Approx time period covered: 1995-2001
The year, ladies and gentlemen, is 2002. A time pre-brand extension, pre-Khali but post-Invasion. A time of brief, wonderful, mediocrity in the WWE that would soon be replaced by plain old crappiness once again. Your favorite Impact Recapper in the whole of TWF was 10 and a subscriber, like many 10 year old marks, to WWF Magazine. The magazine itself was a strange mix of kayfabe and reality. Whilst all the articles and interviews were written fully in Kayfabe, there was a strange section at the back called 'The Informer' which told us things that were allegedly going to happen in upcoming storylines. One month however, I believe it was February 2002, I got something a little different. A free videotape with my magazine! That videotape was...WWF! Wild In The UK. I remember watching the videotape about, say, once and then discarding it forever. But now it is time to dig up the strange bones of the past, now it is time to crack open..The Vault.
After some fiddling about with the VCR (I got a new TV about a year ago and never bothered installing it on there) I got the tape going. After an advertisement for WWF Euroshop, it's time to begin out journey into the strange, distant relationship between World Wrestling Federation and the United Kingdom.
The video starts with none other than Jonathon Coachman. No goatee, no stupid hat, just a nerdy lacky. Jonathon welcomes me to Wild In The UK and says he wants me to sit back relax and enjoy five of the greatest matches that happened in the UK. First of all, I should point out that none of these matches took place outside of England, so consistently calling it 'the UK' seems a tad pointless, and also were there really more than five great matches in the UK. Come to think of it, were there even five great matches in the UK. Only one way to find out.
The Word Wrestling Federation first came over to the UK for Summerslam '92. They decided not to show any matches for it because....actually I have no idea why they didn't show any matches from it. Coach then mentions those long forgotten UK exclusive PPVs: Insurextion and Rebellion. For those of you in the US who didn't get a chance to see them, they were essentially like episodes of Heat only with one token title match at the end. Back in those days all WWE PPV's were free in the UK except for these two, the worst of the year that cost £15. Surprisingly, they were never that successful.
Speaking of Insurextion, our first match is from that very event:
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
EDGE & CHRISTIAN (c) vs. THE HARDY BOYZ
In my personal opinion, and if you disagree you're wrong, the tag scene from '99-'01 was the best of all time. We had The Dudleys when they were fresh in the WWE, The Hardys when they were aloud to do crazy shit with ladders and my all time favourites Edge & Christian, a better heel team you never will find.
Matt Hardy and Christian start us off. Christian is sporting long flowing locks, as is his storyline brother Edge. Man I miss there five second poses. Anyway Matt takes an early advantage before making the mistake of tagging Jeff which allows Edge to get in and take control. Jeff knocks edge to the outside and they both look very impressive, especially a pre-drugs Jeff. Edge tries to Irish Whip Jeff but Matt jumps on the turnbuckle to protect him. Always loved that. The Hardyz then outsmart E & C and double team Edge. Edge gets the tag to Christian who dominates Matt Hardy but Matt battles back, tags Jeff and gets a leg drop.
Hardyz on Edge now, throwing Christian into his partner then Jeff springboards off Matt for the dropkick. Lawler is in vintage heel mode by the way, describing Jeff's hair as 'multi-colored dandruff'. Christian and Jeff spill outside and Christian takes advantage by knocking Jeff into the security railings. Jeff gets back in the ring and is double teamed by the heels for a two. Christian beating up on Jeff majorly now. Matt shouts "come on, Jeff Hardy" in case we thought he was talking about some other Jeff. Trust me Matt, in a few years time you'll be unemployed and calling out for another Jeff altogether. Jeff tries to make the tag but Edge runs in and the champions work the double team. Edge is in and THERE WAS NO TAG. Jim Ross is outraged that this could have happened.
Edge's turn to dominate Jeff but he makes the hot tag. OH MY GOD THE REF DIDN'T SEE THE TAG AND HE'S FORCING MATT OUT! JR is about to have a heart attack. The beating of Jeff goes on uninterrupted. Double clothesline thing and both men are down. Jeff struggles towards Matt but Christian comes in and nails him, this only serves as a distraction however for a Matt leg drop for two. Matt and Christian tag in but Jeff is a face so he has SUPER TAG STRENGTH and cleans house. Matt's on fire! Not literally, although if his hair goes to near an open flame that's how it'll end up. Matt on the apron only to get crotched by Edge. Superplex by Christian and Jeff breaks up the count. Double team to Jeff is countered into a beautiful double drop kick. Edge on the outside and Christian double facebustered. Edge pulls mat out of the ring but a somersault plancha from Jeff takes Edge out. Now it's a twist of fate from Matt and a senton from Jeff on Christian but EDGE HITS THE HARDYZ WITH THE RING BELL! THE OUTRAGE!
WINNERS BY DQ: THE HARDY BOYZ
We now get Coach's take on the events, and he tells us that the tag team division is tougher than it's ever been. Course if you asked him now he'd say "we have a tag team division???". He reminds us yet again that anything can happen in the World Wrestling Federation, and by way of an example he shows us...
NO MERCY 1999
X-PAC vs. SHANE McMAHON (c)
That's a pretty crap example of 'anything can happen'. Although he could be referring to the fact that an actual significant PPV was held in England, or that someone once thought a European Championship was a good idea. We can't be sure.
Shane attempts a sneak attack during X-Pac's entrance but he finds himself thrown over the top. Jesus Christ, this man who the crowd actually got behind (X-Pac heat evidently not a problem just yet) and was in a feud with a McMahon went on to lick China out on camera. That's not so much a fall as a 100000 metre plummet. A plummet, people! And now Shane McMahon is walking away! The cowardice! The outrage! I'm so angry I almost care! But hang on a second, if it isn't Pat Patterson (please, hold the jokes, I'll make them as time goes on) and Gerald Briscoe. Shane McMahon had recently fired these two, but they've got in somehow and now Pat is doing something not unusual for him and hittin' on a much younger man. Only by hittin' I mean punching, which he normally doesn't. Briscoe gets a shot in too and now X-Pac runs down the ramp to bring Shane home.
Back in the ring, lightening speed from X-Pac allows him to take the advantage. Hang on a second though, cos here comes Chyna (please, hold the jokes, I'll make them as the time goes on). She beats up Patterson. Pat is outraged, he doesn't mind being beaten up by someone dressed in leather but that someone better have a penis! If only he had spoke with X-Pac before the match he would have known that lack of a penis was not a problem for Chyna. Oh and Briscoe gets punched as well but seriously, who cares about him. X-Pac decides it'd be a good idea to turn his back on his opponent and stare down Chyna, shockingly this gives Shane a chance to knock him on the outside. Chyna batters X-Pac and damnit if these jokes don't just write themselves. X-Pac is down and panting but Chyna is still standing. Too fucking easy. A strange thing then happens. The whole damn crowd starts chanting for X-Pac. 1999 sure seems like a looooong time ago right now.
X-Pac crawls into the ring and Shane takes advantage of his weary foe. Shane fully in control, hitting a vertical suplex and an elbow drop for two. X-Pac powering up, like a Hulk Hogan nano, only to get hit with a reverse elbow. Sleeper hold from Shane leading to another cliché face spot from Waltman. Is he going to power out? Yes, you retard, of course he is. Back drop from X-Pac. Nice heel kicks let Sean regain the advantage but once again he turns around to stare down Chyna for no apparent reason. Shane goes for the sneak attack but misses and hits the referee. No good can come of this. Sure enough, Chyna comes in and nails Sean Waltman. With the title belt! Easy now. Sean crawls over to make the cover but X-Pac kicks out and JR creams with excitement. Oh but hang on a minute, here comes none other than other Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Triple H is looking trim and ready to compete. This is of course because he doesn't own the company at this point. X-Pac gets the X-Factor, covers but CHYNA PULLS THE REFEREE OUT THE RING! THAT BITCH! THAT EVIL, EVIL BITCH! Waltman knocks HHH and Chyna off the apron and he's going to hit Chyna with the Bronco Buster but she sticks her head in his crotch. She clearly got a taste for it. In comes Hunter with the pedigree and Shane covers just as the referee recovers and gets three.
WINNER: SHANE McMAHON
That match was a wrestling satire writers wet dream. Coach talks about how Shane proved to be a worthy adversary. In other words, Shane was a face when they released that video and they didn't want to confuse marks. He then gives hardly any set up for...
QUEEN'S CUP MATCH
CHRIS JERICHO vs. WILLIAM REGAL
Man I loved this feud. Chris Jericho was playing the cocky face to Commissioner Regal's stuffy Englishman. Antics included Jericho urinating in Regals tea, and of course we English value our tea more than our children, so Regal was less than impressed. I always loved how Regal's supposed to be a posh stiff upper lip variety of Englishman, but they still announced him as being from Blackpool. Blackpool, for those of you unfamilair with British holiday resorts is basically a sleazy town with an amusement park and an infested coast.Something for everyone! Anyway, this match.
Action starts on the outside with Regal getting bounced off the railing and selling it like he was a dishonest used car salesman: well. Into the ring and Jericho hits the missile dropkick from the top rope for a 2. Paul Heyman and Michael Cole on commentary, which is a bit like being hit with a lead pipe whilst getting a blowjob. For example: COLE: I'm gonna ask you a question, Paul, HEYMAN: What else would you ask me? Jericho in control in the early stages, with a Walls attempt being countered. Regal overpowers Jericho though and throws him shoulder first into the ring post. Regal wears Jericho down in the centre of the ring. They're battling for the Queen's Cup, by the way. Jericho battles out of a Regal arm-lock then hits a hurricanrana for 2. Regal takes advantage with a slingshot and a suplex. Regals in control as his countrymen boo him. But I thought all English people were like him? Why would it be a stereotype if it wasn't true? Regal isn't all that bothered and stays in control with a chinlock. Cover by Regal for a kick out.
Despite Jericho's best efforts Regal dominates, going outside and beating Jericho down. Straight into the turnbuckle goes Y2J then back in. The punishment continues in the ring until Jericho manages to battle back and hits a sunset flip that is just beautiful sold by Regal. Regal jumps straight back in control with a clothesline and a chinlock. Regal has a very bruised thigh by the way, which Heyman keeps referencing. I assume this was caused at some point during their rivalry. Hey, Teddy Long is the referee! Unfortunately he does not count 1, playa! 2, playa! Maybe that happened later on in his career. Jericho battles out of the hold now and gets a back body drop but again Regal takes control. Suplex by Regal for 2. According to Cole we've "gotta love when Regal puts his forearm on his opponents head during the cover". Christ what a retard. Jericho battles back from a resthold with an enziguri. Both men down and Long is counting to ten, playa! "I didn't know he could count so high" says Heyman. They're up and Jericho's in with the chops and a missile dropkick. Bulldog from Y2J but Regal gets the knees up for the Lionsault. Big slam by Regal but Jericho gets the shoulder up. Regal goes for the suplex but Jericho somehow turns it into the walls of Jericho and Regal taps out. Nice fast paced match with an ending that suited. Chris Jericho has won the Queen's Cup!
WINNER: CHRIS JERICHO
Coach tells us that we're moving on and indeed we do. I can't believe he got paid for this.
STONE COLD vs. THE ROCK vs. RIKISHI vs. KURT ANGLE (c)
Can you spot the odd one out in this match up? I wonder who'll win it, though. After all, anything can happen at Rebellion! The footage starts halfway through the match, thus making my job easier. Hooray! Angle and Austin are in the ring and Austin is dominating with The Rock beating on Rikishi outside. Austin suplexes Angle for a two which Tazz describes as 'tremendous thinkin' on his feet'. Yep, that whole 'use moves on my opponent' idea was quick, I'll give him that. I've just realised, out of these four men, three of them could be considered the greatest of all time and not one of them still works for the WWE. Anyway, Rikishi drags Austin out of the ring only to get pounded while Rock gets a Samoan Drop on Angle for two. Angle battles back now but ends up getting tossed out of the ring.
Austin and Rikishi join the Great One in the ring now and Austin and Rock take it in turns to battle Rikishi. Rikishi is double teamed by the two men but hang on a minute, Kurt Angle is trying to leave with the title belt. Man, I miss Angle's old heel champion, what a run that was. Anyway Rock has less of it and clotheslines Angle in the back of the head as Rikishi takes control on the inside. Unsurprisingly Rikishi doesn't dominate for long and Austin is soon back in the drivers seat. Kurt gets in the ring but only ends up getting Lou Thesz Pressed. Rock/Kishi and Angle/Austin pair up now with Rock in control of Rikishi in the ring as Austin chokes Angle with a TV cable. Rikishi 'buries his big bee-hind into the abdomen of the rock' in the words of Ol' JR. Oh dear, me, here comes the Stink Face. Oh but Rock battles back and hits the Spine Buster! MARK OUT PEOPLES ELBOW ZOMGZOMG! Sue me, I'm a Rock mark. Peoples Elbow connects but Angle breaks up the pin and covers Rikishi himself. Austin interrupts this pin and gets a cover of his own but thats another 2 count. Nice moment.
The heels are in control of the faces now, with the inevitable Austin/Rock face-off being delayed still. Rock and Austin both get fiercely stomped then a choke from Angle to Rock and a headbutt on Austin by 'Kishi. The heels stand dominant with Austin and Rock down in the centre of the ring. Naturally, though, they get up and battle back. Both heels out the ring and here we go. Austin and Rock with that timeless stare-down. The look those two used to give each other was pure genius. Somehow both looking like they slightly feared and respected the other as well as wanting to kick the shit out of them. Smack is being talked and there's a delayed pause before the punches start coming. Back and forth pounding on Rock goes to lay the Smackdown and AUSTIN DUCKS AND IT'S A STUNNER. Fuck it, I don't care if it's a pointless PPV these two guys are unquestionable two of the best. Anyone who has ever compared Cena/Edge to this needs to look at the pure chemistry these two men have and feel ashamed of themselves. Austin covers Rock but Angle breaks it up and steals the pin but Rikishi breaks that up and steals a pin of his own but Rock kicks out. Man, GrammarCheck hated that sentence. Austin's in the corner now being double teamed while the Rock is out of it. He fights back though, of course with a couple of clotheslines then stomps a mud hole in Angle. Hang on a second though, as the Rock crouches behind Austin and OH YES ROCK BOTTOM. 1...2 RIKISHI PULLS THE REF OUT! Rock is shouting at Rikishi and Angle sneaks up with the Angle Slam! The ref's out the ring for too long and this gives Rock a chance to kick out.
Edge and Christian running out now to help Angle but Austin runs them off. In the ring though, Rock Bottom on Rikishi but Edge pulls Rock out before we get a pin. Austin's in now but the damn Radicalz are here to break up the count after the Stunner. Angle's in now and you know how this ends. Angle Slam for 3.
WINNER: KURT ANGLE
Coach leaves us with his final thoughts that are: pretty much nothing and he hopes to see us soon. Oh if only you knew what the future had in store for you, Jonathan.
Well, despite the fact that it came free with a magazine and one of the matches started ten minutes in, not a bad compilation. There was definitely some nostalgia involved, as you may have guessed by now I'm a huge mark for Rock and Austin and I personally think their feud and Kurt's title reign from 2000-2001 era is right up there with wrestling's golden days. Of course the X-Pac match, a satire writers wet dream, played no small thoughts. So while WWE may never actually have been Wild! In the UK, they're not entirely tame. So they probably live in one of those sanctuaries or something. I dunno, it's been a long night.
Anyway, thank you very much for reading. My name is British Bullfrog, Good night Wrestling Fans.
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
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.).