By Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka
Part 28: A Year In The WWF, pt.3: The Ultimate Con Game
After WrestleMania VIII, then WWF World Champion "Macho Man" Randy Savage embarked on a series of title defenses against former champion and tormentor "Nature Boy" Ric Flair!!! He also defended the title against Irwin R. Schyster (Mike Rotundo) and a young Shawn Michaels but Flair continued to be his main threat.....that is, until, that summer.
The Ultimate Warrior, who made his return to the WWF at that same WrestleMania, was deemed the number one contender and was granted a title match against Savage for SummerSlam '92 in London, England at Wembley Stadium!!! This did not set too well with Flair or Curt Hennig, who felt that Flair should've had the shot but the WWF officials agreed that Flair had several opportunities to win back the title and that the Warrior now deserved a shot at Savage.
Needless to say, Flair and Hennig wasn't going to sit on the sidelines!!! Over the next several weeks, they played the Warrior and Savage (who wern't best friends to begin with) against each other by making the other man believe that his opponent was bidding for the services of Hennig for that bout!!! In fact, neither man accepted Hennig's offer but neither man knew that either!!! So, going into SummerSlam, the tension was building between the Warrior and Savage!!!
Then came matchday!!! It was on August 28, 1992!!! This card also featured the last ringside appearance of "Precious" Paul Ellering as he led the Legion Of Doom to a victory over Money Inc. (Ted Dibiase/Irwin R. Schyster) and that classic WWF Intercontiental Title match between Davey Boy Smith and Bret "HitMan" Hart (which Smith won). The WWF title match saw Warrior and Savage give it their all in a pretty good bout. Both men was convinced that they had Hennig in their corner but, as the match progressed, neither man wasn't sure as Hennig interfered on the behalf of both men (Ric Flair was also at ringside)!!! First, he tripped Savage as he rebounded off of the ropes, giving the advantage back to the Warrior. Later, as Savage was reviving the ref on the outside, Flair nailed the Warrior with brass knuckles as Hennig held him!!! Finally, as Warrior was about to polish off Savage, Flair nailed him with a steel chair!!! Savage then had the opportunity to finish off the Warrior but didn't take it because he didn't knock the Warrior down!!! As he stood on the top rope, he chose to leap at Ric Flair but that proved to be an error as Flair nailed him with the chair in the left knee as Savage came down!!! Savage was counted out and Hennig and Flair worked over Savage on the outside until the Warrior came to his rescue!!! The two rivals left together to a standing ovation from the Wembley crowd!!!
Days later, Flair's plan bore fruit as he regained the WWF Title in Hershey Park, Pennsylvania with help from Scott Hall (then known as Razor Ramon, who had a situation going with Savage himself at that time)!!! Flair would hold that title until October 12, 1992 when in Saskatoon, Bret "The HitMan" Hart got a rare submission victory over Flair to capture the title for the first of his five title reigns in the WWF. Many thought that Hart would be the focus of Flair but, as it turns out, Flair would have other "perfect" concerns.
NEXT: A Year In The WWF, pt. 4: The (Im)Perfect End
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at email@example.com or 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 program opens in the middle of a match between Kidman and Juventud Guerrera for the Cruiserweight Title. It is apparent that the match has been going on for some time as both competitors look whipped. Guerrera is in control and suplexes Kidman back into the ring from the apron but it takes as much out of him as the Champ. He fails to get the pin. Moments later they are both up. Juvey is whipped to the ropes and rebounds into a flying bulldog. Still only gets a two count. Kidman comes right back with a suplex and gets a two count of his own. The match goes into see-saw mode with each man gaining two counts. Neither seems to be able to get that third count. Kidman goes up for his shooting star but Juvey knocks him off the turnbuckle and then hits his 450 splash and takes the pin. Guerrera is the three time Cruiserweight Champ. Juvey celebrates with the crowd as Kidman picks up the belt...then hands it to the new Champion. They embrace and Kidman acknowledges Juvey as the better man. Cut to the opening montage then to commercial.
Nitro is live tonight from Wichita, Kansas. We come back in the middle of a match between Glacier and Kanyon. What the hell is going on here? Glacier has his opponent's number. He catches him flying off the top turnbuckle with a Cryonic Kick to the jaw but is unable to get the pin. He continues to dominate right up to the moment that Kanyon pulls off a Flatliner and gets the pin. Cut to Nitro party tape which includes some ladies mud wrestling then to commercial.
Oh God! Here they go with the Hogan political segment again. Why are they bothering with this blather..? This is followed by video of Hogan appearing on the Don Imus radio show. During this segment we get a glimpse of Hogan's continuing efforts on behalf of childrens' charities - something that has never halted despite his apparent change over to a "bad guy" for the last two years. Imus calls him "Hulk" Hogan and he doesn't object to that designation.
Sonny Oono vs. "El Gringo" - the masked wrestler turns out to be Kaz Hayashi who is creaming Oono until he rolls out of the ring. While the referee is tied up admonishing Oono to come back to the ring, Ernest Miller sneaks in a lays Hayashi out so that Oono can take the pin. Cut to commercial.
Nitro Grrrls on the platform...
Dean Malenko/Steve McMichael vs. Horace/Stevie Ray - Malenko starts by tying Horace in a knot then tags in Mongo. Mongo is hauled over to the enemy corner and subdued with a poke to the eye. Stevie tags in and dominates for about two seconds, then gets overwhelmed by Mongo with a back elbow and a sidewalk suplex. Malenko comes back in and outmaneuvers Stevie - who turns and tags Horace in. Malenko hits him with a back kick but hurts himself - he manages to tag in Mongo. Mongo whips off the rope and is tripped by Vincent from the outside. Arn takes care of Vincent out on the floor but meanwhile Stevie Ray has hit Mongo with his "Slapjack" weapon. We see him slipping it back into his tights...and so does Arn. Arn hits the ring with a tire iron and starts laying everyone nWo out. The Horsemen are disqualified and Doug Dillenger comes down and demands that Arn hand over the iron. Arn refuses and we cut to commercial.
We are informed as we return that Arn has been ejected from the building by security. Meanwhile, Mean Gene is introducing the Nature Boy. He asks Flair about Arn's being escorted from the arena. Flair confirms that Arn is on his way to jail and Mongo is going to the hospital. He rants about Eric Bischoff and what he'd like to do to him. Then he brings Barry Windham as a former and current Horseman!! Barry is in civies but he looks to have lost some weight since the last time I saw him in the WWF. As they start to rant some more, Bischoff shows up to remind them that he holds the WCW purse strings. Flair counters by saying that he is spending his own money to hire Windham. Then he seems to be saying that Windham will wrestle Miss Liz tonight..? Or maybe I didn't understand what he meant... Cut to commercial.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Misterio, Jr. - Eddie offers to leave Rey alone if he (Eddie) loses the match - but wants Rey to join the LWO if Eddie wins. Misterio agrees. They start cautious then Rey opens up and Eddie is on the receiving end. Eddie seeks sanctuary by hugging the referee then leaves the ring to regroup. Back inside he takes the advantage for the first time but then Rey pulls off a spectacular flip and turns it into a flying DDT. Eddie partially blocks his next move then drops him face first on the mat. Rey staggers to his feet but ducks away as Eddie charges and flings himself to the floor. Rey gets an Asahi Moonsault. Eddie's mystery bodyguard helps Guerrero back in then trips Misterio. Eddie covers Rey but Juventud Guerrera runs in to try and break it up. Unfortunately he accidently splashes Rey! Eddie tosses Juvey out of the ring and then hits Rey with a Frog Splash. He takes the pin. Misterio will now have to join the LWO. He is dressed in an LWO t-shirt by Guerrero's thugs ad paraded around the ring, probably not sure yet what has happened. Cut to commercial.
Judy Bagwell is shown in the hospital sending a message to Buff. She says that Scott Steiner has injured her and hospitalized her while Buff stood by and watched. I guess Rick will have to get another partner.
Scott "the Putz" Putski vs. Chavo Guerrero, Jr. (w/Pepe) - Putski has size and power going for him in this one - plus he has...well...size and power going for him. Guerrero holds all the cards in other words. "The Putz" has a few high moments but Guerrero really controls the action from the get go. In the middle of the match we suddenly switch to the back where a Cadillac has pulled up. Bam Bam Bigalow gets out, decks Doug Dillenger and goes looking for Goldberg. He fails to find the Champ in his dressing room so he stalks into the arena and right to the ring where he lays waste to the competitors and the referee and then grabs a mic and calls out Goldberg. Eric Bischoff appears on the ramp with JJ Dillon and a police phalanx. Dillon tells him to leave then the police enter the ring. Here comes Goldberg surrounded by yellow-shirted security personnel. About thirty mixed cops and security struggle and succeed in keeping the two of them apart. Bischoff signals Dillon and says, "This is your fault..." and tells him he wants to see him in the back. We cut to commercial as they they head up the aisle.
In the back parking lot, Bischoff is in the process of firing Dillon. Dillon says, "You can't fire me because I quit..." He gets into his car and drives away. Cut back to the announcers who show us a clip of what just happened. They tell us that Bigalow is still in the arena somewhere and then cut to another commercial.
Saturn vs. Konnan - Saturn comes out and challenges Konnan for usurping his match two weeks ago against Eddie Guerrero. They show tape of the incident (which I missed because of VCR problems). Konnan comes out and the crowd response to him is a little less then usual. As he is finishing his call and response schtick he is blindsided by Saturn. Saturn dominates the first several exchanges. Konnan is just making his comeback when the LWO starts arriving. The match continues and Konnan continues to hold the advantage. We go to split screen as Mean Gene interviews Bischoff in a back hallway. Then, as Saturn is making his comeback - we go entirely to the interview. Goldberg comes out and demands a match with Bigalow tonight. He intimidates Bischoff into agreeing (actually he grabs him by the jaw and forces him to nod his head "yes").
Back to the match where Konnan is taking control again - then the match goes into see-saw mode with the two trading blows and pin attempts. LWO thugs continue to pound on the mat at ringside - it is unclear who they are rooting for. In the ring the two clotheline each other. Konnan struggles to climb the corner then launches himself right into a back kick. Both guys are winded and staggering. They trade punches then Saturn is against the ropes as LaParka pops up behind him and pins his arms. Konnan lays a forearm into LaParka then Saturn is hauled outside and set upon by the thugs. Konnan wades in and separates them - but then Saturn punches Konnan! Saturn starts cleaning house at ringside and the bell is rung for the DQ. He starts up the aisle but Konnan calls him back then leaves the ring. Saturn runs back and jumps Konnan then security guys show up the separate them. Cut to commercial.
Juventud Guerrera vs. Kidman - Huh..? Didn't we already see this match..? I thought this was a live show (of course, actually this is the replay of a live show for the West coast). Kidman enters wearing the Cruiserweight Title so I assume that this is a replay of what we saw earlier. The two start out trading insults. Then the match gets underway. Kidman is very aggressive and dominates the early going. He doesn't seem adverse to cheating as he rakes his opponent's face. He continues to control things until Juvey snaps off a flying head scissors and evens the odds. Now it is all Juvey for the next several exchanges. The crowd is solidly behind the Champion as they start a "Juvey Sucks!" chant. He levers Juvey to the floor and then follows him out and turns the tables. Back in the ring he applies a reverse chinlock in order to get a breather. Juvey escapes and Kidman whips off the rope then lauches himself right over the top to the floor. Juvey follows up with a suicide splash then rolls Kidman back in. He slingshots himself from the apron and hits a big leg drop but obviously hurts his tailbone in the process. He barely has enough left for the cover and fails to get the pin. Kidman recovers and seems to be going for an atomic drop but Juvey turns it into a bulldog. Kidman upsets Juvey's next move then hits an over-the-head suplex. Juvey comes roaring back and gets the Juvey driver but somehow Kidman kicks out. They struggle to the top turnbuckle where Kidman delivers a super powerbomb. Moments later we are at the point where we came in at the top of the program. Juvey wins the Cruiserweight Title in the match of the night so far. Cut to commercial.
One entire segment is taken up with a Nitro Grrrls appearance followed by a video on the Hall vs. Nash feud.
Scott Steiner comes out with Buff and their paid referee - a punky looking guy who has a shaved head with a tattoo on it. he demonstrates how to count to three then Scott makes some of his usual sexual inuendos. Now he is bragging about beating up on Mrs. Bagwell. They bring out a guy in a wig and introduce her as "Mrs. Steiner" - Steiner gives Buff permission to beat her up - which he does. Rick Steiner runs out and chases them from the ring then tears the wig and blouse from the phony woman. He starts to rant at the miscreants but then Scott Norton slips in behind him and pins his arms. Buff and Scott return to the ring and together they punk him as the "referee" runs around the ring blowing his whistle. Cut to commercial.
Replay of the incident wherein Goldberg "talks" Bischoff into giving him a match against Bam Bam Bigalow.
Bobby Duncum, Jr. vs. Chris Jericho - TV Title match - this guy is a spitting image of his father, a great wrestler/brawler from the AWA and the old Florida Territory (you can see a picture of him in my Florida Wrestling image gallery). Duncum tagged with Blackjack Mulligan (Barry and Kendall Windham's father) for years. The son is already an accomplished grappler having wrestled for several years in indie promotions and with New Japan. He also outweighs and has a height advantage on the Champ. But we know that Jericho is no slouch and soon has the match under control - then he blows it by getting too cocky. He is elevated and dropped on his face then clotheslined to the outside. Duncum follows him out tand gets another clotheline which almost knocks down a cameraman. Back in the ring, Jericho turns the tables back and goes for a Liontamer - but Duncum uses his leg strength to toss him off. Jericho ends up on the floor where he assaults David Penzer and grabs his belt. The Champ walks away from the ring and is counted out. Cut to commercial.
The "Secret Service" files in as we return. The cheesy version of "Hail to the Chief" plays and here comes candidate Hogan in his white feather boa ala Jesse "the Body". The American flag unfurls and confetti falls from the ceiling as Hogan goes to the ring for his "campaign speech." He introduces his "intern" - a Monica look alike, of course. A little on the plump side - she congratulates Hogan on his candidacy then fishes a cigar out of her bosem and lays a big wet one on Hollywood. Hogan invites Bischoff to the ring and continues his rant while he waits. Bischoff comes out looking like he's in a foul mood. He addresses Hogan as "Mr. President-elect." Hogan rants about how he's going to beat Goldberg at some point - Bischoff agrees - then Hogan invites Scott Hall to the ring. Hall quotes the "nWo 4 Life" mantra then looks at Bischoff and asks, "Where is your head at?" Bischoff is outraged but keeps his cool and says they will talk about it backstage. Hall attacks Bischoff! Then Hogan attacks Hall!! Kevin Nash runs in and chases Hogan off. The two original nWo members face off then agree that they will meet at the PPV on Sunday. That was pretty weird. Cut to commercial.
More Nitro Grrrrls in the ring... Followed by video of the last moments of what just happened.
Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit - this should be a great match! Two Stu Hart trained superb wrestlers. Benoit goes on the attack immediately and pounds Hart into the corner then pulls him out and snap suplexes him. He continues is assault with kicks and chops, flings him into the corner hard and catches him with a back elbow coming out. Hart turns the tables rather suddenly with a rake of the face and then drops a forearm to the back of the head and a headbutt to the solor plexus. Hart is all business and relentless once he is on top. His style is more subdued and deliberate then his opponent's but no less deadly. Benoit has blue and silver confetti clinging to his back as Hart manhandles him around the ring. Hart climbs the corner too slow and gives Benoit a chance to recover. He gets a super-plex then climbs back up and delivers the diving headbutt. hart is chopped to the rope and then clotheslined to the floor. Benoit goes for a baseball slide but Bret slips aside and grabs a chair. Benoit chases him around the ring and follows him back inside. He surprises Hart who raises the chair and gets its run into his own head. Benoit is about to use the chair himself but the referee grabs him and distracts him so that Hart can get the chair. He starts laying into Benoit with it until Dean malenko runs in and breaks it up. Hart is forced from the ring but then Malenko makes the mistake of turning away to tend his fallen comrade. In a flash, Hart is back in the ring and attacking Malenko. He gets ready to use the chair again but here comes Dianmond Dallas Page!!! He runs Hart out of the ring then rants about being ready to put the US Title on the line anytime - then reveals that before he was fired, JJ Dillon gave DDP a contract to meet Hart for the Title this Sunday at WW3. Cut to commercial.
Bam Bam Bigalow vs. Goldberg - World Title match - there are actually ten minutes left in the program and Tony is saying we are going to go into overtime. Bigalow attacks the Champ as he emerges from his pyro shower. They brawl beside the entryway as security tries to break it up - then they end the program about five minutes early while the brwal is still going on!! This is too weird...
I'll be back tomorrow night with the RAW Report. Until then...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie. Copyright 1998 - Jump City Productions