King of the Ring 1996: The Austin Promo

King of the Ring 1996
Date: June 23, 1996
Location: MECCA Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Attendance: 8,762
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, Owen Hart

And here it is. This show, while fairly harmless looking on the surface, has the promo that saved the WWF from the NWO, despite this happening before the NWO actually had formed which is just a bit odd. Not really but I like noticing things like that. Anyway, they’ve toned the tournament aspect WAY down this year, now only having the final four on the PPV which I think is a definitely good idea.

Three matches a night is just too much for anyone to make work as the fans just get tired of seeing them over and over. Also on the card here we have the first PPV encounter between Mankind and Undertaker as well as a rematch between Shawn Michaels and British Bulldog from the last In Your House. For no apparent reason, Ultimate Warrior is on the box. Now he was on the show, but it was in a minor match. I don’t get that but whatever.

Like I said, this is just a few weeks before Hogan would form the NWO as Hall and Nash were already in WCW and wrestling was on the verge of an absolutely epic boom. Something had to kickstart the WWF side of it. I seem to remember something happening like that here, so let’s get to it.

Our opening video starts by talking about Warrior vs. Lawler. Seriously, was this supposed to be a big deal or something? Then we shift to a standard video talking about all of the big matches and the tournament. That’s just odd indeed. Apparently Milwaukee is the Mecca of sports entertainment. Owen Hart comes down and declares himself a commentator tonight. Well ok then.

King of the Ring Semi Finals: Steve Austin vs. Marc Mero

We have guys opening big doors for the wrestlers that may or may not have been Matt and Jeff Hardy. For years I’ve heard that’s the case, but upon looking at them, that’s apparently false. Austin is just a generic heel at the moment with generic creepy music and apparently he debuted the Stunner in the quarterfinals. He beat Bob Holly and Savio Vega to get here. Yeah they definitely did the right thing by cutting this to three matches.

Mero beat Skip and Owen Hart to get here so Owen is completely behind Austin here. Owen has a bad arm too. Mero had only been around a few months here and was definitely worth something. No one was really sure what that was, but they knew it was something. Austin is a technical guy here as he was really nothing compared to what he would do. They had no idea what they had here.

That would last about two more hours. Vince offers his expert analysis and says this won’t be a long match. Keep that in mind. Owen is a rather good analyst. He knows his stuff and knows how to make it sound simple. That’s all I ask for. Man it’s weird watching Austin like this. He’s a technical guy and not a bad one at all. Ross says mat wrestling is one of Austin’s fortes.

Around this point, Sable more or less is hotness poured into a human body. I mean just freaking amazing. Austin uses a Thesz Press that Ross hasn’t seen in years. I love little things like that. We get a test of strength which is just odd indeed to see. I’m not sure I like this match. They’re doing an extended feeling out process here.

It’s not boring, but it could be that this is completely different from what we’re used to seeing with Austin. Austin is still using the Million Dollar Dream here apparently. You can kind of tell that Austin doesn’t know how to finish a match here. He has that sleeper thing and he’s used the Stunner once so it’s not an established finisher yet. He’s completely dominating here too.

Austin uses a Boston Crab and once Mero breaks out of it, Austin goes for a Boston Crab. That just looked odd. It’s weird to see him moving this quickly. Ok now apparently the Stunner is the finisher. Mero is ok but he’s just nothing special here at all. If nothing else the running dropkick is a move that always impresses me. I don’t get how that move is humanly possible. Austin is bleeding from the mouth.

This is a long match that could use to be cut by about 5 minutes or so. They’re doing a lot of stuff that’s running together. Vince tells Mero to shoot the half. That’s just odd to hear to say the least. After a hot shot, Austin hits a Stunner that was way more set up than his traditional ones. That’s Mero’s first loss in the WWF apparently. No kick for the Stunner either. Vince messes up saying World Wrestling Federation which amuses me.

Rating: B-. This wasn’t bad, but at nearly seventeen minutes it was a long match. These guys are both good, but they weren’t ready for a match this long yet. They easily could have cut 4-5 minutes from the middle and the match would have been a bit better. That being said, it’s certainly not a bad match. Austin was clearly a star in the making and clearly wasn’t just as over as he was because of his character. He was really quite good in the ring before the neck injury which made him be nothing but a brawler, which to be fair made him the biggest star in company history for awhile.

Doc is with Jake Roberts who is in his preacher gimmick and on a big nostalgia run at the moment, despite never actually winning anything in his entire career.

King of the Ring Semi Finals: Vader vs. Jake Roberts

Vader beat Ahmed Johnson and then got a bye. Roberts beat HHH and Bradshaw, which is a pretty good pairing to say the least. They talk about how Jake could make a comeback. How can you make a comeback if you never won anything to begin with? If nothing else his music is sweet and I mark for the DDT harder than almost any other move in the world.

Owen is talking about various things and Vince completely cuts him off to say how big of a crowd is there. Geez Vince is a freaking jerk at times. Vader uses a freaking armbar. Where in the world did that come from? This is in the middle of Vader’s monster heel push which would kick into high gear just after this show, leading to Vader vs. Shawn at Summerslam, thus ending any credibility he had in the company as a monster.

Actually that’s not true as he did some good stuff in the spring as well. This is a pure smark wet dream match. Jake’s height is deceiving. He’s about 6’5, which is taller than HHH or Edge, who are both big guys. Ross drops the burning desire to compete line which I’ve always liked. For the most part here, Jake is getting in just enough offense to stay competitive. And just like that he hits the DDT.

Well that was unexpected. Vader pulls the referee down while he gets the DDT to cause the DQ. Odd indeed. I think I get the idea though as they wanted to keep Vader strong so they couldn’t have him go down clean. That makes sense. The DQ sounds better as in a few weeks or even days’ time, no one was going to remember that anyway. Post match Vader beats the heck out of Jake and hits a few Vader Bombs on him to injure his ribs for later on.

Rating: C+. This should likely be an N/A but I’m feeling generous. They stuff they had in there was fine, but this was really more of an angle for later than a match. Vader looked dominant but Jake moves on which is the most important part. And there was a DDT so I’m happy.

We’ve had two matches going a combined 20 minutes. One goes about seventeen and one goes about three. That’s just odd indeed.

Vader says he was robbed and he’s the real king.

Tag Titles; Smoking Gunns vs. Godwinns

These two are fighting for the tag belts so it must be the mid 90s. The country boys bring animals with them. Geez Hillbilly Jim was an awesome character. We go to the back where the Guns and Sunny are with Doc. We see a clip of the Body Donnas and their new manager who is a guy in drag named Cloudy. Sunny is dressed as a cowgirl and that’s all you need to know. The Guns are the champions here.

These were some of the weakest gimmicks of all time. The Guns are going heel here as Ross insists he saw them turn down autographs for some kids earlier at the hotel. Well at least the fans weren’t at an airport asking about the NWO. Phineas likes Sunny here too. Billy implies he’s screwed Sunny, which he likely did since he was in the WWF in the 90s. We cut to a random interview with Cloudy who can’t even fake a girl’s voice.

This is Vince’s weird idea of humor I think. It lasted all of a month I think. The match is boring as all goodness so it doesn’t mean anything. These two fought so many times and while it was ok, it was never really all that great. This match just isn’t that entertaining. Henry puts an arm lock on Bart who taps like crazy but that wouldn’t mean anything for about two more years. So this goes for about ten minutes and nothing of note happens.

I kept looking for something to talk about but this is just ten minutes of pure unadulterated average wrestling. It’s not that good and it’s not that bad but it’s not interesting or anything. It would be fine on any TV show or house show but on a PPV, I doubt it. We of course go to a massive brawl that ends with Bart hitting Phineas with something that resembles a cowboy boot but it’s not entirely clear for the pin.

Rating: C. That’s the epitome of what this match is: average. It’s just there. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s just a ten minute tag match where the faces acted like faces and the heels acted like heels. There was no appeal to this match at all. These two teams feuded for what seemed like ever and it never went anywhere. The tag division was more or less dead until 99 when the Hardys and Edge and Christian became the answer to the cruiserweights.

Cornette is with his team and says that Bulldog will win tonight, which might have been a good idea actually. I wouldn’t have minded it. Mr. Perfect, the guest referee for the main event, is in the same dressing room so Vince of course panic, because no referee is allowed to be involved in a screwjob on Vince’s watch unless Vince gives such an order.

Jerry Lawler vs. Ultimate Warrior

To say this was an odd feud is an understatement. Warrior came back at Mania 12 and Lawler had been making fun of him, leading to this. Lawler had painted a picture of Warrior and he came out to accept it in a baseball hat. According to the Warrior DVD, this was the end of civilized culture or something like that. Ross is PANICKING that Perfect was in the same dressing room.

We see an RF Video sign as Lawler is up at the coronation area and puts on a clinic of how to get heat going. Like him or not, the man is as good at getting a crowd to want him dead as anyone in a major company I’ve ever seen. His most intense insult is saying that the baseball team sucks and they’re booing the living tar out of him. Let’s look at what he did.

He got on the mic and said that Milwaukee was a bunch of losers, he said the baseball team was terrible because they were a bunch of drunks, then insulted the fans by saying they were fat and ugly. Nothing he said goes past something you might hear in 5th grade and that’s perfectly fine. Lawler is a master at being very basic with his insults but getting all kinds of great reactions from it.

Another key: on the way to the ring after every joke he laughs. He’s not doing anything over the top or ground breaking in the slightest. He’s just insulting each person using very basic stuff, but the delivery is perfect, and the crowd is all over him. That is textbook level stuff and something that a lot of people should pay attention to as a lesson on how to draw heat. I’m impressed here.

A final thing he’s doing very well here: by getting this great heat, he’s building Warrior up as well because the fans are wanting nothing more than to see Warrior beat Lawler from one side of the arena to another. Warrior of course gets massive pyro on the way to the ring. Lawler’s hands are burned for some reason but it seems Bob Orton-esque.

The massive Burger King chant starts up which was a huge deal for Lawler around this time. Lawler of course has something in his tights. That’s another brilliant tactic that someone should use again. He doesn’t have to do anything other than throw a punch when the referee isn’t looking and stick his hands in his tights just after it and he draws great heat. It’s so simple yet so effective.

That’s a big problem with wrestling and wrestling fans today: everything has to be new and epic but I guarantee you that if you went out there and used old school 80s style heel and face tactics that you would get a great reaction from the crowd. As old and worn out as that stuff seems, it works. People say it’s cheap heat or whatever, but I’d rather a heel have cheap heat than dead silence which so many heels get today.

Throwing out a line about the local sports team may be easy, but it works and it works very well. Warrior no sells a piledriver, making him an official felon in the Memphis area. Ross gets in a slightly veiled jab by saying Warrior is raw, unrefined power. I love little lines like that. A few running clotheslines and a shoulder ends this. A huge celebration follows.

Rating: B-. So again, Lawler does all the work and Warrior gets the credit and the win. You know, I really feel sad for guys like Lawler at times like these. Warrior would be gone in less than a month as he went more insane than he usually was.

He hit all of 5 total moves which was a combination of two that he repeated a few times, yet he gets all the glory and probably a higher paycheck for the night. Lawler was a master out there tonight so the entire decent grade is for him. Literally, he gets all of the credit here for making this entertaining.

Monsoon says he’s going to let Roberts compete but he might stop the match if it gets bad. Monsoon was perfect for this role.

The announcers kill time by talking about Jake which means the crowd is bored out of their minds at the moment.

We recap Undertaker vs. this guy named Mankind. This will never go anywhere.

Actually this was a really big thing at the time. Up until this point, Taker had only fought monsters like Gonzalez or Kamala. Mankind was a completely different sort of opponent that legitimately scared the living heck out of me as a kid. To have a guy that was completely insane come in and beat Taker up like he had done really was a completely unthinkable thing.

Mankind vs. Undertaker

This was I believe their first ever encounter. This feud would go on for two more years until perhaps the scariest match in WWF history would end it once and for all at KOTR 98 which I’m looking forward to. Bearer comes out first but there’s no Taker. The whole time we have the darkness going on and when they come back on, Taker is perched on the top rope. That was cool.

He goes completely insane with right hands on Foley to nearly kill him that of course do no apparent damage. This was right around the time where Taker started going completely insane and really became the character that he’s more known as. Before this he was just a freaky dude that did whatever he wanted and was awesome. Now he’s really getting into the darkside aspect.

It’s all Taker so far as he hits what would eventually become Old School. Mankind takes over and this is getting a bit slow so far. It’s a lot of punching and kicking followed by stalling, which isn’t that interesting to watch. This is really similar to what would become the standard during the Attitude Era, which is both good and bad. These two belong in that kind of a match, but at the same time it’s a bit boring.

Ross is WAY too excited about this match. We’re getting some good chair shots if nothing else though. Ok now this is just getting boring. We get a bunch of nerve holds and the like, which makes sense I guess but it’s just a lot of laying around and doing nothing at all. It’s like a rest and then a little spurt of cool looking stuff and then more laying around.

With Taker down (shocking I tell you, shocking) on the floor, Foley does an insane (shocking again) jump at Taker on the floor but Taker gets a chair up in a cool looking spot. Ross says they indented the chair and that the chair is dented. That’s for clarifying that Ross. We get about our tenth mention in this match that we’re in Milwaukee. Do we really need to know that so many times?

We’ve gone well over 15 minutes so far and it feels like a lot less. I’m not sure if that’s bad or good. Foley can’t get the pin so he does his freak out thing where he pulls his own hair out. That’s just freaky. In kind of a weird ending, Taker gets knocked down but makes a comeback thanks to the urn and Foley gets the claw on him.

That’s the end? Oh never mind. Bearer tries to hit Mankind with the urn but nails Taker instead, and THEN the claw ends it. Well at least that makes sense. Mankind goes after Bearer with a sitting item and Taker collapses going after him

Rating: D+. This was just way too much laying around doing nothing for my taste. It was like watching a match on a toll bridge. You kept having to stop for no apparent reason before you could really get anything going, but once you got going you had to stop all over again. The other problem is that these two would have far better matches in the future. No one knew what was coming with these two, but based on this match I wouldn’t want to see much more.

Mr. Perfect is with Doc and says it’s no big deal about him being in that dressing room. Shawn shows up and Perfect says he’ll be legit. This was pointless.

Intercontinental Title: Goldust vs. Ahmed Johnson

Ah yes Ahmed. This was a guy that was totally and completely hype and no substance. However he managed to ride that almost to the world title if not for some injuries. Goldust is champion here and has been trying to make sweet love down by the fire to Ahmed for weeks now. Owen complains about not being mentioned by Doc and only throwing it back to Jim and Vince.

Ahmed is, I kid you not, billed as Kuwaiti Champion here, having won the world’s worst tournament during a one night show in Kuwait where for no apparent reason there was a show/tour or something. They released it on tape as World Tour 1996 and of the tournament, three matches were shown. Ahmed won it and no one at all cared. I bought the tape for 5 dollars when I was 9 and thought it was awesome.

Dang I was a stupid kid back then. Anyway, Ahmed won it and it might have been mentioned twice and was completely forgotten afterwards. As for this, the beginning is awesome as Ahmed kicks the doors open and knocks the guys standing there to the ground as he sprints to the ring. That’s just awesome. If you told anyone back then that Goldust would be light years ahead of Ahmed as far as entire career accomplishments goes, no one would believe you.

In a BAD looking botch, Goldust is on the floor trying to collect himself so Ahmed dives over the ropes and misses about as bad as Taker did against Shawn at Mania. You can see the Attitude Era coming here as we’re on the floor already. Vince says we see no histrionics from Goldust here. Yeah I don’t know what it means either. Oh apparently it means being creepy. Hey let’s use the steps because that makes perfect sense here.

Naturally we hit the slowdown part as Ahmed is more spent than Warrior was just by getting to the ring. I completely forgot Warrior had a match tonight so that was better than I expected it to be. Goldie spanks Ahmed for no apparent reason other than he’s Goldust. I really hate chinlocks. Ahmed looks like he’s asleep. Actually he might be. Hey, in case you forgot, we’re in Milwaukee!

This is almost all Goldust here and it’s mouth to mouth time. I wish I was making this up. The worse part here is that Vince actually approved this stuff. Hey look it’s another chinlock. Did I mention how much I hate those things? We get a random  Ernie Ladd reference. That was rather pointless but whatever. At least they mentioned he’s in the hall of fame so people actually know who in the heck he was.

Ahmed tries a dropkick that misses as no one likes it. That leads to a chinlock and then to mix up things a bit, a sleeper. He gets Ahmed down and releases early (make your own jokes) to set up a mouth to mouth thing. It connects and after a bit Ahmed wakes up. He more or less massacres Goldust and finishes with the Pearl River Plunge (Double underhook powerbomb or Tiger Bomb) to win the title to a big pop. Owen kind of screws up and points out that Ahmed was out cold and Goldust messed up. Great way to build your new champion there.

Rating: D. GOOD FREAKING NIGHT there were a lot of chinlocks in this thing. It was like a Randy Orton marathon or something. Giving these two fifteen minutes while giving Jake and Vader, two guys that can work a long match, 4 minutes is just flat out stupid. The point of this was to get Ahmed over but it did the opposite as it made him look weak and completely beatable. This should have been a glorified squash for the title lasting about 5-7 minutes tops.

Brian Pillman who is brand new to the company here and brand new to the crutches as he had just screwed up in his car and destroyed his ankle which led to his eventual death. He references Jeffrey Dahmer, who was a serial killing cannibal from Milwaukee and cusses a lot. Pillman would have been tailor made for the Attitude Era. This is about as rambling of an interview as you could imagine. It would have been WAY better if Vince would have just SHUT HIS MOUTH! He kept having to put in little comments here and there and it just messed the whole thing up to no end.

King of the Ring Finals: Steve Austin vs. Jake Roberts

The IWC explodes as Pillman and Austin pass each other in the aisle and pause for a second. Good night they were a great team in the time they had. Austin apparently went to the emergency room to fix his tongue. I think that’s legit actually. Jake’s music is just made of awesome. Austin jumps him to the shock of no one. This is all Austin as Roberts is barely even able to move let alone fight.

Here’s his token comeback as it’s fairly obvious that Austin is winning here. Vince says Austin is being a coward for attacking the injured ribs. Owen says Austin is smart to do so, which at least makes sense. Monsoon is out here now and Vince is more or less saying Austin doesn’t deserve to win. It’s not his fault that Vader beat up Roberts.

With Monsoon checking on Roberts it lets him breathe a bit and he beats on Austin for a bit but Austin counters with corner shoulder blocks of all things. Geez Austin was a different kind of wrestler back then. Austin hits the academic stunner to get the win and the crown.

Rating: N/A. It was 4 and a half minutes which includes Monsoon coming down.

However, the most important part is right afterwards: the coronation. Austin says the line that made him a legend: Austin 3:16.

To quote Jim Cornette from Monday Night Wars, “Steve Austin was gonna be a big deal. Nobody knew how big.” That was the debut of both the 3:16 catchphrase as well we that’s the bottom line cause Stone Cold said so. It’s not often that you get two major lines like that in one promo but Austin did it. You have to remember that on the big stage, there had never been anything like Steve Austin before.

Everything before had been about the basic ways and standard storylines. The problem was that everyone got sick of it. People got tired of hearing about how great the faces were and etc. That’s why Austin called out Hart: he wanted the purest wrestler there was. Austin represented this unspoken hatred that the fans had towards the old ways that Vince was so desperately clinging to.

He refused to accept that the fans that were children in the 80s had grown up but still had a love for wrestling and wanted to see it. The problem was that these fans were now fifteen and sixteen or even older and the things that fascinated them at seven or eight now looked stupid. That audience was fed up with these stupid angles but there was nothing they could do.

Then Steve Austin showed up. He said everything that the fans wanted to say but couldn’t. The fans rode Austin into greatness, as he became hotter than Hogan ever dreamed of being for a two year period. Yeah I said it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: in the late 90s, Austin was a bigger star and far hotter than Hogan ever was during his career. That’s fact, plain and simple.

Anyway, it’s time for the main event which for once has gotten some hype. They had fought the previous month at Beware of Dog which was the blackout show, but that match had power at the time. Shawn had hit a German suplex for the pin but both guys’ shoulders were down, which led to this rematch.

I’ve always wanted them to give Bulldog a short maybe month long title reign just to give him more credibility but they went with just a rematch instead, meaning it was the same thing they saw a month ago, which is stupid.

WWF Title: Shawn Michaels vs. British Bulldog

Mr. Perfect is the outside referee here, meaning that he will indeed play a factor in the end because that’s how these matches work. Diana, I hate to say this, but she might be the most worthless woman in wrestling history. Actually scratch that. I couldn’t care less about her. She never did anything at all and was just there because…because…I have no clue why she was there.

Owen is of course biased towards Bulldog. I’m such a mark for Smith for some reason. No idea why but I’ve always liked him. A lot of people would have been hyped about this as Shawn was probably at his best as far as in ring work went at this time. Bulldog could work just about any style you asked of him so he could easily find something Michaels could work with so this was going to be great no matter what.

It would have been a bit better though if they hadn’t done this a month earlier, but that match sucked so maybe this will be ok. Monsoon comes out to make Hebner the main referee and Perfect the outside referee for no apparent reason. Owen calls Jose Lathario Jose Estrada which will be funny to a handful of people here. They start with an incredibly crisp wrestling sequence that was really good.

Smith could wrestle about as well on the mat as any power guy of all time. He really was underrated as a wrestler to say the least. However, Michaels was pretty much the best in the world at this time so he’s somehow outmatched. Shawn’s speed here is just completely ridiculous as he’s flowing so insanely well out there. It’s saying a lot, when Smith, a well proven great wrestler, is being completely left in the dust out here.

Yeah I know a lot of people here will say that I’m sucking up to Shawn or whatever, but seriously just watch any of his matches from this time period and if you still say he wasn’t incredible in the ring, you simply don’t know good wrestling. Shawn works on the arm, which makes sense here as Smith as a power guy needs his arms to use said strength. See what psychology can do for a match?

In a cool spot, Smith catches Shawn coming off the ropes and gets him in a gorilla press before backing up to just drop Shawn over the ropes in a great looking bump. They’re wrestling a fairly basic match here which I think exemplifies the problem here. This match would steal the show as a midcard match. However, it just feels kind of weak as the main event for the world title.

That’s the big issue I have with it: it feels like a weak match that shouldn’t be for the world title. Now at In Your House this was perfect. These two belonged in the main event of a minor PPV but not on a major show. To be fair though King of the Ring wasn’t a huge show by comparison to some of the others. Smith takes over after that gorilla press spot and locks on the sickest looking submission in recorded history: the surfboard. Go find a clip of it if you don’t believe me.

Owen is just ripping Yoko on the mic which is odd. I’m not sure if he had left the company yet but I don’t think he had. Granted he was about to leave so I guess it’s ok. He really was fat enough that he meant nothing at this point anyway. Since we need one a match, we hit the chinlock. Someday someone needs to win a match with one of those, just to stun the heck out of the audience.

After the longest chinlock I’ve seen tonight which is saying a lot, Smith goes up top for no apparent reason. He slips terribly and misses by probably three full feet. Shawn tries to roll out of the way to make it look believable t he’s miles away even with Shawn moving. It was terrible and the only thing I could figure out was Smith slipped as he was certainly capable of jumping that far.

He goes up to the corner and hits a suplex on Shawn where he just lets him go halfway through it and it looked awesome. These guys are bumping like crazy out there. Shawn throws Smith into the corner and Smith goes for a Flair Flip but he more or less throws a front flip at the corner which looks awesome. Shawn initiates his ending sequence and hits the kick and Perfect slides in for the pin.

In a weird looking ending, Perfect counts the cover and gets to two but slides out and then Hebner counts the whole three. That was just completely stupid. Owen comes in and Shawn manages to get him in a figure four and roll up Smith at the same time. Yeah he wasn’t booked too strong at all. Ok so he’s champion so it’s ok. Ahmed comes in for the save and then Vader comes in for the save and the fans start chanting some combination of Austin and Warrior.

Vader keeps looking at the entry way as Warrior must have missed his cue by about a mile or so. Eventually he goes to the top for a top rope something but has to crawl up there because Warrior is just so freaking late. He finally gets there and hits a few clotheslines to somehow reenergize the faces.

The faces celebrate as Vince announces that the two trios will face each other at the awful International Incident show the next month in Canada where Owen and Smith of course were cheered and Shawn’s team were more or less automatically the heels. Warrior got fired again and Sid took his place in a meaningless match that set up Summerslam with Vader vs. Shawn.

Rating: B+. This was a pretty solid match I thought. It had some weird spots in there where it kind of made you make a strange look. The ending was just a head scratcher with the two referees and whatnot. The match was fine though as you had two guys that could work a 30 minute match with little trouble and that’s what they did.

The work and the psychology were both there, making this a very solid match and a fine way to end a PPV. The big brawl was a little much, but at least Shawn won clean like he should have.

We go to the back for a Coliseum exclusive where the heels say exactly what you would expect them to say. Cornette’s rants are just great. Ross looks OLD. He gets on Owen, an announcer, for getting involved. To be fair, the show was over before he ran in so he was done at the time. Cornette is just freaking awesome on so many levels. They actually call him Big Van Vader which I don’t remember him being called in the WWF.

This is followed up by a series of cheat codes for College Slam. Yes, you read that right. That’s something that use to come on a lot of Coliseum Videos, but I never have seen anything other than WWF games. Ok then.

Overall Rating: C-. There’s just way too much bland or not that great stuff in here to justify a good grade here. I was leaning towards D+ but at the same time, there really isn’t anything here that’s so horrible I wanted a blunt object to beat myself with. It’s not bad per se, but it’s not that good. Shifting to having just the final four of the tournament was definitely a good idea as there’s not enough to get annoyed with the people and the requirement of stupid finishes to cut time.

It’s a massive improvement that helped a lot. Obviously the Austin segment is huge in every sense of the word and the main event is quite good, but other than that, this show is just not very entertaining. It’s more of a show that set the table for a lot more stuff later on than something good here, so it’s not really recommended. I’m pretty sure Bulldog vs. Shawn is on Heartbreak and Triumph too so there we are if you’re bored. It’s worth seeing but don’t go out of your way or anything.

 

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