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WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: January 4, 1997

While we have just completed the entire run of sometimes great, sometimes awful, but never dull WCW programming in 1996, it’s easy to forget there was still another game in town. Over at Titan Towers, things were not promising.

RAW was in the dumps, regularly drawing less than 5000 fans per crowd. They’d managed to crawl out of the rock bottom high school gyms of 1995, but they still had a long way to go. Many of their top draws had run off to the greener pastures of WCW, and they were left with a bare bones staff of wrestlers who were hungry, and happy to be employed. WCW cast-offs like Steve Austin and Mick Foley were finding themselves under new characters, and enjoying success. Brian Pillman was a shell of himself physically, but his charisma was off the charts. They had gone all-in on Shawn Michaels through 1996, and while ratings fell further as WCW monopolized the Monday Night Crowd, it was through no fault of his effort; able to put on a **** match with himself if he needed to.

Bret Hart had sat out most of 1996, taking some time to heal up after 13 consecutive years on the road, and figure out his future. Ultimately, he chose loyalty over money, and signed a 20 year deal to keep himself in the WWF for the rest of his life. Not everyone was happy to see him, however, and Bret was immediately tested by the young upstarts who were waiting to get their hands on him; specifically in the guise of a pissed off Steve Austin.

The trouble with the WWF was, after all the defections, the company didn’t really know who they were anymore. The campy 80’s had clearly passed them by, and WCW was putting on a smarter product every week, with strong undercard wrestling, and a hot nWo storyline. They needed a full-fledged makeover. Shows like Jerry Springer were all the rage on TV, and the WWF, in a desperation attempt to reclaim their lost fanbase, decided to move in a trashier direction. If it failed, they were cooked. But if they were right … the sky was the limit.

Queue Shotgun Saturday Night; a late night concept devised from the insanity we know as Vince McMahon. By moving the show to a late night slot, they had the creative freedom to do more “adult oriented” content than the norm. As such, this is the debut edition. On with the show.

A graphic violence warning is provided, before cutting over to the lineup of fans (all 30 of them?) waiting to get into the Mirage Nightclub in New York City – home of Shotgun Saturday Night. An amped BOB BACKLUND encourages everyone to go home, due to the sexual activity, violence, and crime taking place inside. “WHO’S THAT GOOD FOR? IT SHOULD BE BANNED! NEW YORK CITY SHOULD BE BANNED! SATURDAY NIGHT SHOULD BE BANNED!”


Who’s to say he’s wrong? Cue the opening montage, featuring all sorts of adult activities such as porno theatres, Sunny, Shawn Michaels’ bare ass, and the Undertaker who apparently lives in the sewer now.

A grunting VINCE MCMAHON and dancing SUNNY are your hosts from inside the night club. The wild scene is unlike anything you’ve ever seen in pro wrestling to this point; with a smaller ring than your typical WWF fare sitting in the middle of a dance party. And I’m not talking about this kind of dance party, I mean a legitimate Saturday night out on the town.

A completely out of place TODD PETTINGILL has managed to track down a handful of wrestling fans, who excitedly check out a couple of Klan members in the middle of the ring. Sorry, my mistake, they’re a new tag-team apparently, and they look ridiculous.


THE FLYING NUNS vs. THE GODWINNS (with Hillbilly Jim)

The Nuns are “Sister Angelica” and “Mother Smucker”, decidedly non-Catholic I’d reckon since they start throwing punches at the hog farmers. Sister Angelica starts with Phineas, drawing a “HOLY SHIT” chance for some reason. The ever hip McMahon agrees: “Holy cow indeed, ha ha ha!” Henry tags in and hits Angelica with a shoulderblock. Smucker gets the tag, and they give each other the sign of the cross – what the hell man? Phineas tries to woo Smucker until Henry smacks sense in to him. We’re like 4 minutes into this match, and absolutely nothing has happened, with the exception of the rowdy fans who’ve started a “GO TO HELL” chant. BROTHER LOVE hits ringside, and the Nuns hit the deck to kneel before him. Thankfully, we take a commercial break.

We’re back, and the “fight” is back on, and Henry hits a backdrop to FINALLY give us something resembling a wrestling match. Angelica prays for Henry, and the Nuns return for a conference with Brother Love. Angelica comes off the top with a karate chop to the shoulder, and the Nuns stomp down Henry in the corner. The fans start an “ECW” chant, which seems apropos since this is completely low rent indy garbage. The Nuns continue their double team work on Henry, drawing the ire of the referee who yells a lot and does absolutely nothing about it. Smucker goes to finish with the guillotine legdrop, but Henry rolls away (all 18 inches) to his corner to get the hot tag. The fans completely turn on this, and start booing it. Not to worry though, because the Nuns inject Phineas with the Holy Spirit, stopping him in his tracks. A dropkick, and a shot from Brother Love’s giant bible is all it takes for the Nuns to score the upset at 9:28. For those of you who weren’t around in 1997 to see it; the Nuns are a still relatively new “Headbangers”. If this is what the WWF had in mind to kick off its hot new edgy program, then this show’s already on death watch. -**

TODD PETTINGILL asks Brother Love what the deal with the Nuns are. He loves them because they’re virginal, having never been touched by anyone but their own hands. Going forward, they’ll be known as the Sisters of Love, and all tag-teams best watch their back.

ROCKY MAIVIA is hanging out with all the young cats down in the VIP lounge, but so are GOLDUST and MARLENA. An irate BOB BACKLUND bursts in on the scene to scream that neither one of them are beautiful, demanding Marlena cover up and asking where her mother is? “THAT’S CLEAVAGE LADY! KEEP THAT OUT OF YOUR LIVES!” This is what the RTC needed in 2000. Give that man a World Title!

GOLDUST (with Marlena) vs. THE SULTAN (with Bob Backlund)

Goldust knocks Sultan to the floor and rubs his nipples. Vince notes that a number of ex-champions have endorsed the Sultan to this point, which may have him on the fast track to the big belt himself. I think he actually believes this stuff. Goldust hits a clothesline for 2. A sleeper is applied, and the announce crew tries to get a word with Backlund. “I CAN’T HEAR WITHOUT MY GLASSES ON!” Sultan clotheslines Goldust, and splashes him in the corner. A couple of kneedrops to the face, while Vince spews his favorite tagline: “You never know what will happen in the World Wrestling Federation!” Sultan drops a leg, getting 2. A powerslam gets all of 1, and Goldust goes into his cat pose. Sultan works a nerve hold, while Mr. Bob works to repair the fabric of America. The fans start getting into this, with a rowdy “FATU SUCKS” chant. Goldust hits a butt butt, and misses an axehandle. Sultan nails a falling headbutt for 2. They head to the outside, and Sultan grabs a chair but the referee is quick to take it away. They head back in, where Sultan misses a blind charge and takes a neckbreaker. Goldust gets a 6-count of punches in the corner, but he can’t get to 10 because he desperately feels the urge to rub himself. Is he on ecstasy or something? A bulldog looks to finish, but Sultan kicks out because this match is never going to end apparently. A hard clothesline gets 2. Sultan turns things around with a Samoan drop, and slaps on the camel clutch. Marlena jumps to the apron, and takes off her top causing Sunny to start making high pitched screams. Backlund goes completely insane, flapping around like he’s gone into a seizure, and Sultan hits the floor. Goldust appears to start masturbating through his tights, while Sultan is counted out at 9:39. Who the hell gave these two 10 minutes? Pettingill declares the winner of this match to be Marlena. DUD

Sunny loses her business, reminding us she’s still the sexiest woman in the WWF and promises a special surprise to all her fans next week; one of her personal sex tapes. “That’s right Vince, I’m gonna show you all a tape of me doing the wild thing baby! If Pam Anderson can do it, so can I.”

KONA CRUSH (with Clarence Mason) vs. AHMED JOHNSON

With 15 minutes left on the show, there’s an excellent chance we won’t see any positive snowflakes tonight. Johnson spears Crush, and powerslams him. Crush is tossed to the outside, but this ain’t WCW so it’s legal. Crush is dropped face first on the guardrail, while Vince gets shooty: “Crush is doing some hard time in there with Ahmed Johnson”. Crush is sent back in, and Ahmed rears back from the dance floor, and manages to jump from the floor, over the top rope and hit a flying clothesline. Crush throws a couple of punches to gain control, while Clarence Mason is asked about his relationship with Crush. He feels Crush has been used and abused, but today’s a new day, and the Nation of Domination will overtake the WWF. The fans start a “JAIL BIRD” chant, while Crush applies a full nelson. Ahmed breaks out of the hold with little effort, and hits an axe kick. Ahmed sets up the Pearl River Plunge, but D’LO BROWN attacks and we have a DQ at 4:00. 1/2*

Ahmed kills D’Lo with a spinebuster, but can’t get the Pearl River Plunge because Crush clotheslines him from behind. They double team Ahmed, and Crush grabs a chair, smacking him full force in the face. GOLDUST and THE GODWINNS dive into the ring to protect Ahmed from any more abuse … except Ahmed’s back up and chases the Nation right out the back door. Out on to 56th Street, the fight continues, and poor D’Lo Brown is given the Pearl River Plunge on the roof of a parked car!

MASCARITA SAGRADA vs. MINI VADER (with Jim Cornette)

Sagrada was on Nitro this past Monday, but has since come to terms with the WWF. Quite frankly, they can have him. Before the match, Sunny joins her favorite midget in the ring, and they do the Macarena while Todd Pettingill makes up his own lyrics.

He comes from a place where you shouldn’t drink the water /
Not much taller than my two year old daughter /
He’ll bite later, like a gator /
When he steps into the ring with Mini Vader /
He’s no igit, he’s a midget /
And his favorite TV show is Pitch It /
He’s got the powers and the quickness of a cheetah /
Small enough to swallow like a human picadita /
He’s getting more attention than Madonna in a Evita /
He’s Mascarida /
His only preparation is to drink a margarita /
He’s Mascarida … HEY!

I … just … well … sigh. It should come as no surprise that this is the funniest thing Vince has EVER heard. Vader finally has enough and kicks Max in the face. A senton misses, and Max hits a springboard armdrag. Another armdrag sends Vader to the floor, while Cornette joins commentary and complains about Vader being the biggest pain in the ass he’s ever dealt with. With that, he hits the ring, and calls time-out. And thus we do, with a commercial break.

We return with Max flying to the outside with a springboard plancha. Back in, Vader hits a superkick that Max takes about 3 seconds to start selling. Vader hits a clothesline, and nails a powerbomb. A corner senton misses, and Max comes off the top with a rana that sends Vader to the floor. A 360 corkscrew plancha is on point, but it hurts Max more than Vader. Back in, Max nails a Frankensteiner, and follows with a missile dropkick for the pin at 3:54. Match of the night! *

Cornette tosses Vader out of the ring, and challenges Max to a brawl himself. Vader gets back in and lies in wait behind Jimmy, while Max shoves him backwards to trip him up. And since ANYTHING can happen in the World Wrestling Federation, they rip his pants off.

Let’s not kid ourselves. If this aired today, it would widely be recognized as the worst concept in wrestling history. They’re still trotting out the same stupid gimmicked characters of yesteryear, but trying to put them in an adult environment, and it simply doesn’t mesh. The only people who could even remotely appear to be with this kind of snuff environment were Goldust, Marlena, and Sunny. (And of course, an outraged Bob Backlund is never a bad idea.)


However, the WWF was in dire straits, as we noted at the top – and I’ll give them credit for trying anything different as opposed to rolling over and letting WCW walk all over them. They were on the right track by recognizing they had an untapped adult audience that was waiting for them; but it was simply a matter of figuring out how to massage the product to them. This DEFINITELY wasn’t it, but we’re headed places.

Comments

  1. I don't know. I can't think of anything as hilariously campy as the Flying Nuns on today's shows.

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  2. It was really bad in 97 when WCW was so awesome and creative and Vince gives us this show in front of 20 club goers

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  3. the intro doesn't really make much sense because you mix up snowflakes and ratings/success although the two are not necessarily linked to each other.

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  4. I thought for years after this that Marlena actually showed her tits because it's not like I could go on the internet and see the uncensored pics.

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  5. Tried to phrase this a few ways without sounding rude (and failed) - what is the point of recapping old house shows?

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  6. JBL is such an awful wrestler. Yeah his clothesline was badass but it's more the bumper than him.

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  7. I saw alleged real pics a few months after on the Internet.

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  8. That's a lot of words for an hour long throwaway show.

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  9. Bret vs Undertaker vs Austin is a pretty sweet house show main.

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  10. Scott did the right thing eliminating the vote totals. Strong work.

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  11. He could work double teams with Sean Michaels again.

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  12. I think they are interesting to watch and recap. Apparently, they are also interesting enough to comment on.

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  13. I think he'd decided on Undertaker getting the belt at Mania.

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  14. unlike andy this guy is funny though....

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  15. Wait, what? How do you watch these? I assumed you attended the show and were going off your remarkable memory

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  16. cena did that with fuckin umaga...

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  17. Uh, fans would tape the shows and trade them around the tape trading circuit back in the day. They remain out there and I obtained them by someone who has a large collection of "handhelds."

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  18. the Shawn Love on here to troll Keith is out of hand if we're calling any Sid match 4 stars...

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  19. So I can't shift my sizeable WWF VHS collection and there's dudes out there selling house show handhelds. What a kick in the balls

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  20. The one really good match with Sid was Survivor Series because everyone wanted Boyhood dream chippendale Shawn to get his ass kicked and it happened. Even old man Lothario got taken out.

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  21. For anyone curious, here's Sunny's "sex tape" that she promised for the following week: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x819c7_sunny-and-elmo-sex-tape_fun

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  22. Fun Fact: This show was the last time I have ever been to a WWE live event. I was shooting at that club the week before and got invited to come to the show. I had just gotten back into the product (NWO debut) after a couple years away and I had a great time. They even had a little afterparty when the show went off the air.

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  23. She had on nude pasties. I was there and I have pics, but they kinda suck. If I can find them, I will upload.

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  24. That's vintage Pritchard and Mcmahon comedy there. Ugh. Sunny sucks too

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  25. When deciding to review a show, use these rules of thumb:
    1) is the show current (within the last few days)? Then review.
    2) is the show easily accessible (ie on the Network)? Then review.
    3) is it historically significant? Then review if you've already done a bunch of #1 or #2.

    Otherwise, don't review.

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  26. Thanks for displaying 1/2 the article on the main page. It made it harder to skip over but I perservered.

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  27. If Marty and the Mountie face off in the finals I am reasonably sure the world will cease to exist as we know it.

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  28. Given that Cena, Punk, and numerous others have talked about their own problems holding it in during a match, I'm now wondering whether this isn't some bizarre rite of wrestling passage rather than a freak Sid only occurrence.

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  29. I totally disagree. I'd rather reviews of old house shows like this than anything current.

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  30. Don't listen to these guys. I like these reviews way more than the Nitro and Thunder reviews that get posted nearly every day.

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  31. No, the right thing would have been to keep everything the same throughout the first round. Now we have two different systems of voting. This reeks of unfairness!

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  32. Vince really wanted Marty Janetty to be the guy portraying The Undertaker, but Marty refused, because it would have made Shawn Michaels look bad.

    He only agreed to do portray him, one time when Vince got down on his knees and begged.

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  33. Chris, can you make the jump in the article a lot earlier? It takes up the whole page.

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  34. I completely disagree. We've seen, say, a million reviews of Wrestlemania 7. But how many reviews of a random 1997 house show?


    That said, Bob should provide us with links to buy these house shows.

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  35. Charismatic eNegro Jef VinsonJanuary 10, 2015 at 4:32 PM

    "Shelton Benjamin vs Ahmed Johnson.


    Black wrestlers always feuding. Bet they'll team up 3 weeks afterwards.

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  36. I appreciate the feedback. However, if it's of no interest of you, then there are obviously more reviews and articles on this website along with hundreds of others. It appears that hundreds of others people enjoy these reviews, or find them interesting.

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  37. You should try to adhere to a posting schedule like others have.

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  38. I know, I've seen the pics on the internet.

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  39. I liked this review, Chris, but why did you post this right after Bob posted his review? Have you thought of adhering to a set schedule like others have?

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  40. Don't be a dick and post 7 minutes after the daily tread

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  41. Apparently, it was three minutes afterward. #heel

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  42. What fucking cares. Scroll past it and carry on then

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  43. I agree. It's impossible for me to process TWO new pieces of information on the internet at nearly the same time!

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  44. Especially for those of us who don't have the new 56k modems yet. The web page takes too long to load with two articles up at once.

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  45. Did you get to smash out Sunny?

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  46. My teletype is running nonstop as it is!

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  47. But the WWF started to really pick it up in the spring and summer of 97. By the fall of 97, WCW wasn't that great even though they were still killing it in the ratings.

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  48. I would actually enjoy it more if I didn't have to scroll past your whining comment in every thread of this nature. Hopefully you can stop posting.

    (See what I did there bro?)

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  49. This was January 97

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  50. Nope. She looked hot though. I took a a few shots of her, but this is the only one I can find for now: http://i.imgur.com/WMpLzFo.jpg?1

    I also found one I took of Jim Cornette with his pants down: http://i.imgur.com/WMpLzFo.jpg?1



    I was probably most excited to see him in person since I was a big JCP fan, but I really didn't need to see that.

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  51. I know. My point was more that it didn't stay that way for all of 97.

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  52. lariatoooooooooooooJanuary 10, 2015 at 6:00 PM

    The thing is, I can actually imagine John Cena's character saying something like this. So maybe he wasn't breaking kayfabe.

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  53. Eventually we got a lot of sweet Too Much vs Hardy Boyz matches (like 1000 or so)

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  54. Vince's office must be the home of the draw...

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  55. should I be offended that black guys are always randomly facing each other (kofi and r truth faced atlas and rocky in the tag tourny) or should I commend wwe on having so many black champs that they face each other despite a random draw?

    no wait, saba simba's existence makes it impossible to commend wwe on anything regarding race. Maybe after the 27th saulte to Dr.MLKjr I'll start giving them the benefit of the doubt

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  56. Cena vs Ryback 3 stages of hell. I remeber this match being fucking awesome. Excited to check it out for a 2nd time ever.

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  57. CruelConnectionNumber2January 11, 2015 at 1:31 AM

    I preached "LIMIT EACH IP ADDRESS TO 1 VOTE" during the tag tournament. Now this poll looks like it's run by a stupid jackass.

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  58. For a great high-flying wrestler, Marty had a really terrible drop kick.

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  59. CruelConnectionNumber2January 11, 2015 at 1:38 AM

    Stephanie drugged HBK on the build-up to Mania 22 in retaliation for Marty doing the same to her.

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