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  1. So I just took about three weeks running through the Hart Foundation set and a lot of things struck me while watching it. I wanted to wait until the end to see what shook out and what didn't. I'll be starting from Austin vs. Bret at SS 96. This match is great and I love how much Bret puts over Austin, the career midcarder to this point. He gives him more than you would ever guess Austin could get on Bret. This match and the WM match of 97 are really the springboard for Austin's rise. I love watching both and this one you start to see what SCSA could be. Bret gives him the time and opportunity to work his character into the match and makes sure to give back enough that Austin's selling shines through as well. For a guy who just signed the biggest contract in company history, Bret sure seems to be willing to help make a new star in Austin. Also, Austin's facial expression when he comes out for this match is absolutely incredible. And then we come to the point where Shawn Michaels "injures his knee" and loses his smile rather than dropping the belt to Sid. If I didn't know better going in, I could believe Shawn as the repentant former heel who realizes he's got to make amends. But since I know he faked the knee injury to get out of doing the job to Sid, fuck you Shawn. And it gets worse. So as a result of this Austin/Bret is the main event of WrestleMania. Despite being non-title, it's the hottest program they have. That contract of Bret's seems like a good call, since he's coming through when Vince's boy Shawn decides to go home when he has to job and he's not the biggest deal on the show. It's all well and good that Shawn is a great athlete and performer. You can't count on the guy. Bret you know he's going to give you the goods on the big stage when he needs to. Now to the WM match. Bret and Austin do the double turn that has been teased for about the last month. The way they did it is brilliant. Bret goes from babyface Bret who takes care of business in the ring to the guy who has started airing his grievances with the way things have gone looking for sympathy. Austin has been unyielding and his confidence has grown in the build to this match. He's not worried about Bret any more. He's just gonna kick his ass. And Bret, post-match, sees that the crowd is still cheering for him a little bit. So he goes over and stomps on Austin just to get it across. I love the little things like that. Next Raw has an amazing promo from Bret cementing his heel turn. He goes over everything that he's gone through since he came back, plus some of the stuff on the side. It's beautiful stuff. And then he blames the fans for letting all of that stuff slide. LOVE that. If you're going to turn a long-beloved babyface heel, this is the way to do it. Enough unfortunate stuff that keeps him away from the title and change one thing about ho he reacts to it all. Bret pulls it off amazingly well, especially given Shawn's interruption of the promo. Knee is looking pretty beat up there, Shawn. Shawn decides to go all "shoot" on Bret, using insider terms and talking about how "Bret won't job". Coming from the guy who faked a knee injury to get out of doing the job on a title change that is pretty damn rich. The fact that he uses *that promo* to make himself a babyface is some kind of crime against humanity. Bret taking out Shawn's "injured" knee kind of proves what we all know. And I enjoyed watching that, yes. We get one more Bret vs. Austin match that looks like it was supposed to serve as the bridge to the eventual Austin win towards the end of April. Bret re-unites the Hart Foundation and it's another incredible promo. That investment by Vince sure looks like it is paying off. The Harts are in possession of all the gold except for one, the WWF Title. Bret wants that one and while he's chasing that, the rest of the Foundation is cementing their status as the elite of the WWF. Austin ends up winning the tag titles off of Owen and Bulldog with Michaels (because we can't have this without him). Tag titles around this time are screwy. No real meaning, just some shit to fill shows with and get potential singles matches teased as tags. Austin and Michaels are the only ones who can get one over on the Foundation. You tend to believe Bret when he presents Owen and Bulldog in the favorable light he does. They do great work when it's their time to shine. The ten man tag in Calgary is all kinds of great. The crowd keeps it at least good throughout. Bret vs. Austin to start it off was a blessing and a curse. It gets the crowd molten hot, but when guys like LOD are in the ring things tend to go downhill fast. Neidhart should have worked Shamrock at some point. Pillman, Bulldog, Owen, Bret and Austin are on fire all match. Shamrock holds his own for the most part. Owen making the run from the back was a mark-out moment for me. Match ends exactly the way it ought to with the Foundation on top in Calgary. Here I want to point out two things. Shawn's promos are 100% insufferable. I can't stand listening to the guy talk. He's supposed to be a babyface, but he's such a jackass. And the Hart Foundation are the dominant force in the WWF. They are over everywhere, but as faces outside the U.S. It's such a great, subtle dynamic that is shocking to see from Vince. And Bret is so great at portraying the indignant, holier-than-thou heel. It's almost the role he was born to play. Now the Foundation are up against...the Patriot and Vader. Seriously? That's what you got? Patriot does fine with it and Vader does too, even if he's a bit too giving as a babyface. Harts try to make them look like real threats and keep their own heat, which they actually accomplish. I'd say that's pretty big. And given that Bret has a much talked about clause in his contract for reasonable creative control, I'd say that he would have been well within his right to ask for a bit more. Here we come to July. Owen and Austin have a great match, but Austin's neck gets injured in an unfortunate botch by Owen. By the way, loved how the WWF decided to do slo-mo replays of this just for shock value. Austin had to be pleased by that as well. Here is something I hadn't thought of before, but there is a question to be asked here. Is this the catalyst for Montreal? Vince has to know that the Bret/Austin series can't go on the same way it had already happened. So that being the case, is this where Vince decides that he's got no more use for Bret? We've already seen two guys get over big as faces with more traditional heel gimmicks. So in Vince's mind, does he see that the future is in anti-heroes rather than the Bret Harts of the world? And following that logic, how long does Bret last after his eventual loss to Austin? Does he get shown the door after performing that one last service to the company? Lots of questions and only speculation can answer them. Coming back to one point above, here's about the point where HHH starts coming out with Shawn and doing their schtick. Which is possibly one of the most overblown, overrated and "go away heat" gimmicks I've ever seen. Have I mentioned I think their stuff is awful. If I thought Shawn was insufferable before, he just gets worse. Absolutely ridiculous that this got cheers. Let's fast forward a bit to DX yukking it up while the Nation of Domination, yes that midcard stable, beating up on the Foundation. I have so many problems with this that I need a new paragraph. First and foremost, the Foundation has been dominant for the last 4 or 5 months. Now the Nation, a lesser heel stable, can beat them down and send them running with even odds? Again, let's take a look at how Bret was abusing his creative control clause. Take a look at how this plays out. DX trashes the Nation's dressing room, puts up a bunch of Canada stuff and sets the Nation on the Harts. So the Harts are putting over DX and the Nation. Selfish bastards that they are. And DX is putting over DX at the expense of both. You'd think if Bret was a guy to abuse that creative control clause, this would be prime fodder. And during this same time period, Owen loses the European strap to Shawn. Bret does a tainted job to HHH via countout after a Shawn superkick. You know, if I didn't know better I'd say that the booking has turned might against Bret Hart and his guys. Wonder where that could be coming from. Vince very rarely has anything nice to say about Bret on commentary anymore either. The SS match was fine with the hate-fueled brawling and all. Nothing great, but I guess Shawn did give Bret a good shine and got over the heelishness during the heat. It was by the numbers good anyway. The screwjob itself was covered up quite nicely on the broadcast. I guess they didn't think Bret would be as quick to react. Bret spitting in Vince's face was the only clue we got. The next few Raws, Shawn is again completely and totally insufferable. In victory he's gotten worse. The whole midget Bret thing is beyond awful. And I have trouble believing that Vince is out of the loop on this stuff. Vince's interview is a load of garbage as well. I couldn't get through it after a while because of how disingenuous Vince is. Then Neidhart is booked to join DX and get beaten down by them after helping them win a match. Vince and Shawn twisting the knife, anyone? Which is capped off by the "nugget" interview. At least Shawn's jackassery serves a purpose as a heel. As a face it was infuriating because you know he's trying to be a babyface by spewing out nothing but bullshit. At least as a heel he gets boos and there is some kind of retribution, no matter how small. He still has "go away heat", but at least he's supposed to be getting heat. In closing, I'd like to say that I think Bret Hart was responsible for some of what happened. He could have found ways to make the transition smoother. But I think he takes easily the smallest slice of that pie. Vince had motive to get rid of Bret, so did Shawn. The booking leading up to SS sure makes it look like somebody wanted Bret to look bad. And if you're Bret Hart, I think you have a case for a lot of the things you did. Bret made Austin. He wasn't all the way there yet, but he was well on his way when Bret left. And it was because of Bret's cooperation and Austin's own work that he was where he was. So Bret makes a new star for Vince, then gets shit on for a few months and shown the door with a knife in his back. Did Bret's pride contribute to how this went down? Oh yeah, it was a factor. But you can't tell me Vince didn't know what the future of his company was and that Bret didn't have a part in it. What, two or three weeks later they started running the Vince promo about how the WWF was new and improved, not the hokey "good guy vs. bad guy" stuff of old. Given that, how much room was there for Bret and his contract in that setting? Especially since there wasn't going to be an epic SCSA win over Bret. And the other guy in the equation....Shawn. Go away. Forever. I'm still not the biggest Bret fan, but the guy put in a blue collar effort over the last year of his WWF career and got the shaft for it. I'd say we all have times where we were kicking ass and let our pride get the better of us. It's gonna happen, especially in an ego-driven profession like pro wrestling. So I can forgive Bret for that and say honestly that it's a fairly common mistake. But Vince and Shawn's parts in this were not mistakes. They were deliberate and malicious in the way they got a guy out of the way.
  2. Grimmas

    Vince McMahon

    Discuss here.
  3. One more trip to Vince's house, and this time, the Undertaker's "symbol" is on fire in the front yard.
  4. Shake Them Ropes Episode 53 http://traffic.libsyn.com/shakethemropes/str12022014.mp3 Download Shake Them Ropes is packed this week with WWE news, reviews, and directions for the future. We start with WWE Raw, the positives and negatives, and Rob rants on Dean Ambrose’s WWE PPV record. Then we cover the newsmaking whirlwind of podcasts featuring CM Punk and Vince McMahon over the last week, including some weird answers Vince gave on the current roster, and Cesaro specifically. Plus, as we continue our Top 100 Matches To See on WWE Network series, we’ll review #98: The ECW Barely Legal International Six Man Tag. 90 minutes of fun from ShakeThemRopes.com and VoicesofWrestling.com! RSS: shakethemropes.libsyn.com/rss iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/shake-them-ropes-pro-wrestling/id888620707?mt=2
  5. http://placetobenation.com/wrestling-with-the-past-hogan-vince-and-a-vision/ Will and Charles are joined by Parv (Titans of Wrestling, Where the Big Boys Play) to discuss Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon and 1980s wrestling. They discuss the pros and cons of Hogan the wrestler and pop culture phenomenon. They discuss Vince’s vision of wrestling and if he could have been successful without Hogan? Finally, the guys discuss whether or not the NWA product promoted by Vince McMahon would have been amazing. Tune in to this awesome discussion!!!!
  6. Who do you side with? I categorically side with Vince. 100%. Arguments here.
  7. Will is joined by his co-host Charles (Wrestling With the Past) and wrestling’s #1 number cruncher Chris Harrington (http://indeedwrestling.blogspot.com) to dissect the latest numbers on the WWE Network and what it means moving forward and how it affects other revenue streams. In the second half of the show, we brainstorm ideas on how to improve the content and promotion of the network so it would appeal to all wrestling fans. This is an absolute can’t miss episode of the Fixing the WWE mini-series!!! ​ http://placetobenation.com/good-will-wrestling-fixing-the-wwe-network-part-two/
  8. This came up in the 1998 footage thread and it is something that I am interested to hear the opinions on from people around here. Here are the slam dunks in my opinion: 1. Hulk beats Iron Shiek 2. Hogan slams Andre 3. Montreal Screwjob Beyond that, I think an argument can be made for numerous other moments including Koloff beating Bruno, Snuka diving off the cage, Double Hebners, WM7 Savage/Warrior aftermath, Tyson vs. Austin, WWF buys WCW, etc. Which moments would make your list?
  9. Talk about it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpFVDEbhyJg