Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Then, Now, Whatever Episode 5: 'Member WWF Unforgiven 1998?

Hello again everyone. It's been a while but we're back! Episode 5 of Then, Now Whatever is in the books. As usual, we've put together this lovely blog edition with additional production notes & visual references to compliment what we discussed on the show.

After spending all of our previous episodes (barring the pilot I made) discussing current wrestling as a way of getting ourselves into a groove, so to speak, we were very keen to take a look at some older stuff. So we thought, as a little "getting to know you" exercise, we'd go back to when we both started watching wrestling. and look at the first Pay Per Views to happen after we became fans. Kyle has been watching for longer than me - he's been watching since April 98 - so it made sense to start with that and look at the WWF's PPV from around that time, Unforgiven: In Your House.
We'll get to the PPV relevant to when I first got into wrestling in the next episode - more on that later (although if you were paying attention to my first guest appearance on the Raw Is Nitro Podcast, you may have an idea of what that might be), but first, let's delve into Unforgiven!

Seeing as this was our first opportunity to look back at some older wrestling, and with this current season of South Park having such a focus on nostalgia, I had to use the 'Member Berries in our intro (and if you look at our episode artwork, Undertaker is actually holding one). Luckily the wonderful Mike Hansen had made a wrestling themed version of their schtick for a recent edition of Botchamania, so I used that.

Since we'd been away a fair while Kyle suggested we use "The Boys Are Back In Town" by Thin Lizzy as the bed for our introductions. I found an instrumental version and it sounds really great.

You can find Triple H recruiting X Pac into DX below, which was the promo Kyle was referring to in his discussion on his early memories of wrestling.

"You sounded like Captain Black then" - Captain Black was the Spectrum agent the Mysterons took under their control in Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons. If you have no idea what that show is then you've had a very deprived childhood. On the other hand, I'll forgive you for not knowing what Masked Rider was - a failed attempt by Saban to bring Kamen Rider to the West Power Rangers style.

6 Man Tag

I'm sure you'll have noticed I referred to every match on the card as a Main Event. This is in reference to WWE having the "Main Event" of No Mercy as the opening match and also their epic butchering of announcing then backtracking on Sasha vs Charlotte being the headline match for Hell in a Cell. Mick Foley stated the WWE Universe themselves could decide what the main event of a show is, so I decided every match should be a main event. :)

Poor old Steve Blackman got it in the neck for just being "meat in the room" at this point in his career...

Oh, and just to reiterate, Ken Shamrock's theme music is awesome.

European Title Match

The circumstances of Owen's passing are truly tragic. His accident occurred before I got into the WWF, so I never got to experience any of his work "first hand"/during the time and it is only through watching his work on DVDs/watching old matches on the Network etc that I grew to love him. I seriously encourage anyone looking to learn more about Owen's story to check out How2Wrestling's episode on his career.

"If only they knew" - a butchered attempt to reference Chyna's book, actually called If They Only Knew.

Here's that infamous call by Joey Styles that was the only thing I could think of that was more awkward in retrospect that JR's "Chyna ascending to the heavens" call.

"Aloha Triple H can't block the sunset flip" - of course reference to one of OSW's greatest running gags, "Aloha Arn", based on Arn Anderson's strategy of waving your hands to block a sunset flip.

Owen's enzughiri was in storyline what caused Shawn Michaels a concussion in late 1995, playing off a real life incident in Syracuse where he was beaten up by some marines. "Poop mouth" is of course an Anchorman reference.

NWA Tag Title Match

There was a fair bit of "Howard Finkel introduces someone only for them to introduce someone else" on this show...

Evening Gown Match

Seriously, Luna's cadence sounds a spot on match for lots of monsters from Power Rangers, especially those voiced by the person voicing the villain in this clip here.

Half Time Question Time

As Kyle mentioned, if you have any ideas for questions we could use in this segment, feel free to tweet them to us (@tnwpodcast). Kyle's comic book themed answers gave me a perfect excuse to use 90s Marvel cartoons themes as the bed for the segment this time out. Also if anyone from the UK ever called the WWF Superstar hotline, please do get in touch.

WWF Tag Title Match

In our previous episode we were debating why the ref wouldn't let The Revival tag in via hand/foot contact, which is why we were a bit bemused that tagging in via groin/face contact is grand.

I think the references to how ridiculous Sunny's outfit was got cut, by it WAS ridiculous.

"Her breasts are HUGE" - seriously, how could you miss them?

Double J's Concert

"The country band of the 90s" - incidentally, Sawyer Brown actually formed in 1981! Although they did actually win a couple of awards around the time period of this show, so fair dues. This is once again another appearance for Random Steve, just filling out the card.
Changing Rooms was a decorating/home improvement show that used to air here in Britain on BBC One. A few of the designers on that show, like Laurence Llewelyn Bowen were quite famous for their fancy shirts. Jarrett wouldn't have looked out of place on that show too come to think of it.

Inferno Match

The Kane vs Vader "Mask vs Mask" match Kyle alluded to also happens to be the match where Vader referred to himself as "nuthin' but a big fat piece of shit" after losing.
Taker's posing in the flames looked so cool.

"It looked very fake towards the end" - see for yourself here.

Kane and Undertaker did indeed wrestle in Smokey Mountain Wrestling when Kane was Unabomb, as well as in the WWF when Kane was Isaac Yankem AND when he was Fake Diesel too!

WWF Title Match

I swear somewhere back home I have a picture I drew of myself as the Hardcore Hotshot! I will have to try and find it the next time I'm over there.

Seeing as Kane was the person that most pleasantly surprised Kyle watching this show back, I figured his music was a good choice for the outro.

That'll just about wrap things up then. Remember, you can follow us on Twitter @tnwpodcast, like our Facebook page and come follow us on Soundcloud. There you'll find a handy playlist of all our episodes so far, as well as Duncan's guest appearances on the Raw Is Nitro Podcast, who you should also check out on Twitter and Soundcloud.
We are also on Stitcher Radio and iTunes, so you can subscribe to us through there if that's the way you get your podcasts.

We will return next time out, looking at the first Pay Per View to happen after Duncan became a fan...

WCW MAYHEM 1999!!!

Oh yes, get's who's got two thumbs and was unfortunate enough to get into wrestling via late 1999 WCW? *Points to self with thumbs* This moi!

This show saw WCW about two months into Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara's run as showrunners for the company, so this show is Russo-rriffic as fuck! To take advantage of this, we have a fun way you can get involved with the show. I've made a little tally sheet of the line up for Mayhem 1999. If you dare endure want to watch the Pay Per View before we review it, you can print this out or screenshot it and scribble over it to keep a track of three key tropes of Russo's WCW tenure and one trope Russo's tenure was sadly lacking in. The four things you should look out for whilst watching the show are:
  • Instances of outside interference - here I'm counting the appearance of one person not legally in a match as one instance of outside interference, so for example if a stable of four wrestlers all run in to interfere, that counts as four instances of outside interference.
  • Guest commentators - anybody who grabs a microphone and joins the announce team especially for a certain match.
  • Attempts to repeat past successes in the WWF - Russo seemed to take the attitude of "whatever worked in the WWF would work in WCW", often to his detriment. If there's anything in this show that SCREAMS 1998/99 WWF, note it down. For example, to give you a hint, Russo seemed very keen to find a WCW equivalent to Chyna - a female wrestler who was treated as equal to the men.
  • Clean finishes - these are instances where matches end without any cheating or interference. So for example, a wrestler pinning their opponent after using their finishing move is a clean finish. However, if a wrestler is only able to pin their opponent because someone outside of the match is distracting them, that is NOT a clean finish. Be warned: do not expect many of these.
So, if you watch the PPV and keep a tally of those tropes using the Google Doc below, Tweet us your totals or put them in the comments of the Doc. The person who gets the totals closest to my own will get a mention in the next episode!

So get the Google Doc below downloaded and keep an eye on our Twitter account for when we're due to record. We'll see you next time!