Between now and Backlash, I’m going to be bringing you recaps of every April event the WWF has been holding, starting with their first one in 1996... I have 3 weeks to do 9 shows, so the race against time is on.
This show is definitely an important one in the annals of the World Wrestling Federation, because it’s the last hurrah for both Scott Hall and Kevin Nash before their jump to WCW. Diesel was used in a last ditch attempt to draw ANY money, by being placed in the main event as Shawn’s first big post-Mania challenger, while Scott Hall...well, he was something of a lost cause anyway, so he was paired with Vader just ‘cause.
We are LIVE from Omaha, Nebraska - and we know this because VINCE MCMAHON is screaming all about it!!! He’s got JERRY LAWLER by his side, and Jerry’s of the belief that the title’s changing hands tonight.
THE BRITISH BULLDOG (with Owen Hart, James E. Cornette, and Clarence Mason) vs. JAKE ROBERTS
Mason serves the referee with papers, insisting the snake be kept away from Bulldog at all times. Roberts responds by ripping up the papers, and threatening Cornette with the snake. Jimmy passes out cold. Jake eventually complies with the court order, returning the snake to the back...and re-emerging with AHMED JOHNSON, demanding a tag-team match instead!
OWEN HART and THE BRITISH BULLDOG (with James E. Cornette and Clarence Mason) vs. JAKE ROBERTS and AHMED JOHNSON
Jake starts with Owen, and works a wristlock. Bulldog tags in, but so does Ahmed, so Bulldog quickly bails again. They had been fighting over who was the strongest in the WWF, and Bulldog was willing to do everything except SHOW it in a one on one setting. Ahmed shoves Owen back to the corner, and Owen BEGS Bulldog to tag in. Bulldog tells Owen he can handle it. Ahmed tosses Owen around with ease, and turns it back to Jake when he gets bored. Jake goes for the DDT, but Owen rolls away and points to his head! They trade hammerlocks, and Jake makes another go for the DDT to no avail. Bulldog tags in, misses an elbowdrop, and Jake tags in Ahmed! Bulldog fakes an injury, and goes back to Owen IMMEDIATELY. Ahmed kills Owen with a clothesline, and pounds on him in the corner. Bulldog gets in some cheapshots on Ahmed, and officially tags himself in now that he’s down. Bulldog scoop slams Ahmed, and pounds away. No selling ensues, and Ahmed starts to choke Bulldog. Owen rakes Ahmed’s eyes, and comes in to slam him. Ahmed blocks, and gorilla presses Owen with ease! Jake comes in, and the fans are begging for a DDT. Owen boots Jake in the face and follows with a missile dropkick. Owen and Bulldog double team Jake with stomps. Jake blindly flails away, but can’t do much. Bulldog rakes the eyes, drops a leg, and tags in Owen. Owen flies in off the top with a kneedrop for 2! He goes for the Sharpshooter, but Jake shoves him off. Bulldog comes in and slaps on a headlock. Owen chokes Jake out on the ropes, while Bulldog distracts the referee. Owen tries a sleeper, but Jake hits a Stunner - and tags in Ahmed, just as Owen tags Bulldog! Ahmed is PISSED, and kills Bulldog with a spinebuster!!! He tags back Jake for the DDT to give the fans what they want, but Owen attacks to prevent it. Bulldog grabs the tennis racket, clubs Jake in the knee, puts on a kneebar, and Jake submits at 13:47. ** That certainly was long alright. Ahmed Johnson was THE MAN though, and if injuries and sloppiness hadn’t screwed him up, he’d have drawn some money.
GOLDUST (with Marlena and Some Guy) vs. THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR (for the WWF intercontinental title)
Lawler: “Why do people love the Warrior so much?” I have *no* idea. My best friend is a crazy Warrior fan, and to this day I can’t figure it out. This match is NOT pretty. Warrior chases Marlena and Goldust up the aisle, causing Marlena to drop her cigar. Warrior grabs the cigar and starts smoking it. Vince: “Ultimate Warrior does not smoke.” Well he certainly LOOKS like he does! Next, he grabs Marlena’s director’s chair, and takes a seat, continuing to smoke. Goldust continues to pace around the aisle, and grabs the stick. “If you people don’t shut your mouths right now, I am personally going to come out there and kiss each and every one of ya, so SHUT UP!” Warrior tosses Goldust’s wig in his direction, and holds up his robe. We’re now 5 minutes in to this match. Honestly. Warrior gives the cigar back to Marlena, and holds Goldust’s robe for him. Goldust puts it on. He’s instructed to take a seat in the director’s chair, which he does. Warrior grabs the cigar and starts smoking again...but burning Goldust’s hand with it. Goldust screams, and Warrior clotheslines him out of the chair! And Goldust promptly runs up the aisle again, getting counted out at 7:46. -***** And THAT ranks up there with the WORST wrestling matches of all time, hands down. Even Jake Roberts, blindly drunk, and a total wreck was able to hit a couple wrestling moves at Heroes Of Wrestling, but Dustin was hurt and the WWF didn’t have the balls to change their card. Just announce he’s hurt, whip out a jobber, do a squash, get the pop, and move on. Yeesh.
DOK HENDRIX brings us a backstage exclusive. THE BRITISH BULLDOG and OWEN HART are desperately trying to get into Shawn Michaels’ dressing room, ranting and raving about Diana Hart, starting the build to Beware Of Dog.
VADER (with James E. Cornette) vs. RAZOR RAMON
We’re one month away from Scott Hall turning up on Monday Nitro, so the result of this one really shouldn’t be of any surprise. Cornette takes the toothpick from Razor, but apparently it’s not all THAT funny, because he doesn’t yuck it up. Vader dumps Razor with ease off the start. Razor gets back in, but is immediately knocked to his ass - and Vader poses. Vader pounds on the midsection of Razor, and Vince is shocked we’ve seen no offense from Ramon yet. Vader stiffs the shit out of Razor, and when Scotty starts to make his comeback, Vader thumbs the eyes and clotheslines him. Razor comes back with an attempt at the Edge, but Vader backdrops him to the outside! Razor gets back in immediately, and starts to pound on Vader in the corner. Two more clotheslines knock Vader down, and a third sends him to the floor! Vader decides to stall now, in order to stop Razor’s momentum. Cornette distracts Razor, and Vader tries to sneak up on him. Razor was ready, but still takes an avalanche anyway. A clothesline levels Razor, and a big splash gets 2! Razor ducks a clothesline, and snaps off a backdrop suplex for 2! Vader decides he’s had enough, and goes for the kill with the Vaderbomb...for 2?!? With Hall on his way out? I have NO idea what Vince was smoking here to approve THAT. Vader hits a backdrop suplex, and tries a vertical. Razor blocks, and nails a vertical suplex of his own for 2! Vader goes up, but Razor slams him off the top for 2! This is like the anti-booking for someone who’s leaving. Razor hits a corner clothesline, a big boot, and bulldog off the top for 2! Vader comes back, and goes for another Vaderbomb, but Razor cuts him off at the pass. Attempt at the Razor’s Edge, but Vader’s way too huge for THAT to work, and Hall’s legs give out. Vader goes all the way up for the moonsault, but Razor catches him and hits an electric chair drop!!!! Another attempt at the Edge is blocked with a backdrop, and Vader gives him a banzai for the pin at 14:50. **1/4
DOK HENDRIX gets a word with Vader after his match - and lets him know that he’s gonna be on the next In Your House against Yokozuna. Cornette flips out.
THE GODWINNS (with pigs, a dog, and Hillbilly Jim) vs. THE BODYDONNAS (with Sunny) (for the WWF world tag-team titles)
Sunny was flashing Phineas left and right leading up to this match, distracting him and resulting in losses. MR. PERFECT sneaks in a word with the champions before the match, and kills me with “Sunny, you’ve got the greatest pair... ... of tag-team champions I’ve ever seen.” What’s sad is the tag-team division here is actually STRONGER than the current day division. Henry starts with Zip, and gets double teamed by the blonde midgets. Henry throws a double clothesline at them, and threatens to slop Zip. Phineas comes in, and works a wristlock. Henry tags back in, but Zip escapes and goes to Skip. Henry tries a running powerslam, but Skip escapes, so he goes to a shoulderblock, and fireman’s carry slam instead. Lawler: “Did you know Sunny was 20 years old before she found out cars had front seats?” Vince: “ALRIGHT! Enough!” Henry hits a NASTY wheelbarrow suplex that looks to kill Skip. They trade off, and Phineas gets caught in a headlock by Zip. Phineas comes back with the CLAP BEHIND THE HEAD made famous by Roddy Piper, but Skip pulls down the ropes and Phineas falls out. Skip stomps away a little, and rolls him back in for Zip to get 2. The Bodydonnas hit a double team slingshot suplex for 2. Zip drops a knee, tags in Skip, and he works a chinlock. Phineas starts to come back, but Skip nails a rana for 2. The Bodydonnas try to double team Phineas, but he’s too big, and starts double teaming them. Sunny runs to the back, and re-emerges with a Hot Photo of herself for Phineas. Henry tags in to clean house, while Sunny distracts Phineas with the picture. Hillbilly Jim threatens to slop Sunny if she doesn’t fuck off - and the referee gets so busy with this that he misses Henry nailing the Slop Drop. The Bodydonnas trade off while Henry gets the referee, and when Henry returns he’s packaged for 3 at 7:16. *1/2
MARC MERO and SABLE run into DOK HENDRIX. The Wildman threatens Triple H for messing with him, and promises to destroy him.
DIESEL vs. SHAWN MICHAELS (with Jose Lothario) (in a no holds barred match for the WWF world heavyweight title)
The camera takes a long look at MAD DOG VACHON sitting in the front row of tonight’s event during Diesel’s entrance. My copy TOTALLY craps out at this point, so I’m forced to turn to my Shawn Michaels DVD instead. And it’s almost as if God doesn’t WANT me to see this match, because not only does my computer reject the disc (while willing to play anything else I test, including Disc #1), but then my DVD player’s remote control has gone missing! What a pain in the ass... Michaels attacks before the bell, opting to go toe to toe with the big man. Nash throws a knee to stop THAT, but winds up getting dropkicked to the floor. Michaels nails a baseball slide dropkick, and follows with a plancha off the top! Shawn scurries to the opposite side of the ring, steals the boot off of HUGO SAVINOVICH, heads back in and pastes Diesel with it for 2! Shawn’s offense is stopped dead with a whip to the buckle, and he’s then tossed to the guardrail. Back in, Nash takes over with a clothesline. A funny spot sees Lawler pointing at Vince, to try and get Diesel riled up since they were feuding. McMahon and Diesel have an intense staredown, before he turns to Lothario. “Hey old man, here’s how we do it in the 90’s!” Diesel hits the side slam, but doesn’t go for the pin. Instead, he unwraps the tape around his wrist, and starts choking out the referee!! With the ref out cold, Diesel steals his belt and starts whipping Michaels. The belt also makes a wonderful noose, so Diesel hangs Shawn over the top with it! Lawler: “Big Daddy Cool is starting to make Syracuse look like a walk in the park!” Diesel tosses HOWARD FINKLE out of his chair, steals it, and blasts the still hung Michaels. They head back in, where Diesel swings again, but Michaels moves - and the momentum from the ropes sends the chair back into his face! Shawn grabs the chair, but Diesel goes low. A backdrop sends Michaels flying, and Diesel scores a 2. A headlock is applied, but Michaels fights loose - so Diesel starts beating Shawn repeatedly until he falls to the floor. Diesel’s hot on his heels, and powerbombs Michaels through the announce table! Back in, Nash takes the time to pose with the WWF title belt, and demands the referee strap it around his waist. Michaels crawls from the table wreckage while Vince begs Shawn off mic “let it be over!!!” Michaels refuses, and grabs a fire extiguisher which he blows into Diesel’s face! Diesel’s staggering, so Shawn hits the flying jalapeno and nip up!!! Back to the table wreckage, Michaels finds a chair, and blasts Diesel in the face 3 times!!! Even that’s not enough to put Diesel away, because he’s back up, and pastes Shawn with a big boot! The Truckstop is setup...but Michaels stops on Diesel’s shoulders, and pounds away until he escapes! To the top, Shawn drops an elbow, and warms up the band! Diesel blocks the move, and clotheslines Michaels back to the mat. Another clothesline sends Michaels to the floor, and Diesel hotshots him over the guardrail. Shawn is rolled in, and Diesel goes for the ULTIMATE in heel heat now by stealing Maurice Vachon’s prosthetic leg!!! Diesel goes to attack Michaels with it, but Shawn goes low and steals the leg. Nash eats it, and Sweet Chin Music finishes at 17:53!!! ****1/4 Arguably Nash’s best match, though you’d have to consider some of the stuff Bret managed to pull out of his lazy ass. Great way for Big Kev to say goodbye, and he debuted on Nitro about 6 weeks later. Michaels is more than happy to celebrate THIS one, since he barely escaped with his title.
Well, most of this show sucks harder than the leech that attached itself to young Wil Wheaton’s scrotum in Stand By Me. But the main event alone lets it scrape by without being considered another in the long line of failures produced during the Diesel era, so kudos for that.
Next up: Revenge Of The Taker, which I believe is subtitled “How Many Times Can Bret Hart And Steve Austin Fuck With Eachother In Two Hours? The Results May Shock You!”
A wonderfully detailed column as always, and I am just glad you could understand all the dialogue that I couldn't (such as Scott and Rebekah's argument and what Scott said to Al after his imaginative sell). Thank you Cubsfan.