WWE Attitude Era Unreleased DVD
Host: Corey Graves
So as you might be able to tell, this is a three disc collection of unreleased matches and segments from the Attitude Era. I did a similar set from the 80s/90s and absolutely loved it, but that is a time period I enjoy a bit more. I’m not sure what to expect here as I’ve tried to avoid the listings so I’m coming into this a bit blind. Let’s get to it.
We open with a highlight reel of house show clips, with fans talking about the greatness of the WWF.
Host Corey Graves (He was the best they could do?) welcomes us and explains the Attitude Era in case we somehow bought this nostalgia DVD with no idea about what we’re being nostalgic about.
From Germany, April 1996 (No specific date or location given, but it’s either April 7, 12, 17 or 22).
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin
This is shot with a handheld camera for quite the different view. They fight over lockup to start and go technical (the fans approve), with Bret having to nip up out of an armbar. Austin switches into a hammerlock before Bret switches into one of his own and cranks away. Back up and Austin starts playing more towards his own strengths with an elbow to the face.
The middle finger elbow (minus the middle fingers) connects but Bret reverses into another armbar. That works so well that Bret grabs an O’Connor roll for two before going back to the armbar. Austin finally bails to the floor for a breather before coming back in for a test of strength. With that not working for either of them, Austin dumps him outside instead. A hard whip into the steps sets up a whip into the steps, allowing Austin to call Bret a LOSER.
Austin starts in on the leg and knocks him out to the floor again, followed by a suplex back inside. The middle rope elbow gives Austin two and we hit the chinlock. Back up and Austin sends him hard into the corner for two (with the feet on the ropes not really helping). Bret’s comeback is pretty quickly cut off so Austin stomps away, setting up a suplex. The chinlock goes back on but Bret is right back up with a sleeper.
Austin uses a jawbreaker to stun Bret a bit but the running crotch attack only hits ropes. Now Bret’s comeback is really on with a clothesline into an atomic drop into a clothesline for two. The backbreaker and Russian legsweep get two but Austin whips him hard into the corner. Bret knocks him off the top though and drops a top rope elbow (!), setting up the Sharpshooter for the win at 19:58.
Rating: B. Oh of course this works, even though it is a bit surprising given that this was NOT Stone Cold yet, but rather Austin getting to work for a change. It’s also interesting that this was just after Bret lost the title and took a hiatus after Wrestlemania, but you can see why he would want to come back and face Austin if this is what they’re capable of doing together. Heck of a match here, and you can see what got people interested in Austin.
Corey introduces our next match, which should be rather violent.
From In Your House VII: Good Friends, Better Enemies (dark match).
Undertaker vs. Mankind
This might be their first ever match. Undertaker stars fast and knocks him into the corner and slowly hammers away. The big elbow misses though and there’s the Cactus Clothesline. Undertaker is fine enough to send him face first into the steps and they’re already back inside. Old School connects but Mankind gets smart by going for the leg and hits a clothesline.
Another whip sends Undertaker knees first into the steps and Mankind drops a leg for two back inside. We hit the facial ripping as the fans are rather quiet, likely because this is coming a bit after the Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel No Holds Barred match that headlined the show. Back up and Undertaker elbows him in the face so hard that Mankind seems to lose some of his hair.
Mankind doesn’t seem to be Samson-esque (look it up) and hits a Texas piledriver. The Mandible Claw is blocked so Mankind goes back to ripping at his (as in Undertaker’s, since you have to specify with Mankind) face. Undertaker fights up and sends him to the floor again, only to be whipped into the barricade. Back in and Undertaker hits a quick chokeslam into the Tombstone for the pin at 11:02.
Rating: B-. The crowd being silent was the weird part here and it took something away from the match. Granted these two hadn’t developed their hatred for each other yet so it was more just a hard hitting match than two people who wanted to hurt the other. What we got was good, but you could tell this was a dark match as they weren’t exactly going nuts out there.
We look at WWE going to Kuwait in 1996 for the Kuwait Cup on a five night run of shows. There was a VHS tape of this that I watched a few times back in the day.
From Kuwait City, Kuwait, May 12, 1996.
Bret Hart/Undertaker vs. British Bulldog/Owen Hart
This is a different pairing and the Titantron, or at least its grandfather, looks like a Game Boy screen. Owen looking terrified of Undertaker’s entrance as well is a great touch. The villains hit the stall button to start until we settle down to Bulldog vs. Undertaker. Hold on though as Undertaker has to knock Owen of the apron so the stalling can continue. Back in and Bulldog wants to be declared the winner due to, uh, being British, but Earl Hebner isn’t having it.
Undertaker stares Bulldog down and it’s off to the apron again, this time with a tag to Owen. The staredown continues with Bret egging the fans on to boo Owen out of the building. The fans aren’t as nice to Bulldog as Undertaker and Owen stand around and watch the cheer off. They finally lock up after nearly five minutes and Undertaker grabs a headlock. Undertaker even armdrags (!) him into an armbar and I’m trying to get my head around Undertaker doing basic wrestling.
A heart punch knocks Owen down and there’s Old School to do it again. Bret comes in (the fans approve) and Owen gets wishboned, meaning it’s off to the Bulldog. Bret takes Bulldog down by the arm (that feels more right) before hammering away a bit in the corner. Bulldog has had enough of this getting beaten up thing and hands it back to Owen, who is promptly headlocked. A Bulldog cheap shot from the apron lets Owen stomp away, with Bulldog getting in some choking for a bonus.
Owen chokes away with the singlet (like a good villain should) before shifting to the stomping in the corner. Bret can’t quite fight out of a front facelock as Owen takes him back into the corner for more double teaming. Bulldog comes in to work on Bret’s back, complete with some chest popping for a bonus. Bret gets in a shot of his own but Owen is right there to cut him off. A double clothesline finally gives Bret a breather and he’s right over for the tag off to Undertaker. House is quickly cleaned and the Tombstone finishes Owen at 14:48.
Rating: B-. The wrestling wasn’t great here but that wasn’t anything close to the point. This was all about four people having a good time in front of a bunch of fans who are not going to get to see this in person pretty much ever. The stuff at the beginning was a good time and I had a blast with them just taking a night off and having a nice match without taking anything too seriously. And again, Undertaker did an armdrag!
Bret and Undertaker celebrate for a bit, which is strange as it’s to Undertaker’s slow music.
We get GTV, which is Corey Graves getting his makeup done and saying something that is not easy to understand.
From Kuwait City, Kuwait, May 12, 1996.
WWF Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin
Michaels is defending and rather well received but Austin gets a nice reaction of his own. Why Austin has pick arm and wristbands isn’t clear. Hold on though as the referee checks for weapons…and actually finds something on Austin! Well that’s a rare one. The fans chant something pro-Shawn so Austin goes to the floor for some glaring. Back in and Austin takes over with a headlock before making it simple by punching him in the face. Shawn comes back with an armdrag into an armbar and Austin can’t technical his way out of it.
A shot to the face works a bit better and Austin gets to work on the arm a bit for a change. Shawn pulls him into a headlock, which is reversed into a headscissors, which is reversed right back into the headlock. Austin gets in another shot to the ace and a middle rope elbow, only to have Shawn pull him into the chinlock. Back up and Austin tries to send him over the top but Shawn is back with a hurricanrana. Shawn chases him into the corner, where Austin gets in the required low blow when the referee can’t see it.
Then the lights go out, as apparently there was a power issue in the venue. You can still hear the match going on, but it could be a rather violent checkers match for all I know. After about a minute and a half, we get a dim light as they have moved out to the floor. Back in and Shawn gets a rollup for two but Austin pulls him back down into the chinlock as the lights are back on full. Austin’s feet get caught on the ropes so the referee breaks it up (with the camera showing that it was the weakest chinlock imaginable), leaving Austin to hit a rather delayed backbreaker.
Michaels’ sleeper is countered with a jawbreaker but he’s fine enough to send Austin face first into the buckle a few times. The flying forearm into the nipup set up a top rope ax handle for two as the fans are getting into this. Austin grabs the Stun Gun (he didn’t use that much in the WWF) but Michaels faceplants him and….eventually…..hits Sweet Chin Music to retain at 16:34.
Rating: B-. This started slowly and then picked up but the lights messed everything up. The interesting thing is that Austin is still far from what he would become, but the talent is still there. What matters here is that Austin is capable of wrestling a good match with just about anyone and Shawn was on another planet from almost anyone else, so this wound up working well. It’s still cool to see what Austin would become though, as you could see the foundation there, and it seems the WWF would start getting there soon enough.
Post match Michaels thanks the fans for coming and how important it is to have a free Kuwait. Then he climbs the lighting grid and holds up a sign saying I HEART FREE KUWAIT! Fair enough.
We look at the Curtain Call (a week after the last two matches). And hey we get a match from the show, featuring Owen Hart with his VERY broken arm.
From New York City, New York, May 19, 1996
Ultimate Warrior vs. Owen Hart
This is a weird mixture of fan cam/hard cam/handheld cam, Jim Cornette is here with Owen and it’s also Warrior’s first match in MSG since 1991 (oh yeah the fans remember him). As tends to be his custom, Owen chills on the floor for a consultation with Cornette. Warrior gives chase before taking him inside for a shoulder and a slam. There’s the running clothesline to put Owen on the floor, meaning Cornette has some more advice (“Don’t get into destrucity.”).
Warrior chases after Cornette but cuts off the cheap shotting Owen. Back in and Cornette offers another distraction to some more success as Owen gets to take over. A tennis racket shot lets Cornette get in his over the top celebration as Owen slowly stomps away. Owen hits a missile dropkick but Warrior reverses a suplex into one of his own. Warrior is back up and hits three straight shoulders for a two finger pin at 7:17.
Rating: C-. This was all about having the Warrior back in the ring at the Garden and what else were you expecting from him in 1996? Thankfully they had Owen in there for most of the offense as he can work some miracles. Warrior kept it relatively short here too, but even then what we got wasn’t great. Sidenote: Owen’s arm was fine, making the pre-match discussion was a little weird.
Another GTV segment shows Corey Graves talking about Owen’s arm being completely fine and being rather confused. He also met Warrior as a kid and was confused by him wearing normal clothes.
From New York City, New York, August 9, 1996.
Steve Austin vs. Undertaker
Another multi-style camera match here, which will continue to mess me up a lot. Austin now has white wrist tape and no arm bands (making him look more like himself) and is trash talking a lot before the match. Paul Bearer is of course here with Undertaker and apparently this is the main event, meaning Austin’s star is already starting to rise. Austin ducks a charge and hits a right hand, which just gets him a stare.
The REST IN PEACE chant start up and Austin doesn’t like that. Hold on though as Austin needs a breather on the floor, which is certainly within his rights. Undertaker eventually joins him so Austin hammers away as they get back inside. That earns him a toss into the corner so Undertaker can fire off the rather wild rights and lefts. A backdrop (with the camera cutting in the middle of the move for what I’m sure is a logical reason) sets up Old School so Austin wants a timeout.
It seems to work too as Austin gets in a shot to the face and stomps away in the corner. Some elbows give Austin two and he low blows Undertaker for two more. There’s a swinging neckbreaker for another near fall and Austin goes up, crosses himself for some reason (nice to see) and drops Bret Hart middle rope elbow. A piledriver plants Undertaker for a rather delayed two so Austin tries a Tombstone for some reason. Undertaker easily reverses into one of his own but Mankind runs in for the DQ at 9:23.
Rating: B-. Yeah this was much more Stone Cold style than the Ringmaster as the evolution of Austin is rather interesting. They definitely know they have something with him and putting him in the main event, where he wasn’t even pinned, is a great sign for his future. This was one of the better Austin vs. Undertaker matches I’ve seen too, as they normally had some pretty awful chemistry.
Post match the double teaming is on until Shawn Michaels, in a jean jacket for a weird look, makes the save. Goldust comes in as well though and the villains get in the big beatdown. Mankind and Goldust leave though and Undertaker and Shawn get up for the double beatdown. Shawn and Undertaker pose together and….that’s kind of awesome.
Corey calls that post match stuff the embodiment of the Attitude Era. After we establish that he doesn’t get what the Attitude Era is like, we get sent to another match.
From In Your House: Buried Alive (dark match).
WWF Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Goldust
Goldust, with Marlena, is challenging, and this is a much more traditional camera setup. Before the match, Goldust says hit the music and dances to Shawn’s music, complete with poses. Shawn isn’t having that and knocks him down for the walk across Goldust’s back. A top rope ax handle gets two but Goldust knocks him outside a few times. There’s a suplex back inside and we hit the chinlock. Make that a sleeper and Shawn goes back down after a comeback attempt.
Shawn finally suplexes his way to freedom and a double knockdown lets them catch a breather. Back up and Shawn drops him again, setting up the top rope elbow. Sweet Chin Music misses though and Goldust drops him with a clothesline before doing the slow crawl onto Shawn. The Curtain Call doesn’t work either however and Shawn kisses him on the mouth, setting up the superkick to retain at 8:12.
Rating: C+. This was the equivalent of a quick house show main event and little more than a way to send the fans home happy. As usual, Shawn could have a good match with anyone and Goldust is more than talented enough to make anything work. Perfectly fine match here and the fans popped big for the kiss.
ANOTHER GTV video (we get the idea already) shows Corey Graves doing the Goldust deep breath pose.
From In Your House: It’s Time (dark match).
Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind
Mankind has Paul Bearer with him. Shawn comes to the ring with a cup of water, which he throws in Mankind’s face to start the fight fast. Mankind is sent into various things on the floor and then kneed in the head inside before Shawn pounds him down in the corner. Back up and Mankind hits his spinning clothesline, followed by some face ripping (Mankind: “COME ON SEXY BOY”) on the ropes.
The running knee in the corner sets up a blocked Mandible Claw, allowing Shawn to grab a belly to back suplex. Shawn hits the forearm but Mankind manages to get the Claw this time. They fall out to the floor though and Shawn sends him into the steps to really break it up. Mankind’s hand is sent into the steps as well, setting up the top rope elbow. The urn is brought in but Shawn hits the superkick to retain at 6:56.
Rating: C+. These two had some great chemistry together but there is only so much you can do in the limited time. It was also Shawn being a bit more aggressive, though at the same time he seemed a little less than interested in being out there. Either way, nice enough stuff here and I can always go for more from these two.
From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 3, 1997. This is a dark match from Raw, though it was taped on January 31.
WWF Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart vs. Sid
Shawn is defending and he actually gets quite the positive reaction, which I wouldn’t have expected. Boxer George Chuvalo is guest outside referee. Bret’s sneering at Shawn as he goes through the whole stripping entrance is a great bonus. Bret shoves Shawn to start and they slug it out until Sid rams their heads together to take over. Shawn gets whipped over the corner and out to the floor, with Sid punching him off the apron to knock him down again.
Bret’s slugging away doesn’t do much good, leaving Sid to dump Shawn over the top and out to the floor for the third time. To mix things up a big, Sid pulls Shawn back in but misses a running boot in the corner. Sid is fine enough to hit one heck of a chokeslam on Shawn but Bret catches Sid on top (Sid’s leg is probably thankful). True to his nature, Bret hammers on Shawn in the corner but gets sent chest first into the buckle for his efforts.
Shawn gets to beat on Bret for a bit, including a stomp on the face. Sid comes back in to send Shawn outside and ax handles Bret in the back for two. The powerbomb is loaded up but Shawn makes the save (Why not wait for after the powerbomb?) and hammers Sid about the head and shoulders. A ram into the buckle is blocked though and Sid hits a gorilla press.
Back in and Bret hammers away on Sid in the corner before DIVING onto Shawn for more right hands. With Sid knocked outside, the Russian legsweep gets two on Shawn and the backbreaker gets the same. Bret backdrops Shawn to the floor but walks into a clothesline from Sid to leave them both down. Back up and Bret grabs the Sharpshooter on Sid but Steve Austin runs in to jump Bret. The boxer punches Austin out Bret tries the Sharpshooter again, only to have Shawn dive in with a high crossbody for the pin on Bret at 11:13.
Rating: B-. They were clearly trying to figure out the formula for the triple threat match here but it was still a good match with the ending being enough of a surprise. The boxer came in for the save, which at least reminded me that he was there. This felt more like a novelty for its time and that makes it a perfect fit for something like this set. If nothing else, how often do you see Shawn getting a pin on Bret?
Graves introduces us to Chainsaw Charlie.
From Uniondale, New York, December 29, 1997, the night Charlie debuted.
Nation Of Domination vs. Steve Austin/Undertaker/Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie
Well that’s a stacked good guy team. If nothing else, it’s weird enough to see Undertaker and Mankind teaming together. Austin is in his jean shorts here and has what seems to be an intentionally awkward staredown with Undertaker before we get going. Cactus and D’Lo Brown start things off with Cactus running him over and dropping a leg.
Charlie comes in for a double clothesline and a hangman’s neckbreaker drops Brown again. It’s off to Rock to face Charlie (they couldn’t have wrestled too many times) but Austin comes in to chase him out. Brown comes back in to trade wristlocks with Austin (that’s another weird one) until a distraction lets Rock come in. Austin slugs away (that’s more like it) and the Thesz press sends Rock bailing to the floor.
It’s quickly off to Godfather to unload on Mankind in the corner before Brown drops the leg for two. Brown hits the legdrop between the leg before it’s back to Simmons to work on Cactus’ back. That’s broken up and the tag brings Undertaker back in as everything breaks down. Rock slugs at Undertaker but Austin makes a blind tag (or close enough, as he didn’t seem to touch Undertaker) for the Stunner and the pin at 8:24.
Rating: C+. Nothing match as you might have expected, but this was all about looking at the talent lineup in the ring. If nothing else, Rock and Terry Funk being in the ring together was such a weird generational clash that I wanted to see how it worked. This was the definition of star studded, as only Godfather and Brown aren’t former or future World Champions. Not bad for an eight minute dark match.
Graves introduces Ken Shamrock….as well as the Rock. If you’re buying a DVD of dark matches and rarities, you don’t need things like this.
From Anaheim, California, March 13, 1998 at a house show about two weeks before we would see the same match at Wrestlemania XIV.
Intercontinental Title: The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock
Rock, with the Nation, is defending and it’s another handheld camera shoot. Shamrock takes him down for an early ankle lock defense, with Rock immediately bailing to the floor. We hit the rather long stall button until Rock gets back in, where Shamrock kicks him down a few times. Rock manages a clothesline to the floor where the Nation drops Shamrock onto the barricade like good lackeys.
The Nation gets ejected but Rock is fine enough to slug away for two. The People’s Elbow gets two and we hit the chinlock to slow things down a bit. Shamrock fights up and grabs a fisherman’s suplex for two but Rock runs him over with a clothesline. They go outside again for an exchange of whips into metal objects as Rock takes over again. Back in and Rock chokes in the corner but Shamrock grabs a fisherman’s neckbreaker.
The Maivia Hurricane gives Rock a delayed two but Shamrock is right back up to slug away. Shamrock hits the standing hurricanrana on Rock and a running clothesline on the referee, allowing Rock to grab a suplex and put everyone down. The Nation offers a distraction though, allowing Brown to hit Shamrock with with a chair. Cue a second referee to say not so fast, leaving Shamrock to grab the ankle lock for the tap and the title at 9:11.
Rating: B-. I liked this one better than I remember the Wrestlemania title match, though I don’t think they’re exactly hiding what they’re doing with the finish here. Shamrock getting all fired up for the comeback is cool to see but they didn’t hide the Dusty Finish and that’s not something you want to see. For now though, I’ll take a pretty hard hitting fight though and it worked well here.
Post match Shamrock beats up the Nation and yeah it’s a DQ so no title change. He doesn’t like the ruling and leaves with the title anyway.
Graves runs us through the first ever Raw in Madison Square Garden, featuring the first Stunner to Vince McMahon and the debut of Cactus Jack (in back to back segments, as you could feel WCW dying at the same time). After a highlight package on Jack, we’re back to the Garden.
From New York City, New York, March 22, 1998, a week before Wrestlemania XIV.
Cactus Jack vs. Billy Gunn
Hardcore rules. Jack beats him up with a broom to start and they fight up the aisle. Gunn gets in a shot of his own for two, only to be sent face first into the steps. They head inside with Jack loading up a table in the corner and hiptossing him through it for two. Jack hits him low with…something made of metal but the Mandible Claw sends Gunn falling out to the floor. This time it’s Jack going into the steps but he pops up with a clothesline. Gunn is fine enough to chair the steps into Jack’s head, followed by a broom to the back.
Some metal sheets to the head put Jack down again for two and a good looking jumping piledriver plants him hard. Gunn dives face first into a chair though and the comeback is on. Jack hits a clothesline but walks into the Fameasser for another near fall. A chair shot takes too long though (Gunn having to flip it over so it’s the right side didn’t help), allowing Jack to take it away and hit a double arm DDT onto the chair for the pin at 8:26.
Rating: C+. I remember Gunn in a hardcore match at Wrestlemania XV and thinking that he didn’t quite have the art form of hardcore down. That was the case here, as Gunn’s offense consisted of just hitting Jack with random weapons. Jack know how to build things up a bit better, which comes with experience in this kind of match. Good enough here, but it was all about Jack, as it should have been.
We talk about Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin at Wrestlemania, but since Michaels can’t wrestle, HHH was taking his place. Like he’s doing here.
From New York City, New York, March 22, 1998, a week before Wrestlemania XIV.
HHH vs. Steve Austin
HHH’s European Title isn’t on the line and Chyna is here too. Believe it or not, the fans go nuts for Austin. HHH backs him into the corner to start and they grapple around a good bit with Austin getting in the double middle fingers. HHH’s headlock doesn’t last long as Austin elbows him in the face and grabs his own headlock. With that broken up, HHH takes a breather on the floor as Austin is just left standing around in the corner.
Back in and HHH flips him off, earning himself a quick beating. Austin hits the Thesz press but it’s too early for the Stunner, as HHH bails to the floor again. They get back in with HHH hitting the jumping knee and the wrapping Austin’s knee around the post a few times. The leg cranking continues back inside before Austin is sent outside for a shot from Chyna. HHH grabs the Figure Four back inside and Austin gets to scream a bit. He eventually turns it over into the ropes, where Chyna chokes away like a villain should.
HHH cranks on the leg some more, only to have Austin use the good leg to kick him in the face (he never was one for complicated offense). The facebuster cuts Austin down again though and they need a bit of a breather. Back up and the double clothesline puts them both down again as the fans are getting back into Austin.
Chyna gets in another cheap shot to give HHH two so he goes up top for some reason. Austin punches him out of the air and starts the comeback, including the running crotch attack against the ropes. A Pedigree attempt is countered into a catapult to knock the referee down but Chyna’s interference fails. Austin hits a Stunner each to finish HHH at 16:45.
Rating: B. Oh yeah you could absolutely see the chemistry here and this was a match that got a good deal of time. It made things a lot better as they had the chance to build a story and turn it into something rather than the fast stuff that has filled in this set so far. Austin was just crazy over and clearly the future, so it’s nice to see him getting this kind of a match. No wonder it headlined the Garden either, as no one was following that kind of a reaction.
Austin gets to pose post match and my goodness the tan line from his trunks being down a bit is distracting.
ANOTHER GTV segment (my goodness enough about Graves) shows Graves wanting frostier tips in his hair and a different wardrobe.
From New York City, New York, June 26, 1999. That’s a heck of a jump.
Big Show vs. HHH
For some reason we’re clipped from Show’s entrance to the match in progress with HHH getting shoved away a few times. HHH claims cheating and then loses a one handed test of strength without too much trouble. A hip attack to the ribs sends HHH outside for a meeting with Chyna, whose advice seems to be “don’t get chopped”. HHH slugs away in the corner but Show rams him into a few buckles to cut that off.
An escape attempt results in Show going through the curtain to catch HHH without much effort. The melee lets Chyna get in a low blow though and HHH scores with the facebuster to really take over. Elbows and stomping have Show in trouble for a change, allowing Chyna to get in some choking and a forearm of her own. The jumping knee gives HHH two but the kickout sends him flying out to the floor.
Back up and HHH avoids a heck of a splash in the corner and the sleeper (as required in a match against a giant) goes on. Show goes to his knees but comes back and easily flips HHH over for the escape. Chyna offers another distraction though and HHH hits him low, only to have Show hit a big side slam. HHH slowly hammers away but Show stands up and starts walking around. A big boot sets up a missed elbow drop so HHH goes up. That works as well as anything else involving HHH going up top, as he dives into the chokeslam for the pin at 14:02 shown.
Rating: B-. This was the original version of Big Show, as he was still moving around well and felt like a giant rather than the pretty standard style he would morph into. Show was pushed rather strong at first and it’s not the biggest surprise that he would be headlining Wrestlemania next year. We’re also firmly into the HHH era here, and that is likely to keep going for a good while.
We look at the company exploding in late 1999, including the stock launch with a huge presentation on Wall Street.
From Wall Street, October 25, 2000. Dang they’re jumping over all kinds of stuff here.
Dudley Boyz vs. T&A
Trish Stratus is here with T&A and THIS is unique, as the ring is literally set up outside on Wall Street with a bunch of business people walking around. D-Von shoulders Albert around to start before a double suplex takes Albert down. Test gets in a cheap shot from the apron though and one heck of a big boot (the fans liked that one) drops D-Von again. One of the worst dives off the middle rope for the sole purpose of landing on a raised boot ensues and it’s off to Bubba for something resembling a spear. There’s What’s Up to Albert and yes it’s time for tables. Instead we’ll settle for the 3D to Test for the pin at 3:08.
Rating: C. The match was nothing of note but what mattered here was the spectacle of the whole thing. The WWF is going public on the New York Stock Exchange and they’re having a show here live to commemorate it. That makes things feel so much more important and it’s such a cool visual. Nice job and this feels like it belongs on a set like this one.
Graves wraps it up, despite there being a third disc.
One more GTV show Graves asking if we’re done.
So this is “special features”, which seemingly is no different from the first two discs.
From Sun City, South Africa, September 14, 1996.
Yokozuna vs. The Sultan
This was seemingly broadcast in South Africa so Jim Ross, Owen Hart and a local sportscaster are on commentary. Yokozuna looks rather horrible here and commentary is pointing out how huge he has gotten, to the point where he can barely do the Banzai Drop. The fans approve of Yokozuna shoving him down and hammering away but it’s too early to try the Banzai.
Back in and an elbow to the face drops Sultan but Yokozuna misses the big elbow drop. Sultan slams him head first onto the mat and we hit the chinlock. Yokozuna fights up and strikes away but misses a splash (which grazed Sultan but officially it missed). Sultan takes the turnbuckle pad off but Yokozuna sends him into the steel instead, setting up the legdrop for the pin at 6:11.
Rating: C. It really is a shame that Yokozuna let himself go so badly as he certainly had the charisma and a face run with him at mobile size could have been rather interesting. Instead he is one of the sadder stories you’ll see, as he just couldn’t control himself and fell apart. He still had the talent and could have been something if he had lost a good bit of weight, but alas it was only going to end badly.
From In Your House: It’s Time.
Goldust vs. Steve Austin
Marlena is here with Goldust in a post-show dark match. Goldust drives him into the corner to start and Austin (with no wrist tape) glares at him. Austin cranks on the arm but Goldust does the same and takes him down to the mat. Back up and the Thesz press…doesn’t seem to work as Goldust doesn’t go down, leaving Austin to hammer away instead. The chinlock goes on but Goldust is right back up with something like a hot shot.
Goldust grabs the reverse chinlock as this isn’t exactly burning up the mat so far. Austin fights back up but misses a running crotch attack, leaving Goldust to hit a clothesline for two. The chinlock goes back on for a bit before they fall out to the floor. Back in and Austin hammers away in the corner and they’re right back to the floor. Cue HHH for a distraction and a belt shot to the back, setting up the Stunner (sans kick to the ribs) to finish Goldust at 8:37.
Rating: D+. To say these guys were moving in slow motion and not trying would be an understatement. It felt like they were out there for no reason other than they had to be and that made for a horribly uninteresting match. They’re both capable of much better so we’ll call this a (rather bad) off night.
So this third disc doesn’t include Corey Graves, but for some reason it also doesn’t include any on-screen dates for the matches. The DVD case has them, but that’s a really weird thing to leave out.
From Syracuse, New York, March 17, 1997 (the Wrestlemania XIII go home Raw).
Undertaker/Ahmed Johnson/Goldust vs. Nation Of Domination
Raw dark match with Marlena and the Nation’s lackeys at ringside. It’s a brawl to start as we have the rare Shotgun Saturday Night ring skirts. Undertaker and company clear the ring and we pause for the Nation to consider leaving. We settle down to Vega hammering on Goldust before Crush comes in for a backbreaker.
Faarooq gets to mock Goldust’s deep breath (there’s an image) before throwing in a hip swivel. A cannonball down onto the back only hits raised knees but it’s back to Vega to hammer away. Goldust avoids a charge into the corner though and everything breaks down. Undertaker hits the chokeslam and Tombstone on Vega for the pin at 4:35.
Rating: C. This is what I was looking for, as that is a wacky face team to face the Nation. Undertaker getting the win less than a week before he becomes WWF Champion is fine and it wasn’t like they were out there very long. Just about all of them will have a better match on Sunday, though the lack of rules would help the Nation and Ahmed. For now though, this was a nice enough quick send them home happy match.
From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 14, 1997.
Undertaker vs. Steve Austin
Undertaker, with Paul Bearer, is defending and does NOT like Bearer helping him with his jacket. Bearer stops to yell at him (this was around the time when Bearer was forcing Undertaker to let him be his manager to avoid revealing a secret, which would wind up being Kane) before telling the cameras to get away from him.
Austin dodges a charge to start and flips Undertaker off, earning himself a beating in the corner. Some choking puts Austin on the floor but he’s right back in to crank on the arm. That doesn’t work for Undertaker, who takes over on the arm and drives in some shoulders of his own. Naturally that sets up Old School for two and Austin needs a breather on the floor.
Undertaker isn’t one to accept these delays though and sends Austin into the steps and then back inside as Bearer yells a lot. A sleeper of all things is broken up with a jawbreaker and Austin grabs a front facelock. With that not working, Austin takes him down into a chinlock as this isn’t the most thrilling stretch. For some reason Austin lets that go and they slug it out, with Undertaker getting the better of things. The jumping clothesline sets up the chokeslam and the Tombstone to finish Austin at 11:12.
Rating: C. Austin and Undertaker continue to have the weirdest non-chemistry for two big stars, which was even the case here while Austin was still on the way up. That stretch in the middle with the chinlocks and facelocks killed whatever they were doing and you could hear that the fans weren’t exactly thrilled. Not the worst match, but something wasn’t clicking between them, as usual.
From Uniondale, New York, October 24, 1997.
Tag Team Titles: Shawn Michaels/HHH vs. Legion Of Doom
The Legion Of Doom is defending and are introduced as Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal for a weird thing to hear from the Fink. HHH and Animal start but we pause for Shawn to yell at a fan about how much money he has. Animal easily powers HHH around to start so Shawn tries to come in, earning a double shove. It’s off to Hawk vs. Shawn (there’s one I didn’t expect to see) with Hawk getting in the gorilla press.
Shawn bails to the floor and then does it again from the threat of a clothesline. Back in and a clothesline connects to send Shawn right back to the floor. Animal comes back in to headlock Shawn, followed by a bearhug to both villains. HHH finally gets in a cheap shot to slow Animal down before a faceplant into an elbow to the back keeps him in trouble. A knee drop sets up a sleeper from Shawn but Animal suplexes his way to freedom (as tends to be the case).
That’s not enough for the tag though as HHH is back in with a sleeper of his own. This one is good for two arm drops before Animal his a jawbreaker but Shawn is right there to cut off the tag (nicely done). Animal powers over to the corner but HHH’s distraction still means not tag as they’re following the formula here. Shawn accidentally ax handles HHH though and NOW the hot tag brings in Hawk to clean house.
Everything breaks down and Shawn is sent outside but he gets in a cheap shot on Hawk for one. They do the same sequence again and this time….HHH gets the pin (with feet on the ropes) at 13:06? Actually never mind (ah there we go) as here’s another referee to say what happened and it’s a restart. Then the champs beat down Shawn and HHH so badly that it’s a DQ at 14:52.
Rating: B. Believe it or not, this was a more slow paced match for a good bit, with an older formula based style. That made it a good bit more entertaining than I was expecting, which is even better when you factor in the oddity of seeing these teams against each other. Good match, plus a rather cool novelty.
Post match Shawn chairs Animal but Hawk takes the chair away and Shawn bails fast.
From New York City, New York, January 10, 1998.
The Rock/D’Lo Brown vs. Cactus Jack/Steve Austin
Falls count anywhere and Jack brings a table with him to start things fast. Before the match, Jack calls out Rock for sucking and says that he’s substituting for Dude Love. After over a minute of standing around, Brown kicks away at Jack and grabs a headlock. We pause for the handheld camera to run around the ring and it’s Jack stomping away in the corner. A clothesline gets Brown out of trouble but it’s the Cactus Clothesline to put them both on the floor.
Back in and Cactus works on the arm before Austin comes in for a bit more physicality. Austin even offers Brown’s hand to Rock for the tag but Rock isn’t having any of that. Then Rock comes in a few seconds later and the slugout is on. The Thesz press has Rock in more trouble but he bails to the floor before the Stunner. Austin sends him into the barricade and chokes away before Jack tables Rock in the head. Believe it or not, Brown takes over on Austin as Rock fight back on Jack outside.
They get back inside as the fans are already getting behind Austin. A backdrop puts Brown on the floor but he pulls Austin out with him. Rock and Jack fight to the back as Brown gets two on Austin. Jack is back with a trashcan full of weapons that Austin can use on Brown though, including another trashcan to the head. Cue Rock with a chair and the Nation to go after Jack but Austin grabs the Stunner (off camera) for the pin (off camera) at 11:32.
Rating: B-. This was the kind of wild brawl that it needed to be, but where in the world was this version of Brown over the years? He beat up Austin for a good chuck of the match and didn’t even take the all. Fun match here though, as Austin could do no wrong at this point and having Jack there as a surprise worked well.
Post match the Nation and Goldust come in to go after Austin, who responds with Stunners.
From East Rutherford, New Jersey, February 22, 1998.
Steve Austin/Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie vs. The Rock/New Age Outlaws
Anything goes and Rock is substituting for Shawn Michaels, meaning HHH and Chyna are here too. Cactus and Charlie throw a bunch of weapons in before the match (as you might have expected) and here’s Austin to blow the roof off the place (again). Everyone stands around for a bit until Billy poses at Charlie to start. Dogg comes in instead and gets punched in the face by Charlie, followed by some headbutts.
Cactus adds the running knee in the corner (Cactus: “That’ll leave a mark!”) and then pulls Gunn in for a beating from Austin. An atomic drop into a catapult into the corner takes us back to the 80s or so, followed by a heck of a clothesline to get the timeline back on track and drop Gunn at the same time. Rock comes in for the slugout with Austin, who hits the Thesz press and elbow drop. They head outside where Jack clotheslines Rock and Austin whips him over the barricade.
Everything breaks down and Charlie beats up Gunn before switching over to Dogg. Back in and Gunn is sent into the back of a table in the corner before being whipped into (not through) it. The Outlaws are put on the table and Cactus whips out the salad tongs for some crunching. We settle down to Gunn taking over on Cactus in the corner before it’s off to Rock to hammer away.
Dogg adds a chair shot to the head and Cactus is out of it, as only he can be. A belly to back suplex/neckbreaker combination puts Cactus down again and Gunn even makes sure to knock Charlie off the apron. Dogg takes too long loading up a chair though and Cactus uses it to knock him out of the air instead. That’s enough for the hot tag to Austin and house is cleaned in a hurry. Everything breaks down and the Stunner finishes Dogg at 12:04.
Rating: B-. This was the “send them home happy” match and it worked rather well all things considered. Austin was on absolute fire at this point and he would only get bigger and bigger over the next few months. When you’re in there with Mick Foley, Terry Funk, the Rock and the New Age Outlaws and are still head and shoulders above them, it is something incredibly special. Hot match too, as Jack and Charlie know just how to work in a match like this one before handing it off to Austin to land the thing.
More Stunners abound post match but HHH runs in to go after Austin. This goes as you would expect and HHH gets Stunned as well.
From Anaheim, California, March 13, 1998.
Steve Austin vs. HHH
We just did this match from nine days later on the second disc! Chyna is here too as they fight over some hammerlocks to start. We settle down for a bit until Austin sends him into the corner a few times. HHH bails to the floor for a breather before coming back in to flip Austin off. Austin, fighting for his intellectual property, slugs away but HHH gets in a hard shot of his own to take over.
The Thesz press and elbow drop get Austin out of trouble though and HHH is sent outside. Back in and Austin hits an atomic drop but HHH is fine enough to nail the jumping knee. HHH wraps the knee around the post (just like in the other match) but this time Austin rolls him up for two instead. The Figure Four goes on with HHH grabbing the rope before Austin turns it over, sending him into the ropes.
As you might expect, Chyna chokes away as she did in the previous match (because they put two matches with the same people from 9 days apart on the same set). HHH goes up but gets punched out of the air, followed by the double clothesline to leave them both down. Back up and HHH yells at the referee, who shoves him back, right into a beating from Austin. The comeback is on but the referee gets distracted by Chyna, meaning Austin’s catapult into the corner hits said referee instead. Chyna tries to come in so Austin Stuns the both for the pin on HHH at 12:29.
Rating: B-. I can’t get over this one, as it was almost the same match, even down to the same spots and finish. Why would you include two matches like that within the same set? Why not just put them both back to back? The match was fine as you would expect, but I watched it a few hours ago. Why should I be that interested again?
From New York City, New York, June 26, 1999.
WWF Title: Steve Austin vs. Undertaker
Undertaker, with Paul Bearer, is defending. Austin jumps him fast to start but Undertaker unloads with right hands in the corner. Back up and Austin hits a quick Thesz press and slugs away, setting up the elbow drop for two. Undertaker gets sent into some buckles and they head outside where the camera mostly loses track of them. Back in and Undertaker hits a big boot before Bearer gets in a cheap shot of his own.
Undertaker gets in his elbow to the face on the apron and the camera goes all over the place again. Austin is dropped throat first across the barricade but manages to fight back without much trouble. A piledriver on the floor has to be dropped though as Austin heads over to deck Bearer. That’s enough of a distraction for Undertaker to send him into the steps and slowly hammer away as the pace cools down.
Back in and Austin’s slam attempt fails as Undertaker falls on top of him for two. We hit the chinlock to keep things slow as Undertaker doesn’t look thrilled. Austin fights up and it’s a double clothesline to put them both down again. The stomping in the corner has Undertaker in more trouble but he loads up the Tombstone. That’s broken up as well though and Austin hits the Stunner. Bearer pulls the referee though and it’s Mideon coming in for the DQ at 11:24.
Rating: C+. This was a bad period for Undertaker as he was pretty clearly over all of the nonsense with the evil stuff and wanted to move to something else. Biker Taker really was a big change of pace for him and something that he needed. Austin was still hot, but things were about to start tilting away from him as his neck got worse and worse. If nothing else, he would take the title from Undertaker two days later in one of the highest rated segments ever on Raw.
From Wall Street, October 25, 2000 (yes that show again).
Hardy Boyz vs. Lo-Down
The Hardys’, with Lita, Tag Team Titles aren’t on the line and Lo-Down are in completely generic black pants with nothing making them stand out. Chaz headlocks and shoulders Matt down to start but it’s quickly off to Jeff for Poetry In Motion. Jeff gets punched down though and it’s off to Brown for a headlock of his own. The leg lariat drops Jeff again and an arm lariat does it as well. A Chaz distraction means Jeff’s sunset flip only gets two and Brown misses a moonsault to make it even worse. Matt comes in to clean house as everything breaks down. The Twist of Fate into the Swanton finishes for Jeff at 4:02.
Rating: C. That was as basic of a tag match as you could have had and it wasn’t supposed to be anything else. The WWF didn’t run a show on Wall Street for a Wrestlemania quality show but rather just getting some matches out there. The Hardys were big names and as a glorified cameo, this went fine.
Overall Rating: B-. This was a really weird set, as it has some rather interesting stuff like that eight man tag and the DX vs. LOD match, plus the rather cool Wall Street matches. On the other hand though, you have so many instances of repeats of matches that were done to death over the years. How many times do I need to see HHH vs. Austin or Austin vs. Undertaker?
I was hoping for some more oddities (Kurrgan for instance), or at least a focus on a bunch of people outside of the main event scene. I get why they’re prominently featured, but a little more variety would have been nice. Overall it’s a fun thing to see, but it really needed to be mixed up more. Also, you’re looking at the Attitude Era and have two matches each from 1999 and 2000? And from the same show at that? There are some weird choices on here and some weirder omissions (no Edge, Christian, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero for instance), making this something that was good, but could have been SO much more.
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