WWE Vintage Collection Report: September 5th 2010
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund
Welcome aboard. Our “month of champions” theme continues this week with “humble beginnings of future WWE world heavyweight champions.” Let’s begin.
WCW Pro: January 13th 1996
“The Taskmaster” Kevin Sulivan w/The Giant & Jimmy Hart vs Damon Striker (Edge)
Back in 1996, Edge was far from being the Rated R Superstar. Used purely as enhancement talent, for a three day TV taping and, under the jobber name of Damon Striker, Edge lost to Dungeon of Doom member Meng in his WCW debut. Here he faced the Dungeon’s leader. Sullivan immediately sends Striker outside and kicks him. While Sullivan distracts the referee, Giant (aka Big Show) chokeslams Striker on the floor, then press slams him back in. Sullivan lands a double foot stomp “right on the belly welly” according to announcer Dusty Rhodes and picks up the quick victory. Winner: “THE TASKMASTER” KEVIN SULLIVAN. Summing up his brief WCW tenure in his autobiography “Adam Copeland on Edge,” the future WWE champion wrote: “This was my first and last trip done strictly for money and no career advancement. In those three days I got a bad vibe from WCW – that the inmates were running the asylum – and it further reinforced that World Wrestling Federation was the place for me.”
WWF Superstars: September 29th 1996
Shawn Michaels w/Jose Lothario vs Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw w/Uncle Zebekiah (Non Title)
This was the first meeting between the two. Unshaven, and with long blonde hair tied back in a ponytail, this early version of Bradshaw liked to brand his beaten foes with a branding iron. Bradshaw shows off his power with a hard shove and tackle. Michaels uses his quickness to duck underneath and knock Zebekiah (or “Yosemite Sam” according to Jim Ross) down on the floor. Bradshaw chases Michaels back into the ring, allowing Michaels to score with a cross body and dropkick. Michaels relaxes with his feet up on the ropes while Bradshaw has a re-think. After floating over a charge in the corner, Michaels gets stung with a big boot. Bradshaw pummels Michaels in the corner, slams, then hangs him in a tree of woe and chokes the WWF champion from the outside.
Bradshaw is still in control after a commercial break, turning a sunset flip into a tree slam. Michaels comes back with clotheslines, but Bradshaw cuts him off with a boot to the chest. Michaels reverses a piledriver into a backbodydrop, and tunes up the band. Zebekiah grabs Michaels, but Bradshaw inadvertently knocks him off the apron after Michaels ducks a lunge. A rollup gets Michaels a nearfall. Michaels rolls under a big boot to connect with a flying forearm. Michaels quickly nips up, hits a top rope elbow, re-tunes up the band and lands Sweet Chin Music for the 1-2-3. Winner: SHAWN MICHAELS. This was a nice flowing matchup. This version of Bradshaw didn’t get over, nor did the later New Blackjack tandem with Barry Windham. It was only when he became an Acolyte that the crowd caught onto Bradshaw.
WCW Worldwide: June 29th 1991
WCW World Television Title: “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton vs “Stunning” Steve Austin
Okerlund calls Austin “arguably the greatest star in WWE history.” This was Austin’s first title opportunity, just a month into his WCW tenure. Austin is wearing his early days blonde ponytail look, complete with multicoloured tights. Eaton is sporting a knee injury, subtly brought up by Tony Schiavone at the start. Austin pushes Eaton off, slams and Eaton immediately favours his left shoulder. Eaton wins a slug exchange prompting Austin to call time-out in the corner. Eaton gives Austin a backbodydrop and frustrates the challenger by taking him down on three different occasions with a side headlock. The announcers call out Austin for his inexperience and for not aggressively going after Eaton. Austin turns the tide after forcing Eaton to the ropes and kicking him to the floor. Austin presses Eaton off the ring apron and into the guardrail. Austin pulls Eaton into a short arm clothesline, and chokes him in the ropes. In control, Austin misses a running spike in the ropes. Eaton fires off punches, a backbodydrop, hiptoss and clothesline. A swinging neckbreaker leads Eaton into connecting with the Alabama Jam (top rope legdrop). Lady Blossom (aka Jeannie, Austin’s first wife and current valet) enters to argue with Eaton, who bumps the referee by pushing him into the corner. Blossom digs her long fingernails into Eaton’s eyes and Austin rolls him up for the 1-2-3. Austin begins the first of two successful World TV Title reigns. Both Austin and Blossom show off the title after the bout. Winner: “STUNNING” STEVE AUSTIN.
WWF Superstars: October 19th 1991
Sid Justice vs El Diablo
Justice had recently defected from WCW and was preparing to captain a Survivor Series team against a team headed by Jake “The Snake” Roberts who had just crossed back over to the dark side. The masked El Diablo is dressed in a light pink martial arts suit, with blonde hair sticking out of the back of his red hood. As soon as the bell goes, a gong is heard and Undertaker and Paul Bearer make their way out. Bearer gives Diablo a briefcase, the two shake hands and Diablo leaves. The crowd are begging for Undertaker and Justice to face-off. Justice talks trash and both men grab each other by the throat. Diablo runs back out and pulls off the mask to reveal none other than…Jake “The Snake” Roberts!!! The blonde hair was a hairpiece to throw everyone off. Jake removes the belt from his suit, taking it in turns with Undertaker to choke out Justice. Bearer wheels out a casket as Jake DDT’s Justice. Justice gets tied up in the ropes. Jake slaps him and points at the briefcase. Jake puts on a black glove and opens the case to reveal an angry King Cobra. Hacksaw Jim Duggan runs out and tips over the casket to cause a diversion, before quickly running round the ring to free Justice. Jake and the Undertaker turn back around just as Justice is safe. Justice shoves referees out of the way and seemingly wants back in, but has second thoughts upon seeing the snake. Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and Roddy Piper put over the snake’s poison and aggression to end the segment. Sid would injure his biceps in a later match against Jake and was forced to miss Survivor Series. Randy Savage was pencilled in to replace Sid, but the infamous snake bite angle occurred with him just before Survivor Series, and Jake too was taken out of the elimination match after being “suspended” by WWF President Jack Tunney. This set up a heated grudge match between Jake and Savage at the Tuesday Night in Texas PPV, while Sid returned at the 1992 Royal Rumble and began his heel turn after helping to eliminate Hulk Hogan.
WCW Saturday Night: September 3rd 1994
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs Jean-Paul Levesque (Non Title)
Long before becoming “The Game,” Triple H was French aristocrat Jean-Paul Levesque. Okerlund calls him Jean-Pierre by mistake. Levesque is decked out in plain old black trunks and white boots, while Steamboat is the reigning U.S. Champion and is still doing the fire blowing schtick as part of his gimmick. Levesque accuses Steamboat of using the hair to take him to the corner, shoves him, then cowers away. Steamboat holds a side headlock, Levesque goes to toss him to the floor, but Steamboat skins the cat back in, and gets a nearfall from a rollup. Steamboat goes back to the side headlock then stays one step ahead of his opponent, catching a kick and catapulting Levesque into the corner. Steamboat delivers a back suplex, switches a chinlock into a headlock, but gets caught with a punch to the head when attempting to reverse another back suplex. Levesque sends Steamboat to the corner. The Dragon jumps over a charge, lands a hiptoss, but misses a charge and posts his shoulder. Levesque stomps, Steamboat clotheslines, but favours the shoulder.
Levesque posts Steamboat’s shoulder some more on the floor, before dropping it down across the top rope. Back inside, Levesque applies a hammerlock, while driving knees into Steamboat’s injured socket. Steamboat manages to hook a leg, Levesque pushes him off the ropes, so Steamboat drives his head into Levesque’s groin and delivers punches with his one good arm. Levesque goes to the eyes and goes back to work on the shoulder with stomps and a couple of hammerlock slams. Levesque goes for a third slam, but Steamboat turns it into a rollup, hooking Levesque’s leg with his own to get the 1-2-3. Winner: RICKY “THE DRAGON” STEAMBOAT. Sore loser Levesque attacks Steamboat after the bell, tossing him out of the ring and into the ringpost to leave the U.S. Champion laying. Steamboat carried Levesque to a good match here with a good sell-job and story told in the ring. Levesque would high tail it to the WWF a year later, after turning down WCW’s offer of a new contract and gimmick of a blueblood Tag Team with Lord Steven Regal.
Okerlund closes out the show by stating: “Humble beginnings indeed for all the future champions featured today, but even the most successful superstars have got to start somewhere.”
Our month of champions theme continues next week. So far, the concept has provided a fun two weeks worth of shows. Let’s hope the trend carries on. Shaun.
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