By Ervin Griffin, Jr.
Part 20: Return Of The Champ
After the match was made for In Your House: Canadian Stampede, Bret Hart wasted no time delievering the mind games to the American team. Members of his Hart Foundation (I believe it was Davey Boy Smith, Owen Hart, and Brian Pillman) attacked the Road Warriors on RAW one week. The following weekend, Bret led another attack. This time, the victim was Goldust as he made the "golden one" feel the "Hart-Breaker"(my official name for Bret's Ring Post Figure Four since, as far as I know, it doesn't have an official name)!!! The following monday on RAW IS WAR, Bret attacked Ken Shamrock and, later in the show, he and Jim "The Anvil" Neihart attacked "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. The "HitMan" made Austin feel the pain of the "Hart-Breaker" as well.
Then came the ten man tag and most everyone in Canada (as expected) was behind The Hart Foundation. Whether it was clean wrestling or some dirty tactic, they cheered every move of the Harts and Brian Pillman. SCSA was so obsessed with the Harts that he even went after Stu Hart, Bret's 82 year old father!!! Now, I don't know Stu's physical condition but you either have to be a coward or be just plain nuts to attack an old man (I think Austin fits the latter). Anyway, the match ended when Owen made the pin on "Stone Cold." Austin was so enraged that he had to be handcuffed and led away from the arena, but not before giving the Canadian fans "what for" in the form of the "double finger!!!" The next night on RAW IS WAR, Austin attacked Bret, Owen, and Davey Boy Smith during the playing of the Canadian National Anthem with a steel chair!!! On this same card, Bret made his return to singles action with a win over Goldust in a surprisingly competitive match up.
Over the following weeks, Bret campained for a match with then WWF World Champion The Undertaker for SummerSlam '97. Bret even put more pressure for the match stating that if he didn't win the title, he would never again wrestle on American soil. Adding to this match was the controversial decision to have long time enemy Shawn Michaels as the special referee. This angered Bret so much that he attacked WWF Head Vince McMahon!!! McMahon, surprisingly, held his own during the confrontation. He sure did better than Shawn did as "HitMan" and Co. attacked Shawn the same night in the dressing room!!! On this same night, Bret, Owen and Davey Boy won a six man flag match against SCSA, Dude Love and UT. I find it interesting that UT was cheered even when he was against the Harts in Canada. Apparently, the Canadian fans (from an outsider's point of view since I don't know any Canadians personally other than by e-mail) have some respect for UT that goes beyond any patriotism. He was even cheered against Bret (although Bret, obviously, got the larger cheers). Sorry, don't mean to ramble but I find that amazing since all the other American wrestlers were booed pretty much.
Anyway, the week of the match, Bret lost a controversial decision against The Patriot. I must say that Bret got robbed here!!! I mean, Shawn Michaels interfered in the match and we will never know if The Patriot could've beat Bret on his own. Anyway, this added more heat to the match at SummerSlam. I have yet to see this match but I think everyone knows how it ended!! Bret was going to use a steel chair on UT but was stopped by Shawn. Bret then spit in Shawn's face!!! An understandably enraged Shawn picked up the chair to his Bret but hit UT instead!!! Bret made the cover and Shawn reluctantly counted to three. Now, remember that Shawn had a stipulation for this match up too. That was that if he didn't call this match fairly (that is if he showed favortism towards UT and against Bret Hart) that he would never wrestle again in America. So, in reality, Shawn had no choice but to count the fall. You might argue that the match should've been stopped. Well, the only other fair thing to do would've been to call it a no contest. Shawn couldn't DQ Bret because he didn't hit UT with a chair. Likewise, UT hadn't done anything illegal so he couldn't DQ him either. Needless to say, American fans turned on Shawn Michaels overnight and Shawn, in response, has become a heel again (but that's another story).
Bret, now with a fifth WWF Title to his credit, was set to face The Patriot at IYH: Ground Zero. Bret, though willing to face the masked man, protested this match because of the way Patriot earned the match. In his own coulmn for The Calgary Sun, Bret even wondered why UT didn't get the title shot since he was the former champion. Needless to say, Bret successfully defended his title at Ground Zero. During the following weeks, he would also have various run ins with Vader. He and Davey Boy defeated Vader and Patriot in a flag match on October 5 (the dark weekend that Brian Pillman died). Still waiting in the wings, however, was the cocky Shawn Michaels and he didn't come alone.
Next: Degeneration X
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:email@example.com
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
Live from the 5 Seasons Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Lee Marshal are our hosts. Lee says that Scott Steiner intends to convince his brother to join the nWo.
Eddie Guerrero/Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko/Booker T - here's a strange pairing with a lot of potential. Has anybody heard what's happened to Stevie Ray? The crowd starts chanting "Eddie Sucks!" before the match gets underway. Booker T and Jericho start and Jericho is no match for his much larger opponent. He is struggling for position as we cut to commercial.
Malenko is in with Guerrero as we return. Malenko seems to be holding the advantage but these things change fast with four speed demons like these guys in the ring. Sure enough, Malenko gets knocked to the outside where he is cheap-shot by Jericho then suplexed on the concrete before being thrown back into the ring. Jericho tags in right behind him and continues his assault. Tony tells us that the over-the-top rope DQ rule has been thrown out, or at least relaxed considerably. In the ring, Jericho is using an abdominal stretch on Malenko and getting help from his partner. Malenko escapes but his opponents are still doubleteaming him. Jericho gets the Liontamer but Booker T comes in and breaks that up. Booker tags in and faces Guerrero. He puts him down with a side kick and goes for the pin only to have Jericho try to drop an elbow. Booker T moves aside and Jericho hits his partner. Now things get confused with all four men in the ring. Booker T gets knocked down and Guerrero is in position to throw a Frog Splash. Booker is pinned. Cut to commercial.
Mike Tenay is in the ring to interview Diamond Dallas Page. Apparently we are in for yet another DDP/Benoit match later tonight. He says he has even more respect for Benoit since their match at SuperBrawl. Raven interrupts the interview to demand a Title shot. DDP says, "I'm Jacked, come on in and do it now..." Raven declines the invite but wants to have the match next week on Thunder.
Brad Armstrong vs. Fit Finley - I like Armstrong's new attiditude but it doesn't seem like he's done much with it. Finley, on the other hand is just about everything Armstrong would like to be. A real tough customer with a chip on his shoulder. They start out pretty evenly, then, predictably, Finley takes the advantage. Armstrong finally turns the tables after an ill-timed rush into the corner by Finley. It all turns back around soon enough however, as Finley puts his opponent into a Tombstone piledriver then takes the pin. Cut to commercial.
Dave Taylor vs. The British Bulldog - Davey Boy dominates this contest from the get-go. Taylor gets knocked to the outside where he regains his composure and comes back in strong. A quick attack puts him in charge for about 15 seconds then the Bulldog takes over again. The end comes unexpectedly quick after a rather sudden power slam. Bulldog takes it. Cut to commercial.
WCW Motorsports Report
Mike Tenay calls Curt Hennig to the ramp for an interview. They try without success to build some heat for the coming Hennig/Hart match-up. Hennig claims he plans to take Bret out and compares his father to Hart's father. He claims to be the wrestler who made Minnisota famous - meanwhile there is a "Ric Flair Day" coming up in Minnisota by the Governor's proclaimation.
Rick Fuller vs. Bill Goldberg - for some reason they mix nWo music in with Fuller's during his entrance. This will be another un-extended squash. Goldberg goes right for a leg submission hold as his first move but they're too close to the ropes. Fuller gets up and connects with a boot to the face - and it just makes Goldberg mad! The Jack Hammer is immediate and effective as usual. Cut to commercial.
La Parka vs Yuji Nagata (w/Sonny Oono) - I don't know why, but La Parka just doesn't ring my chimes at all. He probably outweighs his opponent slightly in this match but I don't expect him to be able to use that weight advantage. His chair is another matter altogether - and he makes good use of that. Disco Inferno comes to ringside and attacks Sonny Onoo - meanwhile La Parka is getting his chair shoved into his face. nagata applies the Nagata Lock to win.
Scott Hall comes to the ring for his survey. His side actually seems to win it tonight. Hall rants about his Title shot coming up in a couple of weeks. The crowd chants "We want Sting" as he rants on. Hall says - "I want you too..."
Tony makes an announcement about the Stinger teaming up with Randy Savage to face Hogan and Hall on Nitro.
Scott Steiner vs. Marty Jannetty - Buff Bagwell comes out and does a piss-poor imitation of Michael Buffer as he introduces Scottt Steiner as "White Thunder" (they must have gotten Buffer's permission because I hear he is likely to sue anyone who uses his trademarked announcing style). Jannetty comes down and walks right into the lion's den. Bagwell gets in the first cheap shot and the Steiner takes over. Jannetty doesn't have a prayer. He is Frankensteinered from the top rope and pinned. Cut to commercial.
Curt Hennig vs. Jim Neidhart - the Anvil dominates the first exchanges through sheer power. Scott Steiner shows up at the broadcast position and tries to convince his brother to join the nWo. We leave the ring to watch him rant - so much for any importance attached to this match. In the ring Neidhart is winning (surprisingly) so Vincent and Brian Adams run in to punk him. Davey Boy runs in to save his bacon. Neidhart wins the match via DQ. Cut to commercial.
Raven vs. Kevin Nash - Tony is telling us that the Giant will be back to wrestle Nash at Uncensored. Raven rants about WCW wanting either him or Nash to get hurt tonight. He declares the match to be "Battle Royal" style - what that means in not made clear but Tony seems to think that you win by throwing your opponent over the top rope. As the match begins, Raven stands aside and allows his Flock to attack the big guy. Hammer succeeds in toppling him with a clothesline from the top turnbuckle. Nash comes back and throws him out of the ring. Lodi gets Jack Knifed twice. Raven never gets involved in the match. Nash gets hauled off in cuffs again. Cut to commercial.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chris Benoit - US Title match - Benoit makes his entrance then we cut to commercial.
DDP makes his entrance. After a quick start by Benoit, DDP turns it around and starts working on Benoit's left arm. Benoit returns the favor then they start to mix it up. They tumble out to the floor and start to brawl. Nick Patrick follows them out and into the crowd. He gets them back to the ringside area and Benoit gets thrown back into the ring. Inside it's DDP in control for a moment then Benoit gets a boot to the midsection and takes over. Now it is all Benoit as he attacks DDP's ribs repeatedly. DDP is down and getting his head stomped. He is stood up in the corner and recovers. Both guys go down and Raven steps up onto the apron. Patrick tries to warn him off but Raven ignores him and attacks bot guys causing the match to be thrown out. Raven and Benoit are going at it out on the floor as we fade to black...
As has been the case for weeks now, Thunder offers what should be good matches but they don't really seem to pan out.
At least that's the way I see it...
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