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Charles (Loss)

[1992-01-18-WWF-Superstars] Update: The Mountie wins the IC title, Roddy Piper to challenge at the Royal Rumble

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Bret Hart has lost the IC title to The Mountie. He wrestled with a 104-degree temperature against doctor's orders. Bret is still not healthy enough to wrestle at the Royal Rumble, so Roddy Piper will now be challenging the new IC champ. Then, we get a set of promos from both of them. Piper frames it as going after both major titles in the WWF in the same night, which is a cool touch.

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Reading through the Observers of the time, here's how this whole weird situation went down, according to Meltzer: WCW did make a play to sign away Bret Hart and have him appear with the Intercontinental title on television or on a Clash, as payback for Ric Flair bringing the NWA World belt to WWF TV. However--the decision had already been made that the belt was going off Bret, and probably going to Piper somehow. Piper's Funeral Parlor appearance at the tail end of '91 bears that out. If anything, this strengthened Bret's desire to jump (which was real). But as it turned out, Bret's contract contained a rollover clause, and by the time Bret and WCW had reached an agreement, the rollover had already taken effect.

 

As a result, this Update sort of hedges its bets with regard to Bret--it could be taken as a Hart burial or he could be seen as being protected due to the fever angle. Okerlund recounts Mountie's post-match attack and Piper's rescue. Piper now becomes the first man to receive shots at the Intercontinental and WWF titles in the same night. As Matt said, this concept really seemed like the biggest thing in the world--it wouldn't mean a thing today.

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Posted Image

 

Posted Image

 

Horrifically geeky addendum: two publicity photos of the Mountie with the Intercontinental belt. But he's carrying his souped-up, "Great American Scream Machine" shock stick that didn't make an appearance until later this year for the Slaughter feud. Were they seriously planning to have the Mountie regain the title at Survivor Series, where he was originally scheduled to challenge Davey Boy? I can't believe that they'd put him back in serious title consideration when he'd been sliding down the cards, but it's a pretty odd photographic choice otherwise.

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You know something's up when they don't have video footage of a title change. They did tell a neat little cover story, though. I don't know of too many guys who actually wrestled with a 104-degree fever, but it's the sort of thing a babyface is supposed to do, even if it sounds stupid. It's nice to know the backstory behind all of it, and I like that it's Piper getting the title shot, since he's never held a belt in the WWF before. His promo was full of inventive ways to rub the word "kilt" in Jacques' face, and stands as proof that he still had the verbal goods when he chose to bring them, which unfortunately wasn't very often by now.

 

Why was Jimmy even with Jacques? If the man whose function is being a mouthpiece isn't going to talk, his name better be Arnold Skaaland or he's a waste of time and money. (A few words of introduction don't count.) Jacques himself has completely dropped the ball promowise since the Mountie character was introduced; his brand of screaming psychopath is distinguished from all the others in the WWF only by his accent. I much prefer the goofy, sleazy Jacques from the days of the Rougeaus' heel run.

 

With all of the controversy surrounding Bret here, it's hard to believe that he'll be WWF champion in just a little under nine months, and that he'll beat Flair for the title to boot. How quickly wrestling changes!

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A really newsworthy update with some big news in that Mountie has won the IC belt. We quickly move from that to the upcoming Rumble match and get a promo from Piper as he is the challenger. A good job of hotshotting one angle to the other and kudos to them for running with the win two belts in one night narrative.

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I hate non-taped title changes. But in the grand scheme of things house show business was still a big deal, so it makes sense to have it happen. I liked the way they framed this for Piper.

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