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WWF @ Madison Square Garden
by Scrooge McSuck
August 13, 1993
- It's another edition of WWF FanCam Fan-Demonium! The last time the WWF came to Madison Square Garden, we were 24 hours away from the inaugural King of the Ring PPV. Matches hyped for this show included Shawn Michaels defending the IC Title against Mr. Perfect inside of a Steel Cage, Yokozuna taking on Bret Hart, and Marty Jannetty going up against the EVIL Clown, Doink. Yeah, plans changed a bit, but all six men are at least featured on the card.
- Your host and mine is, as always, the guy kind of enough to sneak a camera into the arena and illegally film the show for the benefit of others, possibly for a small fee. I'm sure they didn't get the WWF's expressed, written consent, but then again, it's not like people were buying the shows they were putting out, either.
"The Rocket" Owen Hart vs. Blake Beverly:
I'm not going to complain about this as an opener. Beverly has some weird "alternate universe" tights for this one. It's the opener, so the crowd is solidly behind Owen. They trade wristlocks until Beverly hooks the ropes to force a break. Owen with a takedown and goes to work on the left arm. Blake fights his way out, but Owen drops a knee across the face to counter a monkey flip and goes back to the arm. Owen goes for a hip toss, but Beverly counters with a short-clothesline. Blake with the Rude Awakening neck breaker, followed by a leg drop, but he chooses to pose rather than go for a cover. Owen with a sunset flip for a two count. Beverly regains control, grabbing a bearhug of all maneuvers. Crowd chants "Owen", but Beverly hangs onto the hold. The guy either recording this or sitting near the camera (it's a voice you hear at a lot of the shows, so maybe he's the recorder) runs down the card for us, and it's a promising lineup. Owen finally escapes, only to run into a Powerslam. He takes the chest first bump to the corner for a two count. Owen starts his comeback and comes off the ropes with a heel kick for two. Owen to the top rope with a body press for two. Charge to the corner meets the post, and Beverly takes him down with a back suplex for two. Owen counters the lazy cover with a sunset flip finish, and that's good for three at 9:29. *3/4 That bearhug spot lasted way too long, considering it's Blake friggin' Beverly and not some huge monster. Owen looked good, but he was clearly going nowhere jerking the curtain with one half of a JTTS Tag Team.
The 1-2-3 Kid vs. Doink (the Clown):
There's the first change to the announced card, but it should be just as good. Doink was kind of doing nothing, now that the Crush angle was done with. The Kid rudely interrupts Doink's magic show, pissing him off in the process. You can tell by the body language. Lockup to the ropes and Doink bitch slaps the Kid. He ducks a second attempt and returns the favor. Criss-cross ends with the Kid connecting on a heel kick for a near fall. Doink misses a charge and the Kid comes off the top with a moonsault for another two count. Stalling and trash talking eats up a few minutes. Kid with an atomic drop and a pair of dropkicks. Doink misses a big kick and the Kid goes to work on the left arm. Doink with forearms and a powerslam to turn the tide. Slam into the turnbuckle, followed by a hard whip across the ring. He sends the Kid to the floor and follows with a double axehandle from the top rope! Back inside, Doink does the same arrogant cover Blake Beverly did, but manages to kick out when the Kid counters. Kid ducks under a clothesline and comes back with a body press for two. Doink dumps him to the floor, wasting more time. Kid lands on his feet doing a sling shot and school boys Doink for the surprise three count at 16:09! I didn't see that result coming. *1/2 Way too long considering how much fluff there was. I'm still surprised Doink did the job to the Kid, but I guess it's what everyone was doing at the time.
The Smoking Gunns vs. The Headshrinkers (w/ Afa):
(Billy & Bart Gunn vs. Samu & Fatu)
This might be good, but oh my God, I've seen enough between these two teams that I don't need to see this combination again. Billy finger-bangs the crowd to get a babyface reaction. Pun definitely intended. Bart and Fatu start. Fatu pounds away and they blow a roll-up spot. Bart gets sent to the floor, only to come back in with a missile dropkick for two. Fatu destroys him with a clothesline, complete with over-sell. Fatu misses a charge, allowing the Gunns to take turns working the left arm. They tease a test-of-strength, milking it for all it's worth. Billy avoids Samu's sneak attack and resumes working over Fatu. Double leg sweep gets two. Samu tags in for the first time and immediately hets his arm worked, too. Bart ends up taking a nasty bump to the floor, making him your Cowboy-in-Peril. Fatu chokes him with the tag rope while the referee is distracted. Criss-cross sequence ends with Samu laying Bart out with a clothesline. Fatu with a back suplex for two. Bart with a sunset flip, but Samu breaks the cover. Bart gets a boot up on a charge attempt and comes off the second rope with a clothesline. Fatu cuts off the hot tag. resulting in another match being stretched longer than need be. Billy (finally) with the hot tag, including the "mounted punches, blind leap" spot. Samu gets thrown into the post as the action unfolds in opposite corners of the ring. The 'Shrinkers no-sell a Battering Ram and lay the Gunns out for their lack of vision. Billy with a sunset flip from out of nowhere on Fatu, and it's good for the three count at 13:09. ** One of those "by the numbers" matches that was technically alright, but lacked much when it came to depth. These two had better matches, and could've done for a few minutes trimmed. Post-match, Afa works over his own men in a weird act of frustration.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Macho Midget) vs. Jerry "The King" Lawler:
I don't remember if there was an angle between the two on (WWF) television, but these two did work a handful of Mains during the WWF/USWA cross-promotion stuff during the Spring and Summer. Lawler takes a shot at the Mets to draw cheap heat... didn't the Mets REALLY suck in 1993? Savage has the Macho Midget with him, a.k.a Tiger Jackson, a.k.a Dink (the Clown). Lawler goes for the Midget, then lays Savage out from behind with what was probably an invisible foreign object. He tosses Savage over the top rope, and works him over around the ring. Back inside, Lawler controls with punching and the occasional kicking. Savage teases a comeback, but the invisible foreign object is used, again. Lawler with the DDT, sold surprisingly poorly. Savage sends Lawler over the top rope and introduces him to the ring post. Back inside, Savage quickly tosses him back to the floor. Savage comes off the top for the double axehandle, but Lawler nails him in the midsection. Lawler with the Piledriver, but it only gets two. Suddenly, Bret Hart shows up at ringside for the best pop of the night, creating a distraction. Lawler with a slam and fist drop for two. Lawler mouths off to the Hitman, so Bret comes in and goes on the attack, triggering the Disqualification at 7:57. That sure made Savage look like a Jobber. Savage has words with Bret, but they make up. 1/2* Match was dull, and the standard "Savage Formula" didn't even come full circle thanks to a cheap DQ finish. Savage's offense was literally a handful of punches and using the ring post.
WWF Championship; Steel Cage Match:
Yokozuna © (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Bret "Hitman" Hart:
Yokozuna vs. ANYONE was a lame duck challenger, due to the SummerSlam Main Event with Made in the USA Lex Luger in about two weeks. Let's just hope Bret gives enough of a crap to have a good match (or attempt to, that is). Bret attacks before the bell with a flurry of rights. Yoko counters a body press with a slam, but misses the elbow drop. Bret rocks him with a dropkick and pounds him down to the canvas. Yoko' prevents an escape and drops an elbow across the throat. Bret stops Yoko' from exiting the door and knocks him down with a headbutt, sold well by both. Bret climbs, unsuccessfully. Crowd chants "USA", possibly to motivate CANADIAN Bret Hart and anger the American-Born Samoan. I know, I know, I'm being a stupid douche-smark. Bret with a pair of clotheslines, but a third is countered with a crescent kick. Yoko' continues to dominate, looking winded less than 10-minutes into a mostly slow moving match. Whip to the corner, Yokozuna misses the avalanche. Bret brings him down with a second-rope bulldog, but a climb attempt is interrupted by a flag shot from Fuji.
Yokozuna recovers and drops a fat-ass leg across the face of the Hitman. He signals for the end and nails Bret with a double chop to the throat. Instead of going for the door, he goes up for the Banzai Drop. Bret recovers and starts sliding through the door, but that bastard Fuji blocks the door. Bret kicks the door in his face and is almost out, but Yoko FINALLY gets down and pulls him back in by the leg. Bret gets to taste the steel, but like our friend recording this says, "we're not going to see any blood." Meanwhile, Fuji is being helped back to the locker room. Yoko' goes for the door, but Bret kicks the middle rope up his crotch. Bret with a second-rope elbow, and suddenly Jerry Lawler is at ringside. Bret fights to escape, only to get crotched along the top rope. Yoko' with a headbutt, stunning himself, too. He plants Hart with a slam, but misses a splash. This time Yoko tastes the steel, and the Hart Attack clothesline takes him off his feet. Lawler throws the salt bucket in the ring, possibly wasting a good five pounds of salt in the process. Bret winds up with the bucket and lays the Champ out, but in the landing, Yoko' landed on Hart's leg. Bret covers, but only gets two (yes, it was announced before the match as escape or pinfall). Bret climbs, but Lawler throws salt in his eyes to incapacitate him. Yoko' recovers and exits through the door to retain the WWF Championship at 21:26. Post-Match, Yoko' gives Bret the Banzai Drop, just because he could. *** A little slow at times, but they did the best they could with the baby-blue cage of boredom, and had some decent spots when the action didn't slow down.
Bastion Booger vs. The Brooklyn Brawler:
Ugh, I know we're in the spot that's generally reserved for a piss-break, but let's not forget the 15-minutes before and after the match to put up and take down the cage. Do we really need a shit match like this to fill more time? It's not even Booger vs. a JTTS Babyface. Unless a program listed this as a battle of bad smells, I don't see the logic in putting this on, considering there's absolutely zero appeal. Brawler complains about the smell. Where's Gorilla Monsoon to claim he's from the Terry Garvin School of Self-Defense? Booger quickly turns the tide, only to miss an ugly leg drop. Brawler misses an elbow drop. Booger does his tea-bagging sit-down finisher, and it's over at 1:22. That was pointless and the crowd hated every second of it. DUD
- Howard Finkel hypes up the next card at Madison Square Garden, Saturday Night, September 26th. The following matches that have already been signed: Irwin R. Schyster faces "The Undefeated" Tatanka! Mr. Hughes rumbles with Razor Ramon! Three Championship Matches are Scheduled: Shawn Michaels defends the Intercontinental Title against The 1-2-3 Kid (assuming he retains the title at SummerSlam), The Steiner Brothers (assuming they retain at SummerSlam) defend their Tag Titles against the unlikely duo of Adam Bomb and Bam Bam Bigelow, and Yokozuna (blah blah blah) defends the WWF Championship against the man who always rises to the occasion... Val Venis. Sorry, I got ahead of myself. It's The Undertaker.
I should note the majority of that card is a huge lie, due to circumstances that developed in the following weeks: Shawn never appeared due to his suspension and was replaced by BASTION BOOGER, the Steiners lost the titles and were taken off the road, subbed in by the new Champions the Quebecers, creating the problem that Johnny Polo manages one of the challengers (Bomb) and the Champions (solution: have Harvey Wippleman manage Adam Bomb from this point forward), and Mr. Hughes was fired and replaced by a returning Rick Martel (which made for an improved match, quality wise).
Six-Man Tag Team Elimination Match:
Mr. Perfect, Tatanka, and Marty Jannetty vs. Shawn Michaels, Diesel, and Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Luna Vachon):
I remember a lot of hype on the weekend shows for this card, and particularly this match. For reasons unknown, Shawn comes out to the Sherri version of his theme, which he stopped using back in February, on top of the fact Sherri was released a week or so earlier. We play a game of musical tagging, finally starting with Tatanka and Bam Bam. Tatanka grabs a headlock, but Bigelow counters with a back suplex. He plants Tatanka with a slam, but misses a headbutt. Tatanka with clotheslines and a body press for two. Jannetty tags in and goes for bonehead move #1 on Bam Bam: A monkey flip. Michaels tags in, missing a Rocket Launcher Splash. Jannetty with rights, a Super-Kick, and clothesline, sending the IC Champ to the floor. Perfect greets him with a cheap shot and holds him in place for a Jannetty plancha. Perfect slams Shawn face-first to the canvas, hits the floating neck snap, and unloads on Diesel and Bam Bam. Perfect misses a charge, allowing Shawn to tag out to Bam Bam. Perfect counters a suplex and comes bouncing off the ropes with a dropkick. Tatanka in with chops. Diesel tags in for the first time and takes him down with a gutwrench slam, followed by a big boot for two. Shawn with a double axehandle, then slaps on a chinlock. Tatanka quickly escapes with elbows, but Bam Bam tags in following a sunset flip attempt and continues the punishment. Diesel tags in for 30-seconds, hitting a back breaker. Shawn meets post on a charge, allowing Jannetty to get the hot tag. Whip to the ropes and a diving elbow, followed by a fist to the midsection and running knee lift. Whip and a powerslam gets two. Rocker Fist Drop gets two! All heck breaks loose, allowing Diesel to tag in, hit Jannetty with the Superman Punch, and cover for the first elimination at 12:39!
Once the action resumes, we've got Perfect and Bam Bam in the ring. Bam Bam with a pair of shoulder tackles and a back suplex for two. Shawn with a running dropkick, followed by some choking. Perfect offers a comeback with chops, but Shawn rakes the eyes. Perfect gets worked over in the wrong side of town while Tatanka has the referee distracted. HATE CRIME! Michaels with a snapmare for two. Bam Bam heads to the top and misses his signature headbutt. Tatanka gets the hot tag and unloads on Bam Bam with chops. He takes Bigelow down with a DDT, then comes off the top with a body press for two! Tatanka chops everything in site and takes Bigelow to the floor with a clothesline. They brawl around the ring as we get the predictable Double Count-Out at 18:17, leaving Perfect by himself against Shawn and Diesel. For someone with an undefeated "streak", Tatanka sure went to a lot of Non-Decisions and Double Count-Out/Disqualifications.
Shawn and Diesel try the old "sneak in from both sides" technique, but Perfect fights them off. He sends Diesel to the floor with a dropkick, then sends Shawn flying for a man-sized bump over the top rope into the arms of his bodyguard. Back inside, they end up trapping Perfect in the corner for a brief sample of double teaming. Shawn with a snapmare and flurry of rights. Whip to the corner, and Shawn meets a boot. Perfect sends him across the ring, turning him inside out, then takes him over with the Perfect-Plex for the three count at 22:23! Shawn did a clean job!? I can't even enjoy the moment, because Diesel sneaks in with the Superman Punch and covers Perfect for the three count at 22:33, making Diesel the SOLE SURVIVOR! Notice that Diesel only came in for 20-30 second intervals, hit a big move, and left? Yeah, smart booking. ***1/2 Everyone had their working boots on, there was little resting (other than an occasional stall between falls), and the crowd was into it from start to finish.
Final Thoughts: The double Main Event is enough for a recommendation. Hart and Yokozuna was a bit slow at times and Cage Matches are always a hot debate because of how hot and cold people run with them. The Elimination Tag at the end is fun from start to finish with mostly clean falls. I'm just surprised they had heels walk away with wins in both high profile matches. The undercard isn't too bad, but there's nothing to really go out of your way to see, either. Lawler vs. Savage stunk (with another top heel going over), the Gunns and Headshrinkers was below par from what they were capable of, the Kid vs. Doink went too long, and the opener was fine, if heatless. Honestly, I might recommend against the show for the simple fact there's an obnoxiously annoying kid yelling for the duration of the card, particularly the final match. Considering he's with the guy recording this, you'd think he could shut up (this is the only MSG card where I noticed the annoyance).
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