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Guest Columns

Patrick Barker




Here we go! With WrestleMania coming up (it'll probably actually be over by the time I finish this, but I'm starting on 3/29), I'd reviewed WrestleMania VII which was good, but not great. And hey, I deserve great, dammit! So I've compiled my 10 favorite WM matches to form my WM supercard. As a note, Savage/Warrior would be in here, but I've already recapped it, so I didn't think cutting and pasting would be fair to all two of my fans. They need new material, baby!

This reminds me, go read Shawn Colton's stuff, and Tanvir Raquib's stuff RIGHT NOW. But come back here when you're done... please? Oh, and my new friend (aka, someone who e-mailed me), Dale Blasingame (I *think* that's his last name, but I'm too lazy to check)

Note to CRZ: if possible, please but match ratings in a brighter color, such as orange, red, or pink, 'cause black's hard to see. If you feel like it, that is. Please? I love you CRZ! (Match ratings suck - you get black. I still love you, though. - CRZ)

One more opening note here... if you check out my older reviews, pay no attention to my ratings system explanation in my Guilty as Charged rant. I read it yesterday again, and found it to be a TOTAL load of crap. I mean, Super Crazy and Tajiri had a GREAT match, but I said it needed a table spot to reach *****. What the HELL was I thinking? Looking back on it, the Crazy-Tajiri match probably was ****1/2, but lacked five because of stuff like lack of psychology, for one, but DEFINITELY not for the lack of a table spot. Also, I'm gonna limit my number of special slashes down to a maximum of two per match.

Patrick Barker's Dream WrestleMania

Live from Detroit, Toronto, Indianapolis, New York City, Anaheim, Chicago, Boston... and I think that's it.

Opening match: Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat (Intercontinental Title, WrestleMania III)

Video recap of the events leading up to this one. This feud focused on Randy Savage TUNING on Steamboat's throat, with a ring bell. Steamboat wants revenge here. George Steele, meanwhile, has found true love in the lovely Miss Elizabeth, and will be in Steamboat's corner for this one.

Savage cuts a promo.

People make entrances on the cool little cars shaped like rings at this WM. Savage enters first, 'cause tradition sucks. Savage had been champ for almost 14 months at this point, one of the longest IC reigns in history.

Steamboat cuts an interview LOADED with cliches.

Many consider this the best match ever... we shall see. Tie-up, broken up. Another lock up, Savage with a waistlock and Steamboat takes Savage down. Savage dives outside to draw Liz away from 'The Animal'. Savage back in, tie-up, Savage with a knee to the gut, Irish whip, Steamboat ducks a backhand and hits a nice armdrag. Steamboat off the ropes, slides through the legs of Savage and hits another picture perfect armdrag. Steamboat with a choke lift, holds him there for a bit, and tosses him down, as Savage rolls to the outside. Steamboat chases Savage, Savage rolls in, and catches Steamer following with a double axehandle. Kick to the gut. Savage choking Steamboat on the top rope, leaves him there and pulls on the rope, snapping it into Steamboat's neck for a one count. Hey, psychology. Nifty.

Savage with an elbow, and a choke in the corner. Savage charges, but Steamboat moves and Savage hits the buckle. Steamboat with a wristlock, and a greatly exaggerated move where Savage jumps about 2 feet in the air, and Gorilla refers to it as a "leverage move". Steamboat with an arm wringer, drops the arm on the top rope. Steamboat with a punch to the arm, and another arm wringer. Punch to the arm. Savage grabs the hair and whips Steamboat to the ropes and catches him with a back elbow. Savage tosses Steamboat out, and Steamboat takes a /SUPER BUMP getting there. Hey, our first slash of the night. Savage kicks Steamboat. Savage brings Steamboat up to the apron forcefully, leaning him back-first across the top, and elbows the throat.

Savage kicks Steamboat back outside. Savage brings Steamboat up to the apron again, and snapmares him into the squared circle. Savage with an amateur takedown into a pinning predicament for two. Kneedrop for two. Savage takes Steamboat to the buckle, but Steamer puts his foot down and rams Savage into the buckle himself. Steamboat with punches and chops, and Savage gets tied up in the ropes. Steamboat punches away, but Savage connects with a boot to the gut. Savage with a whip, reversed, but Savage comes back and grabs Steamboat and Irish whips him in mid motion, and Steamboat nails him with a body press for a two count.

Now things pick up. Steamboat with that nice armdrag, Savage immediately back up with a handful of hair, Steamboat pushed to the ropes, shoulderblock for two. To the ropes again and Steamboat with another shoulderblock for two. Steamboat off the ropes, but Savage Irish whips him in mid sprint, keeping his momentum going, and Steamboat hits the ropes sternum first, and Savage connects with a knee to the back. Savage with a handful of hair and he tosses Steamboat out, but Steamboat holds on to the top rope and pulls himself back in, backflip style ala Shawn Michaels. I believe the name for that is to "skin the cat", but I don't know. If ya know the name, hook me up with an informative e-mail, yo. Anyway, Savage clotheslines Steamboat right back out.

Savage follows outside and hits a knee to the back, sending Steamboat sliding across the timekeeper's table and into the crowd in a nice spot. Jesse Ventura goes off as George the Animal helps Steamboat back in, and he's correct. And Ventura actually /CALLS THE REF BY NAME, as opposed to EVERYONE from that time period, who'd just say "c'mon ref, get him outta the corner!" Steamboat back in, and Savage tosses him back out, as Steamboat takes about his fourth good bump this match. Savage up top, and he hits the flying axehandle to the outside. Savage tosses Steamboat inside and hits another flying axehandle, followed by a running elbow for a two count.

Savage grabs Steamboat's head and dives over the top rope, bulldogging Steamboat throat-first on the top rope for two. Atomic drop for two. Vertical suplex for two. Steamboat fights back, but Savage rakes the eyes. Savage with a gutwrench suplex for two. Steamboat fights back, but Savage takes over, atomic drop, no, Steamboat flips over and connect with chops. Steamboat with a whip, ducks down, Savage kicks him. Savage charges and gets back bodydropped to the outside in a swank bump. Back inside, and Steamboat nails a flying karate chop from the top, but Savage gets a foot on the ropes at two. Steamboat with a whip and a chop for two. Crowd is really getting into it now.

Steamboat with three fistdrops, and Savage rolls to the apron. Steamboat punches him to the floor and follows out. Savage tries to roll back in and catch Steamboat coming in again, but Steamboat rams a shoulder to the gut and sunset flips in for two. Steamboat with an inside cradle for two. Legsweep for two. Steamboat grabs the legs (as if setting up for a Boston crab) and somersaults into a pinning predicament for two. Small package by Steamboat- two, no. Steamboat with a scoop and a slam, slingshots Savage, and Savage's head hits the post. Steamboat is laying in wait (literally) and rolls Savage up, two, no. Rolling reverse cradle by Steamboat, two, no, Savage rolls back into a cover of his own, two, no.

Steamboat with punches, and we get a bad spot as Savage tries to use leverage to pull Steamboat to the buckle, but Savage is sitting right in the way and Steamboat sorta has to hop over Savage's leg and then duck back down so his shoulder meets the post. Savage with a whip to the buckle, reversed, reversed, and again, and Steamboat is sent back to where he started, bumping Hebner in the process. Savage with an Irish whip and a hooking clothesline and the ref is out. Savage goes up top and nails the elbow, but the ref is out. Savage tries to revive the ref, to no avail. Savage goes out... and he has the timekeeper's bell, which, if you will recall, is the weapon that started the feud.

Steele steals the bell though, and Savage is upset. Savage gets it back and goes up top, but Steele pushes him off. All three men up (Savage, Steamboat, and Hebner) as Savage with a scoop and a slam, but Steamboat hooks the leg and rolls through for the pin, two, three! Crowd goes nuts.

'Kay, here's the thing about the rating for this one. Virtually everyone gives this one *****. First off, in 1987, this one was BEYOND *****, because it basically ushered in the way wrestling is today. However, I think that if the WWF put on this match today, it'd get ratings between 3 and 4 stars, 'cause this stuff isn't revolutionary now, it's commonplace. It's still a great match, one of the best ever.

Secondly, I did not like the ending. The heel had the match won cleanly at one point, and really, Steele helped out before Savage actually *did* anything, making it feel like the *face* was the cheater here. Now, if the match had continued for about 3-4 minutes after the Steele interference, and Steamer won with the top rope bodypress, it would've made more sense, to me anyway.

Lastly, I will say that many of the moves that are common today were pretty exclusive to Japan back then and rarely used over here. No power bombs. No ranas. There were about ten variations of the suplex yet to come. That makes it sorta unfair to judge these guys on a 2000 scale, but since I was only three at the time of this match, I can't judge them on a 1987 scale, either. So I'll go safe here, and say ****1/2.

Post-match, place goes nuts as Steamboat and Steele celebrate.

Match Two (These matches are in no particular order): Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper (Intercontinental Title, WrestleMania VIII)

Keeping with the IC Title theme... But before the match, we get a really good interview with both men at the same time, as they were doing the "mutual respect" thing.

Gene: "Here's another first in this WrestleMania of firsts, as a matter of fact, this is the first time these two men have are meeting for the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Title. Champion, 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper..."

Piper: "Yeah!"

Gene: "And his opponent, a former IC champion himself, the number one contender, Bret 'the Hitman' Hart. Gentlemen, we have arrived."

Piper: "We, we have arrived, and I gotta say man, first of all, I gotta tell ya how much I loves your family. I've gotta tell ya how much I loves your mom. I told you, I knowed you, I knowed this guy since he's been (making a height estimate with his hands), oh, uh, knee high, a little grasshopper. I knowed, I remember when they were changin' your potty pants, I know, I mean, of course you weren't /POTTY TRAINED until he was seven, but, AH, everybody's got their problems, I remembering tying bows in our shoes when we were kids yeah, of course, your shoes were always tied together, DOESN'T MATTER, DOESN'T MATTER TO ME 'cause I remember when Mrs. Hart used to come down that- she used to make them sandwiches, throwing on that bologna, of course, only one piece of bologna, but it doesn't matter, I was hungry, then she'd come up and she'd go to her little-" (Piper tries to pinch Hart's cheeks)

Bret: "Keep your hands to yourself."

Piper: "Oh, keep my, oh, this is nice. Here I am having a little fun, trying to make you at ease, gonna have a nice con- keepin' to yourself, gonna have a nice contest, and here you wanna be a hero all of the sudden. You want to be a hot shot all of the sudden. You want YOUR BELT all of the sudden, is that the idea, huh?"

Hart: "Look, all I care about is one thing. I want to win back the Intercontinental belt, you got it, I'm gonna take it." (Hart pats the belt)

Piper: "You keep your hands to yourself! (Shoves Hart) Let me help you out a little bit, buddy, we can settle our, that's right, you damn well bet we can! Why settle it here when we can have a million people watch me rip your head off?!"

Hart (grabbing Piper as he leaves and raising a fist): "I would've had ya."

Piper (pulling a roll of tape out from behind the belt in a funny bit): "Oh no you wouldn't have! Bye bye! Bye bye! Bye bye! I don't think so! Not today!"

That was a really funny bit. And, I [slash]ed the phrase "potty trained". Man, I rule.

Challenger enters first, 'cause, well, I guess tradition doesn't suck here or something. I've noticed Hart REALLY picks up his game for WrestleMania. Out of my 10 matches here, 4 of them have Bret in 'em. Same with Shawn.

Hart gives away his glasses. Tie-up to start, and Piper with an armdrag. Another tie-up, and Hart returns the favor with an armdrag of his own. Tie-up, Piper goes behind, holds onto a waistlock, but Bret heads towards the ropes and drops down, sending Piper outside. As a side note here, Heenan was really on this whole PPV. I'm not gonna transcribe any of it, but next time you watch this tape, listen for it, because he's tearing it up. Piper right back in and in the face of Hart, Bret with a shove and Piper spits on him and generally looks crazy. Piper ruled back in the day, boys and girls. Test of strength, but Piper kicks Hart's arm, twists the arm, Hart returns the favor with an arm wringer of his own. Piper with punches and chops, but Hart won't release the arm. Finally, Bret takes him down to the mat.

Hart with the armbar now as Piper fights back up, Piper with a whip, clothesline ducked, and Hart hits a dropkick, but lands on his shoulder. Ref over to check on him, but he was playing possum! Small package, two, no. Funny bit there as Heenan accuses him of goldbricking to which Monsoon replies emphatically "He is not!"... about two seconds later, Hart rolls Piper up... God bless the Brain. Piper with a slap, and Hart shoves him. Back to square one now, as they tie-up. Piper with a side headlock, but Bret reverses to one of his own. Hart pushed to the ropes, Piper drops down, Hart over top, and Bret cross-bodies Piper. Both were supposed to go out, but there wasn't enough momentum, and Piper had to hold Hart briefly and backflip over the top. Still looked decent, but I'm a pissy, cynical person, so I have to mention that.

They at least cover for it by saying that it looked like Hart took the worst of it. Piper back in, and he holds the ropes for Bret. Back inside, Piper tries the /"YOUR SHOE IS UNTIED" bit, and it WORKS. Piper with a punch to the head as Hart checks the boot. Piper with punches and kicks, takes Hart's head to the buckle, and hits another punch. Running bulldog, and Hart comes up bladed. Piper biting the cut, hard Irish whip to the buckle, and a *nice* kneelift for two. Piper with a punch. Irish whip, Hart with a sunset flip, Piper out at two. Piper with left jabs and a right cross, cover, two, no. Hey, hanging out with Virgil last year paid off, huh Hot Rod?

Both men up and trading punches, Hart off the ropes, flying forearm sends Piper outside. Piper right back in, and both men connect with a double clothesline. And then, to piss me off, they show Piper with his eyes wide open, as he's supposedly unconscious. I *hate* when they show close-ups of guys who are supposed to be out cold, and they have their eyes open. You have no clue how much that pisses me off. Piper up at six, and he goes up top, but Hart meets him. Hart crotches Piper, and does a move I can't quite describe, where he pulls Piper down and out, so his feet are laying on the top rope, and his body is parallel with the mat, and drops him on his face.

Bret with an inverted atomic drop and a snap suplex for two. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM: Russian Legsweep for two, backbreaker, Piper blocks the Sharpshooter, so Hart drops an elbow and goes up to the second rope, and dives right into Piper's boot. Both men on their knees trading punches and Piper is up. Side headlock by Hart, and Piper shoves him into the ref. Piper takes Hart out with a clothesline. Outside, Hart meets the steps. Piper rolls Hart in and grabs the ringside bell. Piper mocks Hart to get up, but Bret can't. But now Piper's having second thoughts... he tosses it aside. Piper with a sleeper, but Hart kicks off the second turnbuckle and rolls Piper up for the three. ****

Afterwards, Piper gives him the belt, and they celebrate together.

Still to come tonight: Bret vs. Shawn! Bret vs. Austin! Shawn vs. Razor!

Next: Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie vs. The New Age Outlaws!

Match Three: Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie vs. The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Titles, Dumpster Match, WrestleMania XIV)

Okay, the story here is simple and it's highlighted by clips as the challengers enter. Cactus was fighting Chainsaw (Terry Funk), and they fought into a dumpster, which the New Age Outlaws pushed off of the entrance stage, with both men inside. Outlaws are heels at this point, but would be faces in a matter of, oh, a week or two. Dogg with mic work on the way to the ring.

The deal here: a dumpster is set up outside the ring, and to win, you have to put both of your opponents in and shut the lid. Kinda like a Double Casket Match. Funk starts outside with Gunn on the near side of the ring, while Cactus fights with Road Dogg on the far side. Lotsa punching by the faces. Funk takes Gunn to the steps. More punching. Foley takes Dogg to the steps, and rams him into the dumpster. Foley runs knee-first into Dogg's face as he sits against the dumpster. Gunn stuns Funk on the top rope. Foley tries to deposit Dogg in the dumpster, but Dogg fights back with three right hands. Dogg magically finds a cookie sheet, and there's a shot to the head of Foley.

Dogg with a right, blocked, Foley with one of his own. Foley goes up to the apron for the "Cactus Jack Upside Down Crack Smash" (I think that's what he called it in his book). Jack goes for it, but Gunn baseball slide dropkicks his own partner out of harms way, and Foley takes a nice bump into the side of the dumpster. Both Outlaws out now, Gunn goes over to Funk, who's rolled out as well, and greets him with a right hand. Dogg whips Funk into the guard rail. Dogg whips Funk again, right into Gunn, who backbodydrops Funk into the dumpster in a nice spot. Now the Outlaws are after Foley. Gunn whips Cactus into the dumpster, and Dogg follows with an ultra-cool side Russian legsweep, bouncing Foley's head off of the dumpster, as Ross tries to make a Larry Bird-Boston remark, but comes across as a drunken old man in doing so.

Funk now out, as the Outlaws drape their foes throat down on the front of the dumpster, and bang the lids into their heads repeatedly. Outlaws dump Cactus in and Gunn slaps Funk's chest. Gunn has a bloody nose. Funk dumped in, as the Outlaws close one lid... but Foley blocks the other. Mandible Claw on Dogg, and one for Gunn! Gunn breaks away, and Foley gets hit with the cookie sheet again, but Funk rises from the dumpster with a cookie sheet of his own, nailing Gunn. Funk is out of the dumpster. Another cookie sheet shot. Cactus and Funk take Dogg inside. Swinging neckbreaker by Foley. Hangman's neckbreaker by Funk. Gunn in, and Cactus kicks him and tosses him out. Cactus on the apron now, and hits the running elbow with cookie sheet in hand.

Inside, Funk with a DDT on a cookie sheet, as Cactus is searching underneath the ring... he finds a plastic dustpan (oh no!), but opts for a ladder. Ladder bough inside, and set up on the side of the ring closest to the dumpster. Cactus climbs up top for no reason, as Gunn comes back in and low blows Funk. Gunn punching away at Foley, no effect, so he climbs up the other side. Foley and Gunn trading punches atop the ladder. Meanwhile, Dogg hits Funk with a cookie sheet, and Funk bumps the ladder, sending Cactus and Gunn over the top, off the ladder, and THROUGH the dumpster lids in a /SUPER BUMP OF DEATH!

Gunn is out, and the Outlaws have Funk on the apron... /SUPER BOMB OF DEATH, as Funk is powerbombed into the dumpster! Super bump *and* super bomb... I'm on a roll. Cactus is out of the dumpster, as the Outlaws take him backstage. Replays of the super bump. Backstage now, the Outlaws are basically punching and kicking Jack along a hallway with big metal trays and stuff that'll make a lot of noise, but not actually hurt. They toss the aforementioned objects onto Jack. Foley whipped into some giant plastic Power-Ade bottles (which he sells... d'oh!). Jack comes back with a steel chair, as Funk re-appears! Double Arm DDT onto a forklift platform for Gunn. Dogg is tossed on with him.

And now Funk is driving the forklift, and deposits the Outlaws in a nearby dumpster for the win! The titles would be held up due to the ever-prevalent "Wrong Dumpster" rule. Match was too short to be any higher than ***.

Match Four: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (Ladder Match, Intercontinental Title, WrestleMania X)

We see the belts hanging overhead. And may I just say, I MISS SHAWN MICHAELS IN THE RING. God damn, he was *the* most overly talented wrestler to EVER step in a ring. HBK is accompanied by Diesel. Michaels does his posing routine, and Razor's music plays. Razor is sure to go under the ladder, signifying, I dunno, something.

Tie-up, side headlock by Shawn, turns into a hammerlock, Ramon reverses to a hammerlock of his own, Shawn trips Razor up, Shawn kicked to the ropes, Ramon drops down, Shawn over top, Ramon with a hiptoss, no, reversed, but Shawn can't complete the hiptoss. Second try, 0-for-2, and Razor turns it into a massive chokeslam. Razor with a punch. Whip to the ropes, HBK ducks a clothesline, ducks another, and there looks to be some miscommunication on the Shawn Michaels swinging neckbreaker. Shawn kicks at Razor's head twice. Shawn takes Razor to the corner, but Razor blocks it and rams Shawn's head to the buckle. Razor back up, and he hits a shoulderblock. Razor off the ropes again, but Shawn uses the momentum to propel Ramon through the ropes and to the floor. Nice bump by Razor.

Diesel meets Razor with a clothesline. Hebner takes this opportunity to eject the big man, and Michaels is understandably upset. Shawn heads outside, but is met with a punch. Back in, Razor with punches. Whip to the buckle, Flair Flip by Shawn, and he does a 360 back in, and is greeted with a clothesline to the outside, and Shawn takes a great bump there. Ramon out and he punches Shawn. Razor exposes the padding, but Shawn with a cheap shot and he tosses Ramon back in. Inside, Shawn with punch, kick, punch, whip, reversed, HUGE punch by Razor. Razor setting up for the Razor's Edge, but Shawn backdrops Razor outside and onto the concrete! That's three bumps to the outside so far and counting.

Shawn takes this opportunity to go for the ladder. Shawn folds it up and gets it near the ring, where Ramon meets him with a right. Shawn tossed inside, and Ramon grabs the ladder. Ladder put on the apron, and Shawn baseball slides the ladder into Ramon, for the first ladder spot this match. Outside, Shawn rams Razor's head into the steps. Shawn slides the ladder back in. Shawn rams the ladder into Razor. Razor down. Shawn stands over him and rams the ladder down into Razor's gut. Shawn now picking up the ladder, *throws* it onto Razor's back. Ow. Shawn with a running start, and he hurls the ladder into Razor, marking about the 4th time this match I've gone "Ow!" out loud, which is really impressive, being that I'm a cynical bastard.

Shawn now sets the ladder up and climbs, but Ramon has him- pulls his trunks down. The match loses 1/4* for that, but wait, HBK with a sweet flying elbow off of the ladder, gaining it back. Shawn now sets the ladder up elsewhere. Scoop and a slam, Shawn going to the top of the ladder again... /FROG SPLASH OFF THE TOP OF THE LADDER! Both men down. Shawn sets the ladder up, climbing, Shawn actually touching the belts, but Razor shoves the ladder, and Shawn is stun-gunned on the top rope, and bounces back like a rag doll. Both men up after a bit, side headlock by Razor, pushed to the ropes, Shawn drops down, Ramon over top, and now both men hit each other... both men down again.

We get some cool overhead shots from up around where the belts are. Shawn back up first. Shawn folds the ladder up and lays it against the corner. Shawn with a whip, reversed, and Shawn takes a sweet bump, hitting the ladder and flying outside. Razor follows, ladder in tow. Ladder rammed into Shawn. And again. Ouch. Ladder set up against the ring apron, slingshot by Razor and Shawn hits the ladder, and falls back with the ladder on top for extra effect. Razor tosses Shawn back inside, and brings the ladder back. Razor NAILS Shawn in the face with it, and Shawn takes the fifth big bump to the outside in this match, and a damn good one at that. Razor sets it up, and he's climbing, but Shawn is right behind him, scaling the turnbuckles, and Shawn dives off to take out Razor. The ladder falls on Shawn's limp body.

Both men out. Both men stirring, and the ladder is set up in center ring, with both men climbing. Fighting atop the ladder. Razor with a variation of a /SUPERPLEX OFF THE LADDER, but the ladder sorta bends, and Razor falls off too. Razor back up, and he sets the ladder up. Razor up top, but Shawn dropkicks it, and Razor falls off. Shawn shoves the ladder down onto Razor. Shawn is over, Irish whip, clothesline ducked, SUPERKICK! Shawn sorta stands around, and he calls for the end, Razor- style. Shawn- piledriver! Shawn folds up the ladder. Shawn over to the corner, climbing the ropes, holding the ladder in front of him, what the hell? Ladder assisted splash!

Ladder set up with Razor underneath. Shawn climbing. Razor shakes the ladder, no-go, so Razor shoulderblocks the ladder, it goes over, and Shawn crotches himself on top. Shawn's leg is caught! Razor is climbing! Shawn finally gets his leg out, but his arm gets caught, and Razor grabs the belts! Razor wins! I hate to agree with Scott Keith, but if you don't like this match, you're a retard. ***** And God, the ladder is the PERFECT weapon for wrestling. It is usable in so many ways.

Still to come: Hogan vs. Warrior! Shawn vs. Bret! Shawn vs. Austin!

Match Five: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (WrestleMania X)

Video recap of the events leading up to this match. Owen is out first, as Lawler feigns hearing an ovation. Owen is wearing the Bret shades, and he proceeds to rip them up. Crowd pops huge for Bret. Bret gives his glasses away, and we are underway.

Tie-up, both men jockeying for position, and it's broken. Owen celebrates as if he's already won. Another tie-up, fireman's carry by Owen, Bret catches a headscissors, and Owen with a kip up to get out. Owen celebrating again. Tie-up, waistlock takedown by Bret. Owen rolls around to try and get out, and he gets to the ropes and complains to the ref. Tie-up, Owen with a waistlock takedown, Bret rolling around, no way out. Bret up to a standing position as Owen still holds the waistlock... so Bret jogs towards the ropes and ducks, as Owen flies over him and through the ropes to the floor. Owen dashes back in, Bret with a shove, and Owen SLAPS Bret right in the mouth.

Bret comes for baby bro, but Owen is in the ropes. Tie-up, arm wringer by Owen into a hammerlock, reversed by Bret, Owen reverses with a drop-toehold, and Owen dives forward into a side headlock. Bret escapes the headlock and locks on an armbar. Knee to the arm. Owen back up as Bret holds the arm. Bret works it, but Owen with two little somersaults to relieve pressure, and up to a vertical base, twisting Bret's arm in the process. Owen grabs the hair and takes Bret down as he holds the arm. Owen with a foot to the face. Bret kips up, slaps on an armbar of his own, and jerks the arm for emphasis. Bret takes Owen to the corner, Irish whip, reversed, Bret with a Dragon leap (what is the proper name for this move?), Owen goes under, Bret with a rolling reverse cradle for two.

Both men up and Bret hits an armdrag into an armbar. Hey! A resthold! Stop, you two! Both men up as Bret fluently turns it into a hammerlock. Owen with an elbow to the head. Owen off the ropes, shoulderblock. Owen off the ropes, Bret drops down, Owen over top, Bret with a leapfrog, and Bret catches Owen with a monkey flip as Owen's legs hit the ropes and he awkwardly lands. Owen right back up though, and Bret clotheslines him over the top and to the outside. Owen tries to retreat, but Bret goes out and gets him, throwing him back in. Bret mocks Owen. Owen up, Owen with a shove, Bret returns the favor, Owen with another, Bret with a stiff slap and an inside cradle for two.

Bret goes to a different variation of the armbar. Owen fights up using the hair, whips Bret to the ropes, Bret with a crucifix for two, and he goes back to the armbar. See, in communicating, they took a break for one quick spot to keep the crowd awake. Nicely done. Owen up again, whips Bret, Owen drops down, Bret over top, leapfrog by Owen, and a spinning heel kick. Owen kicks Bret until he rolls outside. Outside, Owen picks Bret up and rams him into the post, back-first. Back inside, as Owen with a stomp. Owen takes Bret to the corner, headbutt. Whip to the buckle. Stomp again. Owen with a backbreaker. Owen goes to the camel clutch.

Owen taunts Bret relentlessly in the hold. Bret fights up. Elbows to the guts. Bret off the ropes, Owen drops down, Bret over top, and Owen catches Bret on the run with a sweet belly-to-belly suplex for two. Owen with a headbutt. Whip to the buckle, reversed, but Owen springboards off the ropes and nails a cross-body, but Bret rolls through with it for a two count. Owen right back on him though with knees to the back, and a rear chinlock. Bret fights up, Owen with a scoop, but Bret falls on top for a two. Owen's kickout propels Bret to the outside. Owen celebrates. Owen attempting to suplex Bret from the apron to the inside, Hart comes down on the reverse side, waistlock, standing switch, and Owen with a super sweet /GERMAN SUPLEX for two.

Owen with a legdrop for two. Owen has him in suplex position, blocked by Bret, small package by Bret for two. Owen right back on him. Whip, reversed, Bret tries to hit a sidewalk slam, but Owen does a complete backflip, lands, and nails a Tombstone. Owen signals for the end and he goes up top, but misses the diving headbutt. Crowd pops for that. Both men down. Owen up first. Owen over to pick Bret up, but Bret nails an inverted atomic drop, followed by a /WICKED CLOTHESLINE that almost decapitates Owen for two. And now, it's time for the five moves of doom. They don't get caps, 'cause I don't like the FMOD. Whip by Bret, punch to the gut followed with the Russian Legsweep for two.

Backbreaker, followed by the second-rope elbowdrop for two. Owen begs off, tries a kick, boot caught, enzuigiri by Owen! And now, *Owen* attempts the Sharpshooter, but Bret reverses, but Owen powers out before the hold is locked on. Owen with a punch, and a pinning predicament (the one he used to win the IC title from the Rock in 1997- what's that called?) for two, as Bret's kickout sends Owen outside. Pescado by Bret! But Bret hurt his knee in the process. Bret hobbling, tosses Owen inside. Owen begs off, he apparently doesn't know 'bout the injury, but wait, he was playing possum. What a sly guy. Kicks to the bad leg, and a legsweep. Owen jerks the leg. Owen jerks the leg some more.

Owen rams the leg into the steel post three times. Kick to the leg. Dragon screw leg whip. Every time I say "leg", take a drink! Owen sits on the leg and locks on an odd variation of the figure four that I've never seen before, but it looks cool. Owen does more damage to the leg. Owen kicking the leg. Dragon screw leg whip. Owen jerks the leg, and locks on a figure four. Bret with a rolling reverse, and they roll to the ropes. Owen props Bret's leg up on the second rope and kicks it four or five times. Owen prepares for another Dragon Screw, but Bret's gettin' sick of that crap, so he counters with an enzuigiri. Both men down. Both up, Bret with a punch. Headbutt.

Whip to the buckle, and it's actually *Owen* taking the super sternum-first bump in the corner. Bret with a legdrop, one, two, no. Running bulldog, one, two, no. Piledriver, two, nope. Bret puts Owen up top, TOPE ROPE SUPERPLEX... for two. Bret with two forearms. Wild swing by Owen is ducked, and Bret gets a sleeper, but Owen counters with a backwards kick below the belt, which the ref somehow misses. Owen in charge: SHARPSHOOTER! Bret powers out and reverses it, but Owen is right at the ropes. Right hand by Bret. Whip to the buckle, reversed. Owen charges in, eats a boot, Bret with a Victory roll, but Owen sits down, two, THREE! What a match! *****

This is the finest example I can show non-fans of what I love about this sport. This is my favorite match ever.

Quick little tidbit here: the best actual wrestling match I've reviewed so far:

Savage-Steamboat (Number of Moves (approximate): 30)
Hart-Piper (19)
Hardcore Legends-Outlaws (HA! 11, actually)
Shawn-Razor (17)
Bret-Owen (43)

When get almost 50% more than Savage Steamboat and more than twice as much as Hart-Piper, you're doing something right. :)

Okay, this is becoming grueling. It is now 2:00 AM on Saturday morning. But I must continue. For the millions... and millions of the Rock's fans. Wait, that makes no sense. I am determined to get this thing done before WM starts, and I don't know how I'll manage this. Let's see, tomorrow I have to be up at eight for bowling... be at work by noon... after work go right to my friends' concert... I'll probably hang out with them until midnight, one... and my TV will be on WM All Day long on Sunday, well, all day long. So how in the hell will I finish this? Oh, who cares?

Match Six: Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin (World Title, WrestleMania XIV)

As par for the course, here's a video recap of the feud. Feud in a nutshell: Shawn Michaels had suffered a career-ending injury two months prior, but rather than forfeit the belt, Shawn didn't wrestle AT ALL for the next two months, and this would be his last match. Meanwhile, Vince had bought in World boxing champion Mike Tyson, and he had joined DX (Shawn's stable, duh). Oh, and he's the special enforcer ref here, so everyone thinks the deck is stacked against Austin, except for the smart fans, who know this is a lock for Stone Cold.

Tyson enters first. Then Austin, to a big pop. HBK is last. The only question at the time was how much Shawn could do with a crippled back... well, if it's on my ten greatest WM matches, whaddya think? Of course, Shawn 1993-1997 fits in with Ric Flair 1983-1991 as the two guys with the best carrying ability ever, as Shawn could drag four stars out of an invisible opponent.

They circle each other, and stall. A LOT. Austin goes for Shawn, HBK ducks and moves, jab. Repeat the last sentence. Austin comes for Shawn, Shawn runs away, they chase outside, Shawn back in, off the ropes, and Austin with a big clothesline. Austin rams Shawn's head to the buckle. Shawn tries to escape, but Austin keeps him in, by the trunks. WHY DO WE ALWAYS SEE SHAWN'S ASS? MAKE IT STOP! Austin kicks the leg a bunch, Michaels off the ropes, ducks a clothesline, but is back-bodydropped over the top and his bare ass hits Helmsley. Heh. Austin follows outside, and HHH jumps Austin. HHH whips Austin into the railing... so the ref tosses Helmsley and Chyna.

HHH and Chyna leave as HBK hammers Austin. Shawn goes for a bottle of water nearby, but Austin is going for Helmsley in the aisle. Austin tosses HHH into the instruments that were used by the DX band, but turns around, right into Shawn who gets a shot it. Shawn with a cymbal to the head. Austin right back up though, rights to the head of Shawn, Irish whip, reversal, and Austin crashes into the side of the dumpster that was used earlier in my dream WrestleMania! Shawn brings Austin back into the ring. Shawn springboards right into a fist to the gut from Stone Cold. Right by Austin, and another. Austin with an Irish whip, and Shawn does the Flair flip, and when you consider the state of Shawn's back here, that's gotta be painful.

Austin stays on Shawn like a cheap suit. Irish whip, and an inverted atomic drop by Stone Cold for two. Austin with a wristlock. Arm wringer, but Shawn with a punch. Shawn slaps on a headlock, shoved to the ropes, and Austin nails a stun gun. That gets two. Irish whip again, Michaels ducks a clothesline, kick to the gut by Austin, goes for the Stunner, Shawn escapes to the apron, but Austin knocks him off and Shawn hits his face on the announce table. Ouch. Austin follows and rams Shawn's head into the steps. This is a massacre. Double feature of the last bump by Shawn. Austin lays Bret on the mat in the ring, with his head hanging outside the ring. Elbow to the throat, and another.

Back inside, Austin with an elbow to the head, elbowdrop for two, Austin tries the cover again, two again. Austin goes to the headlock, and it's a resthold. Restholds are the pretz- wait, that's someone else's line. Michaels fights up and hits a jawbreaker. Michaels outside and he drags Austin to a corner, looking to crotch him on the post, but Austin pulls the legs in, and HBK hits the post. Austin outside, punching away. Shawn's head is introduced to the security guardrail. Austin charges, but Shawn with a backbodydrop into the crowd. Nice /BUMP there. Michaels hits Austin with the ring bell. Austin rolls back into the ringside area. Shawn tosses him in the ring.

Shawn with a double axehandle, and Shawn sits on Austin and hits 11 punches. Shawn boots Austin in the face. Over to the corner, and Shawn pounds away as the fans chant "Holyfield" at Tyson, and King and Ross pretend they can't make the chant out. Michaels with a snapmare. More mounted punches. Shawn struggles to pick up Austin's legs, and stomps the midsection, and Shawn is in VISIBLE pain here, grabbing his back in pain after executing the snapmare. Michaels flips the double bird around, and that fires Austin up. Kinda Lou Thesz press and lotsa punches. Shawn is heaved over the top rope. Now, come on. It hurts the man to execute a friggin' snapmare, and he's taking bumps like that? I get one more [slash] this match, so I'm gonna use it to just say this:


Austin tries to follow outside, but Michaels trips him up. HBK rams Austin's leg into the post. And again. One more time. Both men inside now. Michaels kicks the knee a LOT. Finally, Shawn goes for a figure four, but Austin pushes him into the ringpost and cradles him for two. Michaels with a legsweep, however, and he drops the knee on the mat some more. HBK takes the knee over to the ropes, drapes it across the bottom, and sits down on it with impact. Austin rolls outside, Shawn with a baseball slide, sending Austin onto the announce table. Tyson tosses Austin inside. Austin argues with Tyson, allowing HBK to chop block him.

Michaels locks on the figure four (on the wrong knee- d'oh!). Michaels using the ropes for leverage. Finally, Austin drags it to the center of the ring and reverses the hold. Michaels rolls out and both men down. Michaels up first, but Austin meets him with punches. Leg trip, and Austin slingshots Shawn into the corner. Shawn falls back into a cradle, for a 2.99 count. Austin with a whip, reversed, sleeper by HBK. Austin backs Shawn into a corner, and into the ref. Chiota is out. HBK charges, and Austin drops him face first on the top turnbuckle. Lotsa rights by Austin. Shawn to the buckle. And again. Austin kickin' away, here's the double bird, and now for the "walkin' it dry" portion of the exam...

Austin with a whip, back bodydrop. Another whip, Shawn hits a flying forearm and both men are down. Shawn actually kips up, and hits a FLYING ELBOWDROP. Shawn warms up the foot, Sweet Chin Music ducked, Austin with the kick, Michaels blocks the Stunner, Austin shoved to the ropes, Superkick caught, Michaels spun around, kick, Stunner, and Tyson is in to count the three! New champ!

Post match, Tyson accepts an Austin 3:16 shirt. Michaels finally gets up, and is quite upset that Tyson double-crossed him. They argue, and Shawn throws a punch, so Tyson FLOORS him with a right cross.

The Rating: It's ***. But that's not what's important. I don't know if anyone reading this has had back spasms, but I get 'em sometimes. They are about 50 times more mild than what HBK was working with, and it still hurts to WALK, for God's sake. Now here's Shawn doing flying elbowdrops, Flair flips, and taking bumps over the top rope and to the floor. Shawn wrestled many a ***** match in his career, but this may have been his most impressive performance ever. This just speaks to HBK's dedication and remarkable athletic ability.

Still to come: Savage/Flair, Bret/Shawn, Bret/Austin.

But now, it's

Match Seven: Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior (World Title vs. IC Title, WrestleMania VI)

Okay, well, I didn't make it. WrestleMania XVI is over. Good PPV, although I gotta say that the ending bothered me, and a lot of others. I'll touch more on my thoughts when I recap it somewhere down the line.

Hogan and the Warrior both cut crazy promos earlier, and Hogan gave away the result of the match by talking about how it doesn't matter if you win or lose. Typical Hogan, thinking that it's okay to do jobs. What's wrong with you Hulkster? You must win EVERY time you wrestle! Oh, wait.

Video package leading up to this match. As a little note here, I've muted my TV and put on my Guns N' Roses Live CD, so if I miss any cool little quotes by Jesse, I apologize.

Staredown. Shove by Warrior. Staredown. Shove by Hogan. Tie-up. Shove by Warrior. Tie-up. Shove by Hogan. Test of strength, Warrior brings Hogan to his knees. Hogan fights up and brings Warrior to his knees. Try to keep up, folks. We're about 3 or 4 minutes in at this point, and the above is all the action that's gone down. Warrior fights up. Back heel trip by Hogan, followed by an elbowdrop for a one count. Both men up and they stare some more as Warrior pounds his chest. Warrior runs the ropes, shoulderblock, nobody budges. Hogan runs the ropes side-to-side, and Warrior runs 'em top-to-bottom, a criss-cross. Hogan drops down, Warrior over top, and Hogan catches him in a bodyslam.

Hogan poses, but Warrior is up, and *he* poses. Wow. Warrior runs the ropes side-to-side, and Hogan runs 'em top-to-bottom, a criss-cross. Warrior drops down, Hogan over top, and Warrior catches him in a bodyslam. This is a cut-n-paste DREAM, baby! Warrior clotheslines Hogan to the outside. Hulky comes up grabbing his leg though, and saying "it's gone," as Warrior looks on. Warrior heads out and pounds the leg with three kicks, and rolls back in. Hogan lays there grabbing the leg more. Warrior outside, tosses Hebner out of the way, and throws Hogan back inside.

Warrior with KICKS! AND EYE RAKES! Hogan tries a comeback with a face rake a couple of times, but Warrior stays on him. A double choke. Ref gets between 'em, and Warrior punches Hogan. This just serves to wake Hogan up, however, and he punches the crap out of Warrior, whips him into the buckle, and charges in with a clothesline, forgetting to sell the leg injury the whole way, and he probably won't sell it again this match. Hogan with an eight punch count in the corner. Scoop and a slam. Elbowdrop. Elbowdrop 2x. Cover, two, no. And now Hogan with a front face lock. Ugh. Hogan lets Warrior up, small package for two. Hogan puts on a crappy rear chinlock and punches away.

Hogan lets Warrior up and takes him to the corner. Chop. Warrior with a kick, Hogan no-sells. Punch. Punch. Chop. Punch. Chop. I can't keep up! Irish whip and a clothesline for two. Backbreaker for two. Hogan goes back to the rear chinlock. Hogan with knees to the back. Back suplex for two, and back to the chinlock we go. Sweet Child O' Mine just came on my CD, which is the only thing preventing me from stopping the recap of this match. Warrior fights up to a vertical base. Elbow to the gut. And another. Number three. Warrior off the ropes, Hogan drops down, Warrior over top, double clothesline, and both men are down. Warrior with the zombie sit-up at nine. Warrior is feeling the power, and now Hogan is up, and he's hulking up. Uh-oh, TIME FOR SOME NO SELLING BABEE!

Warrior shakes the ropes and no-sells three double axehandles, a punch, and three more double axehandles. Warrior blocks two punches and rams his chest into Hogan's head. Uh, okay. Warrior with a right. Clothesline. Clothesline. Clothesline! To the corner, and Warrior with a chop. Whip to the buckle. And another. Hogan is down as Warrior plays to the crowd. Warrior with a snap suplex for two, followed by the (ugh) bearhug. And now, I fast-forward for the first time in this review, because this is a LONG ASS BEARHUG. Also, my CD is now on /PARADISE CITY, which is a good thing.

Hogan FINALLY fights out with punches. Warrior off the ropes, ducks a clothesline, Hogan drops down, Warrior over top and into the ref. Warrior going up top (!) and he hits a double axehandle. Up top again, another. Warrior getting the power, off the ropes, but Hogan avoids the diving shoulderblock. Hogan says that's the end and covers, but there's no ref. Hogan bitches and complains, so Warrior hits a back suplex. Cover for about 50, but the ref is still out. Hebner slow count of death for two. Hogan back up with a punch and an inside cradle for two. Punches and kicks, and a back elbow sends the Warrior to the outside.

Hogan outside, they trade punches. Both men try to ram the other into the pole, and it's broken up. Warrior rams Hogan into the post. Back inside, Warrior with a clothesline, Gorilla Press, and the splash (his finishing combo), but Hogan kicks out and Hulks up. Punches have no effect. Hogan with the finger point. Punch blocked. Hogan with punches. Irish whip, big boot, legdrop misses, Warrior with the splash, two, THREE! Warrior wins! /HOGAN JOBS! That being said, I think this match is highly overrated. **1/2 It's a huge markout match, or it was at the time, but if I'm judging on the same scale as my other matches, it's nothing really special.

Match Eight: Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (Submission Match, WrestleMania XIII)

For a long time, this match was my absolute favorite of all time, until I carefully rewatched Bret-Owen a bunch of times. Nevertheless, this is an EXCELLENT match, so without further ado, here we go.

Video package. The feud cannot be put into a nutshell, it's so significant. I'll try my best here. In late-96, Bret turned down a deal from WCW to stay in the WWF. He was put into a program with the new bad-ass in town, the man who truly represented the new Attitude Era (and everything Bret despised, for that matter), Stone Cold Steve Austin. The two had a kick-ass technical match at Survivor Series, with Hart winning with an excellent reversal of the Million Dollar Dream.

Next in the feud was the Rumble. Austin got #5 and eliminated damn near everybody, until Hart showed up (#22, if memory serves me correctly). The match then settled down into a normal Rumble, with the ring filling up. Mankind eliminated Terry Funk, and was eliminated on his own shortly thereafter. They brawled outside, drawing the attention of both officials, while the field narrowed down to Bret, Austin, The Fake Diesel, Vader, and The Undertaker. Bret tossed Austin to a big pop, but Austin came back in and eliminated 'Taker and Vader, and then Bret (who had just eliminated fake Diesel) to an even bigger one. Austin was rewarded the victory. Also on the card, Shawn Michaels won the World Title from Sycho Sid.

Gorilla Monsoon, WWF commissioner stated that he could not reverse the decision, so Austin won the Rumble. However, he would not get a free pass to WrestleMania. Monsoon set up the first Fatal Four Way in WWF history for the next In Your House, between Austin, Hart, Vader, and Undertaker, with the winner facing Shawn Michaels. Days before the show, however, Shawn went on a special Thursday night RAW and forfeited the title, citing the loss of his "smile" and a knee injury, which many feel Shawn completely fabricated to avoid returning the favor and doing the job to Hart as Bret had for him at the previous WrestleMania. The Fatal Four Way was made to be a title match.

In the match, Austin was eliminated first (some say that he was booked to go over, but legit hurt his knee here) and went back to the dressing room. A tremendous match followed, with Vader going next, as Stone Cold hobbled back to the ring. Austin proceeded to annoy the Undertaker, who tried to dispose of him, but ended up being tossed over top (a legal form of elimination in this match) by Bret, and Bret was a four time WWF champ.

The next night on RAW, Bret defended the belt against Sycho Sid. Bret had Sid in the Sharpshooter when Austin clocked Hart with a chair, allowing a title change. A submission match was signed for WrestleMania. The week before the show, Sid fought Hart in a steel cage. Undertaker (Sid's opponent for the show) tried to help his enemy win, as Austin did for Bret, with both men wanting their WM opponent to go into the show with the belt. Eventually, 'Taker slammed the door on Bret's head, and Sid escaped the cage to retain. Bret followed with one of the most memorable interviews in WWF history, laced with profanity. Austin attacked Hart, and the show went off the air.

So here we are.

Vince recognized the fan's increasing reaction for Stone Cold, and sensed that it was time for a change. Vince was trying to pull the infamous double-switch here, converting Austin to full-fledged face, and Hart to the #1 heel.

Oh yeah, Ken Shamrock is making his debut here as the ref.

Austin comes out to a mild reaction, and Vince assures everyone that it is much louder than it sounds, and the crowd is clearly behind Steve. Bret gets a bigger pop, which Vince calls "a mixed reaction". Looking back, the double-turn in this match was inevitable.

Austin with a double-leg takedown and punches right off the bat. They roll around, punching away. They roll to the outside and trade punches. Austin throws in a kick to confuse me. Side headlock by Austin, and Hart pushes him into the ringpost. Bret tries to suplex Austin into the crows, Austin blocks it, and crotches Bret on the guardrail. Running clothesline sends Bret into the crowd. Now, if you read my ECW Guilty as Charged Rant, you know I *hate* fighting in the crowd, so I will now be silent until they get back to the right side of the guardrail, or if they actually do something in the crowd besides punch and kick. Okay, they do manage one cool spot, as Austin goes for a piledriver, but Hart backdrops him on the concrete steps. Ouch.

Bret throws Austin back to ringside, and my boycott ends. Hart with a double axehandle off of the guardrail. Hart with a punch. Whip, reversed, and Hart takes a shoulder-first bump into the steps. Austin on the apron, double bird, and he dives off and takes the Hit Man out. Austin has the steps, but Bret with a kick and Austin drops them. Bret punches away at Austin, but lets his guard down, and Austin tosses him into the ringpost. Austin with a punch, and he tosses Bret back in. Two stomps to the head, and Austin steps on the fingers. Austin with an Irish whip, and Bret with a swinging neckbreaker. Bret to the second rope, and he hits a double axehandle off of it. Bret wrenches the braced left leg of Austin, and you can feel the psychology kicking in.

Bret buttdrops the leg. Shamrock asks Austin if he wants to quit and gets the double bird. Bret with two elbows to the leg. Bret wrenches the leg again. Bret punches the leg, and wrenches it. Austin up, and Bret kicks the leg out from under him. Bret misses a buttdrop to the leg, however, and Austin hits the Stunner! Submission Only, though. Austin staggers up, and Bret kicks his leg out. Austin fights up again, same result. Bret is dragging Austin... ringpost figure four! Austin not tapping, though. Hart lets go, and Austin falls outside. Hart tosses him in, and grabs the ring bell, and a chair. Here we go, ladies and gents. Bret tries to /PILLMAN-IZE the leg, but Austin knocks him off the top rope with a well-placed chairshot, emphasized by about 10,000 flashbulbs. Austin with super-turbo D-Lo head bobbin', and another chairshot, and it's obvious who the fans are starting to get behind.

Austin with a scoop and a slam. Takes him to the corner, Irish whip into the buckle. Snap suplex by Austin. Austin with a literal and figurative F-You as he does Hart's second turnbuckle elbowdrop after flipping the double middle finger. Austin with a kick to the midsection. Austin with a Side Russian Legsweep, which he follows immediately by cranking the neck in some weird submission move. Austin Crab! I thought it was funny, anyway. Austin lets the Crab go after Bret gets to the ropes (why would he have to? He can't get DQ'd). Austin goes for the Sharpshooter, but Bret counters with a rake to the eyes. McMahon, on the possibility of Hart submitting to the Sharpshooter: "Hey, it could happen"... Isn't it ironic? Dontcha think?

Bret fires back with punches and makes a charge, but Austin tosses him outside. Crowd is clearly behind Austin here. Austin follows Bret outside. Austin with a whip, reversed, and Austin runs into the timekeeper and the guardrail. Bret punches away. Bret rams Austin into the guardrail, and we see that Austin is busted open. Lotsa punches from Bret. Austin tossed back inside, and the blade job looks pretty good. On a related note, did Pete Gas blade right on an artery at WrestleMania, or what? He was SLICED. Bret with an elbow, kick, and lotsa punches to the cut, in that order. Backbreaker by Bret. Bret with the second turnbuckle elbow. Bret finally remembers that he was working the leg, and pulverizes it with four chairshots.

Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, but Austin counters with an eye rake. In the corner, Bret with punches. Austin decides to not beat around the bush, however, and counters with a kick, no, a PUNT to the testicles of the Hit Man. Austin struggles to get up with his bad leg, but when he gets up, watch out. Whip to the buckle, and Bret takes the sternum-first bump. Austin stomps a mudhole, and there's the "walkin' it dry" part that we love. Austin with the /CRIMSON MASK here. Bret put up top... SUPERPLEX! Austin retrieves some extension cord, and Bret gets the bell that was introduced a WHILE ago, and clocks Austin to break the extension cord choke. Bret gets the Sharpshooter, and Austin, a bloody mess, lasts through the pain for almost two minutes, almost breaking the hold once, and passes out from the pain. *****

Post-match, Bret celebrates, but since he's a heel now, attacks Austin again. Shamrock takes Bret out and Bret leaves to a chorus of boos. Austin can barely get up, but when a ref tries to help him, Austin nails him with the Stunner to a great reaction. The fans chant "Austin", and the double- turn is complete. This sculpted the whole Attitude concept, and it's the most important match in WWF- maybe even wrestling- history.

We're on the home stretch here, folks. Two more to go.
Match Nine: Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage (World Title Match, WrestleMania XIV)

Flair promo to start. It rules, 'cuz he's Flair, and stuff. Hennig is there too, 'cause he's perfect, and stuff. Backstory here: these guys hate each other. Oh yeah, and Flair apparently has a naked photo of Elizabeth that he plans on putting up on the big screen if he wins. And wait, he's the heel? Only in 1992! Savage ain't granting interviews, we learn.

Champ enters first, 'cause, um, I don't know. Ask CRZ. Flair is with his advisor, Mr. Perfect. Savage jogs out and Flair scatters. Flair tries to leave, but Savage catches him in the aisleway. Double-axehandle. Savage rams Flair's head into Flair's hands, oops, I mean the concrete, 4 times. Perfect catches up and brings Savage to the ringside area, where he tosses him down. Savage stalks Perfect, but rolls into the ring where Flair is waiting. Chop, Irish whip, Savage ducks, and Savage hits a clothesline. Knee to the back, and Flair runs face-first into the buckle. Jabs by Savage, and a ten punch count, but Flair counters after three with an inverted atomic drop that misses, so Savage no-sells and hits a clothesline.

Savage takes Flair to the corner, whips him to the buckle- back elbow by Savage for two. Savage- looks like he's pinching the nose (?) and the ref backs him off. Savage charges, and Flair backdrops him over the top and to the outside. Flair follows outside. Chop. Inverted atomic drop. Kick, and Flair reenters. Savage rolls back in and Flair stomps away. Flair gives a "whoo" to the crowd, more stomps. Flair takes Savage to the corner, and hits two chops. Vertical suplex for two. Back suplex for two. Another chop by Flair, and Savage is whipped into the buckle. Flair whips Savage to the other buckle and takes him down with a chop for a two count. Kneedrop by Flair, and he stomps Savage to the outside.

Flair follows and tosses Savage back-first into the apron and follows with a punch. Flair back in, and he brings Savage in, vertical suplex style. That gets two. Flair whips Savage to the buckle and follows with punches, chops, and kicks, and lots of them. Finally, Savage responds to a chop with a punch. And again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Savage hammers away. Flair responds with a kick. Irish whip, Flair ducks, swinging neckbreaker by Savage. Flair up first, punch is blocked, and Savage jabs away. Flair takes over again, and goes up top, but /THAT NEVER WORKS and sure enough, Savage powerslams him off. Flair begs off, but Savage takes it right to him with a kick. Whip to the buckle, back bodydrop! Clothesline! Clothesline! Flair begs off again.

Savage spits on him and takes him to the corner. Irish whip, Flair flip! Flair lands on the apron, walks to the other side and goes up top, but, as we've established, that never works, and Flair jumps off right into a big right hand for two. Both men up as Savage ducks a chop... clothesline to the outside. Savage follows with a double axehandle to the floor. Savage takes Flair's head to the steps, and follows by taking Flair's head to the post. Flair flop, and the champ is busted open. Vertical suplex on the floor by Savage. Back inside, Savage with mounted punches. Savage going up top- Double Axehandle! One, two, thr- no! Scoop and a slam by the Macho Man, and he's headed up top. Elbowdrop! One, two, Perfect pulls Savage off!

Savage chases Perfect, and ends up grabbing him by the tie. Ref gets between 'em and bumped, as Perfect tosses Flair the brass knux. Ref back up, but he's ushering Perfect out, allowing Flair to nail Savage with the international object. Cover, two, NO! Flair is upset. And busted WIDE open. Flair with a stomp, lotsa punches, and a chokehold. Ref backs Flair off, allowing Perfect to chair Savage in the leg. And here comes /MISS ELIZABETH. WWF officials try to stop her from coming out, no luck. Flair jerks the leg and buttdrops it. Flair kicks the leg. Atomic drops the knee. Figure four is on.

Savage turning it, Perfect tries to help Flair, but Hebner kicks Hennig's arm and the move is reversed. Hold broken, and Flair with a kick. Scoop and a counter by Savage! Small package! One, two, no! I really thought that was it at the time. Flair punches and chops away at Savage in the corner. Flair gawks at Liz. More punching and kicking. Flair atomic drops the knee again. Flair picks up the leg for a dragon screw, gives a "whoo", throws a punch, Savage blocks, inside cradle with a handful of tights, two, THREE! Savage wins! ****

Place goes berserk. "Yay, we won't see that nude Elizabeth photo!" Faggots. Flair goes insane and corners Liz, and kisses her. She slaps the crap out of him and shoves him down. Savage and Flair brawl, and officials try to break it up. Savage is announced as the winner, and he and Elizabeth celebrate, accompanied by a bunch of pyro. Post-match, Flair cuts an insane promo, focusing on Savage's pulling of the tights, and Perfect and Bobby the Brain agree. Savage cuts a nutty-ass promo of his own. I just said "nutty- ass". And you people wonder why I'm better than CRZ, Keith, and Shannon combined.

Main Event: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (World Title, Iron Man Match, WrestleMania XII)

The two greatest WM performers ever meet. For Bret to be able to go from streetfights like the one against Austin to technical classics like this and his match against Owen is amazing and truly adds to his legend, and Shawn is, well, Shawn. He's done it all too, with three straight good WM tag matches, two average matches where HBK was stuck in career limbo, and then ***** vs. Razor, ***+ against Diesel, this match, which I won't spoil the rating for against Bret, and *** with a crippled back against Austin. Wow.

This one should be the ultimate test of my play-by-play skillz.

Video package- the story here is that Shawn won the Rumble to get the title shot. Pretty straightforward, no?

Shawn cuts a very short promo, as does Bret.

Gorilla Monsoon is announced as the new official WWF president. Shawn's mentor, Jose Lothario, enters first as Shawn's music plays. Jose points to the rafters, where Shawn glides down on a zip cord in a spectacular entrance. Bret enters rather blandly, in comparison, by virtue of walking down the aisle. Hebner goes over the rules: most decisions (pin, submission, countout, DQ) in an hour wins.

Bret gives his glasses to his son. Bell rings, and we are underway! They circle each other and tie up. Shawn backs Bret into the corner, Bret turns it around, and gives a clean break. Tie-up, Shawn with a knee to the gut, go behind, waistlock takedown, Bret reverses, Shawn fights to a vertical base and breaks the hold as the men stare one another down again. Tie-up, side headlock by Bret, and Shawn with an amateur-like takedown to counter. Tie-up again, with Bret locking on the headlock, same escape by Shawn, and it's moving slow now, but they still have about 58 minutes to go, so I can excuse that. Tie-up, armbar by Shawn. Shawn twists the arm and jerks it twice. Another arm wringer, but Bret gets one of his own, and slaps on a side headlock. Shawn tries the same escape, but Bret holds onto the headlock and rolls through. Headlock still in tact.

Shawn fights up, tries to push Bret to the ropes, but Bret holds onto the headlock. Shawn fights up again, and Bret with a headlock takeover. Shawn fights up again, picks him up for a back suplex, but Bret comes down and rolls through to a headlock takedown for two. Shawn rolls Bret over for two. Bret still has the headlock. Shawn fights up again (and believe me, it takes him a good 15-20 seconds to do so every time, so the match is actually slower than it sounds) and pushes Bret to the ropes, Shawn nails a hiptoss. Shawn over to follow up, but Bret with two feet to the face, and a headlock takeover, back to the side headlock, Shawn quickly counters with headscissors, Bret kips up, another headlock takeover by the Hitman.

Shawn rolls Bret over while still in the headlock for a two. Shawn fights up, Shawn tries to push the arms out, and succeeds, Shawn with a takedown, but Bret goes right to a front face lock. Shawn fights up (I've typed that six times already), but Bret quickly converts the hold back to the headlock and takes him over with the 5th headlock takeover of the match so far. Shawn fights up, punches to the gut, Bret pushed to the ropes, HBK drops down, Bret over top, Bret over top again, armdrag by Shawn. And another. And now Michaels goes to the armbar. Knee to the arm. Legdrop to the arm. Bret with an armdrag, but Shawn rolls through and maintains the armbar. Lawler starts with the Stu Hart jokes.

Hart whips Shawn to the ropes, Hart drops down, Michaels over top, Shawn with a shoulderblock. Shawn off the ropes again, over top, Bret with a drop toehold goes to the side headlock, but Michaels rolls around and counters with a hammerlock. Michaels with a knee to the back, and he also hooks Hart's other arm, to try and fool us into thinking that the hammerlock is now interesting, or something. Shawn makes it an armbar as Bret gets up. Bret pushes Shawn back to the buckle, and no clean break this time, as Bret hits an elbow. Bret rams a shoulder to the gut of Michaels. And another. Punches by Bret, Shawn reverses and takes over. Shawn with a whip to the buckle, reversed, Dragon leap by HBK into a spinning headscissors which takes Bret to the outside.

Bret takes his time getting back in. Tie-up, armbar by Shawn. Shawn with a fireman's carry takeover, back to the armbar. Bret fights up, pushes Shawn to the ropes, Bret drops down, Shawn over top, and Bret tosses Shawn out, but Shawn skins the cat, comes back in, and slaps on the armbar again. Bret fights up, Shawn to the ropes, Bret drops down, Shawn over top, knee to the gut by Bret and Shawn sells it with a somersault. Bret with a headbutt to the midsection. Legdrop by Bret, and we've now entered the rear chinlock portion of the match. Shawn fights up and nails a jawbreaker variation. Legdrop by Shawn, and another armbar. Bret rolls through, changing it to... another variation of an armbar for Shawn.

Kip up by Bret, an arm wringer of his own, into a side headlock, Shawn pushes him to the ropes, leapfrog by Shawn, he goes for another, but Bret catches him in a bearhug and plants him with a spinebuster. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, but Shawn squirms to the ropes. Bret clotheslines Shawn outside and follows. European uppercut. Bret with a side headlock, and Shawn shoves him to the post, and I just noticed that my WM box set version does not include a clock and scoreboard at the top like my Coliseum version did, but we're about 10 minutes in here. Anyway, Bret bounces off the post right into the lap of the timekeeper. Shawn goes for the Superkick, but Bret moves and the timekeeper hears Sweet Chin Music. Good bump by the timekeeper!

Bret with punches and he tosses Shawn in. Elbow to the head, and Bret with a rear chinlock. Bret lets go, elbow, and back to the chinlock. Medical help is out for the timekeeper, which basically takes some focus off of the chinlock, which was the point. Double Feature of the Superkick. Shawn fights up, but Bret takes him back down with a rear chinlock, as we get another Double Feature of the Superkick. Shawn counters after a bit with an armdrag, followed by a clothesline. Bret to the ropes, and he counters with a clothesline of his own, and goes right back to the rear chinlock. Shawn fights up with punches. Shawn off the ropes, Bret with a scoop, Shawn comes down in back of Bret, rolling reverse cradle, Bret holds on, Shawn with a dropkick.

Armdrag by Shawn, and another armbar. Shawn with knees to the arm, and another variation of the armbar. Bret fights to his feet, but Shawn takes him right back down. Bret fights out of the armbar into a side headlock, which Shawn reverses to a hammerlock. Knees to the arm of Bret. Hammerlock held on. Bret is up, and backs Shawn into the corner. Back elbows. European uppercuts by the Hit Man. Irish whip by Bret, reversed, knee to the gut by Shawn, and he hurls Bret shoulder-first into the post. Shawn rams Bret's arm into the post, and quite audibly tells a cameraman to get the fuck out of his way. Shawn with a scoop and a shoulderbreaker onto the bad arm.

Second rope double axehandle to the bad arm by Shawn. Shawn tucks Bret's bad arm behind his back, scoop and a slam on the bad arm. Bret rammed into the buckle. And again. Three double axehandles by Shawn. Arm wringer on the bad arm by Shawn, reversed, reversed again, punches by Bret. Irish whip by Bret, and a single arm DDT (onto the bad arm, duh) by Shawn puts him in control again. Cross armbreaker (wrong arm Shawn!) released quickly, as Shawn kicks Bret and puts the armbreaker on the other arm (whew!). Bret sorta fights up, and breaks the hold with a foot to the face. Shawn back up quickly though, and he rams a shoulder into Bret in the corner. Back elbow by Shawn.

Shawn with a snapmare into another variation of the armbar (I don't know 'em all). Shawn turns it into the standard armbar, and Bret fights up and out with punches. Bret with a stun gun, his first definitive offensive move in a while. Slingshot by Bret. Cover, two, no. Bret takes Shawn to the buckle, but Shawn blocks it, and Bret gets his head rammed to the buckle three times. Shawn charges in to the corner and Bret moves, leaving Shawn laying face-down on the top rope. Bret with three kicks, as Shawn does his trademark overselling, bouncing up and down. Inverted atomic drop and a clothesline by Bret. Bret covers for two, and nails a running bulldog. Bret goes up top, and Shawn gets ready to press slam him, but Bret punches away. Bret goes for a hairpull top rope bulldog, but the ref bumps, as McMahon announces that we are half way through! The longest match descriptions thusfar were for Savage-Steamboat and Bret-Owen (9 paragraphs each), and this is the 10th paragraph, and we have 30 minutes left. Wow.

Bret with an Irish whip, reversed, powerslam by Shawn, two, no. Hebner missed nothing, so I think that the ref bump was unintentional. Shawn with a whip, puts his head down, Bret with a kick and a beautiful piledriver for two. Legdrop by Bret, and he's going up top again- Shawn catches him with a punch and gets the powerslam this time. Shawn with a rana and lotsa punches. I notice Bret's stopped selling the arm, which is really weird for Bret. Shawn calls for the Sweet Chin Music. Irish whip, but Bret holds on to the top rope. Punches by Shawn. Scoop and a backbreaker for two. Shawn with a whip and a back elbow, and he's warming up the band for the SCM, but Bret rolls outside, and the crowd gets on him. Bret walks around the ring, thinking, allowing Shawn to catch him with a cross body from the top rope to the outside!

Shawn up first and back in the ring, but he rolls back out only to roll Bret in. Shawn up top- cross body block, but Bret rolls through for a 2.9! Bret up first and punching away. Irish whip, reversed, Shawn goes for a hiptoss, Bret blocks it, counters with a backslide, Shawn backflips over and uses a small package for two. That last sentence was a nifty little sequence. Both men up, but Shawn quickly takes Bret down. Irish whip, punch to the gut, and a fisherman's suplex for two as we get some replays of the cross body to the outside. Shawn with an Irish whip and a sleeperhold. Bret rams Shawn into the buckle, but Shawn goes right back to the sleeper. Arm raised twice, and Bret fights back.

Bret walks back, trying to ram Shawn into the buckle again, but Shawn moves and throws Bret into the buckle, and goes back to the damn sleeper. Bret moves to the side and goes for a suplex, but Shawn backflips out, back elbow, and a dropkick to the face. Shawn whips Bret to the buckle and charges, but Bret backdrops him out in what looks to be a sweet bump, but the cameraman scatters and we miss it. Double Feature confirms that it was not only a sweet bump, but a /SUPER SWEET BUMP. Bret follows out after a while and rams Shawn into the post, back-first. And now Bret is working on the back. Shawn tossed back in, and Bret with a shot to the back. Bret with a headbutt to the back, and he whips Shawn into the corner.

Bret with a double-axehandle from the second rope to the back. Irish whip, and there looks to be a screw-up, but Bret with a scoop and a backbreaker, nevertheless. Bret with a legdrop, and a punch to the back. Kicks to the back. Irish whip to the buckle, Shawn with a Flair flip, and Bret hops right up and nails a belly-to-back superplex in an excellent spot. Cover, two, no. Bret goes to a camel clutch. Shawn fights up, punches. Shawn runs the ropes, sunset flip, two, no. Bret up, and he nails the back some. Bret crotches Shawn up top, but Shawn punches away, Shawn off the second rope, and Bret counters with a punch to the gut. Side Russian legsweep for two. Bret takes Shawn to the buckle. Cross corner whip, and Shawn takes a great bump over the top, taking out Jose Lothario in the process.

Bret follows and whips Shawn into Jose, and Shawn hits his back on the steps too. Bret tosses Shawn in, belly-to-belly suplex for two. Bret with punches, but Shawn fires back! Right, chop, right, left, right, but Bret comes back with shots to the kidney. Bret with a punch to the back. Bret with a vertical suplex, Shawn comes down on the other side, rolling reverse cradle for two, and Bret's kickout sends Shawn outside. Bret gets a running start inside- tope! Hart back in, looking for a countout (or not, as he breaks the count himself). Bret tries to bring Shawn in with a vertical suplex, Shawn comes down on the other side, waistlock, reversed, German suplex with a bridge by Bret, two, no.

The two trade punches and kicks, with Bret coming out on top, and hey, THERE'S that clock! 10:30 left folks. Bret with a headbutt. Camel clutch by Bret. 10:00 left. Clock disappears, probably to try and hide the fact that this hold lasts for over a minute. Bret changes the hold to a rear chinlock, for variety and stuff. Shawn FINALLY gets out with elbows to the gut. Shawn off the ropes, ducks a clothesline, DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE! Both men down. Bret up first, but Shawn punches Bret into the corner. Bret fights out, suplex? No, he crotches Shawn up top... TOP ROPE SUPERPLEX! Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, but Shawn grabs the foot. Shawn with boots to the face to fight out. Bret holds the leg though, spinning toe hold, and a half crab.

Shawn reaches the ropes. Bret with a backbreaker, and he goes for the second turnbuckle elbow, but Shawn hits a foot to the face. Both men up and groggy, dropkick by Shawn. Bret is in the corner- forearm by Shawn. HBK with the whip, and Bret takes the sternum-first bump. Shawn with a whip, reversed, and Shawn hits a flying forearm. Kip up by Shawn, and he is fired up. Shawn steps on Bret's face. Irish whip, back elbow by Shawn. Michaels with a scoop and a slam, goes up top- moonsault? No, twisting axehandle for two. Shawn with a snap suplex, flying elbowdrop! Two only! Gutwrench powerbomb! Two minute warning! Shawn up top... /MOONSAULT BODYBLOCK for two!

Shawn whips Bret to the buckle, reversed, Shawn catches Bret charging in with a foot to the face. Shawn to the second turnbuckle, and leaps off into a rana for two. Wow, this is getting really exciting. Scoop and a slam as the clock is back. 1:00 left! Shawn slowly up top, 45 seconds left! Shawn tries for something, but gets caught in the Sharpshooter with 34 seconds left! Shawn holds on until the time limit expires! We have a draw!

But wait, WWF president Gorilla Monsoon decides to call for overtime! Bret is understandably pissed off, but returns to the ring, because a countout would be a title change under the aforementioned rules.

Sudden death now, first pin wins. Bret should at least get to start with Shawn in the Sharpshooter, I think. No deal. Bret argues with Monsoon, but it's a no go, so Bret tells 'em to ring the bell. Bret with knees and kicks to the back. Bret with an Irish whip and a HIGH back bodydrop. Backbreaker. Bret whips Shawn to the buckle, Shawn with a dragon leap, comes down, SUPERKICK! Both men up around the same time though. Michaels with another Superkick, two, THREE! HBK is the champ!

These guys worked a ***** match here for the majority, but Vince backed them into a corner with the hour thing. They should've made it a standard match (especially since there was only one fall) for about half an hour, and it would be considered the best match in wrestling history, or one of them. I can't give a match with 15 minutes of restholds 5 though, so it's ****3/4. Shawn celebrates afterwards, even slapping five with Bret's son Blade and shaking hands with Stu.

So there you have it. I skipped doing a term paper to write this report, so I now have tomorrow night to do my term paper. I hope you all enjoy it, with that being said. I took FOREVER on this thing (two-and-a-half hours on the main- I only type about 30 WPM), so any feedback is appreciated, as always. Also- any suggestions for my next tape rant?

Peace, yo.

Patrick Barker

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