WWE Jukebox: January 2005 (part 1)

Finally, I managed to get this taken care of! I’ve been doing this piece by piece for the last month when I could, often pre-occupied with other recaps because I was running out of drive space. But it’s here, it’s completed, so let’s just get into it, shall we?

SERGEANT SLAUGHTER (with General Adnan) vs. THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR (for the WWF world heavyweight title)
January 19, 1991

WWE Preview: Ultimate Warrior came into the Royal Rumble as the WWE Champion and had to defend his title against the American turncoat and Iraqi sumpathizer, Sgt. Slaughter. The Macho King also made an appearance in the match, but did it lead to a new WWE Champion?

Slaughter is fresh of his Iraqi heel turn, wearing boots given to him from Saddam Hussein himself apparently. The Warrior is no different than he ever was here, since he’s been continually insane for years. We don’t see the pre-match stuff, where Savage wants a promise of a title shot down the road, but Warrior refuses to grant him such a request. Warrior knocks both Adnan and Slaughter out of the ring, and rips up the Iraqi flag. He shoves the flag down Slaughter’s throat, and delivers a high knee. Warrior chokes Slaughter out with the flag, and backdrops him across the ring. A whip to the corner levels Slaughter, and Warrior starts to do his dance. Another whip sends Slaughter to the floor. SHERRI MARTEL bounces down to watch for some reason. Warrior hits a pair of shoulderblocks, but Sherri trips Warrior up on a third attempt. He chases her back to the locker room, but RANDY SAVAGE attacks Warrior in the aisle out of nowhere!!! He throws Warrior into the guardrail, and absolutely kills him with some plundah! Slaughter begs the referee not to count out Warrior, and keeps breaking it up with distractions. Warrior slowly crawls back to the ring while the fans chant “USA!” Slaughter rolls Warrior back in before the referee can properly count, and kicks at the midsection. Slaughter pounds at Warrior’s back, gives him a backbreaker, and spits on the fallen champion. The heat here is something else… Slaughter sends Warrior face first to his boot in the corner. Warrior comes back with a clothesline, but Slaughter recovers and puts on a bearhug. They work that for about 2 minutes before Warrior hulks up and escapes. Slaughter goes right to some elbows to the back of Warrior, hits a backbreaker, and stomps away. Slaughter applies the camel clutch, but Warrior’s feet are under the ropes. It takes the referee nearly a minute to notice, because he’s an idiot. Slaughter argues the call, but Warrior’s hulking up again. He hits his running clotheslines, follows with a flying shoulderblock – but here comes Sherri again!!! She screams at Warrior, so he drags her into the ring. He goes for a gorilla press, but now Savage is in the aisle, and he catcher her on the way out! Slaughter sees a chance, and hits Warrior with a high knee. He distracts the referee, Savage cracks Warrior with his scepter, and Slaughter scores the MAJOR upset pin at 12:46! **1/4 The fans break out in a “HOGAN” chant, I guess because our hero ALWAYS saves the day – but Warrior’s happier to run to the back to look for Savage. Slaughter poses with his belt, and the fans are NOT at all impressed. This would be the equivalent of Hassan pinning Triple H for the title tomorrow night, completely out of the blue, and going on to headline Wrestlemania. And they wonder why they couldn’t sell out the LA Coliseum…

SHAWN MICHAELS vs. MARTY JANNETTY (for the WWF intercontinental title)
January 24, 1993

WWE Preview: The two former Rockers locked up at the Royal Rumble to settle their differences once and for all. HBK’s Intercontinental Championship was on the line and all of the speculation was around which corner Sensational Sherri would wind up in. Could Michaels hang on to the belt? And who did Sherri walk out with?

As mentioned by the preview, SHERRI MARTEL is at ringside, in nobody’s corner in particular. Shawn talks shit to Jannetty to start, and gets belted. A faceplant takes Michaels down, and Jannetty pounds away. Marty hits a running kneelift that sends Shawn sprawling to the outside. Back in, Jannetty promptly clotheslines Michaels back out. Michaels stalls, so Jannetty flies out with tope suicida!! Michaels comes back by using Marty as a battering ram, running him right into the ring post! Never one to take it easy, Michaels does it again. Jannetty’s shoulder is pretty much f*cked now, and Shawn goes to town. Back in, Michaels hits a shoulderbreaker, and pounds away at the injury. Jannetty heads up the aisle to safety, but Michaels follows and slams him on the ramp. Marty slowly heads back in, and Shawn continues to pound on the shoulder. Michaels hits a double sledge off the top rope, hiptosses Jannetty, and applies an armbar. After about 45 seconds, Michaels releases the hold, and hits an armbar takedown. Michaels tries a set of armwringers, but Jannetty starts throwing punches, so Michaels rakes the eyes. Quick slam, and Michaels heads up. Shawn leaps…right into Jannetty’s foot! Marty hits a back elbow, and dodges a blind charge. Michaels crashes shoulder first into the ringpost, and both guys collapse. We take a look at the crowd, which Monsoon announces is jam packed to the rafters. If true, they’re in serious violation of the fire code. Michaels dumps Jannetty to the outside with a clothesline. Jannetty gets back to the apron and Shawn goes to suplex him back in…only Marty blocks, and then suplexes Michaels out! For some reason, Sherri slaps Shawn, and Heenan FLIPS! Back in, Jannetty hits a backdrop suplex for 2! Jannetty sends Michaels back to the floor again, and rams Shawn face first to the ringsteps. Back in, Jannetty nails a powerslam and heads upstairs! He fakes a leap, Shawn moves…and Marty hits a DDT instead for 2! The fans thought that was it. Shawn goes for Sweet Chin Music, but Jannetty ducks and hits one of his own…for 2! Michaels tries a sunset flip, but Marty sits down for 2. Michaels takes a slingshot right into a rollup for 2! The fans are going nuts here. They brawl, and the ref accidentally takes an elbow from Michaels. Sherri gets in while Jannetty holds Michaels hostage, but Shawn ducks, and she hits Jannetty! Michaels berates her, and Sherri bursts into tears. He stops, hits Sweet Chin Music on Jannetty, and wins at 14:22. ***3/4 Sherri runs up the aisle towards the back, and Michaels is right behind. She runs into a room with MEAN GENE, who tells her to shut up because she’s hysterical. Now THAT’S funny. Michaels enters the room, and Jannetty’s there as well – jumping right on Shawn’s back! And our clip comes to an end…

1-2-3 KID and BOB HOLLY vs. BAM BAM BIGELOW and TATANKA (with Ted DiBiase) (for the WWF world tag-team titles)
January 22, 1995

WWE Preview: This match was the finals of the World Tag Team Championship tournament. The 1-2-3 Kid, who would later go on to be known as X-Pac, and Bob Holly, now commonly known as Hardcore Holly, were the Cinderella story of the tournament, but were they able to go all the way and score another upset and defeat Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka?

The Kid and Holly were supposedly the upset Cinderella team of the tournament here, but considering the teams they beat to get to the finals (Well Dunn and the Heavenly Bodies), it should really come as no surprise. I’m far more impressed with Bigelow and Tatanka who had to overcome MOM and the Headshrinkers, but that’s me. Holly and Tatanka start. Tatanka throws him around a bit and pounds at Bob’s neck. Holly tries to get on the offense, but runs into a side slam. Tatanka tries a second one, but Holly snaps off rana, and throws 3 dropkicks. Bam Bam comes in, and runs right into a rough drop toe hold. The Kid gets the tag, and Bigelow kills them both with a double clothesline. The Kid is launched across the ring with a hiptoss, but when he goes for a powerbomb, the Kid hits a rana!!!! It actually looks believable too, which is NOT easy to do with a man the size of Bam Bam! Tatanka tags in, and whips the Kid hard to the buckle. Bigelow comes back in, and slams the Kid face first to the mat. A vertical suplex plants the Kid, but somehow, he musters up the strength to dump Bigelow to the floor! Tatanka attacks, so the Kid dropkicks Tatanka into Bigelow! Holly and the Kid try crossbody blocks…but both guys get caught. They both slip off the backs of their opponents, and shove Bigelow and Tatanka into one another, allowing Bob to get a 2. Holly works over Tatanka with clotheslines, but on a bounce off the ropes, Bigelow pulls down the ropes, and Holly crashes to the floor. Bam Bam gets in a few shots, and rolls Bob back in to Tatanka. Tatanka starts throwing clotheslines again, because apparently these guys don’t know how to do ANYTHING ELSE. He slams Bob a few times, and gets a 2. Bigelow comes in to hold Bob hostage for a top rope tomahawk chop, but Holly escapes, and Tatanka hits Bam Bam! It doesn’t matter, because seconds later Bigelow gives Holly an avalanche, and dumps him to the outside. He heads back in with a sunset flip attempt, but Bigelow hooks the ropes and sits right down on Bob! A spinning heel kick gets 2. Holly crawls for a tag, but goes to the wrong corner and tags Tatanka. That’s kind of funny. Both guys beat down Bob. Tatanka hits a gutwrench slam, and follows with a clothesline. Bob tries to get in a tag, but has no idea where he is, so he starts throwing haymakers at Tatanka. That flurry is stopped with a thumb to the eye. Both guys get the same idea to go for a crossbody, and hit eachother. Bob sees his chance to make a tag, and tries to figure out where he is in the ring. He gets there, and Kid immediately hits Bam Bam with a spinning heel kick. He connects with the missile dropkick, and then turns his attention to Tatanka on the outside, hitting a slingshot tope con hilo! Bigelow then takes a top rope crossbody for 2! Holly gets a burst of energy to give Tatanka a nice dropkick. Bigelow, meanwhile, has caught the Kid and gives him a gorilla press to the outside!!! Tatanka rolls him in, Bigelow goes to finish with a moonsault…but Tatanka then tries something off the ropes, and accidentally knocks Bam Bam off the ropes! Bob knocks Tatanka to the outside, leaving Bigelow and the Kid alone. Kid slowly rolls over, drapes an arm, and scores the win and the titles at 15:47! **1/4 Vince suddenly decides that if these guys can win the tag-team titles, that San Diego is a shoe-in to win the Superbowl…and we all know how that went. They’d lose the titles the next night on RAW to the Smoking Gunns, who were absent from the tourney due to a “rodeo accident”. Not shown is Bigelow’s fight with LT after the match.

GOLDBERG vs. SCOTT HALL (in a ladder match)
January 17, 1999

WWE Preview: Scott Hall, along with Shawn Michaels, made the Ladder Match famous at WrestleMania X. But at WCW’s Souled Out in 1999 he faced Goldberg in the very same match he helped make famous. Would the results be the same as at WrestleMania X?

This match was booked with a tazer on top of the ladder, because at Starrcade, Hall helped end Goldberg’s winning stream by zapping him with one, allowing Kevin Nash to pin him. Hall shoves Goldberg for his own amusement, but Goldberg shoves him back about 18 times harder, knocking Hall to his ass. Hall goes for a headlock, but he’s easily shoved off, and knocked down with a shoulderblock. Hall pokes Goldberg in the eyes, and peppers him with shots – but Goldberg fires back with one punch that knocks Hall right down. WCW Goldberg would have killed Steve Austin. Goldberg slams Hall, favors his knee a little, and Hall attacks it. Goldberg doesn’t care, fights off the pain, and bodyslams Hall. Hall comes back with some shots to Goldberg’s leg, and drops a leg. Outside, Hall wraps Goldberg’s leg around the ringpost, and when Goldberg falls to the outside, his leg clips the steps. Hall grabs the ladder, but Goldberg’s on him. Hall trips up Goldberg leg first on the ladder, but Goldberg no sells the pain and slams Hall face first from guardrail to guardrail. Goldberg brings the ladder to the ring, but Hall baseball slide dropkicks it into him. Hall throws Goldberg to the ringsteps, throws the ladder into the ring, and then rolls Goldberg in as well. Hall chokes out Goldberg in the ropes, and sets up the ladder. Hall heads halfway up, but opts to stop and drop an elbow across Goldberg! Hall heads up again, but Goldberg’s up, and gives Scott a backdrop suplex off of it! Still, Hall is up first, and grabs the ladder as a weapon to drive it in to Goldberg’s midsection. It’s then slammed into Goldberg’s back, and Hall is content to start climbing again now. Hall gets close, but Goldberg is up – and he shoves Hall off, causing him to hit the ropes and snap back! Hall decides to use the ladder as a weapon again, but Goldberg sidesteps and clotheslines Scotty. The ladder is put up in the corner, out of the way, but Goldberg whips Hall into it! Goldberg grabs it, and starts driving it into Hall over and over with some fairly stiff shots. With Hall good and dead, Goldberg starts to climb the ladder, but he can’t go too quickly with the bad leg. Hall dropkicks the ladder, and Goldberg falls on his bad leg. Hall shoves the ladder into Goldberg, and then kicks the big man in the face. Hall heads up once again, but Goldberg pushes the ladder over, and Hall gets crotched over the top rope! Goldberg tries to climb…but he can’t climb properly with his bad leg, and here comes DISCO INFERNO! Disco shoves Goldberg off, and Goldberg falls face first into the buckle, and it snaps back viciously! Hall thanks Disco for the help, climbs up, and grabs the tazer. All he has to do now is use it, and he wins. Goldberg avoids a pair of tazer shots, and superkicks Scott in the face!!!! The tazer falls to the outside of the ring, and Goldberg grabs it! Hall knows he’s a dead man, but it’s DISCO who takes the first shot!!! Back in, Hall begs off – but Goldberg is HARDLY a man of mercy. He throws the tazer to Hall, who goes to grab it, but Goldberg spears Hall!!!!!!! That’s followed with a Jackhammer, and Goldberg stuns him with the tazer to win at 17:42. ***1/4 for not dicking around with spots and other stuff, focusing on the idea of grabbing the gun, and using it. BAM BAM BIGELOW heads out afterwards, and attacks Goldberg. He beats him down, and Hall grabs the tazer!!! Bigelow and Goldberg take turns taking stun shots – and we fade.

THE ROYAL RUMBLE
January 22, 1995

WWE Preview: Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog entered the 1995 Royal Rumble as the first two participants and the two outlasted 28 other men to be the final two as well. But which WWE Superstar would come out on top and earn a shot at the WWE Championship?

This is perhaps the second stupidest Royal Rumble the federation held, option to go 60 second intervals to justify someone going the distance. The stupidest of course was the Rumble featuring McMahon and Austin disappearing for 45 minutes, only to return as the final 2. PAMELA ANDERSON is introduced as the person who will escort the winner to the ring at Wrestlemania, flanked by MCMAHON’S STOOGES. Lawler tries to convince everyone he’s going out for dinner with Pamela after the show. SHAWN MICHAELS draws #1, and THE BRITISH BULLDOG is #2. Michaels attacks before the bell, but winds up getting backdropped. Bulldog gorilla presses Michaels, and clotheslines him out of his boots. A whip to the corner nearly sends Michaels out, but he hangs on, while Vince yells about this fastest Royal Rumble ever. Ugh. ELI BLUE is #3. Nothing will liven up a show quite like the Harris Brothers. Bulldog and Blue double team Michaels, and we’ve already got #4 DUKE DROESE on his way out. It scares me that you can HEAR in Vince’s voice that he thinks these gimmicks are brilliant. “If anyone can take out the trash, it’s Duke Droese!” He slams Michaels, and locks him in a bearhug. Eli works over Bulldog. #5 is JIMMY DEL RAY. Jimmy and Michaels work over Droese with punches. Already, we’ve got THE BARBARIAN being escorted by AFA THE WILD SAMOAN and CAPTAIN LOU ALBANO at #6. Del Ray is tossed at 4:33 to little fanfare. Barbarian headbutts Eli, and #7 is DR. TOM PRITCHARD. Barbarian tries to gorilla press Michaels to the outside, but he slips away. Eli works over Dr. Tom. DOINK THE CLOWN with DINK is #8, to a loud pop for some reason. Not much happens here. I do laugh at Duke lying back, doing little. KWANG is #9, and I’m lost as to how he lasted as long as he did. 4 guys work over Bulldog, but Michaels breaks that up. Bulldog thanks him by attacking. RICK MARTEL is #10, and we’re only 8 minutes into this thing. This is retarded. Kwang tries to dump Michaels, but that’s not happening. Bulldog gets double teamed by Dr. Tom and Barbarian. #11 is OWEN HART, but BRET HART attacks him in the aisle in revenge for the interference in his title match with Diesel earlier. He’s left lying, and Bret leaves to a loud pop. TIMOTHY WELL is #12, and Owen’s rolled in and immediately dumped at 10:13. Duke follows at 10:19. Well says goodnight, courtesy of Bulldog at 10:33. Barbarian backdrops Martel over and out at 10:36. Pritchard is sent home by Michaels at 10:38. Doink goes via superkick from Kwang at 11:01. BUSHWHACKER LUKE draws #13 while Barbarian and Kwang end eachother’s nights at 11:09. Michaels tosses Luke at 11:26, and we’re back to the two we started with. Michaels drops a knee on Bulldog a few times, goes for a suplex, but has it reversed! JACOB BLUE is #14, and he clotheslines Michaels. He’s backdropped out at 12:26. Bulldog tries to dump Michaels, but he continues to dangle on somehow – and we welcome #15 KING KONG BUNDY. Bundy goes after Bulldog, but can’t get him over. Michaels opts to go after the big guy to no avail. #16 is MO. He’s gone via Bundy as soon as he enters at 14:10. Bulldog tries to powerslam Bundy, but that’s just not gonna happen. Michaels smartly stays out of it. MABEL is #17. He goes after Bundy, and they get into a shoving match. Mabel tries to dump Bundy while we welcome #18 BUSHWHACKER BUTCH. Lawler: “I’ll get my stopwatch out!” Bundy leaves at 16:20. Butch is sent home by Michaels at 16:33. LEX LUGER is #19, and goes after Mabel. He takes him out FAR too easily at 17:18. Michaels is clotheslined and slammed. Lawler predicts Luger’s gonna win. #20 is MANTAUR, and he goes after Bulldog. Michaels gives Luger a double axehandle. Mantaur hiptosses Bulldog. ALDO MONTOYA, the Portugese Man Of War is #21. Shawn works over Aldo. HENRY O. GODWINN is #22. Not a whole helluva lot is going on here, and the ring is slowly cluttering up with crap again. Drawing the lucky #23 spot is BILLY GUNN, but don’t expect him to do much with it. BART GUNN is #24. There is absolutely nothing going on right now, which is stupid since the whole reasoning for the sped up intervals was to keep the action going. BOB BACKLUND is #25, and draws some excellent heat. However, before he gets in, Bret attacks him as well! He has to be physically restrained, because he’s not going easy on old Bob. STEVEN DUNN with HARVEY WIPPLEMAN is #26. Luger takes out Bob at 24:18, and the fans are thrilled. Backlund and Hart go right back at it in the aisle. DICK MURDOCH for whatever reason joins us at #27. He takes out a few guys, surprisingly enough. #28 is ADAM BOMB, drawing a sweet number for the second straight year. Mantaur splashes Luger and tries to throw him out. Meanwhile, Henry has Michaels on the edge. FATU with Albano and crew is #29. He nearly dumps Billy Gunn, but he hangs on. Mantaur is tossed at 27:43 by Luger. And we get #30 in CRUSH. I can’t believe we’re already through everyone before the 30 minute mark. The Gunns are dumped at 28:31 simultaneously. Aldo actually sends someone home, in the form of Dunn at 28:40. Fatu headbutts Michaels a lot, while Crush and Adam Bomb pair off. Lawler: “Shawn Michaels and Crush, that’s my pick! And Lex Luger!!!” Vince: “Make up your mind, only one man can win.” Lawler: “Well last year, two won!” Vince: “And that was the first time that ever happened, and I would suggest the only time that’ll ever happen.” And he certainly made sure of THAT this year, didn’t he? We’ll have a winner, no matter how many quads Vince has to blow out to do it! Murdoch comes dangerously close to spelling the end of Micheals, but Luger saves for some reason. Murdoch and Fatu get into a headbutting contest, which is quite funny. Adam Bomb is dumped by Crush at 31:51. Fatu and Crush pair off – with Fatu winning that with a superkick. Aldo is dumped via Murdoch at 32:29, and he tries to follow with Michaels. Shawn somehow continues to hang on, and Luger saves again. Crush turns Fatu inside out with a clothesline, and sends him packing at 32:55. Murdoch dropkicks Godwinn, and gives him an airplane spin. Somehow, Godwinn falls over, but only sends Murdoch at 33:36, and hangs on himself! Luger pulls Godwinn back in, which proves to be stupid because he gets double teamed by Henry and Michaels. Bulldog tries to send Crush home, can’t do it. Luger clotheslines Henry, and backdrops him out at 34:48. Crush and Michaels double team Luger. Michaels ensures that Bulldog won’t get up by throwing a series of cheapshots. Luger fights off Crush and Shawn. Lex STUPIDLY goes for the 10-punch count-a-long, and Michaels easily throws him over from that position at 36:02. Michaels tries to make a deal with Crush, and they agree to go down to the final 2. They hit a double clothesline on Bulldog, but Crush turns on Shawn and goes for a gorilla press! Michael slips away, and Bulldog clotheslines Crush out at 37:18!!! We’re down to #1 and #2. Michaels rakes the eyes, but Bulldog throws a high knee. Michaels is kicked around in the corner, and then crotched over the ropes!!! A clothesline sends Shawn out – and Bulldog is declared the winner…but Michaels is still dangling on the bottom rope, having never touched the floor. Michaels rushes back in and dumps Bulldog at 38:33 to win for real, because only one of Shawn’s feet hit the floor. **1/2 For the EASIEST match of the year to book, this one was terrible. The lunacy of 60-second intervals was never repeated, and will likely never be repeated.

TAZZ vs. SHANE DOUGLAS (with Francine) (for the ECW world heavyweight title)
January 10, 1999

WWE Preview: After nearly three years, Tazz finally got his shot at the ECW Championship. This match also featured an appearance by Sabu and interference from Chris Candido and Tammy Sytch. Would Tazz be able to lock in his Tazzmission and make Douglas tap to become the King of Extreme?

Oh boy, my least favorite wrestler! Francine rubs his ass during ring intros. Tazz gives Douglas the double bird, and we’re off! Styles, never short on hyperbole, calls this the most important world title match in ECW history. They trade wrestling holds off the getgo, with Tazz reversing pretty much everything Douglas throws at him. Douglas sneaks in a rollup and gets 2. Tazz works a hammerlock, and actually nearly gets a pin while working it on the mat. We get our first Tazzplex, and Douglas rolls off the momentum to the floor! Tazz: “I want him in the ring!” Francine yammers on like a small Chihuahua dog. Back in, Douglas powers Tazz to the corner, and chokes him out. Fans: “SHOW YOUR TITS!” I guess they’re referring to Tazz since Douglas is already topless. Tazz throws a clothesline, and Douglas bails again. This time, Tazz follows, and we’ve got a brawl on the floor. Douglas whips Tazz to the guardrail, and he falls into the first row of fans. Shane follows him in with a springboard Thesz press! They head right out into the sea of fans. Tazz drags Douglas into the second tier of seats. Both guys get busted open from chairshots in here, and continue their hairpulling through the crowd. Well, if you like two guys holding eachother by the back of the head and walking around through people, this is for you! Tazz suplexes Douglas over a railing, onto a wooden platform to a loud pop. Styles calls this epic! More boring “brawling”. Finally the pair wind up back at ringside, and Douglas gets a table. It’s propped up in the corner, and Styles said that the table has made Douglas STRONGER, like the wood is spinach to his Popeye. Back in, the duo trade punches, and when Tazz starts winning that fight, Douglas whips him through the table for 2. Douglas hits a necksnap, in inverted Hennig fashion – and grabs another table. That’s thrown in the ring, and setup in the corner once again. Douglas goes for a second whip, but Tazz blocks – and a Tazzplex shatters it. It only gets 2…and the lights go out. A *huge* amount of pyro goes off – and SABU suddenly runs in, clotheslining both guys! Tazz eats a chairshot! Douglas a baseball slide dropkick! The ring is cleared of both men, and Sabu follows them out with a triple jump moonsault to the floor! He puts Douglas on a table, and drops a leg through the table. Back in, Sabu whips a chair at Tazz’s head, then splashes HIM through a table as well. Sabu leaves, Douglas slowly climbs in…and gets 2 on Tazz! Douglas starts flashing the sign of the Triple Threat for some reason, and even Francine is confused. However, TAMMY SYTCH gets in the ring now, and CHRIS CANDIDO is behind. Francine and Sytch get into it – with the guys having to keep the women separated. Candido pops Douglas in the mouth, Tazz hits a Tazzplex, and Candido throws away his Triple Threat t-shirt. Douglas is in total disbelief, and doesn’t even see the Tazzmission coming. Douglas tries everything to escape, but Tazz holds on, and Douglas passes out at 18:34. 1/4* This was nothing but a garbage brawl, and a really shitty one at that. The clip quickly ends before we get a celebration or anything.

KURT ANGLE (with Team Angle) vs. CHRIS BENOIT (for the WWE title)
January 19, 2003

WWE Preview: Kurt Angle defended his WWE Championship against Chris Benoit and the two Superstars put on a wrestling clinic for all to see. At the end of the match Chris Benoit got a standing ovation, but did he reign victorious in the match?

Been here, done that… My Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story covered this match back in September, so we’re getting a copy and paste job here. Nevertheless, enjoy!

This is the infamous Royal Rumble match that won pretty much all the Match Of The Year awards last year. I was pretty deflated having had high hopes for Steiner one match earlier and seeing him get booed out of the building (much like Wrestlemania with Brock vs. Goldberg this year) so I wasn’t as in to this as I should have been – though future viewings have been very pleasant. Haas and Benjamin keep Benoit away from their fearless leader before A BUNCH OF REFEREES throw them out of the building. Benoit takes down Kurt with a shoulder block to start, and Kurt scurries out of the ring. He gets back in and gets a sleeper applied – but Chris fights out of it, and goes for the Sharpshooter. Angle squirms to the ropes, has the hold broken – and throws Benoit shoulder first to the ring post. Benoit chops his way back into the fight, and clotheslines Angle from behind for 2. Angle comes back with a hotshot draping Benoit over the top – but can’t capitalize and takes a jawbreaker. They fight on the apron, and Benoit DDTs Kurt on the apron – busting his nose and mouth wide open immediately!!! That’s beyond cool. It gets 2. Benoit heads up to finish the match – but Angle rolls away from the flying headbutt. Angle goes for an Olympic slam, but it’s reversed in mid-air and Benoit applies the Sharpshooter! Angle escapes, but Benoit follows with a belly to back immediately. Kurt comes back with an overhead belly to belly suplex, and tosses Benoit to the floor. They fight back in, and a short arm clothesline gets 2 for Kurt. That’s followed with a rear naked choke – and Benoit’s got nowhere to go. Angle lets go – allowing Benoit to his feet and walk right into a belly to belly. That’s followed by a belly to back suplex, and Kurt gets 2. Back to the rear naked choke, where Benoit calls for support from the fans. They give it, and he gets to his feet. Off the ropes Benoit goes – and they hit dual clotheslines! They both get up at 9. Benoit lays in the punches, and takes down Kurt. Benoit hits 2 rolling Germans – but the third is blocked, and Kurt hits one! Benoit reverses his attempt at a rolling German, and hits his third. Thumb to the throat, spit on Kurt, and Chris heads up! Kurt’s playing possum though, and catches Benoit on the top, hiptossing him back in for 2. The Olympic slam is blocked and turned into the Crossface in mid-air!!! Kurt slowly crawls to the ropes…and makes it! Benoit pulls Kurt back to the center of the ring, and puts on the anklelock! Kurt reverses that, and turns it into his version of the anklelock! Benoit reaches up with his leg, and pulls Kurt down to the mat – applying the Crossface again! Kurt escapes that by leaning back and schoolboying Benoit for 2! Benoit goes right back to the Crossface – however Angle powers to his feet and hits the Olympic slam…ONLY for 2!!!! Angle drops the straps – and here comes the anklelock again! Benoit rolls through the hold, goes for a German which is blocked – and Angle tries one. Benoit spins in midair, rolls Angle up and gets 2! Benoit hits a German this time, but a switch allows Angle to hit one off the roll! They stand, and Benoit does another switch hitting the German, dropping Angle on his head! Benoit goes up…and HITS the diving headbutt RIGHT across the ring!!!! He covers…for 2!!! Benoit tries the Crossface once again, but again reversed – and Angle hits an overhead alleyoop RIGHT to the corner turnbuckle, and follows with an Olympic slam!!!!!! The crowd counts along…again ONLY for 2!!!! The fans are already giving them a standing ovation as Benoit applies the Crossface DEAD CENTRE of the ring! Angle SOMEHOW manages to power out, roll through, and apply the anklelock! Benoit tries to reverse – but can’t get Kurt to break it this time despite 4 or 5 REALLY close breaks…and HAS to tap at 19:48!!!! ***** There was probably a dozen false finishes in the last couple of minutes alone – and the hot crowd counting along with every fall completely seals it.

BROCK LESNAR vs. THE BIG SHOW (with Paul Heyman) (for a spot in the royal rumble)
January 19, 2003

WWE Preview: Brock Lesnar and Big Show fought in many classics over the years, but this one opened the 2003 Royal Rumble. The two Superstars traded crushing blow after crushing blow. In the end was Lesnar able to get the Big Show up in the F5 or did the Chokeslam reign supreme?

This is the second match between Lesnar and Show, which, once again for the record, was the GREATEST FEUD EVER. It was so nice to see Show so damn motivated during this time period. They lock up, and Show shoves Lesnar back to the buckle. “LET’S GO LESNAR!!!” The heat here is insane. Lesnar barrels Show into the corner, but with one hand, Show shoves him off. Lesnar isn’t letting that get to him though, and drives his shoulder into Show repeatedly. Seconds later, we’re treated to AN OVERHEAD BELLY TO BELLY on the Big Show!!!! You want more? You got more!!! A second one rocks the ring! Heyman is praying at ring side. Lesnar goes for #3, but Show grabs Lesnar by the neck, and tosses Lesnar to the outside, who takes a mansized bump off the apron before crashing to the floor! Back in, Show delivers the elbows to Lesnar’s head, and stomps away in the corner. Lesnar stands, and eats the giant chops! Show hiptosses Lesnar across the ring, but misses an avalanche, and takes a German suplex!!! That gets 2! Heyman gets onto the apron, Lesnar swings, but misses. The distraction is enough for Show to boot Lesnar in the face! He follows with a sidewalk slam, and calls for the chokeslam to a loud chorus of boos. Lesnar blocks with an armdrag into a pin for 2! That’s followed with his third overhead belly to belly – and when Heyman winds up on the apron, Lesnar drags him in this time!!! He goes for the F5, but Show stops it, and hits the chokeslam!!!! He covers…but Lesnar kicks out at 2!!! Show rages, and pulls down the straps! He goes for a second chokeslam, but Lesnar escapes, and hits an F5!!! I never get tired of seeing that! Brock scores the pinfall with ease seconds later at 6:30! ***3/4 I don’t care if anyone disagrees with the rating, because anyone who can throw around Show like a ragdoll deserves it!

CHRIS BENOIT vs. SID (for the WCW world heavyweight title)
January 16, 2000

WWE Preview: Just before Chris Benoit came to WWE he had a WCW Championship match against Sid. The match was so intense that the entire locker room emptied out to watch on. The Rabid Wolverine locked on the Crippler Crossface, but would he be able to make Sid tap? Be sure to catch the controversial ending to this infamous match.

Once again we turn back to The Chris Benoit Story for our recap here, since this was covered on the DVD…

Oh what a messy mess THIS was. For starters, this wasn’t even remotely close to what the Souled Out main event had been booked as. At Starrcade, Bret Hart and Goldberg went at it. Roddy Piper was paid off by the Powers That Be (AKA Vince Russo’s hand) to screw over Goldberg in Hart’s favor. Bret denied knowing anything about it, but the following night in a rematch the nWo reformed helping Hart retain the belt again. So we were set for Goldberg vs. Hart in their fourth singles match in 3 months at Souled Out. Only, one night when chasing the nWo around the building Goldberg got legitimately pissed off with Scott Hall’s antics and took out his frustrations on a limousine window. The result of this left Goldberg on the shelf with torn tendons in his arm.

Next, Terry Funk was named the new commissioner of WCW for God Knows What Reason and he appointed Arn Anderson the referee in the main event of the show to prove that WCW still held control over the nWo. Oh, and Sid Vicious was now the #1 contender. That’s fine and dandy…except Bret Hart was actually nursing a nasty concussion thanks to a Goldberg kick gone wrong at Starrcade and was trying to wrestle through it. A hardcore match with Terry Funk on Thunder didn’t do himself any favors, and next thing you know his doctor is telling him he’s not allowed to wrestle anymore.

Enter Jeff Jarrett as the new replacement. Jarrett had been feuding with Benoit over the United States title, and had been booked in a Triple Threat Theatre which was to feature a “Dungeon Match”, a “Bunkhouse Brawl”, and a “Caged Heat” match. Only Jeff wasn’t in the world’s greatest shape after Jimmy Snuka came flying off a cage on Nitro and knocked him silly – also giving him a concussion!

With our main event now changed from Hart/Goldberg to Hart/Sid to Jarrett/Sid and now having to change again, Vince Russo’s head nearly exploded. Having the brain fart to end all brain farts, he told the booking committee the new plan was to hold a battle royal for the vacant belt that would see Tank Abbott of all people walk out with the title! That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, and Russo was sent home leaving Kevin Sullivan back in charge.

With Chris Benoit without his opponent since Jarrett had been shuffled around, Sullivan extended Benoit an olive branch and offered to give him the title against Sid. Benoit declined, but they went ahead anyway. And here we come to this match.

The two lock up, and Sid powers Benoit back to the corner. Benoit scoots behind Sid and tries a German, but Sid casually elbows him away. SATURN and DAVID FLAIR are on the entrance ramp for no real reason. Of course, the crowd turns their attention to those two while Sid dumps Benoit over the top. Another shot of the entrance ramp now has THE MAMALUKES, DISCO INFERNO, CHARLES ROBINSON, SHANE HELMS, MICKIE JAY, and DEVON STORM looking on. Tenay sells it as a great deal of respect from the wrestlers while the fans chant for Sid. HAH! FIT FINLAY and BRIAN KNOBBS join the gang on stage while Sid gives Benoit a gorilla press. The fans are popping huge for Sid’s power moves and he complies with another one…a front suplex. Benoit dropkicks Sid’s knees a couple of times to get him on the mat, and cannonballs down on it. MENG has hit the stage. The guys go outside where Benoit dropkicks the stairs into Sid’s knee! He does this three times while Arn keeps checking on Sid to make sure he’s okay, apparently forgetting his job is to count these guys out. Sid is rolled back in, and Benoit gets a 2 count. He grabs the weakened leg of Sid and applies a figure four while Sid howls in pain. He’s far too big for Benoit to maintain a leverage advantage though, and Sid turns it over, causing Benoit to crawl to the ropes for a break. Benoit remains in control though, kicking the crap out of Sid’s legs in the corner. He delivers a leg whip getting another 2 count. Benoit positions Sid in the corner and chops away before hitting a snap suplex and elbow drop for 1. DAFFNEY and THE WALL have joined the fun, and I WISH these guys would start fighting amongst themselves or something. Benoit works an Indian deathlock and chinlock combo, releases, and pounds Sid’s knee into the mat. Benoit dropkicks Sid out of the ring – but Sid gets back in and hulks up. He counters Benoit’s punches with a bitch slap, so Benoit just dropkicks his knees out again. Sid blocks another kick attempt, and appears to be ready to mount a comeback, so Benoit delivers a German suplex. But Sid’s feeling it now and comes right back up with a powerslam for 2. I spy MIDNIGHT and ASYA on the stage – while Benoit goes back to working over the knees, barring the leg and applying an anklelock. Sid calls to the crowd to help him up, and he rises up from the dead to grab the ropes. He stands, and takes a German suplex and now Benoit runs the thumb to the throat!!!! SWANDIVE HEADBUTT…and Sid powers RIGHT out at 2! He literally launches Benoit across the ring, stands, and delivers a nasty chokeslam! Tony: “He’s gonna win this damn thing!” It only gets 2 though because Benoit’s leg is underneath the ropes! Sid argues, and Benoit latches on the Crossface! Sid’s leg is under the ropes, but he taps and Arn calls for the bell at 14:49! **3/4 All the wrestlers on stage stand and applaud the squash Benoit dealt Sid while Benoit cries with the belt in his hands…which would last all of 24 hours before he dumped it into the nearest trash can and left town.

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