Mick Foley tweeted out a tag match with he and Andre The Giant on opposing sides in AJPW in 1991. Andre could barely make it through the ropes at this point in his career.
It was a good time for WWE. They were winning the Monday Night Wars. The product was in the midst of its largest pop culture influence since the mid 80s. Wrestlemania 2000 was supposed to be huge. It was going to be an event of epic propotions. They scheduled “Wrestlemania All Day Long” on PPV which was a look back at the first 15 Wrestlemanias. And then someone made a left turn at Albuquerque.
Stone Cold Steve Austin was out with a neck injury. It was only a year before when Austin and the Rock looked like the future of the company. It was only two years before when Austin took the torch from Shawn Michaels and looked destined to become the biggest star of all time. And now, he was hurt, missing the biggest show of the year.
Early in 2000, Mankind and Triple H were tearing up arenas and making for some intriguing TV. Late in 1999, Triple H beat the Big Show for the championship and was without a contender. Mick Foley, fresh off his success of putting out the most successful wrestling autobiography in history, decided that he had one last run in him. Triple H started making fun of Foley’s success as an author, and played your basic a-hole heel perfectly. When Foley, as Mankind, decided that he’d had enough, he simply changed t-shirts and transformed into Cactus Jack. Triple H sold it as if he’d seen a ghost. Cactus Jack was back. He had two great matches with Triple H and at No Way Out, retired after losing a Hell In A Cell match.
If you remember one thing about Wrestlemania XIV, it will be that it started what was known as the Stone Cold era in the WWF. Steve Austin was arguably the most popular wrestler for his time as well as the biggest money maker in the business during his stretch of being on top. Austin’s ascent to the top helped make Vince McMahon a billionaire and the WWF a household name.
If you remember a second thing about Wrestlemania XIV, it would be that Mike Tyson was involved. Tyson was coming off some horrendous publicity and wasn’t actually sanctioned to box. It was a bad move for him to in the eyes of boxing people to associate himself with the WWF, but he made a ton of money and also help put the sporting public eyes, which didn’t usually follow professional wrestling, on wrestling. You’d never see wrestling on Sports Center. But with Mike Tyson involved, it was all possible. They don’t call Vince McMahon a promoting genius for nothing.
And if you were to have a really good memory and remember three things that happened at this Wrestlemania, you’d remember Shawn Michaels’ all guts performance in the main event. He worked through an injury that basically ended his career while he was still in his prime. The injury stemmed from a bump he took during his title defense at Royal Rumble against the Undertaker when he went over the top rope and while on his way down, bumped his back on a casket. He didn’t work from them until Mania and he was in obvious pain, grimacing through nearly every step of the match. Rumors have it that before the match actually happened, he was bothered with the finish and had to basically be told by the Undertaker that he should do the finish as planned and put over Steve Austin or else.
Well haven’t done one of these in a while so I figured I should step up. Some random thoughts on old stuff I’ve watched recently.
ALL JAPAN 1993
Kobashi & Misawa vs. Hansen & BIG BOSS MAN (?)
Boss Man in All Japan!!! Weirdness, but greatness. He immediately gets the crowd into him by busting out a bunch of crazy athletic stuff with Kobashi. Yes Big Boss Man doing a bunch of crazy athletic stuff. IT RULED~! Misawa tries his hand with the former Midnight Express bodyguard and gets met with a sweet backbreaker. All his signature stuff like the slide to the outside into the uppercut and the windup punch gets met with a load of OOOHâ€™s and AHHHHâ€™s. Stan Hansen, not to be outdone, goes nuts on Kobashi, DDTâ€™ing him on the floor, throwing a chair at his face and then hitting the sickest kneedrop youâ€™ve ever seen (with knee pad rolled down I might add). Both gaijin then win my heart forever by taking turns droppinâ€™ PHAT ASS ELBOWS. Finish came with Boss Man making the crucial mistake of going for a top rope splash and getting a moonsault from Kobashi and Frog Splash from Misawa for the Uno-Dos-Tres.
IWA Japan 1995 2nd Anniversary
So I havenâ€™t seen much mid 90â€™s garbage wrestling from Japan in my time, but upon being directed to a bunch of stuff from someone who knows good wrestling, I decided to check it out. What I got was the greasiest, sleaziest, most scummy pro wrestling Iâ€™ve ever seen. AND IT WAS AWWWWESOME!
Cactus Jack vs. Tarzan Goto
Cactus was so the fucking man here. He cut a promo at the end, slapping himself and screaming and such and it was gold. So much heinousness in this match – bottle breaking, bottle STABBING, a giant flip bump from the top to the floor, etc. etc. I liked that Tarzan Goto guy too and man was that lad over. I’d only ever heard his name before, but never seen him. They did a bunch of hot nearfalls which I really wasnâ€™t expecting including one from the ugliest/greatest brainbuster Iâ€™ve ever laid my eyes on. Goto won with DDPâ€™s old pancake move onto a chair.
(No Rope Barbed Wire, Barbed Wire Boards & Thumbtacks Death Match)
Kenji Takano vs. Shoji Nakamaki
I donâ€™t know which guy is which so Iâ€™ll just go with â€œlittle guyâ€ and â€œbig guyâ€. The little guy was insane and WILLING to die for his cause. The big guy was more than happy to help him out by killing the hell out of him. Thereâ€™s a fine line for me between cool deathmatch stuff and grotesque, â€œI donâ€™t wanna watch thatâ€ deathmatch stuff. These guys went right up to said line but never crossed it which made it very enjoyable. Everything meant something within the context of the match (even the face first thumbtack bump). Big guy won with a big guy knee drop.