Category Archives: Throwback PPVs
With the first WWE Pay-Per-View held in Canada since WrestleMania VI five years prior, the “In Your House” series continued to invade the houses of professional wrestling fans in the 90’s, giving us trademark mid-90’s WWE – outlandish characters, strong emphasis on promos and athleticism in the tag team and main event matches.
Compared to some of the past IYH’s, this show ranked up in the better half, with a fast-paced two hours with some riveting matches, nothing ever getting slow or boring, even though some of the overbooked finishes were questionable.
All on that below.
In Your House 3 was mostly known for its unique “Tripleheader” main event, which was the WWE Tag Team Champions Owen Hart/Yokozuna fighting against WWE World Champion Diesel/WWE Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels, with every Title up for grabs, as whoever got pinned would lose their respective belt(s) to the person who pinned them.
The rest of the event was well… very 90’s. We saw glimpses of future failures (Savio Vega’s initial babyface run, Dean Douglas, the list goes on) and we also saw some breakthrough performances from the likes of The British Bulldog, Bam Bam Bigelow and Bret Hart.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Much like the inaugural WrestleMania did three years prior, WWE stormed Madison Square Garden with a night of highs, lows and much in-betweens with the first SummerSlam event.
The magic laid in a “surprise” moment of Ultimate Warrior beating Honky Tonk Man in a mere 30 seconds to win the Intercontinental Championship and Miss Elizabeth wearing a bikini bottom to distract the heels in the main event.
In terms of actual memorable wrestling contests, not quite as magical, despite a strong opener, which ultimately disappointed.
We’ll get to all of that fun stuff below.
Those of you who may remember this show best for the “World Premiere” of “Double J” Jeff Jarrett’s “Alone With My Baby Tonight” and surely enough, who could forget that lovely moment in history?
When it comes down to it, there was plenty of Double J on this show to go around. Pretty much dominated the show’s first half.
The best match on the show also involved Jarrett, so it’s a give-and-take situation. The rest of the night was characteristic of what was problematic with WWE in the mid-90’s. We’ll get into it below.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
From the opening bell to the final seconds of the broadcast, this was a night that belonged to Bret “The Hitman” Hart all the way.
Many could even argue King Of The Ring 1993 was a career night for Hart as he battled through three rough, grueling matches to get the King Of The Ring accolade, also sparking what would be a long feud with Jerry “The King” Lawler over the title.
When Hart wasn’t in the spotlight, the undercard took a bit of an upper cut to the chin, with some questionable booking decisions. We’ll get into it all below.
When you look at a show like this, it had all the characteristics of a typical mid-90’s WWE show: cartoonish gimmicks, cheesy promotions and a solid push of main-eventers.
This was the first installment of the “In Your House” monthly Pay-Per-View shows and for a first time, things were pretty good in terms of entertainment, as you had some decent storylines headed in, particularly the feud between Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler that was prominent here.
That said, we present this as the “Throwback PPV” of May 2015.
Those who were there didn’t know just how big it would become until the very end. How would they possibly top that? With the only Pay-Per-View to come out of three different cities at the same time, coverage bouncing from one to the next in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Read the rest of this entry
When it first went underway, people didn’t know just how special of an event they were involved in.
The last three matches personified the essence of just what WrestleMania has become known to be; marquee matches along with celebrity presences along the lines of Cyndi Lauper, Mr. T, Muhammad Ali, Liberace and the Rockettes.
It’s only fittingly appropriate that this night – also the first WWE Pay-Per-View in March – is this month’s “Throwback PPV.”
– The opening video was a cool generic montage of changing superstar pictures set upon a Manhattan skyline and moving stars in the background. It was the 80’s. What did you expect?
– Mean Gene Okerlund singing the Star-Spangled Banner is the first ever WrestleMania moment in history. Let that sink in for a moment.
– The Executioner… a character who surely stole the hearts of many. For a character nobody knew much about, stumbling over his promo lines was an unfortunate way for him to be introduced. Must be tough to come from Parts Unknown. His match with Tito Santana wasn’t much to write home about. Santana pretty much dominated him and made him tap out rather quickly. Quite far from a historic moment, but it does go down as the first Mania match in history.
– Did they really need to ring the bell 30,000 times after introducing every opponent?! The headaches that must have caused people.
– Special Delivery Jones looked like a decent party guy who could get down, and could deliver a charismatic promo. Unfortunately, these shining few seconds would be his highlight – unceremoniously pinned by King Kong Bundy in nine seconds, which set a record seemingly for the sake of setting one. Replaying the match in its whole entirety put over Bundy’s power, if anything.
– The Matt Borne-Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat match was all about Steamboat doing his thing in the ring – moving around flawlessly with grace and precision, as we all know him for. Borne sold well for him, but ultimately wasn’t much of a serious threat.
– What wasn’t to like about the David Sammartini-Brutus Beefcake match? First – the story here was simple and intriguing. We have a young son fighting to impress his well-known father, with Bruno garnering the highest pop by the crowd at that point. On the other hand, we had Beefcake and his quite vibrant mouthpiece, “Luscious” Johnny Valiant, who was quite simply a pimp in his own right. The match had some good time to develop and the buildup to the physical confrontation with the four men was good. The match being ruled a double disqualification was disappointing by the end but the story mad up for it.
– The Intercontinental Championship match between Greg Valentine and Junkyard Dog was good for what it was, as Valentine delivered a good promo beforehand, while Junkyard Dog simply talked too fast to follow. The Title looked like an absolute prize the way the two men fought tooth-and-nail over it. Valentine’s controversial pin used the ropes for leverage and drew good heat, with Santana coming out to sell the moment. The reversal of decision by countout was a crowd pleasing moment but it was obvious the title wouldn’t change hands.
– The Tag Team Championship match between Nikolai Volkoff/Iron Sheik and Barry Wyndham/Mike Rotundo was good for what it was. Volkoff/Sheik were perfect heat magnets, getting fans to throw garbage in the ring and chanting “U.S.A.” Them winning by using dirty tactics was perfect here. Freddy Blassie’s postmatch comments were entertaining as he denied any wrongdoings like a classic heel manager.
– The promos by Big John Studd and Bobby The Brain Heenan had Studd act confident, even though the bag with the $15,000 in it was distracting. The stipulation of Andre being forced to retire if he couldn’t slam Studd was a solid hook for the casual fan. Andre slamming Studd might’ve been the first hint that WrestleMania was indeed a special night given the great pop it drew from the crowd. Heenan grabbing the briefcase and running away when Andre threw the money away was a good way to garner heat. Andre’s postmatch promo had him act happy and sure – why wouldn’t he be?
– The promo by Wendi Richter with Cyndi Lauper was quite good, as Lauper could really talk for a celebrity. Leilani Kai (Champion) and Fabulous Moolah also delivered passable promo work. For a woman’s match, this was a big deal too, being for the Women’s Championship. The match itself was athletic and physical, with even the managers going at it. The finish was also cool as Richter used Kai’s momentum to pin her by surprise. The title change also sold the “big moment” this night become all too known for. Richter’ postmatch comments had her be appreciative and Lauper also continued on as a “tough girl” talker. Good stuff.
– The celebrity involvement on the day was turned up a notch for the main event, with Billy Martin as guest ring announcer and Liberace as timekeeper to start. How can you forget his “kicks” routine with the Rockettes? Muhammad Ali being involved as well, being Special Guest Outside Referee was a big deal. The Rowdy Roddy Piper/Mr. Paul Orndoff (w/Cowboy Bob Orton) entrance with the bagpipers band was the first elaborate Mania entrance. The place nearly came unglued with Hulk Hogan/Mr. T (w/Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka) made their entrance. The match itself was quite entertaining as Hogan/T surprisingly worked well together. Who knew T had it in him to actually convincingly deliver? The postmatch comments from Hogan, Snuka and T was charismatic as you’d expect and sent the crowd home happy.
– Tito Santana def. The Executioner via submission
– King Kong Bundy (w/Jimmy Hart) def. Special Delivery Jones via pinfall
– Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat def. Matt Borne via pinfall
– David Sammartino (w/Bruno Sammartino) and Brutus Beefcake (w/”Luscious” Johnny Valiant) to a double DQ
– Intercontinental Championship – Junkyard Dog def. Greg Valentine (w/Jimmy Hart) via countout; Valentine retains
– Tag Team Championships – Nikolai Volkoff/The Iron Sheik def. The U.S. Express (w/Captain Lou Albano) via pinfall
– $15,000 Body Slam Challenge – Andre The Giant def. Big John Studd (w/Bobby Heenan) to not forcefully retire
– Women’s Championship – Wendi Richter (w/Cyndi Lauper) def. Leilani Kai (w/The Fabulous Moolah) via pinfall to win Championship
– Muhammad Ali/Pat Patterson Special Guest Referees – Hulk Hogan/Mr. T (w/Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka) def. Rowdy Roddy Piper/Paul Orndoff (w/Bob Orton) via pinfall
Most are familiar with the 60-minute Iron Man match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII, but not as quite with the road to get there.
This show was all about getting to that point, making both Hart and Michaels look good in their respective matches and making some more WrestleMania matches in the process.
This was also the first official WWE Pay-Per-View in February, making it this month’s “Throwback PPV.”
– The opening video showcased Sunny on the beach. Boy, have times changed. The video package solidly hyped Bret Hart-Diesel’s match all focused on the WWF Championship.
– Vince McMahon was very enthused to be in Louisville, Kentucky. Also, Jerry The King Lawler was such a good heel commentator. What has he become these days?
– The basic story behind the Razor Ramon-1-2-3 Kid (w/Ted Debiase) match was decent, but the “Baby Diaper/Bottle” stipulation was downright ridiculous. Was someone a baby daddy? Why the carriage stuff? It was funny to see that Kid broke out the crotch chop when he played to the crowd. Little significance back then. If you count the amount of baby-related references on commentary as a drinking game, damn, you’d be drunk. The guys worked well together and did some cool spots, the fall away slam from the top rope stuck out and Ramon won after two Razor’s Edges once Kid tried to throw baby powder in Ramon’s face and it backfired. The moment of Ramon making Kid drink from a baby bottle, putting a diaper on over his white wrestling tights and dousing him and Dibiase in powder wasn’t as memorable as you’d think. Johnson’s Baby Powder got a lot of advertising here. Product placement?
– Sunny was terribly scared of snakes evidently. Don’t call the WWF Hotline.
– The interview with Duke The Dumpster Droese seeking payback time for being pedigreed and getting his haircut by HHH was okay. His voice was loud and screechy.
– The Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Elizabeth Hilden)-Duke The Dumpster match wasn’t anything particularly memorable besides Lawler clearly having his eyes on Hunter’s valet. How unceremonious. Could Helmsley’s music be any more sleep-inducing? Worse than elevator music.
– An adult Undertaker one-size-fits-all sweatshirt for $29.95? Gosh – what a bargain.
– Yokozuna was billed as 700 pounds? Something about that just doesn’t sound right. His promo towards Jim Cornette, Owen Hart and British Bulldog was actually pretty good. Why didn’t they let him cut promos more often?
– The Yokozuna-British Bulldog match was okay as it was mainly Yokozuna absorbing Bulldog’s punishment and retorting back with his own offense. The blatant DQ with Cornette hitting him with the tennis racket was stupid, but this allowed for the moment everyone waited for: Yokozuna getting revenge on him. Well, almost. Vader showed up and hit Yokozuna and handcuffed him to the ring rope. Yes, ringing the bell 18,000 times in a row will stop the attacks. Vader’s mask came off. Those racket shots sounded like they hurt.
– Goldust and Marlena had him hype up a match on Raw against Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Championship. Almost forgot what Goldust looked like with a wig. His trademark promo.
– It’s scary how similar the backstory of the Shawn Michaels-Owen Hart match was with Michaels putting his guaranteed WrestleMania Title shot on the line to the Reigns-Bryan storyline headed into the FastLane 2015 PPV. This match literally had Mania repercussions. He might’ve also danced on the roof set. Who knows?
– Michael’s promo was inspiring as usual and certified him as a risk-taker and tough guy. Good stuff.
– The Owen Hart-Michaels match was definitely very physical with lots of athleticism shown by both men. Strong finish as well as this was Michael’s year of his “boyhood dream.”
– The Rowdy Roddy Piper pulled his usual promo as “Acting WWF President.” It’s just funny considering he would be in WCW this time about a year later fighting for the World Title. Piper pulled no punches promising Michaels to show up to Mania for a fight, that he wasn’t sorry for Yokozuna being beaten down, insulted Vader and announced Vader-Yokozuna for Mania. Piper insulting Cornette was good stuff. Their interaction was fun to watch.
– The WWE Championship steel cage match between Diesel and Bret Hart was a good match – also quite physical and good use of the cage. Diesel looked to be the winner until Undertaker rose through the apron and dragged him under. Sounds about right, and it hyped their matches well.
– Loser Must Wear A Diaper/Be Fed From Baby Bottle – Razor Ramon def. The 1-2-3 Kid (w/Ted Dibiase) via pinfall
– Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Elizabeth Hilden) def. Duke The Dumpster Droese via pinfall
– Yokozuna (w/Jim Cornette) def. British Bulldog via DQ
– Winner Gets WWE Title Shot At WrestleMania – Shawn Michaels def. Owen Hart via pinfall
– WWE Championship – Steel Cage – Bret Hart def. Diesel to retain
When it came down to it, the 1988 Royal Rumble had a little bit of everything: two separate two-out-of-three fall tag team matches, a questionable Dino Bravo bench pressing segment, a thriller of a match between Rick Rude and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, and a decent angle that involved Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant and an oak table.
Who could also forget the Rumble match itself? More on that below.
– It’s crazy to see how the Royal Rumble took off from where it started: a three-hour TV special in Canada. Nowhere to go from there but up. At the time, this must’ve been a glorified “Saturday’s Main Event.”
– Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura made for an interesting duo on commentary all night long. They were certainly no Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan, but for 80’s WWE, we can settle. Ventura was almost like the JBL of his time; the perfect commentary foil to the straightforward McMahon.
– The Rick Rude-Ricky Steamboat match looked good on paper with their mixing of styles. Steamboat was over with the crowd too. How ironic was it to see that Steamboat was thrown over the top rope, held on, swung himself back over and let Rude go over the top rope a la a Royal Rumble elimination? Steamboat was like a one-man show here, in the prime of his career. The match pace was slow at times, but the psychology was strong and it was a very technical affair. At the end of the night, this match stood out on its own. The 80’s were strange times in wrestling compared to now. There was a point where Rude had Dragon in a Camel Clutch and Dragon tapped his hand on the mat multiple times while in the hold and it didn’t count as a submission. The finish was a way to give Steamboat the DQ win because of how Rude pushed the official in front of him when Steamboat went to the top.
– They actually sold megaphones to fans back then? Can’t see that happening now. Ugh. That guy was annoying as hell during the Steamboat-Rude match.
– It wouldn’t be an 80’s PPV if it didn’t involve some kind of body-building angle. Mean Gene Okerlund’s interview with Jesse Ventura set the rules for the bench pressing. This was such a filler of time. It was obvious Dino Bravo was a heel out there to get heat by telling the crowd to be quiet in spite of him going for a world record. For that reason, why would Gene keep asking Bravo’s manager questions if he didn’t understand French? That angle took freaking forever. Can we even officially count what he did? Were those actual weights?
– The Glamour Girls (w/Jimmy Hart) (Champions)-Jumping Bomb Angels two-out-of-three falls Women’s Championship Match was something you definitely won’t see nowadays, but the match wasn’t anything special despite the stipulation. It was hard to root for the Jumping Bomb Angels when they had no personality; just two Japanese ladies. The finish was hot though and that was the loudest the crowd was all night to that point. Winning the Women’s Tag Team Champinships must have been big back then.
– Anything involving Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant after WrestleMania III would make it must-watch. The angle surrounding the Sale of the World Title Belt with Ted Dibiase and Andre “buying in” was also intriguing for its time. Contract signings must not have been important back then seeing that the ring had a school desk with folding chairs around it. Dibiase was good on the mic here. Of course, a contract signing never goes without a hitch as Andre slammed Hogan’s head into the “solid oak” table and pushed him back with it. The hype for that match was on.
– The original Rumble had only 20 men, no countdown with the crowd and nobody’s music hitting when they came out. The differences were subtle, but noticeable. That aside, the RR magic was evident as everybody worked hard here. Jim Duggan seemed to have a career moment by eliminating One Man Gang. Bret Hart – one of the first two men in the match, also lasted way longer than originally thought. There were a lot of Harts in this match.
– Hogan’s promo on Giant was solid. Guy could sell a match in his day with words alone.
– Dibiase’s promo with Andre and Virgil did more selling for their upcoming match. There’s nothing better to a story than consistently delivering both sides of it. It was a bit hard to take the claim of “Giant-A-Mania” seriously, but that was supposed to be the point.
– The Islanders (w/Bobby Heenan)-The Young Stallions two-out-of-three falls tag match was okay and got better as it went on. The Stallions looked resilient at times but pushovers in others, yet The Islanders were dominant with two straight falls. It was what it was. Strange choice to end a show with.
– Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat def. Rick Rude via DQ
– Women’s Tag Team Championship – Two Out Of Three Falls – The Jumping Bomb Angels def. The Glamour Girls (w/Jimmy Hart) (Champions) Two Falls To One to Become New Champions
– Royal Rumble – “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan Wins
– Two Out Of Three Falls – The Islanders (w/Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) def. The Young Stallions Two Falls To None