ROH taping in Baltimore

American Wolves 4

Took in my first ROH TV taping last night at Du Burns Arena. Really enjoyed it. I think it’s a better pace than your typical ROH house shows — not every match has a thousand near falls and the TV main events come across as true main events. And we got some good ones — Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards and Davey & Kyle O’Reilly in a great brawl with Kevin Steen & Jimmy Jacobs.

Team Steen

Here are the big matches heading into Best in the World:

  • Davey vs. Steen in what will be Davey’s only rematch. Steen cut a promo during the show saying he wanted it as No DQ
  • World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. ANX for the tag straps
  • The Briscoes vs. the House of Truth (members not named)
  • And we may also get Ciampa vs. Lethal vs. Strong as the three had a big pull apart brawl. Eddie Edwards vs. Homicide looks possible after Homicide’s return in which he attacked Edwards. O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole also looks to be a long way from over.
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April 7, 1986: What the World Has Come To

WrestleMania 2 doesn’t get a ton of love when talk of the greatest WrestleManias comes up. In fact, it’s usually near the bottom of the list.

It had three locations, thus making it a hard sell for those in the three cities to pay full price for a third of the show (while watching the remainder via closed circuit). And it seemed the booking here, while improved from 1, lacked the long-term blowoffs and feuds that would soon become synonymous with WrestleMania.

Yes, you had Hogan-Bundy in a cage. But that wasn’t even a big issue until the March episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event. The undercard had a few rivalries that had lasted a few months or even a year — Piper/T, Savage/Steele, Bulldogs/Dream Team, the tag match with JYD/Funk, etc. The majority of the rest of the show (and string of short matches) really had no rhyme or reason.

However, in the show’s defense, the art of the big show hadn’t really been perfected. And I’m always up for WM2. It’s a fun popcorn show if there ever was one. Things are easy to digest and you don’t have to emtotionally invest in much.

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WrestleMania II – April 7, 1986
Featured an opening in-ring introduction in Long Island by Vince McMahon of guest co-host Susan St. James and Ray Charles, who performed “America the Beautiful;” included Gene Okerlund, from Chicago, hyping that card before showing a pre-taped backstage promo by Roddy Piper, with Lou Duva and Bob Orton Jr., regarding his boxing fight later in the night against Mr. T; during the promo, Piper claimed he would quit wrestling if T could knock him out; featured a pre-taped promo by Mr. T, with Joe Frazier & the Haiti Kid, regarding his upcoming fight with Piper; included Okerlund conducting a podium interview with Bill Fralic and Big John Studd in Chicago regarding the upcoming 20-man battle royal, during which Studd crushed a football in his hands and threw it at Fralic; featured a video package highlighting the T / Piper feud; included Jesse Ventura conducting a backstage interview with WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan in Los Angeles regarding his title defense later in the night against King Kong Bundy and his thoughts on the Piper / T fight, with Hogan predicting T would win; featured Gorilla Monsoon, Gene Okerlund, & Katie Lee Crosby on commentary in Chicago, with Chet Coppock as the guest ring announcer for that portion of the show; included McMahon & St. James speaking at the commentary position with Piper regarding the results of his boxing fight, during which Piper said he dominated T; featured Okerlund conducting a podium interview with Jimbo Covert regarding his participation in the battle royal, with Covert claiming Bill Fralic cheated to throw him out; moments later, Okerlund spoke with the Iron Sheik about the battle royal as well; included McMahon & St. James discussing the Hogan / Bundy cage match before the Los Angeles portion; featured Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes, & Elvira on commentary in Los Angeles; Lee Marshall was the ring announcer in LA; included Hayes conducting a backstage interview with Hogan regarding his upcoming title defense; it was announced that the cage for the main event was specially reinforced; featured pre-taped footage of Okerlund covering Hogan’s workout, alongside Hillbilly Jim and Dr. Bob Ponovich, before introducing footage of Bundy attacking Hogan during the previous Saturday Night’s Main Event; moments later, Okerlund interviewed the three about Hogan’s injury yet still agreeing to go through with the match; included Ventura conducting a backstage interview with Bundy & Bobby Heenan regarding the upcoming main event; featured McMahon & St. James commenting on the upcoming main event:
Long Island, NY – Nassau Coliseum (16,585; sell out)
Paul Orndorff fought Don Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji) to a double count-out at 4:33 when both men began brawling on the floor and Orndorff threw Muraco into the ringpost; during the early moments of the match, pre-taped audio promos from Orndorff and Muraco aired regarding their match; the crowd chanted “Bullshit” following the decision
WWF IC Champion Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizebeth) pinned George Steele at 7:08 with both feet on the ropes for leverage; prior to the bout, an insert promo from Savage aired regarding the match; late in the contest, Steele kicked out of Savage’s flying elbowsmash; after the bout, Steele chased the referee backstage
Jake Roberts pinned George Wells with the DDT at at 3:06 following a kneelift as Wells attempted to climb back into the ring; after the match, Roberts wrapped a python around Wells’ head, causing Wells to vomit
Mr. T (w/ Joe Frazier & the Haiti Kid) defeated Roddy Piper (w/ Lou Duva & Bob Orton Jr.) in a boxing fight via disqualification at 1:17 of Round 4 when Piper shoved the referee to the mat and bodyslammed T; Joan Rivers served as the guest ring announcer for the bout; judges for the fight included G. Gordon Liddy, Darryl Dawkins, and Cab Calloway; each was booed upon their introduction; Herb, from the Burger King advertising campaign, served as the guest timekeeper; after the match, the two men were held back by their respective parties, with the crowd booing upon hearing the decision (Born to Controversy: The Roddy Piper Story)
Chicago, IL – Rosemont Horizon (9,000)
WWF Women’s Champion the Fabulous Moolah pinned Velvet McIntyre after the challenger missed a splash off the middle turnbuckle at the 59-second mark
Crpl. Kirshner pinned Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Freddie Blassie) in a flag match at 1:36 after intercepting Blassie’s cane as it was thrown in the ring and hitting Volkoff with it; pre-match stipulations stated the winner would wave the flag of their country after the bout
Andre the Giant won a 20-man WWF/NFL battle royal by last eliminating Bret Hart at 9:03; other participants included: Ted Arcidi, Tony Atlas, B. Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell, Hillbilly Jim, the Iron Sheik, King Tonga, Pedro Morales, Bruno Sammartino, Danny Spivey, Big John Studd, Jimbo Covert, Bill Fralic, Russ Francis, Ernie Holmes, Harvey Martin, & William Perry; order of elimination: Covert & Tonga by Fralic (0:53); Holmes by Sammartino (1:41); Brunzell by Neidhart (2:30); Atlas by Perry (2:53); Martin & Morales eliminated each other (3:45); Arcidi by Hillbilly & Spivey (4:15); Spivey by the Sheik (4:31); Jim & Blair by the Sheik (4:40); Fralic by Sheik & Studd (5:07); Sheik by Sammartino (5:17); Sammartino by Studd (5:46); Perry by Studd via an elbow to the face and hiplock (6:24); Studd by Perry from the outside after offering to shake Studd’s hand but pulling him out instead (6:45); Francis by Hart & Neidhart (7:45); Neidhart by Andre after a boot to the face (8:52); Hart by Andre by throwing him off the top onto Neidhart on the floor; Gene Okerlund did the ring introductions for the bout; Ernie Ladd provided guest commentary, subbing for Okerlund; Dick Butkus and Ed Jones were the guest referees for the bout; Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” personality Clare Peller was the guest timekeeper (WrestleMania: The Greatest HitsBest of the WWF: WrestleMania)
Davey Boy Smith & the Dynamite Kid (w/ Capt. Lou Albano & Ozzy Osbourne) defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake (w/ Johnny V) to win the titles at 12:03 when Smith pinned Valentine after sending him into Dynamite in the corner, with the two men butting heads and Dynamite falling to the floor and busting his head open; there were two referees for the bout, one on the inside and one on the outside; after the contest, Gene Okerlund conducted an in-ring interview with Albano, Osbourne, Katie Lee Crosby, and Smith regarding the title win (The British Bulldogs)
Los Angeles, CA – Sports Arena (14,500)
Ricky Steamboat pinned Hercules with a crossbody off the top at 7:34 after lifting his knees to block Hercules’ splash from the middle turnbuckle
Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart) pinned Uncle Elmer with a headbutt off the top after avoiding Elmer’s legdrop at 3:04
Terry & Dory Funk Jr. (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated Tito Santana & the Junkyard Dog at 11:43 when Terry pinned JYD after hitting him in the head with Hart’s megaphone behind the referee’s back
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan defeated King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby Heenan) in a steel cage match at 10:18 by escaping over the top after kicking Bundy from the cage to the mat; after the match, Hogan chased Heenan inside the cage, threw him into the cage bars, and hit an atomic drop which sent Heenan out the door; Tommy LaSorda was the guest ring announcer for the bout; Robert Conrad was the guest referee; Ricky Schroder was the guest timekeeper (the debut of the blue bar steel cage) (Inside the Steele CageHulkamania 6WrestleMania: The Greatest HitsThe History of the WWE Heavyweight ChampionshipHulk Hogan: The Ultimate Anthology)

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Capturing History on Film

Hope everyone has had a good and not too depressing week coming off the biggest wrestling weekend of the year.

I thought WrestleMania 28 come off as one of the better big shows we’ve had in several years (easily better than 27, which had me reconsidering my trip last year to Atlanta). And that Davey Richards / Michael Elgin match — holy crap.

I noticed lots of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers were taking photos down in Florida of the festivities. With that said, I wanted to take this time to remind everyone of our online photo gallery efforts.

With your help, I’m trying to compile as many fan-taken shots as I can track down, noting each with a date, city, and providing credit to who took the photo. We’ve already got several big moments captured on film — from the heyday of Hulkamania to the Montreal Screwjob, Hogan vs. Rock to Rock vs. Cena.

Think you can help us out? Here’s a look at what we’ve got up so far as well as info on how to contribute your own photos.


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Website Expansion Continues

Raven had a tough go at the NWA World Title in 2003

Apparently this is a really big weekend for wrestling … or so I heard?

I’ve got lots of friends down in Florida for the weekend. Hate I can’t be there myself. But I’ve got a lot on my plate — including launching our second phase of the 10th anniversary website expansion.

Coming tomorrow (…or later today), we’ll have ROH 2003, TNA 2003, and SMW 1993 ring results added to the new territories’ sections. Add to that, we’ll also have landing pages for title histories from each.

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For those that haven’t kept up with our plans, this is the 10th year of The History of WWE and, as such, we’re expanding to include coverage of ROH, TNA, and SMW. Each month, we’ll launch a new year full of detailed results. By the end of 2012, all years will be accounted for. We’ll also be adding DVD results, as we have already for the WWE releases.

Have a great WrestleMania weekend, everyone, and be sure to tell a friend about what we’re up to!

– Graham

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March 25, 1989: Hogan vs. Bossman, Warrior vs. Savage

Here we go back to 1989. We’re about a week out from WrestleMania V in Atlantic City and the road schedule is going heavy. This date saw 3 different shows, though I don’t have much for Duluth.

Should be noted that Hogan vs. Bossman did fantastic at the box office, Bossman’s biggest run ever and one of Hogan’s as well. Flip over to the debut in San Antonio and you’ve got a preview of WrestleMania VII in Savage vs. Warrior. Interesting to note that HBK is also on that San Antonio card. It was probably either as a favor or by luck as Shawn Michaels was hardly a drawing card at this point.

WWF @ Buffalo, NY – War Memorial – March 25, 1989
Mr. Perfect defeated Koko B. Ware
Bret Hart fought the Honkytonk Man to a double count-out
Ted Dibiase defeated Tito Santana
WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition defeated the Powers of Pain via disqualification
Big John Studd defeated Akeem
Hulk Hogan defeated the Big Bossman in a steel cage match

Here’s the Hogan / Bossman cage match from MSG just a week earlier:

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WWF @ Duluth, MN – Entertainment Convention Center – March 25, 1989
Included Jacques & Raymond Rougeau

WWF @ San Antonio, TX – Freeman Coliseum – March 25, 1989 (9,000)
The 1st shown in San Antonio
The Red Rooster pinned the Brooklyn Brawler
Tim Horner pinned Jose Estrada
Jim Neidhart pinned Greg Valentine
Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty defeated Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard via disqualification
Brutus Beefcake pinned Rick Rude
WWF World Champion Randy Savage defeated WWF IC Champion the Ultimate Warrior via count-out

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March 24, 1991: Superstars & Stripes Forever

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Nostalgia plays a huge part for any wrestling fan. Adult fans can always remember when it was so much larger than life for them and played out like epic comic book superheroes vs. villains.

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This is one of those shows and eras for me, harking back to the days when WWF video tapes would come in oversize boxes and, no matter the title, sold for $39.95 apiece, making trips to Blockbuster a regular necessity.

WrestleMania VII doesn’t get a ton of talk in regards to the greatest WrestleManias of all time. Some don’t like the fact nearly everyone on the roster made the show. I personally love that, even if it does mean the matches tend to be shorter and less eventful. I think the more matches on the show, a bigger deal that show comes across as. And there is an all time classic (Savage/Warrior) and a handful of forgotten gems (Harts/Nastys) among the supercard.

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WrestleMania VII – Los Angeles, CA – Sports Arena – March 24, 1991 (15,500)
Koko B. Ware pinned the Brooklyn Brawler
Pay-per-view bouts – included Willie Nelson performing the National Anthem to begin the broadcast; featured Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan on commentary, with Jim Duggan dressed as Uncle Sam covering for Heenan for the opening match; included Sean Mooney conducting a backstage interview with Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty regarding their upcoming match against the Barbarian & Haku; featured Gene Okerlund conducting a backstage interview with Regis Philbin, Marla Maples, and Alex Trebeck; included Mooney conducting a backstage interview with the Warlord and Slick regarding Warlord’s upcoming match against Davey Boy Smith; featured Okerlund conducting a backstage interview with Smith, with Winston, regarding the upcoming match; included Okerlund conducting a backstage interview with the Nasty Boys and Jimmy Hart regarding the Nastys’ upcoming match against WWF Tag Team Champions Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart; featured Mooney conducting a backstage interview with Hart & Neidhart regarding the upcoming title defense; included a video package highlighting the feud between Jake Roberts and Rick Martel; featured a pre-taped promo by Roberts regarding his upcoming blindfold match with Martel; included Maples conducting a backstage interview with the new WWF Tag Team Champions the Nasty Boys in which they celebrated and drank champagne with Jimmy Hart, Earthquake, the Mountie, and Dino Bravo; featured a video package highlighting the feud between the Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage; included Philbin conducting a backstage interview with the Undertaker & Paul Bearer, during which Taker took measurements of Philbin as thought they were preparing a casket for him; featured Trebeck conducting a backstage interview with Mr. Fuji & Demolition; included Philbin conducting a backstage interview with Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao, with neither man answering Philbin’s questions but responding when he said Toyota, Izuzu, and Columbia Pictures; the duo then asked if Katie Lee was around; featured Trebeck conducting a backstage interview with Roberts, with Damien, with Damien eventually scaring Trebeck off; featured a pre-taped debate on instant replay with George Steinbrenner and Paul McGuire, moderated by Vince McMahon; the debate was inspired by Randy Savage costing the Ultimate Warrior the world title at the Royal Rumble; during the segment, the Bushwhackers were portrayed as referees that were tied up in video film while trying to make a call; included Okerlund conducting a backstage interview with the Big Bossman regarding his upcoming match against WWF IC Champion Mr. Perfect; featured Mooney conducting a backstage interview with Perfect & Heenan regarding Perfect’s title defense against Bossman; included Mooney conducting a backstage interview with the Legion of Doom regarding their upcoming match with Hercules & Paul Roma in which they claimed they should have received the tag team title shot and would go after the Nasty Boys after they were down with Power & Glory; featured a video package highlighting the feud between Virgil and Ted Dibiase; included Mooney conducting a backstage interview with WWF World Champion Sgt. Slaughter and Gen. Adnan about the upcoming title defense against Hulk Hogan, during which Slaughter reviewed his recent altercations with Hogan and teased that he might get himself counted-out or disqualified in order to keep the title; featured Okerlund conducting a backstage interview with Hogan regarding his upcoming title match, during which footage was shown of Slaughter & Adnan recently attacking Hogan and taunting him with the title belt; a young Chris Kanyon was in attendance:
Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty defeated the Barbarian & Haku (w/ Bobby Heenan) at 10:33 when Michaels pinned Haku with a crossbody off the top following a missile dropkick by Jannetty; after the bout, Heenan joined Gorilla Monsoon on commentary for the remainder of the show
Kerry Von Erich pinned Dino Bravo (w/ Jimmy Hart) at 3:11 with the Tornado Punch after catching Bravo coming off the top and applying the claw

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Davey Boy Smith pinned the Warlord (w/ Slick) at 8:14 by powering out of the full nelson, avoiding the Warlord’s running powerslam, and hitting his own running powerslam
The Nasty Boys (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart to win the titles at 12:10 when Knobs pinned Neidhart after Sags hit Neidhart with Jimmy Hart’s motorcyle helmet behind the referee’s back, moments after the champions executed the Hart Attack (WrestleMania’s Greatest Matches Vol. 2The Bret Hart Story: The Best There Is, Was, and Ever Will Be)
Jake Roberts pinned Rick Martel at 8:33 in a blindfold match following the DDT; after the bout, Roberts stomped on Martel’s Atomizer before scaring him out of the ring with Damien

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The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) pinned Jimmy Snuka at 4:19 with the tombstone after catching Snuka as he attempted a slingshot into the ring (SuperTape 92The Undertaker: 15-0)
The Ultimate Warrior pinned Randy Savage (w/ Sensational Sherri) in a retirement match at 20:46 with one foot on his chest following three flying shoulder blocks, each of which knocked Savage to the floor; midway through the bout, the Warrior kicked out after sustaining five flying elbowsmashes from Savage and, moments later, Savage kicked out of the press slam / splash combo by the Warrior; prior to the bout, Miss Elizabeth was seen sitting in the audience; after the match, Sherri threw referee Earl Hebner out of the ring, verbally berated Savage, and began kicking him until Elizabeth jumped the rail, ran ringside, and threw Sherri to the floor; moments later, Savage came to his senses and thought Elizabeth was the one who was beating on him only to quickly realize it was Sherri; after a brief pause, with Elizabeth clearly crying, Savage and Elizabeth embraced; on their way out of the ring, Savage held the ropes open for Elizabeth before taking a final bow (Elizabeth’s first appearance in 9 months) (WrestleMania: The Greatest HitsBest of the WWF: WrestleManiaThe Self Destruction of the Ultimate WarriorMacho Madness: The Ultimate Randy Savage CollectionThe True Story of WrestleMania)
Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao defeated Demolition Smash & Crush (w/ Mr. Fuji) at 4:43 when Tenryu pinned Smash with a powerbomb (Tenryu & Kitao’s debut)
The Big Bossman defeated WWF IC Champion Mr. Perfect (w/ Bobby Heenan) via disqualification at 10:45 when Haku and the Barbarian interfered; late in the bout, Andre the Giant came ringside to prevent interference from Bobby Heenan; while stalking Heenan around the ring, Andre ended up hitting Perfect in the face with the title belt; after the bout, Andre fought off Perfect, Haku, and the Barbarian on the floor before shaking hands with Bossman in the aisle and raising his hand in victory; Lord Alfred Hayes did guest commentary for the bout, subbing for Heenan (Andre’s first appearance in a year)
Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart) pinned Greg Valentine at 3:17 with an elbow drop and the sit-down splash after Valentine became distracted by Hart as he attempted the figure-4; prior to the bout, Gene Okerlund conducted an interview in the arena with Donald Trump, Chuck Norris, Henry Winkler, and Lou Ferigno in the crowd; after the bout, Earthquake attempted a second sit-down splash but Valentine rolled out of the ring
The Legion of Doom defeated Paul Roma & Hercules (w/ Slick) at the 58-second mark when Road Warrior Animal pinned Roma following the Doomsday Device after catching Roma coming off the top and hitting a powerslam
Virgil (w/ Roddy Piper) defeated Ted Dibiase via count-out at 7:37 when Dibiase began attacking Piper’s injured leg on the floor after Piper used his crutch to pull down the top rope, with Dibiase falling to the floor; after the match, Dibiase applied the Million $ Dream on Virgil inside the ring until Piper pulled himself into the ring and hit Dibiase over the back with the crutch; moments later, Piper prepared to hit Dibiase a second time but Sensational Sherri came to the ring and grabbed the weapon, distracting Piper long enough for Dibiase to attack him from behind and repeatedly hit Piper’s leg with the weapon; Virgil eventually cleared the ring with the crutch; after Dibiase and Sherri left ringside, Piper refused any help getting to his feet, with Virgil eventually encouraging Piper to fight the pain and get to his feet (Sherri’s debut with Dibiase)
The Mountie (w/ Jimmy Hart) pinned Tito Santana at 1:20 by using his shock stick to shock Santana in the stomach
Hulk Hogan pinned WWF World Champion Sgt. Slaughter (w/ Gen. Adnan) to win the title at 20:23 with the legdrop after a boot to the face; in the final moments of the match, Slaughter laid the Iraqi flag across the challenger, went to cover him, and Hogan kicked out and Hulked up, which then led to the finish; Regis Philbin did guest commentary for the match; Alex Trebeck was the guest ring announcer and introduced both participants; Marla Maples was the guest time keeper for the bout; in footage not seen on the pay-per-view but later aired on Prime Time Wrestling two days later, Gene Okerlund attempted to interview Hogan backstage immediately following the bout but Hogan was attacked in his locker room by Sgt. Slaughter, sustaining a fireball to the face before being beaten down with a steel chair (Hulkamania 6The Best of the WWF: HulkamaniaWWF Champion Hulk Hogan’s Greatest MatchesWrestleMania: The Greatest HitsThe Greatest Superstars of WrestleManiaHulk Hogan: The Ultimate Anthology)

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March 19, 1995: Here’s some *&$& for ya!

For those that constantly gripe about the current state of wrestling… I give you true crap.

This isn’t just a run of the mill crap show. This is cream of the crop crap. A pre-taped match that got two guys fired. Jim Duggan in a martial arts match (WTF?). A wrestler vs. boxer match (because those are always good). Ric Flair cross-dresses. And Hogan beats Vader…by beating Flair? Oh yeah, and we’ve got … some guy … that kinda looks like the Ultimate Warrior?

(I actually went to school the next guy and debated with someone as to whether it was Warrior. He thought yes, I thought no. Check out the ending to The Main Event to see just how poorly this was played up.)

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Honestly, the only matches on here I can stand are Sting vs. Bubba, which I remember liking more than I thought I would, and the food fight between the Nasty Boys and Harlem Heat. But even the tag match couldn’t compare to the Nastys vs. Cactus & Maxx Payne Chicago streetfight the previous year.

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The whole concept of the show was to try to pretend WCW could hang with the likes of ECW (extreme … uncensored, etc.). And for a fanbase starving for a little blood, I’m sure many bought the show hoping for something out of the ordinary. It was out of the ordinary, but for the worst reasons.

WCW Uncensored 95 – Tupelo, MS – Civic Center – March 19, 1995 (5,782; 4,900 paid)
The Main Event – featured footage from the previous night’s WCW Saturday Night of Bobby Heenan climbing in the ring to stop Ric Flair from helping WCW US Champion Vader double team Dave Sullivan, fearing Flair’s actions might get him banned from the company, with additional comments from Flair saying he would be at Uncensored because WCW President Nick Bockwinkel and the police wouldn’t be; included Tony Schiavone conducting an interview with WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan about his “ultimate surprise;” featured a vignette of Meng; included a segment on Richard Petty’s Hulk Hogan racecar; featured a look at the truck which will be used for the Dustin Rhodes / Blacktop Bully King of the Road match; included a vignette of Hogan with his “ultimate surprise” standing behind him in smoke in which Hogan said his surprise wasn’t the Ultimate Warrior but the “Renegade;” during the segment, the Renegade appeared to tower over Hogan and stand around 7 or 8 feet tall; featured footage of Dustin Rhodes and Blacktop Bully climbing into the truck for the King of the Road match; included Tony Schiavone conducting a backstage interview with Randy Savage about his upcoming match against Avalanche:
Alex Wright pinned Mark Starr at 2:43 with a reverse crossbody off the top
Steve Austin pinned Tim Horner at 1:32 with a superplex; during the bout, Col. Rob Parker was seen watching the match from the aisle; after the match, Austin and Parker left together
Marcus Alexander Bagwell & the Patriot defeated Buckhouse Buck & Dick Slater at 9:33 when Bagwell pinned Slater with a fisherman’s suplex after the Patriot prevented an attempt at a double suplex; early in the bout, WCW US Champion Vader came out, shoved off Mike Tenay as Tenay attempted to interview him, grabbed the mic and said he was the uncrowned world champion and the jacket in his hand was the only thing left of Jimmy Hart after apparently attacking Hart backstage
Pay-per-view bouts – featured Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan on commentary; included Mike Tenay conducting a backstage interview with Col. Rob Parker, WCW TV Champion Arn Anderson, & Meng about their matches later in the show; featured Tenay conducting a backstage interview with Johnny B. Badd & his boxing coach Rock Finnigan prior to his match; included a vignette of WCW TV Champion Arn Anderson outdoors cutting a promo on the boxer vs. wrestler match with clips of his matches added throughout the segment; featured a Randy Savage vignette; included Tenay conducting a backstage interview with Savage about his match against Avalanche later in the show; featured Tenay conducting a backstage interview with WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat & Sister Sherri about their match later in the night against the Nasty Boys; included Tenay conducting a backstage interview with Sting regarding his match later in the night; featured Tenay conducting a backstage interview with the Nasty Boys regarding their match later in the night; included a vignette on WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat; featured a backstage promo by WCW US Champion Vader and Ric Flair regarding the main event later in the show; included a pre-taped promo by WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan, with Jimmy Hart, about his “ultimate surprise”:
The Blacktop Bully defeated Dustin Rhodes in a King of the Road match at 13:11; the match was contested in the truck bed of an 18-wheeler and the goal was to climb up and blow a horn at the top of the truck bed; the bout was taped before the broadcast (Rhodes’ last appearance for 4 years; Barry Darsow’s last appearance for several years; the two men were immediately fired for blading in the match after being told not to)
Meng (w/ Col. Rob Parker) pinned Jim Duggan in a martial arts match at 7:04 with a kick to the face as guest referee Sony Onoo grabbed Duggan’s arm as he attempted to hit Parker on the ring apron (Onoo’s debut)
Johnny B. Badd (w/ Rock Finnigan) defeated WCW TV Champion Arn Anderson (w/ Col. Rob Parker) in a non-title boxer vs. wrestler match at the 28-second mark of Round 4 after Finnigan put a bucket over Anderson’s head, with Badd punching the bucket and then punching Anderson in the face with a bare left punch after the bucket came off
Randy Savage defeated the Avalanche via disqualification at around the 11:30 mark when Ric Flair, dressed as a woman, jumped over the railing and double teamed Savage; moments later, Avalanche hit the sit-down splash on Savage before WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan came out, scaring Flair and Avalanche to the floor
Big Bubba pinned Sting at 13:45 when Bubba fell on top as Sting attempted a bodyslam and his injured knee gave out
The Nasty Boys defeated WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri) in a non-title Texas Tornado match at 8:37 when Knobbs pinned Booker T with a bodyslam onto a torn down consession stand near the entranceway
WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan (w/ the Renegade) defeated WCW US Champion Vader (w/ Ric Flair) in a non-title strap match at 18:21 when Hogan strapped himself to an interfering Flair and dragged him around to the four corners instead; Jimmy Hart, his shirt torn after an apparent backstage attack earlier in the show, appeared at the 6-minute mark in Hogan’s corner; a masked man briefly appeared ringside at the 15-minute mark and then returned to the ring after the bout, but this time attacking Flair and Vader with a chair; moments later, Arn Anderson appeared tied up and gagged with the masked man revealing himself as Randy Savage (Renegade’s debut)

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March 18: Happy birthday, Rick Martel!

Going to switch things up a little today and not offer a “This day in history” other than to note it’s the 56th birthday of “The Model” and former AWA World Champion Rick Martel.

As I’m one of those fans that started following during the dawn of the 90s, I’ve always been partial to Martel and the Model character. Here are just a few highlights from his career.

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March 17, 1996: Good Friends, Better Enemies

Back again with another “This day in history” look. The WWF is still on the rebound from 1995 and, leading into WrestleMania, lands a MSG sell out headlined by a tag match of the top two Mania singles matches.

In retrospect, I liked how Kevin Nash’s last program was against the same guy that brought him in, HBK. But Nash was so over at this point – and this is coming from someone who isn’t necessarily a Nash fan – that it’s a shame the WWF couldn’t get more mileage out of him before he left for WCW. Nash’s tweener character was a nice tease for what would come a year later in the form of Stone Cold Steve Austin.

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If you look beyond that main event, kind of an interesting card in retrospect. You’ve got Justin Credible vs. Kane, JBL vs. Al Snow, and the MSG returns of Jake Roberts and George Steele.

WWF @ New York City, NY – Madison Square Garden – March 17, 1996 (17,000; sell out; 14,824 paid) 
Aldo Montoya pinned Isaac Yankem DDS with a small package
Justin Bradshaw pinned Avatar with the lariat
Henry & Phinneas Godwinn defeated Skip & Zip
Steve Austin defeated Barry Horowitz with the Million $ Dream
WWF World Champion Bret Hart & Undertaker defeated Diesel & Shawn Michaels via disqualification when Diesel hit the Undertaker with a steel chair as Taker had Michaels set up for the tombstone; after the match, Diesel hit Hart with the chair before doing the same to his own tag team partner
Hunter Hearst Helmsley pinned Duke Drose in a No DQ match following the Pedigree onto a trash can lid
WWF IC Champion Goldust pinned Savio Vega in a No Count-Out match after using the title belt as a weapon
Ahmed Johnson pinned the 1-2-3 Kid with the Pearl River Plunge
Jake Roberts & Yokozuna (w/ George Steele) defeated Davey Boy Smith & Owen Hart following the DDT and a legdrop; during the match, Jim Cornette was handcuffed to Steele at ringside for the duration of the bout (Roberts’ return to MSG after more than a 4 year absence)


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March 13, 2000: WrestleMania Rocks

This was the big blowoff. For weeks we *thought* (well, no one that sees wrestling as a business thought this) the WrestleMania main event would be Triple H vs. Big Show. Here we see the Rock finally earn his title shot thanks to the returning Vince McMahon. Vince had been out since December’s Armageddon, where Stephanie turned on her father to join Triple H.

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By the way, check out the rest of the talent. 2000, for me, is one of those rare years in which the in-ring quality was as good as the box office. Great talent, great matches, great money.

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This show saw the first title win by the Radicalz, who had just arrived in the WWF

WWF @ East Rutherford, NJ – Continental Airlines Arena – March 13, 2000 (sell out)
Rodney & Pete Gas defeated the Dupps
Scott Vick pinned Joey Abs
The Godfather pinned Gangrel with a roll up at 2:15
Albert pinned the Inferno Kid at 2:50 with the Albert Bomb
The Headbangers defeated Julio Fantastico & Ty Street at 4:29 following the Stage Dive
Viscera pinned JR Ryder with a splash at 2:53
Raw is War – included an in-ring promo by WWF World Champion Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, the Big Show, and Shane McMahon in which Stephanie introduced the Rock’s opponents for WrestleMania, two midgets that went by the name of the Twin Towers; the four then discussed what the stipulation should be, with Triple H finally suggesting it be a Midget on a Pole match before the Rock interrupted; Rock then challenged the Big Show to a one-on-one bout with the stipulations being that if Rock won he would get a world title shot at WrestleMania and if Rock lost he would quit the WWF; Rock then stated that there would be no interference from Triple H, Shane, and Stephanie and, if there was, Rock would win the match and get the title shot by default; Triple H then accepted the challenge; Jayson Williams from the New Jersey Nets was in attendance; featured footage from earlier in the day of the Mean Street Posse, Albert, and WWF Hardcore Champion Crash Holly fighting at the Newark Airport in which Pete Gas pinned Crash to win the title after hitting him with a piece of luggage; moments later, Crash pinned Pete and regained the title after hitting him with the weight scale, then ran out of the luggage area (WWF Hardcore):
Matt & Jeff Hardy defeated Al Snow & Steve Blackman when Matt pinned Blackman with an inside cradle at 3:20 immediately after Matt missed a top rope standing moonsault
Mark Henry fought WWF Tag Team Champions the Dudley Boyz to a no contest in a handicap match at around the 4-minute mark when, after hitting the 3D on Henry, the Dudleyz pushed the wheelchair-bound Mae Young to the top of the stage where Bubba Ray then hit a sit-down powerbomb from the stage through a table on the floor; earlier in the bout, Bubba Ray went backstage and found Mae in the dressing room, then brought her ringside; after the bout, Mae was attended to by Henry and EMTs, with her eventually being taken away in an ambulance; later in the broadcast, the Fabulous Moolah – who was supposed to be watching Mae in the dressing room – called Mae a bitch and said Mae had been trying to steal her spotlight
WWF European & IC Champion Kurt Angle defeated Chris Jericho and Tazz in a No DQ match at 3:14 by pinning Jericho after hitting him in the face with the Euro title belt immediately after Jericho hit a springboard dropkick to send Tazz to the floor; as Tazz made his way to the ring, Tazz demanded the No DQ stipulation; moments prior to the finish, Chyna came to the ring to counter the interference of Bob Backlund; only the European title was on the line
WWF World Champion Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon), the Road Dogg, & X-Pac (w/ Tori) defeated Rikishi & Too Cool when Triple H pinned Rikishi at 5:03 after X-Pac hit Rikishi in the face with the timekeeper’s bell as Rikishi attempted the Bonzai Drop
Kane pinned the Big Bossman with the chokeslam at 3:13 after avoiding being hit by Bossman’s nightstick
Dean Malenko (w/ Eddie Guerrero) pinned WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Essa Rios (w/ Lita) to win the title at 4:15 by blocking a victory roll moments after Guerrero caught Lita coming off the apron with a hurricanrana and hit a powerbomb to the floor
The Acolytes (w/ Mideon) defeated Edge & Christian at 3:06 when Bradshaw pinned Edge with the Clothesline from Hell immediately after Edge hit the spear on an interfering Mideon; Terri, who came ringside before the bout began, distracted Christian during the cover so that he could not make the save; after the bout, Edge & Christian double clotheslined Mideon out of the ring
Chris Benoit & Perry Saturn defeated Test & Val Venis at 4:25 when Benoit pinned Test with a German suplex into a bridge after Eddie Guerrero, who was on the ring apron, hit Test in the face; Guerrero came ringside mid-way through the bout
The Rock pinned the Big Show with the Rock Bottom at 9:16, moments after Vince McMahon arrived to the arena, knocked down Triple H backstage, then came to the ring, hit guest referee Shane McMahon over the head with a steel chair, and put on Shane’s referee shirt to declare himself the new referee; prior to the bout, Shane McMahon came ringside and told referee Earl Hebner to leave the ring as he was the guest referee for the bout; due to prematch stipulations, Rock earned a world title shot for WrestleMania; had Rock not won, he would have had to quit the WWF

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