– Live from Louisville, Kentucky.
– Your hosts are Jerry Lawler & Mr. McMahon.
– We’ll just skip the Free-for-all, which included some assorted promos and a horrible, horrible Jake v. Tatanka match.
– Opening Crybaby match: Razor Ramon v. 1-2-3 Kid. Loser gets powdered and diapered. Three guesses who booked this one. This was the final blowoff for the 3 year long Kid v. Ramon off-again-on-again feud that started in 1993. This particular match earned the opening match position on my Net.cop Busts compilation due to the inherant contradiction of it being both a great match and incredibly stupid. Very surreal, you see. It’s two members of the clique, so they work well together. The Kid, however, never really had the credibility needed to make a full-blown feud with Da Bad Guy believable. Dibiase tosses a handful of baby powder in Ramon’s eyes in full view of the ref. Kid puts him out with a sleeper, but Ramon comes back with his usual spots. Ramon with a cool looking blockbuster superplex. He signals for the Edge but Ramon hands the Kid the baby powder. Ramon kicks it back in his face, and hits the Razor’s Edge…then picks him up at two! I smell a cheap ending, but he simply delivers another Edge and then pins him. *** Use your imagination for the rest.
– Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ some bimbo) v. Duke “The Dumpster” Droese. Before there was DX, before there was even Chyna, there was simply HHH, aristocrat with great hair. Believe it or not, Duke Droese carries this match and was generally a better wrestler. The old “wrestling garbageman v. American blueblood” angle is a staple of wrestling dating back to Greek times, which explains the incredibly hot crowd reaction to this. Or maybe not. HHH excels at selling, and does a lot of it for the opening minutes. Again, I repeat that Droese showed some good potential here and it’s a shame that cutbacks dumped him and a few other guys who could be getting over as we speak in the new attitude WWF. Vince gives these guys a really good chunk of time, about 18 minutes, which is good because he never does that but bad because it’s HHH v. Duke the Dumpster. Droese gets pounded on for a while, comes back, and hits the Trash Compactor, but he doesn’t cover. That ruined it for me — it would have been a pefectly good *-ish match had he simply gotten the win cleanly. Instead, he leaves the ring and tosses in the garbage can, thus attracting the attentions of the ref. HHH whacks him with the lid of the can, thus bringing new meaning to “garbage wrestling”, and gets the pin. Cheap-o finish. 1/2*
– Review of Yoko’s face turn.
– Dok interviews Yokozuna for the first time in the WWF. This is just too friggin’ weird to describe. So I won’t.
– The British Bulldog v. Yokozuna. Quick match. Yoko misses an elbow and Bulldog ends up controlling the rest of the match. Yoko actually seems to be trying here. Yoko comeback, Cornette runs in and smacks him with the tennis racket for the DQ. 1/2* Vader attacks and they handcuff him and beat the snot out of him. This part really dragged quickly.
– Goldust fondles an AOL typist.
– Review of “Shawn Fears Enziguri”
– Shawn Michaels v. Owen Hart (winner faces WWF champion at WM12). Shawn dances on the roof of the prop house, slides down to the ring, cleans house and then finishes his dance. Funny spot early as Owen and Cornette complain of hair pulling, and when the ref is arguing with Cornette, Shawn proceeds to blatantly pull Owen’s hair for the fans. Shawn hot dogs a bit and Owen puts the beats on him. He gets the Sharpshooter, but Shawn fights his way to the ropes. Owen hits the KILLER ENZIGURI OF DEATH!!! and Michaels falls out of the ring like he’s been shot. Owen tosses him in, but only gets two. Sidenote: Were this not for the title shot, I honestly believe Shawn should have jobbed at that point, cleanly. It would have a) Made him into a total underdog babyface against Bret and b) Put Owen over as the deadliest badass in history with The Move That Kills. Michaels comeback, and usual stuff, then a sweet finishing sequence as Owen blocks the superkick, misses the KILLER ENZIGURI OF DEATH!!! and then falls prey to the superkick for the Michaels win. Great stuff. ****, easy. Michaels dances with a young fan to celebrate.
– While they set up the cage, Todd Pettingill brings out Roddy Piper to amuse the fans.
– Cage match, WWF title: Bret Hart v. Diesel. Big D was seriously cool at this time. The usual match between the two, which happens to be enclosed by a cage. I’ve always hated the WWF cage matches. Most sequences in this (and any other) go like so: Kick and punch, big move, then one guy plays dead while the other crawls for the exit, the first guy suddenly revives, blocks the attempt, repeat cycle. Truly innovation finish, though. Diesel beats the crap out of Bret and leaves him laying, but barely has the energy to crawl for the door. Bret hangs on for dear life. Diesel kicks him away, and is out the door…when the Undertaker pops up through a hole in the ring and drags him through, to the floor! Bret walks out and retains the title. Well, that was different. *
The Bottom Line: I was pretty into WCW around this time, and there was very little suspense as to whether Shawn would win the title or not. But the match with Owen was awesome and the opener was good as well. Hogan’s increasing involvement with the nWo angle, combined with Shawn’s matches as champion, turned me back to the WWF again shortly after this show. Still, nothing sucked outright here, and 2/5 matches are pretty damn good. Recommended, but I’m too tired to commentate further right now.