by Blu Gilliand
Someone once referred to wrestling as "a soap opera with violence." I can't argue with that - after all, wrestling has always been about who turned on who, who is feuding with who, and why. Matches between two men who've never seen each other are never as over as matches with history. However, while it was the "history" that got people to watch, the match itself would determine if people came back.
We have now moved to a point where that isn't necessarily the case. Over the years, storylines have slowly supplanted good matchups as the main draw in wrestling. I think this is due in large part to the Monday Night Wars, and the fact that televised wrestling is now nothing more than a setup for the next pay-per-view.
The WCW has been coasting along for months now with their New World Order storyline. Look at the match potential: Page vs. Hall, Giant vs. Nash, Sting vs. Hogan, etc. etc. When we do see a match of some calibar, rest assured it'll go about 3 minutes before the run-in. Yet, Nitro is without a doubt the cable show to watch right now, and the fans keep coming in droves.
The WWF has offered some good matches on Raw - especially the recent Owen Hart/British Bulldog match for the European Championship. But again, over the last few weeks, we've seen matches take a backseat to storylines -in this case the NWO-inspired Hart Foundation. While the WWF is, for now, handling their gang-warfare saga much better than the WCW, let's see how long they maintain momentum.
Maybe I'm old-fashioned - when I watch wrestling, I want to see some good matches in there somewhere. More Brett Hart/Shawn Michaels. More Ric Flair/Ricky Steamboat. I love a good angle - but let's back it up with some ACTION!
Solie's newest contributor, Blu Gilliand lives in Wetumpka, Alabama, and works in the mortgage industry when he's not watching wrestling. His favorite wrestling memories include seeing Ric Flair defend the NWA title twice, and being stepped on by Andre the Giant outside of a locker room in Montgomery, Alabama.
Sorry, I forgot about the Free-For-All and so only saw the last ten minutes of it. As I tuned in Sunny was leaving the ring area in a silver mini-dress then Faarooq showed up with the NOD thugs to cop out of the marathon match against Ahmed Johnson. He claims that all three of them are under the weather (he has his sling on his left arm still, Savio has a sprained ankle and Crush has the flu...yeah right...) so he proposes that Ahmed take them all on at once!! Ahmed comes on the TitanTron and proposes a compromise - he wiill take them all on one at a time one right after the other.
Next Steve Austin is interviewed by Vinnie Mac. He gives us his usual rant and ends up by saying if he's going to Hell then the Undertaker is going with him. The Undertaker then appears on the big screen and promises Austin that it will be a Cold Day in Hell before he ever wears the WWF Title. Hmmm...and what is this PPV called? Sounds like we can expect Stone Cold to walk out with the gold tonight...
A promo video and then...
The PPV starts...
Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/Chynna vs. Flash Funk - the announcers are telling us that the Funkettes are not here because they were intimidated by Chynna. Funk starts out aggressive and controls the early going. We are told that Ken Shamrock was assaulted by Vader and Mankind during the Free-For-All. Funk and Hunter have taken it outside meanwhile where Chynna blindsides the former with a clothesline from behind. Back in the ring Hunter takes over. He and Chynna do a doubleteam number on Funk - taking turns distracting the referee while the other does the deed. Flash never really gets back into this match. He manages a brief flurry towards the end but passes up a chance at the pin to dish out some more punishment. He gets caught and suplexed off the top rope then Hunter gets the Pedegree to win. After the match Chynna picks Funk up and drops him spreadeagle onto the top rope.
We are examining the five empty seats at ringside reserved for the Hart Foundation when Jim Ross shows some Shamrock footage then interviews him. We see a replay of the Free-For-All footage as he tells us he is in "the zone".
Mankind vs. Rocky Miavia - we are treated to video reviews of the various fiery incidents in recent weeks. Rocky is interviewed backstage - he allows that maybe success came too soon for him. He says "I learned a whole lot on the way up and a whole lot more on the way down..."
Rocky has just returned from his honeymoon (he was married last Saturday). Mankind sits in the corner at the beginning - Maivia turns his back then spins around to catch the expected attack. This goes outside almost immediately where Rocky maintains his advantage. Back in the ring he gets a hammerlock to keep Mankind's face to the mat. Mankind fights out of it but Rocky grabs right back onto it. Mankind levers him to the outside again and then launchs a forward roll to pound him to the floor. Back in the ring Mankind has the advantage. They go out again and Rocky chases Mankind up the ramp. He regains the advantage with a few punches and then a sidewalk slam on the steel grating. Back in the ring Rocky keeps control. He goes for a fall after a belly-to-belly suplex but fails. He is outwrestling the older man. He gets his shoulder breaker but not all of it. he throws his cross body off the top but Mankind rolls through it and thrusts his fingers down the kid's throat to get the submission win.
Video review of the Ahmed/NOD feud leads us to...
Ahmed Johnson vs. Crush/Savio/Faarooq - this is s set-up if ever I saw one. Johnson is interviewed backstage - he challanges Faarooq to step into the ring first. The thugs are occupying the ring as Ahmed comes down. They leave the ring and huddle in front of the announce position as Ahmed enters the area. Monsoon comes down and tells the Nation that they have to abide by the rules and only send in one man at a time - he orders the rest of the NOD away from ringside. Crush comes in first - Ahmed dominates the encounter from the get-go. Crush gets out of the way of an elbow to turn the tables. He deals out a few blows than goes to a claw on Ahmed's massive traps. He turns it loose and gets a verticle suplex. Ahmed comes back with a brain-buster of his own. This doesn't seem to have much affect as Crush grabs onto a sleeper. Ahmed goes down to the mat but isn't quite out. He fights back up and springs off the ropes only to have a knee buried in his gut. During the next exchange Crush executes a piledriver. Crush signals the NOD to come down but they don't. He sets up for the heartpunch but Ahmed reverses the move and puts him down with a standing spin kick. He gets the pin.
Next up - Savio Vega - Ahmed again dominates the early going but Savio reverses things with a reverse kick. Apparently his ankle has spontaneously heeled... Savio keeps up the pressure with his martial arts skills. After several minutes Ahmed escapes using a hip lock takeover but then goes to the top and misses a move. Now it is a see saw battle. With Ahmed beginning to turn the tide. Savio avoids a Pearl River Plunge by rolling out to the floor - he grabs a chair and uses it to get disqualified then continues to work Johnson over in the ring.
Here comes Faarooq - he removes his sling and demonstrates that his shoulder is fine. His fight with Ahmed is short and is punctuated by the latter fighting back from repeated blows. Ahmed gets a spine buster then the PRP but can't follow up with the pin. Faarooq picks Ahmed up and drops him on his face then gets the pin.
Ken Shamrock vs. Vader (no holds barred) - first we get some video footage of the travails between the two of late - we see the video from earlier of the attack on Shamrock - Vader is interviewed - he says Shamrock knows nothing about pain or the power of Vader - "its Vader time..." yatta yatta...
Vader enters first followed by Shamrock who gets a huge pop - this guy is really put together. Shamrock starts with an attack on Vader's legs using stiff kicks. Vader grabs a waistlock but Shamrock escapes with a wrist lock submission hold. Shamrock goes to a waistlock but Vader reaches the ropes and forces the break. Shamrock starts kicking again then gets a belly-to-back suplex. Vader rolls out of the ring. He sneaks back in while Shamrock is distracted by the ref but gets suplexed yet again for his trouble. Clearly Shamrock is the superior wrestler here. Shamrock next demonstrates some formidable martial arts skills but gets overpowered by the monster. Shamrock tries to hyperextend the elbow of his opponent but Vader overpowers him again. Shamrock gets suplexed out to the floor. Vader poses in the ring while Shamrock writhes out on the floor.
Vader goes out and roughs up the former UFC Champ on the floor. Shamrock is still fighting but Vader holds onto the advantage. Back in the ring Vader grabs an ankle lock. Shamrock rolls out of it. Another scuffle then Vader splashes him in the corner. He goes for his moonsault but misses. Shamrock is back on the attack and slaps on a leghold - Vader gains the ropes. Shamrock tries another submission hold (a reverse ankle lock) but Vader gets too the ropes again. After the next exchange Shamrock tries the same hold again and this time Vader taps out. Afterward Vader has to be assisted to leave the ring area.
Stone Cold is interviewed backstage - he doesn't seem concerned about the prospect of the Harts at ringside.
Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker - WWF Title match - no sign of the Harts yet as the two men make their entrances - as the two go nose to nose the Harts (w/Pillman) come down and take their seats. Austin attacks before the bell and we are under way. UT is still wearing his robe and title belt. He recovers and turns the tables. Austin gets tossed out and gets into a fight with Owen Hart - drags him over the railing and attacks him. UT comes out and takes advantage of the distraction to ram Austin into the ring steps. Back inside he continues to pound on his opponent. Austin reverses things and slaps on a side headlock.
They struggle thus for several minutes - Austin tenaciously holds onto that headlock and keeps going back to it each time UT escapes. Next Austin goes to work on the left knee but has little effect - UT fights back and pounds him into the corner. Austin escapes and gets Undertaker's legs wrapped around the post - as he tries to use the position he gets pulled into the post face first. Back in the ring he goes back to work on the knee. Then he goes behind the big guy - topples him and slaps on an STF. Austin releases the hold and drops some elbows on UT's chest as he lies on the apron. UT recovers and slams Austin into the ring steps again. Back in the ring and now UT is working on Austin's left leg. He pounds on it for a while then grags onto a half crab. Austin makes it to the ropes. He rolls outside then comes back in to take the advantage again. He is back on the knee. He rolls out again and starts ramming UT's leg onto the apron.
Back inside he goes for a suplex but UT blocks it. Austin maneuvers him to the corner and drops him spreadeagle on the top. He takes UT up for a superplex but gets shoved off. Back on the mat he pulls off a jawbreaker that puts his opponent down. Now it is see-saw with neither man really holding the advantage. Austin complains about UT crotching him in retaliation for a similar move on his part. The ref flips him the double-bird and says "F*ck You!"
Undertaker grabs Austin and chokeslams him. Austin rolls to the apron and manages to snap UT's neck off the top rope as the latter reaches over to grab him. Back in the ring Austin executes his stunner and goes for the pin but the bell starts ringing - its Pillman! UT is back up and whips Austin into the ropes then catches him in position for a tombstone - Austin struggles abnd reverses it but UT reverses it again and succeeds in applying the hold. He gets the pinfall. Immediately the Harts are in the ring and all over him. Austin goes out and overturns Bret Hart's wheelchair - grabs a crutch and goes back in to clear the ring. UT is declared the winner and still Champion. As he turns back around, Austin puts the stunner on him then stalks away from the ring area. The Undertaker follows him out as we hear Jim Ross saying that the whole McMahon family wishes Rose Anderson a Happy Mother's Day in Heaven - she passed away last night. I assume this is Vinnie's mother-in-law. Solie's extends condolences to the family. Fade to black.
A very fast paced PPV.
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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