First, I would like to say that BattleBowl is off and running and that the voting deadline will be March 15 so get your votes in to see who goes on to my BattleBowl "what if" story.
Now, I appreciate all of the e-mail that I get from wrestling fans of Solie's but, for the record, this is Earl Oliver's page, not mine. I am flattered when someone thinks it is my page but this is Earl creation, I just write for the man.
Anyway, that's all and see ya for Rick Steamboat VS. Chris Benoit.
By Ervin Griffin, Jr.
Part 18: The Stone Cold Days
During the summer of 1996, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin began to emerge as a major player in the WWF. Defeating everyone in his path. In September of 1996, rumblings began of a matchup between Austin and Bret "The HitMan" Hart. Austin had a choice opinion about the matchup:
Needless to say, there was no doubt in Austin's mind who would win. Meanwhile, Bret Hart was making up his mind whether to come back or not and, if he did come back, would he come back to the WWF? WCW had made him (as Bret described it) a "tremendous offer." An offer to wrestle for $2 million dollars to be exact. But, in the end, Bret felt he had too much unfinished business in the WWF (I also suspect that he didn't want to play second fiddle to Hulk Hogan in WCW). So, Bret announced his return to the WWF and also announced that he would face Autin at the 1996 Survivor Series. The night of the match, WWF President Gorilla Monsoon added that the winner of the match would get a definite title shot at a December In Your House in West Palm Beach, FL. Both men had pointed comments before the match:
"Stone Cold' Steve Austin!!! I am not greedy for money!!! I am greedy for respect!! And when this thing is all said and done, you will respect me!!" - Bret Hart
As for the match itself, it was a classic battle that saw "The HitMan" turned Austin's "million dollar dream" sleeper into a pinning combination. I don't think he earned Austin's respect as much as he earned his wrath that night though. Austin became obsessed with Bret from that night on. He was partially responsible for Bret not regaining the WWF Title at the December IYH (along with Shawn Michaels), he attacked Bret on several occasions, and he screwed Bret out of the Royal Rumble victory when Austin illegally threw Bret out when Austin had actually had already been eliminated. WWF President Gorilla Monsoon (in response to Bret's comments about quitting), let Austin keep The Royal Rumble victory but denied him the title shot that the winner was supposed to get. Instead, he forced Austin and Hart, along with the other two men that Austin screwed (Undertaker and Vader), to fight in a "final four" match with the winner getting the title shot at WrestleMania 13. But Shawn Michaels, claiming that he had a knee injury (rumors had him actually going to drug rehab for pain killers while others said that he was getting out jobbing to Bret at WM 13), chose to give up the WWF Title. Gorilla Monsoon then made the "final four" match a championship match up with the winner getting the title. The bad news was that the next night on RAW, the winner would have to face "Sycho" Sid. In any event, Bret Hart won this encounter by eliminating UT over the top rope. Personally, I think that the "over the top rope" rule shouldn't even been added. I liked the no DQ, no countout, no time limit rules but that one shouldn't have even been written into the match!!! That rule just made the match, essentially, "The Royal Rumble" all over again. I'm not taking away from Bret's victory but I would've rather seen him win by pinfall or submission.
Anyway, Bret would go on to RAW to face "Sycho" Sid. Before the match, however, SCSA attacked both Bret and Sid. Austin injured Sid's left leg during the attack and the match had to be moved until later in the card. When time for the match again, Bret was attacked again by the "Cold" one before he even left the hallway!! When the match finally did get underway, Bret dominated Sid. Not surprisingly, he took advantage of Sid's misfortune from earlier in the night and worked on Sid's injured leg. This match also had the first appearance (to my knowledge) of Bret's RPFF (Ring Post Figure Four). As the match progressed SCSA came down to interfere again. This time, Sid dispatched "Stone Cold" temporaraily. When Sid went back in, the advantage shifted to Bret and he put the "sharpshooter" on Sid. Sid, remarkably, was powering out of the "sharpshooter". Whether he would've escaped on his own is up for debate but SCSA made sure there was not going to be no submission when he clocked Bret across the head with a steel chair. With Bret stunned, Sid (not realizing at the time what had happened) put the "powerbomb" on Bret to claim the title once again. Bret was understandably pi**ed afterwards and lobbied for a rematch on RAW with Sid in a steel cage. The match was to take place the week of WM 13.
On the night of the card, Bret announced that if he did win the WWF Title, that he would defend it against SCSA during their submission match up. Leaving the Undertaker without a crack at the title that he was promised. That announcment may have costed Bret the title right there because both SCSA and UT interfered with both men's attempt at victory. The match ended when Bret, as he was about to leave the cage, got his face smashed into the steel door by UT, allowing Sid to leave the cage victorious. Now, while I must admit that Bret was screwed, I can understand why UT did what he did because he would've been screwed out his title shot. I have always felt that the WWF officials should've step in and made a ruling that would've allowed UT to get his title shot regardless of who was champion at WM 13. If that had been done, then UT would've had no reason to interfere in the match up.
Anyway, Bret was hot!!! As Vince McMahon tried to interview him, Bret grabbed the microphone and shoved McMahon down at the same time!!! He then said the phrase of that interview that I will never forget in response to McMahon's suggestion that he was frustrated:
After about a minute tirade, SCSA showed up on the titantron to rub it in even more. This caused a four way fight between Bret, SCSA, UT, and Sid!!! This created the heat necessary for WM 13.
NEXT: USA VS. CANADA
Coming Soon: Stylin' And Profilin': The Legend Of Ric Flair
If you have a question, comment, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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
The show starts with stills from last weeks Nitro show - the main event at the end with Sting/Luger vs. Hogan/Savage - Flair runs in, etc.
Live from Birminghal, Alabama - Tony, Bobby and Lee welcome us to the program. Tonight's main event is announced as Savage vs. Sting.
Mike Tenay is starting to interview Chris Jericho (on tape from earlier in the day) in the parking lot when the nWo blows by and attacks Lex Luger and the Macho Man who were standing together talking. They beat both with a chair and then drag Savage back into the building. The question is - what were Savage and Luger talking about..?
Fit Finley vs. Goldberg - oh boy! Finley is a legit tough guy - this could be good. Finley attacks before the bell but before he can really get moving, Goldberg gets a boot into his face. From there its mostly downhill for Finley. He has his moments but can't seem to make much impression on his opponent. At one point he slaps on a sleeper - Goldberg just beales him right to the mat - I've never seen that before... They spar some more and Finley is doing better then most - but that's not saying much since "most" are squashed pretty quickly. A spear job and a Jack Hammer end it as usual. Cut to commercial.
Psychosis vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. - the announcers are busy speculating about the nWo's travails and ignoring this match. In the ring the action is fast and furious with neither man really holding an advantage. Psychosis gets flung to the outside and lands on the steps. The Guerrero throws a somersault planche to seal the deal. Back in the ring Psychosis re-asserts himself. The fight goes out to the floor again and Psychosis continues his attack. He goes up for his guillotine legdrop but Chavo gets to his feet and meets him coming in with a drop-kick. Now its all Guerrero for a while but he can't put is larger opponent away. Psychosis comes back and the second time around he gets his leg drop and the pin.
Voodoo Child plays - here comes Bischoff and Hogan. They take their time getting to the ring. (Bobby gets in a great line referring to Bischoff - "his hats OK - it's his head's on backward...") Hogan claims that everything is OK with the nWo - he says Savage has "seen the light". He says he hopes that Sting is at his best tonight because Savage has the whole nWo behind him and is at the top of his game. He asks Savage to save him "a little piece of the Stinger" for their match on Sunday at SuperBrawl.
We see members of Raven's Flock at ringside as the next match is announced.
Scotty Riggs vs. Booker T - Lee Marshall tells us that Booker has added a new weapon to his arsenal called a 110th Street Slam and plans to use it tonight. Riggs attacks before Booker really gets into the ring. This gives him the advantage for the first couple of exchanges - then Booker asserts himself. The fight goes out to the floor where Lodi provides distraction which allows Riggs to retake the initiative. Back in the ring he tries to pin his opponent without success. Booker takes it for a while then he comes back strong. He wins the match without using his new move. The Flock starts to swarm but Saturn restrains them saying "I've got him..." Cut to commercial.
Mike Tenay is in the locker room with Lex Luger (he is having his ribs taped) who refuses to comment on the Savage situation earlier and in fact chases Tenay from the room.
Kidman vs. Juventud Guerrera - this is a very fast-paced match from the get-go. Both guys seem to be going all out. At one point Lodi interferes from the outside then drags Guerrera out and puts a full-nelson on him. Kidman tries to splash him but Juvi gets loose and Lodi takes the shot. Back in the ring Juvi makes his comeback and overwhelms his opponent. The 450� splash gets him the pin. Chris Jericho runs in afterward and attacks Guerrera. In the corner he manages to remove Juvi's mask - but Guerrera has a second mask under the first and gets the last laugh - plus a missle drop-kick on his nemesis. Cut to commercial.
WCW Motor Sports report.
The Outsiders (w/Dusty Rhodes) vs. Mike Enos/Wayne Bloom - Hall takes his survey and gets an extended cheer when he mentions WCW - then he gets a pretty good nWo chant and a loud round of boos when he mentions nWo. Nash takes the mic and taunts the Giant then makes a cryptic statement directed at Syxx (who is still on the shelf). This the Outsiders vs. The Beverly Brothers for those of you who have followed the WWF for a while. They were also a tag team in the AWA before that - a very good tag team. Destruction Crew - or some such...these days, Enos is just past his prime and Bloom is well over the hill. The opening moments look good for them but then Hall and Nash take over. Eventually we are treated to the now familiar spector of Nash threatening a Jack Knife - the referee warns him - he punks the referee and then puts the hold on Bloom. We don't stick around long enough to see if they cuff him. Cut to commercial.
We see the video of Brian Adams offering his hand in friendship to Bret Hart then shilling for the nWo. Flair comes out to save Bret's bacon.
Curt Hennig (w/Rick Rude/Brian Adams) vs. ? - we never find out who the opponent was supposed to be. Rude rants against Bret Hart then hands the mic to Hennig. Hennig starts his rant but is interrupted by the appearance of the British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart. He finishes is speech then is confronted by the duo. One thing leads to another and a match starts! A referee appears but doesn't exert much authority. This impromptu match seems to be no holds barred. The fight goes on inside and outside the ring - The Bulldog on Hennig and on the inside - Adams and Neidhart on the floor. Rude interefering at will with no apparent notice by the official. In the midst of the brawl the referee rings the bell for some reason and we cut to commercial as the battle rages on.
We see some of the footage of the brawl during the break.
Mike Tenay interviews the Steiner Brothers - Ricky does all the talking while Scott hangs back - this isn't over yet...
They show us the footage from the beginning of the program. All we see is the nWo punking somebody which turns out to be Savage and Luger.
La Parka vs. Super Calo - This is a perfect match - nobody cares about either of these guys. (Not unlike watching DOA and Los Boring Guys) Calo probabely has a little more heat - La Parka is hopeless. His senseless attacks have done little to make his star rise. The crowd fails to react throughout the match. The announcers just ignore the match while they prattle on about the Luger/Savage situation. In the ring the match is getting better and the crowd is starting to respond. Calo seems to be gaining ground. He's certainly a better flyer then his opponent. But he runs afoul of the Disco Inferno's distraction and loses the match to a corkscrew planche. Disco runs into the ring and gets bashed with La Parka's chair. Cut to commercial.
Benoit/DDP Feud video
Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko - Cruiserweight Title match - Tony refers to Chris as the "Whiner" Chris Jericho. He comes down and makes another of his silly speeches. He taunts Juventud saying he's really ugly under the mask. Malenko comes down all business (as usual). Jericho is reluctant to take off his belt again so Malenko starts beating on him belt and all. Tenay implies that the guy never takes the belt off. The referee finally gets it away in the midst of the pounding Jericho is taking. Moments later Jericho takes command of the match. Jericho is very methodical and shows a lot of wrestling skill as he controls Malenko but he is way over confident and you just know that's a mistake with this opponent. Sure enough, after taking it for a while, Malenko recovers and almost gets his Cloverleaf. Jericho redoubles his effort and surprises everybody by getting the Boston Crab and making Malenko tap out. Cut to commercial.
Chris Benoit/Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven/Saturn - we see clips from Nitro before the match begins. Benoit and Page enter separately but Benoit takes his time getting there...they arrive together. After some jostling Raven faces Page to start. No...Saturn takes his place. DDP and Benoit look pretty good as a team in the first exchanges. Saturn has tipped the balance back the other way as we cut to commercial.
This show is going to run over time - its 6:58 and we're in the middle of the second-to-last-match as we return. Saturn is still in charge now over Benoit. I notice that Saturn wears a metal-reinforced brace on his left leg. DDP is about to Diamond Cut Saturn when Riggs hits him with a chair. Now DDP is on the heavy duty receiving end. Raven is anything but his usual laconic self as all four athletes are functioning on all burners. Saturn pushes a chair into the ring - it isn't clear if this is a no DQ match. In any case it comes into play and isn't removed from the ring. At one point Benoit and Saturn do a little dance with the chair going back and forth between them. Benoit throws the chair to Saturn and then punches him through it! Later Raven goes for his DDT but Page backs him into the corner and gets the Diamond Cutter. Immediately Benoit slaps the Crippler Crossface on Saturn and makes him submit. Cut to commercial.
Sting vs. Randy Savage - Hogans appears on the ramp leading the group who haul someone in Savage's tights and a Sting match to the ring. I don't think it's Savage. This guy doesn't look cut enough but I could be wrong... Hogan says the Sting/Savage match isn't going to go down tonight. He says Savage has decided to leave Sting for Hogan on Sunday. The figure on the mat just lies there throughout the rant. Sting runs down into the lions' den and starts a melee - eventually he succombs to their superior numbers. Then Luger runs down - bandaged ribs and all and together they clear the ring. The guy in the Sting mask continues to lie there as Lex flexes for the camera. Fade to black...
So now Savage will join Luger and Sting to face the nWo..? How trite...
At least that's the way I see it...
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