Live from the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey
The program kicks off (after a lackluster Free-For-All - I missed the first ten minutes and am not sure if there was a match - if there was it was a short one) with the Star Spangled Banner then goes into a video promo for the event for which we've already paid.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Mankind - Cage Match - an interesting choice for the opening contest - either tells us in what esteem the current King of the Ring is held (not much) or that they expect the rest of the card to be really spectacular. After all the buildup, with the historical videos of Mick Foley and all, I expect we'll see Mankind either fly or fall off the top of the cage tonight (maybe more then once). Hunter dives for the door as soon as the bell rings. Fat chance for that happening... This is Foley's kind of match and he starts very aggressive. I notice that Mankind has grown back all of his hair...and he's covering up the disfigured ear. Shortly into the contest Mankind slaps on the Mandible Claw but Chynna goes up on the cage and breaks it up (this is a no-DQ match of course). Moments later Mankind tries (and succeeds in) getting over the top of the cage but Chynna again gets in his way. Foley is suplexed off the top of the cage (there's one...)
Helmsley is in control now and is all over his opponent. After some dire punishment he makes his move, choosing to go over the top instead of simply exiting through the door. Foley catches his leg and forces him back inside. Now it's Mankind's chance to get some shots in. Hunter tries to turn the tables with an Atomic Drop but Foley just takes it and then gives back one of his own. Hunter is still in trouble. He gets smashed into the cage from all four directions. Hunter finally reverses a move and back drops his opponent into the cage wall. He goes for the top again. Mankind follows him up, they struggle and Hunter gets dropped astraddle then ties up his leg in the ropes. Mankind goes for the door but gets it slammed into his head by Chynna. The referee protests so she slams him into the steps. Both competitors are down, Chynna grabs a chair and climbs partway up the cage to throw it in to her man. Hunter tries to use it but gets back-dropped onto it himself. Then he is flung into the cage wall and downs his valet! Mankind climbs the cage and is about to drop to the floor but instead tears off his leather mask and tosses it away. Then he climbs back to the top of the cage!! He exposes his chest to show the Heart shaped decoration then throws a Macho Man style (or HBK style if you want) elbow onto his opponent from the top (that's two...)
Now Foley is climbing the cage and Chynna is inside trying to drag Hunter out the door. Foley gets there first and wins the match. As he lies on the floor outside the Dude Love music begins to play - his foot begins to twitch to the beat. Dude Love is back!!!
Todd Pettingill introduces Gorilla Monsoon and NJ Governor Christy Todd Whitman. She is given a WWF Title belt.
Goldust vs. Brian Pillman - Pillman has vowed to put on one of Marlena's dresses if he loses this match. The dress waits ringside on a manniquin. Pillman attacks from behind before the bell. Pillman is clearly outclassed in this contest. Goldust has him well in hand through the first several exchanges. He even gets a chance to kiss his opponent on the lips. Pillman finally turns the tables for a moment but then decides to chase Marlena around the ring and gets caught in a clotheline. He comes back again in the ring but again it is only momentary. Outside the ring he uses Marlena as a shield and finally takes control for a while. After a couple of exchanges he grabs onto a sleeper and holds on for dear life. Goldust escapes but is downed by a clotheline. Now the match is see-saw. Each man has his moments until a failed Sunset Flip almost gets Dustin pinned - but Marlena comes through with a purse shot to the face of Pillman. Goldust wins the match. Marlena shoves the manniquin with Mr. Pillman's new frock under the bottom rope before they leave.
The Godwins vs. The Road Warriors - for once the Godwins aren't the superior team. LOD dominates the early going. The crowd is solidly behind them, of course. The Godwins have some great team work but they can't seem to get much going in this contest. Still the Warriors clearly have a lot of respect for their opponents and wrestle a comparitively cautious match. At one point Henry is tagged in and Hawk backs away then tags in the Animal. Later Phinious slaps a devastating Bearhug on Animal and almost puts him out. Now the Godwins are in control until Henry tries an uncharacteristic flying move and misses. Hawk comes back in and cleans house. He puts a neck-breaker on Henry but Phineous makes the save. Then they attempt their double-team finisher (Doomsday Device) but Phineous again interferes. He gets clotheslined and knocked out of the ring. Inside a spiked-piledriver on Henry gets the win for the Warriors.
Lets draw for a million dollars. Two eligible entrants are on hand - two more are called on the spot. They waste a lot of time on one phone call that isn't answered and another that's disconnected. They get through finally on the third call and the guy isn't watching the show - but he gets to pick a number - and the key doesn't fit (he wins a $5000 Savings Bond). They call another one and she gets a Savings Bond as well. The first live entrant fails to open the coffin (he gets a kiss from Sable and the Savings Bond) ditto the second live entrant (he gets a hug from Sunny). Nobody won the million...
Video review of the Shamrock/Bulldog arm-wrestling fiasco.
The British Bulldog vs. Ken Shamrock - European Title match - the Bulldog has said that he will eat dog food if he loses this match. The two go at it before the bell sounds. Shamrock has the upper hand after the first exchange. He is very aggressive and is throwing a lot of punches. The Bulldog finally suckers him into a corner and turns the tables. Shamrock tries to comeback but hasn't really fully adapted to this catch-as-catch-can style. He hangs in there but can't seem to make much headway. On the outside he gets slammed into the steps. Davey Boy would have liked to hit him with the steps again but is prevented by the referree. Shamrock makes a brief comeback but is still not really in the match. His lip is split and he is pouring blood. Outside again the Bulldog slaps a handfull of dog food into his opponent's face. Shamrock goes nuts and gets disqualified for using the dog food can as a weapon. He takes the Bulldog back inside and starts choking him out. Five referees try to break it up - then the suits arrive but Shamrock won't let go. Davey Boy is turning purple. They finally get him to release the hold but he's not finished. He suplexes several suits (including Jack Brisco) and a couple of referees then stands alone in the ring screaming before leaving the area. Certainly he will get fined for this performance.
Jim Ross interviews Shawn Michaels about his referee stint later tonight. He vows to call the match fairly. He says he and Bret Hart settled their differences last year at SummerSlam. That match will bear watching.
Video review of the Los Boricuas vs. Disciples of Apocolypse feud (the WWF version of the Sharks vs the Jets). Funny how none of these guys are going after the NOD anymore...
Los Boricuas vs. the Disciples of Apocolypse - 8 Man Tag Match - very hard to call this one. The DOA greatly out weigh their opponents. Brian Adams (Chains) shows us a lot at the beginning of this one. Superior teamwork is the only thing that keeps Los Boricuas alive. NOD decides to come down and provide some distraction about 5 minutes into the action. They surround the ring. Ahmed starts pulling up the pads around the ring. In the ring, Los Boricuas have the upper hand. Chains is the one who finally turns the tables, then he goes out and assaults Ahmed Johnson. He gets PPP'd on the concrete. In the ring Los Boricuas has carried the day. Naturally a melee erupts immediately among all three factions. Crush rides into the midst of it on his motorcycle but doesn't have much effect. Cut to Ground Zero PPV promo.
Next up - Owen Hart vs. Steve Austin - Intercontinental Title match - but first we get a video review of past clashes between the two. Stone Cold has vowed to kiss Owen's posterior if he can't win the Title tonight. Owen enters first. Austin refuses to comment to an interviewer on his way to the ring. Owen attacks before the bell and goes right to work on Austin's already damaged knee. Austin turns the tables almost immediately with some punches and a Thesz press. Owen avoids getting hung up to dry on the bottom rope but Austin still downs him with a clothesline. Steve is still in control. Austin seems to be concentrating on Owen's upper left arm. Owen finally levers Austin into the ringpost to retake control. Soon he is resorting to biting to hold onto his advantage. He wrenches on the challangers fingers and continues to bite them as well. Austin finally gets a Stun Gun to reverse things. Then he reverses a Frankensteiner into a powerbomb. Owen tries to leave the ring area but Austin goes out and brings him back. Owen is begging off now. Moments later he reverses a whip and gets a powerslam. Owen is back in control. He tries to get the pin several times without success. Now he has a neck-vice applied. He releases the hold and whips Austin into the corner - Austin rebounds and hits a clothesline. Austin tries to apply a Sharpshooter but gets kicked off.
Now its see-saw with Austin still in command for the most part. A belly-to-back gets Owen back into the saddle - he applies a camel-clutch. The next exchange sees Austin succomb to a DDT - but Owen can't get the pin. He slaps on a reverse chin lock and takes a well deserved rest. Austin escapes and applies a sleeper which Owen reverses. Austin hits him with a jaw-jacker to escape once more. Owen downs his opponent again and applies a modified STF. Owen inches over to the ropes so he can use his feet to get more leverage. Referee Earl Hebner finally catches him at it and makes him release the hold. As they argue, Austin attacks from behind but gets reversed and Tombstoned (shades of the Undertaker indeed...) The referee is concerned about Austin (who seems to be hurt) and holds Owen off. Owen decides to showboat for the crowd and gets rolled up from behind. Austin is still hurt, however he is the new IC Champ. The referees have to hold him upright to acknowledge the applause from the partisan crowd.
Video review of the incidents leading up to the Main Event. I swear fully 1/4 of the time of this PPV has been spent doing these reviews...
The Undertaker vs. Bret Hart - WWF Title match - Shawn Michaels is the Guest Referee - the Hitman is introduced first and enters carrying the Canadian flag. His reception is mixed cheers and boos despite Vince's attempt to make us believe the crowds hates him. The boos clearly outweigh the cheers when he grabs a mic and demands that the Canadian National Anthem be played and dedicates the match to his fellow Canadians and other non-American fans. Some members of the audience turn their backs on him during this display. Next they introduce HBK to a pretty solid pop. His referee's stripes are in the form of a sleeveless polo shirt. He does his usual schtick...
The Undertaker's music plays and he enters for what (I suspect) will be the last time as the WWF Champ. He's had a good run but there is just no way that Bret is going to be forced to stop wrestling in the US. Life isn't fair... (The lead-up to this match has consumed a full 20 minutes...)
There is a sadness in UT's eyes that is unmistakable. Bret gives a little lip to Shawn over the pre-match check. Shawn takes his time displaying the Title belt. Bret attacks as UT is disrobing. The bell sounds and we are underway. UT turns the tables immediately and then takes the challanger outside the ring. Michaels asserts his authority and earns Bret the advantage. They continue to brawl on the outside - a see saw affair now. Shawn finally gets them back in the ring. UT is back in control. He slaps on an over-the-knee back breaker the goes for a pin. No cigar. Next he grabs a Bearhug. Bret refuses to submit but can't break free until he bites UT's nose. They criss-cross and UT misses an elbow drop. Bret starts attacking the left leg of his opponent - his standard attack pattern and the ideal one for this long-legged very agile opponent. He ends his initial assault by applying a figure four. At this point Paul Bearer comes mincing down to ringside.
UT is trying to turn the hold over and succeeds. Bret reaches the ropes and Shawn calls for the break. A moment later UT starts to pummel Paul Bearer on the outside. He pays for his indiscretion when Bret clips him behind the knee. Bret throws UT back in then drags him to the corner and puts on his peculiar figure four leglock on. Shawn threatens to disqualify him and counts to 4 before the hold is reliquished. Now the rest of the Harts have arrived. In the ring, Bret has taken UT back to the corner and jumped out to jam it against the post. Shawn is out there telling him to take it back inside. He complies and continues his assault. UT finally gets a breather by dropping a heavy (undamaged) leg on his opponent. He goes out and assaults some Harts. Back inside he gets a chokeslam and tries a pin - but Michaels is busy keeping an eye out for the Harts return (looks suspicious to me) UT grabs him but relents when Shawn asserts his authority once again. Bret grabs a roll-up from behind and almost gets the pin.
Now the Hitman is in control. He can't put his opponent away however (you can tell when UT is going to do his "pop-up" schtick - he always assumes that "deadman" pose after a move). Bret continues his assault which ends abruptly when UT levers him into the corner turnbuckle. UT misses a pin attempt. Bret is back and working on the upper body now. He attempts a Sharpshooter but UT reaches through it and grabs Bret's throat. He settles for a knee lift. Bret then gets caught in the set-up for a chokeslam but kicks the big guy's knee. Some more see-saw action ensues. As Bret stands out on the apron UT finally gets his chokeslam from the outside-in. Bret kicks out. UT tries his rope-walking schtick but Bret kicks the ropes out from under him. The Hitman goes for a superplex - misses it the first time then conects on the second attempt. Back on the mat he applies the Sharpshooter. UT muscles out of it!!!
Hitman flies out of the ring but is right back in. He attacks the head but loses the exchange. Bret comes back and downs UT again with an attack on the knee. He drags him to the corner again and this time tries to apply a Sharpshooter around the post. UT kicks him off and Michaels is downed. Bret grabs a chair and smacks UT with it. Shawn is back in time to make the count but still no cigar. Shawn notices the chair in the corner and confronts Bret about it. Bret spits in his face. An enraged Michaels swings the chair but Bret ducks and the Undertaker gets it in the face. Bret covers the Champ and Michaels is forced to count to three. Shawn leaves in disgust and is followed out by the Undertaker.
Despite taking way too much time on video reviews and non-paying contests - this was a pretty good Pay-Per-View.
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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