Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Sunday, 24 August 2014

From the loft: WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sable collector's edition cover
From Sunny and Sable flashing the flesh in the centerfolds, to Hunter and Cactus tearing each other limb from limb, a bloody Shawn Michaels and more, it's all here in 1998's first edition of WWF Raw Magazine.

I'm still plucking up the courage to sit down and review WWF Royal Rumble 1995 which I sat through last week. Until I can clear enough of my schedule to face up to that task, I thought I'd head back into the pile of old wrestling mags I dug out of the loft recently and see what's in store.

Ready to join me? Here goes.

WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998

So, though the contents of this magazine were the same throughout the land, we had ourselves a choice of two different Collector Covers, one looking like the one above, the other featuring Sunny in a similar provocative pose.

To be honest, I was always a bigger Sunny fan back in the day, so I'm not even sure why I chose to throw my money in with Sable. Maybe it was that smoldering look in her eyes. Who knows?  

All I know for sure is that this magazine was well-thumbed by its 14 year-old owner, which more than likely accounts for the sorry state we find it in today. 

Anyway, that's more information than you came looking for on a wrestling blog, so let's turn the page, shall we?

DX - "You make the rules, we'll break 'em"

WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998 - DX magazine ad
Why bother with half-naked diva pics when you could spend time viewing pictures of Shawn Michaels and Triple H fellating bananas, flashing their behinds and generally acting like juveniles? 

There was a new version of WWF Magazine out which featured D-Generation-X in its initial incarnation, a version which would only actually last about another three months or so after the publication of these here magazines.

I pulled a copy of this magazine out of the loft recently too, so I'll get round to covering it here pretty soon.

Along with the DX piece, it's also got bold predictions for the year ahead, a profile on the Legion of Doom, and results from 1997's Bad Blood pay per view. 


World Wrestling Federation on America Online

WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998 - Sable WWF Online ad
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year....yes folks, before there was the WWE Network, before there was Classics on Demand, there was...drum roll please!...WWF on America Online. 

Featuring a cat-suit clad Sable in a pose far more tame than she would strike elsewhere in this publication, the ad tells us nonetheless that 'this might be more than you can handle.'

Don't worry WWE marketing men, more Sable I can handle, more of Shawn Michaels' rump I probably can't.

Alas, among the rolling list of keywords down the left hand side of this thing, HBK's ass is touted as one of the main reasons we should check it out. 

Don't believe me? Here, look closer:

WWE - WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998 - Look at Shawn Michael's ass online

I don't know about you, but I think I'd rather check out the behind the scenes features. 

Vic Venom is your new Raw Magazine Editor-in-Chief

WWE - WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998 - Vic Venom wrote a letter as Editor in Chief
You remember Vic Venom, right? The evil alter-ego of writer, booker and pole-aficionado, Vince Russo.

For reasons I can't figure out even after reading this grammatically-terrible letter three or four times, 'Venom' had been appointed as the top dog at the magazine, and used his new found authority to let rip with a scathing tirade against erm, 'lazer tag spots on Raw is War.'

Before that, Venom promises that he's not here to BS us. That's not his style, you see. What he's really here to do is:

'Slap you in the face with it...pick it up..then slap you again!'

He doesn't say what it actually is, but if it's anything akin to Shawn Michaels' behind, I don't know want to know. 

I'd read this again and give you some more details, but Russo -sorry, Venom- keeps replacing the 's' in plural words with Zs (as in folkz and KIDZ rather than folks and kids), pretty much rendering anything he has to say entirely ridiculous. 

Let's move on then.

World Wrestling Federation Travel Club

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sunny promotes the WWE travel club
Just about every WWF magazine in the late 1990s featured Sunny in horrible PVC tye-dye thing giving us the 'come-hither and join the WrestleVessel' look.

And hey, why wouldn't you want to take the lovely Sunny up on her offer? 

The WrestleVessel was apparently a five days/4 nights cruise around the Bahamas were you could enjoy "cruisin', dining, dancin' & jammin' with your favourite WWF Superstars." 

I'm not sure why 'dining' gets its full spelling and all the other verbs get the ever-so-hip replace-the-last-letter with an apostrophe thing. 

Regardless, as part of 'the hottest club going,' you could also get your hands on discounted airfare, access to special WWF autograph sessions and other such fun. 

I'd say this looks like a great deal for superfans who splashed a lot of cash following the 'Fed around the States, but honestly? The sign up form is so small I wouldn't be surprised if anybody had the patience to fill in their details in such small writing and actually join up. 

Hey ho, enough with the ads already, let's get down to some honest-to-goodness editorials.

Venom: Uncensored!!!

Look, I'm not saying Russo used this rag as a vehicle for self-promotion or anything, but it does seem pretty suspect that within the first six pages, the only stuff that isn't advertisements is Russo ranting under his pseudonym. 

This time round, Venom let's loose with his thoughts on note other than James E. Cornette.

WWE - WWF Raw Magazine - January 1998 - Vince Russo shoots on Jim Cornette

Remember when Russo tried to bury the hatchet with Cornette recently, and all James E. wanted to do was just bury Russo?

I have no idea what they fell out over in the first place (TNA perhaps? Somebody inform me please?), but it probably wasn't this article.

After claiming that he disliked Cornette at first thanks to his general Southernes, Russo goes on to call The Prince of Polyester a 'total !@#$%in' GENIUS! [who can] write and talk circles around yours truly - ANY DAY OF THE !@#$%in' week!'.

Again, I'd go into more, but I really dislike 'Venom's' writing style, which comes across like an immature highschooler on a sugar rush.

NEXT!

The informer: The 'Real' Story Behind the Signing of Jeff Jarett

Back in October 1997, Jeff Jarrett returned up north from a short-stint in WCW and cut a scathing promo on both Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff.

I seem to recall Jarrett stating pretty clearly back then why he'd jumped ship, though according to this piece from the informer 'only a few know the real reasons behind his decision.'

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - The 'real' story of why Jeff Jarrett came back to WWE


That is, until now of course.

We'd be here all day if I gave you the full summary of this feature, so let's just look at the key points here:

  • Back in the mid-90s, when everybody else headed to WCW for huge, multi-year contracts, Jarrett only signed with Bischoff for a year because he's a smart cookie who knew that his name value would be worth more once that year was up.
  • Throughout that year, Bischoff basically ignored ol' Double J, refusing to open negotiations with him until the last minute and misusing him on shows. 
  • When Jeff's contract came up for renewal, Eric finally offered him a good chunk of money to stay, then went right onto the Internet and buried the second-generation star (um, what?).
  • So ultimately, Jeff returned to the WWF because even though he could made more money with a man who supposedly trashed him online and withdrew the contract offer, what Jarrett is really all about is PRIDE, HARD WORK and OPPORTUNITY, things he could all find in the World Wrestling Federation.
So, yeah.

Letter's to the editor

In this month's edition, we get praise for Cornette's recent Raw shoot interviews (seriously, how much did Jimmy pay Russo for this edition?), praise for Taka Michinoku and his in-ring work, and a letter from some guy called Cagney.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Letters to the editor


In the same sentence, Cagney says that he's shocked and appauled that Shawn Michaels would beat up a cameraman at In Your House: Bad Blood, yet still loves HBK anyway and won't be changing his mind about that any time soon.

Right on, Cagney.

Russo blows his own cover

On the same page, we get the obligatory Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation for this magazine, signed by none-other than Editor-in-Chief, Vince Russo.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Vince Russo's signature

Hey, wait a minute! I thought Vic Venom was the editor now? You mean, they're one and the !@$#%in' SAME, FOLKZ?

Ragin' Ross!

Proving once and for all that a good copy editor can work miracles, Jim Ross presents his latest thoughts on the WWF product without all the spelling mistakes and dreadful punctuation which litter his otherwise fantastic blogs, tweets and Q&As. 

Hey, I know I'm not perfect, but still, a good proofreader can be a Godsend, and Ross is proof of that.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Jim Ross's report


In this edition, he heaps praise on Jim Cornette for being a great manager (seriously, what is going on here?), wonders if Ahmed Johnson will ever stay injury-free for long enough to become a top star (no), claims that The New Blackjacks would 'surprise us,' calls Jeff Jarrett a jerk, and suggests that Ken Shamrock take up Danny Hodge's offer of training assistance. 

Yep.

Hey, look! More Jim Cornette!

And so, after much hype by Russo, Ross and some fan whose name I can't bother flicking the pages back to look up, James E. himself puts pen to paper for his Shootin' From the....MOUTH column.

If you believe the rest of this magazine, Cornette is apparently the greatest wrestling mind, writer and all-round uber-talent that the business has ever seen. 

How does he choose to use those talents here? By scalding current fans for not knowing who Jackie Fargo, Harley Race and Lou Thesz are.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Jim Cornette hated that new fans didn't know who Harley Race was


Hey, I know who Thesz is at least. Isn't he the guy who took his name from that move Stone Cold used to bust out?

The Calm of the Cannon

OK, let's get serious for a second.

I was never the biggest Brian Pillman fan in the world, and I won't pretend otherwise. It's not that I held anything against the man, the wrestler or the characters he played on TV, it's just that, during his life time, I was young, dumb, and far more distracted by the 'bigger' stars of WCW and WWF.

That said, I do remember enjoying what he did on WWF television when he joined the Federation, and being saddened, when I woke up the morning after the morning after the Bad Blood pay per view, to learn that he had passed away.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - In memory of Brian Pillman


What we have here is less a glowing tribute of Pillman himself (that would come in other publications), but more an account, written by Russo, of what happened the day the 'The Loose Cannon' was found dead.

It's a look backstage at how the talents reacted, at how much Brian would be missed and how, despite all else, the show had to go on.

On a lighter note, though this piece does take on a rather solemn tone, I couldn't help but grin when the first paragraph praises not Brian Pillman, but yep, you guessed it, Jim Cornette. A guy died, but let's give Cornette props for creating the Hell in a Cell gimmick before we get to that.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - A report on the day Brian Pillman died


Why the inmates are running the asylum!!!

Getting back to the world of scripted wrestling, Vince Russo Vice Vennom pens a commentary piece claiming that Vince McMahon has lost control of his company.

We get reminders that Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin and DX had all either physically or verbally attacked Vinnie Mac, followed by the insistence that McMahon himself was to blame for all of this.

Why? Because he signed all these prima donnas to big-money, guaranteed contracts, which inflated their egos, and now he can't fire them because they're all his biggest stars.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Why the inmates are running the asylum

Venom's suggestion to remedy all this? Fire 'em anyway.

Cactus Jack vs. Triple H

On an episode of Raw is War, both Mankind and Dude Love turned up on the Titantron to suggest that the only person suitable to deal with their arch-rival Triple H was none other than Cactus Jack. 

Here, WWF Raw magazine writer Bill Banks talks us through that match in words and pictures.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Triple H vs. Cactus Jack pictorial





















And you know, Banks is able to tell a great story here without resorting to randon !@#$% nonsense or switching the letter s for a z at the end of words. Russo take note, this is how you write.

Anyway, this is basically your standard play-by-play report similar to that which you might find scattered around the Internet, albeit with a bunch of cool pictures. 

Sunny and Sable Centerfold

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sunny and Sable photoshoot
Here's the part you were really looking for, right? Tantalizing shots of the World Wrestling Federation's biggest female stars parading around in a bikini and making horny teenage boys like your writer...then I mean, not now.

Of course, being a horny teenage boy, I ripped out most of the pictures and stuck them on my wall (and later in  a wrestling scrapbook I made.)

Much, I'm sure, to your delight, I did actually manage to track a few more of these pictures down when I pulled all my wrestling stuff out of the loft, so you lucky people get to see Sable and Sunny posing in photos far more innocent than you could find elsewhere on the web. 

And here's the weird thing too.

At the time this magazine actually came out, Teenage Chris would have chopped off his foot (and perhaps other appendages) to see both of these women in their birthday suits.

When, thanks to the marvels of the Internet (and whoever paid them to strip), when I finally did get to see the objects of my adolescent desires in the buff, it wasn't that big a thing. Far from relishing in the joy of realising a lifelong ambition, I think I just shrugged and moved on to the next thing.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that this pictorial was called Les Beaux Femmes?

Yes, I know it's French for The Beautiful Women or something to that effect, but I was am was an immature sort of guy, so of course I'm going to take this as to read, rather crudely, as Lesbo Fems! and imagine all kinds of racy girl-on-girl action going on behind the scenes between two women I suspect actually hated each other at the time.

But you've probably heard enough from me now, so I'm going to be quiet for a minute whilst you remember that yes, Brock Lesnar's wife and the woman who once did that weird porn thing with Missy Hyatt were once schmokin' hot.



WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sunny and Sable in their swimsuits

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sunny in a pink swimsuit
WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Sable in a tigerprint swimsuit

Sable ladies and gentlemen, with a crotch bigger than most men's heads.

An interview with Farooq

From teenage fantasies to tales of hardship and triumph in the face of adversity next as Kevin Kelly speaks to Ron Simmons or, as he was better known back then, Farooq.

In a candid interview, Simmons talks about growing up in a poor neighborhood, his football career, and that time he was hyped to the heavens as The First Black World Heavyweight Champion.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - An interview with Farooq


He also discusses Vince McMahon, Eric Bischoff and the death of the territories, but sadly nothing about his time playing a Roman gladiator.

The Long Road Back

On June 15th, 1997, Doug Furnas was involved in a car accident that nearly ended not only his career, but his life. 

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - A report on the car crash that nearly killed Doug Furnas
As the story goes, Furnas was riding from Montreal to Ottawa with partner Phillip LaFon, Flash Funk and former WWF champion Sid. The latter reached up to fix the sunroof, and lost control of the vehicle, nearly killing Furnas in the process.

Here, Bill Banks talks to the Oklahoma grappler about the accident, and his long journey back to recovery.

It's a compelling read, detailing the crash itself, how wrestlers like the Legion of Doom and Savio Vega were the first at the hospital, and how the Rougeau Brothers' sister Joanne was sent to act as translator since barely a soul in the hospital spoke English, and how badly Funas' injuries were.

That said, for most of the interview, Doug only seems concerned with how badly his partner was cut up and covered in blood.

Speaking of which...

Hell on Earth

Up next, we got another words-and-pictures match report, this time looking at the bloody battle between
WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - A bloody Shawn Michaels from the first Hell in a Cell
Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker in the first ever Hell in a Cell match. 

You know the one, right? The one where Kane made his much-anticipated debut and beat the crap out of 'taker?

It was also the one where Michaels bladed lie a bastard and had his DX cronies HHH, Chyna and the late, great Rick Rude to help him backstage after a brutal match.

I always liked these match reports, they bring the actual battles to life in a much more vivid and visceral way than "HBK hit 'Taker with a chair, got a two count and carried on" never could.

From the present to the past next, as we go to one of RAW Magazine's regular features, profiling the stars of days gone by.

Yo, do you remember 'The Big Cat' Ernie Ladd?

If you don't, then Keith Elliot Greenberg has everything you need to know about the man "who could evoke as much fear on the football field as in the squared circle."

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Do you remember 'The Big Cat' Ernie Ladd?






















Here, Greenberg gives us the full account of 'The Big Cat's life and career, all the way up to his retirement in 1984 (hey, the year I was born!) and his induction into the World Wrestling Federation Hall of Fame: Class of 1995.

The Night the Belt Changed Hands: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Diesel

The Survivor Series which immedietly preceded this edition of Raw Magazine will perhaps live on forever for a little thing we've all come to know as The Montreal Screwjob. 

Yet the last of the WWF's annual Big Four didn't always have such bad memories for The Hitman. Just two years perviously, it was the site of his third WWF Championship win over Big Daddy Cool Diesel.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Bret Hart vs. Diesel Survivor Series 1995 recap






















Ignoring (as the mag's editors clearly did) writer Lucas Swineford's insistence on calling Bret 'The Hit Man', this was nonetheless another good piece looking at the history between both men and their battles throughout '94 and '95 leading up to the big one. 

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - More Bret Hart vs. Diesel coverage






















From there, we got another compelling blow-by-blow account of the action, all the way to Bret's title-winning inside cradle.

From actual warfare to fantasy warfare next, as Bill Banks pits Mick Foley against one of his heroes.

Fantasy warfare: 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka vs. Dude Love

You recall the story right? Mick Foley, once better known to WWF audiences as the deranged Mankind, bared his soul in a series of interviews with Jim Ross. On one of these, he talked about travelling to Madison Square Garden to watch 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka leap off a cage and flatten Don Murraco.

After that, Foley invented the wrestling persona named Dude Love and -in a move that would set a precedent for backyard feds everywhere- threw himself off his parents' garage. 

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Dude Love vs. Jimmy Snuka fantasy warfare


So, what would happen if Dude Love finally squared off with his role model? Who knows? This is just a look at each men's strenghs and weaknesses, their finishing moves and, of course, their strategy, which for Snuka meant hitting the Superfly Splash, and for Love meant, well, avoiding the same splash.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - More Dude Love vs. Jimmy Snuka fantasy warfare


Epic. 

'Til next time!

And that, dear readers, was pretty much all she (or Russo & Co.) wrote for the January 1998 WWF Raw magazine.

WWE: WWF RAW MAGAZINE - January 1998 - Steve Austin merchandise ad
Oh, apart from this advertisement for Stone Cold merchandise, which suggested that you "please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery." Seriously?

That seems like an awful long time to pop a vest in the post and get it to somebody's house. 

A couple more ads followed this, one for the 1998 Royal Rumble, and two more on the back page promoting Raw and Shotgun Saturday Night, but I'm sure I'll have pics of those the next time I decide to take one last look through a wrestling magazine that has been stuck in my loft for 14 years before ultimately throwing it in the bin. 

It does seem a shame to throw this away, but it's really not in much shape to do anything else with.
I'm hoping that my next post on Retro Pro Wrestling will actually be an event review, most likely of Royal Rumble 1995, but if you like these magazine reviews, join me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated the next time I post one.

Friday, 15 August 2014

From the loft: 14 years of WCW, WWE, WWF, TNA and ECW coverage

From the death of Brian Pillman back in late 1997, all the way through to the current John Cena, all contained with the pages of Power Slam magazine.

I've been collecting these magazines, on and off since my teens, but alas, as a thirty year-old man, it's time to get rid of them.

So they're going, this Sunday, on eBay.


Here's what's up for grabs:

52 editions of Powerslam Magazine from 1997-2011, 3 editions of Fighting Spirit Magazine containing exclusive interviews with Kurt Angle and AJ Styles, several pull-out specials and two WWE merchandise catalogues from the Attitude Era.

A full list of the issues, the month they were published and the main feature can be found below. Some of the highlights include:


  • Death of Brian Pillman and tribute
  • Brock Lesnar and Stone Cold leave WWE
  • Kurt Angle joins TNA
  • Several years of PS50 - Ranking the top 50 pro wrestlers in the world


Most of these magazines are in fair-to-good condition, though a few haven't stood the test of time so well and do have a few tears, creases or marks. I've clearly labelled the condition of each magazine in the list below.

Hoping to sell all these as a job lot as I no longer have the room in my loft for them, but if they don't sell I will consider selling individual issues.

SPECIALS

Mini mag - The Best of Wrestling 2007
Women of wrestling 2004 special pull out
Wrestling's funniest, dumbest and greatest quotes pull out
2 WWF UK merchandise catalogues from the Attitude Era

POWER SLAM

Issue 40 - November 1997 - Brian Pillman dies, a tribute (loose cover)
Issue 42 - Jan 1998 - Scott Hall wins WCW World War Three (some cover damage)
Issue 45 - April 1998 - Stone Cold tears the house down at No Way Out (fair condition)
Issue 46 - May 1998 - Steve Austin wins the title at Wrestlemania 14 (some cover damage)
Issue 47 - June 1998 - Kane v Taker inferno match - (fair condition)
Issue 49 - August 1998 - Ken Shamrock wins King of the Ring (fair condition)
Issue 50 - Sept. 1998 - Undertaker v. Austin Summerslam preview (poor condition)
Issue 51 - Oct. 1998 - Goldberg triumphs at Road Wild - Fair condition
Issue 52 - November 1998 - Ric Flair returns to WCW (fair condition)
Issue 59 - June 1999 - Stone Cold reclaims title at Backlash (fair condition)
Issue 61 - August 1999 - Chris Jericho: "I'm tired of being held back (fair condition)
Issue 62 - Sept. 1999 - The Amazing Saga of Glen 'Kane' Jacobs (poor condition)
Issue 66 - Jan 2000 - Steve Austin's injury - (good condition, but slight cover damage)
ISSUE 103 - Feb 2003 - 2002 Review (fair condition)
Issue 104 - Brock Lesnar v Kurt Angle Wrestlemania preview (fair condition, defaced cover)
Issue 105 - April 2003 - Stone Cold returns at No Way Out (fair condition, defaced cover)
Issue 106 - May 2003 - The Rock profile (cover damage)
Issue 108 - July 2003 - Has Steve Austin wrestled his last match? (good condition)
Issue 111 - October 2003 - Rob Van Damn profile (slight crease/fold in front cover)
Issue 112 - Nov. 2003 - John Cena, rising star (good condition)
Issue 114 - Jan 2004 - The PS50, Pro Wrestling's best performers of 2003 (good condition)
Issue 115 - Feb 2004 - Chris Jericho profile (good condition)
Issue 116 - March 2004 - Will GOldberg sign another WWE contract (good condition)
Issue 118 - May 2004 - Brock Lesnar leaves WWE (good condition)
Issue 119 - June 2004 - Stone Cold leaves WWE (fair condition)
Issue 120 - July 2004 - Triple H/ Why wrestling became a work (fair condition)
Issue 146 - Sept. 2006 - Edge is on top of the world (fair condition)
Issue 147 - Oct. 2006 - DX 2006 - (fair condition, slight cover damage and folded back pages)
Issue 148 - Nov. 2006 - Kurt Angle joins TNA - (slight cover damage)
Issue 149 - Dec 2006 - John Cena, winning popularity contests (slight crease in cover)
Issue 150 - Jan 2007 - PS50, Pro Wrestling's Best Performers of 2006 (good condition)
Issue 151 - Feb 2007 - Triple H seriously injured at New Year's Revolution (good condition)
Issue 152 - March 2007 - Batista v Undertaker Wrestlemania preview (fair condition)
Issue 158 - Sept. 2007 - Batista profile - (cover damage)
Issue 162 - Jan 2008 - PS50, Pro Wrestling's Best Performers of 2007 (slight tear on cover)
Issue 168 - Feb 2008 - Can Jeff Hardy win the WWE title? (good condition)
Issue 164 - March 2008 - John Cena wins the Royal Rumble (tear on cover)
Issue 166 - May 2008 - Undertaker goes 16-0 (good condition)
Issue 167 - June 2008 - Triple H becomes 12 time champion (poor condition)
Issue 168 - July 2008 - Edge is on top of the world once more - (missing back cover)
Issue 171 - Oct. 2008 - Will Gail Kim sign w/ WWE or TNA (good condition, some cover damage)
Issue 177 - April 2009 - Inside Story on Wrestlemania (fair condition, slight cover damage)
Issue 181 - August 2009 - Edge injured! - (good condition but slight cover damage)
Issue 182 - Sept. 2009 - Jeff hardy regains World title at NOC (good condition)
Issue 183 - Oct. 2009 - Rey Mysterio suspended! (good condition)
Issue 184 - Nov. 2009 - Randy Orton, WWE Champion - (fair condition, v. slight cover damage)
Issue 185 - Dec. 2009 - John Cena wins title at Bragging Rights (fair condition)
Issue 186 - Jan 2010 - PS50, Pro Wrestling's Best Performers of 2009 - (fair condition)
Issue 187 - Feb 2010 - Jeff Hardy joins TNA (fair condition, very slight cover damage)
Issue 191 - March 2010 - Jack Swagger becomes a main eventer (good condition)
Issue 192 - July 2010 - Batista leaves WWE (good condition)
Issue 207 - October 2011 - Triple H retains COO spot at Night of Champions (poor condition)


FIGHTING SPIRIT MAGAZINE

FSM Magazine - Issue 024 - JBL profile - (cover slightly creased)
FSM Magazine - Issue 026 - Kurt Angle says "Screw you, Vince!" - (cover damage)
FSM Magazine - Issue 029 - AJ Styles interview (good condition)

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

From the loft: WWF Raw Magazine - March/April 1997

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE - MARCH/APRIL 1997 COVER ft. GOLDDUST AND MARLENA
Want Goldust and Marlena covered in gold paint and posing in a bizarre photo shoot? How about a fantasy dream match between WWE legends 'Wildman' Marc Mero and Flash Funk? Or how about a war of words between Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Shawn Michaels over six months before Montreal? It's all here in WWF Raw Magazine, For the Mature Fan!

I'm getting ready to move house soon, and had to clear out my loft of all my old wrestling junk. Before I threw away most of my worn-out, well-thumbed wrestling mags, I thought it might be nice to take one last look through their pages and share what I find with you.

Let's start here, with the March/April 1997 edition of the World Wrestling Federation's WWF RAW magazine. 

What was WWF Raw Magazine?

For those who weren't around, or just simply forgot about this gem of a publication, RAW magazine, was the WWF's attempt at providing a more adult version of their kid-friendly WWF Magazine.





It regularly contained pin-ups and centerfolds of the Divas of the Day (namely Sunny, Sable and this issue's co-cover-star, Marlena) along with features that focused on stars older audiences would remember from their youth and a tone much more befitting the new 'grown-up' phase of the WWF. You know, the one they would eventually call The Attitude Era.

I only remember it being around for a few years, though history tells me it was probably a lot longer. 

Anyway, with that out of the way, let's take a look at what's inside, shall we?

WWF Raw Magazine - March/April 1997

Remember those awesome World Wrestling Federation comic books featuring superstars like Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker doing battle in all kinds of otherworldly...erm...worlds?

Nah, me neither.

Though I do remember them being promoted heavily in WWF publications like this one. Thus, throughout this Raw magazine, we got comic-book like renderings of Stone Cold, Mankind and other stars, promising that something big was going to happen.

This Austin ad was on our inside cover, right next to the contents page with half of it cut out when your writer, at 13 years-old, decided to make a wrestling scrapbook.


The Informer

The Informer column, a kind of backstage gossip, rumour-mongering piece came next. In this edition, we found out that Hunter Hearst Helmsley may or may not have a new bodyguard, that Stone Cold apparently got in a backstage fight with Crush, and that Mankind still thought Sable was his mother. 

Don't believe me? Here's what it says:

'Remember the bizarre Mankind-Goldust-Sable "MOMMY" incident from a few months back? You know, the one where Goldust convinced Mankind that the leggy Sable was his mommy. Well, whereas it indeed turned out to be yet another mind game concocted by the masterful movie man, one source recently told me that Mankind...may still believe it!!!
       BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
That same source went on to also inform me, the Informer, that as you read this, Paul Bearer may be brewing a devious plan to deliver...MOMMY BACK TO HER SON!!! Stay tuned to this one-Same BATTY time, same BATTY channel!!!'

Honestly, here in 2014, I remember absolutely NOTHING about this. Any readers shed some light on what happened? Moving swiftly on....

Sycho Killer?

WWE - WWF Raw Magazine - March/April 1997 - Letters to the editor ft. Sycho Sid
Next up, we're treated to some fan letters, including praise for past WWF announcers like Sean Mooney, Craig DeGeorge and Lord Alfred Hayes from some guy with the e-mail HEADJUG@aol.com (I'm not making that up.)

We also had a rather irate letter from a James Padilla of Austin, Texas, who claimed that WWF Champion Sycho Sid was an ATTEMPTED MURDERER for his attack on Jose Lothario at Survivor Series 1996. Mr. Padilla couldn't believe that WWF fans would cheer for such an absolute bastard. 

The response from Raw magazine's New York based editor, Vince Russo? 'Without a doubt, New Yorkers are THE most interesting fans in the world!'

World Wrestling Federation's Official Rankings

When this rag went to print, Sid was our WWF Champion and a pre-DX Triple H held the Intercontinental Championship. Beneath them, Raw Magazine's esteemed staff saw fit to outline who they thought were the Top 10 contenders to each title. 

Shawn Michaels was deemed number one contender to the Sid's belt, while Goldust was poised as the main challenger to Hunter's. 

What this writer fails to understand, is is how Ahmed Johnson can be the third-ranked Intercontinental contender, with Farooq behind him at number four, and yet in the WWF title ranks, Farooq is place sixth and Johnson languishes in the number 10 spot.

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: WWF Rankings

I was about to tie myself in knots trying to figure that out, but then I remembered that this is the same company that made Harvey Wippleman, and quickly turned the page instead.

Oh, and I should point out that this same ranking system also placed Jerry 'The King' Lawler as eighth in line for a shot at the Intercontinental Championship.

Moving swiftly on then.

The Superfly's Last Hurrah!

A couple of short features follow, profiling Stone Cold Steve Austin's destructive streak, The Undertaker reinventing himself for the 21st Century, and the first episode of Shotgun Saturday Night, the WWF's first attempt at capitalizing on the success of ECW by promoting adult-oriented shows in a New York nightclub.


WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Jimmy Snuka's last hoorah!


I'd go into details about these, but back in 1997, I had no idea I'd be writing a blog about this magazine 17 years later, and cut out half the contents for my scrapbook. Instead then, let's look at this feature from Keith Elliot Greenberg, looking at the caeer of Super Fly Jimmy Snuka, his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 1996, and his return to the ring, the following night, at the WWF Survivor Series '96. There, Snuka teamed with such luminaries as Flash Funk, Savio Vega, and former WWF Champion Yokozuna to take on the mismatch team of Vader, Farooq and Fake Diesel and Razor Ramon

To be honest, I'd totally forgotten about that match, and probably for good reason. 

All the same, this was a nice, sentimental piece paying tribute to an all time favourite. 

Who's worse? A Sycho or a Madman?

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Mankind rips Sid's face off!
Up next, we got a nice little Raw Exclusive Photo of Mankind trying to rip Sid's face off, apparently taken at a recent 'Federation live event'. 

I may be alone in this one, but I think I would have enjoyed the insane verbal duels that would have resulted from some kind of feud between these two. 

'You may be twice the lunatic that I am, but I am only half the man that you are!'

I know he was the WWF Champion at the time and everything, but there sure is an awful lot of Sid in this magazine.

Still, I suppose it's better than the amount of freaky Goldust pictures, which we're about to see next. 

Goldust and Marlena - A Love Story for the Ages

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Goldust and Marlena poster
As we discussed earlier, most WWF Raw magazines included centerfolds featuring bikini-clad divas like Sunny and Sable. Not this edition. Instead, we get lots of weird pictures of Goldust and Marlena, wearing nothing but thongs and gold body paint and erm, well, I'm not even sure what they're supposed to be doing here.

Rather than trying to figure it out, I'll just get on and show you the pictures, but before I do, I just want to point that the pic where The Artist Formerly Known as The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust seems to have the world's longest legs (and biggest feet to boot), that's more the angle I snapped the pic at than anything else. 

I'd try and take another one, but Goldy Long Legs amuses me far too much.


WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Goldust and MarlenaWWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Goldust and Marlena WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Goldust and Marlena
WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Goldust and Marlena


WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Goldust and Marlena

 When you've sufficiently recovered from whatever the hell it is we all just went through together, let me know and I'll turn the page.

Bret vs. Shawn
"I tried to say I love you, but the words got in the way"

Here we have a simple war of words between arch-rivals Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. This was prior to Bret's full-on heel turn around Wrestlemania 13, but even still he comes across as a bit of a self-righteous ass.

'I really don't like his [HBK's] message and I never did,' says Bret.

'I don't consider it my job to send 'messages' to anybody. What I do is go out and work hard' replies Shawn.

'I didn't like Shawn pulling his pants down at the Royal Rumble,' bemoans Bret.
'I do what I feel like doing because I'm having fun. Bret doesn't have fun, he goes out there stone-faced, beats everybody up and then wants to go home,' Shawn insists.

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Bret vs. Shawn war of words


And on they go, Bret says Shawn is a terrible role model, Shawn says he doesn't want to be a role model at all. Bret says the WWF has started to abandon kids by presenting HBK as their top star, Michaels responds that viewing figures among 5-14 year-olds were the highest they'd been in over ten years with him on top. 

A lot of back and forth bitching, basically, all heading, many months down the line, to Montreal. 

Vote on the 1997 Slammy Awards

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Slammy Award voting
Thought the Slammy Awards were just another gimmick? Think again, buddy! These things are the real deal, and to prove it, we're next asked to vote on some of our favourite superstars and matches from 1996.

I like the fact that the Slammy for 'best finishing maneuver' is called 1,2, He's Got him! and like to think that, in true Vince McMahon fashion, all the runners up in that category get their own No, he didn't! prize.

I also like the idea that the famously-bald Stone Cold Steve Austin is the first name to choose from in the 'best hair day' category, and that any match involving Savio Vega could be in the running for match of the year.

To be fair, it was his Caribbean Strap Match against Austin at In Your House.

What's next then?

Jose Hospitalized!

As eluded to earlier in our letters page, that evil bastard Sycho Sid beat up Shawn Michael's manager Jose Lothario at Survivor Series and put the aging manager in hospital. 

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Adrian Adonis profile

For the morbidly curious among us, Raw Magazine were kind us to give us some exclusive pictures of the incident, which I'd show you if I thought they were actually any good.

They're not.

After the image above, we got three or four pics of HBK, EMTs and WWF officials crowding round Mr. Lothario, along with a blow-by-blow recap of what happened. 

Interesting.

Yo, do you remember Adrian Adonis?

Why, of course you do! He had that absolutely awful match against Uncle Elmer at Wrestlemania 2! What, you mean you purposfuly blocked any such thing from your mind? Well don't worry, because Raw Magazine have got a full overfiew of the Adorable One's career, so that new fans can remember the wrestler Keith Elliot Greenberg calls 'As street-wise as Savio Vega, as gifted as Owen Hart, and as flamboyant as Goldust.'

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Adrian Adonis profile

Quite.

The Night the Belt Changed Hands

More retro ramblings come next courtesy of Bill Banks and his look back at the night The Honky Tonk Man started his infamous Intercontinental Championship run by dethroning Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat.

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: The night Honky Tonk Man beat Ricky Steamboat 1


After a quick discussion about what a cheating little weasel Honky was, and how he didn't really deserve a title shot, Banks proceeds to go through all the action that led to the Elvis impersonator's victory on June 2nd, 1987.

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: The night Honky Tonk Man beat Ricky Steamboat 2

Fantasy Warfare: 'Wildman' Marc Mero vs. Flash Funk

Wow, talk about a dream match!

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Marc Mero vs. Flash Funk Fantasy Warfare
Ever wanted to know who would win between the former Johnny B. Badd and the former Too Cold Scorpio? Nope, me neither, but Bill Banks apparently thought we did.

Not only that, but before we get down to the details, Banks suggests that Mero/Funk would be up there as a five-star classic along the lines of Bret and Shawn's Wrestlemania 12 Iron Man match. 

Seriously. 

The best part of all this is that we never actually get to find out who Banks thought would win such an epic battle for the ages.

Rather, we got a look at each men's strengths, weaknesses and key victories, namely an IC title tournament win over Farooq for the Wildman, and a debut win in the aforementioned Survivor Series match, which actually ended up in a double DQ. 

'Til next time!

WWE - WWF RAW MAGAZINE 1997: Coliseum Home Video ad
And that was just about all Vince Russo and his crew had for us in this edition, apart from this ad for the latest Coliseum Home Video releases. I've got to to admit that the 1996 Year in Review cassette, which apparently featured The Hitman in matches against HBK, Diesel and Undertaker, along with Michaels vs. Mankind, does seem like it would have been worth a watch.

So, what am I going to do with this cut-up, tatty old mag now? Probably throw it away. There's so many bits and pieces missing thanks my younger-self's tendency to cut everything up, that it really isn't worth anything to anybody. The Goldust/Marlena pics are still in good condition though, so who knows, I may hold on to them.






I've got a bunch more magazines like this one that I plan on posting here before I get rid of them, so do stay tuned!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

PPV REVIEW: WWF Survivor Series 1994

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: Event poster
November 23, 1994
Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas


And so another year of World Wrestling Federation pay per views was coming to an end. For this writer, 1994 was the first year I reviewed in complete chronological order, starting way back with the 1994 Royal Rumble, and working my way through to tonight's attraction.

For the WWF, things had progressed steadily from the dying days of Hulkmania in early 1993 to today, when a new crop of stars were making their mark on the upper echelons of the card, and driving their product headfirst into The New Generation.

Though no other reviews of this show seem to mention it, WWF Survivor Series 1994 had a completely different feel to it than other shows around that time, and I don't just mean because the quality of my video is so poor (meaning the images in this review will probably be poor, too).

More, I mean that the presentation felt different.




No overly-long introductions, very few 'tween-match promos, and less stage lighting than fans have come to expect. Not that this was a bad thing. Instead, we got a much greater focus on in-ring action aplenty.

Let's get to the show and find out what happened, shall we?


Team talk

Prior to tonight's show, we got some backstage footage recorded Earlier Today, showing each of tonight's Survivor Series teams discussing tactics.

Shawn Michaels' Teamsters were pumped and ready, Razor Ramon told his Bad Guys to take out Big Daddy Cool Diesel first, Lex Luger instilled in his boys Guts and Glory that it was all about pride, and in response, Luger's rivals in The Million Dollar Team were given a pep talk from boss Ted Dibiase.

Doink and his Clowns R' Us team giggled manically, and their opponents The Royal Family didn't give too much away, team captain Jerry 'The King' Lawler shooing the camera man out of the room.

Welcome to San Antonio
Our commentary team for this evening's entertainment were none other than Vince McMahon and Gorilla Monsoon, both decked in typical Texan cowboy gear. The duo welcomed us to the show and hyped our main event, a casket match between The Undertaker and Yokozuna, with TV star and all-round bad ass Chuck Norris employed as the Special Guest Celebrity Shenanigan Dude.

With that out of the way, it was on to the show.

Five on Five Survivor Series Elimination match
The Teamsters (WWF Tag Team Champions Diesel and Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart, Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart and Jeff Jarrett) 
vs. 
The Bad Guys (WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon, The 123 Kid, The British Bulldog and The Headshrinkers, Sione and Fatu, w/ Afa and Captain Lou Albano)
Fun fact: This was the second time Jim Neidhart and Shawn Michaels had been part of the same Survivor Series team, the first being five years ago at Survivor Series 1989, when, along with Marty Jannetty, they backed up The Ultimate Warrior in his battle against The Heenan Family.


WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - The Ultimate Warrior's team

Now the roles were reversed, and both men were on the heel side of the fence for what was a fantastic opening match.

Sure, this bout only had one objective (cementing Big Daddy Cool's face turn), but in the run up to that, we got some fantastic action.

In the early going, 123 Kid enjoyed some solid exchanges with Jeff Jarrett and The King of Harts, Owen Hart, whilst the latter's tussle with brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith also stood out as an early highlight. 

On and on they went, with Owen, Neidhart and Jarrett taking on the workload for The Teamsters against all five members of The Bad Guys, which included the man formerly known as The Barbarian, who had replaced a departing Samu in the The Headshrinkers tag team and now went by the name Sione.

Between them, the eight active combatants treated us to a fast paced, enjoyable affair, devoid of all eliminations.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: WWF Tag Team Champions Shawn Michaels and Diesel lead The Teamsters into action
Of course, those were being saved for the arrival of Diesel, who eventually entered the fray and took out 123 Kid and The Headshrinkers in short order.

Davey Boy smith returned to the action and took the fight to his larger opponent, but was eventually thrown to the outside, where an assault at the hands of Owen, Jarrett and The Anvil led to his demise. 

As the only remaining member of his team, Razor picked up the slack against Diesel in a brief replay of their Summerslam 1994 effort. Alas, it was to little avail at first. Again, the whole point of this match was to solidify Diesel's babyface turn and put him over as a dominating bad ass of a man. To that end, Big Daddy Cool took control again, and, after escaping a Razor's Edge attempt, took out The Bad Guy with The Big Boot Of Doom.

Then came the finish. BDC struck Razor with the jacknife, Shawn Michaels, who thus far hadn't tagged in for the entire match, finally entered the ring and persuaded his partner to hold Razor in place for some Sweet Chin Music.

Unsurprisingly, Razor ducked, and Diesel ate HBK's boot for the third time that year. That was enough for the former Vinnie Vegas.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: Diesel chases Shawn Michaels out of the arena.
Beating up his fellow Teamsters en route, Big Daddy Cool stalked Michaels to the backstage area. Finally putting an end to things, the referee counted out all five members of The Teamsters (not sure how that's possible if only one man was legal), and Razor won the match.
Your winners: The Bad Guys - Razor Ramon is your sole survivor

Backstage, Shawn Michaels had already grabbed his bags and was hightailing towards his limo with Todd Pettengill in tow. Pettengill's attempts to get a word from Michaels were in vein. The erstwhile Intercontinental Champion made it to the limo and sped off into the night.

Four on Four Survivor Series Elimination Match
The Royal Family (Jerry 'The King' Lawler, Sleazy, Queasy and Cheesy) 
vs. 
Clowns R' Us (Doink The Clown, Dink, Pink and Wink)
The rules here followed those similar to inter-gender matches, Doink vs, Lawler, Midgets vs. Midgets, not that such rules were stringently enforced.

The first part of this match was actually a lot of fun, and followed a simple formula: Doink would get the upper-hand, pull of some kind of spot and put Lawler in trouble. Lawler would fight back, attempt the same spot and have it backfire. 

Doink would regain the advantage, and get his Mini-Mes to assist him in another spot designed to punish Lawler. The King would once again take control and once again attempt to top Doink's efforts, only for it backfire yet again and put Lawler in more trouble.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: Jerry 'The King' Lawler got a pie in the face courtesy of Doink The ClownIt was fun, it was enjoyable, it was effective as comic relief. Your writer even confesses to letting slip a chuckle or two.

Yet any enjoyment gradually gave way to a sigh of fatigue as things really started to drag. I'm all for comedy matches, but believe they can be much more effective if they're kept short. Unfortunately, this one just kept going and going, and showed no signs of stopping, not even when Doink was eliminated.

Instead we got more action between the mini wrestlers which, with the clowns bouncing around like crazy, wasn't actually bad, but failed to entertain this writer.
As The Neverending Comedy Match went on and on, Lawler's Royal Family systematically picked off the remaining clowns, who each hid under the ring following their elimination.

After what felt like the longest time in history, The Royal Family pinned the last midget funnyman to win the match:
Your Winners: The Royal Family (everybody survived)

In the post-match, Lawler ordered his team mates to stop raising their hand in victory, so that he could claim the entire win for himself and bask in the glory of the San Antonio crowd. The little Royals refused. Repeat again (just because this thing seemed determined to last forever), and again, until finally, Sleezy, Queasy and Cheezy turned on The King with the help from the three little clowns hiding under the ring. 

The six midget wrestlers chased Lawler up the entrance way, where he was met with a pie to the face courtesy of Doink The Clown.

Your New Women's Champion
Backstage, Todd Pettengill told us that Bull Nakano had recently defeated Alundra Blayze for the WWF Women's Championship in front of 45,000 fans at Tokyo's Egg Dome. Pettengill attempted to interview the new champion on what he called 'The WWF Survivor Set,' but Nakano would only speak in Japanese, and there wasn't much point to the whole thing. 

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: Owen Hart was Bob Backlund's second in Backlund's WWF Championship match against Bret 'The Hitman' HartWorld Wrestling Federation Championship Submission Match
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart w/ Davey Boy Smith vs. Bob Backlund w/ Owen Hart
In only his second ever WWF pay per view, and his first since Wrestlemania IX (in a losing effort to Razor Ramon), Bob Backlund challenged WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a match where you could only win if your opponent's second threw in the towel on their behalf. 

This came about as Backlund -now a fully-fledged lunatic heel- had claimed that he never actually lost the WWF title in his December 1983 match against The Iron Shiek. That day, Backlund's manager Arnold Skaaland threw in the towel for Backlund, awarding the belt to the Iron Sheik in a forerunner to the rise of Hulkamania.


Now, Backlund, who still believed he was the champion, had a chance to get his title back in a submission match fought under 'throw in the towel rules' (if there is such a thing).

As a result, we got a thirty-plus minute wrestling clinic from the veteran challenger and a champion in the prime of his career. 

Both men started off aggressively in the early going, brawling and beating the hell out of each other before finding their groove and settling into a submission match for the ages. 

Sure, it seemed to lag at times, but for the most part, this was a solid effort that perfectly rounded off Bret's year of stellar PPV matches. 

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart was accompanied by his second, The British Bulldog
Following a dramatic, intense affair, the champion locked his famed Sharpshooter on the challenger only for brother Owen, Backlund's cornerman, to run in and clobber The Hitman from behind. Coming to the aid of the man he beat at Summerslam 1992, Bret's second, Davey Boy Smith promptly gave chase, only to be tripped up by Owen and unconscious on the ring steps.a

Taking advantage of the ensuing confusion, Backlund slapped his opponent in his patented chickenwing and refused to let go. With Bret in completely agony, Bob and Owen nonetheless had a dilemma: How could the Bulldog throw in the towel when he was knocked out cold?

Several attempts at reviving Davey Boy coming to nothing, The King of Harts came up with a cunning plan, instead pleading to the mercies of his parents, Stu and Helen Hart, who were sat at ringside as they were for many a high-profile Hitman match.

'That's my brother!'  cried Owen, in a convincing display of remorse as he tried to convince his parents that he had seen the error of his ways and was now only concerned about the champion's safety. 

Owen was on fine form here, putting in a performance outside the ring to math, in terms of sheer enjoyment, anything going on in the ring.

The stubborn Stu was adamant that he would not throw in the towel, but Helen, showing the kind of compassion only a mother is capable of, was more receptive to the pleas of her youngest offspring, snatching the towel out of her husband's hands and tossing it into the ring, thus awarding the match to new WWF Champion, Mr. Bob Backlund.
Your Winner, and NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion: Bob Backlund

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: Owen Hart pleaded with his mother and father to throw the towel in on Bret's behalfAs The Hitman contemplated his fate as the only man to have lost at WWF Championship thanks to his mother, his younger brother Owen revealed the whole thing to be a rouse. Concerned about his brother? Not at all! The King of Harts was delighted with the outcome, and skipped off merrily to the backstage area, his plans to rid his brother of the title having finally come to fruition.

Not that it mattered of course, Backlund would lose the title to Diesel in a short bout just three days later, and Owen wouldn't have much to do with his brother for the next several years.

Owen gloats
Backstage, Owen Hart was interviewed by Todd Pettingzoo. The King of Harts claimed that Bret was now below him in the WWF heirarchy, and vowed to top his brother's achievements by becoming the tag team champion, Intercontinental Champion, and the greatest WWF Champion of all time. Two out of three wasn't bad eh, Owen?

Oh no he didn't!
Back out in the arena, an incensed Gorilla Monsoon sat with his arms folded, flabbergasted at the idea that the heel, Owen Hart, would have done something so like a heel. Yeah.

Five on Five Survivor Series Elimination match
The Million Dollar Team (King Kong Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow, Tatanka and The Heavenly Bodies, Jimmy Del Ray and Tom Prichard w/ The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase) 
vs.
Guts and Glory (Lex Luger, Mabel, Adam Bomb and The Smoking Gunns, Billy and Bart Gunn w/ Oscar)
Since we last saw them at Summerslam, The Million Dollar Corporation had expanded to include Wrestlemania II headliner, King Kong Bundy, and of course, Tatanka, who turned heel at said Summerslam show and aligned himself with Ted Dibiase's contingent.

Squaring off against the man he betrayed, Lex Luger, Tatanka looked impressive in the early going here, though everybody besides Bundy had something to offer. 

As a result, we got another good match even if, much like the earlier Clown/King clash, it did start to drag on a little as the bodies began to drop.

That aside, this was a fun contest which managed to deliver something completely different from the previous two elimination matches. 

As Luger's star continued to fall from the heights of his huge Summer 1993 push, his team were eliminated and both Bundy and Bam Bam Bigelow survived for The Million Dollar Team:
Your Winners: The Million Dollar Team (Bam Bam Bigelow and King Kong Bundy are your sole survivors)

Post-match, the bad guys beat down on Lex until his team mates came to his aid.

A word with your new champion

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: New WWF Champion Bob Backlund cut an awesome post-match promo
Backstage, new WWF Champion Bob Backlund held court at a press conference, where he once again claimed to have never lost the championship in the first place, and insisted that he had simply regained the actual championship belt. 

Backlund was both insane and awesome here, going from quiet, deliberate speech to outright screeching and screaming. It was captivating to watch, and I would have loved to see more of Bob Backlund - Your Pyschotic Champion. Alas, it was not to be. As we've already mentioned, Mr. Backlund's second reign as champion would last less than a week.

Casket match:
Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
Special Guest Enforcer
And so we round out 1994 in the way it began, with a casket match between The Undertaker and Yokozuna.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: Yokozuna battled The Undertaker in a rematch from their 1994 Royal Rumble casket match
Hoping to prevent a repeat of the Royal Rumble affair, when half the heel roster cost The Undertaker (and apparently killed him for a bit), Walker Texas Ranger star and future Internet meme, Chuck Norris was employed to stand outside the ring and stop any bad guys from getting involved.

The match itself was actually pretty good stuff. Not a five-star classic by any standards, but an engaging story that book-ended 1994 in a fitting way. Yoko played scared of The Deadman at first, before finally getting stuck in and battling tooth and nail with the man he had defeated that past January.

The heels did indeed try to get involved, but Norris was there to see them off, all leading to the inevitable victory for The Undertaker.
Your Winner: The Undertaker






And that, dear readers, was the last time we would see Yokozuna in a WWF main event. Pushed as an unstoppable monster from his debut in late 1992 and all the way through to Wrestlemania 10, Yoko struggled to regain momentum after dropping the title to The Hitman. After being stuffed in a casket by The Undertaker, you could say he was never the same again, instead seeing out the remainder of his career as a mid-card act.

It's not as if the World Wrestling Federation didn't need its share of credible challengers to the WWF title. With Big Daddy Cool Diesel on top for the next twelve months, he could have well done with challengers like Yokozuna rather than, as we would see at next year's Summerslam, the God awful Mabel. Despite some wackiness and some complete crap, 1994 was a good year for WWF pay per view matches. Unfortunately, things would only hit a new low in 1995.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

PPV REVIEW: WWF Summerslam 1994

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Event poster
August 29, 1994
United Center in Chicago, Illinois

It was the summer of 1994. Chicago's new United Center had just opened less than two weeks previously, and the World Wrestling Federation were about to offer the venue its first major event in the form of that year's Summerslam, a show which, much like the 1994 King of the Ring pay per view, simultaneously managed to present both the best and worst of professional wrestling.

Co-headlined by a stellar cage match between rival siblings Bret and Owen Hart, and a less than enthralling Battle of the Undertakers, the WWF's seventh annual Summerslam was an interesting show to say the least.

Here's what went down.

Don't worry, Leslie Nielson's here
Need a quick way to ruin whatever mystique you may have been able to muster by presenting a resurrected Undertaker against his evil clone? Easy. Hire Naked Gun stars Lesley Nielson and George Kennedy to show up and make bad jokes.






Our show tonight began with Neilson narrating a clip in which he pushed Ray Rougeau into a swimming pool, perved on Macho Man Randy Savage getting felt up by two bikini-clad babes and spoke to his smart-ass son, all the while pondering the great question:

'How can there be two Undertakers?'

Summerslam Pre-show
The one and only Todd Pettengill then welcomed us to the United Center, talked about his train ride with Nielson, and gave us the big news that Shawn Michaels and Intercontinental Champion Diesel were now the tag team champions, having defeated The Headshrinkers over the weekend.

As part of the pre-show festivities, Pettengill gave us the background to tonight's key matches, including a look back at how The Undertaker died at that year's Royal Rumble, and the shenanigans surrounding Ted Dibiase's Underfaker.

Pettengill hyped the awesome new arena for a while before we were treated to a cheesy little video featuring Bret Hart, which went something like this.


That of course, led us nicely into the story of Bret and Owen's big rivalrly. For those not paying attention, it started at Survivor Series 1993, took a harsh direction when Owen turned on his brother at the 1994 Royal Rumble, and led to their awesome opening match at Wrestlemania 10. Owen then won the King of the Ring that year, and thus earned a title shot against his brother in tonight's main event.

The Toddster told us that tonight's cage match was designed to not only keep the action inside the ring, but to keep the rest of the hart Family, who would be seated at ringside, out.


WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Todd Pettengill shows us the steel cage that will be used in tonight's event
Lex Luger and Tatanka, which all revolved around Tatanka accusing Lex Luger of selling out to The Million Dollar Man. I'd go into more detail, but Wrestlecrap already did a great job of covering this one.

In the remaining 10 minutes of pre-show fun, we had an interview with the owner of the United Center, and a look at the feud between

Another Leslie Nielson promo was followed by Pettengil hyping the crowd, and then, finally, it was on to WWF Summerslam 1994.

Welcome to the show
Still no actual wrestling yet. Instead, Gorilla Monsoon told us about a charity baseball game between the WWF Superstars and members of the Chicago Media.


Heading back to the arena, Randy Savage made his way to the ring to act as host/MC, welcoming us to the show and introducing our commentary team for the evening, Vince McMahon and Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

Lawler reminded us about the new tag team champions, HBK and Diesel, pointed out Davey Boy Smith in the crowd, and let Vinnie Mac try to get us excited about Undertaker vs. Undertaker.

With that out of the way, it was finally on to our opening match.

The Million Dollar Team (I.R.S & Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Ted Dibiase) vs. The Headshrinkers (Samu & Fatu w/ Afa and Captain Lou Albano)

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Captain Lou Albano led The Headshrinkers into battle against I.R.S and Bam Bam Bigelow
Originally scheduled as a tag team title match, there was little point in tonight's opening contest after former champions The Headshrinkers' loss to the Kliq.

Despite this, we had four talented competitors in the ring who worked hard to get the crowd excited with an enjoyable match.

Bigelow and I.R.S were the first members of Ted Dibiase's fledgling Million Dollar Corporation, a stable of heels who would spend most of the following year giving grief to top babyfaces like Diesel and The Undertaker.

For now though, Corporation boss Dibiase had his sights set on the tag team division, and as a result we got a fun match that was a perfect way to start the show.

After seven minutes of solid action, the managers came into play. Afa attacked Bam Bam Bigelow and cost his team the match via DQ.
Your winners via disqualification: I.R.S and Bam Bam Bigelow

Afterwards, the babyfaces attacked, and all four wrestlers brawled right the way to the backstage area.

Another Nielson skit followed. This time, Big Les met up with his cohort George Kennedy. Both men agreed that they were 'on the case,' setting up a running gag from the rest of the show.

Razor Speaks

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Razor Ramon promised to reclaim his Intercontinental title
In a Colliseum Video exclusive, we went to Razor Ramon's dressing room, where The Bad Guy claimed that Diesel and Shawn Michaels had ripped him off by taking his Intercontinental Championship.

Razor told us that NFL hall of famer, Walter Payton would be in his corner in order to counter Shawn Michaels and help Razor reclaim his title.

World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship match
WWF Women's Champion Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano (w/ Luna Vachon)
Having sold the contract of her boyfriend Bam Bam Bigelow to The Million Dollar Man, Luna Vachon was left with little else to do but bring in Japanese star Bull Nakano to challenge Alundra Blaze for the girl's belt.

Vachon had failed in her own attempts to take the belt from the former Madusa, and had high hopes for her charge, Nakano.

For the bulk of the contest, it looked as though the villains would have plenty to celebrate. The dominate challenger mauled her opponent from pillar to post in what turned out to be a very enjoyable championship match.
WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Bull Nakano on her way to challenge Alundra Blayze for the WWF Women's title

The champion eventually made a comeback, but was again thwarted by her larger foe, and only narrowly took the victory thanks to a bridging German suplex.

Your writer has seen other fans declare this as an incredible match. Though I'm note quite as enthralled, it was certainly very good, and it probably goes without saying that, compared to today's current crop of Divas, Blayze/Nakano did at least look like a five-star classic.
Your Winner and Still WWF Women's Champion: Alundra Blayze

Backstage, Todd Pettengill caught up with tag team champions, Shawn Michaels and Diesel. HBK said that between them, he and Diesel had held the Intercontinental Championship for the best part of two years, and decided that they wanted a little more gold, thus capturing the tag belts.

For his part, Big Daddy Cool promised that he would retain his Intercontinental title in his upcoming match against Razor Ramon.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Diesel (w/ Shawn Michaels) vs. Razor Ramon (w/ Walter Payton)
Though some fans and insiders alike have been quick to deride the infamous Kliq contingent for their monopoly over the WWF heriachy in the mid-90s, it's hard to deny that, when it came to marquee matches, they at least delivered in the ring.

Consider the new legendary ladder match between Michaels and Ramon at Wrestlemania 10 and Diesel's thrilling attempt to capture the WWF title from Bret Hart at that June's King of the Ring event. Both great matches in their own right, topped off with an equally as exciting Intercontinental title match between The Bad Guy and Big Daddy Cool.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Todd Pettengill talks to tag team champions Shawn Michaels & Diesel
In the second longest match on the card, both champ and challenger -along with outside shenanigan-producer Michaels- created a wonderful title match that was simply a joy to watch.

All three men (and Payton) worked supremely well together to capture the crowd in the palm of their collective hand, and pull them along for one hell of a ride.

Unfortunately for the tag team champions, tonight was not to be their lucky night. After controlling much of the action between them, Michaels accidently nailed his partner with the Sweet Chin Music, costing Diesel the title.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: Razor Ramon

Funny, that's two pay per views in 1994 which featured Razor winning the second-tier strap.

As The Bad Guy celebrated, Michaels stormed off to the backstage area, with his understandably irate partner following close behind and demanding an explination that the Heartbreak Kid was unwilling to give.

Fun with Randy
Cameras next cut to our host of sorts, Macho Man Randy Savage. Clearly having fun, Randy claimed that HBK would be in trouble once Diesel caught up with him, then handed back to Vince. Not sure what the point of that was.

Backstage fall out

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Shawn Michaels promised to get his buddy Diesel another shot at the Intercontinental championship
In a Colliseum Home Video exclusive, we got individual reactions from both Diesel and Michaels. Big Daddy Cool threw his tag team championship belt on the floor and claimed it was a pittance compared to the IC title. He then blasted Shawn before changing his mind about the tag titles, picking his belt back up off the floor and saying 'at least I still have this.'

In response, Michaels blamed Payton and promised to get Diesel another title shot.

Did Lex sell out?
In another backstage promo with our buddy Pettengill, Lex Luger and Tatanka discussed the results of a WWF Hotline Opinion Poll, in which 54% of fans apparently believed that Luger had sold out to the Million Dollar Man.

In probably the best piece of mic work Tatanka ever did during his WWF run, The Native American reamed Luger a new one, told him to fess up, and then promised to kick his red, white and blue ass when they met in the ring.

Luger claimed that, despite all the evidence, he was not in cahoots with Dibiase, and would beat Tatanka by himself. Let's head to ringside to see what happened next, shall we?

Lex Luger vs. Tatanka

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Lex Luger vs. Tatanka
Whether it was due to the storyline, or simply due to the fact that the Lex Express had stalled, Luger received a lukewarm response as he made his way to ringside to battle Tatanka in a passable contest.

Though the match itself wasn't bad, the crowd hardly cared, probably because they were waiting for the inevitable arrival of The Million Dollar Man. When he arrived, Dibiase actually cost Lex the match by distracting him.
Your winner: Tatanka

In the post-match, Luger confronted Dibiase, but was attacked by Tatanka, who revealed that the whole thing had been one huge swerve. Tatanka was actually the one who had sold out, joining forces with The Million Dollar Corporation.

The two new allies went to make their way backstage, only for Dibiase to order Tatanka back in the ring to lay more damage into the prone Luger.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Todd Pettengill reveals the results of an opinion poll into whether Lex Luger sold out to the Million Dollar Man
Those bastards.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Mabel (w/ Oscar)
You know, it wasn't until this battle of rap vs. country that your writer realised how terrible Oscar was at busting rhymes.

Thankfully, the action this short filler match was better than Mabel's manager and his horrible mic work.

Not that the match itself was anything special, but then it probably wasn't supposed to be. Rather, the two men were tasked with getting the crowd suitably prepared for our upcoming double main event, and to that end, they did their jobs well.

Abe Knuckleball Schwartz was briefly shown in the crowd, though nothing came of that, and instead we got a victory for Jeff Jarrett over the man who would challenge Diesel for the WWF title in a year's time.
Your Winner: Jeff Jarrett

Afterwards, Mabel wobbled backstage in pursuit of Jarrett.

Back to the Super Sleuths
Vince McMahon then took to the microphone to tell us that our 'Super Sleuths' were in the crowd looking for The Undertaker. Cut to Nieseon and Kennedy in the entrance way, and an image of The Undertaker behind them.

Naturally, the image went away before the goofy sleuths could spot him.

Pettengill then gave us another recap of the feud between Owen Hart and his brother, the WWF Champion. Remember when Owen kicked Bret's leg out of his leg? Good times.

Still waiting for the steel cage, meant to keep the wrestlers in and their family out, to be constructed, Vince interviewed Stu and Helen Hart about the match.

'I think it's a fever that's possessed Owen, and I just hope he overcomes it some day,' said Helen.
'I just hope that the best wrestler will walk out of that ring,' added Stu.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart defended his WWF Championship against younger brother Owen


Jerry Lawler then yelled at Stu and Helen before interviewing The British Bulldog, who said that the family feud started at Summerslam 1992 (when Bulldog defeated Bret for the Intercontinental title), and would hopefully end tonight.

The announcers then considered interviewing Bruce Hart, but instead ignored him to speak to Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart, who had been in Owen's corner since King of the Ring. Bruce finally did get a word in, and blamed The Anvil for breaking up the family.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Bret Hart gave a pre-match promo
Backing up his brother's claim, WWF Champion Bret gave an interview to Todd Pettengill, insisting that Jim sewed the seeds of jealousy in Owen. The Hitman said that he hated Neidhart, but didn't hate The King of Harts. Rather, he only wanted to prove he was better than his young brother.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. 'The King of Harts' Owen Hart
Just when you thought the Brothers Hart couldn't possibly top their Wrestlemania classic, they went at it in what turned out to be one of the greatest cage matches of all time.

That's no exaggeration, it really was that good.

In his Kayfabe Commentaries WWF Timeline 1994 shoot interview (a review of which I'll post in a month or so), Sean Waltman claimed that, prior to the show, Bret had insisted he and Owen would take as long as they needed t tell their story.

As a result, we got an half hour classic in which both champ and challenger traded offence and escape attempts in equal measure.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Owen vs. Bret Hart
Starting off slowly and gradually working the crowd into a frenzy, Bret and Owen each made several desperate lunges for the cage door, only to be stopped by their brother. Likewise, every dramatic climb to the top of the stage was thwarted by the other man in what was undoubtedly the highlight of the night.

Following thirty-plus minutes of incredible action, both men climbed over the cage to the outside and continued to brawl. The challenger got his foot caught in the bars of the steel cage, allowing the champion to drop to the outside and retain his title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

But the drama did not end there.

Jim Neidhart leaped over the barricade and clobbered Davey Boy from behind, effectively knocking both the Bulldog, and his wife Dianna, over the guard rail. The Anvil attacked his former Hart Foundation partner, throwing him back into the cage where The Anvil and The King of Harts continued their assault, Owen laying a beat down on Bret as Jim saw off a bunch of rescue attempts by various members of The Hart Family.

Eventually, it took a returning Davey Boy Smith to put an end to things, fighting his way into the cage and coming to The Hitman's aid.

Backstage, Todd Pettengill chased after Owen and The Anvil. Both men were irate at the outcome. Owen was angry at The British Bulldog, and The Anvil at his former partner, The Hitman.

The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker (W/ The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase)
It would take a couple of very talented performers indeed to top that impressive WWF title match. Unfortunately, neither The Undertaker nor his evil clone were up to the task.

Having already introduced his own Undertaker, Dibiase awaited the arrival of the man he originally brought to the World Wrestling Federation at the 1990 Survivor Series.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Undertaker vs. Undertaker


He had a long time to wait, and so did everybody else.

First, Paul Bearer came out, leading a group of druids who wheeled a casket to the ring. The Undertaker was in the casket, right?

Wrong.

The only thing inside the casket was a big urn with a flashlight inside it. Bearer took it into the ring and waved the flashlight/urn around a bit as 'thunder and lightning' crashed around the arena.

Finally, darkness consumed the United Center, and The Undertaker, the real one, walked slowly to the ring.

Before the opening bell, we had a pose-down of sorts, as Bearer helped The Undertaker out of his hat and robe, and Dibiase mimicked his actions with his own 'Taker.

A lengthy stare-down followed, followed by several minutes of uninspired action with very little of note taking place.

Indeed, it seemed that the spectacle surrounding Undertaker vs. Undertaker was far greater than the actual in-ring conflict.

The crowd were effectively silent for most of the bout, which Vince McMahon on commentary claimed was due to them being 'stunned' at the appearance of two Undertakers. They barely  came to life when The Deadman put his clone away with three Tombstone Piledrivers and stuffed him into the casket.
Your Winner: The Undertaker (the real one)

Two druids came to the ring to take the Underfaker away as The Undertaker saluted Paul Bearer's urn. The casket went backstage, where it was discovered by Nielson and Kennedy. The duo lifted the lid, only to find that the Undertaker II was not inside it.






And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all she wrote, apart from a closing promo in which Bearer and The Undertaker solemnly gloated about their victory.

The final match, and everything that surrounded it, aside, Summerslam 1994 was actually a pretty awesome show. Razor/Diesel, Hart/Hart and even Nakano/Blayze are all well worth tracking down, though the show as a whole ran smoothly and even the opening tag match and Luger/Tatanka bout had their moments. 
Onwards we go then to the final PPV of 1994, the Survivor Series.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.