Hey there friends, it’s me again, Ken Anderson. I’d like to give a hearty welcome to those of you who may be new to my work. I do video reviews here at the 411, most recently the Clash of the Champions series. You may be shaking your head in apathy right now saying, “But Ken, this sure doesn’t look like a Clash of the Champions review to me!!!” Well …You caught me!!! I figured I’d shake things up a bit with a special bonus video review that may or may not make it up by the weekend. If it does, let me be the first to wish you, yes YOU, a good (and safe) weekend. If it doesn’t make it up by then, then I wish you NOTHING. To those of you who have stuck with me through the Clash reviews, thank you, it means a lot. To the newbies, please check them out sometime, you might just enjoy your stay. Now why don’t we get to the “meat and the bones” of this video review, shall we kids ?
-Oh yeah, before I forget, I’d like to give a giant 411 Thank You to everyone who clicked Mr. link in my last Clash review and sent a quick “Happy Birthday” to Bad News Brown. I received an email from him a few hours after the review went up and he said he had received a LOT of birthday wishes. He seemed genuinely flattered by all of the messages from all the people who still remember him busting his ass day in and day out to entertain us. It meant a lot to him, so give yourself a pat on the back if you took part in it. On a related note, anyone who didn’t send a birthday greeting to Bad News will have their IP addresses traced. Don’t be surprised if you’re dragged out of your home in the middle of the night and given a Ghetto Blaster in front of your wife and kids….
-I won’t really be shoplifting any of his information for this tape review, but it just wouldn’t be the same without thanking the man, the myth, the legend, Jason from Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. Last week’s dedication to Jason was quite well received (with minimal bitching), so we’ll do what we always do when something is well received, we’ll beat it INTO THE GROUND. YES!!! So… from now on, every review will include an honorary picture of a*Lesbian Makeout Session* in honor of Jason’s hard work.
–The Madison Square Garden Incident as it happened…
Date: May 15th, 1997
Venue: Madison Square Garden, NY
Attendance: 18,065 (sellout)
Cable Rating: n/a
–History is Fun!!!
They were like boy scouts, only more muscular.
Just about every aspect of the “Clique,” both minor and major, has already been covered thousands of times on “other” websites out there, so we’ll try to keep this brief. It really is beating a dead horse to go over this again, but let me go ahead and get out my trusty horse-beating cane and try it again anyway…
Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Sean Waltman (X-Pac)
Justin Credible (Aldo Montoya)
To make a long story even longer:
Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were working in WCW and shared a common bond… crappy gimmicks and wasted potential. Scott Hall was packaged as the “Diamond Studd”, a flashy (yet cartoonishly goofy) heel. The Studd was surprisingly over, but was ultimately nothing more than a lackey for Diamond Dallas Page. Kevin Nash suffered a far worse fate. Nash was saddled with a terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE gimmick. Ted Turner had recently acquired the television rights to the CLASSIC movie musical The Wizard of Oz, and decided it would be a good idea if that “Rasslin’ company he owned” would come up with a good way to help promote the movie. If you look up “wrong place at the wrong time” in the dictionary, you will undoubtedly come across a picture of Kevin Nash. It was decided that Nash would be IDEAL for this ridiculous concept, so he was bestowed with the honor of shilling the 60+ year old movie. So how did they promote the movie without ruining the credibility of Nash you ask ? Did they have him come out and blatantly shill the film ? Did they have him recite excerpts from the movie before his matches ? Of course not silly mark… They built a corny cardboard skyline of “Oz”, hired actors to play the parts of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, and dressed Kevin Nash up as the GRAND WIZARD OF OZ. To make matters worse, they had him come out with a shriveled subservient wizard and tiny, squirrel-like monkeys wearing diapers. The whole thing resembled a fourth grade Halloween party. The WCW creative team must not have wanted to hire a makeup artist, so they apparantly just said “Fuck it, just put them all in silly rubber masks.” That’s exactly what they did. So to sum things up, WCW decided to take one of the most marketable big men they have EVER had, and put him in a Halloween costume, spray paint his hair silver, and have him babysit monkeys who could barely refrain from shitting all over themselves at any given moment. The subservient wizard (I’ve heard he was played by Kevin Sullivan, but don’t hold me to that) would mutter such eerie catchphrases as, “Welcome to Oz! Welcome to Oz! Don’t be Afraid!” It was never really established which side of the heel/face fence he was straddling, so the fans never really knew whether to cheer for him or to boo him. His skills in the ring were impressive nonetheless though, especially his finisher. For his finisher, he would hoist his opponent up into a Razor’s Edge like position and then start spinning in circles. Eventually he would throw his opponent into the air, where the opponent would continue spinning until crashing into the mat. It was a very impressive visual, but again, the fans weren’t quite sure what they were supposed to do to be good marks, so they just kinda sat on their hands. After the harsh realization was made that Oz was absolutely ridiculous, Nash was saddled with yet another equally ridiculous gimmick, Vinnie Vegas. Check out the attire this poor man was stuck with.
At the same time, Shawn Michaels was first starting to receive his first singles push, winning the IC title and feuding on and off with former-teammate and confirmed crack-whore Marty Jannety. This was said to be the point where Michaels first started developing his now famous attitude problems. He reportedly started carrying an attitude of superiority with him, but on the flip-side, he also backed up that attitude in the ring each night. While Michaels was money in the ring, his behavior wasn’t earning him many friends in the WWF. He would make friends though…
Scott Hall was eventually released by the WCW and quickly gobbled up by Vinny Mac and co. Soon thereafter, Kevin Nash was also released from WCW and was picked up almost immediately by the WWF as well.Scott Hall was repackaged as “Razor Ramon.” Ramon was introduced through a series of HIGHLY entertaining vignettes portraying him as a greasy Cuban drug-dealer type character. In one of the best WWF vignettes ever, Razor Ramon took a bunch of oranges from a Miami fruit stand without paying. I don’t really remember much else about the vignette, but Ramon was just GOLDEN in this character. He also flung his toothpick and talked with a slightly Spanish leer. Razor Ramon was quickly embraced by the WWF fans (as a heel) and quickly made his way up the card.
Kevin Nash had that type of “look” that gave Vince McMahon wood. The WWF decided to package Nash as “Diesel”, a tough-guy bodyguard for the then-heel Shawn Michaels. The two worked together day in and day out and thus naturally became pretty good friends. Nash had become good friends with Hall in WCW, so naturally the three became almost inseparable.
The three performed very well in the ring, which somewhat balanced out the negativity connotations associated with them in the locker room. Matches like the pair of HBK/Razor Ramon ladder matches silenced any critics of the Clique. Vince McMahon was said to be VERY high on these three men, and thus they had a lot of pull in the locker room. This furthered their personal agendas, but also served to piss off a LOT of the other wrestlers in the WWF locker room, most notably Bret Hart.
Diesel began to emerge as a top-tier star after the Royal Rumble. Diesel was basically given the opportunity to use the Rumble as his own personal stepping stone to the top. Nash disposed of opponent after opponent, much to the delight of the crowd in attendance. Soon thereafter, the World Title was put onto the big man at Madison Square Garden. Bob Backlund and Bret Hart had engaged in a long, old-school feud that was actually a very good draw. Backlund managed to wrest the world title away from Bret Hart, but before a rematch was even scheduled, the decision was made (with obvious Clique influence) to have Diesel beat Backlund for the title. It’s been argued countless times as to whether or not it was the right decision to put the title on Diesel, but regardless of that, you can’t argue that the manner in which they did it was ridiculous. Diesel SQUASHED Backlund in EIGHT seconds for the WWF Title, effectively driving him from the WWF. Bob Backlund had put in YEARS of hard work for Vince McMahon, and was the MAN before Hogan came around in the mid-80’s. Backlund held the WWF title for a record FIVE years, and drew thousands with his “All American Boy” gimmick. Then, in 1983 Vince McMahon decided it was time for a change and asked Backlund to dye his hair pink and become a punk-rocking heel. Backlund balked, the title was switched to the Iron Sheik, Backlund walked out of the WWF, and Hulkamania was born. Funny how things work out sometimes, eh? Anyway, Diesel stepped into the ring, grabbed Backlund by the hair, jackknifed him, and pinned him for the three-count.
Diesel’s title reign was somewhat lackluster, both in the ring and at the gate. Given some stiffer competition and a few more months preparation, Diesel could have been the “next big thing” for the WWF, but unfortunately things just didn’t work out that way. Meanwhile, Ramon was still kicking ass and taking names, having already rubbed elbows with names like Savage, Flair, Hennig, and the Ultimate Warrior. Savage and Flair would head over to WCW, and Hennig would stick around in a non-wrestling role.
A hot prospect named Sean Waltman was brought into the WWF after tearing up the independent scene as the “Lightning Kid.” Most notably, the Lightning Kid had been a standout of Global Championship Wrestling’s newly formed Light Heavyweight division. The GWF was a Dallas-based independent promotion that really had everything going for it and was on a one-way track to very good things before the bottom fell out. They had an ESPN deal which gave them an hour of TV time every afternoon, as well as a strong talent base. Global held tournaments for all of its big titles (Light heavyweight, TV, Tag Team, and North American (the “World” title of the GWF)), which included such names as Cactus Jack, Demolition Ax, Stan Lane, The Patriot, the Soultaker (aka The Godfather), Rod Price, Terry Garvin, The Handsome Stranger (aka Buff Bagwell), Bad News Brown, Terry Gordy, Wild Bill Irwin, etc… I wanted to find a picture of Buff Bagwell as the “Handsome Stranger” but couldn’t locate one anywhere. You’ll have to settle for Bagwell’s police mug shot, which while not as funny as his Handsome Stranger gimmick, is still mildly entertaining. So the WWF gobbled up this hot young high flyer (the Lightning Kid) and relegated him to a jobber role for several weeks. This culminated in a fluke victory for “The Kid” over none other than Razor Ramon himself. The crowd bought the angle hook, line, and sinker and started to rally behind the newly-named “1-2-3 Kid.” The Kid began spending time with the Clique, and before long he was a junior member of the reveled group. His feud with Ramon continued, with Razor Ramon offering a bag of money to the Kid if he could beat him again. The Kid took the money and ran, riling up even more crowd support.
Meanwhile, Diesel was, as previously mentioned, not living up to the WWF’s expectations of him as the World Champion. The powers to be decided that it was time to remove the belt from Diesel and put it around the waist of the WWF’s strongest babyface, Bret Hart. Once this was done, all roads would lead to an epic Hart-Michaels showdown at Wrestlemania 12 in Anaheim, California. The plan was to eventually put the title on Michaels at Wrestlemania and let him run with it as the top babyface in the WWF. Needless to say, Bret Hart wasn’t exactly doing jumping jacks at the thought of the jobbing the title to a man who he viewed as a “little boy who cried if everything did not go his way.” Nevertheless, Bret Hart captured the world title and all signs pointed towards an HBK coronation at Wrestlemania.
Around this time, another disgruntled WCW employee named Paul Levesque was jumping ship to the WWF. He had a great look, solid skills, and seemed to stand out from the rest of the WCW midcard pack, but the WCW bookers had no time for him because he didn’t work for the WWF in the mid-80’s like such ratings gems as Hacksaw Jim Duggan and John Tenta. Levesque quickly befriended the most powerful troop in all of wrestling and before long was heavily involved in the Clique. Levesque was repackaged as “Hunter Hearst Helmsley,” a snobbish aristocrat type character. The fans took to Hunter (in a love to hate kind of way) and he too quickly ascended the ladder in the WWF.
Wrestlemania 12 came around in March with Michaels, Nash, and Helmsley all taking part in high-profile matches. The big news out of WM12 was of course Shawn Michaels capturing of the WWF title from Bret Hart in an epic 60+ minute Iron-Man match. Diesel also fought the Undertaker in a solid, if unspectacular match, and Hunter “fought” the returning Ultimate Warrior. Vince asked Hunter to be squashed by the Warrior to help rebuild the myth that was once the Warrior. Hunter agreed and Vince promised him that he would be rewarded for his sacrifice in the future, with the reward roughly equating to a King of the Ring coronation two months down the road.
Scott Hall was another story altogether. Hall’s personal demons were starting to get the best of him. He failed several WWF drug tests and was given a simple ultimatum: Clean up or head elsewhere. WCW had taken a brazen and EXTREMELY ballsy step forward by creating their own Monday Night program to compete with WWF RAW. The show was a definite success by mid-90’s ratings standards, and thus more confidence was gained in WCW by upper management. More Confidence = More Money, so WCW, under the direction of Uncle Eric, began going on a spending spree that would rival anything you’ve seen on SuperMarket Sweep. “Let’s see how much that bonus is worth….” (two fat women in yellow sweaters): “FIFTY DOLLARS!!!” To the handful of you who may have understood that poor attempt at humor, thank you Anyway, Bischoff saw dollar signs written all over Nash and Hall, eventually signing them to ridiculously high-balled guaranteed contracts (which would in fact turn out to lead to the death of WCW).
Nash and Hall’s WWF time was at an end, as we approached their Madison Square Garden house show finale. The first mistake made by the WWF was allowing the “Big Four” (HHH, Michaels, Nash, and Hall) to all face each other at the event. I guess we’ll just have to take a look at what happened…
The Madison Square Garden Incident (fan cam).
-To the best of my knowledge, this is the only video-taped evidence of this show in existence. It was taken by a fan who smuggled his camcorder into Madison Square Garden and set up shop about fifteen rows up in front of the ring. His seats were pretty damn good, but him and his friends seemed a bit irritating for the duration of the show. More on that later… The video quality isn’t that great, but it is a fan-cam type of deal, so I wasn’t really expecting digital mastering or Dolby Surround or anything. By the way, thanks to Ryan Mulligan for hooking me up with this tape (as well as a lot of the older Clash tapes). If you see this Ryan, drop me an email dude.
We are joined in progress…
-Obligatory “Job a potential star to the Ultimate Warrior” Match:
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Owen Hart
The Warrior comes darting out to his old-school music with all the bells and jangles and “DUH! DUHDUH-DUH!’s” The Garden ERUPTS for this clown, as he run downs his full bag of Ultimate tricks. For those not familiar with the Ultimate Warrior’s sac of tricks, the big three consist of…
*The Rope Shake* This is the Warrior’s primary trick. The name might be a bit deceptive, as their is much more involved with this action than just the shaking of the ropes. Well, actually there really isn’t. The Warrior runs out, firmly grasps a rope of his choice with both hands, and violently shakes around like an epileptic Japanese kid after too many episodes of Pike’ton.
*The GO-rilla press Motion* This one is a bit more complicated, so stick with me on this one, as you might need to read the explanation several times in order to grasp the concept of the motion. The Warrior looks to the sky and raises his goofy, cartoonish arms into the air. The announcers play it off as the Warrior “gaining strength from the Gods,” but unless the “Gods” are anabolic in nature, the Warrior sure as hell isn’t gathering his strength from them.
*The Rain Dance* This one is a bit more complicated as well, as Warrior uses a quasi-combination of his other tricks to perform this riveting routine. The Warrior huffs and puffs for a while, slowly begins to trot in place, and then starts pumping his fist up and down into the air. It’s really not as ridiculous as it sounds… in fact, it’s actually much more ridiculous.
Bonus Picture– The Bladerunners (Ultimate Warrior and Sting’s mid 80’s tag-team)
Anyway, The Warrior runs outside and starts chasing someone or something around, I can’t really tell what it is though. Owen jumps in the ring as the Garden crowds continues with the huge sustained pop for the Warrior. Owen rushes the Warrior, but gets hiptossed twice. The crowd is all like “YAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!” and the guy holding the camera begins making this WEIRD high-pitched, owl-like noise that is like “HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.” It honestly makes me uncomfortable to even listen to. The Warrior bodyslams Owen and follows up by clotheslining him over the top rope. Warrior pumps himself up and tightens his armbands of turnication. The Warrior steps outside to greet a fan and Owen sneaks up from behind him and CLOBBERS him from the back. The Warrior completely no-sells and chases Owen around the ring. Owen attempts the old “have your opponent chase you around the ring, roll back in, and then stomp on the head of your adversary as he tries to follow you back in” routine, but Warrior completely no-sells the stomp. Owen charges the Warrior, and gets backdropped for his efforts. The Warrior starts in with the *GO-rilla Press* motion, and then slingshots Owen to the opposite corner. The Warrior starts in with his incoherent jibber-jabber and picks Owen up by the hair, slamming him into the mat. Owen retaliates with a nasty enzuigiri, which is of course completely no-sold by the Warrior. Owen gets a little perturbed and jabs his thumb into the eyes of the Warrior. A double axe-handle by Owen lands squarely on its mark, flooring the Warrior. In one of the funnier things I’ve seen in my young life, Owen begins mocking the Warrior’s *Go-rilla Press* motion, complete with silly running in place motions. The guy with the camera is all like “Well-uh-how-wh-wh He doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into! HAAAA HA HA.” Owen hits the enzuigiri again, and to the complete and total shock of NO one, the Warrior no-sells and starts hulking up again. The guy with the camera is all like “HOOOOOOOOOOO!” Owen again goes to the eyes and regains the advantage. Owen ascends back to the top turnbuckle and lands a pretty little missile dropkick right to the chin of the far-from-ultimate Warrior. An Owen suplex attempt is blocked and ultimately reversed by the Warrior. I guess the Warrior feared that the Warrior to Owen offense ratio was slipping below the 3,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000:1 level. For reasons that I am too fearful to delve into, the Warrior suplex somehow results in a double KO. The MSG faithful boisterously count along with the ref, but both men make it up at 9. The Warrior pulls himself up by the ropes and starts in with his aforementioned *Rope Shake* The crowd erupts yet again as the Warrior begins feverishly wobbling the ropes. I quickly hit mute, fearful that the man with the camera might start back up with his mating call. Owen tries various punches and kicks on the convulsing Warrior, but none of them seem to be effective (i.e. none are sold). Warrior kicks it into overdrive with the *Rain Dance* The dance results in barely a drizzle, but the MSG crowd laps it up with a golden spoon regardless. The Warrior comes off the ropes four times with big clotheslines, with the Garden crowd counting each one off. The Warrior looks around to his affectionate fans, who want one thing, and one thing only. The Warrior gladly obliges and begins back in with the *Rain Dance* The crowd could leave right now and they’d be happy. The crazy, steroid-filled freak bounds off the ropes once more, this time opting for a big shoulderblock as opposed to the more traditional clothesline. Owen is covered for three, and the crowd is a bit shocked that the match would end with the shoulderblock as opposed to the customary Press-Slam/Big Splash combination. Speaking of which, have you ever noticed how the vast majority of HUGE babyfaces incorporate a two-part finisher. I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything, but lets take a look at the (arguably) five most popular wrestlers of the last dozen or so years:
Hulk Hogan – Say what you want about 97/98 Steve Austin, but Hogan IS the most popular wrestler of all time. It’s not a knock on any of the current batch of media darlings, but Hogan blew roofs off of arenas for nearly a DECADE. If conditions were the same as they were back then (i.e. An hour a week of jobber matches, rare (if any) televised matches involving the upper-tier wrestlers, “mark” audiences, etc..), Austin might have been able to compete, but due to these uncontrollable factors, it might be difficult for ANYONE to ever match the longevity of Hogan’s popularity. Anyway, his finisher is not coincidentally a two-parter::
Setup Move: Big Boot
Ultimate Warrior – Regardless of the fact that he looks more like a balloon animal than an actual person, the Warrior was the most popular wrestler in the country for a short (SHORT) period of time. Look no further than Wrestlemania VI for proof of this claim. His finisher also consists of TWO distinctive parts:
Setup Move: Gorilla Press
Finisher: Big Splash
Bill Goldberg – Probably on par with the Warrior for the amount of time he spent atop the popularity ladder, but this man WAS without a doubt the most popular wrestler in the country for a short time period. Look no further than his Nitro defeat of Hulk Hogan in front of 40,000+ at the Georgia Dome for the WCW World Title. Speak of the devil, his finisher ALSO consisted of a two-step process:
Setup Move: Spear
The Rock – This Samoan fella has been pretty damn popular for the last few years, despite the bitter scorn that the “smart” crowd seems to have for him. The Rock also incorporates a duel finisher:
Setup Move: Rock Bottom
Finisher: People’s Elbow
Steve Austin – You might have heard of this jaunty gentleman as well. Blah blah blah, he uses a double finisher:
Setup Move: Kick to gut
Finisher: Stone Cold Stunner
Anyway, you’re probably saying, “Ken, what the f*ck did that have to do with ANYTHING?” You’ve got a point, but go to hell regardless. Anyway, The Warrior arouses the crowd with a little bit more rope shaking, dancing, and posing before retreating to the back to undoubtedly do something really REALLY strange. A complete and total squash, but at least the crowd seemed to enjoy it. The Warrior was actually quite capable of having good matches (see: WMVII against Savage), but this was definitely not one of them. Not the kind of match that you’d want to wrap up all pretty for Christmas, but if you’re looking for some short *1/2 stocking stuffers, look no further than this peach. Incidentally, if you are interested in seeing what the Ultimate Warrior looked like before years and years of steroid abuse, look no further than his high school prom picture. I like his outfit.
The BodyDonnas (w/Sunny) vs. The Godwinns (w/ HillBilly Jim and some buckets of slop)
Sunny makes her way to the ring much to the delight of the sold-out Garden crowd. The fella with the camera begins violently shaking at the sight of Sunny. Hmmm. His friend turns to him and says, “Gosh she’s PURRRTY.” The guy with the camera doesn’t respond, but keeps on shaking. Sure hope I’m reading too much into this. Sunny talks about something, but the lewd crowd drowns out any chance I have of interpreting her promo. In the middle of her speech, “Country Boy” starts blaring over the loudspeakers and the Garden gives a lukewarm welcome to the Godwinns. Hillbilly Jim does elicit a somewhat strong pop when he makes his way out, showing that if nothing else, the Garden crowd respects the veterans. This would be a good time to once again thank RD for all the hard work he did over at Wrestlecrap. One can only hope that ONE DAY the site might be back in business. The reason I mention Wrestlecrap in reference to HillBilly Jim is because of a particular sound byte that RD posted over at Wrestlecrap. Not sure if anyone remembers it, but it was a short sound file of HillBilly Jim wrestling his dog while making perverse noises. I listen to it on a regular basis and STILL find it funny even after about a year. If you’re interested in giving it a listen, click me. I contacted RD about buying a copy of the CD’s he made with the entire site on it, but he couldn’t really sell them due to the legal issues associated with selling WWF copyrighted material on the disc. So, if there is anyone out there who’s game for breaking the law (i.e. selling me a copy of the disc, I know there’s quite a few floating around), drop me an email. Damn am I ever getting off-topic today. The HillBillies do some HARDCORE square dancing in the ring, much to the displeasure of the BodyDonnas. The guy with the camera begins stomping his foot and letting out his now trademarked “HOOOOOOOOOOO!” He seems to be VERY excited about seeing Sunny AND a square dance within the same two minute time bracket. This match took place during the middle of the whole “Phineas has a crush on Sunny” angle, of which there is nothing of consequence to even bother mentioning. Anyway, Skip and Mideon start things out, with the Hillbilly turned demon scoring early on with a shoulder tackle. The tape clips forwards a few minutes as we join Skip and Mideon in progress as Mideon has Skip up for a big press slam. The Farmer connects with a running clothesline which sends the short (but buff) bodybuilder crashing to the mat. The Godwinns do some of their down-home double-teaming, as one of the camera-man’s friends steps in front of the screen. He’s no ordinary friend though. He appears to be wearing an ESKIMO suit. I realize its New York, but its in the middle of summer and there’s no ice huts for MILES. Zip tags in and Irish whips the other hog farmer to the corner. Zip does a silly little motion to let us know that he CARES about his body, and then rushes the corner. The pig wrangler jumps straight up and catches the overzealous primadonna right between his legs. Sunny is LIVID at the thought of someone other than her getting paid to have their head between a man’s legs, so she starts throwing a temper tantrum outside. In an admittedly cool spot, Phineas catapults Zip OVER the top rope. Zip is even kind enough to do a complete flip as he soars over the top rope, landing awkwardly on his back but providing us fans with one hell of a visual. The farmers start working the jocks’ arms with various twists, as the man with the camera starts blubbering some inane nonsense about “Torque.” The Bodydonnas regroup on the outside as the farmers do some RIDICULOUS dances in the ring. You see, they are FARMERS, so they are STUPID, right Vince. Not sure what demographic they were meant to appeal to, but NO farmers that I have ever met have stopped talking in mid-conversation and began doing handstands while wildly throwing about their legs. In a fun little spot spot, all six participants in the match (Skip, Zip, Sunny, The Farmers, and Hillbilly Jim) chase each other in circles around the ring. The Farmers end up butting heads outside because they are STUPID FARMERS. In one of the funnier moments I can recall, some random guy mans the camera for a minute or two, providing more laughs than anything so far this evening. His first words upon grabbing the camera are, “We are Live…. and this match SUCKS.” The Bodydonnas take advantage of the low IQ of the working class farmers by kicking their asses all over the ring. I am quite content with the temporary camera man when all of a sudden I see the camera change hands and hear “HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Just to get a feel for how annoying this sound is, I went ahead and sampled it for you kids, give it a listen. The muscle bound donnas score with the double clothesline, and Zip follows by slamming his partner onto Phineas. Somehow the sow-keepers get the upper hand yet again, hitting a bevy of backdrops and riling up the crowd to a fevered (alright, maybe not fevered) pitch. Phineas is poised to deliver his finisher, whatever it may be, but Sunny jumps onto the apron and is all like “Stick em up! Give me all your crack-cocaine and any sexually transmitted diseases I may still be in search of.” Actually she just smiled, but its FUN to pretend. Phineas makes his way over to her with a dopey, confused look on his face. You see, the story here is that an attractive woman like Sunny would never go for a lowly, stupid, farmer. Phineas grabs her by the head and kisses her as the man with the camera starts violently convulsing again while screaming, “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH YEAH!!!!!!!!!” After laying on the smooch (and undoubtedly contracting several varying, antibiotic-resistant forms of oral herpes), Phineas hits his finisher (not sure what its called, but for arguments sake we’ll call it the “Stinger Splash”) and covers Skip for the three-count. Our friend the camera operator is nearly having an orgasm, SCREECHING “YEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!” over and over and over and over. The Madison Square Garden crowd blows the roof off of the fabled arena as the silly farmers do what they do best: stupidly dance. A big square-dance ensues in the ring. Hillbilly Jim does a crazy little jig that ignites the crowd, but what REALLY blows them away is when Howard Finkle enters the ring and starts dancing with Hillbilly Jim. A really cute little scene. Tough to believe that Finkle has been around since basically day one. That man needs to write a book, I’m sure he has some stories to tell.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Razor Ramon.
Triple H was in the midst of his awesome, yet ultimately unsuccessful, “Blue Blood” gimmick. He came to the ring in a sporty jacket with a clean-pressed white oxford shirt underneath. The Garden crowd is HATING Hunter here tonight. He does his smug little curtsy, much to the chagrin of everyone in attendance, although I have to admit that it brought a smile to this recapper’s face. Razor’s music hits and the crowd EXPLODES for the Cuban sensation. Many fans are aware of the fact that this could be the final WWF appearance of both Ramon and Diesel, so there is a small (but vocal) portion of the crowd booing the “Bad Guy.” Ramon does his whole fist-shake thing as the cameramen scream like a couple of 13 year old German girls at a John Stamos concert. Razor poses for the crowd in the corner, giving the evil Blue Blood the perfect opportunity to attack him from behind with a double Axe-Handle. Triple H throws Razor to the outside and rams his back repeatedly into the ring apron. Ramon is selling like crazy for Hunter, because they are all *BESTEST friends* Awwww. Ramon is thrown back-first to the UNFORGIVING steel guardrail. The rail offers NO forgiveness. The Eskimo again steps in front of the camera, obviously just getting back from the ice-fishing hole. I hope he caught a LUNKER. Both men roll back inside, and Triple H goes up top for a flying move of some variation. Razor is resourceful enough to punch him in the stomach though. The Aristocrat is reeling so Ramon drops him right on his tailbone with an atomic drop. Ramon goes to clothesline Hunter, but HHH ducks out the way, only to be PLASTERED with a second clothesline attempt by Razor. Triple H is whipped into the corner, and does a quasi-Flair Flip in which he lands crotch first on the top rope. Razor grabs Hunter for the fallback slam, pauses for dramatic effect, and then throws his play-friend halfway across the ring. Razor decides the fun’s not over yet though, as he sets HHH up on the top turnbuckle and connects with a belly-to-back suplex off the top. Razor motions to the crowd that its that special time… RAZOR’S EDGE TIME!!! He positions Hunter’s head squarely between his legs and hoists him into the air, BUT… Triple H’s leg inadvertently knocks out the referee on the upswing of the Razor’s Edge. OH NO!!! Razor connects with his finisher, but there is no conscious referee to deliver the three-count. Razor gives up on the pin attempt and goes over to revive the referee. The official is awoken, but as Razor turns around to return to his opponent, Triple H catches him with the pedigree for the three-count. The crowd actually cheers the victory from Hunter for some reason, despite nearly booing him out of the building for the duration of the match. The crowd sings the “Goodbye” song to Razor Ramon, proving that they do in fact know about his changing of employers.A short, but entertaining match, as both men bumped hard and sold excessively for each other. ***
Bonus Picture- I found this picture of The Rock during his early baby face stint as “Flex Kavanna.” Hopefully you’ll find it as funny as I do.
-WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match (Steel Cage)
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Diesel
Diesel makes his way out to a VERY mixed reaction. Not so with Shawn Michaels. The second his music hits the crowd ERUPTS. Michaels does some dancing, some posing, and eventually some stripping on the top corner of the cage, much to the delight of the rowdy New Yorkers.The cage in use tonight is one of the classic WWF “Blue Bar” cages as opposed to the more traditional chain-link cages. The rules are also the classic WWF “Blue Bar” cage rules, with the only means of victory being an escape from the cage, either over the top or via the door on the side of the cage. As Michaels is posing on the top of the cage, there are literally THOUSANDS of flash bulbs going off on cameras throughout the arena. Our trusty cameraman is PUMPED for this match, as evident by his slightly higher-pitched “HOOOOOOOOO!” Shawn jumps to the middle of the ring and a WILD brawl ensues between the two friends. Both men are just wilding flailing at each other with kicks and punches. Diesel winds up and just FLOORS Michaels with a clothesline. Michaels almost crashes through the mat, his bumping is just that crazy here tonight. More Diesel punches find their target, stammering HBK. Diesel attempts to ram the head of Michaels into the side of the cage, but Shawn blocks. Shawn grabs the head of Diesel and tries to ram HIM into the side of the cage, but Diesel blocks, turns, and FLATTENS Michaels with another clothesline. Michaels is picked up the hair and thrown head first in the cage. Diesel follows with a sidewalk slam, as the cameraman and his friends rally behind Michaels, calling for him to “Beat that WCW motherf*cker’s ass into the ground.” Diesel stands on Michael’s chest, calls for the house mic, and begins talking shit about his friend Shawn Michaels. Nash also alludes to his jumping ship to WCW, which elicits an EXTREMELY negative reaction. Diesel walks around the ring posing and talking shit, until Michaels springs up and dropkicks Diesel in the back of the head, sending him careening head-first into the cage. Michaels makes the first escape attempt of the match, but Diesel quickly snuffs out any hopes of that happening. Both men fight for position near the door, but it ultimately amounts to nothing.Diesel regains control of the match and backdrops Michaels high into the air and straight INTO the cage. HBK CRASHES into the cage, leaving his leg stuck in between two of the blue bars near the top of the cage. Diesel stumbles to the other side of the cage where he attempts to climb out. The guy with the camera is FREAKING OUT, “They CAN’T give Diesel the title, that’s WRONG!” Michaels makes his way over to Diesel, low blows him, and sends Diesel crashing to the tope rope for more testicular discomfort. As Diesel is suspended on the top rope, Michaels gets a good running start and clotheslines the head of Diesel right into the side of the cage. Shawn’s not done yet though, as he proves by repeatedly ramming the face of his friend Kevin to the unforgiving blue bars. Both men climb up the side of the cage and duke it out on the very top of the cage. Michaels manages to get to the outside of the cage and almost makes his way to the floor when Diesel grabs his hair. Michaels is literally hanging by his hair, swinging wildly back and forth. Diesel pulls him back over the top of the cage and hiptosses him straight down. HBK is bumping like a man POSSESSED tonight. Nash picks Michaels up in a Davey Boy Smith-esque running powerslam position (or as the guy with the camera refers to it as, a “Superslam”) and attempts to run him headfirst to the steel. Michaels slips off the back of Diesel at the last second and pushes HIM headfirst into the dangerous, yet surprisingly colorful, steel cage. Diesel and Michaels crack heads on the recoil, resulting in a temporary double KO. Michaels is the first up and nearly makes it out of the cage. He’s over the top of the cage and about three feet from the ground when the crowd starts begging for more. Michaels give the Garden faithful the old “how could I say no to a face like that” look and climbs back up the cage. Diesel is still on the mat, so Michaels stops on top of the cage, looks around to the crowd, and comes SOARING off with his GORGEOUS flying elbowdrop. Michaels decides that it is actually time to win the match and begins climbing the side of the cage. Someone (whom I believe to be Triple H, but can’t tell because of the Eskimo blocking the frame) runs from the dressing room and punches Michaels off the top of the cage, resulting in ANOTHER ridiculous back bump for Shawn. A pretty good sized “Diesel” chant starts to break out, as “Big Daddy Cool” makes his way back up. Diesel connects with a BIG boot to the side of Michaels head. HBK is setup for the Jackknife, but grabs the cage and starts climbing as he is pulled up for the move. Michaels is AGAIN thrown from the top of the cage to the middle of the mat. Both men inch their way towards the door, but neither can escape. Somehow a chair ends up in the ring and Diesel grabs it with sinuous intentions. He winds up and aims right for the champ’s head, but Michaels ducks and Diesel hits the cage instead. Diesel does the old “I’m sooooo injured because I hit the steel cage with a metal folding chair” routine (a close friend of the old “I’m soooo injured because I hit the ringpost with a metal folding chair” routine). Half the crowd starts chanting “ECW! ECW!” Shawn grabs the chair and CRUSHES Diesel to the back of the head. The crowd is going BONKERS as Michaels begins to warm up the band. The Garden is literally shaking as Michaels stomps his foot and readies for the Sweet Chin Music. He swoops in nearly DECAPITATES Diesel with the superkick. MASSIVE pop here. Michaels casually strolls to the door (stepping directly on top of Diesel on his way out) and walks on out. The second he hits the floor, fireworks explode, his music hits, and the place just comes unglued. Michaels returns to the ring and poses on the four seperate corners of the cage with the belt, soaking in the boisterous cheers on the crowd. Meanwhile, Diesel is still laying face first on the mat. After a few minutes of posing, Scott Hall comes running out to the ring. Him and Michaels look at each other, high five, and then embrace. The crowd is of course LOVING this, and figures that it is just a babyface celebration in the ring. Moments later, Triple H hits the ring, salutes Michaels and embraces him as well. Diesel is helped up by the other three men, and at least Diesel continues to SELL the injuries from the match. All four get together in the middle of the ring, raise the clique sign high in the air, and share a massive group hug. AWWWWWWW. Michaels, Hall, Nash, and HHH all raise each others arms and stand in the center of the ring. The crowd is excited, yet a bit confused as well. The four ham it up in the center of the ring, joke around a bit, and then all climb to the four corners of the ring and salute the crowd. The Garden just ERUPTS for this. After a few more minutes of posing, everyone except Michaels leaves the ring. Shawn does a bit more posing, soaks in a few more cheers, and then heads out. On his way out, he stops to grab a mic and tell the crowd that “The Clique loves each and every one of you.” Does that mean me ??? Does that mean me ??? YES!!! Right as Michaels grabbed the mic, two men in suits came running out to the ring, obviously afraid of what Michaels might say. Michaels retreated to the dressing room and the crowd went home THRILLED. As for the match, this was a really, REALLY good match, especially for a house show. Both men worked their asses off, Michaels bumped like a stuntman, and Diesel actually sold throughout the entire match. The cage was used well in this match, and the story the match told made sense. Definitely (from the matches on the tape) the match of the night, and one of the better matches I’ve seen in awhile. ****1/2
-Vince McMahon and other top-tier WWF employees were FUMING about this incident. It was a complete and total breakage of kayfabe in a time when that simply did NOT happen. Michaels was the champ and the top man in the WWF at this point, so any punishment directed towards him would only adversely affect business (which could not afford ANY setbacks during this time period). Hall and Nash were all but gone from the WWF, so it would prove impossible to punish them in any way. This left HHH to take the brunt of the punishment. The King of the Ring victory which was promised to him was taken away and given to WWF newcomer Steve Austin. Austin would win the tournament, give his historic “Austin 3:16 speech” and use the tournament as a stepping stone to becoming one of the most popular wrestlers or all time. The Austin push (in place of the HHH push) rejuvenated the WWF and took wrestling from a low-brow form of carnie entertainment to heights never before reached as far as mainstream attention is concerned. Funny how things work out sometimes, huh ? Hall and Nash would also contribute greatly to the re-emergence of wrestling’s popularity in the comparably historic NWO Invasion angle. The 1-2-3 Kid would leave shortly after Hall and Nash for greener pastures as well. He debuted alongside his Clique-mates as “Syxx” on a memorable edition of Monday Nitro. The Clique control carried over to WCW, and some even argue that it still exists in the WWF, with Triple H having a LOT of pull behind the scenes.
-This show in itself wasn’t that great (with the exception of the main event), but for historic purposes, I guess it might be worth picking up. Be forewarned though, almost every copy of this show that I’ve seen floating around is TERRIBLE in the video quality department. Not just bad, but TERRIBLE. At times, you can’t even tell who is who. Anyway, for these reasons, I’d probably say in regards to picking up this tape (cue HOT new feature)
*Don’t pay more than $12 for me.*
Well, I hope you enjoyed this bonus mini-review, which ended up turning out far from “mini.” I’ll be back with Clash of the Champions VII in short time, although I am going to try to throw in some more non-Clash reviews in the near future. Variety is FUN!!! If there’s something you’d like to see reviewed, please let me know, I’m always open to suggestions. So if there’s anything you are just DYING to see done, let me know (I probably have it). I’ll be more than happy to whore myself out for your benefit. I also do birthday parties in return for a few grams of coke. Oh wait, that’s Jake Roberts, my mistake. Again, feel free to email me with any comments, questions, concerns, insults, heterosexual marriage proposals, free alcohol offers, general inquiries, etc… I’m not just some jackass with an affinity for the CAPS LOCK key, I am a living, breathing, person. Sometimes I need to hear “I love you” every once in a while, and sometimes I just need a hug. Anyway……. have a good weekend guys, I’ll catch ya later.
Oh yeah, check out Brian Cole’s video review of Clash of the Champions IV. It should be up by the time you read this. He’s a hell of a nice guy, and he filled in Clash IV for me because I couldn’t find the tape. He did the series proud, thanks Brian! See ya!