Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WWF Thursday RAW Thursday: February 13, 1997

After 22 years of RAW, we’ve had a chance to discuss to death what our favorite episodes are. We’ve looked at the funniest moments, and the most historically significant. You can have your RAW/Nitro simulcast, the Shawn Michaels in-ring collapse, the Pipebomb, the Radicals, or anything else. I, personally, can’t make the argument for anything else – this episode is the most critically important edition in the company’s history, because, as we’ll find out, everything we’ve been building to is about to be chopped up, shoved in a t-shirt cannon, and shot all over the place until we don’t even remember where it all started.

Right off the bat, a shocker: The WWF title is to be declared vacant tonight, and the Final Four match at the pay-per-view will determine our next champion. What ... the ... hell?

The gravelly voice of VINCE MCMAHON welcomes us to Lowell, Massachusetts, and he’s all over the Shawn Michaels story. Sid will face Steve Austin instead of Michaels, and for god knows what reason, he ISN’T added to the pay-per-view match despite the fact he’s the current #1 contender to the belt. It’s decisions like this that are the reason all of his top stars have gone completely insane, it’s just been a series of illogical decisions, one after the other, designed to toy with the superstars; which is likely exactly how Vinny likes it. JIM ROSS and JERRY LAWLER are given no time to speak, because we’re headed straight to the ring.


ROCKY MAIVIA (Overall: 4-1-0, RAW: 1-0-0) vs. HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY (Overall: 4-2-0, RAW: 1-0-0) (for the WWF Intercontinental title)

Hunter escaped Saturday Night Shotgun by the skin of his teeth, retaining on a technicality before getting tombstoned onto an escalator in a visually impressive spot. Helmsley dominates this one early, with Rocky looking completely out of his league. However, a desperation dropkick knocks Hunter all the way to the floor, and Rock gives a little smile in recognition of the fact he’s given himself a chance. Triple H charges back into the ring and puts Rocky in a headlock, but Rock manages to shove him off and dropkicks him to the outside again. This time, Rock doesn’t let up, following Hunter to the floor, where he promptly misses a running clothesline and injures his own arm. Helmsley smells blood, and hits a jumping armbreaker before dropping a knee across the elbow joint.  Rock fights to his feet, and takes a second jumping armbreaker for 2, before we head to our first commercial.

During the break, Triple H remained completely in control, and because this match is lacking in a little sportz entertainment, HONKY TONK MAN wanders down to ringside because he wants to talk about his protégé, blowing off Rocky completely because he doesn’t fit the “profile”. I see his eye for scouting is on par with his wrestling ability. Hunter tries to put Rock to sleep, but the fans give Rocky a second wind, and next thing you know, he’s hulking himself up and hits a backdrop. Rock heads up which seems insane given what we know of him – but he shocks me with a good looking crossbody, which Hunter rolls through for 2. A neckbreaker gets 2, despite Vince’s assertion that “THIS ONE’S OVER!” following the move.  A spike piledriver gets 2, and Helmsley’s had just about enough of Earl Hebner and his slow ass counts. Hunter puts Rocky on the top, bitch slaps him a little, and hits the superplex, getting another relatively slow 2 count. A frustrated Hunter goes for the Pedigree, but Rocky’s out and Triple H can’t lift the bag of lead. So, with nothing else to do, Helmsley does his curtsy, but Rock was playing possum and cradles Hunter for the MASSIVE upset at 14:22! Rock, still woozy from the beating, doesn’t seem to even be aware of what’s happening until the belt is thrust in his hands, at which point his eyes go wide. Rock gives props to Helmsley as “one of the greatest Intercontinental champions”, before thanking his grandfather, father, and the whole family. **1/2

THE HEADBANGERS (Overall: 1-1-1, RAW: 1997 debut) vs. ALDO MONTOYA and BOB HOLLY (no data)

SUNNY is the guest ring announcer, and forgets her notes in her cleavage, to the delight of horny young men all over the arena. Of course, the kids today have it better, where celebrities openly post pictures of their naked wives all over Twitter for the hell of it. Holly starts us off with a perfect Frankensteiner, while his partner, dressed in the world’s most confusing Halloween costume (what the hell is he supposed to be, exactly?), hits Mosh with an enzuigiri. Holly and Mosh can’t seem to get their signal straight on basic leapfrogs and whips, so we get a couple of awkward moments of confused movement before Mosh gives up and tags in Thrasher. A double front suplex connects, and the Headbangers start using cheap heel tactics to distract the referee and cheat like crazy. I don’t know why they just don’t pull their stunts in front of the referee, ain’t nobody getting disqualified for a choke hold or a pooter shot. JR calls the Headbangers impressive, which is akin to calling Roseanne a sex symbol. Holly gets a fairly cold hot tag, and Aldo gets booed when he looks to the fans for support. With absolutely no love, Aldo becomes a quick victim of the Stage Dive at 5:43. 1/2*

VINCE MCMAHON and GORILLA MONSOON take centre stage to welcome the most “flamboyant” WWF champion of all time to surrender the WWF championship. SHAWN MICHAELS comes gimping to the ring, and allegedly he had an MRI over the weekend and it just so happens he’s got a crippling knee injury that requires reconstructive surgery IMMEDIATELY, even though the last time we saw him he was bouncing around the ring like a Believer who’s just had their cane broken in half and thrown across the stage by a Jesus breathing Televangelist who’s SCREAMING “GOD HAS RECONSTRUCTED YOUR SPINE, NOW DANCE, BROTHER, DANCE!” Or maybe I watch too many late night infomercials. Shawn’s wearing his Sad Serious face tonight, which he slaps on whenever it’s time to drop a belt he’s injured. The fans are so upset at Shawn’s plight that they start chanting for Sid. Shawn sure wishes he could have defended that belt like a man, while Vince stares lovingly in his eyes. He’s absolutely taken by Shawn, hanging on to every word like a love-sick puppy. He’s not having fun anymore, and in fact … he’s lost his smile. Lost … his … smile. Then, to finally end this charade, Vince and Shawn fall into each other’s arms, while Shawn bawls like a child. This is the most sad-sack pitiful excuse for a champion on the planet. If you’re able to walk to the ring, you’re able to eat a powerbomb and drop the belt like a man. This is the work of a shyster, a crooked low-life scumbag who can’t man up and do for others what they did for him. Tell me a lie and say that you won’t go; tell me a hundred and get the fuck out.

YOUR WWF CHAMPION!


After the break, Vince continues the kneecap sucking by carrying on about how the WWF owes Shawn Michaels everything. This is beyond a bitch move. While I’d never encourage anyone to look at Kurt Angle as the role model for health and safety; but he was faced with a seriously injured neck, and was more than happy to drop the belt to Brock before Wrestlemania in a quickie match (before swerving everyone and deciding to actually go through with the match like a modern day loon). There are a million ways to book a quick match; hell, repeat the Daniel Bryan/Sheamus debacle from Wrestlemania 28, with Jose Lothario playing the role of AJ Lee. Goddamn chickenshit.

SAVIO VEGA (Overall: 3-1-1, RAW: 1-0-0) (with PG-13, Clarence Mason, and D’Lo Brown) vs. THE UNDERTAKER (Overall: 3-2-1, RAW: 2-0-0)

We may as well toss Savio out there, I’m as riled up now as I was the first time I saw this, and I already hate him anyway so let’s get this over with. Taker starts to pound on Savio, showing the kind of toughness Shawn Micheals doesn’t possess. Savio hits a spinning heel kick, but Taker kicks out, while Vince continues to sell just how crippled Shawn is. You had a one-legged wrestler in 2003 for fuck sakes, and while he was as much a pain in the ass as Michaels was, at least he still performed (and lost matches!). Savio plants Taker with a spin kick that knocks him down, but amazingly, Taker does NOT start to cry. Undertaker finally gives us the zombie sit up, and drops a leg that Savio botches and looks like it really hurts. Still, he finishes the match, because he’s a man who knows how to do the right thing, and Taker wins with a chokeslam at 8:50THE NATION OF DOMINATION rush the ring and beat down Undertaker like a group of Syracuse marines. AHMED JOHNSON makes the save, and together they’re able to clear the ring and continue not to understand each other. This match was probably really bad, but I’m too angry to be trusted with any kind of objective opinion right now.

GORILLA MONSOON announces the Final Four match is now for the WWF title, because he felt this would be the fairest way to settle matters. No, the fairest way would have been for Shawn to gimp his ass to the ring and lie down like he’s taking a field trip through Vince’s bedroom.

STEVE AUSTIN (Overall: 1-2-1, RAW: 0-2-0) vs. SYCHO SID (Overall: 0-2-0, RAW: 1997 debut)

Austin attacks before the bell, showing the kind of energy that was largely responsible in his rise to the top. Sid tries to fight back, and takes a swift kick to the plums for even thinking about it. The fans start chanting “AUSTIN” with some fervor, and love it when he fights off Sid and throws him face first into the ring post. Austin goes for an abdominal stretch, but due to Sid’s size, the only way he’s able to hold it in place is with the ropes for leverage. That’s one of the few times the rope move makes sense actually. Sid goes for a sleeper, but Austin drops down with a jawbreaker for 2. Sid starts chopping at Austin’s neck, but misses a legdrop and Austin goes for the Sharpshooter as his latest f-you to Bret. Sid shoves him off and plants him with a big boot, but BRET HART, likely offended from that Sharpshooter move, attacks and gets Sid disqualified at 3:43. Sid, still without a win in 1997, freaks out and starts to punch Bret in the face for that, while Austin’s able to walk away virtually unharmed. Oh, the match? Darn good offering from two guys I would have never expected to mesh well. **1/2

VADER and PAUL BEARER are back in the locker room to talk Final Four. Vader brags that within the last 6 weeks he’s beaten the Undertaker, whopped Austin twice, and took out Bret, and thus should be the favorite going into the weekend. The man makes a good point.

JERRY LAWLER plugs the sponsors by sending money to his mother via Western Union for Valentine’s Day. He’s got something for the young girls of Memphis as well, but that can’t be mailed.

Earlier tonight, Shawn Michaels lost his smile. I’d recommend he check bedside next to his balls.

FAAROOQ and CRUSH (Overall: 2-0-0, RAW: 1997 debut) (with PG-13, Clarence Mason, and D’Lo Brown) vs. OWEN HART and THE BRITISH BULLDOG (Overall: 1-2-0, RAW: 1-1-0) (with Slammy) (for the WWF world tag-team titles)

Owen and Crush start, and Owen nearly pins Crush off a top rope crossbody. Crush comes back with a gorilla press slam, so Hart tags in Bulldog to counter Crush’s power, but we need to take a commercial break.

We’re back just in time to see a super dangerous looking spike piledriver from Crush, but Bulldog avoids disaster and kicks out at 2. Faarooq whips Bulldog into the ringsteps and rolls him in, but it only gets 2. Both Nation members work over Bulldog in the corner, but Bulldog puts him down with a faceplant. Meanwhile…

BRET HART is watching the match from a monitor; and Vince chirps in to ask Bret how he feels about Shawn’s injury. Bret, rolling his eyes and trying to keep a straight serious face, says it’s a sad deal and he’s sorry to see him go because he’s such a great worker. Bret hopes Shawn comes back, and still wants to settle the score with him.

Faarooq has been in full control while we were with Bret, but Bulldog is in the process of blocking a splash with his knees, while Owen leads the fans in a “BULLDOG” chant. Faarooq cuts off the ring, and Crush heads in to put on a body scissors. Vince: “And speaking of body scissors, how would you like to be put in the body scissors by La Femme Nikita?” I’m only interested in that show if Hulk Hogan and the Giant are going to be wrestling during the commercial breaks, otherwise, piss off. Crush hits a pathetic backbreaker with all the ferocity of a husband lifting his new wife over the threshold, and amazingly, it fails to get a pin. Bulldog tosses Faarooq with a belly to belly, but Crush knocks Owen off the apron and puts on a headlock. Faarooq distracts just as Bulldog gets the tag, but the referee orders him back to his corner. Owen loses his mind, because the Nation are working over Bulldog in the corner in a total re-enactment of the Yetti debut at Halloween Havoc 95. Bulldog finally gets the real tag, and he hits both guys with spinning heel kicks. A missile dropkick on Crush gets 2, and everyone hits the ring. Bulldog and Crush are left alone, as Owen jams his knee on his way over the top rope. Faarooq pulls Bulldog to the floor, while Owen gets counted out for the second week in a row at 9:14. Bulldog is hit with the Dominator, while Owen limps around until he thinks he’s off camera, at which point he walks around just fine. Bulldog realizes what happened, and asks incredulously “AGAIN?!?” *1/2

VADER (Overall: 4-1-1, RAW: 2-0-0) (with Paul Bearer) vs. BRET HART (Overall: 2-1-0, RAW: 0-1-0)

Bret gives away his sunglasses, to who Vince declares “ONE HAPPY YOUNG MAN”, until he turns around and reveals himself to be a little girl. THE UNDERTAKER comes to the staging area before the match, tired of being overlooked and disrespected, and as a result everyone is going to Rest in Peace. Ok then! We take a quick break before getting ahead of ourselves.

While we were away, STEVE AUSTIN ran in and beat the shit out of Bret, because this is a man who carries a serious grudge. He ain’t kidding when he suggests you not piss him off. Vader takes full advantage, pounding on Bret with those cannon ball hands that would cauliflower the ears of an elephant. Bret tries to attack the legs to keep the big guy off his base, and a Russian legsweep sets up an early Sharpshooter. Vader shoves off, but Bret backdrops him and nails the second rope elbowdrop. Vader tries to hit an avalanche, but Bret dives out of the way and as Vader bounces off the buckle, Bret locks on the Sharpshooter and even though Vader’s right at the ropes, he hangs on right through a 4 count. Austin re-appears now, up in the balcony, mouthing off at Bret. The distraction is plenty for a guy like Vader, who hits a clothesline and points to Austin as he goes for the moonsault – but it misses! Austin: “YOU PIECE OF CRAP!” Hart dives on top for the pin at 4:59! **

Austin tries to jump over the balcony to get to Bret, but finds himself being restrained by a group of fans who don’t think suicide’s the answer. Vince signs us off, reminding us to order the pay-per-view.

This RAW was monumentally important to the future of the company. On a smaller scale, because Shawn flaked out, Vince felt he needed to do something shocking, and decided to throw the IC belt on Rocky Maivia. This decision would bomb, as we’re going to see, which wound up being the absolute best thing that could have happened to the young guy. I believe Rock would have found himself eventually regardless of his push, because that charisma can’t be taught, but the backlash the push-from-hell we’re about to endure gives rise to the man we come to know and love today.

And then there’s all the fallout from the belt. If Shawn does what he’s asked, in losing to Sid and eventually Bret at Mania, you have to imagine that Bret becomes a hell of a lot easier to negotiate with later in the year as he’s eased out of the company. We probably don’t wind up with the most talked about pay-per-view moment in wrestling history, and Vince McMahon doesn’t become the most reviled character on the planet. Bret still probably turns heel, but instead of focusing his attack on Austin, who we’ll talk about in a second, he heads into a summer-long feud with Shawn Michaels – possibly paired with Owen, but not likely Bulldog.

Austin, meanwhile, sees his push gets stunted, by allegedly getting paired with Bulldog at Mania instead of Bret. He doesn’t get to put on the classic match to end all classic matches (unless Bulldog miraculously starts channeling his old buddy Dynamite Kid), and he stays heel for the immediate future. He still winds up champion sooner or later because, like Rock, nothing was stopping him at this point, but the climate and the ride looks very different. Because you’re messing with the timeline, he never breaks his neck; a bonus for us because we get extra years of Steve Austin, but takes something away from the character’s vulnerability that became such a critical element to who Stone Cold Steve Austin was. He was an asskicker, but he wasn’t superman, and the neck as his kryptonite always left doubt from that point forward.

One selfish decision, and the house of cards collapses upon itself; which in retrospect was instrumental in the turnaround of a fledgling company.


I’d call that an important RAW.

202 comments:

  1. I don't see how things change, except for Austin not having the classic match with Bret. He still turns babyface and feuds with the Hart Foudation regardless. I also doubt the Bret/HBK relationship doesn't still go nuclear. A lot shit happened after 13 that was irrelevant to a potential HBK/Hart match at that show.

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  2. I think the biggest impact Thursday RAW Thursday had is that it seemed - for the first time - that the WWF was actually TRYING to compete with the two-hour Nitro. Before this, the one-hour format of the show stunk of Vince screaming "WELL, THAT'S THE WAY THINGS ARE!" This was a breath of fresh air before the company stepped things up twice more with the ECW episode and the debut of RAW is WAR.

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  3. Oh man, HartKiller is going to have a field day with this. I'm legitimately excited.

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  4. Again, doctors and MRI's say one thing, Bret a Hart says another and Bret Hart's word is gospel. Did Shawn fake it? I don't know any more than you know he did but Bret's just as much the selfobsorbed liar Shawn was.

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  5. What has Bret lied about?

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  6. Maybe not so much outright lying as his belief that nothing he did wrong was really wrong or that big a deal and his way of crtiticizing Shawn for things that apply to himself.

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  7. What criticisms did Bret throw at Shawn that he could apply to himself?

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  8. Is that better or worse than "finding God" and using that to deflect away from every asshole thing you did before "finding God?"

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  9. He ignores that he started the whole thing with his pissy attitude about dropping the title to Shawn in the first place. He rips Shawn for politicking when he himself was the one suggesting he win the title over and over. He criticizes Shawn for working with his friends when he worked with his family. In general he had a bitterness that it was Shawn's time and tried to act like it was all because people are just unfair and out to get poor Bret.

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  10. How is it deflecting? He admits he either did or likely did do anything he's accused of doing and at this point in his life doesn't take wrestling serious enough to comb over every detail of his career. He's retired with a family, the exact details of what he said on a particular day to piss Bret Hart off probably aren't that important to him.

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  11. I don't even care about Bret in this instance. There were enough ways for Shawn to go out on his back to give up the belt that could've worked regardless of Bret.


    Not everything is about Bret Hartkiller!! ;)

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  12. I don't see why he couldn't lose to Sid either, but maybe thinking he could be done they wanted to give him a farewell moment? Guys have handed over the title plenty of times since due to injury, it could have been a creative decision.

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  13. Oh, I'm sorry. I just thought this was a time for unprovoked comments about other wrestlers after you jumped in with Bret Hart despite Chris not mentioning him at all when talking about the "Losing My Smile" segment. My mistake.

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  14. Bret Hart is awesome. Shawn Michaels is gay.

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  15. That WM moment was huge in making Austin though and it was the momentum leading up to it that made them pull the trigger on the risky move of turning Bret. Without the build up and match at WM they may cool off on Austin.

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  16. Yes, because Shawn faking the knee injury story didn't come from 15 years of Bret harping about it.

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  17. If he had a pissy attitude about dropping the title at 12, he kept that private. If pitching a storyline that ends with dropping the title to Shawn at SummerSlam 97 is politicking, that ok I guess. The only time Bret pitched working with his family was SummerSlam 92.


    I didn't get the bitterness at all. He was recognizing his time was coming to an end and was openly talking about hanging it up in the next few years.

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  18. It came from Shawn Michaels doing backflips a few weeks later.

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  19. Just want to say kudos on the hbk rant. He's the worst and I hated his 96-97 run with a passion. The guy's obviously one of the best ever but he's always going to be my least favorite wrestler.

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  20. People thought it was bullshit when they watched this show in 1997 before Bret even said a goddamn thing about it.

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  21. Four months later.

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  22. People could diagnose a knee injury through their televisions in 1997?

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  23. People have an intuition towards when someone is lying, and "I lost my smile" sets off a hell of a lot of alarm bells.

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  24. It's not hard to tell he had an attitude about it in 1996. He's phoning it in and making snide remarks about Shawn and his fans, then went on rip him in his newspaper column. In general Bret's always had this attitude where he had no problem not being champion it's just wrong and unfair if he isn't.

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  25. Losing your smile is a serious injury!

    Great recap. I look forward to re-reading it when Dougie posts it to NPP.

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  26. And Shawn had the attitude that he should be able to pick who beats him. In the never ending struggle of "who was a more annoying asshole in the mid-90s?" Shawn sure seems to get a lot of passes from you.

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  27. Phoning what in? He had good matches with Davey Boy, Nash, and Taker leading up to it. If he really had a problem with Shawn taking his title, he would have stuck around and getting it back in May.

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  28. The buildup was already there and you could still do that match after Mania.

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  29. You have a point there. This was the third time Shawn has done this and there are only so many times you can go the "23 Marines beat me up" well.

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  30. If Bret still turns heel the next night and Austin becomes defacto-face to oppose him it could work out mostly the same.

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  31. Bret/HBK at 13. The finish is Owen and Davey coming out and screwing Shawn, forming the Hart Foundation with Bret after the match. Next night on Raw, the three are kicking Shawn's ass. GLASS SHATTERS. Austin comes running down with a chair and clears the ring.

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  32. Why does the first IC title one count? He was at home when they called to tell him he was suspended and they were stripping him off the title. Then when he came back he put the new champion over anyway.

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  33. Shawn intentionally broke the top ring rope during the match with the Hart Foundation to get out of jobbing the titles to the Nasty Boys.

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  34. An additional take from the debate going on below as HartKiller once again scathingly makes something about Bret Hart. He seems to do that more than Bret Hart himself, ironically.



    Shawn Michaels is square with the house. He's a good guy who made the most of his second chance and atoned for his sins.


    That, however, does not change that in 1997 he was a conniving, gutless, fucked-up junkie whose antics were so appalling that it infuriated most of the roster. The fact that he turned this into a successful character does not exonerate him.


    Shawn has clarified since this time that he took the doctor at his word when he was told that he had suffered a possible career-ending knee injury. I am inclined to believe he was told this by a doctor and that's cool. The problem is - in the near two decades since - no one has asked Shawn the right question. Did he really feel that he could not wrestle another match, or did he just exploit this news to get out of doing a job?


    Sadly, we will likely never get the answer to this question, as Shawn suffers memory problems - another statement of his I accept only on fact value - due to the fact that he was - as I mentioned - a fucked-up junkie. Given the evidence that exists about his character, his previous ability and his "miraculous" recovery by the month of May, I'm inclined to believe it was the latter.


    In conclusion, you can like the man for what he became. I certainly do. But if you don't think that Shawn was a douchebag weasel when he "lost his smile," you've got your head in the fucking sand.

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  35. It was a joke dude.

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  36. Why didn't Daniel Bryan drop the title? If he's healthy enough to walk to the ring he's healthy enough to tap to the STF.

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  37. Yea, I think that's a dangerous precedent CFB set up there. Edge could've dropped the belt too!

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  38. "But if you don't think that Shawn was a douchebag weasel when he "lost his smile," you've got your head in the fucking sand."



    I do think that, but if you also don't think he was fucking money in the ring during that period and all the backstage shit doesn't mean much anyway, you've got your head up your fucking ass.

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  39. Well, he COULD have. He worked a match.

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  40. Oh, he was great! I won't argue that for a second.

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  41. Edge vacated three titles too. He's a modern day HBK

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  42. It's fun to make fun of Shawn's jobberitis when he has title, but let's remember he has nothing on Benoit. That dude went to the mother fucking EXTREME to get out of dropping a title.

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  43. All I'm saying as that in this particular instance Shawn's been tried and convicted based on what Bret Hart thought. He missed WM, he missed 4 months, he supposedly saw 2 doctors, he did rehab but none of that counts because Bret Hart days he faked it to screw over Bret Hart.

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  44. Just wait until his comeback in 3 years.

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  45. Based off of their relationship at the time and Shawn's metal state, it isn't really a leap dude.

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  46. Um... he wasn't champion when that happened.

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  47. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogMarch 18, 2015 at 10:55 PM

    At least put the heat on someone who IS going to headline Mania. Austin pillmanizing Shawn or Sid powerbombing him for an injury angle to vacate the belt. Not the blubbering

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  48. Wasn't he ECW champ? God damn facts ruining a good Benoit joke.

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  49. I wonder of either one dropping the belts to the Nasty Boys was the long term plan? Nastys/Rockers could have been fun, but I liked both Harts/Nastys and Rockers/FoF as they were.

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  50. He and Punk were wrestling in a tournament final that Benoit was slated to win anyway. Oh, well.

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  51. Oh it's possible, and based on other things it might be hard to give him the benefit of the doubt but who really knows for sure?

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  52. I'm pretty sure Nasties were planned for a huge push as soon as they were signed.

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  53. When he found out he was putting Punk over he went ballistic. At least Julie had the sense to take the kids to a hotel when Bret found out he was losing a title.

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  54. He did it to get out of eventually jobbing the title at an unspecified future date. That's even worse!

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  55. A guy I worked with had to take time off work for some stress related reason and posted a modified transcript of Shawn's speech here. I didn't want to admit I knew where he got it from.

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  56. Edge totally could've. He worked a match literally the night before. That riles me as much as Shawnner's.

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  57. No, but Michaels had the precedent. In 97 when I was on RSPW (and it wasn't super wide knowledge he was planned to drop the belt to Bret) almost everyone was calling BS the moment the interview happened.

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  58. List of titles Shawn lost without jobbing:
    AWA Southern Tag Team
    World Tag Team with Marty(I'm counting it damnit!)
    World Tag Team with Diesel
    World Tag Team with Diesel again!
    World Tag Team with Austin
    (He also lost a tag team title with Cena in a fucking battle royal. Can't include but it's suspect)
    IC title twice
    WWE title
    (Can't include the Euro title either but that is also suspect)




    8 fucking titles Shawn Michaels has had and lost without jobbing!

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  59. I'm sure you gave him a standing ovation and had tears in your eyes.

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  60. Regarding the euro title, I think working a worked match counts.

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  61. It isn't like Edge didn't want to put over ADR tho, that is the difference. They all made a decision to have him retire champ.

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  62. My favourite story about Shawn refusing to job was Wrestlemania XIV where he was telling everyone behind the curtain that - despite his back injury - he wouldn't lay down for Austin because he hadn't "paid his dues." Then Undertaker started taping his fists menacingly and Shawn changed his tune. Brilliant.

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  63. I don't know whether it's cool or sad that 18 years later (WTF time?) we're still debating HBK v. Bret.

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  64. Both of them are my favorites. It's kinda weird when I'm defending both of them on the same issue sometimes.

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  65. The manner in which he "lost" the Euro title makes me far madder than his lost smile ever did. After the shit he pulled to get the belt the least he could do was treat it as something important.

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  66. That was the point. To generate heel heat.

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  67. Yeah, I think cult is on the money here. I get what you're saying, I think, about the fact that Shawn pulled a backstage play to get the title off Davey Boy, but 2 heels that are buddies shouldn't be going out and having a legit match when the worked one gets the crowd hating both a LOT more.

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  68. Even the Davey Boy thing is completely justifiable. He was a mid-card guy with nothing going on. That got Shawn HUGE heat.

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  69. In my case it just generated "why do I bother"heat. It can't be overstated just how much I hated DX. I didn't "love to hate them", I just hated them. If Austin hadn't become the focus of Raw in early 1998 I probably would have stopped watching outright.

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  70. Except anyone with half a brain knows that story is either complete BS or exaggerated to the nth degree. I'm so sure the day of the show Michaels was bragging about not jobbing until the Undertaker (who I'm sure could completely care less about who held the stupid belt) started taping his fists like a bad B-movie character. Yep, sounds about right.

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  71. Are we talking about the same Undertaker who took locker room etiquette and respect to THIS BUSINESS so seriously that he set up a wrestler's court?

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  72. "I just hated them"



    You were supposed to.

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  73. Fair. But I would wager Taker cared more about things like rookies shaking veterans' hands than whether HBK or Austin walked away with the title belt that night. That scene has always struck me as complete wrestling fan wankdom more than how real people would ever act.

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  74. Collapses on itself?
    Dude. Relax. They did just fine, as did Shawn. Its OK.

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  75. But your personal viewpoint, while certainly your right to maintain it, does not jive with how the rest of the crowd saw DX at that point. They were clearly the most over heels in the entire WWF, and later became the #2 babyfaces after 'Mania 14. I don't think that you can argue that their development as a group didn't work or that they weren't over as fuck, because they were.

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  76. We are in fact talking about the same Undertaker. But we are talking about an Undertaker a few years removed from that guy. So, its not like its shattering the laws of physics.

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  77. I never looked at that math before. Damn before I thought he was just a jerk off. Now I think he's my goddamn hero. Talk about giving your coworkers a "fuck you" How many of us wish we could get away with that?

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  78. Oh I'm not disputing that at all.I just personally never found them entertaining, or even particularly interesting.

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  79. Yeah I know. But...let me put it this way: I "hate" Brock (because he is an asshole) but I still love to watch him. By contrast, DX Mk 1 just made me change the channel.

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  80. I doubt Taker cared who had the title, he cared about the whole refusing to drop it part.

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  81. Yeah, I think that is everyone's dream. Be an emotionally unstable drug addict that fucks over co-workers.

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  82. Taker himself has gone on record saying that it would have been a "very long night" for Michaels if he had refused to do the job to Austin that night. If HBK was ever seriously considering not jobbing, or if Taker even had to have that conversation with him, I have no idea, but he's definitely said that he would have made sure it was not good for Shawn if he hadn't done business.

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  83. Fuck yeah! Everyone I work with is emotionally unstable and on some form of drug. My business fucks people inside and outside of the company on a daily basis. I can't wait for the day I can just cut the bullshit and just be open about it around the office.

    I mean, I think just about everyone these days is emotionally unstable to some degree. Anyway 2 fun quick stories about my job.

    1) The day my boss walks into the office all excited and announces "They put me on Depacote!"

    2) The day I caught one of my subordinates doing rails right off his desk, with absolutely no effort to hide it. MY boss walks by and says "Jesus...can't you use the bathroom like a normal human being?"

    Oh yeah, did I mention I work in the medical field?

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  84. Here's what I don't understand. Having read the recaps up to this point, the signs were all pointing pretty clearly to the Shawn/Bret rematch at Mania for the title. So why would Shawn be dropping the belt to Sid, of all people? Why now?

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  85. Oh wow. I had no idea about that at all. I apologize then, I had always assumed the opposite and it had colored my opinion of the guy.

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  86. You might not have been watching back then. I can tell you back when this originally aired, a house of cards collapsing on itself was exactly what it seemed like.

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  87. Wow, crazy stuff.

    Which reminds me:

    RIP Farva

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  88. Seems and is are often 2 different things. And I was watching. It was great being in college.

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  89. I agree but remember these reviews are not being written as if 20 years have passed since.

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  90. Fair enough. I did not know but will keep it in mind. But I gotta say...man was it exciting...the feeling of unpredictability... yeah maybe to a viewer it did seem that way.

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  91. It's all been covered before this and this guy is clearly a Bret mark rehashing this kind of thing to take yet another pot at Shawn.


    We all know:



    Shawn was a dick pre back injury

    He should have dropped the belt (and the IC Title before this)

    Karma came his way but whatever the circumstances he DID do the right thing on the way out


    The bits that always get left out of the story by huge Bret marks are:


    Bret wasn't beyond fault himself
    Shawn freely admits to his faults and came back a different person, earning the respect of just about everybody who isn't 100% decked in pink and black.



    And MOST importantly of all:


    Both guys involved have put it behind them and we should as well.

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  92. In my experience, it's HBK marks who leave stuff out and generally rewrite history. But I take your point, the whole debate is pretty pointless these days. Let's face it, nobody's changing their mind.

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  93. All very true. Both guys are in the elite of all time workers with huge fan bases but both guys (especially Shawn) made some bad choices at different times of their careers. Both seem to be in good places now though.

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  94. MaffewOfBotchamaniaMarch 19, 2015 at 6:00 AM

    What a great write-up.

    ''Austin tries to jump over the balcony to get to Bret, but finds himself being restrained by a group of fans who don’t think suicide’s the answer.''

    HAHAHAHA

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  95. The story Shawn tells, as told to him by Undertaker, was that Undertaker had told Vince and others that if Shawn refuses to drop the title he'd take care of it but it didn't actually go that far. He would have threatened him into it but he didn't have to.

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  96. You have to admit, starting a locker room fight and storming off afterwards just to avoid losing a tag team title is genius.

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  97. I don't remember that part, although it sounds like something he'd do. But he's said before that he knew people were talking about him faking the knee injury so he did things like the backflip off the top rope just to piss them off.

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  98. He phoned in the Shawn feud, he's pretty much sleep walking through the promos and it's like pulling teeth to get him to say the occasional complimentary thing about Shawn - which is a perfect example of Bret's delusional paranoid attitude - they did nothing but put him over on tv as the best of all time and he acts like everything they did was a slap in the face to him.

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  99. Yeah but if you're writing a recap of a show from that time then you gotta discuss the politics of time.

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  100. It's our charm!

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  101. And THIS is the straight definition of "X-Pac" heat.


    It's not booing a heel, it's wanting NOTHING to do with said heel. To the point of not watching the show, mainly.

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  102. So discuss both sides. Bret was supposed to put Shawn over and pass the torch. Bret wanted to pass the torch, take a vacation, see how much WCW would pay him and come back for his torch. He politicked to be champion just as much as Shawn did.

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  103. Austin getting the title had to happen for the good of the company so I could see him making sure it happened if he had to.

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  104. How is this like for like though? If Bret had forfeited the title in February 96 rather than do the Mania job then we'd be talking more about the same thing, but he didn't do that.

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  105. And? Even if he bitched about it, Bret still laid down for Shawn at Wrestlemania XII.

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  106. You mean forfeit the title like he wanted to do when he was leaving for WCW? But my point with Shawn forfeiting it specifically is that the only "evidence" he faked it was Bret repeadedly accusing him of it so forfeiting the title itself isn't necessarily the crime it's made out to be.

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  107. If your Shawn, and you finally get your run on top, wouldn't it annoy you that from the time he was asked to drop the title to you Bret's been politicking to win it back?

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  108. Love the review and rightful Shawn hate.

    "This is the most sad-sack pitiful excuse for a champion on the planet." YES

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  109. Ugh. This is about Shawn being a douche. Leave Bret and anyone else out of it. You always do that. SHAWN WAS A DICK

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  110. In this particular case, Shawn's being accused of being a douche/liar by Bret Hart, to wrong Bret Hart.

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  111. I always find it ironic when someone says "if you're healthy enough to walk, you're healthy enough to do the job". It's known Shawn was exaggerating his injury (at best), but Bret Hart in 2000 WCW was healthy enough to walk and not healthy enough to job. Concussions should change that saying forever.

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  112. Also ironic that healthy as a horse Bret in 1997 preferred to hand over the title than lose it.

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  113. That's not true

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  114. It's in the Cornette interview about Montreal on youtube. Bret shot down anything that was suggested. He wouldn't lose Friday because it was in Canada, wouldn't lose Saturday because it'd disappoint his Canadian fans on Sunday and kept suggesting he just give a speech and hand the title over.

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  115. Bret probably wouldn't have floated the forfeit idea had Shawn not done it first.

    He saw Shawn got to drop the belt and pretty much get portrayed as a hero by McMahon. Why couldn't he do the same thing?

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  116. "Faking" a knee injury (in Bret's opinion) is still talked about, but the next year he wrestled with a crippling back injury so he could put over the star that saved the company and Shawn can't even get credit for that - it's "yeah, but he only did it because the Undertaker made him!". Meanwhile, had it been Bret to put Austin over at WM it'd be "I have no problems putting Steve over, I'm happy to do it. Then I'll win the title back sometime in the summer. The best way to get Steve over as champion is to make me champion."

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  117. One Night Only.

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  118. IYH Oct 1995.

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  119. Too bad Vader and Big Show never crossed paths. Let Big Show try that punching crap on Vader and see what happens.

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  120. What about it?

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  121. Because he was leaving for WCW and wasn't hurt?

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  122. Bret liked and respected Steve Austin, and had already played a major role in making him a star. So I think that scenario is unlikely, to put it mildly. Incidentally, I've always had tremendous respect for Shawns effort at XIV.

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  123. At least X-Pac was never the focus of anything, he wasn't on the show enough to make anyone want to change the channel. If anything, it should be called "Triple H heat."

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  124. That sums it up perfectly (I'm assuming you mean 2002-3 HHH).

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  125. It works even in regard to your original comment, since HHH was such a big part of DX. Shit, it could apply to now as well.

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  126. HHH was just painful in his utter lack of charisma back then. Shawn at least had earned his spot, Trips was just blatantly riding his buddy's coattails.

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  127. That's one of the reasons I loved the Max Landis short so much, it gave a perfect explanation for why even if you disregard the backstage crap, just as a character Triple H has always been an unlikable choad.

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  128. It's a perfect example of why people overlook what HBK did for Austin.

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  129. I have to get a look at that short, it sounds fantastic.

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  130. Because he went over the British Bulldog? The goal was to establish DX as dastardly assholes, they accomplished it.

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  131. He supposedly liked and respected Shawn in 1996 to and his response to putting him over was "sure, then I'll take a vacation and win it back!", and he liked Nash personally in 1995 and his suggestion to get Nash over as champion was for Bret to beat him for it. The Austin example's an exaggeration, I think, but Bret's idea of getting a champion over tended to somehow involve him being the champion.

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  132. The backstory of that match is criminal. You know that.

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  133. The storyline you're referring to was both an obvious direction to take (the company's two most over and talented workers trading the belt) and would have ended with Shawn winning the final blowoff, so I really don't understand why you find it so objectionable.

    As to Nash, if you're referring to Survivors he had already tanked as champion so Brets win was little more than a formality. Furthermore, Nash walked away from that match looking like a badass while Bret was laid out on the canvas, so I would argue that even in beating him Bret put Nash over far more than Shawn did in losing to him earlier that year.

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  134. What's wrong with Shawn going over to really piss people off? He got along with Bulldog, they hung out, not everything that doesn't benefits the Hart's was done just to be mean to the Hart's. Establishing DX as hateful pricks and the spectacle of it all was better in the big picture than anything the Bulldog had left.

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  135. I don't mind him taking the title from Nash, I just found it funny that the idea Bret was pitching in the summer to really get Nash over as champion was for Bret to be champion.....the idea of Bret/Shawn continuing to feud and trading the title isn't objectionable, but nobody asked Bret to do that. He was asked to pass Shawn the torch, he's the one who was pushing to get it back - while using the WCW card - from the time he was asked to lose it.

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  136. ...And nobody asked Shawn to suggest he take the Euro title at ONO, he pitched an idea and Vince agreed. It's the same thing with Bret in early 1996, he pitched (or at least was involved in pitching) a long-term storyline which Vince (and presumably Shawn) agreed to, no more, no less. I'm sure there was an element of ego involved, but this is professional wrestling we're talking about; egos go with the territory.

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  137. Yeah totally disagree in that case but whatever. This wasn't about the Harts in general, just a HBK was and is the biggest piece of shit in wrestling history sort of argument.

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  138. He may very have been at one point but him playing a heel who cheated to win a wrestling match isn't evidence of this.

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  139. TOTALLY AGREE. Oh man, this era - you never knew what was happening one week to the next. Easily the most exciting time in wrestling history for me, and the first time there were two legitimate alternatives to watching.

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  140. Yeah, traffic accident.

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  141. OK, yes, we disagree about One Night Stand, but my larger point stands that Shawn Michaels was a detriment to pro wrestlings history.

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  142. I do hope that you later told him it was the greatest ripoff of a retirement speech you had ever heard

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  143. You mean he had to have his life threatened by taker in the back right before the match to put over the star who saved the company, right??? Assholes cant hide behind Jesus, once one always one...

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  144. Did Nash not get back over after he dropped the title to Bret???

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  145. you forget he was "supposedly" doing Vince the favor by leaving because "he couldnt pay him." (BS) He had it in his contract that he could leave any damn way he wanted too, and Shawn was a gaping asshole (had to throw that in there).

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  146. Thats why I was so happy he didnt get many runs with the title after he "found the lord" at the bottom of a Oxycontin jar.

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  147. but its still soo much fun to argue it every now and than even 17 years later... All wrestling fans are big into nostalgia, its why we argue points of booking from years past every day.

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  148. Bret was GONE for 6 months, he wasnt in the locker room or anywhere. Shawn had free reign for that time.

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  149. the raw after wm Shawn seemed to have no problem taking the figure four around the ringpost on his "gimpy knee"...

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  150. yea I was going to make a post about that, I was always under the impression Wm 13 was Bret V Shawn 2 where Bret would win than at Summer Slam drop it back to Shawn.

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  151. bc after the 5th soma of the night hit Shawn was in his lovey dovey mode in the back...

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  152. Than why was he on Bret's side in Montreal??

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  153. IIRC, he was pissed but then understood when Vince explained to everyone what had happened.

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  154. oh def count the euro title. He took it from Bulldog than turned it into a joke in that match with Hunter.

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  155. Cult can you explain said wrestlers court, i feel like I am the only person that isnt in the know about it. I know its a way of policing the boys, but werent their harsh penalties like JBL doing something to you in the showers etc...

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  156. as a recovering pain killer addict their is nothing cool about that lifestyle...

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  157. It's pretty much what it sounds like. A court full of wrestlers with Taker as the judge.

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  158. He ruinied any shot of that title having any meaningful value. And WWF relied on the UK gates and PPV orders in the "New Generation" bc they couldnt sell out the 6th largest venue in Detroit at the time...

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  159. 2nd loudest heat behind Hogans turn in my opinion, still doesn't make it less despicable with his shoot promo on Daveys family with his dying sister there.

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  160. I hated how they played hot potato with the title right after Austin won it, they should have at least given him a nice 6-8 month reign before passing it around. He shoulda held it right up till when it became vacant for Survivor Series.

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  161. ahh the power of dick and fart jokes.....

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  162. Yea I think it was all part of the plan to get his best good buddy Christian the belt. PS I loved the Christian Orton feud in '11 for the title. "The one more match" gimmick still cracks me up. Christian def brought his A game in that feud.

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  163. not unless Haven turns into the next Star Trek...

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  164. Summer Slam '05 is calling bullshit that Shawn turned into a great human being. Yeah it was Hogan, but again his crybaby antics were out again in full force in the match against hogan where he pin-balled around the ring to levels that demolished the 4th wall. Again you cant hide behind Jesus, Once an asshole always an asshole.

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  165. I endorse this message!

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  166. I thought it was 26?

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  167. dude he lost to the fucking mountie for christs sakes....

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  168. In Brets book he is very complimentary of Shawn right up until Shawn became a bad drug addict. Bret was also complimentary of Shawn always being nice to Blade bc Shawn was his favorite. Shawn says NOTHING good about Bret in his piece of shit book.

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  169. Jesus. Sorry to hear that. How'd you find out?

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  170. Working in the medical field? Yeah pretty corrupt. Went back to school to change career in 2 years.

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  171. no i work in banking, thankfully im 2+ years clean from pk's. never felt better!

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  172. I wish I could do drugs. I'm not very good at it. Everyone who looks at me thinks I'm a cop. Marc Maron said“There’s something to be said for doing a lot of drugs. I personally have no respect for people who don’t have the courage to lose complete control of their lives for a few years.”

    How'd you quit? I'm in grad school for social work, and the process of recovery and nature of addiction are fascinating to me. I have an intense dislike for the method used by AA but it clearly works for many.

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  173. Except he didn't have his life threatened by Undertaker. Unless Undertaker showed up at his place every day to threaten him into going to rehab for his back so he could make it to WM in the first place.

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  174. Did Bret come up with Nash's tweener character and script his anti-office promo?

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  175. He was a pain in the ass who was difficult to work with unless you did what he wanted and who was putting up a stink about the company moving in a direction he didn't like. If Bret had stayed he'd be pissing and moaning that him wrestling all time classic matches would be better than the Attitude Era.

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  176. He refused title reigns because he didn't want to commit to a champions schedule.

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  177. He was doing WWF Magazine interviews ripping Shawn, his Calgary Sun column ripping Shawn, and when he'd talk to Vince about his future plans he'd say he planned to come back in the fall and beat Shawn at WM - which I'm sure Vince had to consider because Bret was negotiating with WCW at the time to.

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  178. A move Bret himself referred to as a total work that doesn't hurt his opponent at all.

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  179. He didn't shoot on his sister, he made a comment about Diana which was a throwback to a previous angle.

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  180. in some ways it would of. I hated the 1 minute matches on raw with screwy finishes.

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  181. he still took a considerably worse deal to stay with WWF.

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  182. im surprised shawn never let go of bret to have him crash to the floor.

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  183. I took a medicine for 3 months so i didnt go through withdrawls. Also meetings help, I still go once a week. It was an epidemic, everyone in my town in NJ was on them and I got caught up. Also had to change my friends for sure. I'm so happy im off them, alot of my old friends have graduated to doing heroin and its just disgusting.

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  184. Yeah heroin is cheaper so I hear that a lot. Glad the AA worked out for you. I personally never liked the faith based programs, preferred the analytic SMART system. But what works, right? Here was my issue...I'm always interested in the central cause...substance use is a symptom of a disease, not the disease.

    The disease is a metaphoric hole in the heart/soul. We all seem to have it and we all find things to fill it. Some obviously more healthy than others. A colleague of mine suggested that if it weren't for this hole, capitalism wouldn't work. But I've been reading and studying it, and I recently found a study that blew my mind in its simplicity yet truthfulness. The study suggests that people aren't so much addicted to the substance (mentally of course, physical is difficult to debate) as much as form a bond, a relationship, a connection to the substance that they don't have in the "real world." The study suggests, and from my experiences accurately, is that the cure for the hole...is human relationships. Crazy stuff.

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  185. People can change and he admitted he was a total jackrabbit back then. I forgive the guy.

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  186. He jobbed to Hogan - overselling or not. Good enough for me.

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  187. The place where Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash came up with their finger poke of doom match. So I guess we can just blame Shawn for that. :/

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  188. He hadn't even won it yet.

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  189. Yeah, but I forgive Shawn - seventy times seven.

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  190. Oh come on - I'm still convinced he and Hogan planned that all along.

    And our sin nature never truly goes away until we are glorified in Heaven.

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  191. He probably was - but He repented of his sins and is now in the marriage God intended.

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  192. God finds you, you don't find God.

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  193. His performance in that match is laughable and embarrassing.

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  194. Amen, brother.

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  195. One of the guys here found out through FBI or a newspaper article. Sad time.

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  196. Er... My other comment should read "FB" for Facebook, *not* the FBI.

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  197. Oh he did, no doubt. I just wonder how much of Vince letting Bret believe he was going to beat Shawn for the title was to appease him until he signed a new contract.

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