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#1 Posted on 23.3.05 2320.59
Reposted on: 23.3.12 2320.59
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 fucked 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.

ROB VAN DAM (with Bill Alphonso) vs. SABU (with Bill Alphonso) (for the ECW television title)
January 9, 2000

WWE Preview: RVD and Sabu were partners at one time, but at Guilty as Charged they went to war over the ECW Television Championship. Could the high-flying aerial assault of Rob Van Dam overcome the suicidal, hardcore style of Sabu?

Yes, you read right, Alphonso is in the corner of both guys. They trade punches to start, and Sabu dives for the knee. He misses, and Van Dam legdrops him. RVD stops to hot dog, allowing Sabu to actually take out the knees, and dropkick Rob to the floor. He whips a couple chairs at Rob’s face, then hits Air Sabu into RVD who’s on the guardrail! Back in, Sabu gets 2. Sabu goes to an armbar, but releases seconds later, opting for a flying sidekick for 2! He tries a slingshot somersault legdrop, but misses, and RVD hits Rolling Thunder for 2! Rob hits a big boot, goes up...but Sabu shoves him off the top, and RVD crashes to the guardrail throat first! Van Dam staggers around, allowing Sabu to hit a baseball slide that sends Rob into the front row! From the ring, Sabu hits the triple jump moonsault into the front row! Impressive! Sabu dumps Rob back to ringside and sets up a table across the guardrail. Van Dam sees it, and attacks Sabu from behind. A hotshot puts Sabu over the guardrail, and Van Dam comes off the apron with a guillotine legdrop! Rob gets back in the ring, hits Sabu with a baseball slide, and then hurls himself into Sabu with a tope con hilo!!! They head back to the apron, and Sabu powerbombs Rob OFF the apron to the concrete floor!!!! Fans: “HOLY SHIT!” No kidding. Sabu puts RVD on the table, heads into the ring, and splashes him from the top rope through it! Fonzie checks on both guys. Sabu gets up first, and heads into the ring. Fonzie throws Sabu some athletic tape for his knee. Sabu tapes it up, drops a knee on RVD who’s re-entered the ring, and gets 2! Fonzie hands both guys a chair, allowing for a chair fight. Sabu loses his chair first - Van Dam tosses his...but misses the Van Daminator! Sabu throws his chair back into RVD’s face for 2! Into the camel clutch. Sabu releases, goes for a back elbow...but hits the ref by mistake! Sabu nails the triple jump moonsault, but the ref is out, so no count! So Sabu says “fuck it” and hits a triple jump legdrop! The referee wakes up, and counts 2! Sabu grabs a chair and heads up - but RVD gets a burst of adrenaline and unleashes a Van Daminator! Sabu falls back in, and Van Dam gets 2! RVD throws a chair to Sabu, fakes a Van Daminator, and when Sabu stands, he gets smoked with it! RVD goes up for the Five Star, but Sabu cuts him off and tries a super rana! Van Dam hooks the ropes though, and Sabu goes down alone! RVD shoots off a split legged moonsault for 2! RVD calls for the chair, but Fonzie won’t give it up. Sabu asks for the same, to no avail. Van Dam finally decides to just give Fonzie the Van Daminator! Sabu takes down RVD, goes for the triple jump moonsault, but Van Dam puts a chair between the two of them - and Sabu hits it! RVD then heads up, NAILS the Five Star, and scores the pinfall win at 14:40!!! **** Man alive, I came into this expecting the worst, but these guys just weren’t taking a break! Hot, hot action - and a great testament to what Sabu can do when motivated.

THE ROYAL RUMBLE
January 22, 1994

WWE Preview: This could very well be the most controversial Royal Rumble in WWE history. The final two participants were Bret Hart and Lex Luger and a shot at the WWE Championship at WrestleMania X was on the line. See what all the controversy was about.

HOWARD FINKLE quickly goes over the rules of the Rumble, and it’s apparently 90 second intervals in this one. SCOTT STEINER gets the unfortunate luck of drawing #1, and SAMU with AFA THE WILD SAMOAN is #2. Two guys feuding get to kick it off, imagine that. They brawl for a bit. Steiner hits a clothesline, and follows with a tigerbomb. However, Samu’s far too fat to toss over the top that easily, and he’s not going anywhere. Samu comes back with a clothesline, and a clock, brought to us from CASIO counts down...bringing us RICK STEINER. Scott teeters on the ropes, but Rick saves and pounds on Samu. The brothers double team him. Rick hits a belly to belly, and Scott hits a snap suplex. Rick connects with a Steinerline, and off a charge Samu winds up caught in the hangman’s noose!!! He’s easily dumped at 3:12. The brothers look to square off, except here comes #4 KWANG with JIM CORNETTE. Kwang mists Rick, but Scott comes back with a clothesline on Kwang. Rick crawls around, completely blinded. Kwang eats an overhead belly to belly suplex, but he comes back with some punches and kicks. OWEN HART draws #5, and enters to some very loud boos after freshly turning heel. Owen goes straight to the blinded Rick Steiner of course. Vince makes it sound like he’s the most despicable human being on earth. Owen tries to dump Rick with a fireman’s carry, and eventually manages to do so at 5:50. The heels double team Scott, but eventually start fighting eachother. #6 is BART GUNN, and he goes after Owen. Scott hits Kwang with an atomic drop, while Owen headbutts Bart and tries to dump him. On the other side, Kwang is nearly put out by Scott. Bart takes a superkick from Kwang as DIESEL draws #7. Get ready for some magic. He takes out everyone. Bart is dumped at 8:56. Scott goes with ease at 9:02. Owen says goodnight at 9:10. Kwang misses a spinning heel kick and his night ends at 9:23. Diesel stands alone to an ovation as BOB BACKLUND makes a go of it at #8. He goes for the long legs of Diesel, and actually nearly dumps the big man!!! However, Nash hangs on somehow, and back with a solid base you can say goodnight to Backlund at 10:20. DiBiase: “I’ve never seen anyone control the ring like this.” The cheers for Diesel are crazy now, which was so unexpected since he’d been a virtual nothing to this point, on the verge of getting released. BILLY GUNN comes in at #9, but he takes a big boot and his night ends at 11:27, and the pops are getting even louder!!! Vince: “Unbelievable!” Nash has nothing to do, but stand and wait, and get pumped. VIRGIL would be victim #10, and there’s no doubt what’s happening now. DiBiase: “I’m gonna enjoy this McMahon!” Diesel misses an avalanche, and Virgil hammers away. That lasts all of 3 seconds, and Virgil’s done at 13:15. The fans pop HUGE for #11, because it’s RANDY SAVAGE, and chances are he’s not going anywhere real fast. Savage pounds at Nash, and runs him face first from buckle to buckle. Savage tries to dump Diesel, and has him on the ropes when #12 TRIPLE J enters. He saves Diesel, and pounds on Savage. Jarrett scoop slams him, hits a knee drop off the second rope, follows with a dropkick, and struts. Back to the top he goes again, and clotheslines Savage. He nearly dumps Savage, and actually thinks he has him, but Savage hangs on. He re-enters, and dumps Jarrett at 17:16. #13 is CRUSH, and Savage doesn’t even wait to get all over him! A running elbow knocks him off his feet, and Savage goes up. The double axehandle connects, as does a scoop slam - and he goes up a second time! Another axehandle hits the mark, and Savage turns to pound on Diesel who was seemingly forgotten for awhile. Crush grabs Savage and gives him the tilt-a-whirl. Nash drops an elbow, and throws Savage into Crush’s superkick. DOINK THE CLOWN with DINK comes out at #14, as Savage is dumped by Crush at 19:09. Diesel goes to dump Crush, but he hangs on, and Doink smartly stays out of it. The big boys get tired of Doink’s laughing and approach, but he lowblows both guys! Doink tries to slam Diesel, but that goes nowhere, and the duo clothesline the clown. BAM BAM BIGELOW with LUNA VACHON heads down as #15. They invite Bam Bam in to finish off Doink, and Bigelow is more than happy to. A gorilla press spells the end of Doink at 21:11. However, as soon as he’s done, Nash and Crush try to dump him. Crush blinks first, and belts Diesel, triggering a 3-way brawl. Big MABEL with OSCAR is #16, drawing a “WHOOP THERE IT IS” chant from the crowd. That’s gross. Diesel takes a pair of avalanche splashes. Crush eats one as well. Bigelow is slammed face first to the buckle, and he takes one as well. SPARKY PLUGG heads out at #17. Vince: “Maybe he will win the Royal Rumble match!” Everyone goes after Crush, but he slides back underneath to safety. SHAWN MICHAELS draws #18, and he goes face to face with Diesel. Shawn begs off, wanting nothing to do with this, and offers a handshake. Diesel takes it, and he’s attacked from behind by all the fat guys. Everyone grabs a hold of Big Kev, and his night finally comes to a close at 25:59. Michaels was actually responsible for getting in the shove that sealed the deal. He gets a standing ovation on the way back anyway, and gets a loud “DIESEL” chant. MO is #19, and he teams up with Mabel. Mo nearly dumps Shawn, but Sparky Bob saves the day. Mabel gives Bigelow an avalanche, and follows with a legdrop. Mo pounds on Plugg. Too many jobbers in the ring right now. Our situation fails to improve with #20, GREG VALENTINE. It takes him an hour to warm up you know. That might explain his sheer unwatchability over the years - since I can’t remember him in any iron man matches. Mabel misses another avalanche on Bigelow, while TATANKA joins the party as #21. Michaels nearly gets dumped by Crush, but hangs on, only to suffer a beating at the hands of Tatanka. Mabel holds Tatanka hostage for Michaels, but Tatanka ducks and Shawn belts Mabel in error. Valentine goes after Shawn as well, but he holds on while on the apron. The dead weight in the ring is sickening. THE GREAT KABUKI, who was fresh off kicking the shit out of Lex Luger in the back, draws #22. He goes after Mabel, as does everyone else, and together their efforts work and he’s gone at 32:33. Mo goes after Michaels in retaliation, but Valentine saves the day. LEX LUGER draws #23, and goes after Kabuki of course. He’s successful, and Kabuki’s night ends at 33:40. Luger dances all over Crush’s face, and takes down Mo. Bigelow takes a clothesline, but Crush stops Luger’s momentum with an atomic drop. TENRYU is #24, and chops at Luger. Luger no-sells, and comes back with punches. Tenryu rakes the eyes of Luger, and continues to chop. A couple guys work over Michaels, but he continues to dangle in there. #25 no-shows, and Vince assumes it was Bret Hart. Crush tries to dump Luger, but Lex hangs on and punches him off. Luger’s shots nearly spell the end of Crush, but he holds on. RICK MARTEL is #26, and if not for a couple of horrid ones in the late 90’s, this Rumble would be shaping up to be one of the worst of all time. Luger and Tatanka start exchanging punches mid-ring. That goes nowhere. #27’s buzzer goes off, and it’s a limping BRET HART, stemming from the attack by Owen earlier. Crush beats him down. Sparky makes the save, while Martel tries to end Shawn’s night. FATU with Afa is #28, and there are WAY too many guys in there. Mo works over Bret’s leg, while Fatu beats on Luger. Luger recovers, tries to dump Crush again, but Crush is just not leaving. Holly and Hart help, and he’s FINALLY gone at 42:40. MARTY JANNETTY is #29, and you know who he goes after... He’s all over Shawn with a nasty flurry of punches, but Shawn comes back with an atomic drop. Sweet Chin Music misses, and Jannetty kicks him instead! Michaels gives Marty a vertical suplex, and at #30, we’ve got ADAM BOMB. Vince: “Adam Bomb is going to win the Royal Rumble!” Bomb goes for Sparky, and he’s then dumped by Bret at 45:25. Vince says #25 was Bastion Booger who was sick, and couldn’t come out. Shawn tries to dump his best friend Bret Hart, and he teeters. Martel is nearly dumped. Bret works over Mo in the corner. He then pairs off with Adam Bomb, and nearly gets tossed as a result. Luger almost leaves courtesy of Fatu. And now we get a bunch of kick punch stuff from everyone, which is not particularly exhilarating. Snore. Greg Valentine is unceremoniously dumped at 49:18, and Martel follows him at 49:34. Bomb clotheslines Luger, but Luger pulls down the ropes and his night ends at 49:49. Bigelow dumps Tatanka at 50:17. Jannetty runs over Michaels with a clothesline, while Fatu goes after Bret again. Bigelow misses a charge at Luger, and is clotheslined out at 51:06. The camera misses it, but Jannetty goes at 51:13 by Michaels. Tenryu gives Fatu and Michaels a double noggin knocker. Bret and Luger send Michaels and Fatu into eachother. Luger and Bret dump Tenryu together at 52:31. We’re down to 4, as Michaels throws himself on Bret! Michaels nearly has him dumped, but Bret escapes and does the same to Shawn. Fatu superkicks Luger, and goes up for a flying headbutt, which he hits. Luger’s glassy eyed. Michaels and Fatu go to give Luger a front suplex over the top, but Luger fights them off, and clotheslines Fatu! Bret and Luger each grab a heel, and backdrop them both out at 54:43!!! Down to 2. Luger and Bret slug it out in the middle of the ring. And almost immediately, Hart clotheslines Luger over the top, and they hit at the same time at 55:06! The referees argue over who won, and take turns announcing both guys as winners. Bret’s response is FAR louder. Eventually, everyone settles on a draw. ***

RIC FLAIR (with Jimmy Hart) vs. STING (for the WCW world heavyweight title)
January 15, 1996

WWE Preview: Ric Flair and Sting have fought in countless epic battles over the years, and this match was no different. Flair entered as the WCW Champion, but would he leave the same way he came in? Or would the Stinger be able to overcome one of his greatest opponents one more time?

I can’t imagine this NOT being good! Sting shoves Flair to his ass immediately, but Flair pops up like a toaster strudel. Flair decides to ground Sting by pulling him down by the hair, but Sting won’t stay down for that longer than a half second at a time. They trade WOOOO’s, with Sting’s being far more feminine. Flair tries to dump Sting, but he gets right back in, mounts the turnbuckle, and pounds away! A standing dropkick from Sting drops Flair, and Sting follows with a gorilla press slam. I actually feel dirty for rooting for Flair here. Damn that clean cut surfer bastard. Sting clotheslines Flair on the apron, and stands on his chest. Sting drags Ric back in with a suplex, and gets a 1 count. Flair starts in with the chops, and throws his old man sucker punches. Sting puts Flair up top, because Flair has this history with the top rope that isn’t so positive, and hits a superplex! He goes to finish with a big splash...but Flair gets the knees up! Jimmy Hart starts screaming something incoherent in the megaphone, and we have to take a commercial break!

When we return, Sting is busy throwing himself towards the top rope, and nearly kills himself with Flair sidesteps. Flair tries a dirty pin with the feet on the ropes, getting 2. Sting is dumped, and Jimmy adds a cheapshot while he’s got the chance. He re-enters the ring, and eats a nasty chop that gets 1 for Flair. Sting powers right back to his feet, and runs over Ric with a clothesline! They move into a sleeper, from which Ric escapes with a backdrop suplex. The pair trade punches, but Sting wins that exchange with ease, and Ric flops. Sting goes for the kill with a dropkick, but Ric hooks the ropes and goes for the Figure Four. Sting cradles for 2! A backslide from Sting gets another 2! Flair tries to dump him again, but Sting won’t go out, and sunset flips Flair - giving us a full moon in the process. Sting hulks up, and gorilla presses Ric again! Flair throws a back elbow, and decides to go upstairs... I don’t like that move. Ric learns not to like it either, because he’s caught and tossed. Sting starts no-selling everything now, driving Ric NUTS, and he hits another gorilla press. LEX LUGER joins Hart on the apron and steals the megaphone. He accidentally holds it up while Sting goes for a Stinger Splash, and hits him. Luger freaks out when Hart accuses him of doing it on purpose. “He’s my friend!!!” Flair quickly puts on the Figure Four and gets the pin on an unconscious Sting at 10:37. ***1/4 Luger pulls Flair out following the match, and that draws out HULK HOGAN and RANDY SAVAGE. Luger and Flair head to the back, completely avoiding the pair, and they check on Sting. The announcers are disgusted with Lex.

LEX LUGER vs. SCOTT HALL
January 19, 1998

WWE Preview: The Total Package faced off against nWo member Scott Hall in a memorable Nitro clash. Could Luger overcome the nWo threat or would the survey say "Win" for Scott Hall?

I really can’t think of any two main eventers in all of pro wrestling whose styles are better matches to have a really shitty match. Hall throws his toothpick at Luger, and it is the FUNNIEST thing he’s ever seen in his life. They lockup, and Luger powers Hall right back, knocking him on his ass. Hall comes back by jerking Luger’s arm, but Lex escapes and tries a hammerlock on Scotty. Hall pisses of Luger so much he starts paintbrushing the back of his head. The referee forces Luger to give it up. Hall wants a test of strength, but Luger’s not sure. He finally caves, goes for it, and Hall kicks him right in the midsection. Hah! Hall applies a standing surfboard type submission, and holds it for over two minutes. The fans will a break from Luger - and he tries to apply the same thing, but Hall kicks back with a low blow. Hall stomps on the fallen Luger, and chokes him out in the ropes. The referee forces a break, so Hall goes to a sleeper hold. Luger shoves it off, and applies a sleeper of his own. I’m starting to nod off here... Hall escapes with a crotch job over the ropes. Luger falls back in, and Hall gets 2! Luger stands, and starts throwing punches that rock Hall. He calls starts in with the clotheslines, and calls for the Rack. Just for kicks, he hits two atomic drops, another clothesline, and NOW goes for the move! RANDY SAVAGE is immediately in, and in fine WCW fashion this is thrown out at 7:46. 1/2* Luger pounds on Hall, but Savage breaks it up, and a 2-on-1 beatdown ensues. Savage hits a double axehandle off the second rope while the referee tries to break this up. When he can’t, LARRY ZBYSZKO thinks he can, and takes them both on by himself. He gets killed, naturally. And our clip ends with a Larry beating. That’s the best kind of ending!

RIC FLAIR, CHRIS BENOIT, and MONGO MCMICHAEL vs. KEVIN NASH, SCOTT STEINER, and HOLLYWOOD HOGAN
January 25, 1999

WWE Preview: This match features two of the most influential groups in sports-entertainment history as members of the Four Horsemen do battle with members of the nWo. Would it be Ric Flair or Hollywood Hogan who would lead their team to victory?

This match aired one week before I started taping Nitro with regularity. Flair was running around as president of WCW for 90 days at this point, and had booked himself into a world title match with Hogan at Superbrawl. This was basically a warm up. Benoit and Steiner start - and Chris is taken down with a shoulderblock. Steiner poses, and gorilla presses Benoit like he’s nothing. Steiner gets too cocky though - and blind charges Benoit in the corner who gives him a big boot! Chris pounds on Steiner, and clotheslines him down. Scott’s on his feet quickly, but a dropkick sends him to the outside. Benoit, showing some serious balls, flips off Nash and Hogan! I love it! Big Kev tags in, slowly, and he’s all smirks. Nash wants a test of strength, just to demonstrate how tall he is - but when Benoit goes for it, Nash drives his knee into Benoit. Corner elbows, Nash takes a picture, and finishes with a big one that knocks Chris down. Benoit’s not taking this shit though, and chops away. Tag in to Mongo. Mongo scoop slams the big man, drops an elbow, and gets 2! Benoit tags back in with a diving headbutt, but Hogan makes the save before Chris can get a pinfall. Steiner ties up Benoit for a second, allowing Nash to hit a big boot. Hogan tags in to some loud heat. He clotheslines Benoit, spits on Flair - which draws Flair to distract the referee. Steiner comes in without a tag, and gives Benoit a belly to belly for 2. Scott gets in the face of Charles Robinson, and more or less lets him know not to pull THAT stunt again. Nash in with an elbowdrop for 2. A side slam gets 2. Mongo and Steiner start shouting at eachother - and Flair tries to dive at Hogan as well. Hogan heads in, gives Benoit a backdrop suplex for 2, and we have to take a commercial break...

We’re back, and into overtime now. Benoit hammers on Hogan, but eats a clothesline. Flair wants to get in - but that only allows Steiner to head in without a tag again, and an arrogant cover gets 2. Nash scoop slams Benoit while the fans, very vocally, scream “WE WANT FLAIR!” Nash throws a couple of shots at Flair - causing a distraction, and Hogan is able to choke out Benoit. Flair pounds on Nash while Steiner ties Benoit to the tree of woe. Nash chokes him out, and Hogan kicks away while he’s hung out to dry. Off comes the weightlifting belt - and Hogan starts whipping Chris. Flair: “GODDAMNIT! COME ON CHRIS!” Hogan gets 2. A vertical suplex gets 2 - and Hogan doesn’t like it. So he opts to choke out the meatball, and go back to Kevin. Nash uses his boot to choke Benoit, but misses a running boot to the corner, and crotches himself!!! Steiner quickly cuts off the ring before Benoit can capitalize with a tag, and locks him in a bearhug. He squeezes for awhile, then turns it into an overhead belly to belly - and turns it back to Hogan. He goes for a pin immediately, but only gets 2! Hogan’s getting desperate to put Benoit away now, and quickly slams him, and drops an elbow for 2. Another scoop slam, and here comes the legdrop... It misses, and Benoit tags out!!!! Flair in, and he’s all over Hogan like a fat woman into a bag of ruffles! Low blow - and here comes the figure four!! ERIC BISCHOFF comes out of the crowd, where he’d been selling merchandise on orders from Flair all evening. He hands Nash a foam hand, loaded with a two by four. Nash heads in, and slams it over Flair for the DQ at 14:21. **3/4 Bischoff grabs some hair clippers to shave Flair, but THE ENTIRE WCW LOCKER ROOM hits the ring. Tenay: “This is the show of unity we’ve been waiting for from WCW!” It does my heart good to see Buff getting beaten on by about 50 guys. Tony: “And by the sheer numbers, WCW is going to prevail on this one!” Nash no sells everyone, and heads up the aisle to safety. WCW stands tall in the ring while the nWo retreats, not having seen GOLDBERG is on the ramp!!!!! Goldberg starts single handedly kicking the shit out of the entire nWo faction - and WE’RE DESPERATELY OUT OF TIME!!!!!!!

THE RINGMASTER (with Ted DiBiase) vs. MATT HARDY
January 15, 1996

WWE Preview: Before WWE fans came to know and love Stone Cold Steve Austin, he was known as The Ringmaster. He was cool, calm and as calculating as ever but would it be enough to get the win over a very young Matt Hardy, who was making one of his first WWE appearances?

This was from a far simpler time on RAW, when jobbers like Matt Hardy ran wild and free, and Steve Austin was handed stupid gimmicks in an attempt to get over. Austin works a headlock into a snapmare, which he rolls through for 2. Thesz press, and Austin hammers away. Hardy gets in a surprise rollup for 2, and Vince squeals in delight. Austin pounds at Hardy in the corner, and drops a knee across the throat. Snapmare, Austin drops another knee, and gets 2. Hardy comes back with a series of kicks, goes for a suplex, but it’s Austin who hits a front suplex instead and gets 2. Hardy is choked out in the ropes, but a Bossman straddle misses, and Hardy goes back on the offensive for about 3 seconds before eating a Stun Gun. Million Dollar Dream...and that’s all she wrote at 4:36. 3/4* It was a squash, but not a very good one at all.

RANDY ORTON vs. ROB VAN DAM (for the WWE intercontinental title)
January 12, 2004

WWE Preview: Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam were two of the brightest stars on RAW at the time and the two clashed over Orton's Intercontinental Championship. Orton defeated RVD about a month prior to win the title, but would RVD get his revenge on RAW?

This is a rematch from Armageddon 2004 where Orton took the title. There’s a seat in the front row that’s empty, awaiting Mick Foley should he choose to show up. Orton bails when the bell tolls, and forces RVD to come to him. Van Dam makes the mistake, and gets stomped on. With Orton guarding the ring, RVD’s got no way back in without getting stomped at. Van Dam responds to this by...POINTING TO HIMSELF! Then he pulls Orton out by his feet, which is of course the right reaction. RVD throws him into the security wall, rolls Orton in, and clotheslines him back out. Van Dam follows, and posts Orton chin first! Orton plays dead while RVD stands in the ring - and when he sits up, we see the blood. How barbaric! I once read the World Wrestling Federation was opposed to the human mutilation that was blading, so that can’t possibly be right. Of course, I read this in 1995 or something. Van Dam hotshots Orton onto the security wall, and hits a spinning heel kick off the apron, sending Orton into the front row! Suddenly, a Very Exciting Car arrives!!!! And our pulses are racing SO hard, we absolutely need a commercial!

Upon return, Orton somehow got himself back in control, and he’s clawing at RVD’s face. Van Dam tries to go up top, but Orton shoves him off his perch - and RVD crashes onto the security wall throat first! Orton follows, and as a token of revenge for earlier, he posts RVD face first, and then adds the stairs for fun. Back in, Orton gets 2. Because we’ve been going for a full 6 minutes now, a rest hold is of the utmost importance, so Orton applies a body scissors. A rollup gets 2, while the fans chant for Mick Foley. We take a long, loving shot of the crowd, while Orton nails a dropkick and gets 2. Back to the body scissors. The hold is released, and Orton hits an interesting gutwrench neckbreaker for 2. Then Orton reveals he’s SECRETLY AN IRAQI, and puts RVD in a camel clutch! This is unprecedented! Bomb threats are heard around the world! Wrestlemania is promptly booked in LA for 2005! But RVD won’t tap, so Orton decided being an Iraqi isn’t so great, and moves on to Ultimate Fighting by putting on a rear naked choke. I’m certainly not making stuff up because I’m bored. Van Dam finally starts in with his offense again, hitting a step over heel kick, and follows with the 10-punch count-a-long. A Northern lights suplex gets 2! A spinning leg lariat takes down Orton, and puts him right in position for a Rolling Thunder, which gets 2. A rolling fireman’s carry leads right into a moonsault in one fluid motion, and RVD scores another 2! Orton throws a clothesline and kneelift to knock Van Dam down - and when RVD tries to throw a roundhouse, he accidentally clocks the ref! Orton uses this chance to hit a lowblow, but there’s no ref to count. Orton steals a page from Eddie Guerrero’s book by playing dead, and tries to retain with a count-out. RVD stands, so Orton goes for the RKO...only Van Dam blocks with a punch and gets 2. An Oklahoma roll gets 2. RVD goes to finish with the Five Star, but Orton crotches him, then DDTs Van Dam off the top for the win at 15:21. **3/4 TRIPLE H hits the ring immediately following the win to POINT AT THE CHAMPION! Now that’s excitement! Whatever happened to that limo...

CHRIS JERICHO vs. REY MYSTERIO JR. (for the WCW cruiserweight title)
January 24, 1998

WWE Preview: Before Y2J was racking up big wins on RAW and Rey Mysterio was delivering his patented 619 on SmackDown!, they were taking the Cruiserweight division by storm in WCW. They had several exciting encounters which saw some of the most innovative, high-flying moves at the time. Which one of these Superstars would walk out of their Souled Out match with the WCW Cruiserweight Championship?

The fans waste no time in screaming out the fact that Jericho sucks. He looks ready to cry at the total rejection. Instead, he sucks it up, and gets in Rey’s face. Rey throws a punch that knocks Jericho over. “COME ON REF!” He responds with a shoulderblock that takes down Mysterio, and chops away. Rey comes back with a slingshot rana, and Jericho heads to the outside for safety. Rey collapses in the ring, due to his bad knee - and Jericho smells blood. Rey was ready, and attacks Jericho with a series of punches, and puts on a headlock. A victory roll from Rey gets 2! He kicks with the good leg at Jericho, and uses a hairpull to take him down. Rey goes for another rana, but Jericho blocks this one, and turns it into an alley oop, finishing by draping Rey throat first over the rope! Jericho yanks Rey to the floor, and hits a double underhook backbreaker. The stairs are setup - and Jericho leaps off them with a Shining Wizard to Rey’s temple! Back in, Jericho throws Mysterio knee first to the buckle, and stomps on the kneecap. Ref: “Come on Jericho...” Jericho: “WHAT?!?” Mysterio jumps onto Jericho’s shoulders, and takes him down with the Kid Krusher!!! A baseball slide dropkick sends Jericho to the floor, and Rey follows with a springboard somersault plancha to the outside!!! Rey hotshots Jericho face first to the steps, rolls him in, and calls for the West Coast Pop. Jericho runs himself into the ropes to trip Rey up, heads up...but now Rey crotches him! Rey goes up, tries the super rana, but in one move, Jericho drops off the top into a DANGEROUS Lion Tamer, and Rey taps out IMMEDIATELY at 8:23 to give Jericho the title for a third time! **1/4 Okayish match, but Rey was hurt and it totally killed any chance them having the classic they were capable of.

CHRIS JERICHO vs. CHRISTIAN (in a ladder match for the WWE intercontinental title)
September 12, 2004

WWE Preview: Chris Jericho and Christian had one of the most heated rivalries of 2004. What started as a fight over the affections of Trish Stratus led to a series of brutal matches. This one also happened to be a Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship. Would it be Y2J or Captain Charisma walking out of Unforgiven as the Intercontinental Champion?

I went to see this one in the theatre in September, but no word of a lie, my best friend and I walked out right before the main event because the show was putting us to sleep. I barely remember this match - but only because the ladder gimmick has been done to death, especially with these two. Christian’s without Tomko here, because he’s off getting some courtesy of Trish Stratus. Lucky bastard. The pair go nose to nose, and Christian strikes first with a slap. Jericho pounds back before giving him a vertical suplex. Jericho hits a backdrop suplex, but Christian comes back. A “CLB” chant breaks out - and Christian’s not amused. Jericho winds up on the apron, and gives Christian a HUGE backdrop to the floor! Jericho grabs a ladder, and whips it at Christian - but misses. That’s not good sportsmanship! Back in, Jericho demands that he “COME HERE, ASSCLOWN”, and when Christian charges he gets caught up in the ropes. Jericho hits a running enzuigiri, and heads out. Jericho grabs a ladder, Christian follows, and Chris smacks him in the sternum. Christian fights back, and they head into the crowd where Christian pounds away on the steps. Kevin Sullivan would be so proud. Back to ringside, Jericho grabs some TV cables and chokes out Christian. Christian’s got a fine counter to that... Unprettier to the floor!!! With his opponent not getting up for awhile, Christian grabs a ladder, sets it up, and starts the climb. He actually grabs the belt, but Jericho cuts him off before he can unhook it - and pulls him down. Not impressed, Christian sets up the ladder in the corner - but Jericho reverses the whip into it, and Christian runs mouth first into the steel! Jericho sets up the ladder, but Christian lives - and he sends Jericho mouth first into the bar that keeps the ladder level. The ladder is positioned between the middle ropes in the corner, and Christian catapults Jericho face first into it. Christian wants to climb again - but Jericho won’t stay down, so he turns back to them. He tries to sandwich Jericho between the buckle and ladder, but on the impending avalanche, Jericho just throws it into Christian’s face. Jericho tries to bulldog Christian into the ladder, but it’s blocked - and Jericho is sent crotch first into it! Yikes. He falls into a tree of woe, and Christian has no problem adding a running kneelift to that. Christian once again tries to climb up, but Jericho uses the tried and tested McMahon approach to stop someone from climbing to victory... He flips Christian off. Christian, stupidly, responds, and winds up getting bulldogged into the ladder. Jericho sandwiches Christian in the ladder, goes for the Lionsault, but Christian moves and Jericho destroys his own ribs. Christian is more than happy to use the ladder as a battering ram, and run it into Jericho’s face. Christian climbs again (Jericho hasn’t done so once yet) - and for the second time he touches the belt, but Jericho pulls the ladder away, and Christian’s left hanging on the belt!!! Jericho throws the ladder at Christian to knock him off - and that draws a Y2J chant. Jericho, smartly, pins Christian with the ladder, and climbs up for the first time. However, Christian escapes, and dumps Jericho off it, to the outside! Christian climbs, slowly, with Jericho down - but he’s far too slow, and Jericho is able to get back in, and lock him into the Walls on top of the ladder! Christian tumbles, but before Jericho can grab the belt, Christian shoves the ladder away - and Jericho falls BALLS FIRST onto the edge of it!!!! That has to smart! Christian grabs the Giant Jeff Hardy ladder from outside, but Jericho sets up the smaller one as well, and they fight up top. Jericho yanks Christian down face first with a swinging hair pull!!! Jericho recovers first from the fall, heads up, and claims the belt for IC title win #7 at 22:29. **1/2 Terribly boring ladder match, with all the usual spots. There’s no point for these guys to continue bumping around like pinballs in these matches, since they cannot top the work done in previous years, and to even try to think about it is insanity.

CHRIS JERICHO vs. ROB VAN DAM (for the WWE intercontinental title)
October 27, 2003

WWE Preview: Chris Jericho has held the Intercontinental Championship for a record seven times. He faced off against Rob Van Dam on an edition of RAW for that very title.

I recall this match! It put me to sleep, and I had to read all about it the next day! That’s becoming more frequent these days, but at the time it was still new to me. Jericho chops away at RVD, and chokes him out in the corner. He justifies his behavior by informing the ref he’s king of the world. Van Dam comes back with a spin kick for 2. Jericho hits a running enzuigiri for 2. Backdrop suplex, pair of elbow drops, and Jericho points to himself! He’s Y2J dontcha know! Jericho misses a blind charge, and posts his shoulder. Ever get the feeling you’re watching a match you’ve seen a thousand times, even if you haven’t? RVD hits the step over heel kick, and nails a Northern lights for 2! Jericho fires back with a running bulldog, but misses the Lionsault. Has even hit that move anytime in the last, oh, 4 years? RVD goes for the Five Star, misses, and Jericho puts him in the Oklahoma roll for 2! The referee misses the low blow Jericho hits, and RVD finds himself trapped in the Walls Of Jericho. ERIC BISCHOFF runs down to the ring, and distracts the referee when RVD makes the ropes! Jericho pulls him back to the middle of the ring, and Van Dam taps at 4:28, to make Jericho champion for a record setting 952nd time!

STEVE AUSTIN isn’t having any of this - and says that while he can’t change the referee’s decision, he WILL be forcing Jericho to defend that belt right now...inside a cage.

ROB VAN DAM vs. CHRIS JERICHO (in a cage match for the WWE intercontinental title)

Jericho stomps a mudhole on the back of RVD - and the quality of this recording gets REALLY lousy for some reason. Van Dam misses a dropkick, and Jericho drops an elbow. A backbreaker submission is applied, but RVD won’t tap. He releases, and stupidly charges - allowing RVD to backdrop him into the cage. Van Dam tosses him in a second time, and hits a roundhouse kick. Jericho is tossed into the cage fairly hard a third time, and RVD propels his shoulder into him several times. And now, WWE’s stupid cage match rules come into play, as RVD tries to RUN AWAY over the top. Rewarding people for being chickenshits is the lamest stip in the world. Jericho slams RVD off the top of the cage, and follows with a running bulldog to match sure he’s down. As usual, he misses the follow up Lionsault - allowing RVD the chance to catapult him. However, Jericho winds up being catapulted into the cage, which he hangs on to, and rushes up the side! RVD grabs him, and keeps him from escaping, so Jericho hits a super bulldog off the top! Jericho goes for the easy escape, but at the 11th hour RVD catches him by the hair, and tugs him back in. A sidekick sends Jericho back in, and RVD heads out. Jericho tries to escape through the door, but Rob kicks it back into his face, and drops down for the win at 12:15 (combined time, both matches). **1/2 for the whole thing. Post-match, CHRISTIAN and SCOTT STEINER attack Van Dam - and put him back in the cage for a 3-on-1 beatdown. THE DUDLEY BOYZ head down to make the save, but MARK HENRY isn’t far behind with TEDDY LONG. Long locks everyone in the cage, and the heels dominate. BOOKER T runs in, and climbs the cage since it’s the only way in...diving onto everyone! Steiner and Henry are all over him, and the heels continue their dominance. Jericho sits on top of the cage, and watches the carnage inside the cage, with a big grin on his face.

All and all, the match selection was pretty good. A few god awful matches need to be avoided at all costs, but fans of the Royal Rumble will get all sorts of goodies from the event over the years. And of course, the Benoit/Angle match totally speaks for itself. The variety is also nice after being caught with 4 straight months of one specific theme.

The February Jukebox should be forthcoming in the relatively near future, with John Cena as our featured performer. He’s not coming alone though, as several classic WCW matches also made the cut. ‘Til then...
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