The 1997 King of the Ring was built around one match: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels. The WWF title match was almost an afterthought. So, of course, it would suck!
Vince McMahon and Jim Ross are on commentary, and Vince motions for the camera man to look at all of the international tables but he doesn’t – so Vince stands up and walks him there! Carlos Cabrera is highly amused by the excited chairman! Vince informs us that it’s time for Ahmed “Get In Your Face” Johnson is on his way out, COVERED IN BABY OIL. Ahmed faces the MAN. I’m talking about the guy that runs the joint, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. He’s also coming out to Beethoven’s 5th, I believe, now. JR tells us Ahmed Johnson is a member of the Bloods! That’s a new tidbit for me, and a lot edgier than just a few months back. As I mentioned in the last In Your House, a change was noticeably in the air. Ahmed military presses HHH, and asks “How do you like that shit?”Well, Ahmed, I like it. He seems a little angry, which I always look for from the loser. Some of these grits think it’s real. Triple H gets a quick Pedigree in and wins!
I decided a while back that I should review events I was actually at. This is the beginning of that series. The most prominent event I attended was a little thing you may have heard of. I don’t know. May have heard of it…
I not only was there, but I was front row. $8,200 for two tickets. Seated next to Los Lonely Boys (guests of Stone Cold). I’ll add this unique perspective throughout the event.
Out of the gate, the theme song is very early 2000 – screaming, murder vocals. The show opens with Harlem Boys Choir singing Flag America 9/11 Patriotism or some song. We were all into it back then and of course, we visited Ground Zero. It was boring. At the end of the boring kids’ song, we see a different Freedom Tower. By the way, if you want to see me, there’s a big red head guy front row and I’m the guy next to him. We were huge.
If you look back at the first episode of Raw, it is a different time for sure. However, it also has enough fuck ups in it to be hard to watch without a groan factory in your living room.
The very first episode of Monday Night Raw opens with Sean Mooney outside of the Manhattan Center. Bobby Heenan runs up and is like hey who are you I need to get in. Mooney is like no. Rob Bartlett replaced you.
Decided to review Bad Blood 2003, because why not? The theme for the event was the worst song ever. Headstrong by Trapt. I knew a dude that played that around girls. Idiot. This was also at a time when Stone Cold and Eric Bischoff were co-GMs, so we see their picture randomly during the open.
The Dudley Boys open. DVon has a Gatorade style shirt on. DVon has been wondering why his white brother has been telling him to get the tables…they face Rodney Mack and Christoper Nowinski. Mack is managed by Teddy Long, who will use his theme song forever, despite Mack’s short tenure. The crowd is actually into this and chants Harvard sucks at Nowinski. I am drooling randomly. Why does Bubba grab his dick when hitting people? DVon gets hung up on the tables shit and Nowinski pins Bubba with a cheap shot!!
So we will have a redneck triathlon between Bischoff and Austin. They must do a pie eating contest. It is, however, a pussy eating contest according to Stone Cold. First tho, a burping contest. They’re just doing sound effect burps and it’s dumber than fuck. Terri Hard Nips Runnels holds the microphone. This ends up being just stupid if not gross. Burps are just mouth farts and I don’t want to hear or breathe air from your guts.
After wrapping up a very wild and chaotic 1996, due largely to WCW’s rise, we kick off 1997 with a stadium show – the only Royal Rumble to be held in one ever (a mistake, because it’s the easiest show to book right and the hardest to book wrong, which WWE has done three years in a row to date). Shawn Michaels headlines the 1997 Royal Rumble, sponsored by Starburst Fruit Twists, which were awful. Tasted like wax.
Out of the gate, the announcers microphones are fucking up. I see a man whistle super loud with just his mouth, inspiring me to try and fail for 20 seconds and then notice I am out of breath. Little did I know that it would actually be whistling, perhaps from this very man, that would greatly affect the quality of this show (at least by 2 rating points, seriously).
In Your House: It’s Time is the last pay per view of 1996. It’s presented by Milton Bradley Karate Fighters – a shit toy. Bret “Hitman” Hart faces Sid for the championship. We are in West Palm Beach, Florida. The fucking house set is back!!! Also, the trio is on commentary. JR, King and Vince. A fan behind the Spanish commentary table had a sign asking Sunny if she wants to wrestle. I know the answer in 2015.
Leif Cassidy, Al Snow, is our heel against Flash Funk, 2 Cold Scorpio. “I know thas right!”Vince says as Flash comes out. The Funkettes are with him, not to be confused with Funkadactyls. Vince is DANCING. King is about to knock someone out. Flash botches a corner move. He wins with a 450 splash in a rather good match between the two ECW stars. JR says we will see things from both of these men, especially Flash Funk. It actually was especially Al Snow. JR incorrectly calls it a “Shooting Star Press.”
The 1996 Survivor Series was an important night in wrestling history including the Rock’s debut, a new logo and lots of fun. It’s the Survivor Series! Sponsored by Milton Bradley’s Karate Fighters. I bought them because of this. They sucked dick.
Out of the gate, the World Trade Center is heavy in the logo.The lower thirds (name graphics) all have the buildings in them. Sort of sad, looking back. Fucking religion.
The British Bulldog and Owen Hart, the tag team champions, are teamed with the Rockers to face Doug Furnas and Phillip Lafon along with the fucking hillbillies, the Godwins. My mom texts me at 5 am distracting me as Henry and Marty both get eliminated. Phineas is power slammed and eliminated by the Bulldog. Furnas about breaks his neck on a botched drop kick. Lafon eliminates Leif Cassidy with a reverse suplex that looks near fatal. Furnas hits the best drop kick I’ve seen, rivaling Bob Holly and Jim Brunzel. Furnas and Lafon beat the tag champions and the sole survivors are the debuting stars. Won’t be the only occurrence of such a debut tonight.
In Your House: Mind Games is our next show and the tenth In Your House to be done! Yes, the house set is STILL used.
We begin with the Free For All! I know plenty of people have been saying listen, Savio Vega had been opening too many events. I agree! Marty Jannetty is in the ring to face an opponent…Savio Vega, dammit! At least he’s not opening the PPV itself. Bradshaw appears and is mad that an immigrant is wrestling. We hear an ECW chant. Vince mentions that some “local promotion” was there, and he’s glad they bought tickets. I can see the Sandman, smoking. Ha. Savio counters a cross body and wins. He gets attacked by Bradshaw. Uncle Zebekiah (Coulter) shows up too.
Summerslam 1996 is brought to you by Stridex, which I bought just because it sponsored this. I had the cleanest face ever/driest skin ever. It wasn’t worth a fuck. Still isn’t.
This show ended up being an improvement over the previous few years, by a sliver. It had lots of ignorance, though…
If you’re sick of seeing Savio Vega over the last few shows in the opening match, there is good news. Savio Vega will open the show, against Owen Hart. Owen is doing the Bob Orton gimmick with a cast on his arm. An Owen chant actually breaks out. We get a solid match. Owen hits him with the cast and the ref somehow blatantly doesn’t see it. He wins with a Sharpshooter, the move he taught Bret. Clarence Mason, doing a poor Johnny Cochran, celebrates with him. Bradshaw hits Savio because he’s Conservative and they do not like Spanish speakers.
In Your House International Incident ended up being a very fun event, thanks to some future stars on the card as well as comedic moments from the King. The event is from Vancouver, BC. We begin with the Free For All. JR, King and the chairman, Vince are all in commentary. The fireworks go off for our free audience, as the instrumental version of Slam Jam plays.
Savio Vega will open up the event with a match against Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw. Of course that’s today’s JBL. He knocked out Savio a few weeks ago on Raw with a cowbell. Savio needed more of it. Guess who comes out managing Bradshaw? Uncle Zebekiah aka Zeb Coulter. Bradshaw is very physical. He wins with a foot on the rope that would have helped him none. Bradshaw hits his lariat but it’s way milder than his future version. Savio gets “branded” by Zeb, but it’s not hot. Just has shoe polish on it or something.
We get an Undertaker music video and because Goldust and Taker will wrassle tonight. Goldust joins the commentary team to do a movie-script-promo. I liked those.
Also, we review that the Ultimate Warrior was replaced by Sycho Sid, who drives a Lincoln into a dumpster. When he gets out of his car, his music plays. Did he have WWF Metal in his CD player?
King of the Ring 1996 was an interesting time for WWE. Bret Hart was on hiatus for the first time in a decade and Stone Cold was about to step up and break through his glass ceiling. The Ultimate Warrior was being briefly featured, although he would soon depart too for a final time before he would return when Vince killed him.
Speaking of people Vince killed, Owen Hart opens the show entering to the ring to join the commentary team, in King Jerry Lawler’s absence. Lawler will be facing the Ultimate Warrior tonight!
In Your House Beware of Dog is two shows. Beware of Dog and Beware of Dog 2, which had to take place after the lights went out and the show went off the air due to weather! Oops!
It actually begins with the Free for All. Phineas has signed a receipt lol that says Sunny is their comanager. He has duck tape on his wrists…. The Godwins face the Smoking Guns. So uninteresting! These two tag-teams had so little appeal around this time and you could tell no one gave a fuck. The crowd is half empty. Vince mentions a traffic jam. Yeah and a booking jam. During the match, King acts like Sable – appearing later – is ghastly. Smoking Guns win the tag titles after Billy Gunn kisses Sunny, which distracts PIG. Billy Gunn does a post-interview that is about a 1/10 and he says “Hey” like 14 times.
In Your House 4: Great White North emanates from Canada. We open to an “up and coming artist” that the ring announcer informs is “Toni Wilson.” I think she botches the first line of the Canadian National Anthem, which most WWF fans at the time likely booed at home, but I don’t know.
In Your House 3 is from Saginaw, Michigan. We are guaranteed to gave a title-change in our main-event, a Triple Header match…right? No. We will get fucked. Vince McMahon will actually totally take a dump on the finish the next night on Raw.
We begin with Waylon Mercy vs Savio Vega. I guess Mercy is a country psychopath. He squishes worms and that’d probably not fly in 2015. Interestingly, the character didn’t go far and I never knew why. As a kid, I just assumed Mercy went insane. Doc Hendrix interrupt us to tell us that Owen Hart isn’t here here yet and the main event could be in jeopardy. King HATES Vega’s hair and suspects it may have been cut in a pet shop. Vega wins, giving Mercy his first defeat, with a spinning heel kick.
A backstage interview where Monsoon says the fans won’t get ripped off. Yeah right.
Raw is live from Phoenix, Arizona. Sold out, too. On a Tuesday. Ken Shamrock comes out in his street clothes. Shamrock delivers a shit interview but The Great One comes out. Before his music hits actually, still the Nation theme. The Rock delivers pure gold on the mic. Rock is over so much as a heel, at this point, that he probably had more heat than HBK. Shamrock has 2 minutes to beat DLo and just as he is about to, Rock slams him with two chair shots. The second one was brutal to Shamrocks skull, directly, head on.
We open with Rock and Farooq against Steve Blackman and Ken Shamrock. JR mentions how big of the future The Rock is. Maybe he knew. Kevin Kelly foolishly says “He’s in the same boat as Shamrock and Farooq and Dlo.” Shut up idiot. Match ends in a schmoz and Shamrock beats up Rock as Farooq holds back the Nation.