ATTITUDE ERA #8: WRESTLEMANIA 13 (Mar 23, 1997) PART 1

On the Card: Attitude Era #10 WrestleMania 13 – March 23, 1997

In the previous entry, I looked at In Your House 13: Final Four. It was okay. The next PPV was WrestleMania! The thirteenth of its name!

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 13: Final Four 1997

Heat!

That’s right, motherfuckers: heat!

If there is one thing I remember about WrestleMania 13, it’s that I was always told it was the greatest Mania of all time. Back in the day, my family couldn’t afford PPVs and sometime in 2000, Channel 4 here in Ireland got the WWF. It was terrific. Until then, I had to rely on my friends who sometimes taped parts of Raw and some PPVs. It was like a really bad jigsaw puzzle… or every JRPG where you need to collect the sacred relics to recreate the yadda yadda and one part is in the frigid northlands (my friend Peter may have had the first hour of the Rumble) and the second bit is in the swamp (my buddy Decky had a lot of Mania 14, but the rest was some badly-dubbed German porn) etc. etc. A lot of my wrestling knowledge of this time comes from these sketchy memories, later helped by the advent of DVD and my job in TK Maxx that fuelled my extensive PPV collection. What I remember about Mania 13 is that my buddy Shane had it on tape and it was amazing to watch.

This takes me back. The PPV opens with a WrestleMania retrospective (including, 30 seconds in, a lovely shot of Pamela Anderson). We see Undertaker, Stone Cold, NOD, Sid, Bret, LOD and an announcer who thinks that he is narrating Game of Thrones. He also calls WrassleMania “the granddaddy of them all”, which is great.

Brilliant early nineties snazzy music as the weakest pyro in Christendom announces our arrival to the Rosemount Horizon, Rosemount, Chicago, Illinois. Playstation presents WrassleMania 13! Our announcers are growling Vincent Kennedy McMahon… and we don’t know who else because he doesn’t introduce them! There were 19,197 in attendance, with 16,467 paying with 2,730 comps and an average ticket sale of $50 per person. 237,000 buys at home, a dip from the 290,000 the year before, but the lowest PPV sales since the 1986 Mania which had a quarter of a million buys. This marks the steady decline in sales that started in 1993 and just kept getting lower until the sales exploded again the next year. Since then, they have remained (fairly) steady and around the 1,000,000 mark.

It is worth noting that this is often cited as the beginning of the Attitude Era, along with King of the Ring (my own personal “beginning”) and Survivor Series 1997 and the “Montreal Screwjob”.

Some cunts in the front row, some smarky ones have Blue World Order signs and t-shirts.

And before anything else happens, just to remind people that before the Attitude Era, there was childish nonsense, the Godwinns music hits and the pair of them rock up with Hillbilly Jim.

 (Note: Before the PPV began there was a dark match featuring Billy Gunn defeating Flash Funk and his two Funkettes: Tracy and Nadine.)

The Fink introduces the four-team elimination match as Phineas I. Godwinn and Henry O. Godwinn slap the shite out of everyone’s hands.

We finally get introduced to our announce team: Jerry “The King” Lawler, Vince McMahon and Jumping Jim “JR” Ross. Out Spanish announcers and clear stars of the show are Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera. French announcers are Jean Brassard and Ray Rougeau. Great. Vince says, “In any language, it spells, ‘excitement’.”

The Headbangers come down, old Mosh and Thrasher, and we get told the rules: A tag can be made to any man. Any man at all. Two partners can tag themselves in, if they damn well please. When one member of a team is eliminated, they are both eliminated and the last team remaining wins. What do they win? They are the number one contender for the WWF Tag Team Championship of course! And where are the Tag Team Champions? Later in the PPV they wrassle, so chill young blood.

Down come Stiffy McStiff, Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon. There is little craic from the pair of them.

Before the New Blackjacks come down, we see the New Blackjacks, Cunt Bradshaw and Blackjack Windham AKA Barry Windham.

All hell breaks loose and the bell goes.

Four-Way Elimination Tag Match for the Number One Contender for the WWF Tag Team Championship: The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) def. The New Blackjacks (Blackjack Windham and Blackjack Bradshaw, The Godwinns (Phineas I. Godwinn and Henry O. Godwinn) (w/ Hillbilly Jim) and Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon in 10:39.

Christ, what a long title, by gum.

Everyone is fighting each other and trying to get the teams to their respective corners (which is stupid on his part, the ref should not have allowed the bell to ring). Bradshaw and Henry wrassle for a bit. Thrasher is tossed in and takes a boot from Bradshaw. Bradshaw, of course, in decent shape for a change. Bradshaw tags in Phineas and I can see that the wide-angle hard cam has some frame rate issues and I (hope) it’s not my ancient DVD that is doing it. Mosh is tagged in and the pair have to wrassle each other. Both the Headbangers have metal t-shirts on, with Mosh rocking a Metallica and Thrasher with a White Zombie T. The pair of them actually fight and tag in Phil Lafon with a lovely double flapjack. Blackjack Windham is in with his big moustache. Doug Furnas rocks in and hits a jumping hurricanrana. He tries a leapfrog, is caught, powerbombed and Bradshaw is tagged in.

King debates whether or not if two team members are in the ring and pin each other… do they both leave? Yes. Yes they do. Bradshaw drops Doug onto the outside. Bradshaw gets himself DQ’d by throwing the ref onto the ground.

Blackjack Bradshaw has been eliminated by DQ. The Blackjacks are eliminated in 4:55.

Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon have been eliminated in 4:55.

Stupid, stupid Bradshaw. He really does come across like the king of cunts, doesn’t he? Well he is. He’s the worst.

Phineas bodyslams Mosh then bodyslams Henry onto him. Silly gooses. Lovely huge delayed suplex. Jerry makes a Clinton joke. Say it to my face, Jerry, I dare you.

Henry tosses Thrasher into the corner. They spit on each other for a while. Thrasher does a lovely Flair flop spot and Mosh is tagged. Both Henry and Mosh go over the top rope. Mosh goes in first and guillotines Henry before jumping from the top rope. He shouts at the camera and then tosses Thrasher off the top rope. Vince tells us to forget about it and we do.

Jerry asks Vince if he has any White Zombie CDs. He doesn’t get it. Lovely big moonsault from Thrasher and he hits the hot tag on Mosh. Phineas clears the ring, throws Thrasher out, goes for the Slop Drop but it’s broken up. Mosh hits the seated senton and gets the pin in 10:39

Henry O. Godwinn has been eliminated by Mosh. The Godwinns are eliminated in 10:39.

The Headbangers are the winners and Number One Contenders for the WWF Tag Team Championship!

2017 comments:

Not bad, actually, and the crowd seemed to be into it. Seemed like a match called on the fly and would have preferred if it was just Godwinns vs. Headbangers without the bit at the start, being honest.

1997 comments:

I like these Headbanger yokes. Maybe I should listen to some White Zombie.

Grade: B

JR tries to explain the seated senton to us. They go backstage.

There is a promo for In Your House on April 20th. It doesn’t have a name yet. It will be “Revenge of the Taker”.

Back in the ring, it’s the fucking Honky Tonk Man. Captain Lou Albano is there. He’s the best. JR namedrops the fact that Honky and King are cousins.

The Sultan’s music hits and out comes Sheiky Baby with Rikishi, who, despite being a Samoan, is pretending to be Persian. Bob Backlund is there too, for some unknown reason. Sultan wears a mask. He could be a great gimmick, but it isn’t. This is an Intercontinental Championship match but there’s no history here.

Down runs Slammy Award-winning proto-Rock, Rocky Maivia. He has the old sideburns there as well.

Sheiky throws the flag about. Close up of Tony Atlas, tag partner of Rock’s dad, Rocky Johnson.

WWF Intercontinenatal Championship match: Rocky Maivia (c) def. The Sultan (w/ Bob Backlund and The Iron Sheik) via pin in 9:45.

Rock and Sultan are cousins in real life. Later, Sultan will run over Stone Cold Steve Austin for The Rock. Honky gives off because he says Rock is growing sideburns to impress him. Rock does this weird finger thing and Sultan bops him. Kip-up and the Rock kicks the shite out of Sultan, throwing him out. Rocky goes top rope but Sultan doesn’t see him. The crowd roar, “Rocky sucks!” and we see the beginning of the hatred for Rock. Jerry says that Rocky’s name should be Rookie! Brilliant.

Sultan kicks Rock in the gut and Rock is up, taking a choke-throw to the corner. Sultan attempts to pin Rock and fails. Rock covers his mouth to have a chat with Sultan, fights back, ducks a clothesline, takes a knee to the knee for his trouble and a lovely backbreaker. Sultan goes top rope and misses Rock, but both sell it anyways. Another cover, another fail. Irish whip and Rocky hits the sunset flip. Sultan double-chokes Rocky to lift him up, hits the belly-to-belly and another pin attempt. The announcers shit on Sultan and his speed.

Rest hold city from the pair of them. Earl Hebner is watching. Jerry makes a Christopher Reeve joke. Oy vey. More rest holds from Sultan. Rock looks like he might be out. The crowd is quite, quite dead. Earl hits my favourite spot – the hand drop! On the third, Rock wakes up and both men hit the clothesline at the same time. Rock rolls over onto Sultan and after a kickout, both men jump up. Shite selling, boys. You can’t be unconscious and wake up in seconds. Lovely punches, lovely dropkick, Rock hits the belly-to-belly, gets a kickout after two, hits a lovely spinning DDT, goes to the top rope, hits the cross-body and Sheiky Baby is distracting the ref. Sultan is up, but Rock hits the punches, the kicks, gets a superkick to the jaw, kicks out of a pin. Sultan piledrives Rock into the damn canvas and Honky makes a wheelchair reference. For shame, boys. Rocky hits the roll-up and gets the win by pin in 9:45.

2017 comments:

An okay match. Badly paced, though and neither men know how to sell.

1997 comments:

Are all these lads related?

Grade: B

JR goes to speak to Rock and Sultan is up and beating on Rock with the Intercontinental belt. Sheiky Baby, Backlund and Sultan beat on Rock. Sultan hits the frog splash, Sheik gets the camel clutch, breaks back, makes humble. Rocky Johnson is in the ring! By Christ, he’s in, he’s battering on Sultan and helping up Rock. Sultan gets the flag, beats on Rocky Johnson, tears off his shirt and Sheiky goes to camel Clutch but Rock is up, knocking Sultan out, turns on Sheiky Baby, hits a lovely scoop slam and Rocky does the same. Both men punch out Sheik and the pair of them hug mid-ring, shirts off. Earl cleans the house.

On the Card will return on March 30 2017 with the second part of WrestleMania 13.

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 #6. Survivor Series (November 17, 1996) Part 1

In the previous entry, I looked at In Your House 11: Buried Alive 1996. It was an okay PPV with a good, creepy main event but the WWF Champion didn’t take to the mat until after the cameras started rolling. The next PPV was Survivor Series 96 and was the tenth of its name. The gimmick of Survivor Series was that it was an annual event that took place around Thanksgiving and had huge elimination-style tag team matches, usually between the heel faction and the face faction of the day.

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 Survivor Series

Back to Attack

The tagline makes no sense and the poster has Shawn Michaels, Sid Vicious, newcomer Bret Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s heads floating between two buildings. Shawn is wearing the same expression he did during the poster for Mind Games back in September, so not much has changed there.

There is no Big Red WWF title screen this time around, just an announcer speaking over sped-up shots of New York to show how fast the city that never sleeps really is. Tonight, Shawn vs. Sid. Tonight, Bret vs. Stone Cold. Tonight, Undertaker vs. Mankind. And other people!

MB Karate Fighters sponsor the 1996 Survivor Series. 18,647 people are crammed into Madison Square Garden in New York. 199,000 people watching at home, a rise from an all-time low of 1995 at 128,000 buys. A taxi slides over the top of the screen as our announcing team is introduced: Vincent Kennedy McMahon, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Good Ol’ Jim “JR” Ross. There is literally no time for anything else as the first match is about to get underway!

 (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 and had little to do with the actual PPV but was full of names that would become huge over the next wee while (though not with the names they appear here with): Jesse James (AKA Road Dogg Jesse James), Aldo Montoya (AKA Rat-Faced Knacker Justin Credible), Bob Holly (AKA Hardcore Holly), Bart Gunn (AKA Bodacious Bart Gun) versus the team of The Sultan (AKA Rikishi), Justin Bradshaw (AKA Cunt JBL), Salvatore Sincere (AKA Tom Brandi) and Billy Gunn (AKA Bad-Ass Billy Gunn). They were joined by The Iron Sheiky Baby and Uncle Zebekiah (AKA Zeb Coulter).

The British Bulldog’s music hits and out comes the man himself looking like a bust sausage along with his team of Slammy-Award-Winning Owen Hart and The New Rockers Marty Janetty and Leif Cassidy (AKA Al Snow). They are accompanied by Immigration Clarence Mason, who is just waiting for someone to mess up and get sent home.

The other team turn up, Phil Lafon and Doug Furnas, who are a pair of arses. They appear with the Gosh-Darned Godwinns Henry O. (in yellow) and Phineas I. (in red) with Hillbilly Jim. There is a Karate Fighters zeppelin flying about the arena that just crashes into the stands and stays there. Oh, the humanity!

The announcers comment on the smell of the Godwinn boys and the heel team shout at the crowd for some time before the bell rings to start the match.

Survivor Series Tag Team Match: Doug Furnas, Phil Lafon, Phineas I. Godwinn and Henry O. Godwinn (w/ Hillbilly Jim) def. Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy (w/ Clarence Mason) via elimination in 20:41.

Marty Jannetty sneaks about the ring, trying to tickle his opponents until finally Phil Lafon comes into the ring and gets Marty into a great arm lock that Jannetty gets out of by jumping off the top rope. He takes a brutal clothesline from Phil and tags out. At this point, Leif Cassidy comes in but Marty hops about outside, clearly very badly hurt, or at least selling a leg injury very well. Both Leif and Phil have some great chain-wrestling in the middle of the ring with a submission manoeuver that is cancelled by a grab to the bottom rope.

Phineas comes into the ring and spits into the air, catches it and rubs it into his hair. JR talks about the Clintons. How apt.

Leif gives Phineas an absolutely lovely body slam but the hillbilly isn’t very happy about it and responds with a body slam of his own. He goes to bounce off the ropes and Jannetty hits him in the back. Owen is tagged in and Bulldog helps him double-team Phineas. They distract the ref and take the time to beat on the Godwinn until Leif comes back in and tags in hurt-leg Marty Jannetty. The announcers reveal that Owen is ticked off at Bret returning. Marty goes to the top rope and attempts a high-risk move but is thwarted by Phineas who attempts a superplex which is equally countered. Marty then tried an elbow drop and Phineas rolls out of the way to tag in his brother Henry.

JR tells us “Business is gonna pick up!” and indeed it does. Henry beats on Marty for a while, tossing him around like a great big child. When Henry goes into the corner, Phines dives in front of him, cushioning the blow. Leif attempts the same for his teammate and gets a boot to his chest from Henry for his efforts. Henry gets Marty in position for the Slop Drop and eliminates him with a pin.

Marty Jannetty has been eliminated by Henry Godwinn in 8:12.

Owen rolls in, hits Henry with a spinning heel kick and eliminated him with a pin.

Henry Godwin has been eliminated by Owen Hart in 8:18.

The teams are equal once again. Phineas is in and he’s cleaning house, throwing everyone out. Owen tags Bulldog in who hits Phineas with a powerslam and eliminates him with a pin.

Phineas Godwinn has been eliminated by The British Bulldog in 9:04.

Sweet baby Jesus, that’s three pins in less than a minute. The teams are now 3-2 with the advantage being the heel team of Leif Cassidy, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog. Both Godwinns are out and only Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon survive. Bulldog and Furnas waste time as a replay is shown on the screen. Some lovely running of the ropes until Furnas botches a dropkick and lands awkwardly. JR sells the dropkicks and tells us Furnas was a world-class powerlifter at one time. Owen strangles Furnas and Leif hits a half-Nelson slam followed by a brutal spinebuster.

Furnas is in the corner and getting beaten on by the heel time. Hart hits Furnas with a fantastic dropkick, almost killing him. Furnas gets Owen in a small package and receives a clothesline as a receipt followed by a fisherman suplex with bridge. JR wonders why there are two referees (one on the outside and one on the in) yet there are so many double teams. Bulldog hits a lovely delayed suplex (such strength) and tags out to get Leif in. Furnas has been getting his arse handed to him for a while now. He needs to tag out of build some momentum. Hot tag to Lafon who hits Cassidy with a reverse suplex from Bret’s rope followed by a quick pin.

Leif Cassidy has been eliminated by Phil Lafon in 13:43.

What a move! What a guy! Bulldog comes in, both teams down to two. Lafon and Bulldog have a lovely back-and-forth including some lovely chops. A pin attempt and fail. Bulldog gives Phil a huge press and Owen is in, hitting Lafon with a belly-to-belly followed by a neckbreaker and elbow drop from Bret’s rope. Lafon is kicking out from every move going and Vince tells us to forget about the double clothesline Owen and Bulldog hit Lafon with. Bulldog hits Lafon between the legs like a prick. JR complains about Harvey Whippleman. Lafon tries to get a tag but Owen knocks Furnas off the apron. In the ensuing chaos, Bulldog appears and a failed double-team ends with Bulldog getting pinned!

The British Bulldog has been eliminated by Phil Lafon in 17:22.

It’s only Owen left versus the newcomers! Oh good Lord! What a time to be alive! Bulldog doesn’t take his elimination lightly and tackles Lafon’s leg, which Owen then goes for again and again. Vince suggests that we might see the Sharpshooter in a moment. Owen leg drops Lafon’s leg and gets ready for the Sharpshooter. Lafon is surviving it but Furnas jumps in to break the hold and Owen breaks it himself. Ladfon gets the reverse enziguri and Furnas is tagged in. Owen takes a lovely dropkick followed by a lovely belly-to-belly followed by a German suplex for the pin in 20:41.

Owen Hart has been eliminated by Doug Furnas. The survivors are Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon!

2016 comments:

Very good match. Very happy with it. Slow start but great end. If every match on the card attempts to be as good as that then this is going to be a great Survivor Series.

1996 comments:

I don’t know half of these lads but by Christ they can wrassle.

Grade: A+

Jerry calls them upstarts and punks, threatening that Owen and Bulldog might raise some merry hell at this. We see a bit of the replay.

Cut to outside on New York City.

On the Card will return on November 24 with the second part of Survivor Series 1996.