Thursday, January 22, 2015

WWF Superstars: January 12, 1997

After last night’s disaster of a show, it’s nice to know we can return to a world where we be doin’ it for the kids. The results might be awful, but the characters are never dull, and if you behave, we might even get the occasional appearance from The Goon.

JIM ROSS welcomes THE HONKY TONK MAN as his color partner this week since Cornette was murdered last week (and nobody, including Vader, really seems to care).


GOLDUST (with Marlena) vs. THE EXECUTIONER

I am a big fan of the evolution of Goldust; from deranged movie star, to out of control homosexual deviant, to “that funny gold guy” as the youth of today know him. Kids, just tread carefully – the man has sticky fingers and he’s NOT afraid to use them. The Executioner is former Freebird Terry Gordy, trying to remake himself after medication induced coma caused brain damage some years earlier. Goldust drops an elbow across Gordy’s throat, as PAUL BEARER joins us at ringside, prompting a “REST IN PEACE” chant because he’s far more interesting than anything going on in the ring. Executioner hits a running elbow drop, but Goldust kicks out at 2. A fist drop yields the same return. If all this slow moving actions is too much for you to take; here’s a commercial break!

We’re back, as I’m rapidly being reminded about just how unbearable Goldust’s ringwork was during his initial run. In fact, had he not rejuvenated himself following the 2002 Royal Rumble, it’s entirely possible we aren’t seeing him in any capacity again today. Spike piledriver gets the win for Goldy at 5:07. JR: “Goldust is a big Packer fan!” Bearer smacks Executioner with the urn, which makes Goldust rub himself to orgasmic bliss. Jesus. DUD

HECTOR GARZA vs. TL HOPPER

AAA guru, TheCubsFan, weighs in on the 1997 WWF talent raids:

To be fair to Vince McMahon's lateness, Vince McMahon was also a pretty terrible judge of talent in this case. AAA is pretty drained at this point, but Cibernetico and Pierroth are bad wrestlers who got themselves over via promos and bookings and (in Ciber's case) in look. Hector Garza was available (and used later in the Rumble), Heavy Metal was around, and there were other options. WWE just went with the big guys, as always. There was a time where Pierroth was actually pretty good, and Lafon and Furnas did have a run in Mexico as the masked Can Am Express I & II so maybe someone was able to talk themselves into this, but it was not a great idea.

But it’s cool, they stole Mascarita Sagrada from WCW, so the arms race to midget madness has clearly been won. It’s not all grey skies, you know. Garza, as Cubs noted, is probably the best of the Mexicans the AAA agreement sent over, but I’m *fairly* sure this is his lone singles match. He’s also probably more well known to you as “the guy who tore his scrotum once”. Let that sink in for a minute. Honky’s fairly taken by TL Hopper, figuring they might be able to do a little business IF he’s willing to have something done with his awful hair. He’s basically the love-child of Kevin Sullivan and Doc Hendrix. Garza hits a double springboard moonsault from the second rope, OVER the top and to the floor. Hopper sells it appropriately by getting back in the ring and kicking Garza’s ass because he’s big and Garza is not. After a bunch of kicks, Hopper looks completely gassed, sucking the wind right out of this place. Garza recognizes it’s time to end this, hitting a missile dropkick and finishing with a standing moonsault at 4:02. Fat awful wrestlers with talented luchadores – ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN THE WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION! *

In the back, BOB BACKLUND, alongside THE SULTAN and THE IRON SHEIK promises to show Bret Hart what a real champion is made of. I feel like a lot of bad jokes have started with them walking into a bar.

KEVIN KELLY introduces AHMED JOHNSON, and if injuries hadn’t derailed him, this guy was IT. Ahmed is one of the few times I can remember the WWF booking a black athlete as a real human being. It doesn’t matter that nobody could understand a word he said (much as I have no idea what he says here), he brought an intensity and fire to his matches that you can’t teach. Ahmed eventually leads the crowd in a “HE’S GOIN’ DOWN” chant in reference to Faarooq, which comes across as a lot more organic than “FEED ME MORE”.

ROCKY MAIVIA vs. DR. X

This is of course the wrestler Dr. X, and not the referee Doctor X who works for the nWo. Rocky takes care of the good doctor with a number of hiptosses, with the smile never leaving his face because he’s such a gosh darn good guy. X hits a monkey flip out of the corner, but Rocky holds the arm and works a hammerlock. A sunset flip gets 2. Rock is sent face first into the buckle, but he comes right back with a vertical suplex. X hooks an inside cradle for 2, and that’s probably all he’s getting for the rest of the match. A floatover DDT “scrambles his eggs!” according to JR. Shoulderbreaker finishes at 4:49. If you told me this geek would be headlining Wrestlemania within 2 years, I’d have figured they’d be on the cusp of bankruptcy. *1/2

THE SULTAN (with Bob Backlund and The Iron Sheik) vs. BRET HART

Backlund reads the riot act to a fan wearing an Undertaker shirt in the front row. JR relives memories of Bret losing the WWF title to Backlund in “San Antonio at the Royal Rumble about 4 years ago”, making me flash back to the time John Cena won the Royal Rumble at SummerSlam 9 years ago. Sultan boots Bret in the face off a blind charge, which delights the Sheik to the point his mustaches starts to curl. Bret kicks Sultan in the face, but that just wakes him up to deliver a belly to belly for 2. A belly to back destroys Hart, and we need to take a commercial break. Will Bret survive?

Yes! But barely. Sultan loads the boot, and slams Bret’s face into it. An avalanche misses, which staggers the Sultan, and Bret clotheslines him to give himself a few seconds to recover. Side Russian legsweep sets up the axehandle, and Bret gets 2. The Sharpshooter starts getting applied, but Sheik gets involved and Bret chases him off. Sultan approaches, but Bret spies him and kicks him in the midsection. Sheik trips Bret up, and the referee’s seen enough to call the DQ at 7:05. The Sultan comes at Bret 3 times after the match, but Bret keeps knocking him down. Eventually, he realizes it’s not his day, and the heels retreat to come up with a new strategy for another day. **

Of course, while Bret watches them, STEVE AUSTIN charges in from the crowd and just pounds the ever loving crap out of him! A Stunner makes sure Bret stays down, and Austin finishes by Pillmanizing Bret!! Bret rolls around, with his knee absolutely shot, while Austin gives us that classic cold self-satisfied grin.


Well that was a hell of an ending; caught me completely off guard for a Sunday morning throw-away. Great stuff from both parties, and definitely a palate cleanser from last night’s Shotgun.

16 comments:

  1. If I'm not mistaken, Studd was supposed to get a big push afterward against Andre, but Andre just wasn't healthy enough. Vince then didn't know what to do with Studd then and he quit in early June.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You really have to see a Big John Studd LJN figure in person to appreciate how big it is.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anyone from the 80s WWF.


    I guess I can't win if I don't play.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Send me an email at BBayless781@gmail.com for a chance to enter

    ReplyDelete
  5. More worthless than Duggan?

    ReplyDelete
  6. As well as what a studd he is.

    ReplyDelete
  7. JIm Duggan is the 1st ever winner. The field was poor, but it's a historical stat. Hogan won in 1990 and the match gave us the Ultimate Challenge. He won again in 91 and happened to get the title shot against that evil foreigner Sgt. Slaughter, so of all the pre-Mania Title Match Rumbles, Studd meant nothing and lead to nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Andre worked a regular house show all the way through the Fall. I think Studd was just that badly deteriorated himself. He was never a good worker, but he was awful in '89. Plus pushing him as a babyface? Just dumb.

    ReplyDelete
  9. #24 is probably in there so much because it's an ideal spot for a Main Eventer. Late enough that they can win without getting tired (especially bigger or older guys), but early enough that they can last at least 12 minutes plus the last section of eliminations after #30, so it doesn't come off as an easy win.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Being a massive Rumble nerd there's nothing there I didn't already know, but it's still pretty cool presentation.

    I prefer funkier home-made stats like:

    * longest consecutive time in Rumbles without being eliminated: Rey Mysterio, 111 minutes approx (2006 and 2009)

    * longest consecutive time in CONSECUTIVE Rumbles without being eliminated: Chris Benoit, 108 minutes approx (2004 and 2005)

    * wrestlers who were number 30 one year and then number 1 the following year: Ted Dibiase (1989 and 1990), Rikishi (2001 and 2002) and Undertaker (2007 and 2008)

    Most times starting a Rumble: Shawn Michaels 3 (1995, 2003, 2008)

    Stuff like that. The amount of Rumble-related trivia floating around my head is crazy

    ReplyDelete
  11. Some more Rumble stats and memories:
    Top 50 Royal Rumblers - http://bit.ly/14VdbbW
    Top 50 Royal Rumble Moments - http://bit.ly/1CKqt6o

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've only scanned the top 10 in your "top 50 Rumblers" and I've seen mistakes, and that's purely working from memory. Edge wasn't in the 2006 Rumble, and Rey wasn't in the 2004 OR 2008 Rumbles,

    ReplyDelete
  13. 17 wrestlers officially announced for the Rumble so far. Rumoured mystery entrants:



    *Possible spoilers*




    Orton
    Dallas
    Sheamus
    Bubba
    D-Von
    DDP
    2 NXT guys

    That's still only 25

    Room for The Mountie AND Marty Janetty...

    ... and the Mean Street Posse!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Regardless, isn't the stat for the Royal Rumble winner's WrestleMania match result? So it's not a mistake.

    ReplyDelete
  15. And what a rough John.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yeah I'd heard the same.

    ReplyDelete