Home | Columns & Rants | Satire | Entertainment | Media | Archives | Forum

So, yeah, my life is basically floating down feces creek sans a paddle at this point. After my Thanksgiving sui.I mean, MY UNFORTUNATE ACQUISTION OF THE SNIFFLES DURING THE LAST WEEK OF NOVEMBER, YES, THAT IS WHAT TRANSPIRED, NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS, I learned a thing or two about the Canadian medical system: Namely, I really, really, really wish we followed that business model in the United States.

Thusly, I am financially indentured to about two or three firms at the moment. Considering the fact that I'm just a college kid that works as a technical writer by day (they don't make me put on the Iron Man suit until nightfall.) that means I am, the following:

a.) fucked.

Eh, it's just money, right? If the world of muscley dudes pretending to hurt each other has taught me anything, it's that temporary fiscal obtainment is just that: temporary. Besides, I do have more pressing interpersonal conflicts on the forefront, namely starting a jihad betwixt the Lutherans and Mormons. Family Entertainment Night FTW!

Uh.speaking of being the lone victor amidst torrential poly-religious group conflict, let's talk about Survivor Series, shall we? There's been some good ones, there's been some bad ones, and we'll never forget the legendary Bret H. \ Shawn M. bout. You know, the one that has caused decades worth of Internet conspiracy chatter and intrigue. So, exactly what DID the note that Santa gave Bret back in '92 read?

For this eve's foray into the vestibules of post Berlin Wall nostalgia, we'll be taking a gander at the 1996 iteration of the SS (Oh no, run Goldberg, Raven and half of the Ramones, the SS is back!). This actually is a pretty important show in the WWF canon, featuring one of the best (and inexplicably, understated) bouts of the 90s, an industry stalwart finally winning a world championship (that he really didn't deserve), and the debut of some guy named Ricky Gonorrhea, or something like that. Oh well, it's not like he's going to have a long-standing career within the company or anything.

Let's break out the Coliseum Home Video, shall we?

Onward, to WWF Survivor Series 1996!

We begin with Bret H. detailing his plan to whup that ass of Stone Cold. The on screen font is so grainy that it feels as if I'm watching an archaic stag flick circa 1987. Well, the hairdos are kind of the same, anyway.

Cue the crappy in-house music, it's time for the Free-4-All segment of tonight's program. You see, this was at a point in time in which WCW was kicking Vince's ass all over basic cable. To help "hype" the shows, Vince would air a portion of the PPV for free on The Pre-Vue Channel (you know, the scrolling TV listings channel that you watch when there's nothing else on). The notion, I suppose, is that ennui-filled enthusiasts in betwixt bouts of furious 56K wanking would be so enthralled by the dark-match quality of the bouts offered that they would gleefully drop $29.99 on the ensuing gala. Think of at as the analogue of a restaurant handing out samples: Samples that suck major dong-age.

We are coming to you LIVE from NYC at MSG. To remind everyone that this IS mid- 90s WWF, here comes The "Real" Double J, Jesse Jaames or some other pretentious bullshit misspelling of the moniker and his one song. I've heard of one-hit wonders before, but one-stanza wonders? Sheesh. Out next is Justin Credible with yellow underwear on his head. Bob Holly with hair? Good God, does he look goofy as shit. To conclude the face team, it's Bart Gunn, the only person in history to ever be outshined by Billy FREAKING G. The heel team consists of JBL (with ponytail!), The Sultan (before doing things for The Rock), SALVATORE SINCERE and Billy Gunn now wearing BLACK! Dear lord, this match is Asshole-mania.

Survivor Series rules are in play. Hitting play on the VCR is the wrestling equivalent of flipping on the switch labeled "Zyklon B" at Auschwitz, but what choice do I have?

Justin Aldo Credible Montoya and Rikishi-Sultan-Fatu tangle to begin the bout. All the spaces between bleed as Justaldo Creontoya gets spiked by a Sult-ishi piledriver. To advance his island people, Fu-Rik-Tu locks in the Camel clutch to send Altin Montideble back to gimmick farm. But there are no camels in Samoa! The Eff?

Bob Holly stomps in. The WWF control center does the wisest thing possible and cuts to a Stone Cold promo instead.

RE-roll of the Bret Hart promo from earlier in the evening.

We're back, and Salvatore Sincere and Bart Gunn are scrapping. Bart lands a sidewalk slam and gets a three despite the fact it's a shitty looking move. Time for Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw" and Bob "Sparkplug" Holly to grapple. This is the proverbial AIDS vs. Cancer match-up. Personally, there's only one competitor I can root for at this juncture: the lighting rig to collapse.

Dok Hendrix (Michael Hayes) tries to secure a locker room interview with Stone Cold, but Austin is less than inviting. Hendrix then burns a cross on screen.

Back to the bout: JBL clotheslines Holly for the tres. I'm not calling it a "Lariat", because only Japanese people and dead fat guys are allotted that honor. Pre-Road Dogg quickly darts in and rolls JBL like a contract-negating doob to factor the Texan out of the equation. A Jesse Jaames small package (probably containing rocks of a wellness-policy violating origin) gets The Sultan swung from contention. Billy Gunn runs in and drops his future tag partner with a prototypical Fame-Asser (Rocker Dropper) and now it's time for the Gunns to explode! (Feigned Enthusiasm). Billy ties Bart in the ropes and calls him a "Sonofabitch", much to the chagrin of Vince McMahon, who is appalled by such a lack of decency. He then rapes a cadaver and impregnates his own daughter to alleviate his scorn. Bart lands a time-compressed clothesline for the three.

Winners: Bart Gunn (Sole Survivor), the notion that people in 1996 dressed in regalia that would've been outdated by 1986 standards.

A Todd Pentingel (!) narrated package recounts the realization of Shawn Michaels' boyhood dream and his ensuing battle with one-time ally Sycho Sid. Not a bad little video.

Backstage, Dok Hendrix interviews Billy G. He's very shouty.

Todd P is the ring, when a certain dirge echoes throughout the arena. The Undertaker then communicates to us FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE! Huh, and we didn't even have to break out the Oujia Board. Neatness.

Free-4-All bumper, that red WWF bumper, hype package for the show.which is being brought to you by Karate Fighters and Milton Bradley. Because Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots just isn't faggety enough, apparently.

The paying portion of tonight's festivities are now under way. The trifecta of Ross, Lawler and Vince are calling the shots.

We've got Davey Boy Smith, Owen, and The "New Rockers" (comprised of human punch line Marty Jannety and Leif "Al Snow" Cassidy) being led to ringside by Clarence Mason, whom looks just like Louis Farrakhan. You know, watching mid 90s WWF is a lot like playing with Legos: there are astronauts and pirates and cowboys all hanging out together, and nobody bothers asking why there's a fucking medieval castle in the foreground, man.

HOLY SHIT, Doug Furnas and Phil Laffon! That's like tuning into Raw on Monday night and seeing Bryan Danielson and KENTA sitting at ringside.and Hillbilly Jim gets the loudest pop of all the guys in ring. Man, I hate the Godwinns. Vince must really have a hard-on for the white-trash types.

Jannety and Laffon to begin. Snow Cassidy tagged in, and Laffon displays some of his shoot-like maneuvers. In comes Phineaus I. Godwinn. Get it? P.I.G.? Oh, this is shitty. Owen gives us something to cheer for, as he stomps Phineaus like the Yard at an all-black college in some shitty movie I can't remember the name of. Jeez, Al and P.I.G. have been going at it for about six minutes now. Hot (OK, lukewarm) tag for Henry O. Godwinn. You know how initials work. Henry nails the Slop Drop (an inverted DDT) and factors Marty out of the equation. Owen quickly darts in and spinning heel kicks Henry into a one-two-and three. Powerslam from Davey and Phineaus gets sent packing. Furnas makes a great first impression by whiffing his first drop kick attempt. Way to make an impact on upper management, kid. With the deadweight out of the bout, this thing is actually beginning to resemble something, I don't know, decent. Laffon eliminates Snow Cassidy with a BAD- ASS top rope inverted supplex. Neat stuff, kids. It's down to Bulldog and Owen against Laffon and Furnas, which means very, very good things for all parties involved. Disgruntled Jim Ross rules as an announcer just as much as non-asshole announcer Vince doesn't. Pity, these four guys are doing everything they can to save this one. The announce crew is openly criticizing tonight's lackluster officiating, complete with Bulldog kicking Furnas square in the sac. That one made me chortle. BONUS: The outside ref? None other than Harvey "Jesus 2.0" Whippleman. How sweet, it is. A kooky rollup gets Bulldog sent back to the land of Shire and ineffective dental care providers. For good measure, Davey Boy clips the shit out of Laffon's knee before exiting. Down two to one, Owen does his darndest to work on the stifled leg of Phil. Tag for Furnas, and Doug begins kicking some Canadian keister. Doug finishes off Owen with a particularly grisly release German supplex in what is assuredly the second worst neck injury Hart has sustained in regards to mat landing placement.

Winners: Doug Furnas and Phil Laffon (Sole Survivors), squandered opportunities

Now it's time for a Coliseum Home Video EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Kelly interviewing some guy named Rocky Gonorrhea or something. Rocky Maivia then goes on to cut a totally respectful interview about the industry amidst an arena of empty seats. If you like references to the cliché "110 percent", then you'll dig this schmaltzy piece.

Here comes Mankind. Cue the nine yearlong entrance for The Taker. Even in Clinton's second term, Uncle Taker attempted to throw in some MMA-flavored moves into his arsenal, as he spends little time before trapping Foley in a kimura.

Anyhoo, do I have to give the background on this one? Paul Bearer turns on The Taker at Summer Slam following a "Boiler Room brawl" betwixt this eve's feuding entities. As a means of saying "We can out-gimmick anybody!", the WWF quickly arranged a "non-sanctioned" BURIED-ALIVE match between Mankind and The Undertaker in time for Halloween. You'd think SUFFOCATING YOUR OPPONENT UNDER A MOUND OF SOIL would qualify as the "blow-off" to an ongoing rivalry, but apparently no in the F. So, after fighting in basements, and trying to smother each other in dirt clods, this feud returns to the squared circle in a straight up wrestling bout. Go figure.

Taker goes to town on Foley's clawing fingers. Patented over-the-top clothesline from Foley sends this bout spilling into the crowd. The stipulation for this bout is that Paul B. is to be raised above the ring, and pending a Taker victory, the dead man gets to seek unholy retribution of his choosing on his prior handler. These two have had WAYYY better bouts in the past. Pulling piledriver from Mick, but Taker utilizes the vaunted Mo Howard half guard to avoid the Mandible Claw. Foley takes some nasty guardrail and ring step bumps. Tightrope walk. Just like in the last Chuck Liddell fight. Fans chant "Rest In Peace". I say "This Is Cheese". Taker throws some Riddick Bowe tinged cutters in the corner. Or is it "Coroner"? Because of the mortality motif and.I hate you. Chokeslam and a Jonestown spot. Mankind barrel roll to the outside. Sleeper hold countered into a back body supplex by The Taker. Mankind breaks out the.you know, I have no idea what Mankind is using as a weapon. To me, it looks like a Kotex taped to a tongue depressor. Tombstone out of nowhere ends it.

WINNER: Taker, nondescript weapon utilization

Post bout, the birdcage is lowered and before Taker can slake his bloodlust, out comes The Executioner (Terry Gordy) to dole out some distraction- enabling punishment. God, what a pedestrian namesake for a wrestler. They might as well just have called him "The Hurter". Taker kicks his ass, we get chimes and blue light filters. Of course. Those two would later go on to invent the cure for insomnia at the next IYH with a horrid Last Man standing bout.

Speaking of rotten vaginas (huh?), it's Sunny. She's filling in the splooge soaked shoes of Jerry Lawler on commentary as Jerry is teaming with Crush, Goldust, and Trips sans the Human Growth Hormones. That's got to be one hell of a backstage area, you know? Memphis royalty, bluebloods, violent bikers and homosexual anthropomorphic awards statuettes, all kicking it together. Seuss doesn't have shit on McMahon's fantasy world.

Here come the faces. First up, it's Marc Mero being escorted by Brock Lesnar's future bitch. I suppose at this point, Mero's famed death list was in its infancy. He started off with a Post-It Note, and by the time the decade ends, he'll have a Moby Dick sized memoir. Next up, it's The Stalker, or when he still had a soul, BARRY GODDAMNED WINDHAM. I want to punch the TV at such nonsense. Rocky Maivia makes his WWF debut, sporting the tackiest ensemble in mid-90s WWF.and believe me, that's saying something. Since Mark Henry was too busy at home staying fat, his replacement is Jake The Crack Cocaine with his beloved yellow python "Revelations", pretty fitting because, this too, is the cataclysmic phase of his existence. I really don't want to have to sit through this, but eh.

Where to begin on this one: For starters, is slapping a WWF T-shirt on Windham and forcing him to grow an old man 'stache really the best Titan Towers could do with one of the premier heavyweights of the 90s? Disheartening, to say the least. There is WAY to much outside stuff going on in this bout, bringing the action to a stuttered pace.even by tonight's standards. The first elimination sees Jake The Snake DDT-ing Lawler after feigning a drunken stupor. Well, I suppose he was feigning, anyway. At the eleven-minute mark, Goldust sends The Stalker (I die a little every time I have to say that.) with the curtain call. Time for Marc Mero to play the "battered face in dire need of a tag" card. You know how this one works out. After a retardiculous spot in which Mero tries to plow down Hunter with a sunset flip that drags for literally minutes, Johnny B. Wildman FINALLY eradicates the Trips infection with a needle full of Mero Sault, the only finishing maneuver in pro wrestling history that actually sounds like the name of a vaccine. Twenty minutes in and Crush eliminates Mero with "The Heart Punch". Sadly, he does not utilize his rarely seen but oft spoken about "Small Intestine Kick" throughout the remainder of this bout. Jake The Snake eats another Heart Punch, and it's down to Crush and GD against that newfangled Rocky fellow. GD holds up Rocky for the third Heart Punch of the evening and.well, you KNOW what happens whenever a guy holds up an adversary for his tag team partner to punch. Crush gets pinned on a running body splash. Shoulder Breaker and it's a wrap.

Winner: Rocky Maivia (Sole Survivor). I wonder what became of him?


It's at this juncture that one can pretty much pinpoint the exact moment the paradigm shift from goofball WWF bullshit to the Attitude era transpired. The WWF, around this timeframe, was a lot like a World War I battlefield: you had a lot of archaic technologies floating around (cartoon gimmicks, has been wrestlers, etc) alongside newfangled advents of unparalleled advancement (the up and comers, more adult-centric characters) and the following bout is, if anything, the ultimate symbolic manifestation of that turnover. Long story short, if the show so far has been rolling around in barbed wired trenches with piss rags draped over our mouths, the ensuing is hoping aboard a panzer tank and going to town on some Bourgeoisie ass.

Bret Hart is among the best-damned wrestlers that's ever lived, as evident by the fact that he once took Skinner to a GOOD match. He had been the face of the WWF during its turbulent "OK, we can't shoot the steroids anymore" phase, and was very much the heart and soul of the company. Well, except he wouldn't take a pay cut, but that's beside the point. He encouraged kids to do their homework, respect their elders and utilize in-ring technology. He was very much the best representation of "the old school".

Enter "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, a guy that openly cursed on live television and made blasphemous remarks to recovering alcoholics. He didn't give a damn if kids did their homework or not. The future, is he.

Let's make some history.

Glass shatters. I just now noticed the on-screen placards that proudly display the silhouette of the Twin Towers. OK.so does that mean I'm supposed to make a crude joke about Kristalnacht or el nine-eleven-oh? Backstage Todd P. interviews The Hitman. Bret utilizes the old platitude about Madison Square Garden being sacred ground. Austin anxiously waits in the corner.

Cue the guitar wail. Bret hands some kid in the crowd his shades and in one of the coolest improvised moments I've ever seen, Austin starts jawing the grade schooler afterward. Now THAT'S embracing your character. Austin gives Bret the double bird. And shit just got real.

We begin with some excellent back and forth tie-up exchanges to get the ball rolling. Now, I know what you're thinking: James, in this day and age of exploding caskets and leprechauns, how am I, your average Joe Six Tooth, supposed to get excited about some low-cardio tussling?

I can explain this in one word: Psychology. You see, psychology is the study of the mind's role and processes in gauging and assessing external actions. In other words, psychology is the art form of seeing something and using know-how to resound, "hey, that makes sense". Thusly, the initial working of the arm displays several cognitive elements:

a.) The physical restraint utilized by both enactors, as a means of employing stratagem, including.
i.) One's fear of his or her own technical fallacies (self-doubt in abilities), thusly, the instigating utilization of so-called "low-key" maneuvers to initialize
ii.) One's fear of the superior technical abilities of others (thusly, the use of "low-key" offense and conservative defense as a means of limiting interpersonal contact)
iii.) Physical repercussions (weakening of key ligaments for future utilization, tiring one's adversary while simultaneously allotting one "downtime" of his or her own)
iv.) As a means of trapping, gauging (setting up a "mental" element to the game, in hopes of outsmarting one's opponent).

In other words, they're trying to make it look REAL. Lesson over. Back to your regularly scheduled Holocaust jokes and thinly veiled references to my demoralized love life.

Austin secures the first offensive blow of the evening and Bret goes down. After some stomping, Austin peppers Hart with a short-arm. No, not the one belonging to Verne Troyer.

Merry-go-round exchanges with Bret tying up the arm. Austin lands a stun gun and drops some sharp elbows. Hart gets choked. Slingshot to the trachea. VICIOUS elbow drive from the outside. Austin is DOMINATING offensively. Austin works the jugular, a set-up for the Stunner. The announce crew bandies about the concept of "in-ring psychology". Talk about a by-gone era. Time for the two to slug it out. The tides momentarily turn in favor of Hart, whom rolls out the Atomic Drop and Side Russian Leg Sweep. Time for the signature Hart sternum-first ring post bump. Impressive ping on that one.

Superplex attempt by Austin. Hart sends him toppling, and feeds him a Hart- flavored elbow drop off the top for good measure. Eye gauge, and Hart gets torpedoed to the outside. PHENOMENAL outside brawling. Hart stun guns Austin ON THE GUARDRAIL. Ouch. The chase is on. Hart gets slung OVER the Spanish announce table, and Austin, with fury in his eyes, utilizes his downtime to pummel Bret with some fisticuffs. ANOTHER pointy elbow. Double-ouch. MULTIPLE near-falls back in the ring. Hart takes another vicious turnbuckle bump, and Austin breaks out the tried-and-true "running-dick-to-the-back-of- the-head" attack while Bret is crestfallen amongst the ropes. Abdominal stretch with additional leverage from the top rope. Another TREMENDOUS fist fight, and Hart makes Austin eat a stun gun of his own. Oh, this is freaking awesome. Austin kicks out of the piledriver. Austin lands a superplex, and Hart ALMOST clinches it with an inside roll. No dice. BRET KICKS OUT OF THE STUNNER! Unbelievable action in this one. TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! Bret escapes, but not before eating a third, incredibly painful looking ring post bump. Ouch to the third power. Austin breaks out the Bow and Arrow, and Hart attempts to lock in the Sharpshooter. Bret sinks in a sleeper hold, Austin counters with a jawbreaker. Steve tries to lock it with the Million Dollar Dream, but Hart uses the ring post (catch that?) to counter the move into a pinning predicament for the 3.

An absolutely incredible match and one of the top ten WWF bouts of the decade. Without question a Must-See.

Winner: Bret Hart, Us

Now, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

PG-13 raps Farooq to ringside. This is embarrassingly bad. Out come the faux Razor Ramon and Diesel. This is insultingly bad. Here comes Vader. This is. uh, kind of awesome? Next.

Here come the faces. Savio Vega? Eh, not that bad. Yokozuna? Well, it isn't horrible. 2 Cold Scorpio is a neon-bedecked pimp named Flash Funk? ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN THE WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION! Including being able to throw your girlfriend off a balcony and still remain tenured, as the team's "mystery partner" is Jimmy Snuka. Jim Cornette, on guest commentary, is irate about the selection. We all are, Jimbo, we all are.

Anyway.this match is several kinds of ass, with more blown spots than an exploded leopard. And we even get an anti-finish, as after thirteen minutes of tomfoolery, the bout ends in a donnybrook.

Winner: Non-existent.

Time to send this show to pasture. Up next, it's Shawn Michaels vs. Sycho Sid for the Fed championship. I remember, the next night on RAW, for the low, low, low price of only $49.99, you TOO could own a sliced up filament of the ring ropes utilized for this eve's contest. I'm guessing whomever bought it has it sitting right next to their virginity on the bookshelf at the present.

Sid is out first. Make your own joke about ankle-snappery, self-shitting or Arn Anderson-stabbing.

Shawn is out second looking like a gay cab driver with a zebra fetish.

SLOOOOOOWWWW beginning, with the usual "I'm big, so you'll have to hit me really fast" soundtrack playing in the background. For all intents and purposes, the first nine minutes aren't bad, per se, but considering the clinic that went down earlier, this is a big ole pile of festering horse dookie. Thank you, thank you. Sid makes Shawn's trainer Jose Lothario eat a plate of Title, and Shawn drops him with some Sweet Chin Music. Shawn rolls to the outside to check on his beloved trainer. Boy, I sure hope nothing bad comes of this. Sid utilizes the moment to drop Shawn with a POWER BOMB. One, two , three, new world champion Sycho Sid. Oh, and Lothario is probably dead or something (as Dr. Jim Ross perpetually reminds us "he may have sustained heart damage").

Well.that's how she ends.

The Hart/Austin bout is WELL worth going out of your way to see. The rest of the show? Eh, not so much, but you could have figured that out on your own, astute reader.

Anyway, I think I speak on behalf of everybody when I say "Die, 2008, die". See you in 2009, where there will be plenty more a-rocking in this free world. As always, feel free to hit me up on the http://www.myspace.com/xxjswxx and, just because.

Hi. This is James Swift, proprietor of The Rocktagon, your number one source for post-Reaganomics in-ring wistfulness. I'd like to thank Miss Perez for allotting me this venue / letting me install keystroke software into her personal computer to champion MYSELF as this year's most deserving "Writer of the Year" contestant.

Rather than go off on a long string of non-sequitirs and self-fellatio, I suppose my 2008 track record speaks for itself:

James Swift is the only candidate to be declared legally dead for the calendar year. Whereas most writers would just take it like a puss and die, James no-sold the Grim-freaking Reaper. You want ruthless aggression? James Swift is responsible for the self-destruction of five; count 'em FIVE separate families this year. Despite being technically homeless for a large portion of the semester, James Swift still managed to maintain a cumulative 4.0 GPA and win the coveted Southern Regional Press Institute award for best college editorial writing.

James Swift has made out with a grand total of seventeen girls this year. That's a different broad every twenty-one days. Think about that the next time your orange-dyed sausage fingers are rummaging through Cheeto dust on a dateless Saturday night.

James Swift has no problem admitting that he "Triple H-ed" his way into his current occupational position.

James Swift was straightedge before CM Punk bought his first Teen Idles album. Besides, CM Punk listens to AFI, and they suck. James Swift watches Japanese puroresu; therefore he is "legit". James Swift is the only candidate that can expound upon Kierkegaard's subjective internal existence theorem AND render a man unconscious via utilization of the Kata-Ha-Jime.

James Swift is James Swift, bitch. That's reason enough to cast your ballot for him.


Bookmark and Share


November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).