by Ervin Griffin Jr
Part 3: WWF Tag Team Championships
After gaining some attention at WrestleMania 2 in the 20 Man Over The Top Rope Battle Royal, the Harts were still in the doghouse (the British Bulldogs' doghouse that is). They started securing title matches in the fall and nearly won them on many occasions. Then, fate intervened for the Harts as the team of Don "The Rock" Muroco and "Cowboy" Bob Orton seriously injured the back of the Dynamite Kid during a title defense in December of 1986.
Then, in January of 1987, The Harts had a scheduled match against The Bulldogs. Davey Boy (understandably) did not want to take the match with his partner not at 100% but Dynamite insisted on the match. Add to the fact that Danny Davis was the referee and you have a stacked deck against the Bulldogs. In case you're wondering, Danny Davis was under much controversy at that point because of some questionable calls he had made (not unlike the more recent Nick Patrick/NWO/WCW affair). It became obvious, as the match progressed, that Davey Boy was going to have to fight this one alone. Davey Boy actually did have the "Anvil" pinned but Davis (conviently) had his head turned during this. The Harts, as they had done all through the match, continued to double-team Smith and finally put Smith in "The Hart Attack." A move similar to the Road Warriors' "Doomsday Device" execpt that Neihart holds a man in a bearhug position and Bret runs of the ropes with a clothesline.
Anyway, The Harts got the pin and were the new WWF Tag Team Champions despite the protests of wrestlers and fans everywhere. I personally thought that these guys would lose to the first good team that came along but they actually proved themselves worthy of the title during their seven month reign. Then, as if to balance the scales of justice, "The Anvil" suffered a back injury during the fall of 1987. In October 1987, Strike Force (Tito Santana/Rick Martel) defeated the Harts by submission as Martel applied his Boston Crab to Neiharts bad back. "The Anvil" had no choice but to give up the match and his title or risk his career. But, as we all know, this was not the end of the Harts and certainly not Bret Hart.
NEXT TARGET: The "Original" Royal Rumble
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Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the
We open with a video clip of the Sting dummy plummeting to earth and Tony asking the question: "Where is Sting?"
Live from Knoxville, TN - Mike, Tony and Legandary Larry are our hosts and they start by talking about Larry's upcoming match with Eric Bischoff. More clips as the story unfolds...Eric is shown finally accepting Zbyszco's challange.
Mean Gene invites Eric Bischoff to the come on down. Bischoff takes his time strutting and preening on his way to the ring. He seems to think he can beat Larry Z (dream on hair-boy...) but now says that he doesn't have any"contract" to wrestle Zbyszco and will only do it if Larry puts up Nitro as an nWo TV Program on the line. He adds that since Zbyszco doesn't have that authority that means no match. I smell an nWo TV show on the horizon - maybe soon...
Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera - Eddie Guerrero takes Mike Tenay's place at the broadcast table for this one. The match is the ring is an exciting one - completely ignored by the announcers. This is one of the rare times when we see Guerrera as the bigger competitor - and he takes full advantage of his superior size. He effectively grounds Misterio and then deals some great power moves. After taking it for a few minutes Rey is reeling but still manages to get lose and take to the air. He downs Guerrera and then catches his Frankinsteiner finishing move to get the pin. Cut to commercial.
Wrath (w/James Vandenburg/Mortis) vs. Hugh Morrus - here's two big young talents. I believe Wrath has the experience edge here but Morrus is an amazing athlete. Raven and his Flock are sitting ringside. Wrath dominates from the beginning by attacking before the bell. The big mistake is that Mortis decides to interfere by loading his boot with a chain and trying to kick Morrus in the head. He gets his partner instead and Morrrus takes an easy victory. Morrus escapes further contact by leaving immediately. Cut to commercial.
A Glacier vs. Ernest Miller match is advertised for WCWSN this coming weekend.
nWo music blairs (Hendrix actually) and Hogan comes down with Bischoff. Hogan is tgeturing toward the fans wearing Sting masks. Bischoff has the mic and intros Hogan. Hogan rants about how he is the guy who puts butts in the seats - he rants against Sting and his fans. He challanges Sting to fight right now. Then goes back to berating the fans for choosing Sting over him. The crowd doesn't like him one bit. An elderly lady at ringside holds up a Sting match and gets into a shouting match with Hogan. For his part he tries to menace her but she is not backing up an inch so he eventually stalks away.
Yuji Nagata (w/Sonny Onoo) vs. Prince Iukea - I expect a win for Nagata here. The Prince is talented but this Yuji guy is a monster! Iukea shows me something by adjusting to Nagata's mat wrestling style pretty effectively. In fact he dominates the early going. Nagata escapes with a belly to back suplex. The Prince rolls out to the floor and receives Sonny Onoo's tender attention before escaping back into the ring. Nagata goes to work in earnest and is relentless, grinding on the left leg methodically. They get to their feet and have a chop-off which favors Iukea until Nagata applies his thumb to the eye. Nagata is closing in for the kill when he maneuvers Iukea up onto the top turnbuckle. Iukea shifts the balance point at the top and pulls out a super-powerslam to get the pin. Cut to commercial.
Faces of Fear vs. Harlem Heat - Raven and his gang are shown again in the audience just before this match. Two good, big teams - one with a lot more experience, the other with all the talent in the world. The Faces dominate the first exchanges but soon Booker T gets in a series of kicks on Meng and the Heat take control. It doesn't last long however. Barbarian replaces his winded partner and regains the advantage. The match see-saws with the Heat slowly gaining ground. Outside, Jaquelyn hauls Jimmy Hart off the apron and they tussle on the floor. In the ring the Heat are breaking up a doubleteam attempt and then Barbarian is rolled up and pinned by Stevie Ray while Meng grabs Booker T by the throat. On the floor Hart is being choked out by Jaquelyn who sits astride his chest! Meng chases her off and the Faces help their manager to his feet. Cut to commercial.
nWo music plays as we return. The audience is a sea of Sting masks. Vince McMahon has gotta be peeing his pants... Hall and Nash saunter to the ring. Hall does his call and response schtick and then Nash rants about Sting and the Giant and then turns his attention to Disco Inferno for some reason. He uses an analogy refering to President Kennedy's assassin then segues right into calling out Disco. Cut to commercial.
Disco dances down and does his performance in the ring while Hall sits on the turnbuckle watching. Apparently this is a match against Hall. Disco surprises his opponent early on with some heavy chops but then Hall asserts himself. Hall puts Disco down with a chokeslam. Disco falls out of the ring and gets creamed by Nash. Back in the ring, Hall is brutal. He ends the match with an Outsider's Edge. Surprisingly they don't punk Disco after the match but spend the time elaborately congratulating each other. Cut to commercial.
Bobby Heenan has joined the broadcast team in Larry's place as we return. They discuss the idea of putting up Nitro for the Zbyszco/Bischoff match. Then we cut to Mean Gene with JJ Dillon. Dillon states that he has the power to do it and has agreed to put Nitro up for Bischoff's agreement to wrestle Larry Z! Bischoff shows up and tries to say that Dillon can't do that - Dillon says he can and has done it! Eric is speechless as we go to...
Ultimo Dragon vs. Psychosis - Psychosis appears with a new costume. His horns are less pronounced and his hair has a wet look now. He takes the early advantage with some fancy flying moves and a drop kick into the corner. Dragon comes back with a Hurracanranna. The match see-saws with Psychosis gaining ground until he climbs to the top and gets his legs drop-kicked from under him. Dragon suplexes him off the top and then applies the Dragon Sleeper to take the pin. Cut to commercial.
Chris Benoit vs. Raven - Raven refuses the match and sends Kidman into face Benoit. The mysterious blonde guy is still there and still unidentified. In the ring Kidman gets creamed from the beginning. Benoit is pissed that Raven didn't take the match and calls him out. Raven stands up but doesn't approach the ring. Benoit continues to pound on his opponent and taunt the birdman. The fight goes to the floor where Saturn gets in a shot then Kidman throws his shooting star press off the ring apron and succeeds! Back in the ring he keeps up the pressure but can't put his opponent away. Blondie at ringside holds a "Kidman World Tour 1997" sign. Kidman starts to flag and Benoit comes back strong. He gets his submission hold on and wins the match as the Flock swarms. He fights them all off until he faces Hammer - who keeps his attention long enough for Raven to spin him around and apply his DDT. Cut to commercial.
Nitro Grrrrls...in the aisle this time (my wife gets up and leaves the room...)
nWo music again...Buff Bagwell vs. Lex Luger - Bagwell comes down with Vincent in tow. Luger doesn't need any back-up. I suppose these two are due to have a pose down any minute... Sure enough it is the first order of business. Afterward Buffy gets catty and slaps Luger. Big mistake - Luger runs him from the ring. Luger goes out and gets blindsided and then thrown back into the ring. Now Bagwell holds the advantage but doesn't seem to know how to attack his massive opponent. He drops into a reverse chinlock and rests a while. Eventually Luger fights back to his feet. They criss-cross then collide head to head. Both guys are down but Luger recovers first. Somehow Bagwell reverses Luger's momentum and retakes the initiative. The match see-saws with both guys landing some heavy shots. Bagwell starts getting cocky and struts one time too many. Luger recovers with a powerslam. Vincent jumps on the apron but gets ejected. Luger turns to Bagwell as Vincent mounts the corner buckle. Luger turns back and tosses Vincent onto Bagwell. Then he racks both of them one at a time! Luger gets the DQ victory. Cut to commerial.
We see an nWo paid announcement showing DDP getting punked by the nWo.
Curt Hennig vs. Diamond Dallas Page - US Title match - this is a rematch from WCWSN. In that match, Hennig got himself disqualified just before DDP put on the Diamond Cutter. Hennig makes his entrance and then we cut to commercial.
It is 5 minutes after the hour as we return and Page makes his entrance. They start out jawing at each other and then spit their gum in each other's faces before the fight starts! Its a real donnybrook with DDP steadily taking the lead until Hennig mule kicks him in the groin. DDP is down and Hennig applies the boots to him about the head and shoulders. DDP falls out and Hennig goes out and tosses him back in. During the scuffle outside Randy Anderson takes a shot to the eye. Back inside Hennig has grounded Page and is grinding away with a headlock. Page fights off the sleeps and gets to his feet. He breaks free but falls right back into a sleeper. He twists away but bounces back into it again. Hennig takes him to the mat then releases the hold so he can kick him some more. This gives DDP a chance to get to his feet and the fight is on. They have a slug fest and Hennig loses. DDP pancakes him. Then Rick Rude shows up. Still Page gets the Diamond Cutter but Rude drags Anderson out of the ring before he can count him down. The nWo swarms in and puts Page out of commission. Hogan and Savage come down - here we go again. Hogan performs a clumsy Diamond Cutter on Page. DDP is hauled up and held while Hogan puts a Sting match on him. He is Diamond Cutted onto the World Title belt. Hogan rants at Sting then they have to restrain him from attacking the elderly lady at ringside (yeah...right...) Fade to black.
We get a replay of the Tag Team title change from the last week and then the show begins. BA Billy and his partner in crime go to the ring and the Road Dog rants about defeating the Road Warriors. Billy takes the mic and announces a non-title match with the Headbangers. The LOD in street clothes (no face paint) invades the ring and send the new Champs high-tailing it. Animal takes the mics and vows that they will take back the belts back soon - meanwhile he threatens the Champs with bodily harm. Hawk echoes his sentiments. We cut to Jim Ross announcing that we will see some new footage from Survivor Series which throws doubt on Bret Hart's story about getting screwed. The clip seems to show the end of the match from another angle. Now what?? McMahon is relentless... Cut to commercial.
Sunny prances to the ring all pretty in pink. She's here to announce the next match. This is another Light Heavyweight Title Tournament match.
Aguila vs. Taka Michinoku - Aguila reminds me of Juventud Guerrera in body style and costume - which means he resembles Sean Waltman (except for the mask). The fight goes out of the ring early when Aguila throws a handspring over the top rope too the floor and lands on his feet. Taka springboards off the top rope into a soaring dive and splashes his opponent. Later Aguila throws a corkscrew planche that gets a full three turns (those are hard - I know, I was a gymnast in school...back in the Pleisticene Age) The match is a thoroughly high-flying affair with both competitors risking life and limb. Certainly the best Light Heavyweight match I've seen so far on RAW. In the end Taka executes his Michinoku Driver to take the win.
Goldust (w/Luna) interview - Goldust comes out in a bondage outfit with Luna leading him on a chain. He has a rubber ball tied on as a gag and his face is yellow with black stripes. The outfit is green laytex. His hair is bright red. Luna does all the talking. Lawler asks for her thoughts on Vader. She says Goldust will beat him...in so many words... we see the Road Warriors in their dressing room suiting up for battle... cut to commercial.
Four Corners match - Chainz (w/DOA minus Crush) vs. D-Lo Brown (w/NOD) vs. Miguel Perez (w/Los Borecuas) vs. Recon (w/the Truth Commission) - this one is made for a brawl - actually it's pretty amazing how far this match goes without breaking down. Recon is taken out first but his team mates don't leave. Next Perez pins D-Lo - the NOD stays around. Suddenly the melee erupts and we have an (almost) Battle Royal. The Jackel joins the announcers then has second thought when he sees his team leaving the area with the Borecuas - leaving him behind with DOA... cut to commercial.
The Degeneration-X Video starts up as we return. Shawn Michaels is pushed out in a wheelchair. He addresses us from the chair up on the platform. He rants about the Neidhart punking and call him a "sucker" (with lollypops as props). HHH takes the mic and taunts the "Anvil" concerning their match later tonight. He also addresses Sgt. Slaughter - he says he's not afraid of a Boot Camp match and adds a gratuitis sexual taunt. HBK then admits that he is not injured - just worn out from the workouts that Chynna has him doing. He's training his legs to neutralize Ken Shamrocks ankle submission. HHH twists his foot to demonstrate Shawn's high pain threshhold. He twists the foot right around - it is a fake leg... cut to commercial.
They show the "revealing" footage which shows exactly what we all saw at Survivor Series. Bret didn't tap out or say "I give up". The ref watched Shawn settle in and then signalled for the bell. Jim Ross tries to convince us that because Bret didn't escape until after the bell rang, that somehow that means that Bret lost legitimately. I guess I'm dense but I don't get the point here... JR tells us there will be more "revealing" footage later on in the second hour. It hope its better then this stuff...
Video of the Austin/Maivia feud so far leads to...
The second hour opens with a new version of the standard montage. The announcers are hyping the Vader/Maivia match coming up.
Rocky Maivia (w/NOD) vs. Vader - Maivia again announces this match as being "non-Title". Vader tries desparately to get a reaction from the crowd but they aren't interested in him. Before the match can start, Steve Austin drives into the arena in his King Cab. He jumps out and climbs on top of it. Rocky tries to split but his cohorts drag him back to the ring. In the ring he suffers from distraction as Austin's car stereo blairs from the back. Vader is taking Maivia apart until he mounts the turnbuckle then dives straight into a powerbomb. Rocky slaps on a swinging DDT then tosses Vader out to be savaged by the NOD. Back inside Rocky can only maintain his advantage temporarily. The match see-saws and Vader is ejected from the ring. JR lets loose a homophobic remark as Goldust suddenly runs in and attacks Vader. Vader takes off after his tormenter so that Rocky can get the win by count-out. Rocky and Stone Cold face off from across the arena then the NOD leaves. They are promoing a Jeff Jarrett/Ahmed Johnson match later but I'll believe it when I see it. What's so interesting about all this stuff with Jarrett is that nobody really cares. They didn't care when he was in the WWF before, they didn't care when he was in WCW and they don't care now. Jeff Jarrett needs to turn face and have a cause. Cut to commercial.
Scott Taylor is in the ring for his match with Bryan Christopher but Kane comes down instead and lays waste. Good thing for Christopher actually - he wouldn't want to follow the earlier Tournament match. What strikes me funny here is that you just know that all of this buildup of the Light Heavyweights is to give us Lawler's little boy as the first Champ. Regardless of how good the competition is (and so far it hasn't been all that impressive except for Michinoku and now Aguila) - Brian Christopher will be the Light Heavyweight Champ. He'll either win it first or he'll steal it from the Michinoku (you heard it here first).
Ahmed Johnson vs. Jeff Jarrett - assuming Jarrett shows up...oops...there he is on the platform telling us that he won't wrestle again tonight. He says the WWF dropped the ball on his promotion or something... Ahmed calls him "Chicken***t and then Sgt. Slaughter stops him on the ramp and tells him that he will be wrestling the Undertaker at the PPV coming up on Sunday. Jarrett has no rejoinder for that.
Headbangers vs. BadAss Billy and the Road Dog - non-Title match - this is the only way these perpetual jobbers are going to be the Champs for more than 15 minutes. I've gotten a lot of mail lately telling me how talented these shmucks are. Trust me folks, these clowns are being set-up to give the LOD somebody to feud with, and win the belts back from. I will be surprised if this team even exists through the first of the year. We meet the competitors then cut to commercial.
The Bangers are in rare form tonight and take the advantage from the beginning. The Champs seem to have to use shortcuts to get anywhere. Billy has the advantage briefly and turns it over to the Dog who squanders their initiative. The next moment sees the Road Warriors hitting the ring. The Champs run right to their car and split (again...)
We go to a review of the DX/Neidhart situation leading us to the HHH/Neidhart match later. Cut to commercial.
Marc Mero and sable come to the ring to be interviewed by Jim Cornett - he starts out by telling Mero that Sable is the star of their family. Mero responds with a rant directed at the fans and his wife. He refers to her as his "property" and says he is going to teach Butterbean a lesson. He gets Sable to hold the hand mitts for him. They have Butterbean's picture on them. He knocks one of the mitts off her hand then insults her. He rants about spending months in rehab while she paraded around the WWF. She starts crying and he tells her to leave. He then rants some more at Butterbean. Cut to commercial.
The "revealing" Tapes: Part 2 - Once more they show us nothing we haven't already seen but try to put a different spin on it. Vince! Everybody saw that jaded look on Bret's face after the call - talk about it was all over the Internet that night... McMahon is losing his cool big time...sorry folks, there is such a thing as personal integrity and, regardless of what Bret did after the event, Vince has shown not a shred of personal integrity since this deplorable incident happened. In fact he has made it into an angle...his talk of taking legal action is a smoke screen...
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs Jim Neidhart - Neidhart takes the early advantage then goes out to chase Michaels and gets into trouble. HHH has him under control for about 3 seconds then he comes back with a clothesline. Hunter has to use an eye gouge to get a moment's pause - then he gets run down again. Shawn jumps onto the apron and allows himself to be snatched so that HHH can run up behind Neidhart with a chair. Chynna is keeping the referee busy. After the pin the thugs attack Neidhart and then spray paint his back (gosh! I wonder where they got that idea...? Even JR comments on the "originality" of it all) with the letters "W.C.W". He jumps up and they scatter then come back and take him down again. Next the handcuff him to the top rope. At this point Sgt. Slaughter shows up and is knocked down. Ken Shamrock runs in and suplexes Michaels. Meanwhile Slaughter has a Cobra Clutch on Hunter while Neidhart holds Chynna back. Fade to black.
I do apologise for all of the editorializing I did in this report. There is so much going on, this Vince/Bret thing really bugs me and it seems like Vince just keeps sinking lower and lower...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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