After a late-night White Castle venture Jessie dug this tape out of an old beat-up cardboard box and we put it in. I hadn’t seen this show likely since it originally aired, and forgot that it was actually a fantastic pay-per-view from start to finish. I remember, as a subscriber to WWF Magazine, getting something in the mail back then offering discount tickets to this show; I wanted to go so badly, but it wasn’t feasible, and to this day I really don’t have any idea where Richfield, OH is, but imagine it’s a swell place to work, fuck, and feast.
1. High Energy vs. Headshrinkers – 6
The opener was a splendid tag team match; High Energy played the lovable underdog faces, and Headshrinkers played the role of crazed savages with dangerously hard skulls. There was some quality back and forth exchanges, good guys in peril, and ultimately, a gigantic Samoan splash to end it.
2. Nailz vs. Big Bossman – Nightstick On A Pole Match – 5
Nailz and Bossman was exactly what it should have been, an ugly brawl, characterized by extreme prejudice and hatred. The story was Bossman incarcerated Nailz, so there was a lot of bad blood between them. If they would have tried to turn this into a wrestling match it’d have defied logic, but they gave us the fracas we desired, and in a satisfying payoff to this feud.
3. Rick “Model” Martel vs. Tatanka – 6
Martel and Tatanka these days would be a three-minute match void of any actual storytelling. Here, they gave it a nice chunk of time, with a slow-paced middle, to build it up which was done well. At first, Martel played the cautious heel, but then imposed his will on Tatanka, until the Native American battled back and got the clean victory in a satisfying bout.
4. Razor Ramon and Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage and Mr. Perfect – 7
This was a really cool match, featuring two unlikely teams of wrestling superstars. Flair and Ramon were the consummate pricks, cocky and coy. Savage was alienated for much of the match, getting worked over by his opponents, until the reluctant Mr. Perfect entered the picture and cleaned house. These guys were all professionals near the top of their respective games, and had a match that deserves more recognition; my only problem with it, however, is the finish that doesn’t settle anything, reminiscent of great sex minus the orgasm.
5. Yokozuna vs. Virgil – 4
This was a total squash, but psychology and story wise, a perfectly executed one. Virgil was recognizable, but had only won moderately, to put it kindly; where Yokozuna was being built as a monster, which demolished anyone that got in his way. So, suffice to say, within a matter of minutes, after toying around with Virgil, Yokozuna crushed him in route to an easy victory.
6. Money Inc. and Beverly Bros. vs. Natural Disasters and Nasty Boys – 5
This match got a decent chunk of time, but also had an ending that wasn’t satisfactory. The battle waged on, until the good guys took the advantage, eliminating the team of the Beverly Bros. Then, after being roughly 15 minutes deep into the match, the second and deciding third fall both happened within seconds. Typhoon was tripped, then hit with an elbow drop, that somehow rendered him incapable of kicking out of a pin, and seconds later, one of the Nasty Boys used a quick rollup to get the victory for the good guys. It was nice to see all of these guys get exposure, but a better structured and executed match would have been a real treat, instead of the average one we got.
7. Kamala vs. Undertaker – Casket Match – 4
This was the first ever casket match, and a pretty short one at that. Kamala worked over the Undertaker for the entire quick bout, until Undertaker bashed Kamala’s cranium with an urn. Having knocked his opponent out, Undertaker then rolled Kamala into the empty casket to score the win. Not a lot happened here, at all, but the historical significance and out of nowhere finish warrant extra consideration.
8. Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – 8
When people usually think of these two, they inevitably think of their huge match at Survivor Series ’97, the infamous “Montreal screwjob.” The only screwjob I’ve experienced in Montreal set me back $50 and a dry cleaner’s bill. This unfortunately forgotten gem is an epic – a brilliantly designed and delivered piece of athletic artwork. This feels like a legitimate contest, a legit fight, and is invaluable to any true fan’s collection. It’s good from start, to the awesome climax, where Hart outsmarts Shawn and wraps him up in his patented submission to score the victory.