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Assorted April PPV Countdown: 1997


(2012 Scott sez:  I  was tempted to go back and redo this one, but sadly this tape was one of the lost souls in the Great Videotape Purge Of 2005 and didn’t make the transition over to DVD.) 

The Netcop Retro Rant for In Your House:  Revenge of the Taker.

- On Monday night, Bret Hart said he beat Steve Austin every time they met.  Not true.  (Well, the man’s a stroke victim, you have to expect some memory problems.) 

- Live from Rochester, New York.

- Your hosts are Jim Ross, Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.

- Free For All:  The Sultan v. Flash Funk

The Sultan is hot off jobbing to Rocky at WM13, and Flash is hot off jobbing to Billy Gunn. Flash still has the Funkettes, demonstrating that he's two years before his time. (I guess I was going for the Godfather joke there, although really Funk was in fact 15 years before his time given that Brodus Clay swiped his whole act.)  The match is nothing, as they trade some stuff and then Flash tries a rana off the top, but gets it blocked into a powerbomb for the pin.  * for a couple of nice spots, but no wrestling to speak of.

- Another great Freddy Blassie promo starts us out.

- Opening match, WWF tag team title: Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith v. The Legion of Doom. 

The Harts are fresh off re-joining with Bret Hart (and not earning many fans in the US by doing so) and the LOD are...well...the LOD. Animal controls Owen with some power stuff to start.  The champs take over, and Hawk no-sells a bunch.  Then Owen gets beat up by the LOD.  Then Hawk gets beat up by the champs.  It's all as exciting as it sounds.  A heel miscommunication spot leads to the hot tag, and Animal hits a powerslam off the top rope...for the pin!  The LOD regains the tag titles and...oh, wait.  Here's another referee, pointing out that the wrong man was pinned, so the match continues. Hey, the ending sucks already and we're not even done yet.  Okay, we're on again, and Animal is getting double-teamed by the heels.  Owen misses a splash off the top rope and Hawk gets the hot tag.  Doomsday Device, but Bret Hart runs in for the DQ.  Okay, that sucked.  *1/2 for the whole mess.  (I feel like I short-changed this one, commentary-wise, but holy shit was this a terrible opener.  Hawk was just a mess at this point.) 

- Intercontinental title match:  Rocky Maivia v. Savio Vega. 

Rocky attacks early with a couple of ARMDRAGS OF DOOM and Faaarrrrrooooqqqq (is that spelling right?) joins us for racist commentary.  Rocky continues working on the arm. Savio takes over with a leg lariat and a VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DEATH!  FFFFFFffaarrroooqqqqq challenges Ahmed Johnson to a match for the *next* PPV.  (That’s actually the kind of long-term planning that they could use more of, outside of Rock-Cena’s one year build of course.)  More devastating restholds and choking from Savio, thrilling the crowd.  Rocky hits a fisherman's suplex for two, but Savio retaliates with a superkick.  Rocky hits the hurricane DDT out of nowhere and gets two.  Rocky makes the superman comeback.  Rock Bottom only gets two.  Savio tosses him to the floor, nailing Crush in the process, so Crush gives him the heart punch for the countout.  Lame match with a dumb ending.  1/2*  The Rocky angle was mercifully killed a couple of weeks later as Owen Hart won the IC title on a RAW.  The Nation does a big beatdown on future leader Rocky, but Ahmed Johnson makes the save.  (One would have to assume that this was setting up Rocky & Ahmed v. NOD in some form so they could pull the trigger on the Rocky turn, and the injury just delayed it a couple of months.) 

- Dok interviews Marc Mero and Sable, and in the background Steve Austin goes into the bathroom.  Suddenly, you hear a bunch of yelling and screaming, and Davey Boy Smith emerges with a length of steel, bent at the middle.  He does a HILARIOUS double-take upon seeing the camera, and Owen follows, shoots another hilarious look at the camera, and they run off.  Funny stuff.  (See, this was the kind of anarchic fun that Vince Russo was GOOD at, and it freshened up the product because it was totally different than anything they had done before with the dull backstage interview segments.  Of course now that’s ALL they do.)

- "Double J" Jesse Jammes v. The Honky Tonk Man's protege. 

Yes, HTM spent months hyping his newest find, and we get...Rockabilly Gunn.  Oh you didn't know that this match sucked?   Your ass better call somebody! (They should totally feature this match on the Are You Serious YouTube show.  Also, you should follow @WWEPuppetH, because I fucking love puppet HHH.)  Honky does a quick interview to explain the nonsensical Gunn turn.  The crowd is just gone, not caring a whit about either guy.  Astonishingly, Gunn and Jammes would be tag champions by the end of the year, and the most over tag team in WWF history within another 6 months.  (And then the geniuses at Titan Tower thought “Hey, if they’re doing great as a team, we can split them up and make TWICE AS MUCH off them!  We’ll make BILLIONS!”)  Rockabilly gets a two off a Rocker Dropper.  This match made the Netcop Busts compilation for sheer historical value of the stupidity.  Massive stalling and showboating from both guys here.  Jesse makes the big comeback with a bunch of punches.  Rockabilly goes for a suplex and Jammes reverses to a small package for the pin.  An awful match with an ending that made zero sense of several levels.  On the bright side, it sewed the seeds for the New Age Outlaws.  DUD  (God, I must not have been incredibly sick of Billy Gunn at that point.) 

- ECW's Lance Wright interviews the Hart Foundation about the Steve Austin attack.

- Really weird promo for the title match.

- WWF World title match:  The Undertaker v. Mankind. 

What is with Mick main eventing the show after Wrestlemania, anyway?  (I don’t know, Seinfeld, you tell me.First here, then Unforgiven, then Backlash (before his injury changed that).  (And what’s with the WWF not being able to make up their damn mind about what their PPVs are named?  Do you know how tough it is to remember whether “Unforgiven” was in April or September or December or whatever in every given year?  I’m 37 years old, I can barely remember that Smackdown is on Fridays without my DVR taping it for me.)   Mick threw a fireball at UT to set this up.  Of course, the stuff that UT ended up doing in later years makes that look pretty tame by comparison. (The stuff that UT did to Mankind just one year after this makes that look tame by comparison, in fact.)  Vince notes how strange "WWF champion Mankind" would sound.  (WWF Champion anyone would sound weird now.)  Heh, just wait. They brawl outside the ring, with Mankind taking a couple of decent bumps.  UT continues the punishment with his ropewalking clothesline. Paul Bearer distracts the ref and Mankind nails UT with the urn for a two.  Mankind takes control with a devastating nerve hold.  They fight outside the ring again and Mankind whacks him with a pitcher of water. He drops an elbow from the second rope to the floor on Undertaker. Nasty.  Back in the ring with a piledriver for two.  Jerry Lawler asks Vince what the WWF suits would think of WWF champion Mankind, and Vince replies that "I'm sure they'll find some way to market it".  Socko, anyone? (Yeah, that’ll put butts in seats.)  Ref gets bumped and Mankind applies the Mandible Claw.  Another ref runs in and gets Clawed.  Fat Paul throws in a chair, but Mankind prefers a larger weapon and bring in the stairs.  UT dropkicks it back in his face, then just kills him with a chairshot.  Mankind gets tied in the ropes, losing his mask, and then takes the bump of the year (well, until Badd Blood), as UT rams the stairs into his head, and he flies off the apron, into the Spanish table, head-first.  Ouch.  Back in the ring, a chokeslam gets two and the tombstone gets three.  Wild match.  ***1/2 After the match, UT beats up Bearer while Mankind struggles to light a fireball.  UT grabs it from him and fumbles with it some more, finally setting it off in Bearer's face.  This would be the angle that causes Bearer to change his hair color and eventually introduce the world to....Kane.  (Why DID he dye his hair back to black in 2004?) 

- Steve Austin v. Bret Hart. 

(See, Austin was getting hot at this point, so to capitalize, at Wrestlemania they did the famous match where he got distracted by his girlfriend and pinned in 18 seconds by the babyface.  Oh, no, wait, that would be retarded.  My mistake.)  Slugfest to start.  Austin quickly gets control and nails Bret with an axehandle off the apron to the floor. Bret to the stairs.  Austin mocks Hart in the ring, then tosses him to the stairs again.  He tosses Bret over the railing, into the crowd, then hits an axehandle off the railing.  Bret is bumping like mad here.  Back in the ring and Austin with a "fuck you elbow" for two.  Bret grabs a chair it backfires, as Austin takes it from him.  Ref gets bumped and Hart smashes the chair into Austin's knee a few times.  Vince talks about Bret's ego.  Bret hooks the ringpost figure-four, then smashes a chair into Austin's knee a few times.  Austin's knee is gone.  Austin comes back with a series of elbows, but Bret simply kicks him in the knee to retake control. He rips off Steve's faithful knee brace and works on the knee some more.  Back in the ring and Austin with a low blow to counter.  Dammit, that could cause a serious GROIN injury, the likes of which we've never seen before!  Ahem.  (That was referencing Bret’s WCW run at the point when I was writing this rant, as he was doing this weird heel thing where he was claiming a groin injury to get heat.)  Austin chokes out Bret with his tape.  The Fuck You Elbow misses and Austin lands on his knee. Bret, of course, goes back to it.  Bret hits a figure-four.  Austin reverses and they fight outside the ring again.  Austin drops Bret on the railing and clotheslines him from the apron to the floor.  Back in the ring and Austin with the CROSS CORNER WHIP OF DEATH.  Bret should do that bump in every match.  (He does.)  It gets two.  Austin tries a piledriver but his leg gives out.  Bret goes back to the knee.  Austin drops him facefirst on the top turnbuckle for two.  He goes for the Stunner but Bret makes the ropes.  Bret with his own low blow.  Bret with the superplex.  Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, and Austin grabs his wayward knee brace and whacks Bret with it, allowing him to reverse to his own Sharpshooter!  But then Owen and Davey Boy run in.  Austin breaks the move, chases them off, and tries the Sharpshooter again, but Davey Boy smacks Austin with a chair for the DQ.  **** Huge brawl breaks out and Austin fights them off.  The next night on RAW, all hell would break loose, triggering the biggest feud of the year.

The Bottom Line:

Sure, the first portion sucked, but for a two hour show you can't complain too loudly about the co-main events.  Many people on RSPW called this one of the worst shows of all time, but it's not even close. (Many people on RSPW were fucking morons.)  Definitely worth the rental to check it out a couple of years later for the good matches and interesting history.

Very mildly recommended.


  1. "- On Monday night, Bret Hart said he beat Steve Austin every time they met.  Not true."

    When did Austin beat Bret? Because aside from Survivor Series and Wrestlemania, he also lost in the Kuwait and South Africa matches that apparently been retconned out.

  2. Dirty_Dave_DelaneyApril 9, 2012 at 3:42 AM

    Wasn't the whole Rockabilly angle just a huge rib on Gunn and/or Honkytonk? I seem to recall reading somewhere that Honkytonk wanted Rocky Maivia to be his new protege which if it had happened could of drastically changed the future of wrestling. Although one could argue that Rocky could of potentially made it work as joining The Nation probably didn't sound the greatest idea for him at the time but it did allow his personality to shine through which was further magnified by the fact that the rest of The Nation were mediocre talents in both charisma and work rate. In fact I would argue that The Rock in 1998 took a lot of ideas from Honkytonk in his new heel persona in that he made himself out to be the greatest despite gaining mostly cheap wins, along with his style of trash talking. Anyone else agree with this?

    Also back to Billy Gunn for a minute as I always wondered what the hell they were planning with splitting the Smokin Gunns up? They seemed to be heading towards a midcard feud only to be regulated to a pre-show elimination tag match at Survivor Series which hilariously featured Billy getting blown up despite not wrestling for that long during the match. I also believe they followed it up with an injury angle on a following Raw that never went nowhere. Just odd booking at the time. 

  3.  Austin won this one by DQ

  4. That Mankind head-first dive through the table is still one of the sickest fucking spots I've ever seen.

  5. Worth the rental? What archaic language was this old Scott using?

  6. Personally I preferred the angle where Ahmed joined the Nation over when Rock joined the Nation.

  7. Same language as "tape trader" and "fun American wrestling scene".

  8. The year long period between Brets return at MSG and his demise in Montreal is my all time favourite 12 month stretch in WWE/F history. 

    Any combination of Bret/Shawn/Austin/Vader/Mankind and a vastly improved Taker just seemed to result in an awesome match (or two) at nearly every PPV.

    Survivor Series, Bret v Austin*****, Shawn V Sid****1/2

    Final Four, Austin v Taker v Bret v Vader****1/2

    WM13, Bret v Austin*****

    Revenge of the Taker, Bret v Austin****, Taker v Mankind***1/2

    King of the Ring, Shawn v Austin****3/4

    Canadian Stampede, 10 man tag*****, Vader v Taker***1/2

    Ground Zero, Shawn v Taker ****

    One Night Stand, Bret v Taker ****1/2, Shawn vs Davey****

    Bad Blood, Shawn v Taker*****

    Amazing time to be a fan. Throw in the best stretch of Raw in history, Owen v Davey*****, the superkick to bret in the wheel chair, sunny days, the emergence of the 'real' D-X, the Hart Foundation reunion and.........damn I miss 1997. 

  9. Christopher HirschApril 9, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    Jeez, Bryan was over like crazy in one state as a face, and now this is going to become the new Zack Ryder isn't getting a push rallying cry that is used in every single rant?


  10. Christopher HirschApril 9, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    I'll be at RAW tonight, assume Bryan will be there, I can tell everyone firsthand if this YES! thing has staying power and actually pertains to Bryan, not just a new chant people like to say in general.

  11. Seriously comparing Bryan to Austin is a joke.  Not saying the 18 second loss wasn't bullshit but no fucking way does Bryan ever become that big.  Shit the loss just might have HELPED his career judging by the Yes t-shirt they just made.

  12. Are you comparing Zack Ryder to Bryan?  Seriously?

  13.  They also retconned away Austin tapping to Bret a couple of times during overseas matches. I know he tapped to the Sharpshooter at some show in Kuwait in 96.

  14. Christopher HirschApril 9, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Of course not, Zack Ryder sucks and Daniel Bryan is awesome. But I don't think because Yes was over at two shows that he is all the sudden the hottest act in the company. He is a great wrestler and a great heel.

    I'm comparing Scott putting these absurd Bryan comments into things now like his absurd Ryder comments. Bryan is over as a heel and should be left as a heel. They didn't ignore the Yes chants on Smackdown as Scott was saying, it was a focal point of the promo, and he rightly said as a heel, they even chanted it for Rock so he saw it as mocking. I just don't really get what Scott thinks they should be doing? Saying Yes! 500 times a show? Then everyone would say oh typical WWE, somethings gets popular and they beat it into the ground.

  15. "Many people on RSPW called this one of the worst shows of all time, but it's not even close."

    No, KOTR 95 and a few WCW PPV's were much worse. Speaking of WCW, any chance we get a couple Spring Stampede reposts?

  16. I think Scott and most other people are still (rightly) pissed off about the Mania match and just can't see WWE doing anything remotely positive with Bryan right now.  The fact is that it would be crazy to turn him face right now.  However if the Yes chants keep up in favor of Bryan then I wouldn't mind him turning face.

  17.  WWF Magazine at the time was hinting HTM's protege was Disco Inferno, even using a silhouette of him in an article.

  18. Losing the title in a great match and keeping his hot girlfriend would probably have helped him more. 

  19. Obviously he's talking about Redbox

  20. I don't know if Scott was recapping Nitro in 2000, but I'd LOVE a 2012 Scott Sez repost of the New Blood Nitro. It DID take place in April

  21. You never know who can become a mega-star.

  22. There were like 50 "YES!" signs in the audience at WrestleMania near the ring that you could see as Bryan made his entrance. They were chanting YES! before the match started....if that match went any length of time, the YES! thing would've been even bigger.

  23. Maybe, but there's always the possibility that a valet can overshadow the wrestler.  Anyway I always take a "wait and see" approach with things so I'm curious to see where the Yes chants go and if the crowd turns Bryan face.

  24. Dirty_Dave_DelaneyApril 9, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    I still want to see the Nitro when they tried doing the 'dropping the fake blood from the ceiling' gimmick, only for it to land on members of the audience rather than the wrestlers in the ring. 

  25. Christopher HirschApril 9, 2012 at 12:10 PM

     They did have him kick AJ to the curb way too soon.

  26. It's not like Austin was a guaranteed megastar in the making.

  27. Indeed. Way back before I had mastered the internets I went crazy trying to find out what show this bump happened at after seeing a clip of it.

  28. If Rock became HTM's protege, we would have gotten "Rock Concerts" a lot sooner.

  29. Why make billions when they could make....millions?

  30. The backstage stuff was one of the things Russo brought to TNA that made it feel fun. That whole "roving camera" thing where, rather than just having a closeup of two guys that is framed and lit perfectly and they begin talking right on cue and neither one of them seems concerned that there's a camera there, everything looked like it was shot by a documentary crew trying to get footage of something they shouldn't be seeing. Obviously letting everything seem so loose and anarchic can make the show harder to watch, but little things like that Owen & Bulldog bit really marked a difference in the tone of the show from what it had been before.

  31.  Yeah let's take the same "wait and see" approach that had us watching every moment of the Punk/HHH/Nash angle and Ryder's demise.  That sure was fun to wait for it and see it.  The last 5-7 years, Vince has been playing "not to lose" instead of playing to win.  Playing to win would require short term losses but long term gains.  Let Kofi, Dolph, R-Truth, Punk, Bryan, Ryder, and bigs like Clay and Henry run wild... but they're not going to do that.  I may just take a break from watching this stuff.

  32. This PPV is somewhat overlooked since it was overshadowed the next night by one of the all-time great editions of Monday Night Raw.


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