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Shotgun Saturday Night - March 1, 1997
by Scrooge McSuck
Taped on February 24th from the Manhattan Center in New York City, NY. Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette are calling the action, unless otherwise noted.
The show opens with Kevin Kelly conducting an interview with the Legion of Doom from the crowd at the Manhattan Center. It's a lot of screaming without a point, but that's always been the trademark of the Road Warriors, right?
Goldust (w/ Marlena) & Miguel Perez vs. Crush & Savio Vega (w/ The Nation of Domination):
I feel bad for the Manhattan crowd having to sit through so much of the Nation in one night. This is Perez's in-ring debut for the WWF, and it's such a weird debut because I'm 100% sure this is a one-and-done appearance until a certain storyline develops in the Summer. It's a slugfest to start, with Goldust taking Crush out of the ring while Perez, the human Chia Pet, works over Savio. I'm disappointed, we didn't get the goofy subtitles for the wrestlers! Savio forces Goldust into the corner and tags in Crush. Whip and Goldust surprises him with the drop-down uppercut, followed by a clothesline for two. Savio bails and Perez follows with a tope con hilo! I didn't expect that. Back inside, Perez sends Savio to the corner but gets dropped across the turnbuckle from the mounted position. Crush with a headbutt and belly-to-belly suplex as Cornette breaks the news: GOLDUST MEETS HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY AT WRESTLEMANIA 13! Perez gets dumped to the outside and sent into the steps. Back inside, Savio unloads with a series of kicks as Vince suggests he tried to model his career after Savio and not his father, the original Miguel Perez. Cornette with a good question: what's the difference between choking and BLATANT choking, and yes, Vince has an answer. Miguel surprises Crush with a sunset flip, but Crush remains in control. Meanwhile, Goldust seems distracted at ringside as we take a break. We come back with Crush in control with a nerve hold. Crush with a piledriver but Goldust saves. Savio comes in, slapping his hands to mimic the sound of a tag, and takes Perez over with a BAAACK body-drop. Perez teases a comeback but meets a boot in the corner. Crush with a press slam and leg drop for two before pulling Perez off the canvas himself. Perez counters a suplex with a DDT and finally tags in Goldust. He runs wild on Savio with rights and a clothesline. DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER. Heck breaks loose. Crush smacks Goldust across the back with a chair and rolls Savio on top for three at 10:40 (shown). Post-match, Perez comes in and starts swinging at all the Nation with the chair. At least it wasn't a DQ finish, but it wasn't very good, either. *
Highlights from Monday Night Raw, with the invasion of Extreme Championship Wrestling. We get the crib notes of all the segments, from the Eliminators beating on a geek, Big Stevie Cool vs. Little Guido, Mikey Whipwreck vs. Taz, Tommy Dreamer vs. D'Von Dudley, and the blow-up between Jerry Lawler and Paul E. Dangerously. Nothing from these segments was that great, but compared to the WWF segments, it looked like A-list material.
Kevin Kelly is standing by for an interview with The Undertaker. Kelly calls WrestleMania 13 will be the biggest night of Taker's career and asks for his thoughts on Sycho Sid. Taker says WrestleMania will be known as WrestleMania the 13th, lucky for some, but unlucky for Sycho Sid. He's sat back for years to let guys like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels have their day of glory, choosing to represent causes instead of titles. The creatures of the night beckon for a World Title. All his life he's laid giants to rest, and while Sid won't be the first, he could be the last. On WrestleMania the 13th, he will know his name is the Undertaker, and he is not only Sid's master, but the master of the dark side, and anyone that decides to stand before darkness, line up, because he is more than willing to lay each and every one of them to rest.
Highlights shown of the European Tour where the WWF will crown the 1st European Champion. On the upcoming episode of Monday Night Raw, The British Bulldog and Owen Hart will meet in the finals of the tournament. What of the rest of the tournament? Who knows, they don't bother to tell us. The "highlights" were really a bunch of crowd shots and little else, by the way. I hope you didn't stay up late for that exclusive content.
Henry Godwinn (w/ Phineas Godwinn) vs. Blackjack Bradshaw (w/ Blackjack Windham):
I'm surprised they didn't throw Lanza out there a few times as an honorary manager or something to bridge the generational gap. I guess that would make too much sense. Lockup, Bradshaw (“only plays poker”) grabs a side headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Henry (“can't be slopped”) does the same and follows with a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Whip is reversed and Bradshaw nails him with a big boot. Whip to the corner and Bradshaw charges in with a clothesline. He showboats and gets booted over the top rope. Back inside and Henry greets him with a clothesline. Whip to the ropes and Bradshaw counters a back body-drop with a punt to the chest. Bradshaw with another clothesline, followed by an elbow drop for two. Henry blocks a suplex and counters with his own. Cornette sells the tag team division, name-dropping Furnas and LaFon, the Headbangers, and Vader and Mankind. BREAKING NEWS: Mankind and Vader will challenge for the Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania the 13th. Henry fights out of a nerve hold and we get a double-clothesline knockdown. We come back from commercial with Henry hitting a powerslam for two. Whip and a charging elbow for two. Bradshaw cuts off another whip with a knee lift and Russian leg sweep for two. Henry ducks the Lariat and hits the Slop Drop but Windham decks Henry in full view of the referee to break the cover! He crawls into the ring for the switch-a-roo and cradles Henry for three at 4:36 (shown). BUT WAIT, another referee comes out and the decision is reversed. WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?! Decent hoss fight until the ridiculous finish. *¾
We get a replay of the Shawn Michaels "Tell Me a Lie" Music Video. BOO.
SPECIAL BONUS! With the WWF wrapping up the run of first-run material of Superstars, I'm including the other matches taped from this show that were featured over the weekend along with the matches we got to "enjoy" on this episode of Shotgun Saturday Night.
Freddie Joe Floyd & Barry Horowitz vs. The Headbangers:
Yes, Barry Horowitz is STILL kicking around, and I'm just as surprised to see Tracy Smothers slumming it around still as Freddie Joe. Mosh and Thrasher attack before the bell and take Horowitz down with a double gourd-buster (forward drop suplex). Mosh drops Horowitz across the top rope as Cornette promotes action figures of the Headbangers that really vomit. YUMMY. He's also being sarcastic, by the way... I hope. Whip and Thrasher dives off the middle rope with a clothesline. Poor Horowitz is being gobbled up like this is an old school squash. Whip and Mosh with a dropkick. Whip and the Headbangers with a double elbow. Horowitz surprises Thrasher with a rolling cradle. He gets a Northern Lights Suplex and tags in Floyd. He runs wild with backhanded strikes and a jumping heel kick. Whip is reversed and Mosh with a powerslam, and the Headbangers finish with a combo powerbomb and leg drop at 3:32. Poor Horowitz and Floyd deserved better than being squashed like a couple of geeks.
Bart Gunn vs. T.L. Hopper:
How did this stuff not get cleared for the Monday Night Raw broadcast? Bart hasn't had much to do, other than fill a spot, since “injuring” his brother on Monday Night Raw at the end of 1996. Lockup and Hopper grabs a side headlock. They fight for position and Bart comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Crisscross and Bart with a hip toss, followed by a dropkick. Did you know the European Championship will be the first title introduced to the WWF in nearly 20-years?! Whip to the corner, Bart slides out of the ring and pulls Hopper into the post. Back inside, Bart with a rolling bridge for two. Whip to the corner, Bart meets the buckle chest-first and Hopper nails him from behind with a clothesline. I'm disappointed Jim Ross isn't burying the “wrestling plumber” like he did for most of the Fall. Hopper with a side slam for two. He plants Bart with a slam but meets a boot diving from the middle rope. Whip to the ropes and Bart with a clothesline, followed by a back elbow. He takes Hopper down with a Russian leg sweep for two. Whip and Bart with a powerslam for two. Bart reverses a whip to the corner and finishes with a bulldog at 4:21. Though he would make a handful of live event appearances, this is the last match for the wrestling plumber, but don't worry Tony Anthony fans, he'll have another cup of coffee on WWF TV later in the year.
Final Thoughts: This entire taping from the Manhattan Center was something else, especially if you're on the side that was only watching the WWF. You've got a skeleton crew lingering around, mixed in with the stars of ECW, and then they throw Miguel Perez of all people out there as well with zero introduction and put him in a lengthy tag match with a bunch of guys who aren't over. WrestleMania the 13th is coming together, but boy does it feel like an uninspired card except for Austin and Bret. Why are Taker and Sid fighting? Because. Why are Vader and Mankind challenge for the Tag Titles? Because. Does anyone care for babyface Goldust? No. We still don't have confirmation on Faarooq's challenge to Ahmed Johnson, but we're almost EIGHT MONTHS removed from the first attack, and Ahmed's stock has plummeted since. While some pieces are falling in place, the creative direction still needs a seismic shift in a new direction.
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