Re-Writing The Book: The Corporate Champion, Part 2


Part 1 (errors found and updated, thanks to Bonto and Joseph Violet) can be found here. Part 2 is what you’re reading. Cool. Let’s dive in …

What if Vince McMahon had picked Mick Foley to be his Corporate Champion?

Our story resumes at the Royal Rumble. In the ensuing weeks between the firing of The Rock and the Rumble, the WWF has been turned into a bloody battlefield; the Foley/Triple H match at Royal Rumble has been turned into an “I Quit” match … the absences of The Rock and Kane (who hasn’t been seen since fleeing from doctors looking to commit him) have given McMahon’s Corporation (bolstered with another new member, the former Motley Crue bodyguard, Test) such a free run that WWF CEO Linda McMahon has been forced to schedule an appearance at the Rumble to address the abuse of power by Vince and Shane … The Undertaker has not been seen or heard from since December, but ominous blackouts, laughter and haunting music have hinted at a demonic rebirth … and caught in the middle is Stone Cold Steve Austin, facing an uphill battle against the insurmountable odds of Vince’s corporate conspiracy …

January 24th, 1999: Royal Rumble

While the matches at the Royal Rumble are all entertaining in their own right, all eyes are focused on the two big matches of the evening, and the Royal Rumble has the honors of being the first of the two big matches to bow.

But before the Rumble can begin, Linda McMahon comes out, microphone in hand. She is no sooner in the ring than Vince comes out in his ring attire of a black tank top and loose-fitting sweatpants. “Linda, this really isn’t a good time,” says Vince. “Perhaps you’d better-“

“Perhaps you’d better stay right where you are, Vince,” Linda says forcefully, and the crowd loves it. “I’ve sat back and watched you torment and persecute the superstars of the World Wrestling Federation long enough! And my first act towards setting things right will be the matter of your slot in the Royal Rumble.” Vince gulps, his eyes almost leaping out of their sockets. “You and I and everybody here know that you rigged that drawing to make sure you came out where you wanted. But since you’re so eager to see what it’s like to be in the Royal Rumble, why don’t we give you the chance to experience it from the very beginning?” Vince gulps again and tries to plead with her, but Linda is hearing none of it. “Ladies and gentlemen … standing to my right, the number two entrant for the Royal Rumble … Vince McMahon!”

Linda hasn’t even set foot out of the ring before the glass breaks and Steve Austin runs down to the ring. Vince’s expression of shock melts into horror, then abject terror, before he dives through the middle rope towards the announcers. But Austin circles around the ring and catches up to Vince in short order. He bounces Vince face-first off the announcer’s table a few timers (including a shot to the head with Jim Ross’ portable fan) and pounds away with his fists, then proceeds to leave Vince lying on the floor when the crowd starts to count down from 10. When the buzzer sounds, it’s Gillberg, who is kicked in the gut and tossed without a fuss; Austin then goes right back outside and works on Vince again for another minute before the crowd starts counting down again. This time, Headbanger Mosh is the unlucky victim of a 10-second appearance-and-elimination by Austin, who goes right back to work on Vince. But when the buzzer sounds again, Austin doesn’t get off so easily; this time, it’s Ken Shamrock. The two brawl in the ring, and Austin manages to get the upper hand, stomping Shamrock down in a corner. The next man out is Al Snow, who goes after Shamrock. Initially, Austin helps Snow try to eliminate Shamrock, but out of the corner of his eye, he sees Vince has risen and is trying to escape through the crowds. Austin gives chase, leaving through the middle rope. He chases Vince through the crowd and into the concourse (all the while, Headbanger Thrasher has joined the Rumble), but before he can catch up, the Corporate Hired Muscle, Test, waylays Austin with a steel chair. Vince taunts Austin as Test works him over, throwing him into the cement walls and sending him headfirst into shipping crates, doors and anything else in the area. Satisfied with the damage, Vince comes back to the ringside area, where D’Lo Brown and Scorpio have joined the proceedings (while Thrasher has been tossed). Vince joins the announce team and proceeds to run down Austin, who is being tended to by physicians in the concourse of the arena. In the ring, Shamrock gets help from the Bossman, who helps to dispatch of Scorpio and Christian, who is eliminated within 30 seconds of coming in. The 12th man in is Bob Holly, who helps his J.O.B. Squad friend Al Snow dump D’Lo. When the buzzer sounds for the thirteenth person, though, no one comes, and the fighting continues, with no eliminations. Three more people join the Rumble-Road Dogg, Steve Blackman (the number 15 man) and Dan Severn-before there another elimination takes place; with Shamrock almost on the brink of elimination by Snow and Holly, Vince sneaks in and helps the Bossman toss out both members of the J.O.B. Squad, then quickly sneaks back out before anyone can touch him. Gangrel comes in next and helps to dump Severn. Billy Gunn is the next man out, and he comes to his partner’s aid, saving him from elimination by the Corporate duo. Bradshaw and Faarooq come in one after another, and immediately start laying to waste, pitching Gangrel and Blackman in short order. But the next entrant is a true surprise, and the red lights and ominous music are a glimpse into the hell about to be unleashed by Kane. The Outlaws immediately back away and let the Corporation, Faarooq and Bradshaw go after the monster. Faarooq gets pushed out and over as if he were a cruiserweight. Bradshaw is the next to get the wrath of the Big Red Machine, and meets the floor just as Edge comes down. Unfortunately for the young star, he slides in next to Kane, who promptly picks him up by his throat and tosses him back out. But when the orderlies start to swarm down the aisle, Kane leaps out and over, eliminating himself and running through the crowd, leaving Shamrock in the ring alone with the New Age Outlaws. Luckily for Shamrock, he doesn’t have to wait long for someone to come to his aid, in the form of Jeff Jarrett. Shortly after Jarrett is Owen Hart, and the Outlaws find themselves on the short end of the stick. The heels gang up on the Outlaws until the next wrestler is introduced, and he comes to the ring without music or fanfare … and, further confounding the crowd, covered head to toe in a bodysuit and wearing a black mask. Jim Ross identifies the man as “Il Roche”. Il Roche sets his sights on Jarrett and dumps him. Owen goes after Il Roche, while the Outlaws double-up on Shamrock. Droz comes in to even things up, but after him, X-Pac comes out to the aid of his D-X buddies.

Val Venis is the next man to enter, but gets no further then the entranceway when a surprise hits him-a surprise named Stone Cold Steve Austin-who hammers Venis in the back of the head, then drags him to the ring and tosses him right out. Droz charges Austin, who ducks and back body drops Droz right out and flips him off. When Austin stumbles back, he runs into Billy Gunn. The two turn to face each other, but Austin plants a boot in Gunn’s gut without even looking (or caring) who it is, and hitting a Stunner; Austin grabs Gunn’s head as he staggers about and tosses him. Austin glares at Vince, daring him to come in; Vince points behind Austin, to the newest entrant, Goldust. Like Billy, Goldust gets a quick Stunner and a quicker elimination. Austin exits the ring through the middle rope and stalks Vince, slowly at first, then chasing him around the ring until Vince slides in. Austin follows him in and gets stomped as he enters by Shamrock. Vince slides back out and taunts Austin from the outside while Shamrock works over Austin. Road Dogg gets tossed courtesy of Il Roche just in time to be replaced by the 30th participant, and the first female participant in the Rumble, Chyna. Chyna goes after Owen with the help of X-Pac and Il Roche; it is too much for Owen to fight against, and he ends up getting dumped. X-Pac gives Owen a couple crotch-chops to add insult to injury, but Chyna comes up from behind and tosses out X-Pac. X-Pac looks in disbelief at Chyna, who shrugs-after all, it is every man, and woman, for themselves in the Royal Rumble. But Chyna doesn’t see Il Roche come up from behind and ends up back on the floor, her dream of being the first woman in the main event of WrestleMania ended.

The final four are now evident: Vince, Austin, Il Roche and Shamrock. Vince now slides into the ring as Shamrock heads off in the direction of Il Roche, getting the drop on the masked man and trying to get him out by force. Vince weighs his options, seeing a practically unconscious Austin in the corner and Il Roche in danger of being eliminated. Vince gives Austin a double-bird and heads for Il Roche and Shamrock. But Austin has been playing possum with his exhaustion, and pops back up; he grabs Vince by the shoulder, gives him a double-bird of his own, and kicks Vince in the balls. The crowd explodes, and Austin uses his leverage to upend both Il Roche and Shamrock over the top rope. Austin goes to the turnbuckle to celebrate his impending victory, but Vince’s hatred gives him enough energy to get up and charge, shoving Austin over the top rope and to the floor. The energy of the place turns rabid when Austin’s feet hit the ground, but the anger turns to excitement when the crowd realizes that the feet of Il Roche never hit the ground. Il Roche pulls himself up and over, much to the chagrin of the exhausted Vince. Vince tries to plead, beg and bribe his way out of the situation, but Il Roche slings Vince into the ropes and drives him down with a spinebuster. The crowd loves it, but goes crazy when Il Roche stands at Vince’s head and lightly kicks Vince’s arm onto his own chest. The mask comes off and, like normal when The Rock does the set-up for the People’s Elbow, he flings it into the crowd. After he drives the elbow into Vince’s chest, he picks up Vince and easily dumps him.

But before the timekeeper can ring the bell, darkness swallows the arena. “Did you forget about number thirteen, boy?” a familiar, husky voice says. When the lights come up, The Undertaker is in the ring behind The Rock. He grabs The Rock’s head and bum-rushes him to the ropes, tossing him over and out. The timekeeper rings the bell and The Undertaker, the missing 13th entrant, is declared the winner of the Royal Rumble. But Austin springs into the ring, chair in hand and brains The Undertaker, drawing blood from the forehead of the dead man. The Undertaker sits right back up, and the two brawl out of the ring and into the aisle before being separated by authorities.

Mick Foley is highlighted at ringside as the World Title defense is set to conclude the evening. A brief interview of Collette garners the information that their marriage has been troubled since Mick Foley’s sell-out to Vince, and she concedes that she is frightened of the evil streak Mick might tap in to tonight.

Indeed, her worst fears are realized, as Foley’s aggressive streak hits, and exceeds, levels he set as Cactus Jack. Piledrivers on chairs, hanging Triple H by his head in the ring ropes (the very same move that cost Foley an ear) and tables are all used to weaken and wear down Foley’s challenger, reducing Triple H to a bloody mess. To his credit, Triple H fights back as hard as he can, showing a sadistic side altogether new to him; Triple H uses the steel steps to batter the body and head of Foley, but no matter how hard he tries, Foley refuses to quit. A Pedigree directly on the ringbell (which opens up a gusher on Foley) gets a strained “never!” out of the WWF Champ. Triple H’s greatest chance comes when Foley climbs the turnbuckle to drop an elbow on Triple H, who is laid out on the announce table; Triple H rolls out of the way, and Foley drives himself through the table, putting out the lights for a moment … but not enough to get him to quit (even after additional shots to the head with a monitor).

The closing moments, though, prove the most brutal and hard to watch, even for the most hardcore fan. Triple H, having taken the advantage and mounting a five-minute, foreign-object-laden offense, prepares to hammer the prone Foley in the head with the steel steps and crush his skull. But Foley’s veteran mind acts on instinct, and he trips up Triple H with a drop toe hold, sending Triple H face-first into the steps. Foley stumbles out of the ring and fishes out a pair of handcuffs from under the ring. Triple H struggles, but Foley eventually locks the handcuffs in place. Foley drags Triple H into the corner, then grabs a chair that has been kicked in the corner; he opens it enough to fit Triple H’s head in between the seat and the back, with the backing resting across Triple H’s throat and chest. Foley climbs up to the second turnbuckle and jumps down, stomping on the chair and crushing Triple H’s windpipe. Blood spews from Triple H’s mouth, and Foley demands an answer; Triple H can only shake his head, but it’s enough to enrage Foley. He screams at the referee, who can only shrug-rules are rules, and not even the ref can stop an “I Quit” match, he reminds Foley. Crazed, Foley dives out of the ring and searches under the aprons. Under the announcer’s side, he finds what he is looking for, and the mood in the arena goes from fear to sympathic horror: it is a 2×4, wrapped in barbed wire. By the time Foley rolls back in the ring, Triple H is on one knee, blood dripping from his lips. Foley’s sick, merciless grin puts chills in the blood of everyone who sees him, save Triple H, who only sees a blur of humanity approach him at seemingly light speed. Foley rams Triple H in the head with the plank, spreading the open wound on his forehead into a cavern of bloody flesh. Triple H crumples in a heap, but Foley is right on him, raking the wire across his forehead. The screams are inhuman, enough to scare the most hardened of hearts, but he refuses to quit, no matter how much flesh is rended from his skull. Foley puts the plank on the ground, positions the very limp Triple H over it, and drives him into it head-first with a piledriver. Triple H is unconscious, unable to utter the necessary words to bring the carnage to a halt.

The crowd suddenly comes alive when Chyna runs down to the ring, her face a frozen mask of horror. She approaches the ring tenuously, not a bit like the Amazon she is. Foley eyes her with savage, evil eyes as she comes up the steps and asks for the microphone from the referee.

“Please, Mick, you have to stop!” she implores. “Put an end to this!”

Foley’s words aren’t audible, but his slow shake of his head says it all: not until he quits. Or dies.

Please! I know you! This isn’t you! You aren’t like this!” Foley’s eyes show no remorse or surrender. And to punctuate it, he picks up Triple H’s lifeless body (arms dangling like loose string) and drops him head-first onto the board again, this time with a double-arm DDT. He stays seated next Chyna, grinning like a madman, staring through a curtain of his own blood. Chyna shrieks as Triple H’s head slams into the barbed wire, and a fresh geyser of blood spurts out on the mat. She shakes her head in disbelief, but nothing changes: Triple H is still a bloody mess. Suddenly, inspiration explodes and her eyes go wide. “He quits!” she says, then repeats with more authority. “He quits!” She turns to the referee. “He’s unconscious. He can’t say it himself. If you don’t want Mick to kill him, let me quit on his behalf!” The referee doesn’t hesitate in taking up the offer and signals for the bell. Foley takes his belt from the referee and sits in the corner, watching as Chyna dotes over her fallen friend. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees Foley stand up, and her hand rockets over to the 2×4. She backs up, holding the plank like a sword, while Foley advances, motioning for her to give over the weapon. Suddenly, Foley charges; Chyna ducks and sidesteps, then turns and drives the 2×4 into the gut of Triple H once, twice, three times. Foley laughs as Chyna drops the 2×4 and beats on her now-former friend with her fists, and the two leave arm-in-arm as paramedics haul away the motionless, blood-soaked body of Triple H.

January 25th: Raw

The Raw following the Royal Rumble begins Vince and Shawn, but there seems to be little joyousness from the previous night’s successes. “Last night should’ve been one for celebration,” says Vince. “Last night should’ve been like Christmas for the Corporation! In one fell swoop, we managed to deny Stone Cold Steve Austin of his final chance at the WWF Championship …” The crowd boos and starts an “asshole” chant, but Vince ignores it. “I should add that Austin has been barred from the building tonight, so don’t go expecting him to crash Raw and Stun me. We also crushed D-Generation X and their leader, Triple H, like a cockroach, thanks to our newest acquisition, Chyna.” The crowd boos even louder, and chants of “slut” break out. “As I was saying, we should be celebrating like it was New Year’s Eve, if not for one problem, and that is The Rock coming in and sticking his nose in the Royal Rumble! Last time I checked, I fired his ass, and he has the gall to trespass at my event?” Vince wheels around and glares at Shawn. “And I blame you. You let my son get abducted and attacked … you continue to fail in putting that big red idiot Kane in an asylum where he belongs … and to top it all off, you can’t even keep an unauthorized person from interfering in the sanctity of my Royal Rumble? Your performance as Commissioner has been nothing less than a tragedy, and I’m rectifying that right now. Shawn Michaels, you’re fi-“

“I let him enter,” says a husky feminine voice. Linda steps out onto the stage. “I rehired The Rock, Vince, because he never should’ve been put in the position to lose his job anyway. Shawn may be to blame for a lot, but remember, Vince, that you were the one who gave him the job. You are ultimately responsible for the monsters you create. I can’t change the results of the Royal Rumble, much as I’d like to, because I’m sure you made sure The Undertaker held back until the last minute as an insurance plan. But what I can do is make Mick Foley defend that World Title on our upcoming Halftime Heat to air during halftime of the Super Bowl. It’ll be a special Empty Arena match, and Mick’s opponent will be … The Rock!”

Linda turns and leaves while Vince stands in shock. When Shawn snatches the microphone from his hand, he barely notices. “You were gonna say something, Vinnie Mac?” Shawn asks. Vince turns around and glares at Shawn, his upper lip turned up in a snarl. He can no more mouth the words you’re fired before Shawn rocks back on his heels and drops Vince with Sweet Chin Music. The crowd erupts with the turn of events; Shawn gives Vince a crotch-chop before the Corporate goons come looking for Shawn’s head. Shawn waves goodbye and disappears into the crowd.

January 31st: Halftime Heat

Despite the premise of the match, Vince escorts Mick Foley to the ring for the Empty Arena match, giving verbal support for his champion as the match progresses (and a lot of trash-talk for The Rock). The lack of rules is a swing in Foley’s favor, and he uses it to his favor to beat Rocky with every object he can find: chairs, pipes, trays from a catering stand, garbage cans (both plastic and aluminum) and even a bag of popcorn. But in the kitchen, Rocky is able to throw a pot of coffee in Foley’s face and turn the tide. A frying pan, a jar of mayonnaise and a broom are all used on the former hardcore icon as Rock chases him through the arena, trash-talking all the way. In an office, Rocky picks up a phone receiver and says, “Yeah, whattaya want? The Rock’s busy laying the smack down on some jabroni, like this!”, then smacks Foley with the receiver. “Here, you think you can do better? Why don’t you show The Rock how it’s done?” And this time, Rocky breaks the phone over Foley’s head.

The trash-talking and brawling-which ends up swinging back and forth between the two men-ends up in the arena’s loading dock. The combatants use everything around to their disposal to inflict pain on one another, but neither man will stay down long enough for a three-count. Foley ends up with the upper hand, resorting to a flurry of fists to drive Rock backwards towards to dock’s drop-off point, a six-foot fall onto old wooden palettes and concrete beneath. Foley hammers away, punching and punching, driving Rocky back to the precipice, but Rock maintains his balance and will not fall. Frustrated, Foley moves back, then charges; Rock ducks and elevates Foley up and over in a back body drop. Two palettes break Foley’s fall, but he crushes those beneath his weight, and is writhing in pain. Rock stumbles down a nearby flight of stairs in time for Foley to stagger to a stand. Rock reverses a punch attempt into a quick Rock Bottom on the broken palette. The Rock looks to his right, sees the stack of palettes and grabs a couple, then dumps them on Foley, driving the air from his chest. Rock lies across the palettes, and the weight is too much for Foley to move under as the referee counts to three, giving The Rock his first WWF Championship.


The first Raw of February has The Rock and Steve Austin forced to tag together against Test and Ken Shamrock. The match, however, is really a set-up; Mick Foley runs in and causes the DQ before the match gets too long, and the three beat into unconsciousness. Austin is of no help, as The Undertaker comes out and blasts Austin with a chair, splitting him wide open. ‘Taker tears and pulls at the wound, creating a massive gash; ‘Taker dabs his hand in Austin’s blood and wipes it on his own cheek like war-paint, leering with Satanic fury. When the aggressors leave the scene, the tableau is gruesome enough to call out the medics. The unmitigated attacks are enough to prompt Linda McMahon to sign two matches for the upcoming St. Valentine’s Day Massacre event: Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker in a First Blood match for the World Title shot at WrestleMania, and The Rock vs. Mick Foley for the WWF Title.

Equally distasteful is a deal offered to Kane by the Corporation: do our work and we’ll keep you out of the asylum. And, in the spirit of generosity, they give him a week to think about it.

The next episode of Raw, the final show before SVDM, gives viewers a preview of the main events, with The Rock and Steve Austin once again teaming up, this time with Triple H and X-Pac, against the equally unlikely team of Mick Foley, Bossman, Ken Shamrock and The Undertaker, along with Kane’s decision.

But before either can happen, The Rock comes out, looking stern and determined. “The Rock has been thinking all day and all night for two weeks, Mick Foley. For two weeks!, The Rock hasn’t gotten a bit of his beauty sleep, and you know how The Rock needs his beauty sleep.” The Rock paces back and forth in the ring, the championship belt dragging on the ground in one hand. “See, Mick Foley, The Rock has it up to here with your jabroni buddies and the Corporation, with Vince McMahon and his asshole son, with your Aunt Bertha, your cousin Floyd, your barber, your pet rock and everybody else you keep putting in The Rock’s way!” The crowd blows up; The Rock regards his people with a raised eyebrow. “The Rock isn’t out here asking, no, no, no! The Rock is out here telling you that beating you just isn’t enough! Pinning you, no, it just isn’t enough for The Great One! The Rock has had it up to The People’s Eyebrow with your roody-poo candy-ass! The Rock says no more, Mick Foley … The Rock says … Last Man Standing, Mick Foley. Don’t waste time thinking about it, or talking to Vince about it … probably can’t get your lips unglued from his ass anyway, ya perverted piece of monkey crap! No, don’t waste time, get your ass out here and give The Rock the answer he wants!”

But instead of Mick Foley, three words fill the arena: “Are you ready?”, signaling D-Generation X. Triple H comes to the ring, limping slightly, the scars from his horrific fight with Mick Foley still visible on his forehead. The Rock eyes him carefully, not confused, but obviously put off. “The Rock called out a doughy, stupid piece of crap,” Rocky says. “And, as much as The Rock can see, you’re not doughy.”

The crowd gives this a mixed response, the only kind of response a crowd can give when two beloved favorites stop seeing eye to eye. Triple H produces a microphone, and while he is smiling, there’s about as much humor in it as an autopsy. “Rocky, good ol’ Rocky,” Triple H says. “Boy, a guy gets his ass kicked and sits on a shelf for a few weeks, and suddenly, the whole place goes haywire, eh?” Triple H chuckles, but it doesn’t last long, and suddenly, he’s in Rocky’s face. “Cause last time I remember us meeting, I pinned your ass straight-up and sent you packing, Great One, and your sense of good sportsmanship got me a Rock Bottom. Time before that, I beat you for the Intercontinental Title in a Ladder match. And yet, here we are … I’ve got two wins over you, got you fired in one of them, and somehow, you’re the one with the World Title. You wanna explain that to me, Rocky?”

Rocky smiles, but like Triple H, it has all the warmth of a polar ice shelf. Rock backs away from Triple H and paces back and forth again. “You’re pretty funny, Hunter! You make The Rock laugh, see?” Rock stops still and his smirk vanishes. He lets the moment linger, then says; “No, wait, you don’t, because you’re just a stupid son of a bitch! Cause last time The Rock checked, you were fighting Mick Foley at Royal Rumble! Yeah, Rock was there … watched from the back, saw Mick Foley splatter your candy-ass all over Anaheim! The way The Rock sees it, you had your chance and you blew it! You’re just not good enough to get the job done!”

“Good enough to beat you twice, champ. Way I figure it, when you get done with Foley at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, you and me …” Triple H looks down at the belt, then back up at Rock’s face, locking eyes. “We got unfinished business, Rocky.” The two stare at one another with intensity, and eventually, Triple H backs away, cautiously, his eyes never leaving his long-time nemesis.

The final images of Raw leading into the pay-per-view are of the 8-man tag match quickly disintegrating into madness, with people quickly pairing off into their SVDM opponents. The referee lets the madness continue for only so long before it’s obvious the chaos won’t be reigned in, and he tosses out the match (which had barely even gotten started). So no one notices when Chyna comes out, save the crowd, and observes for a moment. She turns back to the curtain and motions someone to come out, and finally, Kane takes a few hesitant steps forward. She points down to ringside, and he walks down the aisle, but stops in the middle and looks back to Chyna. Behind her, two orderlies have appeared, a straightjacket in hand. Kane reluctantly turns back and heads to the ring, where the Corporation and The Undertaker have been fought back. Kane makes a beeline for X-Pac, grabs him by the throat and chokeslams him. This draws Triple H’s attention, who runs right at Kane and ends up sharing his fate. By the time the show ends, Kane managed to mow down nearly everyone in the ring, save his brother The Undertaker, who bows out of the ring once he notices the carnage his brother is inflicting, and Austin, who ends Kane’s reign of terror with a Stunner. Chyna sees this and books for the safety of the backstage area while Austin glares down The Undertaker from inside the ring.

February 14th, 1999: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

An inter-gender tag match is announced on the weekend shows for the pay-per-view, pitting Triple H and X-Pac against their former D-X friend Chyna and her captive assassin Kane. And the pattern of the match quickly establishes itself, as Chyna refuses to tag in and forces Kane to do all the fighting. Triple H starts things off and makes a valiant effort to thwart the Big Red Machine, but Kane fights him off with all the effort needed to deal with a mosquito. Even Triple H’s speed (what speed he has on Kane, that is) isn’t enough to fell the monster, but rather than move in for the kill, Kane backs off and lets him tag out. This earns Kane a tongue-lashing from Chyna, who even gives Kane a hearty shove. Kane looks as though he’ll fight back, but the more she barks, the more he wilts, and when X-Pac finally charges, Kane catches him with a palm thrust.

Kane’s offense is hesitant but powerful, wearing down the smaller X-Pac with brute force. Many times, Kane has a sure pinfall-after a vicious chokeslam, and another chance from a Tombstone-but both times, he is ordered by his sideline commander Chyna to interrupt the pin. Both times, Kane questions the order (and gets an earful from the referee), but Chyna is insistent: more punishment is the order. Kane continues the punishment, but slowly (much to the irritation of Chyna), letting X-Pac get in the occasional breather … and even the rare bit of offense, although it’s little more than a bee-sting to Kane.

But a desperation spinning kick from X-Pac catches Kane off guard, and X-Pac crawls for the tag. Chyna has to dive in and pull X-Pac away, but stops to harangue Kane on the way back. Again, another tongue lashing, but Kane gives it right back. Chyna gives him a bigger dose of vitriol, and in addition, claps Kane across the head. Kane’s head whips back into place, and the glare is hostile enough to send the normally brave Chyna scurrying into the corner like a scalded dog. Kane looms over her, the screaming audible through the leather mask. He backs off and lets Chyna slink out to the apron, then, when she has her back turned, he slaps her shoulder: a tag. Chyna turns in time to see the ref make the sign for a legal tag, and her eyes go wide with first shock, then horror, as she sees that X-Pac has made the tag to Triple H. Kane gives Chyna a finger, then grabs her by the hair and hauls her in, then drops out of the ring to the floor.

Chyna barely has time to nurse her ass before Triple H is on her, throwing her into the ropes (and discarding the “she’s a girl” notion). Triple H rocks her with a knee to the jaw, and makes her eat canvas with a DDT. The crowd goes nuts when Triple H puts Chyna in the corner and brings in X-Pac to hit the Bronco Buster. The ref (reluctantly), and Kane (willingly), allow the double-teaming, but the ending is academic, and the Pedigree Triple H hits is more for satisfaction than out of necessity. Triple H gives his fallen former friend a crotch-chop as a goodbye kiss; Kane, meanwhile, has vanished from the scene.

The fight for the WrestleMania title shot follows, and no sooner has the bell rung then the match descends into a brutal slugfest. Undertaker’s size and strength is counteracted by Austin’s toughness and sheer determination, but with a chair in his hand, The Undertaker easily takes the advantage. Luckily for Austin, First Blood rules eliminate disqualifications and count-outs, and he is able to counter with a crotch-shot. For ten minutes, both men beat each down, taking turns at weakening the other, and trying to hammer, claw, punch and rend the other wide open and bleeding enough for the referee to end the war. But no matter how hard either man tries, neither man will break.

But the odds slowly start to shift in The Undertaker’s favor, as Corporation members come out one by one to try and help The Undertaker’s cause. It takes everything Austin has to fight them off and keep The Undertaker at bay, although The Undertaker is about as interested in the free help as Austin is in the interference: for The Undertaker, punishing Austin, not aiding Vince McMahon, is his goal, and goes after the added hands with just as much hatred as his opponent has for them.

But the one The Undertaker never sees coming is the one he-and no one-ever suspects: Kane. The Undertaker turns around in time to catch a large wrench to the forehead, and he goes down, his forehead opened up. Kane throws the pipe wrench and is about to leave when the second surprise of the match occurs: the mat rips open and, from beneath the ring rises a massive moving skyscraper, a human-shaped monster that is very familiar: Paul Wight, formerly known as The Giant in WCW. Wight steps up into the ring, seizes Kane by the throat and launches him over the top rope. Meanwhile, Austin has grabbed a chair and blasted Undertaker with a chair, turning the small rivulet of blood coming from his forehead into a full-fledged river. The referee, having been bumped long ago, comes to enough to see The Undertaker’s forehead and calls for the bell. No one notices, save the crowd, as Austin sees Wight and swings. Wight catches the chair and throws it aside, then picks up Austin by the throat, but stops when The Undertaker gets up and glares at Wight. The two giants stare at one another, with Austin held aloft between them. Slowly, Wight sets Austin down and the two stare at one another until Kane comes back in and attacks his brother. Austin kicks Wight in the gut and goes for a Stunner, but Wight shoves him away like a child, and Austin goes tumbling out of the ring. Authorities break up Kane and Undertaker, and Kane is pushed back down the aisle along with Austin, leaving Undertaker and Wight, one in the ring and one outside, cordoned off by officials.

The Rock is introduced first, and he grabs the microphone from the ring announcer before they can introduce his challenger. “The Rock doesn’t care if Mick Foley brings the idiots in the Corporaton, Vince McMahon, his daddy, his daddy’s daddy, the 101st Infantry, whoever you got, it just doesn’t matter, cause The Rock is just that much better! The Rock says Mick Foley is a fat jabroni, always has been and always will be. Mick Foley, you will never-and The Rock means never-have the class The Rock has … the movie-star looks, the most electrifying move in sports entertainment, and you sure as hell won’t have the millions …” The crowd inserts “and millions” in the gap left by The Rock, who picks up right after; “and millions of fans like The People’s Champion. But tonight, The Rock is looking forward to bringing you a special delivery, Mick Foley, a very special gift: your very own grade-A, blue-ribbon-winning, Olympic-class, state-of-the-art, World Champion-caliber ass-kicking right through the door of the Smackdown Hotel!” The crowd blows up, and Rocky lingers, nose in the air, soaking in the praise. “And as for your buddy Vince …” Rocky tears off his sunglasses, his eyes wide and locked on camera; “… and especially for you, Triple H, The Rock wants you to pay very close attention. Cause The Rock is about to lay the smack down like only The Rock can … but The Rock is gonna hold back just a little …” The Rock picks up his left foot, twirling it in the air. “This little bit right here …” He then picks up the other foot; “… and this little bit right here. The Rock is gonna keep these in the holster tonight, cause The Rock wants nothing more then to shine these up real nice … turn these sumbitches sideways … and stick one straight up each of your candy asses!”

Mick Foley comes to the ring, escorted by Vince himself. The Rock is on Foley quicker than a hiccup, throwing a hurricane of punches before whipping him into the ropes. A spinebuster leads to the set-up for The People’s Elbow, but Foley bails and consults with Vince on the outside. When Foley slides back in, Vince gets on the stick and announces that the match has now become a street fight.

A direct kick to the groin swings things in Foley’s favor, and he takes advantage of the new relaxed rules with many an illegal maneuver. These help him set up his unorthodox but high-impact offense, and the flurry is so much that within mere minutes, Foley has hit his double-arm DDT and goes for the cover. But before the ref can even count to two, Vince is barking at Foley to break the count and continue. Foley looks from Vince to his wife, seated in the front row again, her eyes pleading not to give in to Vince’s orders. Foley slowly picks up Rocky and pounds him back into the corner, keeping him still long enough to leave the ring and talk to Vince. The cords in Vince’s neck are taut, his face red and the veins bulged out as he commands his champion to stop just short of murder before he pins Rock. And to emphasize it, Vince shoves the timekeeper out of his seat, steals his chair and the bell, and hands them to Foley. Foley looks at them questioningly, but the look on Vince’s face says it all: do your job. Foley goes back in the ring, dropping the bell and raising the chair over his head … only to be caught off-guard by a sudden burst of energy from The Rock, who almost tears Foley’s head off with a clothesline. Rock grabs the chair and proceeds to plaster Foley’s back and chest with the chair over and over again. From the sidelines, he can hear Collette screaming in horror; Rock looks at her, shrugs, and yells, “It’s him or me, lady,” and wallops Foley one more time, but the barrage gets only two from the ref. When Rock argues with the referee, he doesn’t see Vince slide the hammer for the bell to Foley; but when Rock bends down to pick up Foley, he finds out about it, by getting it right between the eyes. Foley goes for the cover, but gets only two. Vince tells Foley to hold on, and proceeds to toss various implements of from under the ring into it: garbage cans, cookie sheets, a pipe wrench and a shovel, and, for good measure, another chair. One by one, Foley goes through the objects, turning the cookie sheets and cans into heaps of crumpled metal, and breaking the shovel off on Rock’s back. But for all the punishment he heaps on the bloodied Rocky, all Foley can get is two.

Foley sets up the two chairs, unfolded, the seats facing one another in a queer sort of bridge, then whips Rock into the ropes. Rock counters more out of instinct than anything, throwing Foley’s head back into the chairs … but Rock can’t capitalize. The best he can do is get into a slugfest when Foley gets back up, but Vince reaches in from the floor and trips up Rocky, which gives Foley a chance to hit the old Cactus Clothesline, sending both tumbling outside, right in front of Collette. Foley walks over to his wife, all smiles and wanting a hug, but Collette regards him with something closer to hatred than love. When he reaches out, she shrinks away, and he is busy asking why she’s being so cold when Rocky grabs him and slings him backwards into the ring post. Again, and again, and again, Rocky drives Foley’s head into the post; then, he reaches in, grabs a chair and swings, sandwiching Foley’s skull between the two steels. Now busted wide open, Foley crumples, a bloody mess. Rocky then goes about stalking Vince, who backs away, his eyes wide with fright. Rocky bursts out into a run, and chases Vince around the ring, and ends up getting clobbered with a clothesline from Foley when he comes all the way around again. Vince shows his elation by reaching under the ring and presenting Foley with a new toy: the barbed-wire 2×4. Now Foley’s eyes go wide, but with shock and concern. “We have him beat, Vince, we don’t need that,” Foley says, but Vince’s eyes say different. “No, but he needs it, Mick,” Vince says, and thrusts it into Foley’s hands. Foley regards it for a moment, then slides it into the ring, followed by The Rock. Once in, Foley grabs the 2×4 and is about to plunge it into the stomach of the prone Rock when the ref grabs Foley’s arms and stops him. Foley turns and immediately gets in the referee’s face. The ref barks back, but Foley won’t back down, and the two argue until Vince settles the issue by clobbering Mike Chioda in the back of the head. Chioda goes to a knee, and Vince finishes him off with the finisher of his enemy: a Stunner. Chioda goes down, eyes rolled back, and Vince says; “Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered,” right before Foley joins Chioda on the ground. Vince’s eyes go wide again and he looks down; the 2×4 has been driven into Foley’s crotch by The Rock, who is getting back to his feet (albeit a very unsteady stand). This time, Vince can’t escape the grasp of The Rock, and he barely has enough time to call for help when he is being slammed with a Rock Bottom. Rocky tosses Vince out and sets to work on Foley, punching, kicking and using every implement left in the ring that isn’t broken. And when those get old, he goes out and finds a new device to use: a table. Rock slides the table in, but while he is setting it up, Foley manages to get out a ballshot that drops Rock. By now, Vince has stirred enough to pull himself up onto the apron, and barks at Foley to fetch the 2×4 and clobber Rock with it. Foley shakes his head, but Vince yells again. “I want him erased! Do it, or I’ll send you back to that bingo hall hellhole!”

There is no time for moral debates in Foley’s mind-he will deal with the consequences of his actions, and the guilt, later. Right now, he is in a fight for his life. He picks up the 2×4 and runs full-tilt, connecting with Rock’s head. Rock collapses into a heap, and Foley falls on him, forgetting the referee is still down. Vince tells Foley to forget pinning and finish the job, and to that end, he has something that will do the job. Vince reaches under the apron and pulls out a large burlap sack, then gets in the ring and discusses plans with Foley, giving him directions. Foley’s eyes go wide, and when he understands what the plan he, he actually refuses. Vince snaps, slapping Foley broad across the cheeks and screaming at him. Foley can’t contain his shock, but can’t break the spell either, and just takes Vince’s verbal abuse. Even the sound of his wife’s screaming and pleading in the background doesn’t rouse him from his fugue: only the sight of The Rock starting to stir finally gets Foley to move-first, another a few kicks to The Rock to keep him incapacitated, and then to help Vince. They move the table cutting one of the corners. Then, while Foley gets The Rock and props him up on the turnbuckle, Vince spills the contents of the bag-hundreds and hundreds of thumbtacks-onto the table. Vince backs away while Foley sets up the back suplex that will surely kill Rock’s career. But Rock has enough presence of mind to swing his elbows, connecting with Foley’s head, and, after the third one, Foley flies backwards, right into his own trap. Vince gasps with the crowd, seeing his master stroke of eliminating The Rock going up in smoke as Foley rolls on the ground, the thumbtacks puncturing holes in Foley’s body. Thinking quickly, Vince grabs the 2×4 and, as The Rock gets down and stumbles over, drives it into Rock’s gut. Rocky falls, and when Foley rolls on top of him, Vince drops down and issues his own, and very fast, three-count to give Foley the WWF Championship again. Both men are in too much pain to notice the end of the match, and the pay-per-view ends with medics attending to both men as Vince escorts Foley out of the arena, the WWF Championship once again under his control … and, from a distance, the ire of Collette, watching her husband be led away again by the devil himself.

To be concluded …

Yup, it’s still not done. But guess what? You’ll only have to wait a week for the exciting conclusion! Why? Because I already have part of it in the can! Woohoo!

Will Cooling pimped me a few weeks back and called me one of the three “miracles” of the wrestling section on Pulse. I’ve been called cool, great, amazing, better than John Grisham and a genius (better than Grisham is my favorite, since I think Grisham is an overrated hack) … but a miracle? I’m not sure how to respond to praise like that. Thanks are definitely in order, though.

Eric S forgot my pimps the last two times I posted here, but I’ll give him this one more shot. He’s a busy guy. I dig, I am too. So I should cut slack, right?

And, as normal, the cadre of friends who have no columns, but get pimped anyway-this week, Kurtis and Bonto (sorry I couldn’t take the “bail out now” option, guys … wish I could’ve, too) both get props, and a congrats to Gohan and his girl.

One week is all you gotta wait for slightly-shorter-than-normal-but-still-as-exciting concluding chapter to this exciting saga. Will Mick Foley’s conscience get the better of him? What kind of impact will Paul Wight have on WrestleMania? And what of Triple H, Kane, The Rock, and Stone Cold? One week for the answers …

And beyond that, a very special RTB … let me rephrase that … a very EXTREME RTB … how’s that for a teaser?