonsault, but misses. Funk takes over, hitting a lovely handspring kick and Leif falls out of the ring allowing Flash to hit the suicide dive over the top rope. Funk hits the bodyslam followed by the moonsault but gets only a two. Cassidy hits the clothesline and the two men trade pin attempts for a while. Funk hits another Pele Kick and a lovely backdrop followed by another jump to the top rope. 450 splash and it’s all over in 10:34.

2016 comments:

Brilliant match from both men. Leif shocked me, I won’t be ashamed to admit. Great, great match. Well done, lads.

1996 comments:

These boys are better on their own than with others.

Grade: A

As the crowd dance and swing about, we have a promo for the 1997 Royal Rumble, which is due on January 19th, 1997.

On the Card will return on December 22 with the second part of In Your House 12: It’s Time 1996.

Attitude Era #6. Survivor Series (November 17, 1996) Part 4

Previously on On the Card: Two of the all-time greats, Stone Cold and Bret, have a five star match.

Backstage, Dok Hendrix is speaking to Sid who looks like Brock Samson but sounds like an absolute Christopher Walken.

Cut to the gate and out comes Super Mario himself, Captain Lou Albano. He has no music although he should have Cyndi Lauper playing over him.

The motherfucking Nation of Domination music plays. Fuck yes. Old JC Ice and Wolfie D come out, rapping like the whitest of all white men, followed by Immigration Clarence Mason, Faarooq, and two of their unnamed goons in suits. Faarooq fires up the old fist there for the crowd. Good man yourself.

Out comes Rick Bognar AKA Fake Razor Ramon, or, as my wife calls him, Razor Ramen. She does it without sarcasm as she just (constantly) misreads his name. I could do worse, I suppose. JR complains that people are booing Razor as he is, “bigger, younger, stronger, better-looking than the first guy to have that name.” As he says this, Bowl Cut Kid himself pats him on the back. Surely this is the greatest point in Bognar’s life. It’s all downhill from here, bro. I love how Ross is attempting to heel it up and legitimately accepting that characters in wrestling are just that – only chracters.

Out comes Diesel, played by Dr. Isaac Yankem himself, Glenn Jacobs. He is now known as Kane.

Straight-up Shoot Fact: After the Curtain Call that took place in this very arena – Madison Square Gardens – in May 19, 1996, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash left for the WCW, leaving their characters – Ramon and Diesel – behind. Their return was part of an aborted attempt to heel up JR, which is impossible as he is fucking awesome and the fans went with whatever he said.

Vader comes out to little fanfare, which is a shame considering he was main event status in past months. Jim Cornette is on commentary and slagging JR.

Their opponents arrive with a very short intro each: Savio Vega with a little dance; Yokozuno, described as, “even bigger than you, Jim Cornette,” by Vince (Jim: “I led Yoko to the WWF!” JR: “You led him to the buffet table!”); Flash Funk, the proto-Godfather with his Funkettes, the double-hos (JR: “I’ve never seen the yellow and red look so good in Madison Square Gardens!”); and “The Mystery Partner”, Superfly Jimmy Snuka. Jim Cornette can’t believe it. Yokozuna takes forever to get out of the ring as the bell tolls.

Survivor Series Tag Team Match: Faarooq, Vader, Razor Ramon and Diesel (w/ Clarence Mason and Jim Cornette) vs. Flash Funk, Jimmy Snuka, Savio Vega and Yokozuna ends in double disqualification in 9:48.

We have Flash Funk starting with our man Vader. Jim Cornette can’t believe it. Vader pushes Funk over and flexes but Funk just kip-ups and does a sexy little hip move. Vader hits a stiff clothesline and Flash runs the ropes before hitting a spinning heel kick that Vader begins to bump for about ten feet before Funk hits him. Vader is knocked outside and Funk moonsaults from the top rope to the outside. Vader hits Funk with a Vader Bomb and Yokozuna runs in with his big bottom filled with farts.

In comes Savio and Faarooq. Razor Ramon jumps in and Savio goes mental on him, dodging a kick and getting a lovely five-punch in the corner. Razor catches the cross-body and hits a fallaway slam to allow our boy Ka- I mean, Diesel into the ring. Diesel beats on Flash funk for a while but Diesel catches him in mid-air with a great clothesline. A moment of Aloha-Arning from Diesel but he escapes and tags in Faarooq. Funk is running rings around everyone. Faarooq catches him and hits a great spinebuster. Vader comes in, knocks Funk out and there is a schmoz in the corner as Savio beats on everyone.

Big Daddy Kane Dieself is on Yoko’s corner and Superfly Jimmy Snuka is in to a big pop from the crowd. Vader is in, throwing Snuka into the ropes and Superfly headbutts him before bodyslamming Vader. What a move! Snuka is in trouble in the corner and Razor takes over. Snuka slips between his legs and Savio Vega is in. Diesel pops in and Vader pulls the ropes so Savio falls outside. Faarooq takes the time to attack Savio and Cornetter slags Ahmed. Diesel hits the Jackknife Powerbomb on Savio and gets the pin.

Savio Vega has been eliminated by Fake Diesel in 08:39.

Snuka beats on Diesel and in comes Razor. Another headbutt to Razor and a knee to the face. Snuka goes to the top rope and hits the splash to pin Razor.

Razor Ramon has been eliminated by Superfly Jimmy Snuka in 09:28.

Diesel comes in and cracks Snuka with the steel chair. The whole thing descends into anarchy and chairs are thrown everywhere. Savio Vega comes out and both teams are disqualified despite only one member of each team using weapons in 9:48.

2016 comments:

To say this is the worst match of the card should not be a complaint as this card has been terrific so far but this would be a bad match even if it had gone out on Sunday Night Heat. Awful, disgraceful, terrible attempt at wrestling.

1996 comments:

That Diesel fellow. I like him. I wish he were more… on fire.

Grade: F

Promo for the upcoming Shawn vs. Sid match. We see Shawn sliding down to the ring on a rope as the announcer tells us that all men have wanted to be the champeen. We see Sycho Sid cutting his mental promos. We see Shawn versus Vader, Bulldog and Mankind. Misunderstandings breeds contempt and Sid attempts to justify his insanity. Shawn is being cocky. Story of his life.

Out comes Sid with his Stone Cold jacket on. Sid’s mad music hits and out he comes, offering fist bumps to all and sundry. Is he a heel? Is he a face? The crowd threaten to spill into the aisle once again as Sid asks the crowd if they happen to know who the man is? It’s you, Sid. You’re the man. JR tells us that SID stands, not for Sidney, but for Suddenly I’m Dominant.

Picture in picture tells us that Shawn Michaels and Jose Lothario are on their way to the ring. Shawn is a bit distracted but once his music hits… well, it’s Shawn. He’s got the moves. The fans are actually grabbing onto him and holding him back from the ring. Security are called. Bowl Cut Kid looks on, his kingdom falling into disarray. Shawn slips into the ring and hits the pyro, pulling off his chaps. Oh, what a time to be alive! Sid nods away. The bell rings.

WWF Championship Match: Sycho Sid def. Shawn Michaels by pin in 20:02.

Both men go to the corner and Shawn chucks something in his mouth. The pair lock up and Shawn falls down to Sid’s punches with Michaels springing back up with each shot. Referee Earl Hebner says something to Sid and Shawn takes over, sliding between Sid’s legs, punching Sid to the ground and getting him in a bit of a rest hold. Shawn slaps Sid. Sid boots Shawn. Head scissors and a kip-up. Both men are great here tonight. Sid lifts Shawn into a gorilla press and goes for the back body drop but Sid attempts to give him the powerbomb. Shawn escapes and stands outside for some time.

Sid is getting angry and runs after Shawn, who runs about the ring and finally rolls in to take over. He gets a bunch of boos as well! My God. Is he going heel? The crowd dislike him. A “Sycho Sid!” chant rises. Shawn continues to work on the leg of Sid and goes into the figure four leglock. Sid tries to hang on but finds it difficult. Wrestling Caesar in the front row looks on unimpressed. JR takes this time to talk about how awesome Shawn is. Sid rolls over to “reverse” the figure four and Shawn gets the ropes to break the hold. The crowd boo heavily. Shawn drags Sid mid-ring but Sid fights back. On his feet, our man Sycho gives Michaels a kick to the ribs and watches him for a while.

Sid is in control, reverses into the cameraman and pushes the camera away angrily. Sid boots on Michaels and goes for the big boot, misses and Michaels continues to beat on Sid with a dropkick to the knee followed by a great boo from the fans. Michaels attempts the figure four and gets kicked twice. Michaels almost rolls outside, gets back in and Sid knocks him right back out. Sid takes Michaels to the entrance and gorilla presses him onto the railing. Crazy times. The crowd cheer Sid on and JR reminds us that Bret is set to take on the winner of this match. Sid kicks Shawn in the face and rolls him in. Sid goes for the pin but Shawn kicks out.

Great back body drop from Sid. Michaels is getting his fuck kicked in in the corner. JR tells us that Sid doesn’t need to be technically sound because he’s huge. An Irish whip in the corner and Michaels is turned inside out. He stunners Sid and goes for a crossbody but Sid catches him and hits the ribbreaker for a two-count. Sid hits a brutal Irish whip to Michaels and another. The clank of the turnbuckle is loud. Michaels calls for another Irish whip but Sid just punches him a bunch of times. Michaels starts to punch back but the crowd are not happy. Lovely bodyslam by Michaels and he goes to Bret’s rope for a lovely axe-handle nothing that he does a perfect bump for.

Million Dollar Dream city in the centre of the ring and there is two close two-counts before Shawn fights back. What a great bunch of boos from the crowd. Shawn goes for Sweet Chin Music but it is caught, countered and chokeslammed. Sid calls for the powerbomb and stands centre stage. Sid also is facing away from the damn hard cam. Shawn hits a roll-up and escapes the powerbomb but Sid is angry and hits a lovely powerslam to Shawn who escapes and kips up only to be mowed down by Sid. Another close two-count but the match continues.

Sid is in the corner, stealing the camera and Earl watches him, waiting for the cue. Jose is on the apron and Sid hits him with the camera. Shawn hits the Sweet Chin Music and chooses between the pin and Jose. He chooses Jose, pops out and asks for help. Sid is there, rolling Shawn into the ring and Michaels reverses a cross-body to hit Hebner. Shawn is still looking after Jose and takes a camera to the back of the head. Sid is no longer face! Or at least that’s what’s supposed to be happening!

Back in the ring, Sid goes for the powerbomb, hits it sloppily and Earl hits the one-two-three for Sid to win the WWF Championship in 20:02

2016 comments:

The weakest of Sid and Michael’s matches so far, and beset with timing issues, but still good.

1996 comments:

I don’t know who to love or hate. The crowd were not very clear about how they wanted me to feel.

Grade: B

Shawn runs to the outside to look after Jose, taking the heat away from Sid, who is celebrating mid-ring. Some smart cunt out in the audience has an NOW sign. Wrong company, bro, but we get that you’re a fan.

Sid has his time to celebrate but the crowd is still treating him like a face. Vladimir is there to hug Sid, which is nice for both of them. Sid asks the crowd if they happen to know who the man is and he fist bumps them all.

The Go Home Stats.

Man of the Matches: I’m going to go for Bret Hart. What a guy,

Woman of the Matches: Let me guess… Sunny, Marlena and Sable, right? Christ. None, once again.

Montel Vontavious Porter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence: Bret.

Best Spot: Flash Funk’s moonsault to the outside.

Hatches: A few, mostly in the dark match: Bob Holly, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Crush, Fake Diesel, Doug Furnas, Flash Funk AKA 2 Cold Scorpio, Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Phil Lafon, Fake Razor Ramon, The Sultan AKA Rikishi, Road Dogg Jesse James, Salvatore Sincere, The Iron Shiek, Rocky Maivia AKA The Rock, Uncle Zebekiah AKA Zeb Coulter.

Matches: Sycho Sid begins his first reign as WWF Champion.

Dispatches: None.

On The Card Hall Of Fame

Every “Big Four” PPV (Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble) I will choose a man and woman to be inducted into the hall of fame. A man and woman must have been named either a Man of the Matches or Woman of the Matches in the previous months since the last “Big Four” PPV. Once a man or woman is inducted, they may not be inducted again but can still win Man of the Matches or Woman of the Matches. Through this, we can course the dizzying highs and savage lows of the wrestling landscape throughout the years. If no one new has been given the title of Man or Woman of the Matches, then a candidate will be chosen from the highest-rated matches since the last “Big Four” PPV. If no one is to be found there, then we go to the next highest-rated matches and so on. If we (unlikely) get to the bottom of the pile, then the Hall of Fame will remain empty to show the excellent calibre of the wrestlers and shallow roster.

Previous Men of the Matches: Shawn Michaels.

Nominated for Man of the Matches: Mark Henry, Undertaker, Bret Hart.

The Winner and Entrant to the Hall of Fame is… Undertaker for just being fucking awesome.

Previous Women of the Matches: Sunny.

Nominated for Woman of the Matches: Sunny, N/A, N/A.

The Winner and Entrant to the Hall of Fame is… No one because I have already chosen Sunny.

Closing Statements: Survivor Series 1996 was one of the strongest cards I have seen so far… until the last two matches let it down. I have the distinct feeling that that may have been because of the guys backstage rather than the talent of the men in the ring. I love Survivor Series every year and it’s nice to see that it was still amazing twenty years ago.

On the Card will return on December 15 2016 with In Your House 12: It’s Time.