Royal Rumble 1997
Date: January 19, 1997
Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Vince McMahon, Jim Ross
A lot has changed here for once. We’re about as close to the Attitude Era as you can get without actually being in it. The roster is now far closer to being set to what would become the Attitude Era. Bret vs. Austin is in full swing as they had their forgotten classic at Survivor Series. Also we now have guys like Mero and Farrooq, but more importantly, people like Mankind and Rock are here now, so the core is here now.
As you might have noticed, we’re in Shawn’s hometown in front of a massive audience. Shawn recently lost the title, so I wonder how tonight is going to end. This is around the time that WCW is just flat out dominating in the ratings. Raw is averaging I think a 2.0 at this point, and they’re happy with it. It was just flat out bad all around, and you could tell the WWF was in a free fall. This show is actually kind of co-promoted with AAA, the Mexican organization.
The problem with this is simple: WCW had a deal with every bit of good Luchador talent in the world, so Vince got the bottom of the barrel here for the most part. Anyway, this is an oddly remembered show, so let’s get to it.
The preshow had three matches with Luchadors, including minis, which included Mini Vader and Mini Mankind. I give up.
The intro is of course about Shawn, who clearly can’t be blamed for the ratings tanking. I’m being partially serious there, as there was no one that was going to be able to take on Hogan and the NWO at that point. They say that tonight isn’t about accolades, just that WWF Title thingamajig. That twangy music is going to make me punch someone before this show is over. We have French announcers here for some reason.
Intercontinental Title: HHH vs. Goldust
Goldust is freshly face here, which granted no one gets including the announcers but whatever. HHH has been climbing the ladder recently, as his push is back on after the Curtain Call aborted it. In short, allegedly the Austin push was supposed to go to HHH, but there was the incident at Madison Square Garden. What happened was it was Nash and Hall’s last night with the company, so after Shawn beat Nash in a cage match, the four of them broke kayfabe and hugged.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the footage. Nash and Hall were leaving, Shawn was the company at that point, so there was just HHH left to take the fall. Instead of becoming the big deal in June, he had to wait about 6 months before it happened. I’m not sure I buy that, as Austin’s popularity would have been there anyway. Granted it was the KOTR match against Roberts that gave him Austin 3:16, and without that there’s no Austin super boom, so maybe it wouldn’t have happened.
See what a single promo can do for you? Anyway, HHH had been having different women on his arm every time he came to the ring and he went after Marlena. This set off Goldust and actually got Lawler to ask him on live television if he was a queer (Lawler’s word). This set him off and as HHH tried to steal Marlena, Goldust snapped and we have a title match. HHH has Mr. Hughes with him as his new bodyguard.
Chyna would debut the next month to shoot him to the stars. Even with two great in ring workers like these, we go straight into a brawl with the steps being used. Security has thrown out two fans that were sitting there for weeks apparently. I’m guessing this is a stupid angle or something and I really could care less. Can we please stay in the ring longer than 45 seconds? Ross and Vince both point this out.
Both of these guys will be in the Rumble tonight apparently. They’re now doing a bunch of leg work which is an upgrade I guess. It’s still not interesting but it’s better I guess. Hughes has done absolutely nothing at this point. Goldust calls him a piece of garbage which even today would be a bit much. This is more or less all Goldust working on HHH’s knee at this point, which at least is a story but it’s odd seeing the face dominate here. HHH gets a one knee curtsey. He was in his blueblood/classical music phase here, which I’ve always thought was an incredibly underrated heel character.
In the middle of this match, let’s throw it to Todd and some country singer that I’ve never heard of before. He sings a bit on a split screen. You have to be amazed by what Vince will do for a celebrity draw. This has improved a bit but it’s still nothing special. Hughes, who I had forgotten about, throws the IC belt to HHH who kisses Marlena. Goldie pops HHH with the belt but Hughes makes the save. After more Hughes distractions, Goldust walks into the Pedigree and we’re done.
Rating: C-. This started off bad and then worked its way up to being ok. I don’t like the steps etc. but overall, this was ok. It needed to be about 5 minutes shorter though. HHH was far from what he is today and while he was a rising star, he just wasn’t ready for this long of a match yet. It was coming, but he wasn’t there yet.
We get comments from one of the WEIRDEST pairings you’ll ever see: Bret Hart and Mankind. They both say tonight will be a long night. DAng that’s just weird thinking about them in the same company, let alone doing anything together.
Farrooq vs. Ahmed Johnson
I love the Nation’s entrance. PG-13 were great at what they did, which granted wasn’t much but it worked. This was supposed to be the blowoff match between these two but they were both injured at one point or another so the match never actually happened when it was supposed to, making this way after it meant anything. The Nation was freaking massive at this point, even having actors hired to make it look even bigger.
That’s saying a lot when you think about it. Johnson tried to get a catchphrase of You’re Going Down out of this but it didn’t work at all. Basically they’re fighting over Ahmed not being black enough or something like that. He was supposed to get the world title so there you go. This was actually a decent little feud, but it needed to happen 4-5 months earlier than this. Since it’s 1997, this starts on the floor in a big brawl. I love Vince Russo. Ok not really.
We go to another big wide shot which I can’t stand as Ahmed whips Farrooq with a belt or something like that. The problem with this match becomes apparent quickly: Ahmed isn’t that good. He never was. He was a huge muscle guy that could be a cool looking powerbomb, period. He was WAY over though at least for awhile, so there’s little complaints that can be made here. Naturally this is mostly brawling but that’s neither here nor there.
Simmons goes after Ahmed’s kidney of course because only one part of anyone’s body can ever be injured at once. We’ve got a Cowboys jersey on the non camera side so I’m happy. Ahmed hooks a powerslam from the top to take over. The spinebuster from Farrooq ends that pretty quickly though.
After Ahmed no sells that, the Nation runs in for the cheap DQ. Naturally since they all suck, Ahmed destroys them with relative ease. After Farrooq runs, one of the Nation members who doesn’t have a name goes hand first into the steps and then gets a release butterfly powerbomb through the French announce table.
Rating: D+. This was pretty bad, but it was supposed to be a street brawl or something so it did that fairly well I suppose. There’s very little here to go on and it wasn’t what it was supposed to be as a blowoff match. They would go at it a few more times without Johnson getting a clean win that I can remember. Not a bad fight, but this just didn’t have a ton of interest in it.
Terry Funk says he was born for this and is Texas bred.
Todd is with the Nation who says it’s not over. You can see an almost afro wearing D’lo brown in the background.
Vader vs. Undertaker
If you’re looking for a story here, you’re wasting your time. I mean literally, this was thrown on the card without a story. Vader had been attacking Taker a bit in huge groups but never on his own. I guess it was just kind of a big match thing to it, so there we are. Taker beat up Cornette a few weeks ago but it wasn’t directly referenced as a reason for the feud. Taker’s entrance is just made of awesome.
I mean if there was a thong of awesome, it would be made of Taker’s entrance. Ross says that Taker hasn’t done well at the Rumble since his debut here in 1993. Ok let’s see. In 1991 it took both members of the Legion of Doom to eliminate him. In 1992 it took Hulk Hogan to eliminate him. In 1993 a guy interfered and eliminated him. In 1994 it took 10 men to beat him in a world title match. In 1995 he beat IRS clean.
In 1996 he beat Bret Hart, who was then WWF Champion. In other words, he’s been in three world title matches and in a way has gone 1-1-1 in them, lost in the Rumble twice which I consider to be ties, and won another match, giving him a record of 2-1-3, with the one loss being in a cheating fashion and the other by a guy that wasn’t in the match. Yep, he completely sucks here Ross.
Why can’t they ever get the years right either? For years I remember them saying he debuted at the 91 Survivor Series, which obviously isn’t true either. Naturally, Vader’s offense isn’t working that well against Taker as he keeps sitting up. Taker hits a Fameasser of all things. Who would have seen that one coming? Taker gets a slam and makes it look easy. His strength was completely overlooked a lot of the time.
We get a verbal jab from Ross at Hogan, saying that no one in company history has dropped a leg like Taker. Old School is countered and we’re both down. After a low blow from Vader, we throw it to Todd in the crowd with some girl that apparently follows Shawn Michaels around the country. I’m not saying a word on this one. We now return you to the PPV at hand.
Jerry points out slyly how completely freaking stupid that was to do in the middle of a match, showing that he’s the second coming of Bobby Heenan. He throws in a Kentucky reference to make it even better. This is more Taker than Vader here. His power is just freaking scary to say the least. He throws Vader around more than once, including a very solid looking chokeslam.
Just as Taker signals for the Tombstone, the ONLY former Wrestlezone admin allowed to work for WWF, Paul Bearer hits the arena as pale as ever. Taker puts Vader on the floor and goes after Paul. Vader saves Uncle Paul but gets knocked to the floor by Taker again. Vader gets control again on the floor with Bearer apparently aligning himself with Vader.
BEARER GOES AIRBORNE!!! He jumps at Taker with the urn and actually takes him down! That was freaking AWESOME!!! This allows for the Vader Bomb to end it as Taker actually is pinned in something close to being clean. That hardly ever happens. He beats up the referee afterwards.
Rating: C+. Taker looked great here. Vader was dominant to an extent, but he never once came close to doing anything special after Shawn beat him at Summerslam 96. After that he began a decline into eventually being a jobber which is never fun.
Taker’s power was insanely impressive here as he hit all kinds of big moves that you just don’t see done on Vader like ever. This was impressive to me. Vader getting the win was good as Taker certainly didn’t need it and Vader might have gotten the biggest win of his WWF tenure.
Austin says he has nothing to say about the Rumble, which takes longer than it takes Bulldog to say he’s going to win because he has success in Rumbles and he’s bizarre. I have no idea what he means there and can only guess he botched a line or something like that. It was bizarre indeed.
Jerry Estrada/Heavy Metal/Fuerza Guerrera vs. Perro Aguayo/El Canek/Héctor Garza
I’ve only heard of three of these guys so naturally I just don’t know anything about REAL wrestling. I think this was an attempt to cash in on what WCW was doing at the time with the luchadors, but at the same time, of the five with known ages, two of them are under 38 years old at this point. See, it’s hard to compete with guys like Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera and Ultimo Dragon with you have guys that literally could be their fathers wrestling.
We start with Garza and Metal as Vince can’t remember who is who. I think the referee is from AAA as well. Ok, so I’m done with the match at this point, and instead of a recap, I’m going to go with just what I noticed as a whole since I know nothing about these guys or why they would be fighting etc. First of all, old guys do not make for very exciting matches. Aguayo was a flat out embarrassment out there. He could barely move and blew a ton of spots including the end (his team won).
Second, Canek is strong as all goodness, but he used at least 5 gorilla press slams in this. One or two are fine, but when you’re getting up into that many, it shows your offense is limited at best. Monty Brown had this problem. Third, this was just boring as all goodness. See, this was one of the first matches of this style ever in the WWF.
When WCW busted this stuff out, they had Rey Mysterio, the undisputed king of that style here in America. When he debuted in WCW, he tore the house down. Here, the people were asleep. I mean this was the most dead I have ever seen a crowd. This didn’t work at all.
Rating: F. I already explained this. It was just a waste of time as well as bad.
With literally no transition, we’re at this.
We’re back to 90 seconds again this year, because having that lucha match was FAR more important than the match the show is named for of course. Crush of the Nation is first and Ahmed is second. I just can’t believe that at all! Apparently Crush has longer odds of winning than Ahmed. Why would that be the case? They start at the same time. If nothing else Ahmed is at a disadvantage because he doesn’t get a short break while the other guy is walking to the ring.
There’s a sign in the crowd saying WWF: Wild Wacky Fun. Well ok then. Crush jumps him, even though he had no advantage at all according to Ross. Vince calls Ahmed the wrong name. The crowd isn’t hot here but they’re certainly awake and paying attention unlike the previous match. Granted it’s just the first two. Also the clock isn’t working at first, so we don’t have a countdown or anything like that.
3 is the fake Razor, who has no music because of the clock but it doesn’t matter as Ahmed ends him after about 15 seconds. Lawler points out Ahmed’s tights that would never die. Those things always rode up and it was annoying. Farrooq is in the entry way so Ahmed jumps over the top rope, eliminating himself to go after him. That made me shake my head. Phineas Godwin (Mideon) is next.
Sweet goodness I love Hillbilly Jim’s music. Austin is #4. Now remember, here he’s still just a midcard/semi main event heel that runs his mouth a lot. He hasn’t actually won anything yet and we haven’t had the I Quit match that catapulted him into superstardom. Think of the Miz when he went after Cena. He was loud and great on the mic, but no one bought him because he hadn’t done anything yet.
As of this writing (2 weeks before Survivor Series) he’s the US Champion and looking far better than he ever has before. He’s believable with the belt, which is all he needed to be. Austin gets very little reaction here mainly due to the clock which keeps people from knowing when someone is coming, and the reasons I just listed. Anyway, he and Crush team up but that doesn’t work and Phineas takes out Crush.
He turns around into a Stunner though and after some trash talking, he’s gone. Bart Gunn, still looking like a porn star (why are they all stars? Can’t they just be porn actors/actresses?) is fifth. He lasts about 30 seconds, although he hits what would become known as the Fameasser. Austin even does the Steiner pushups as he’s just cocky.
You can see all the classic mannerisms and awesomeness inside of him just dying to break through. Jake Roberts is sixth, and remember he’s the guy Austin beat for the King of the Ring and the reason for the 3:16 speech. Ross says Jake wants one more shot at glory. When did he ever have glory in the first place? He was a career midcard guy that is remembered for having the best finisher ever.
Bulldog is seventh and while he’s on his way Jake is thrown out. Apparently Bulldog hates Austin, which I don’t entirely remember. He hits a modified powerslam that’s completely ignored by the announcers. The best wrestler ever from England his what is undeniably his signature move and no one says a word about it. He was supposed to have been made a big main event level guy and even get the title at one point, but Vince was in so much financial trouble that he changed him mind.
That’s why you had Sid as champion. It was originally going to be Smith, which I think would have certainly been more interesting. Smith got the first ever European Title as a compromise, so in other words he got the very short end of the stick. He certainly would have been better than Sid as Sid just wasn’t very good in the ring while Smith could work a great match if he was in there with the right guy. He and Owen are tag champions here also.
Pierroth, another luchador, is next to no reaction again. He’s 39 here. Vince, GET YOUNG GUYS IF YOU INSIST ON DOING THIS! We get our first bit of information about one of the new guys: Pierroth is a rule breaker. See, that helps a lot. Not being sarcastic there. We’re told that by people who are supposed to have insight on the subject, so therefore we trust it. The Sultan (Rikishi) is 10th as we’re going fast here but it’s kind of working.
Considering Pierroth is a heel, he’s only going after other heels. Actually, all four of them are heels so never mind. 11th is Mil Mascaras. Now he’s old, but he’s a flat out legend. He would be like Ric Flair here in America, with Blue Demon as Austin and Santo as Hogan. Also, he gets a pop and a half, easily the biggest of the match so far. I’ll adjust what I said earlier to Vince: get old guys that are well known in America, like this one.
Mascaras is also known for no selling stuff, even for big names like Foley who criticized him to no end in his book, as did Jericho. There it is already as Sultan hits a belly to belly and Mascaras pops up almost immediately. HHH is twelfth as this thing has been flying by. To recap, we have Smith, Sultan, Austin, Mascaras, HHH and Pierroth at the moment. Bulldog puts Sultan out to clear us out a bit but 5-7 is fine to have in there.
Austin and HHH go at it which just feels right. Owen is in at 13. He and Austin go at it as we’re not getting a ton of reactions here. The crowd is ok, but not great at all. Scratch that, as Austin is nearly out and the crowd waked up. Bulldog almost puts him out but Owen dumps Smith to tick him off. These counts definitely aren’t 90 seconds. Goldust is 14th. For some reason we don’t cut to him when he enters. That’s very different.
Mascaras’ tights are covering his belly button. That just looks odd indeed. Cibernetico gets us to the halfway point. He’s 20 years old so if nothing else he should be able to fly pretty well. He’s really well known for having a unique style that a lot of indy guys use. Marc Mero starts the second half as Cibernetico is thrown out. Pierroth gets thrown out by Mascaras, who jumps out after him, which based off everything I can see was a legit mistake.
The fans are booing the heck out of it too. Goldust puts out HHH. We have Mero, Owen, Austin and Goldust here. Seventeenth is Latin Lover, who has what looks like the Playboy bunny on his tights. He’s considered a rip off of Shawn, as the names are similar and both use the superkick. It’s allegedly just a coincidence but whatever. Apparently Mero and Sable aren’t fighting anymore. Thanks for the update.
Owen throws out Goldust and Farrooq ia 18th. He puts Latin Lover out. Austin and Farrooq go at it which could have been a sweet feud. Ahmed runs out with about an 8 foot long 2×4 and beats on Farrooq a bit, as he eliminates himself. Austin puts out Owen and Mero and we’re down to just Stone Cold. He’s quickly joined by Savio Vega who had a bad feud for awhile. Austin puts him out with about his 5th clothesline of the night in less than 30 seconds.
That’s his 6th put out of the night. Road Dogg (called Jesse James here) is 20th. He lasts a bit longer but still less than a minute. The Outlaws were coming soon though, saving his career. And there it is: in the moment of the match, Austin is looking down as the buzzer goes off, and it’s Bret Hart.
The look on Austin’s face absolutely makes this match. It is so perfect as he’s like OH SNAP as Bret not quite power walks down to the ring. Austin says bring it on, Bret does just that. The fans are, in a word, insane for this. The scary thing is, despite having a classic at Survivor Series and a classic moment here, their next match would blow this out of the water.
In a very funny spot, Lawler is 22nd. He leaves by saying “It takes a king…” and then gets in the ring. Bret punches him out in 4 seconds, and his first thing back on the mic is “to know a king.” That was awesome. Fake Diesel (Kane) is 23rd. Now he actually could have worked, simply because he looks a lot like Diesel if you avoid close-ups of his face. He beats both guys down as we’re way too close to the end already.
Terry Funk is 24th as X is happy. He almost had gotten fired for cursing like Terry Funk would on Shotgun the previous night. Shotgun was a GREAT idea for what it was: an “adult” show that was broadcast from a different place in New York every week. It was way ahead of its time but in the next year or so it would be average which is what killed it. Rocky Maivia is next. He’s a rookie here, but DANG look at the talent in there.
All world champions, all eventual hall of fame members (yes, Kane belongs in there). We add to the talent with my all time favorite wrestler: Mankind. In an interesting note, other than Hart, Foley has been tag champions with everyone in the ring. That’s impressive to me. It’s very rarely seen, but Austin has a tattoo of Texas on his left calf. I’ve never seen that before. Flash Funk (2 Cold Scorpio), a pimp without being called one, is 27th.
It’s a shame he was old here, as he was one of the most talented guys I’ve ever seen. We up the ante a bit more with Vader here at 28. Lawler is back to his hatred of Bret Hart which never gets old. Austin goes for Vader and is promptly killed. A funny bit to this match is Lawler “forgetting” he was in this match. To bring the awesome run of talent to a screeching halt, Henry Godwin is 29th.
I know I haven’t recapped much here, but there haven’t been a ton of people in the ring at once until the end here so there wasn’t really a need for it that I saw. The clock runs down, and the lights go out. A gong sounds, and the fans ERUPT. Taker is apparently a hero here, as they tease him turning heel. That wouldn’t happen for almost two years so it doesn’t matter.
At the moment, we have Austin, Hart, Fake Diesel, Funk, Rock, Mankind, Flash Funk, Vader, Henry Godwin and Taker. Which of those just doesn’t belong? Notice a big key here: a clear winner doesn’t exist.
Bret would be the most likely candidate, but there’s no guarantee it’ll be him. Taker winning wasn’t out of the question, Vader got a big win earlier and had beaten Bret on Raw recently, Austin was always a wildcard, Mankind had been more or less unstoppable recently, and Rock was the golden rookie. See what I mean? There are legit options in there other than Bret, which instantly makes this more interesting than last year’s ending.
Austin takes a chokeslam in a rivalry that will flat out never die. Taker punching the man that would become Kane just feels right. Dang that would happen in less than a year. Vader puts out Flash as Rock punches Taker. There are just a ton of awesome matches in there. Other than Godwin and arguably Flash (if he was given his original gimmick: a tough fighter that could fly like a cruiserweight, he could have been a big deal in the company.
Think AJ Styles, but 4 inches taller, a bit heavier and black and you have Scorpio. He’s 32 here, so it’s not like he was some old guy at the time. He’s younger than Austin. Godwin calls a spot to Taker. Austin has done a ton of those tonight, but the beauty of his character is you can very plausibly say he’s just talking trash to the guy he’s beating on. Rock and Bret Hart go at it and that was weird to type.
It’s a total dream match but that might be the most they’ve ever gone at it. In a spot that I really liked, Godwin hits Taker in the back and Taker rises up, grabs him by the throat and gives him a look that says, “Boy are you CRAZY???” and throws him over with EASE. Taker was scary strong.
Ok, so to recap, we have eight people left. Of these 8, counting WCW/NWA/WWF reigns, you have the following: 37 world titles, 17 midcard (US/IC) titles, and 40 tag titles. That’s not counting anything from ECW (either incarnation) or Foley’s TNA stuff, the Streak, the 13 Wrestlemanias they’ve main evented, or the 6 combined Rumble wins of these guys.
Think of it like this: on average, these guys all have about four and a half world title reigns, 2 midcard titles and 5 tag titles, just from WWF/WCW. That’s INSANE. Anyway, Foley puts out Rock as Vader beats on Kane which is an interesting match. Ross says that Foley and Funk are great athletes. There’s something amusing about that. They’re both gone but they brawl to the back anyway just because it’s fun for them.
Also, because it allows for a very interesting ending. The referees are trying to get them to stop fighting, and while they do it, Bret throws Austin out clean. Key to it though: the referees DO NOT see it and Austin slides back in. He throws out Taker and Vader on his own (impressive), just as Bret throws out Diesel.
Austin dumps Bret, and wins the Rumble. The people are PISSED, but not as badly as Bret. He goes insane and with complete justification. He says he’s tired of getting screwed, and the heel turn can be seen inside of him. Bad opening, awesome ending.
Rating: C+. Like I said, the beginning of this isn’t that great. They saved the best for last though as the last third of this field is insanely amazing. You could see Austin with the superstar inside of him just dying to break out and save the company, but it would take the buildup here and the career making performance in two months to get him and the company to the promised land in 15 months. They were really taking a chance here, and I think it paid off.
We get a short recap of Shawn vs. Sid, which is about having a bad attitude. I think you know where that’s going. Make that long. They recap the Survivor Series match and some other random fights which were pretty weak. Shawn says there will be 71,000 here. It’s more like 60,000 but whatever. The crowd looks awesome if nothing else.
Shawn, who apparently has the flu, says that he’ll step up when it matters and Sid is a coward or something like that. Again he says there are 71,000 there and that’s just flat out not right. We see Shawn and Jose coming to the ring. Shawn is wearing sleeves without a shirt, but the sleeves are made of tiny mirrors, as are his chaps. Nope, he’s not self obsessed at all. You can hear the pop already.
WWF Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Sid
Sid took the title from Shawn after working for him for a little while. He hit him with a camera at Survivor Series and took the belt after beating up Shawn’s old manager, Jose. He became the only person to beat Hart and Michaels in this era which completely boggles the mind. In a REALLY cool shot, we follow Shawn and Jose through the back and then through the curtain so we almost see it from his perspective. It looked awesome.
The pop is all there too as Shawn is the complete hometown hero. Some fan has a REALLY loud whistle right next to the mics and it’s annoying. For once in his miserable announcing career, Vince doesn’t talk over a cool intro which is nice. Sid starts coming through the back and the heat is there already. Based on the crowd reaction, this should be at least very good. I love Sid’s music. The ticked off fist pump he did was cool also.
For some reason whenever there’s a neon light it makes his hair look green. The pyro was cool too as it was his name on fire above the ring. If only he could have a decent match to save his life he would be a lock for the Hall of Fame. They have the stare down and the crowd pops. Jerry and Ross show their chemistry until Vince decides that such nonsense cannot occur so he interjects himself into it, which can be translated into JR and King can get a line in here and there if they’re lucky.
For the sake of preventing a riot, Shawn takes control early. It’s a brawl to start us off, which is fine I guess. Shawn is playing Superman here. Shawn in the red and blue wouldn’t work though. Not sure why, but it just wouldn’t at all. Ok, we’re two minutes into the match and Sid is using a camel clutch. Oh this is going to be a long match isn’t it?
Psycho Sid might be the most indy name I’ve ever heard in my life. Apparently this is the last time Jose will come to the ring with Shawn. That’s good to know I guess. We’re still in the camel clutch by the way. I’m getting tired of these bad timing things that I keep doing. Sid is of course working on the back, apparently to set up for the power bomb.
It’s not like the bomb works exclusively on the back. It works on everything at once. You just get dropped through the air and stop really fast. How much back work needs to have been done?
We go to another rest hold since Sid has a higher quota of them than Orton does for chinlocks. Sid taunts the crowd and beats on Shawn some more. We’re in a bearhug now just to make sure that the crowd is as dead as possible to set up the massive pop for the comeback. To be fair though, the crowd never really slows down at all. Vince suggests that Shawn is the underdog.
You mean the CHAMPION that beat the CHALLENGER might be favored? Get this man a Pulitzer. Actually just name it the Vince. That’s never going to be topped, ever. Sid hits a leg drop that I don’t think he used until he had his bad feud with Hogan in 92. Despite having had his back worked on all match, Shawn hits a relatively easy slam. Ross points out how odd this is as Shawn starts his standard ending sequence.
Sid avoids the kick and we’re on the floor now. He hits the power bomb on the floor and the announcers declare Shawn dead. Sid grabs Jose and Jose’s son, so Shawn pops up. Naturally, I mean he was just dropped about 9 feet onto near concrete so why not be up in 9 seconds? Back in the ring the referee is out as Sid hits his chokeslam (called a goozle or something like that by Vince). Shawn gets out of the count from referee numero dos.
He gets popped by Sid so thanks for coming. To cap off the mini feud, Shawn pops Sid in the back like Sid did to Shawn at Survivor Series. Sid doesn’t go down, so Shawn waits for him to turn around and….taps him in the chest with it…to get the cover and a two count. Chin music ends it and the massive celebration is on. We keep cutting back to Jose’s son for no apparent reason other than to be annoying I guess. He’s just a pest for some reason. He looks like a slacker.
Ross says that there’s a lot of class in Shawn. The I Lost My Smile speech would be in less than a month so take that for what it’s worth. Shawn hugs a guy in a Calgary Hitmen shirt. I love that. We plug the next PPV (without a name, it would be called Final Four which was a good show) and we’re out to more Shawn worship.
Rating: C+. It could have been worse. That’s the answer I’m going with here: it could have been worse. This was really just a way to hand Shawn the title back in a big match. It had me thinking of Cena vs. Jericho at Survivor Series 2008, where it was really just a token title match to get the belt back on Shawn. There’s nothing wrong with that and this was fine for what it was.
If you were expecting Sid to keep the belt here, I’d recommend a head operation. I have no idea what kind but just a general one would do. Like I said, Shawn would forfeit about a month later and the #1 contenders match scheduled for Final Four would become for the title.
That night was supposed to be Sid vs. Shawn 3 with Shawn winning and dropping the belt back to Bret at Mania 13, allegedly with a Sharpshooter where Shawn’s leg would be “broken” complete with sound effects, leading up to Shawn winning the series 2-1 at Summerslam and getting the title back to drop to Austin. Granted that’s all according to Bret so take it with a bottle of salt.
The feud got thrown out when Shawn made a reference to Bret having Sunny Days ahead or something on TV, which more or less outed Bret as sleeping with Sunny to his wife and the company, so Bret challenged Shawn to a fight I think and Shawn conveniently hurt his knee up and lost his smile between the two matches. Anyway, the match was ok but not great so there we are.
Overall Rating: C+. There’s an aspect I’ve touched on but not directly talked about here that makes this a weird show and that’s the crowd. As you all know, a crowd can make or break a show. This crowd did neither and it kind of parallels what I thought of it. The crowd here was silent a lot, but when they got into something they got into it hardcore. That fits really well here, as all night long this show either really worked or completely bombed.
The opening stuff is just ok, Vader/Taker was just a good old fashioned fight, the six man was just completely horrid, I liked the Rumble, and the main event was what it was. I think this is one of those shows where what it sets up is far more important than the show itself, but that part was still pretty good. If you’re a fan of this era, check out the Rumble and the main event and maybe Taker vs. Vader (definitely if you’re a Taker fan as he looked great in it) but pass on the rest as it’s just bland.