by Ervin Griffin Jr.
Part Part 14: Dark HitMan
After being screwed out of the WWF Title by his brother Owen at the 1994 Survivor Series, Bret spent the month of December recouperating from shoulder injuries he sustained against Bob Backlund in the title loss. Meanwhile, as I briefly touched on last time, Diesel (Kevin Nash) defeated Bob Backlund in 8 seconds at Madison Square Garden for the WWF Title only three days after Backlund won it. Over the next month, Diesel defended the title as frequently as possible (mostly against Backlund).
In January 1995, the WWF announced a WWF World Title Match between Diesel and Bret Hart (a rematch of sorts from The King Of The Ring 1994). Bret, however, wanted to get in some active competition before the big rematch so he scheduled an appearance on WWF Monday Night RAW (as it was known at that time) to face Jeff Jarrett. Before that match, though, he interfered in a WWF Intercontiental Title Match between Owen Hart and then I-C Champion Razor Ramon (Scott Hall). Bret's intentional interference costed Owen the win as he had Ramon trapped in the "sharpshooter" for a possible submission. This was payback for Owen causing Bret to lose the WWF World strap 2 months earlier. Then, during his match with Jeff Jarrett, the "HitMan" was unusually aggresive with his moves and manuvears!!! He even racked Jarrett's face across the top rope and used dirty tactics that no one has seen out of Bret since his Hart Foundation days in the 80's!!! Needless to say, Bret got the win via "the sharpshooter."
Then came the match itself at the 1995 Royal Rumble. The match was a classic which saw both men using dirty tactics as well as legal manuvears to their fullest advantage. To be fair, both men were screwed out of seeing a decisive victor!!! About 20 minutes into the match, Diesel powerbombed Bret and had a sure pin when Shawn Michaels came down and attacked Diesel's left leg (which had been worked over for most of the match by Bret Hart)!!! The ref could've DQ'ed the "HitMan" but chose to have the match continue. Probably because the ref reasoned that Bret wouldn't have had Shawn come down to interfer based on their past. Anyway, Bret took full advantage of Shawn's unwanted interference and slapped the "sharpshooter" on Diesel for a sure submission (I mean, Bret was working on his legs to begin with, Shawn messes up Diesel's leg even more and before Bret placed his finishing hold on Diesel, he hits his leg with a steel chair!!! Diesel would've had to have gave up then!!). But, lo and behold, here comes Owen Hart!! Owen breaks up the hold and then rams Bret, chest-first, into the top turnbuckle without the turnbuckle pad!!! At this point, the ref could've DQ'ed Diesel for interference but chose to let the match go on!! Both men were dog-meat after all of this but they still battled for the title!!! Eventually, Shawn and Owen were joined by Bob Backlund, Jeff Jarrett, and JJ Armstrong in a gang up on both men!!! Bret and Diesel managed to fight them off but not before taking a butt whippin'!!! Both men gave each other respect and hugged after the match. Later, during the Rumble match itself, Bret costed both Owen and Backlund a shot at the WWF title at WrestleMania XI by attacking them as they were coming to the ring!!! This was uncharacteristic behavior, at this time, for Bret although you certainly couldn't blame him. Afterwards, his feud with Owen would die down and Bret would defeat Backlund in an "I Quit" match at WM XI by using Backlund's own hold (cross face chicken wing armlock)!!!
But, there would be no rest for the "HitMan" as a familiar rival appeared again with a new ally.
Coming Soon: Stylin' And Profilin': The Legend Of Ric Flair
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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 to the scene at the end of last weeks' program. Sting descends from the rafters and knocks Randy Savage off the corner buckle, puts him into the Scorpion Deathlock as Hogan and Hall look on, etc.
Live from the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas - Nitro Grrrls are frolicking in the ring. Tony tells us that Sting vs. Savage will be the main event tonight. We cut to a clip from last weeks video of the Nitro Party Grand Prize winner.
Psychosis vs. Juventud Guerrera - both of these guys are near-suicidal high-flyers. We see Raven's Flock coming in as the match begins. Apparently they have again paid for the privelege of sitting ringside. In the ring Juventud has grabbed onto a head scissors to ground his opponent as we cut to commercial.
Psychosis has gained the upper hand as we return. So far we have not seen a single flying move - but then we don't know what happened during the break. The first one of the match results in Psychosis being caught in a reverse Atomic Drop. Now it's all Juventud as he executes a flying Frankensteiner from the top. Then they go back to mat wrestling. Psychosis finally recovers with a reverse belly-to-back suplex then drop-kicks the prone Guerrera out of the ring. Psychosis tries to splash his opponent from the apron but Juve meets him with a drop-kick in mid-air. Both guys hit the ground hard but Guerrera recovers first. Back in the ring he throws his 450 splash to get the pin.
More Nitro Grrrls...
We review the incident on Thunder when Diamond Dallas Page offered a US Title shot to Chris Benoit.
Mean Gene introduces DDP - Dallas says he sees Benoit as under-rated and that he respects Benoit's work ethic and that's why he offered the shot. Okerlund reminds Page that Benoit has earned his moniker "Crippler". DDP agrees and says he wants to test his mettle against the Canadian superstar. Cut to commercial.
Video review of the Giant vs. Kevin Nash. Now they are refering to a neck injury rather than just saying that the Giant has a mild concussion. More clips show Nash using his outlawed powerbomb and being carted away. The fines for using the move have been tripled to $150,000.
Ultimo Dragon vs. Kidman - the ID graphic refers to him as Billy Kidman. Lodi distracts the Dragon so his opponent can drop-kick him from behind. The Dragon comes right back with his kicking machine act. Kidman goes for a suplex reversal and finds himself in a Dragon Sleeper. Fortunately for him Lodi distracts the referee while Saturn breaks up the hold from outside the ring. Kidman takes the advantage and slaps on a reverse chinlock. Th Dragon uses a jaw-breaker to escape. The match see-saws. Kidman is showing some great effort until he runs into an upraised boot. The Dragon applies a half crab but Kidman is in the ropes. Next the Dragon applies a strange looking submission hold - forcing Kidman's neck between his legs while pulling forward on the arms. Kidman escapes and regains the advantage. His control is short lived however - the Dragon ducks a move, gets his twisting Frankensteiner from the top and slaps on the Dragon Sleeper to win. The Flock swarms and the Dragon is overwhelmed. Cut to commercial.
nWo music plays - Kevin Nash comes down to have his say. He's looking fat in his nWo t-shirt. He points out that Kidman just used a variation on the powerbomb during his match with the Dragon - and nothing was said about it. He contends that it isn't what the wrestler does but who the wrestler is (he seems to have a point, actually...) He goes on to say that he can pay any fine and if not, Hogan can. He plans to keep it up. Cut to commercial.
Chris Jericho vs. Super Calo - Cruiserweight Title match - Jericho makes another stupid speech before his opponent makes his entrance. The match gets a fast start and Calo dominates for several moments until Jericho drops him onto the top rope. Jericho applies a standing vertical suplex then slaps on a reverse chinlock. Calo escapes but Jericho is right on him. Jericho is showing a lot of aggression and Calo is paying the price for it. He drops Calo onto the back of his neck then climbs the corner - but Calo gets up and drop-kicks Jericho to the floor from the top. Calo throws a splash from the inside out and Jericho is staggering around saying "Help me..." Back in the ring Calo hits a missle drop-kick and almost gets the pin. Jericho comes back with a vengence as Calo tries a flying head scissors but misses. Jericho applies his Crab (sort of half way) to get the submission victory.
Steven Regal vs. Booker T - TV Title match - Regal is a past holder of this title who brought great prestige to the belt. This should be a good match. Unfortunately Regal has let himself go lately - the flab is much in evidence. His superior wrestling skill is also in evidence, of course. He ties up the Champ pretty thoroughly during parts of this match. Booker counters with those talented feet. The match see-saws repeatedly. Booker eventually takes the pin after a Harlem Side Kick. Cut to commercial.
Bobby Heenan has replaced Larry Z as we return. The announcers talk about the Sting vs. Savage match coming up later. Then they show a clip of Bret Hart talking about the World Title. He wants it, of course.
Konnan (w/Vincent) vs. Hugh Morrus - these two had a pretty fierce feud a while back which lead to Konnan's defection from the Dungeon of Doom to the nWo. Konnan disrespects Morrus at the beginning and gets his clock cleaned for his trouble. Konnan comes right back and soon has things under control. It is shortlived though as Morrus slips in three devastating elbow drops and a powerslam. Morrus goes up for his moonsault but Konnan is right behind him and turns the move into another (apparently) legal powerbomb. Moments later Konnan drops Morrus on his face and takes the pin. Cut to commercial.
More nWo music heralds the appearance of Scott Hall with Dusty Rhodes. They take their time sauntering to the ring. Hall takes the mic and runs his poll...yatta, yatta. He gets a little better response for his side tonight. He rants on about his lost title shot then Dusty does a little ranting of his own. Scott Hall vs Jim Neidhart - Louis Spicolli runs in and says that Hall shouldn't have to wrestle until he gets his title shot. He wants to take the match and hands the mic to Hall. As he distracts Neidhart, Hall attacks with the mic. But Neidhart comes right back and slaps on an Oriental Spike!! Hall is going down until Rhodes jumps up on the apron and distracts Neidhart yet again. Hall slips in behind and gets an Outsiders' Edge (plucking Neidhart off the second rope where he had gone in an attempt to grab the retreating Rhodes) and the pin. The British Bulldog hits the ring and prevents a punk job on his brother-in-law. Cut too commercial.
Mean Gene introduces Lex Luger. Lex in is civies. He rants about his no DQ match with Savage coming up at SuperBrawl - he is his usual incoherant self. Splitting infinitives at will... Cut to Nitro Party tape.
Nitro Grrrls cavort in the audience...
Goldberg vs. Mark Starr - this has to be a squash. Too bad - Goldberg had a great match against Meng over the weekend. Starr attacks Goldberg as he comes through the ropes but Goldgberg is having none of it. That spear of his really looks painfull for both competitors. The Jack Hammer does it's work. Cut to commercial.
Review of the debut of Davey Boy Smith.
The British Bulldog vs. Steve McMichael - rematch from last week. Mongo has a few things to say before the match. He admits that he under-estimated the Bulldog last week and says it won't happen again. Mongo tries to attack as the Bulldog comes in but Davey Boy just drags him out to the floor and creams him. Back in the ring Mongo gets a momentary advantage but the Bulldog maintains his cool and comes back. They go to the floor and Davy Boy is smashed into the ringsteps. These two bulls go at it up the aisle as they are both counted out. They brawl right up to the braodcast position and send the announcers fleeing. Then they fight to the backstage area. Cut to commercial.
Voodoo Child plays - here comes Hogan and Bischoff. Hogan lip synchs the words to the Jimi Hendrix song as he approaches the ring. Bischoff introduces Hogan as the Champ (as usual). He rants about the "injustices" heaped onto the nWo by JJ Dillon and the WCW committee. Hogan backs up Kevin Nash with his wallet. Bischoff wants to talk about the referee for the SuperBrawl title match. Hogan prefers Nick Patrick for the match. He mentions the Macho Man in passing then goes back to the subject. He says he plans to stay out of the Sting/Savage match tonight. Cut to commercial.
Disco Inferno vs. Raven - Raven enters to a steady chant of "Raven Sucks!". They don't seem to like him much in Texas. He enters the ring and sinks into the corner to make his usual self-pitying whine. He attacks ferociously right on the bell and flings Disco to the floor. He brings a chair back in as he returns to the ring. He armdrags Disco onto the chair then rams his head into it. Disco gets loose and some revenge as well. He almost gets a pin - twice. Now it's all Disco but he can't put his opponent away. Raven comes back and slams Disco's face into the mat. The match see-saws as Disco slips in a belly-to-back suplex. He fails at a series of pin attempts. He pounds Raven in the corner as Raven just grins. Moments later he ducks his head too soon and pays for his indiscretion. A DDT puts him down. Cut to commercial.
More Nitro Grrrls up on the platform.
Kevin Nash/Buff Bagwell vs. The Steiner Brothers (w/Ted Didiasi) - we cut to commercial before the Steiners make their entrance.
The Steiners come down as we return. Scotty starts for a change in this one. He gets Buff for his opponent. Also for a change - Steiner doesn't seem to be able to dominate things from the get-go. Eventually Scott comes back with a hip toss and the match see-saws. Buff comes back and assumes command then hands off to Nash who maintains the advantage by pounding Steiner in the corner. He tags Bagwell back in and still Scotty is on the receiving end. Buff and Kevin are tagging well and regularly. Nash almost gets a pin but Rick saves the day. Rick then manages to distract the referee while his brother gets doubleteamed. Nash applies a neck vice, Scotty escapes but Nash downs him then starts to apply a powerbomb. Rick explodes with a clothesline and takes Nash's head off. Moments later Scott has a chance to tag but turns his back on Rick then throws his Frankensteiner and gets the pin on Buff. Rick is livid after the match and demands to know why Scott didn't tag him in. Dibiasi is in his face as well but he blows them off and leaves the ring. Cut to commercial.
Michael Buffer announces the main event...
Randy Savage (w/Miss Liz) vs. Sting - spotlights search the rafters for the Stinger who takes his time making an appearance. He eventually rappells from the ceiling - it's a long way down. He lands in the middle of the stands and enters through the crowd and over the railing. He takes a long time unhooking himself outside the ring before entering. Savage attacks but Sting absorbs the blows. Savage retreats to the floor followed by his opponent. Sting takes the advantage on the outside for a few moments but then Liz throws Savage a weapon and he takes over. Savage goes back into the ring and releases a corner pad - exposing the steel buckle. Sting is still out of it on the floor. Savage brings him back in and Sting comes back to life. He gets the Stinger splash on Savage in the corner opposite the exposed buckle then flings himself onto the trap as he goes to the well again. Savage drops his elbow and would get the pin if Hogan didn't run in a drag him off. Savage rolls out right into the waiting arms of Lex Luger. Meanwhile Sting is on his feet again but Hogan hasn't seen him yet. nWo'rs hit the ring and Sting fights them off the apron. Hogan bails out and Luger joins Sting in the ring as we cut to commercial.
I didn't get the TV channel turned in time to see the teaser at the beginning of the program (sorry...) Live from Indianappolis, Indiana (my home town) we open to a less annoying version of the DX video (they don't start doing the flash cuts right away for a change).
HBK, HHH are outfitted for a political event in Uncle Sam outfits. Red, white and blue balloons shower from the ceiling. They have signs lobbying for a fight between Tyson and Austin at Wrestlemania. They make a joint political style speech toward that end with a "...let them fight" chant at the conclusion. Stone Cold's music plays and he walks right down and gets in Michaels' face. He tells Shawn to his face that he wants the fight with Tyson but eventually he is going to come after the WWF Title. Shawn regards him through slitted eyes throughout the speech. No one makes a move. This is great theater. After the mic is taken away they jaw some more but we can't hear what they say - or I should say...what Austin says - because Shawn continues to maintain silence when they are face to face. Austin backs out of the ring and then spoils the moment with a juvenile hand gesture. Cut to commercial.
Of course we know that Shawn can't possibly wrestle at Wrestlemania because he is a mess. He's on the shelf for the next few months folks. They better get Tyson...
We come back to a feature on Mick Foley and Terry Funk. Jim Ross interviews the duo who laugh about the mayhem they intend to wreck on each other tonight. They refer to their coming contest as a match to determine the "King of the Hardcore Match".
Chainsaw Charlie vs. Cactus Jack - Jack brings out a dumpster full of garbage and a ladder. Funk meets him on the platform with a trash barrel of his own and the brawl is on. Funk takes a chair to Foley who turns the tables and gives some back. The ladder comes into play. They brawl down the ramp and enter the ring garbage cans in hand. After Funk takes a couple of hits Jack then decides he can't do it and offers the can to Funk. Funk takes it but can't hit Jack either. Jack turns his back and Funk brains him from behind. And so it goes as we cut to commercial.
What's interesting about this match is that, although Funk is the relative veteran of the two and has always been a real scrapper, he really didn't cross into true hardcore territory until he started wrestling for ECW. In truth Foley pioneered the hardcore style with others and Funk just followed along. Don't get me wrong, I admire and respect Funk and give him his due for his career - but I've watched both of these guys for years and Mick Foley is the true King of the hardcore style...
We come back to find them back up on the platform fighting in around the dumpster. The ladder is involved again and Jack ends up throwing his legendary elbow onto Funk who lies in the trash. Suddenly the New Age Outlaws run in and slam the lid on them! They lock up the dumpster and then push it off of the platform!! That was an amazing stunt!! They show the incident from about 17 different angles then Ross tries to tell us that it wasn't planned... (dream on Hotline boy...) McMahon is discussing the situation with the Outlaws who are arguing with him but Vince is too concerned with the immediate situation to deal with them. We hear sirens and a gaggle of wrestlers are opening up the dumpster. The cameras peer in and we catch site of Funk and Foley almost buried in packing material (plastic popcorn etc.) Cut back to outside the box. Sunny is sobbing to one side as some of the wrestlers talk trash at the Outlaws hanging in the edge of the scene. Cut to commercial.
EMS is on the scene when we return, Sgt. Slaughter is trying to direct traffic. Sunny is holding Jacks hand and still crying. Flash Funk (no relation) is trying to attack the Outlaws and is being restrained by others. Other wrestlers start trying to get at the Outlaws. Barry Windham alternately restraining people and attacking them...it is reminiscent of the scene on Nitro behind the production trucks the night the Outsiders attacked Arn Anderson, and others...very well played. An entire segment is taken up while the drama goes on.
Foley and Funk are tenderly loaded onto the meatwagons by their friends and enemies as we cut to commercial.
We return to an interview with the Tag Champs who start to admit that maybe they went a little too far but they are interrupted by HHH and HBK who tell them to suck it up and keep up the good work. Cut to commercial.
Baddass Billy (w/Road Dog) vs. Owen Hart - the Tag Team Champs are going to the ring for Billy's match with Owen Hart for the European Title. Owen shows up and goes right to work on both of them. He eventually concentrates on his opponent as Ross tells us what great friends Owen and Funk are. Even Lawler is acting sober and decrying the actions of the Tag Champs. In the ring the match has started to swing to Billy. Lawler is still upset about what happened, refering to the Outlaws as "...those clowns" Meanwhile Owen is about to get the Sharpshooter on Billy. Road Dog pops up on the apron and Owens turns Billy loose. Now DX is headed to the ring and the results are predictable. Owen is hauled out of the ring and beaten up then dragged up the ramp to the platform. The Tag Champs have him ready to toss off the platform to the concrete when the suits finally intervene. DX continues to egg the Outlaws on and we watch the dumpster incident for the 36th time as we cut to commercial.
Ross and Lawler are still discussing the incidents as we return. Lawler is acting all put-out - says he had a whole lot of wisecracks prepared but can't get into it now. Michael Cole calls in from the hospital where the two veterans are in the ER. He has no information.
Mosh (w/Thrasher) vs. Marc Mero (w/Sable & Marilynmanson-dust) - Jim Ross is busy putting down Internet Wrestling pundits (oops! that's me...) to follow the little theater piece that's playing out between Mero and his wife in the ring. He humilliates her as usual then sends her away. Mero then introduces "Marilyn" - Goldust in black wig and lips and eye makeup. The match in the ring is fairly pedestrian until MM-dust pops up on the apron and gets knocked off by Mosh. While Thrasher is putting Goldy down on the outside , Mero slips in a low blow and gets the pin. Cut to the back where the NWA guys are taunting Black Jack Bradshaw on split screen - there seems to be a tag match brewing between Windham/Jarrett and Bradshaw/somebody. Cut to commercial.
Faarooq (w/NOD) vs. Chainz (w/DOA /Ahmed Johnson) - this one will break down any minute. In fact the match goes on for a surprising long time. Michael Cole calls in to tell us that Terry Funk is conscience while Foley still drifts in and out. Back in the match - the NOD have started having an argument among themselves at ringside. Faarooq is counted out as they bicker. They leave arguing but turn back on the platform to give the NOD salute before disappearing. Cut to commercial.
Blackjack Bradshaw/ Flash Funk vs . Jeff Jarrett/Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette and the Rock & Roll Express) - interesting odds here - Bradshaw and Funk don't have a prayer. As Bradshaw wrestles Jarrett in the ring, Funk gets Pearl Harbored by the R&R. He is carted away leaving big Bradshaw to fight alone as we cut to commercial.
Bradshaw is in control as we return but he is so badly outnumbered that it can't last. Jarrett turns the tables the tags in Barry Windham. Windham lights into his former partner but somehow Bradshaw comes back. Jarrett gets back in and is creamed. Bradshaw has Jarrett over his head in a choke when Jimmy Cornette runs in and uses the Tennis Racket. Everything breaks down at that moment as the NWA guys stream into the ring. Bradshaw is held in a Figure Four by Jarrett and splashed by Windham the the R&R.
Michael Cole calls in again to tell us that something is going on. Police have shown up and there appears to be a grave situation in the offing. Are they about to fake Foley's death..? Cut to commercial.
Wink Collins (whoever that is...) is in the ring to tell us about selling out the Fleet Center for WrestlMania in 90 seconds. At the end of his speech the lights go out. Here comes Kane with Paul Bearer. Collins foolishly stands his ground in the ring as the bad guys enter. Bearer takes the mic and then sics his charge on the announcer...enter Vader to save the day. Kane turns loose of his victim to watch the Monster from Colorado approach the ring. Vader strides right up to ringside and challanges Kane to a match. Paul is agreeing as Kane gets ready to attack. Suddenly Vader produces a fire extinguisher and uses it to drive Kane from the ring. Cut to some footage from last weeks incident between the two then to a peek at Steve Austin waiting in the back before we cut to commercial.
The New Age Outlaws come to the ring as we return. We hear that another ambulance has arrived. Stone Cold comes down and goes right to work on the Tag Champs. I guess this is a match..? DX shows up and drags Austin out of the ring. Here we go again. They have him tied up in the ropes in no time and HBK is rubbing the World Title in his face. But wait! here comes Cactus Jack!! Dragging hospital equipment - and Terry Funk in a hospital gown. Jack clears the ring with his IV stand. Funk has his chainsaw. DX and the Outlaws flee with Stone Cold hot on their trail. Arm in arm - Funk and Foley pass Steve Austin on his way back to the ring with one of DX's shirts to tear up. Fade to black...
Well, that was refreshing...real drama for a change on RAW. Stopping the show was a bold step (not that it hasn't been done before...)
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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