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WWF @ San Francisco, CA- Cow Palace
by Scrooge McSuck
December 11, 1992
- The 4th Annual Halloween Havok rolls on with one of the spookiest concepts in Wrestling History: Watching a tape of a live event illegally recorded by a fan, and distributed among the wrestling community for a profit. OK, so I'm stretching with themes for Halloween Havok. Sue me... or sue the guy who recorded this, I don't care.
Bob Backlund vs. Papa Shango:
We are certainly kicking off the evening on a hot note. Almost makes you wish someone taped the true opener between Max Moon and the Repo Man. ALMOST. Shango has been doing little of note since the aborted program with Warrior, and Bob Backlund's much hyped return at 43-years old wasn't setting the world on fire. The crowd actually BOOS his introduction! Backlund offers a handshake, and Shango responds by spitting at it to a babyface pop. Lockup, and Shango easily overpowers him. Backlund with a few leg sweeps and the crowd continues to boo his act. Exhibit One in bad wrestling: It's so dull, you're more interested in hearing the conversation of the guy recording it. Shango dominates with a test-of-strength. Whip to the ropes, and it's time for a bearhug. Backlund stupidly (or unconvincingly) counters with his own, only to get laid out with a headbutt. Backlund fights out of a second and takes Shango over with a sunset flip for a two count. Shango misses a charge to the corner, and Backlund school boys him for three at 7:16. DUD Not much to this one other than stalling and a fairly lengthy bearhug spot. Who knew San Francisco was such a pro-heel (or anti-Backlund) crowd?
The Natural Disasters vs. The Head Shrinkers (w/ Afa):
(Earthquake & Typhoon vs. Samu & Fatu)
Here's a feud that went nowhere fast, thanks to Earthquake giving notice shortly after it began. Sharp minds may remember that the Head Shrinkers were partially responsible for costing the Disasters the Tag Titles. Personally, I'd want a rematch first, but that's just me. Earthquake and Fatu start. 'Quake grabs a headlock and runs through him with a shoulder tackle. Samu tags in and falls victim to the same. Earthquake won't go down on a shoulder tackle, but a crescent kick knocks him on his ass. Fatu tries to set up a criss-cross sequence, but 'Quake drops on an elbow across the back. Typhoon tags in for the first time, using his fat to dominate. 'Quake quickly tags back in, and grabs a bearhug. Either this match is going 20 (please, no), or someone didn't get the memo that the BABYFACES should be in trouble with rest holds. Fatu questionably goes for a slam, and we all know how well that's working. Typhoon with a running avalanche, and now both Head Shrinkers get the sandwich treatment. The 'Shrinkers avoid it a second time and lay Typhoon out with a double crescent kick for a two count. Fatu with a pair of headbutts for two. I'm honestly surprised to see Typhoon bumping so much... no, that doesn't mean the match is good. Fatu grabs a front facelock, which gives us the tried-and-true fake tag spot. 'Phoon (there's an abbreviation for you) gets a boot up on a headbutt attempt, and it's hot tag time to 'Quake. He takes Samu over with a Powerslam for two. Elbow drop gets two. The Head Shrinkers recover with a double team back suplex, and Fatu finishes with the Splash off the top at 13:43. I guess Typhoon was too busy eating some hot dogs at ringside to make the save. *1/2 Started off sluggish, but the Head Shrinkers had a decent heat segment on Typhoon, and nice to see a clean finish, too.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Shawn Michaels © vs. Marty Jannetty:
Sherri's absent selling an injury from Jannetty's TV return, setting up the not-so-surprising babyface turn at the Rumble. Michaels attacks before the bell and its a slugfest. Whip to the ropes, Jannetty throws Michaels down by the hair and continues to pound away. He comes off the ropes with a clothesline, running knee lift, and a dropkick, sending Michaels to the floor. In 30-seconds, they've performed as many moves as the last two matches, combined. Marty throws him back in the ring, and sends him right back out following an atomic drop and back elbow combo. Jannetty to the top with a flying fist drop. He goes to the well too many times and winds up meeting the post ribs first. Michaels furthers the damage by dropping him ribs first across a nearby chair. Back in the ring, Michaels slows things down, working the midsection. Michaels with a running knee lift and an abdominal stretch, and yes, he does use the ropes for leverage. In a "it's Shawn Michaels" moment, he seems to have choice words for an annoying fan in the front row. It's not nearly as epic as the situation that occurred at IYH: Beware of Dog, but still funny.
Marty finally rallies to escape, but stupidly goes for a suplex and collapses under the pressure put on the abdomen. Michaels lollygags, allowing Marty to surprise him with a small package for a near fall. Whip to the ropes, Michaels goes for another abdominal stretch, but Jannetty spins out and connects with a desperation clothesline. Michaels meets elbow on a charge to the corner, and Jannetty comes off the second turnbuckle with a bulldog. Jannetty with a flurry of rights. Whip to the corner, and Michaels takes the Harley Race bump to the floor. Jannetty follows, sending him face-first into the ring steps. Back inside, Jannetty catches Michaels off the ropes with a powerslam. He lands on his feet teasing a fist drop, and surprises Shawn with a DDT For a two count. Jannetty with mounted punches in the corner, but Michaels counters with an inverted atomic drop. Marty ducks a superkick and connects with his own for two! The crowd bought that as the finish and rushed the rail thinking it was a Title change. Whip to the corner, Jannetty misses a body press, hitting his ribs against the buckle, and Michaels covers for three at 13:29. ***1/2 Good match to finally pick things up and wake up the crowd. Michaels worked smart, targeting the ribs, and playing the crowd when necessary, while Jannetty sold like a Champion and always knows how to get the crowd excited for his comebacks. I honestly can't think of a match these two had together that wasn't at least 3-stars.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
(Ted Dibiase & I.R.S. vs. Knobbs & Saggs)
Money Inc. © (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Nasty Boys:
Quite the loaded card, so far, and we haven't gotten to the Main Event, yet. The Nasty Boys turned face for whatever reasons and challenge Money Inc. It seemed like they were building towards a match at WrestleMania IX, but the much-needed return of Hulk Hogan (and his boyfriend) kept the Nasties off the card. A shoving match turns into a slugfest, with the Nasties taking control. Saggs goes for a piledriver on Dibiase, but I.R.S. interrupts with a kick to the kidneys. Dibiase with a hip toss, but an elbow drop misses. Knobbs tags in, and it's Dibiase's turn to get the arm worked over. Knobbs calls for the pit-stop, and waits forever for Irwin to come in and interrupt. Criss-cross ends with I.R.S. taking Knobbs down with a drop toe hold, but the Nasties somehow remain in control. Saggs takes a cheap shot from the apron, making him your scumbag-in-peril. Little of note until I.R.S. grabs an abdominal stretch (and you know the rest of the joke). Whip to the ropes, Saggs ducks under a clothesline, and a shoulder tackle wipes out boith Dibiase AND the referee. Knobbs sneaks in and covers Dibiase... for three at 8:20? Nope, Jimmy Hart convinces Hebner that Knobbs wasn't legal, so the match continues. Dibiase locks Saggs in the Million Dollar Dream, but Knobbs makes the save. Saggs slams Dibiase face-first to the canvas, and it's hot tag time! Knobbs pounds away on I.R.S. and drops an elbow for two. Powerslam gets another two count. Suplex gets two. Saggs to the top rope with his AWFUL elbow drop, but Dibiase interrupts with a belt shot, drawing a Disqualification at 13:18 (including about a minute or so of nothing following the fake pinfall). Nice of Hebner to slow his count down to make up for the delay in Dibiase's run-in. * Hot finish aside, a poor match with surprisingly lazy work. The Nasty Boys weren't exactly a "good" team, but had bizarre chemistry with Money Inc., and it didn't show here. Lots of resting and little else.
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Razor Ramon:
This is what you call booking yourself into a corner. The Undertaker was in no way doing pinfall jobs, and Razor Ramon was in line for a PPV Title Match against Bret Hart, and can't afford a pinfall loss, either. From the 4 or 5 matches these two had that made it to Coliseum Video, I expect it to suck and have a lame Count-Out finish. Ramon immediately plays chicken-shit, so we can expect a whole lot of nothing. Undertaker no-sells a flurry of boots and rights, then chokes away in the corner. Ramon reverses a whip to the corner, but meets a boot on a charge. Undertaker goes to the top with the unnamed move later labeled "going old school." 'Taker plants Razor with a slam, but misses an elbow. Ramon with a clothesline, sending him to the floor. He stupidly pulls 'Taker back to the apron and gets hung across the top rope. 'Taker with a short-arm clothesline in between the usual lumbering offense. This time it's Razor avoiding a charge and hopping on 'Taker's back with a sleeper. 'Taker escapes with a jaw-buster, but Ramon quickly recovers with a second turnbuckle bulldog. Ramon with a pair of slams and a back breaker, but 'Taker keeps sitting up. Ramon with five elbow drops, and 'Taker again sits up. Undertaker with the Chokeslam... for three at 7:45?! That seemed unexpected. Post-match, Ramon knocks Paul Bearer on his ass and KO's Undertaker with the urn to get his heat back. 3/4* This could've been worse... could've been Undertaker vs. Nailz. I'm still surprised Ramon did a clean pinfall job.
WWF Championship Match:
Bret "Hitman" Hart © vs. Ric Flair:
This is your Main Event of the evening. Having recently recapped another of their house show matches not too long ago, I don't have to say much more than that Bret and Flair didn't exactly get along when constructing their matches, but to the average Joe like myself, I see nothing wrong with them. Feeling out process to start. Flair takes him over with a side headlock, but Bret quickly counters with a head scissors. Flair with a few yanks of the hair to get under his skin. Bret slows things down, working on the left arm. Flair turns the tide, at least for the moment, with a thumb to the eyes and chops. Flair with a snapmare and knee drop for the first near fall of the match. Bret blocks a suplex attempt and counters with his own. He immediately goes to work on the leg, dropping an elbow and hooking a grapevine before slapping on the Figure-Four in the center of the ring! Flair manages to escape, continuing the sell the leg while on offense. Flair with a series of near falls, using the ropes for leverage. Hard whip to the corner, and Flair with more chops. Snapmare into a cover for more near falls.
Bret offers a comeback with roundhouse rights. Whip to the corner is reversed, and he takes Flair over with a back drop. They trade blows until Flair counters with an inverted atomic drop. He goes for the Figure-Four, but Bret counters with a small package for two. They trade blows again. Bret grabs a headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. He tries it again, and Flair counters with a sleeper hold (using the ropes for extra leverage, of course). At this point, our friendly camera operator is concerned about his tape running out of time. Bret with a leverage maneuver to escape, giving us the first face-first flop from Flair. Damn, that's a lot of f-words. Whip to the ropes, Bret blocks a hip toss and counters with a back slide for two. Whip is reversed, this time Bret hooks a sleeper. but Flair quickly counters with a back suplex for a two count.
Flair sends Hart to the corner, only for the Hitman to come exploding out with a clothesline. Flair counters a headlock with an atomic drop to the knee, and finally slaps on the Figure-Four! There's a quick edit, probably signalling the changing of the tape. Bret makes it to the ropes, forcing a break. Flair stomps away at the knee mercilessly and cradles Hart for a two count. Bret with a slingshot into a sunset flip for a two count (complete with yanking down of Flair's trunks). The Hitman's straps are down, which means he means business. Whip to the corner and a back body drop. Flair to the top rope, and in the surprise of the century, gets slammed off. Whip to the corner, Flair flips to the apron, runs up the ropes, and jumps right into a well placed right. Bret with a Russian leg sweep for two. Snap suplex gets two. Back breaker and second rope elbow drop connects. He sets Flair across the top turnbuckle and brings him down with a Super-Plex! That only gets two. Flair manages to kick off a Sharpshooter attempt. Bret counters a suplex attempt, and a roll up gets the three count at 30:09 (approximately). Post-match, Flair attacks Bret during his celebration, then runs like a wuss. ***1/2 Good match, but a bit below the level of what I was expecting, and to be fair, Flair was still recovering from his inner-ear injury. Things picked up nicely for the last 10-minutes, but the first 20 felt like they were pacing themselves for an hour. Honestly, the whole match felt like the first half of their Marathon Match, so you can see that even when they try and change up their style, they still follow the same script.
Final Thoughts: With two pretty good/great matches on a 7-match show (one is missing, but we all know it sucked), that's pretty much an automatic thumbs up show, but it's a great sign of how thin the talent depth was in the roster at the time. Everyone expected Flair/Bret and Michaels/Jannetty to be good matches, and everything else failed like I'm sure everyone expected, as well. The most important factor in this recording is that during the two good matches, the smart-ass wise-cracking is completely gone, so there's that for a plus. If you like fan-cam stuff, then give this show a look. There's probably a half-dozen other shows from the time featuring Flair/Bret and Michaels/Jannetty, so if you've seen it once, you know what you're getting.
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