I received this in-person RAW/Shotgun Saturday Night report from reader Tony Barilla.
Earl, here is the raw report I contacted you earlier about.
Myself and Pat Berends, both graduate students at Kansas State University, made the 3 hour drive from Manhattan to Omaha. First of all let me say that Pat and I are wrestling fans and we like good wrestling and it doesn't matter if it is WCW, WWF, ECW, AWA, SMW, ABC or EIEIO wrestling. If it is good we like it.
The venue was late in opening the doors and the crowd was getting antsy. After the doors opened the crowd filed in and filled the place to about 85-90% capacity. A large section of the arena was closed off for the titantron and pyro equipment. I guess about 7000 - 9000 people, the crowd was ready for wrestling but a few technical gliches slowed the start. We had great seats in the first row of the second balcony, the screen and ring were both at 1:00 from us but the concession stand was less than 20 feet from us so we were happy. By the way, the notes for this report were hand scribbled on nacho napkins. The titantron was playing videos and music to keep the crowd occupied, the Undertaker video got a huge pop. Most of the videos were recapping the Austin/Hart show from last week. Shawn Micheals video had all the 12 year old girls screaming.
The first ring apron had the shotgun Saturday night logos on it. A jobber wearing pink tights come down to the ring but no followed him into the ring except for some ref, so him and the ref played to the crowd for about 10 minutes. The pink jobber as we started to call him got heat for laying on the ropes, this crowd was ready to go. After another long wait Ahmed Johnson came out and offered the pink jobber an invitation to leave ole' pinky refused and Ahmed squashed him with a face first suplex and then the pearl river plunge in about 2 minutes. The pink jobber later turned to be one of the refs during the RAW. After this match a bunch of people came out and placed the RAW aprons out over the Shotgun Saturday aprons. So we had been there for an hour and saw 1 squash. The music and videos starting blaring and I don't know if was just me or the sound system but all the sounds sounded the same.
The Fink came out to get the crowd ready then Pillman came out to insult the Nebraska crowd by cracking on the U of N Cornhusker football program, and making Oklahoma football is better comments, some of the crowd had Pillman Cincy Bengal shirts and Pillman is God signs he flashed a smile at those. JR Vince and Lawler came out to a nice pop. James E. Cornette comes out to stir up the crowd more, then leaves hastily as the Fink reappears for our final instructions. A montage of the recent history of Brett Hart is now playing on the titantron. Here is the introduction and boom we are into the RAW.
Pillman reappears wearing a different outfit, and starts the pray skit but we really couldn't hear too well. By now I sure someone posted the RAW report so from here on I'll focus on the stuff not on the TV. Austin was getting huge pops all night and the Austin 3:16 shirts were everywhere. Davey boy does a great job as a heel and works the crowd well.
Flash Funk's entry was o.k. but without 4 of the best things he had to offer, namely the missing Funketts, it was routine. A lot of us were wondering why job Rockabilly to Funk, oh well another booking we don't understand, the ref for this match was the pink jobber. The Pillman prayer seemed like it took forever and the crowd was starting to get hostile, so when Bret Hart showed up a majority of the crowd was booing at a good clip, but there also was a fair amount of cheers. After another wait the titantron showed clips that the viewer at home sees as a split screens, so we heard LaFon and Furness whine before we came back from commercial. The LOD came out to loud pop and the crowd were in their corner. When Sunny came out I pretty sure the testosterone level jumped up in the place, it had by all the young boys sitting around me including Pat.
For the Owen/Rocky match the Bulldog stayed with Brett and every once in awhile would make a fake run down the ramp. Brett was working the crowd in his wheelchair during the Owen match, showing me he is a company man. The crowd marked out when Owen won including me and Pat, I was in shock. Austin was then shown on the titantron and the crowd pops, then the Undertaker is shown and the crowd was mixed about his comments. Vader drew huge heat by making comments about Colorado football being better than Husker football comments on the titantron before we came back from commercial. For his match we had the 4 minutes as the over/under and well you know it was an under. When Shamrock came out he got a moderate pop I really don't think people know who he is yet.
For the HHH/Golddust match I think China drew the most heat from the crowd, until of course Marlena showed. Sable come out and the testosterone level jumped backed up.
Austin may be over but the Undertaker by far got the loudest pop and he and Davey worked a match that was identical to a show 2 days earlier in Kansas City, including the Austin choke slam which almost tore the roof off, Pat attended both shows and he even marked out again. The crowd had a huge pop for the Anvil and Brett's crutch shot on Austin. End of RAW.
Shotgun Saturday followed and I will send that to Earl later in the day on Wednesday but as for now I have to get back to work.
Part II Shotgun Saturday Night Report from Ohama April 28th
Sunny talked about LaFon and Furnass's lack of fan support and furthered her support of the Hart Foundation. Pillman come out and worked the crowd into a frenzy. The NOD came out to a huge chorus of boos and Crush and Savio faced a pair of jobbers wearing black tights. Highlights were Crush's belly to belly suplex and gorilla slam and Savio did a nice whip kick and also a lot of loud chopping. The match ended with Savio using a Boston Crab and Crush dropping a big leg, followed by a neckbreaker into a pin. Faraoq then came in and whipped the jobber with his belt before throwing him over the top rope making the jobber take a huge bump.
Vader against some jobber big squash ... crowd gets into with Vader he flips off crowd jaws back and forth. Vader bomb for the win. JR interview Vader about Kuwait and Vader jaws with him and then leaves.
HBK comes out to the number 2 pop of the night behind the Undertaker from the RAW show. HBK was limping but still did a great interview, and yes all the young girls were going crazy. His big spiel was that he decides what is cool and what isn't...does a fake strip then leaves. A lot of the crowd left after this.
New BlackJacks vs Hart Foundation, the Foundation win by D.Q. when the BlackJacks get counted out. The gold was huge for the Harts, 4 belts and 2 slammies.
The main event was the Undertaker versus Vader a 2 minute squash win via choke slam for the Undertaker.
All in all a great crowd and an o.k. card, I thought the RAW on USA was better than the house show because of all the down time.
Great report Tony! Thanks.
IronMan:The Legend of the Road Warriors
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
Part 6: The Clone Wars
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, in the world of pro wrestling, that is most definitely false!!! Imitation could get you beat down in this sport. Wrestling fans have seen this with Ric Flair and the late Buddy Rogers over the name of "Nature Boy." We've also seen this with Steve Keirn/Stan Lane feuding with the late Eddie Gilbert and Tommy "Wildfire" Rich over the name of the Fabulous Ones as well as the war over the name of the Midnight Express. Well, between 1987-1988, two teams came on the scene in pro wrestling that would both challenge The Road Warriors in both appearance out of the ring and dominance in the ring. The teams were The Powers Of Pain (Warlord/Barbarian) and Demolition (Ax/Smash).
The Demo's came on the scene first. They appeared in the WWF in early 1987 under the management of "Lucious" Johnny Valiant. Later, Valiant sold their contract to Mr. Fuji. All the while, however, they were labeled as fakers, clones, Road Warrior wanna-be's, etc. The Warriors themselves dismissed the Demo's when asked about them, saying how they would demolish (no pun intended) Ax and Smash if they ever met them. At that point in time, the Warriors without question was the superior team but the Demos got better and better over the next two years. In fact, they improved so much that fans actually started to give Demolition a chance against Hawk and Animal if they ever met. This had to disturb the Warriors very much. There will be more talk about the Warrior/Demolition feud later in this series.
Meanwhile, in 1988, a new tag team was formed in the NWA under the guidance of Ivan Koloff and Paul Jones. This team was the Warlord and The Barbarian, collectively known as The Powers Of Pain. In January of that year, Jones began making claims that his team was stronger than the Warriors. Naturally, the Warriors took exception to this and challenged The Powers to a $50,000 weightlifting contest. The contest took place at an arena card in Greensboro, NC. Both team bench-pressed impressive numbers. The contest was actually quite civil until Ivan threw powder into the eyes of the Warriors and Paul Ellering as Animal was attempting to bench-press over 600lbs.!!! The Powers then took Animal and smashed his face into the weights, fracturing his orbital socket!!! It was originally feared that he would suffer permanent blindness in his left eye but Animal recovered.
While Animal was recovering, The Powers and Koloff took advantage of the situation and won the now defunct-NWA World Six Man Tag Team titles from Hawk, Dusty Rhodes, and Paul Ellering (who was subbing for Animal) in a cage match. The Warriors got some revenge later when, during a match between Hawk/Paul Ellering against The Powers, Animal stormed the ring with Jason Vorhees-type mask with Road Warrior paint on it!!! He used it to protect his face but he also used it as a weapon of revenge as well!!! This show of force was a message to The Powers. The message was that nothing will stop the Warriors from getting revenge!!!
The two teams met several times in both tag team and specialty-matches. The two most famous confrontations both took place in Greensboro, NC within a month of each other. The first was a six-man Chicago Street Fight/Barbwire match that was televised on the first Clash Of The Champions event. The Warriors and The Powers were joined by their respective six-man partners in this battle (Dusty Rhodes for the Warriors/Ivan Koloff for the Powers). The match was exciting but, suprisingly, non-bloody. This could've been due to the fact that it was on national tv and because they didn't want to lose the viewers to their "competition" that day (WWF's WrestleMania IV was also being shown at the same time on PPV). Anyway, The Warriors and Rhodes won but Animal nearly paid for it when The Barbarian kicked his face-mask off of him. Hawk and Rhodes, however, prevented the Powers and Koloff from doing any damage. The second confrontation took place at the third annual Jim Crockett Senior Memorial Cup in April. Both team were trying to advance to the semi-finals to face Sting and Lex Luger. The Powers won by a screwjob decision when Animal clothesline attempt hit the referee instead of the Barbarian. I call it a screwjob because the Warriors had gotten the pinfall moments before the ref made that call!!! This only added fuel to an already hot rivarly.
The feud ended in June of 1988 when Paul Jones signed The Powers to face The Warriors in a series of scaffold matches during The Great American Bash. He did so, however, without consulting the Powers first. When they learned what Jones did, they were furious!!! They wanted to go on to better matches as well as face the Warriors but they didn't have this in mind. The Powers, feeling that their manager was only using them for his own benifit, left the NWA virtually overnight and headed to the WWF where they faced their " Road Warrior clone brothers" Demolition. Jones, meanwhile, sent the overmatched team of Ivan Koloff and The Russian Assasin (Angel Of Death) to face the Warriors in place of the Powers in the scaffold match. Need I say who won?
The Warriors, however, were also getting frustrated. They felt that they were not getting the respect that they deserved from NWA promoters and were determined to change that. That change came in October of 1988 in Richmond, VA.
If you have a question, comment, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org I also welcome additional information when available.
Ervin Griffin Jr. is a regular contributor to Solie's as well as the Ringside Insider and other publications.
I has an interesting discussion with one of my regular correspondents this week regarding the comparison of the Hart Family to the Four Horsemen. Aside from the obvious fact that one has the initals HF while the other has the initials FH - there are other similarities as well. My friend brought up something that hadn't occurred to me, namely, that the Hart Family also bears a striking resemblence to the nWo.
There are definite differences of course - the Harts are considered great wrestlers with attitude (much like the Four Horsemen) while the nWo are considered primarily to be brawlers. But in one striking way, the Harts closely resemble the nWo and that is in the way that both groups have a potential to be profoundly influential in their respective promotions.
The nWo hold this power because they count among their ranks Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan. Bischoff, obviously because of his power within the company - somewhat diminished because of his suspension of course, but a power to be reckoned with none the less. Hogan, like it or not, is the ICON of professional wrestling. He is one of the most recognizable figures in the world by wrestling fans and non-fans alike. Any wrestling fan can tell you who Ric Flair is - but few outside the fan ranks would know about him at all.
The Harts also wield this influence by virtue of the fact that they are members of the Hart family. With the passing from the scene of the Von Erics, the Harts are certainly the dominant family in professional wrestling today. With Owens assumption of the Intercontinental Title they also resemble the Horsemen of old in that they wear all (or nearly all) of the Federation's gold.
So what we have in the Harts is the perfect blend of Four Horsemen and nWo. A heel stable who can dominate the Title ranks of their promotion and also wield a lot of power and influence within the ranks of Pro-Wrestling as a whole. A formidable combination is ever there was one.
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
Bret Hart's Weekly Column The Calgary Sun has started publishing Bret Hart's column on line so rather than continue to summarize it here from now on I will be putting this link to it so you can go peruse it for yourselves.
(Editor's Note: If you have found anything thats been said here to be particularly offensive please read this disclaimer).
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