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The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–03.11.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 03.11.96

Content warning this week? WTF? Also, I unlocked an achievement for watching a bunch of episodes of RAW on the Network. It’s an eventful show and I haven’t even started it yet!

Live from San Antonio, TX, in an actual ARENA. Holy crap. Dave’s summation from that week’s WON: “Raw on 3/11 in San Antonio before a sellout 9,364 paying $75,672 opened with Skip beating Craig or Duane Johnson. Not sure who the guy was but it was a try-out match and he looked green but okay.” Well that’s a pretty big undersell of one of the more historical debuts in wrestling history.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

Savio Vega v. STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN

So just like that, Vince notes that Austin’s peers may have dubbed him the Ringmaster, but now he’s Stone Cold Steve Austin. Savio escapes a headlock and gets some armdrags to start, but Austin sucker punches him and pounds him down with elbows. Savio comes back with a clothesline, but Austin puts him down with an axe bomber and a suplex for two. Apparently some weightlifter named Mark Henry is at ringside watching this. Vega misses a splash as Vince McMahon says “Stone Cold Steve Austin” as many times as humanly possible to get the name over. You do what you gotta do. We take a break and return with Austin hitting a clothesline to the back and choking away. Vega comes back with the leg lariat in the corner and they fight to the floor for the double countout at 8:12. Austin was actually showing fire and charisma here and it was a huge improvement over what he had been doing as the Ringmaster. **1/2

Rowdy Roddy Piper confronts Goldust, calling him “creampuff” and pointing out that he’s never actually seen him anywhere in Hollywood. And he already beat Adrian Adonis half to death with a baseball bat and he’ll do the same to Goldust. Piper just goes off on this awesome rant against Goldust and there’s no real issue but he makes it sound like an IMPORTANT match. And then Goldust tries to see what’s under Piper’s kilt, which doesn’t go well for him.

The Godwinns v. Alex Porteau & Jerry Meed

Phineas does the “crazy retarded hillbilly” act on the jobbers, freaking out in the corner and mule kicking them. Porteau comes in with a bodypress attempt and PIG slams him, then HOG finishes with a slop drop at 1:00. This was already the third repackage of Henry Godwinn and thankfully this one sort of worked enough that they stopped tinkering for a while. Speaking of tinkering, Alex Porteau would get a look as a JTTS guy later on, and that went nowhere.

Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels introduces us to Jose Lothario, who has apparently been training him all this time and we just never met him before now. This was the wrestling equivalent of Cousin Oliver on the Brady Bunch.

Meanwhile, Bret makes fans all over by declaring that he’s never met any really tough Mexican wrestlers. WHO IS HE TO DOUBT EL DANDY? Also, Shawn only bounces around the ring like a tennis ball and his big move is a kick. Bret rates him about a 4/10, in other words.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Ben Greer

They’re slipping back into squash matches, I see. HHH with the Pedigree at 0:90 and we learn that he will be facing Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania.

Geriatric Control Center with Scheme Gene. They’re giving away the Huckster v. Nacho Man match for free because even he can’t figure out a way to make a buck off it. Special stip: No handcuffs or ladies’ shoes allowed at ringside. Call his hotline now for a scoop about the sun possibly setting tonight! 1-900-LYING BALDY. This was pretty funny.

Yokozuna & Undertaker v. British Bulldog & Owen Hart

This seems like a bit of a mismatch. The babyfaces destroy Camp Cornette to start and Yoko letdrops Bulldog, and everyone evacuates while Diesel heads down and beats on Paul Bearer. So Undertaker walks away from the match to chase Diesel, leaving Yokozuna alone while we take a break. Back with the heels working him over, and now Vader heads out for the DQ at 5:36. There was literally almost nothing to this match. DUD And then Ahmed and Jake hit the ring and we get a giant six-man pull-apart brawl to end the show.

The Pulse

It’s getting to be a real drain constantly having to switch between devices and find the one that will stream these damn shows without crashing all the time. This episode took me nearly three hours to get through with the stopping and starting. They really need to get their shit together.

Comments

  1. Ugh. Phineas. Was Vince that desperate to get Henry fucking Godwinn over that he turned him face, then gave him Hillbilly Jim as a manager, then gave him a retarded cousin?

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  2. Are you suggesting that either the Usos or The Rock go full retard?

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  3. Duane Johnson's first match was actually against the Brooklyn Brawler. Skip was his SECOND match. Of note of his real debut, was he was pushed as the babyface in the match, but the fans booed him out of the building. Which became the whole theme of his career.


    And Bret doesn't like Mexican wrestlers? What about Japanese wrestlers though?

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  4. He thinks Japanese wrestlers are too stiff.

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  5. Bret Hart's the baby bear's bowl of porridge. His level of stiffness is just right.

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  6. Six years later and the real Huckster would essentially be headlining Wrestlemania, proving that Vince didn't care if they were geriatric as long as they were working for him. Also, what's worse, selling getting hit by a shoe as if you were hit by a semi truck, or selling getting hit by a semi truck as if you were hit by a shoe?

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  7. Especially that guy Gorudobaagu.

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  8. Another reason I never liked the Austin/Savio WM match was because this Raw match was way better than their WM match as both guys put more effort into this match.

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  9. Austin/Savio fought at Mania? When?

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  10. Damn, I could have sworn Austin fought Yokozuna in a dark match..

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  11. Dedicated UnderachieverMarch 23, 2015 at 1:54 AM

    The was the Summerslam later that year I believe.


    *checks Wiki*


    Yeah, dark match on Free For All.

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  12. Dedicated UnderachieverMarch 23, 2015 at 1:55 AM

    Roman Reigns?

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  13. The Ghost of Faffner HallMarch 23, 2015 at 1:58 AM

    I believe you're thinking of Summerslam.

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  14. Alex Pourteau would leave for WCW in 1997 and promptly job to Jumpin' Joey Maggs. In 1997. It's a living.

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  15. Shawn Michaels has a degenerated area? Shawn Michaels is a degenerated area!

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  16. Battle Kat LitterMarch 23, 2015 at 3:26 AM

    Joking aside, as a kid I loved stuff like Earthquake v Tugboat. Fandom was easier back then. The clash of the two big fat guys, or the clash of the two big powerful guys (Bulldog/Warlord) or the clash of the cool face-painted guys (LOD/Demolition). Clash of the two law-enforcement guys? 12 year old me says "SOLD"!

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  17. Battle Kat LitterMarch 23, 2015 at 4:11 AM

    Not meaning to be a misery but I have always found the Billionaire Ted stuff to be absolutely pathetic. At this stage the show was very much aimed at kids and families, and to have these sorts of infantile sketches taking shots at the very stars who were all under your employ and on your TV shows a few years earlier is loathesome. Such a babyish response to Bischoff's early shots.

    Also, let's not forget that Mean Gene is barely older than Vince, and Hogan is barely older than Jake Roberts.

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  18. The whole 'New Generation' thing was a joke from the start. The New Generation had Bret Hart, Bob Backlund, Kevin Nash, King Kong Bundy etc. And as someone already said, the 'Huckster' ended up winning the WWF World Championshup six years after these lameass sketches.


    To say nothing of this year's Wrestlemania card.

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  19. I would say Shawn did gut out a classic. That match was tremendous.

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  20. "Ween" Dean AndrewsMarch 23, 2015 at 4:57 AM

    Love this edition. For me this is where Raw finally becomes the better of the two Monday night wars. All the subtlety with Vince's unmasking as owner, the weaving of tweeters Bret, Austin and Shawn, the magnificence of SID - the guy who helped carry the WWF when that no good lazy Shawn couldn't and wouldn't.

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  21. Battle Kat LitterMarch 23, 2015 at 5:15 AM

    I just feel like Bischoff's shots against the WWF were snarky, often quite clever, and were generally done on commentary in passing. Vince's retort was setting aside time to film entire segments and put them on national TV, the content of which was entirely juvenile.

    Correct me if I'm wrong - I wasn't a big fan during this time period.

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  22. "Content warning this week?" They knew how bad the shows were. ;)

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  23. lol what does the New Generation have do with a WrestleMania card in 2015?

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  24. Only because they were trying to top their own classic from 97.

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  25. Angle and HHH didn't mesh well at all whenever they wrestled and none of the Punk/Jericho matches did much for me (given their potential).

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  26. The Bryan/Reigns Fast Lane match should've ended with a post-match hug where Reigns, not knowing his own strength, squeezed the very life out of D-Bry. Then at Wrestlemania Brock points at The Sign and Reigns stares at it lovingly before Heyman shoots him in the back of the head.

    Of Bry's And Reigns?

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  27. Jeff and Matt had zero chemistry as opponents, dating back to the random hardcore match they had in 99 or 00. The best they ever got against each other was WM 25 and ***

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  28. Green tights/yellow boots for Flair is great, followed closely by the blue tights/whatever color boots those were from '89.

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  29. Puts over the kick as being lethal, for the finish. Also, it makes Bret look tough as hell, because Michaels beat him with two kicks.

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  30. I think the Street Fight at Extreme Rules 2012 was about as good as you'll get out of those two, which isn't a knock at all. I thought the match was quite good.

    My biggest beef with those two was the horribly unnecessary storyline that surrounded their feud, when they really would've gotten on much better by just generally being dicks to each other.

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  31. Hahaha- THE PUG! I actually remember Alex Porteau and thinking he should get a push. But no, he was totally bland and ended up being one of those "Jobbers Who Can Beat ACTUAL Jobbers" guys that Chris Jericho narrowly-avoided becoming.
    I'm ashamed to admit that as a preteen, I thought Phineas' Retard Hillbilly Mule Kicking was awesome, and I became a fan of the guy.
    In retrospect, I'm actually astonished at how BIG Henry Godwinn was. I mean, I never noticed it when I was younger, but he is REALLY BIG.
    I distinctly recall The Ringmaster getting a sudden repackaging, and shrugging and moving on. I still had no reason to like this boring, generic guy.

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  32. Edge and Matt Hardy had that awesome cage match at Unforgiven '05. Everything else though, yes, I agree. Pretty underwhelming stuff.

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  33. Bischoff apparently harped on quite a bit in the early days- I think Scott & a few other reviewers have noted that the early shows contained a lot of him on commentary burying the opposition.

    I think a lot of it was infantile, but this was a pretty weak backlash by Vince. I thought it was funny at the time, being pro-WWF, but this was classic sour grapes. Made especially funnier by the WWF's own use of old, washed-up guys, and their later use of "legends" like it was an amazing thing.

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  34. Heh. In his defense though, he's talking about guys trying to bust noses and smash faces in on purpose, without caring about the consequences.

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  35. Clone Buddy tag teams were pretty common in failed solo acts, or guys on the downswing from major runs. Ted DiBiase got IRS, Earthquake got Typhoon and Skip got Zip as well. It keeps guys fresh, and creates some new competition in the tag scene.

    I don't think HOG ever got a major push- he certainly never BEAT anybody good. HHH actually WON that Hog Pen match, despite being victimized by the manure at the end. I think he was just kept on for so long as a favor to his buddy The Undertaker.

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  36. To be fair, that set also had Hogan/Piper, so it's probably not the best gauge for quality.

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  37. I guess he meant exactly what he said. he WWF/WWE tries to push how they are the 'New Generation' etc., but their cards are full of old guys. Just as the so-called 'New Generation' had guys like Bret Hart, Bob Backlund etc., they're doing similar shit now.
    In this case John Cena is supposedly the grizzled older guy, except he's the SAME AGE as Brock Lesnar. The WWE Champion. And other guys in prominent matches include HHH, Sting, Undertaker, R Truth. Meanwhile the Kane/Big Show duo continue to dominate. So, if CENA is old, what does that make all the guys much older than he is?

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  38. They just never reached the level I'd expect from two elite level workers. Almost like they were working against instinct and aiming for a self-consciously 'great match' structure.

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  39. I find it odd that I've had issues since Day 1, playing the Network on X360, until recently. Now it works great 99% of the time, it seems everyone else is now having issues.

    I never have had problems when I just watch it on my laptop.

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  40. It is kind of amazing that if you look back before he became crybaby Bret in 1997 that if you look at some of his older stuff you can still see shades of it, just like this promo on this show.

    I even look back to his SummerSlam 92 match against Bulldog and always thought he was a bit of a bad sport. Yeah he shakes his hand and everything, but it was kind of "eh, fine, whatever."

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  41. Hell yes, it terrified me as a kid, too. And I was also a huge Troll 2 fan way before it was a cult hit. Used to watch it all the time. Needless to say, that one never scared me because it was too batshit stupid insane.

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  42. Well their Mania match was an afterthought for the Piper/Goldust shenanigans

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  43. Trips and Angle had terrible chemistry.

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  44. Agreed, and I'm pretty sure that was intentional.

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  45. Same here. I rented it way way back at a Major Video in the early 90s but they closed and I wanted to see it again because it was such a loaded card on paper. Back in the day at Suncoast(late 90s/early 2000s), they had a catalog of old tapes that could be ordered. Starrcade 89 was somehow on that list for $40 although it was back ordered so I put down a $5 deposit and waited... and waited for about a year and a half until I got my $5 back. The show became so mythical to me that I had to see it. I eventually read the rant and found out it wasn't that good but I still had to see it. I ended up getting a decent looking copy via tape trading and I still really liked it. Sure, it meant nothing in the long or short term besides being the catalyst for Sting's World Title match but it was so cool to me to see a tournament like that.

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  46. The wrestling-focused stuff wasn't bad--it was somewhat on point and could be pretty funny (though making fun of Randy Savage for being "disloyal" earned them no sympathy, I'm guessing). The personal shots at Turner were fucking horrible. Not only was it abhorrent to make fun of a guy for having depression, but NO ONE IN THE AUDIENCE GIVES A FUCK if Ted makes an off-color joke about women or whatever the fuck else they hammered him about, and they didn't give a shit about the FTC or the AOL-TW merger either. Also I think even quite a few dense fans saw through the bullshit of the WWF of all companies whining about a potential monopoly.

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  47. The OT in the Iron Man match is where it starts for me - he grabs his belt and runs like he's trying to escape with it and has to be forced to continue the match while showing his displeasure over it.

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  48. Yeah, I always got the sense that Bret really DID behave that way in real life, which is why the Hit Man character did so as well. It's probably what gave his character a lot of impact, because it's how he really felt about stuff. It was only barely exaggerated for "Anti-USA" Bret Hart- that whole "this is bullshit! This is unfair! I do all of this work and don't get any recognition!" is CLASSIC Bret.

    Bret always struck me as one of those guys who just talked like a real person in most of his promos. He never had a TON of charisma compared to other Main Eventers, but he gets points for seeming legit.

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  49. Yep but didn't the fact that there wasn't a fall in regulation diminish it? The stip was cool but pointless

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  50. I think there was a good Booker match on Nitro and they used the Summerslam 92 finish, but he faced Booker more times than I thought so they all blend together. Were those DDP matches any good?

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  51. Flair's a tough one. In the course of this reply I went from red to purple to powder blue as my favourite.

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  52. Yeah, the back and forth was really interesting in retrospect, with Bischoff coming off as this guy who thinks he's too cool to stoop to their level but is really just as bad with his offhand "Oh, that show sucks, watch ours instead" stuff. It was fine when Nitro was putting on a more exciting product, but when he'd bury a decent sounding RAW show and then hype up, say, Meng v. Jim Duggan, it came off as just as bad as what Vince was doing in a lot of ways.

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  53. Something about his attire in that match looks off. Black knee pads with his pink gear, boots that don't look like they're his...

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  54. I don't know if you watch Curb Your Enthusiasm but the episode where Michael J Fox is fucking with him and Larry's having a meltdown because nobody else sees it that way is how I imagine Bret being. "He does drugs and had a belly button ring!!! I should be champion!!"

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  55. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANMarch 23, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    He was a great promo in 97 when he had motivation.

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  56. yes! that was a big one.


    I also thought his heelish moves at Royal Rumble 95 was the start.

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  57. I don't know why he gets a bad rap for being a bad promo. Yeah he wasn't The Rock or anything, but I thought he was very much above average.

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  58. He was good when he had a point but he wasn't a guy who could cut a promo about nothing and be entertaining like The Rock or Austin.

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  59. Somehow, guys like Cena and Orton are still the new guys.

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  60. Especially in the Early Nitro days with Dungeon of Doom run-ins and Yeti breaking out of ice and crap like that. The one thing Nitro had was they would took risks like giving away PPV main event matches for free or give you the lucha or Japan style matches which was rare on American tv at the time. But neither show was perfect.

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  61. Problem was Bischoff never resorted to the personal stuff like Vince would when he was attacking Turner. The Billionaire Ted stuff could have worked if Vince managed to keep his deep feelings of insecurity re: Ted Turner out of it.

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  62. I was a fan of Austin from his WCW days so i was glad he dropped the Ringmaster name. They tried hard to put him over as this mean cold hearted killer type of character but it didn't really click. Once he dropped Millionaire Ted and stopped doing the Million dollar champ gimmick he at least started cutting promos and being himself which morphed him into the shit talking redneck asskicker we all know.

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  63. Also, a lot of fans still considered Hogan and Savage big stars and viewed it as petty from the WWF.

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  64. Not at all. As I mentioned elsewhere in the thread, the stipulation ENHANCED the story they were telling -- that these were the two best guys in the world, so evenly matched that even an hour wasn't enough time for one to take out the other.

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  65. Man, I loved those Jericho-Punk matches. Agreed on Angle-H, probably because both guys were heels most of the time they worked against each other, and babyface HHH was terrible.


    I feel like face Angle and heel HHH would have been awesome.

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  66. Rey's mask was the biggest problem in that match. He was fidgeting with it the whole time, and I think it disrupted their timing on a few big spots.

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  67. Eh, I liked the headlocks. You could make the same argument about Flair-Steamboat at WrestleWar. 20 minutes of arm work that goes nowhere and gets no-sold halfway through.

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  68. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMarch 23, 2015 at 10:49 AM

    I hoped for a better match between Jericho and HHH at Wrestlemania 18, but HHH was nothing special after his return.

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  69. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMarch 23, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    I think I expected the Wrestlemania 2000 Fatal Four-Way to at least produce a great, memorable brawl akin to the 1997 "Fatal Four-Way". It didn't.

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  70. AverageJoeEverymanMarch 23, 2015 at 11:11 AM

    Benoit tapped out before the match. Tapped out . . . forever.

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  71. In the time when Angle was at his peak, HHH was at his nadir as a worker. I'm not convinced their styles ever would've worked together.

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  72. I wish they'd done it again. Like every 5 years or something.

    ...wait, in 1994 that would mean Hogan/Sting/Vader/...Avalanche? Harken Heat/Nasties/Pretty Wonderful/Stars N Stripes?

    Okay, scratch that idea.

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  73. You could bring back the Great American Bash in June so you can avoid Hogan and friends. Unfortunately you still miss Rude and Cactus/Sullivan by a month.


    Sting - Vader - Austin - Flair
    You're probably right on with the tag teams

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  74. Much better!
    Cactus/Sullivan were there until July at the BATB. So they would replace S&S, methinks.
    In a dream world Austin could've won the singles one.

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  75. Shawn and HHH didn't seem to have a medium setting between "this match will be incredible" or "this match is the pits."

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  76. also = too, not to.

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  77. live on wednesday(?!?) night

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  78. I wanted the PPV back when I was a kid, and didn't get it. But I eventually was able to order the tape from an old WCW magazine in 1992. That's when I finally saw the show. It was clipped to hell though. PPV version on the network is way better.

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  79. 2001 Babyface Angle would've had a hell of a match with Hunter, barring the quad injury. And really, it could've worked around 2004 or 5 as well.

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  80. You might be right. When Hunter still had his speed and Angle hadn't yet moved past the Attitude in-ring style.

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  81. Starrcade: Future Shock is many buys for me. We need more things like this but executed correctly doesnt even need to be perfect (g1) just not terrible (bfg series). Would help fill time on these three hour shows to boot!

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  82. Agreed but I liked the matches with Jeff and Edge in 09.

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