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Shotgun Saturday Night - June 7, 1997

by Scrooge McSuck

- After only six weeks on the air, the WWF drastically altered the production style of their hot new program, Shotgun Saturday Night. It was televised "live" from various bars and night clubs in the New York City area (almost always, at least), featured rowdy (and occasionally bored) crowds, and felt like an ECW show with WWF talent. Then they pulled the rug from under it as fast as possible and gave us this. A seperate show, taped before Monday Night Raw, featuring mostly enhancement talent and the undercard. Yes, one of the originals in the long line of shows that would include Sunday Night Heat, Velocity, Jakked, Metal, and all those other shows that featured good matches that were treated as afterthoughts.

- We're shown highlights from last week's episode of Raw Is War. Steve Austin further "injured" Bret Hart, forcing the cancelation of the scheduled Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels rematch for King of the Ring. In other words, Bret and Shawn probably got into a fight and weren't trusted to work with each other at this point. Steve Austin signs up to face Shawn Michaels just to get his hands on the Loose Cannon, Brian Pillman. I might point out, that we were smack in the middle of Austin vs. Hart Foundation at this point, the Foundation being the reunited Bret and Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, the returning (again) Jim Neidhart, and Brian Pillman, who seriously injured himself right after signing the first guaranteed contract in WWF history, so he was about at 50% mobility at this point of his career.

- Jim Ross and Brian Pillman are the unlikely commentary team.

- Vince McMahon introduces us to one half of the Tag Team Champions... Shawn Michaels. Wait, he was a champion then? Oh that's right, he didn't put anyone over losing that title, either. Then Stone Cold Steve Austin comes out, and Jim Ross aknowledges the past relationship with Pillman. Yes, everyone did, but it was still taboo mentioning someones past, when it was in the other company. This match made zero sense... why would Austin and Shawn want to fight so badly? Austin was originally going to fight Pillman at KOTR, but then it was changed to an episode of Raw, so why should he have to face Shawn? I know they are the mis-matched partners, but they really had no history with each other, and following the PPV, Shawn disappeared until SummerSlam, shoe-horning his way into the spotlight, even when he wasn't wrestling. People wonder why I hate Shawn Michaels so much... 1997 was the year of the ego's, and none were greater than Michaels. Austin eventually decides enough of Michaels and ambushes Pillman at the broadcast position.

Ahmed Johnson & Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley & Jerry Lawler: (w/ Chyna)

Just in case you were wondering, these are the four remaining King of the Ring participants, so it's the whacky mis-matches partners match where the two good guys fight the two bad guys. Why couldn't Mankind and Helmsley teamed to face Ahmed and Lawler? That would've been more interesting. Lawler beat Goldust, Helmsley beat Crush, Ahmed beat Helmsley, and Mankind beat Savio, for those who care. Yes, I said Helmsley won AND lost a Qualifying match. Don't ask. Ahmed and Helmsley lock-up into the corner. Ahmed tries for a sucker punch, but misses, then no-sells Helmsley's offense. Ahmed "hammers" away on Helmsley (JR: He has absolutely no finess), but manages to get dumped out of the ring. Ahmed and his Wedge of Doom return to the ring and does more of his clubberin' offense. Lawler makes a reluctant tag, then gets tossed back into his own corner. Mankind tags in and fucks around with Lawler. J.R. breaks the rules again, referencing Cactus Jack. Mankind maintains control as we take a break.

We come back with face miscommunication, allowing the baddies to work over Mankind. Irish whip is reversed, and Mankind takes Helmsley down with a swinging neck breaker. Mankind with a reverse atomic drop, followed by a clothesline. Ahmed tags in and gets sucker punched by his own partner, allowing Lawler some Memphis style blows. Ahmed doesn't sell. Ahmed with a slam for a two count, and Helmsley accidentally elbows his partner. Lawler takes offense and gets into a shouting match. Chyna nails Lawler for asaulting her man, and Ahmed spinebusters Lawler for the three count at 5:41. His pin attempt is quite unique though... think Edge pinning Beaulah at one of the One Night Stands. Pointless match, and much shorter than I was expecting it to be.

- King of the Ring Commercial! Lawler chokes to death on a chicken bone, then gets bashed by ELVIS with a guitar as a bunch of "kings" tell him off. It ends with the devil (played by a Vince Russo look-a-like) laughing. This was supposed to sell King of the Ring to people?!

- We highlight the Undertaker's rise to the top of the WWF, including Paul Bearer's betrayal of the Undertaker at the 1996 SummerSlam. Finally, at WrestleMania 13, the Undertaker prevailed, pinning Sid in the worst Main Event in WrestleMania history. Now he faces his greatest challenge... the UNKNOWN! Did you really think I was going to say Faarooq? Paul Bearer blackmailed the Undertaker into letting him be his manager again. This was the forshadowing start of the origins of Kane. Oh, and yes, the Undertaker vs. Faarooq was a main event for a WWF PPV, and yes, we get a hype video for Faarooq. I guess pinning Aldo Montoya and Savio Vega pre-heel turn were enough to make fans think he had a chance in hell of winning. No offense, but as a youngster, I didn't care, and had no memory of Faarooq (Ron Simmons) being a former World Champion.

- Last monday, The Undertaker was in action against Sycho Sid. The Undertaker finished Sid off with the Tombstone, much like he did at WrestleMania, but the Nation of Domination ambushed the Undertaker for a 4-on-1 beat-down (d'Lo Brown was included with the group, but was rarely mentioned by name at this point). Suddenly, Sid helped make the save, chokeslamming people until Faarooq clipped the leg from under him. Nice of Crush and Savio to sell those chokeslams.

- The WWF is coming to the Nassau Coliseum on June 21st! The Undertaker defends the WWF Title against Stone Cold Steve Austin! Sycho Sid takes on Mankind! Shawn Michaels faces Davey Boy Smith for the European Championship, and the Legion of Doom go head-to-head with The Godwinns, and much more!

Bob Holly & Jesse Jammes vs. Owen Hart (IC Champ) & The British Bulldog (European Champ):

We get a brief recap that two weeks ago, Owen and Davey Boy lost the Tag Titles to the unlikely team of Austin and Michaels. Now they get to face the Road Dogg and Hardcore Holly, another unlikely duo. Holly grabs a headlock on Owen, then puts him down with a shoulder block. Owen with a takedown, but Holly mule-kicks him away and grabs another headlock. Owen counters, then hits a shoulder block. Criss-cross leads to.. a headlock. How exciting! Irish whipp, and Holly with a hip toss, followed by an arm drag and an armbar. Bret and the Anvil come to ringside, talking trash to fans. Jammes tags in and works the arm as well. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Jammes takes Owen over with a back drop, then goes to the armbar. Owen does his kip up routine to escape, and tags out to Davey Boy. Jammes quickly takes him down with a drop toe hold, and Holly tags back in to work the arm. This goes on for a while.

We return from a commercial, and Holly takes Bulldog over with a hip toss. Unsportsmanlike double-teamming by the faces, as Jammes continues working the fucking armbar. Owen gets a blind tag and connects with a spinning heel kick, in what looks to be slow motion. They give Holly a wish-bone, because he's Bob Holly. The slow motion replay seems to be in even slower speed than usual. Owen works the leg and applies an Indian deathlock. Jim Ross talks about miscarrage of justice (Gorilla Monsoon get's royalties everytime you say that!). Holly gets double teamed as Jammes distracts the referee. Bulldog with a snapmare, and yes, we do get a chinlock spot. Jim Ross CONSTANTLY refers to Bret Hart as the David Koresh of the WWF. He would recycle this annoying nickname for the Jackyl, when he took over the Truth Commission. Seriously, Koresh was old news by 1997, so why constantly refer to it? And isn't it a little insenstive comparing a wrestler to a guy who manipulated the minds of people, and was responsible, not only for the death of a massive amount of people, but also CHILDREN? WWF Sensitivity: Get The F Out! Anyway, back to the match... it still sucks. Holly escapes and gets a sunset flip, but Owen distracts the referee from making a count. Bulldog with a clothesline, and Owen tags in to plant Holly with a slam. Owen to the top rope, and a splash meets the knees. Jammes gets the dead-crowd tag, and goes flying over the top rope, attempting a clothesline. Jim Ross mentions his military past. Neidhart and Bret fuck with him until Bret uses his crutch to whoop that ass! Back in the ring, and the Bulldog's running powerslam ends it at 8:12. Match stunk, and did they really need to cheat to beat a fucking racecar driver and karaoke bar singer? The toughest, most bad ass collection of heels in the company?!

Philip LaFon vs. Blackjack Bradshaw:

In an odd moment, LaFon offers a handshake to Pillman, then snubs Jim Ross. So... who the fuck is the heel and who is the face? I'm almost positive the Blackjacks were still heels, but I had no idea when the LaFon and Furnas turn happened. I ordered Survivor Series and bam, they were heels, and the last time I saw them was WrestleMania 13, when they were faces. Something has got to give. Lockup, and Bradshaw shoves LaFon across the ring. LaFon with a spinning kick to the midsection, so Bradshaw throws him around like a doll. LaFon tosses Bradshaw through the ropes, but gets crotched across the top rope attempting a suplex. Bradshaw tosses LaFon by the hair, but walks into an elbow. Bradshaw sends LaFon hard into the corner, then sets him up on the top turnbuckle for a suplex, but LaFon fights free and jumps into the arms of Bradshaw. Short-arm clothesline by Bradshaw sends LaFon out of the ring, but LaFon suckers Bradshaw from behind. LaFon with a slam, followed by a second rope senton for a two count. Northern Lights suplex by LaFon gets another two count. Irish whip is reversed, and Bradshaw with a big boot. Irish whip, and a back drop press by Bradshaw. Whip to the corner, and Bradshaw follows in with a clothesline. Second attempt is less successful, but Bradshaw manages a powerslam for the three count at 3:26. Blech... LaFon tells the referee his foot was on the ropes, and out comes Doug Furnas to continue arguing the call. They double team Bradshaw until Blackjack (Don't Call Me Barry) Windham makes the save. Smells like the set up for a tag team match the next week. LaFon looked pretty good, but his blandness didn't translate well to american audiences. Bradshaw did little, but he looked good doing it, at least.

Final Thoughts: What a difference a few months make. We were treated to three matches, none of them worth noting as being positive, there was a lot of recapping of what happened on Monday Night Raw, and it just seemed like a waste of time. I say that in a nice way actually, because it did give guys more opprotunities to be on television, but at the same time, nothing was done to help get people over. Seriously, they did the "we're an exciting team" angle with Lafon and Furnas, because everyone already knew they were boring, so why not call attention to it too? If you missed Shotgun, you didn't miss anything, because most of the notable moments were Raw recaps.

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