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The "I've just watched ..." thread

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I've been watching RAW 1997 on my bus home from work. I started at the reunion of the Hart Foundation and just kept going.

It's.....good but some of it is really jarring. I knew Davey Boy's had some shocking interviews in the past but I put it down to him being fucked up. This is arguably his prime though, and he's absolutely gash. Bret and Owen are little better. Just terrible acting from all three.

The most surprising thing from 2018 eyes is how they deal with Vader's arrest in Kuwait. They just don't give a fuck. Nowadays they'd be doing their best to distance themselves from any kind of legal trouble but they flat out exploited this. They even hyped his trial like it was a WWF promoted event and encouraged people to call the hotline to find out what happened. On the most recent episode I watched, they had him publicly refuse to apologise and then recreate it with Jim Ross, to set up a match with Shamrock. No chance would WWE do something like that now.

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I'm doing exactly the same - but I'm currently up to the Raw after Survivor Series 96. The thing that strikes me is how over Sid is - it's like he's the second coming. He has some beautiful quotes. Calling Bret "Bretman" and saying he's the "World Federation Wrestling World Champion". Brilliant. 

With Ahmed having just debuted his "YOU'RE GOIN DAH" catchphrase I might keep a record of memorable quotes over the next year or so.

Shawn had a beauty on the go home show for Survivor's. "Sid, from anywhere in the ring I can kick you in that chin of yours - it's big enough!"

Stay tuned for more memorable quotes from the dawning of the Attitude Era.

 

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Sid was deservedly over like rover. He's way better than most, other than on here, give him credit for. Intensity coming out of his ears, looked like an absolute badass, he was believable. I, for one, loved his promos and he had a proper big man finish. There wasn't very much not to love about big Sidney. 

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His entrance theme is up there with Warrior's as well in terms of being so integral to the character. 

A huge, huge part of Sid's presentation. It was perfect. 

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November 25th Raw

Bret versus Owen opens the show and the crowd are firmly behind Owen until the ending - Vince on commentary buries Bret for having lost a step. He's only been back 2 weeks and McMahon is already bairning.

Shawn is clearly half baked during his interview segment. "I will not beg to anyone or anybody" he rants. 

Sunny also calls Sable a "cheap plastic wannabe".

Fascinating episode.

Edited by Max Power

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48 minutes ago, Max Power said:

Bret versus Owen opens the show and the crowd are firmly behind Owen until the ending - Vince on commentary buries Bret for having lost a step. He's only been back 2 weeks and McMahon is already ÔĽŅbairning.

I always felt that Vince unnecessarily went out of his way to put over Shawn big while denigrating the Hitman wherever possible. 

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On 9/4/2018 at 5:03 PM, Max Power said:

November 25th Raw

Bret versus Owen opens the show and the crowd are firmly behind Owen until the ending - Vince on commentary buries Bret for having lost a step. He's only been back 2 weeks and McMahon is already bairning.

Shawn is clearly half baked during his interview segment. "I will not beg to anyone or anybody" he rants. 

Sunny also calls Sable a "cheap plastic wannabe".

Fascinating episode.

 

I'm watching a few Raw's from 1996 as well and have just sat through this one, the one hour format really works.

Speaking of that Shawn interview, what a decade the 90s was for fashion:

 

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And Jose is a massive cringe back bless him, sitting there like he's shat himself.

 

EDIT - This Karate Fighters tournament needs to fuck off sharpish.

 

FURTHER EDIT - Look at him the week after!

 

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Edited by Otto Dem Wanz

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I'm up to the RAWs heading up to King of the Ring '97.

It's such a weird time for the WWF. On one hand, you've got realistic characters like Austin, Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson and the Harts getting big reactions and then you've got the likes of Flash Funk and Rockabilly, and even Undertaker to an extent. It a got a good pop right enough but it's still bizarre to hear him respond to Faarooq's allegation that there's never been a black WWF Champion 'cause of racism with "I am the Reaper of Lost Souls". They are obviously starting to realise what works though because they've just done the sit down interviews with Goldust, where they completely humanised him, and are now starting on Mankind.

There's a lot of bait and switching going on though. The second last episode I watched had a show long tease that Bret Hart was going to spring a big surprise. The announcers are blatantly teasing that it's going to be a new member of the Hart Foundation. Bret comes out at the end of the show to reveal it.....and just babbles. I'm assuming that they were running short and told him to kill time because he sends the Harts away, calls out Michaels and then just rambles on about crime and drugs while Shawn glares at him like the Angry Miz Girl. They ran out of time just after Shawn superkicked him and the Harts and Austin got involved.

The next week it was Austin and Michaels trying to find tag partners after being offered a tag title shot, but refusing to team together. Michaels quickly picks Ken Shamrock while Austin sexually harasses Sable, beats up the Brooklyn Brawler and settles on Harvey Wippleman. At the end of the show, the announcers get word that Gorilla Monsoon has ruled that they have to team together after all. It's interesting to note that Michaels is a complete dick here. Normally when wrestlers brawl it's 50/50 but Shawn gives Austin fuck all. He gets the upper hand, they get separated then break free and then Shawn immediately gets the upper hand again.

It's all still incredibly watchable though. There's just so much happening. It feels like everything on the show has a purpose. Austin's character, in particular, is absolute genius. He's not the best wrestler in the company or even the best fighter, he's simply a guy who won't give up. It's something they really should revisit. In the current era, where people only seem to remember their issues with their current opponents, it'd be great to see a stubborn arsehole going "No. You beat me but I still hate you and I'm not going to stop going after you".

There's some really eerie foreshadowing too. Most notably Michaels bragging that nothing could keep him out of the ring for any real length of time and Bret going on (and on) about being screwed by the WWF. I'd honestly forgotten that was a thing before Montreal.

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Monday Night Raw, 13/1/97.

What an absolute bag of wank. Goldust and Mero against Hunter and Lawler. 10 minutes of The King stalling and as soon as Goldust finally gets his hands on Helmsley there's a DQ after 90 seconds. 

Bulldog v Rocky is barely watchable and the main event of Undertaker against Crush is as good as it sounds. A Nation beat down causes the DQ before Ahmed Johnson 'runs' in, but fairs no better as the heels stand tall.

So, three matches all around 10 minutes, all as boring as sin, all with screwy finishes as Rocky only managed the W as he rolled in for the count out win, being the strong babyface that he is.

No wonder Nitro was kicking their arse.

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As great as 1997 WWF could be, there's whole heaps of that shite thrown in there as well unfortunately. The fucking Godwinns and The Headbangers. The New Blackjacks. Los Boricuas. The Harris Twins and lots of tall guys named Brian. The Sultan. There's shite galore on the undercard. Thank God for the lads at the top being glorious. 

Edited by WeeAl

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Speaking of the lads on top being glorious....

Monday Night Raw, 20/1/97

One week later than the afore mentioned abomination comes this beauty. It starts with Bret coming out and listing all the times he's been screwed since his return, culminating in Austin winning the Rumble the night before. You just wait pal. Bret then quits and leaves through the crowd, which prompts Austin to come out and complain about Bret "pissing and moaning". Brilliant from Steve. 

We then segue into a tag match between Furnas and LaFon and Owen and Bulldog which is all kinds of great, with all four men throwing themselves around. Owen belts Furnas or LaFon with his Slammy for the cheap win go set up a match at the PPV.

Gorilla then makes the Final Four match between the last 4 blokes from said Rumble. This brings out Austin, who does not like this development. "You're not a Gorilla, you're a JACKASS". Brilliant line. Austin is already getting the babyface pops.

Bret returns to accept the match and the two men brawl before GONG, the lights go out and Taker appears to fight them both and the main event of Austin and Taker ends in a no contest as both Vader and Bret brawl all over the arena.

Just a brilliant show in front of a hot crowd, who even made the Farooq/Bart Gunn contest worth watching because of their racism. 

The two shows either side of the Rumble really showcase the WWF in early 97. Vince is battling with 'attitude' and used it as a buzzword at least 5 or 6 times. But then the week before he's producing that shite. 

 

EDIT:

 

The week after is the first 2 hour Raw, the one before HBK loses his smile. What about this line from Jim Ross when Michael's comes to the ring...

"Take a good luck at the WWF Champion. He's not in his mid 40s, he's not bald, and he's not making promises he cant keep. And next week he's promised that he'll be defending that title against Psycho Sid at Thursday Raw Thursday"

Beautiful.

Edited by Max Power

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For no real reason I decided to watch Starrcade 93 just now as I realize there's loads of great matches on The Network that I never watch in favour of whole PPVs I'm fond of, including the main event of this show which I saw forever ago. It's a period I'm familiar with from faint memories of Worldwide on ITV and I own the Fall Brawl tape which is mostly garbage. So might as well jot down some thoughts.

Early doors I'm reminded of how everything to do with WCWs production here looks or sounds distinctively cheap and/or second rate apart from GMC. The entrance way, the colour scheme designed by a hyperactive child, the piss weak entrance themes. It's a bit weird watching Mean Gene riding to the arena with Ric Flair and talking warmly to him like an old friend rather than as a professional getting good interview footage.

Charlotte (NC, not Ric's daughter) seems pretty smarky. Teddy Long getting awarded "WCW Hotline Manager of The Year" despite his charges (Bagwell and Scorpio) being JTTS? Boooo! True to form they get beat by Pauls Orndorff and Roma. I'm reminded of the hilarity of Roma leaving the Horsemen and turning heel by betraying Erik Watts because he was beneath getting heat on Flair or Arn and wouldn't be working with either after the split. TREMENDOUS.

Typhoon comes out in a hard hat? Booo! Can't blame Charlotte for that. Poor win over a fatty that Ventura thinks was King Kong but was announced as Awesome Kong - definitely a fat white bloke, not Welfare Queen/Kharma.

(DISCLAIMER : as I get into the nonsense about the two World titles, I feel compelled to point out I'm fully versed in the circumstances of the second WCW/NWA divorce and why the two titles exist, and need no explanation. But I'm going to illustrate how confusing it is if you DON'T know what's going on.)

As Big Tone and The Body run through the rest of the card and five title matches to come, I wonder if we'll get mention of the mystical "WCW International title" because I only ever remember the distinction between the "WCW champion, Big Van Vader" and Flair or Rude being the "World Heavyweight Champion" and sure enough Schiavone makes no mention of "international" just "Rick Rude's World title." First mention in any way, after a whole lot of mentions already that Ric Flair is risking his career for the World Heavyweight Championship, and he's wrestling Vader. This is going to get worse before it gets better, trust me.

Back with Flair, Gene refers to the possibility of winning the title for the 11th time which given the fact he's not long lost the Big Gold Belt/World Heavyweight title and anyone paying attention knows is not the same title Vader holds.... is really confusing. Especially if you were watching in 91 before Flair left the first time. Flair refers to Gene as one of his best friends in the business which must be confusing to long term WCW fans as Gene's only been with the company a couple of months.

TV title is up next and my memory of this time period conditions me to assume Regal retains on time limit draw.  Big kick out of his Lordship being announced as weighing 18 stone, 2lbs. When Ventura asks Schiavone if he ever watches TV (trying to shoehorn an advert reference in) Big Tone replies "I watch videotapes. Of you and me, Jesse." Which comes across as a bit pervy.

Ricky Steamboat gets a smattering of boos upon entrance too until Gary announces him from Charlotte and the cheers get a little louder. Sycophants. To my delight about 8 minutes in Jesse revisits his incredulity that Tony hasn't seen the advert with the gecko in. Match goes time limit draw, boooo!

Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce come out to wrestle.... Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne?? Roster is weak as piss if Jack and Maxx are slumming it with the Godwinns on fucking Starrcade. Maxx is a great example of the WWF signing someone then binning what he'd done to make him look worth signing in the first place. Johnny B Badd becoming The Wildman ain't got shit on Man Mountain Rock. "Mr Bang Bang" is a terrible cheesy theme for a brawler like Jack. Stars win, obvs.

Another terrible theme brings out Dustin to wrestle Austin and I'm reminded how way into 1999 I still couldn't believe Stunning Steve had become industry top dog. Although he's still brilliant to watch here. Good match, shit crowd at points, smattering of "we like heels, us" cheers for Austin winning.

"The champion as recognized by WCW international" is how Tony recognizes Rick Rude before the big title match. Twat Siren?? Brings out The Boss. "A big man" according to Tony. Snigger. The BOSS is a BIG MAN. BOSS BIG MAN. "Simply Ravishing" brings out THE CHAMP and I take back everything I said about WCW themes being wank. Almost makes up for his WWF music being dubbed on the Network. "Here's who the Hooters Girls have been waiting for" says The Body. According to Buffer the "match is recognized by the WCW international (sic) for the World Heavyweight Championship" and announces Rude as "the current World title holder." Nice and straightforward for when Vader comes out later, also referred to as the World Champion. And yet they still handled two champions better than WWE when one of those champions was Lesnar. 

Charlotte boos The Boss a little, presumably for the shameless porting of his WWF character just with a different colour shirt. But I'm starting to think they don't really like WCW and only came to see Ric fuckin' Flair. Which is fair to Flair. Rude wins disturbingly clean with a slingshot sunset flip, fans pop somewhat, Jesse mentions "the Boss Man" on replay.

Sting comes out with Hawk. Hang on, Animal was in Stings teams corner at Fall Brawl? Why can't we just have the Road Warriors? Missy Hyatt, barely dressed, leads out The Nasty Boys. "She's nasty" says Tony. Ahem. Buffer is announcing again, getting their moneys worth out of him for once. He announces Missy as "the nastiest first lady of wrestling" - take that, Liz. Apparently the Nastys are from "somewhere in or around New York City" ..... have you been drinking, Michael?? Tone makes Hawk sound ancient by suggesting LOD were one of the best teams of "the 70s and the 80s." Camera zooms in because Missy is complaining about cheating but it's obvious the director just fancied a down-blouse shot. Or more likely, that naughty "Senior Producer," Virgil Runnels. "She's a fine one to talk about cheating" says Jesse. That would get pilloried as "slut-shaming" and unacceptable in 2018 but in 1993 a dirty slag is a dirty slag and it's fine.

 Watching Sting be just a guy that doesn't belong in this tag match reminds me of Uncensored 96 when without Luger 96 he had to team with Booker T, a heel, against the Road Warriors in an interminable "Chicago Street Fight" actually held in Tupelo. A review I find online says of that car wreck "The only theory I have to explain this match is that Sting and Hogan made a bet backstage to see how could shit the bed the hardest." Heh. That I take time out to find stuff like that to mention tells you how enthralling I find a Nastys heat stretch circa 93. GMC announces 15 minutes gone which jars me because that's a fierce foreshadow that this goes broadway even though a) Tone says time limit and b) they've had one time limit draw already??

Stinger's still in an abdominal stretch on 20, Jesus. Just remembered the Nastys went FOREVER with Arn and Roma (Happy Hour & Glory?) at Fall Brawl. Did someone tell Ole he was hiring the fucking Rockers or something?? Sting still hasn't tagged on 25. As GMC announces two left, Sting plants one on Missy then gets a schoolboy for a massively hot nearfall. He tags Hawk, they nearly kill Knobbs with the Doomsday Device and inside the last minute Missy breaks it up for another non finish on the biggest show of the year. Oh well crowd went nuts for Sting.

Apparently the place is "literally going to explode" when Flair comes out according to Tony. Jesus, shouldn't somebody stop him then?? There's still nothing like a Ric Flair entrance in WCW/JCP before it, having the rubbish NES version of his music in the WWF really diminished the aura of "this is THE MAN." And when he came back he was a spent force for the most part, wrestled in a t-shirt for a bit and then they put a "WHOOOO!" over the opening bars of one of the best entrances ever. Heresy. That was not fair to Flair. Jesse mentions how seriously Ric is taking it, "No Fifi" and you remember 25 years later Naitch interpreted "You may kiss the bride" as "Put your tongue in the maid's mouth."

Buffer describes the belt and Vader as the "professional wrestling heavyweight champion(ship) of the world" without using the initials "WCW" and I have no frame of reference to what distinguishes it from the other title earlier except this goes on last and Ric Flair wants it so it must be more important.

Vader's brilliant here. In particular he gives Flair a superplex (!) and follows with his elbowdrop to the gut falling between the legs and Flair sells like he's just had an organ removed without anesthetic. It's great fun watching Handsome Harley get a few receipts on his old nemesis, "I guess Harley Race doesn't forget" muses Schiavone. "Thos is not fair to Flair" muses my inner monologue. The match serves as a reminder that while heel Flair was much better, babyface Flair was still really fucking good. Sensational noise when through chops and eventually punches he cuts the monster down, and when Vader misses a Vaderbomb and ends up in the Figure 4.

Missed moonsault by Vader is a great visual, Harley goes for a top rope headbutt (!) to break the pin up but misses and hits Vader. Great refereeing in kayfabe by Randy Anderson in not calling for the DQ, which would be revisited in Luger's win over Hogan in 97 when the nWo comes in. Final chop flurry cut off by a Vader Hammer, but Vader is a beaten man and Flair schoolboys him for the winner.

Flairs celebration in the ring seems a bit brief and before you know it we're backstage as Vader's throwing chairs around and beating up lockers which as ever is scary as fuck. Vader clearly needs someone else to beat up, I'd hate to be Sting's ribcage right about now. Cut to Gene and he's with the Flair family - Beth, Megan, easily recognizable gormless David and tiny Reid and Ashley (Charlotte). Surreal seeing babyface Ric getting backslapped by first the Stinger then Ricky The Dragon. Real Estate Steve looks near tears as he reminisces about Baltimore (the Bash 90). Aww, don't worry Sting, he'll be the bad guy again soon. Roll credits.

I'm off to watch Great American Bash 96 now because I want heel Ric having fun with Liz and Woman, and because Luger 96 is the best wrestler ever.

lex-luger-air-guitar-abs.gif

 

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