/CRZ Sells Out
/The Night the Rules Changed
|CRZ Sells Out||
The Night the Rules Changed
This column originally appeared on emzee.com. It was written 13 February 2000.
The first three segments and thirty-seven minutes of the 20 November 1995 had already brought on some interesting grist for the mill...but it was the main event that would really signal that, at least in the WWF, the rules were about to change.
The King of Harts Owen Hart was already in the ring with his manager, Jim Cornette, while Mr. Fuji stood outside the ring with Japanese flag. As Shawn Michaels made his entrance, we took our second set of promotional considerations (Thrifty car rental, Ricochet R/C, and "Venom/Spiderman : Separation Anxiety" for the Super NES, Genesis, and 32X [the WHA?]) and returned to the beginning of the match (and a giant trifecta of "RAW MOB" signs in the audience).
Lockup, to the ropes, shoulderblock by Hart, cover, 2. Off the ropes, shoulderblock, cover, 2, side headlock takeover, 2, headscissors by Michaels. Three near-falls in thirty seconds!
Hart flipped up and over, covering the shoulders with his rump. Michaels bridged out after 2 and then hit a backslide for 2. Michaels with an arm drag, another, a backdrop, a dropkick, and Hart has to roll out for a breather. Michaels played to the crowd as Cornette did a bit of crowd manipulation of a different stripe.
Vince McMahon reminds us that at last night's Survivor Series in the "Wildcard" match, Michaels not only felt a Razor's Edge and a big legdrop from Yokozuna, but also a powerbomb from his own partner, Sid. At the time, nobody watching knew that that was actually foreshadowing of what was about to come.
Michaels with an arm wringer as Hart came back in - really wrenching it in. Hart back up to his feet, pushing Michaels away and off the ropes, up and over across his back, Michaels holds onto the rope while Hart tries a leapfrog over nobody - Michaels up on Hart's shoulders - and there's a huracanrana! Michaels punching away...and now running at Hart on the ropes. Hart steps aside, and then clotheslines Michaels to the outside.
Hart winding up and running the ropes as Michaels stands on the outside - baseball slide dropkick, right to the jaw! Fuji stands over Michaels' prone form on the mats and waves the flag. Referee "Blind" Earl Hebner puts on the count - but Hart breaks it.
McMahon now reminds us of Michaels' concussion suffered weeks earlier at the hands of "nine hoodlums, I guess you'd have to call them."
Michaels makes his way back to the apron - Hart helping him out by pulling him up by the hair - trying to suplex him in but Michaels slips the attempt and tries a waistlock. Hart with a standing switch - and a German suplex right on the head! 1, 2... KICKOUT!
Right hand from Hart, another, European uppercut to the chin and Michaels falls. Hart puts a boot between the legs (don't worry, it was in the abdominal area - crotch shots weren't that as commonplace back then), then hits a backbreaker. Stomping on the lower back now, it appears that Hart has picked a body part.
Whip into the corner hard, here's a headlock as Michaels comes out - and there's a suplex. 2 count. Hart goes to a headlock and the crowd is coming alive for Michaels. Michaels manages to again get to his feet, now elbowing out, there's two elbows, and a third, Michaels comes off the ropes, up and over, but smack into a spinning heel kick from Hart! 1, 2, as Michaels kicks out we have to take a break!
Todd Pettengill narrates a Royal Rumble Sweepstakes 900 line promo - only a ninety-nine cent investment!
And now it's been three minutes since we left the action, and as we come back a Double Feature highlights the spinning heel kick we saw just as we came to the break. In live action, we see Hart working another headlock. Michaels is getting back to his feet as the live picture takes up the full screen - right to the gut, another, taking Hart off the ropes, head down, Hart hits a neckbreaker, and follows up with a standing legdrop - 1, 2, kickout by Michaels. Hart takes him off the ropes, but puts his head down. Michaels turns him over into a backslide - got it! 1, 2, no! Hart quickly clotheslines Michaels back to the mat, then drives a knee right into his head.
Hart goes back to the European uppercut as Jerry Lawler expresses his admiration at 75-year-old Tony Randall marrying a 25-year-old woman - in hindsight, that we all should have expected a comment like that from the King!
Whip into the opposite corner, but Micheals puts up an elbow as Hart charges in. Michaels with a right, another, throwing another right hand, and Hart rakes the face to regain the momentum. There's a headbutt. Hart setting Michaels on the top turnbuckle - but Michaels falls on Hart in the middle of the superplex attempt... for 2!
Hart again puts a fist on Michaels' jaw. Pounding on the back, off the ropes, Michaels ducks the clothesline and hits a flying forearm smash! Both men are down and Cornette goes into his "pound the mat in an attempt to wake up his man while also unwittingly starting the crowd in a rhythmic chant" routine that we all know and love.
Hart is slowly up first...but Michaels meets him face to face with a nip up! Hart blocks a right and throws one of his own, then a left, a second left, 3, 4, another right, sends Hart into the turnbuckle, and then hits ANOTHER flying jalapeno! Hart is out cold, Michaels stomping right on him - scoop and a slam - Michaels decides to fly. He's going upstairs. Savage-esque elbowdrop...but it only gets 2! Michaels tells the crowd it's time to end this and bring on the Sweet Chin Music. After a sternum first whip into the corner (a trademark of the Harts), Michaels warms up his boot - but Hart looks back, sees what Michaels is doing and holds onto the turnbuckle, not leaving the corner.
Michaels walks over to drag him out - pulling him out by the boot - but Hart counters with THE enzuigiri. The Heartbreak Kid falls flat to the canvas and Hart moves in for the kill.
But as Hart starts to lock in the Sharpshooter, Michaels pokes him in the eye! Hart quickly recovers, however, managing the next first shot, then whipping Michaels into the ropes. A clothesline is ducked, Michaels tries one and Hart also ducks, Michaels goes up and over - they both run into the ropes, Hart holds on as Michaels attempts a rollup off the ropes. Hart turns to the crowd and points to his head, but it's a little bit too soon as Michaels charges, takes Hart over the ropes with a clothesline, then skins the cat to get back in... much as he'd been doing for nearly a year, ever since his quasi-skin following the "one foot on the floor" controversy to win the Royal Rumble, stealing it from the Bulldog!
As Michaels poses for the crowd, we note that twelve and a half minutes of fast and furious action has gone by. Twelve and a half minutes of WRESTLING.
What happened next... shocked everyone.